Yuuta is chosen as one of the class reps with the beautiful Nibutani Shinka, and feels like things are looking up. But Rikka acquires a lost “chimera” (cat) and requests he take care of it, as her sister is allergic. Shinka points them to Tsuyuri Kumin, whose cat is missing. They go to Rikka’s house, and the cat isn’t hers. Rikka’s sister Tooka confronts them, and blackmails Yuuta into taking the cat with inflammatory audio of him from eighth grade. Rikka escapes, Yuuta and Kumin follow, and Tooka pursues and duels with Rikka, defeating her. Yuuta adopts the cat.
The surprisingly engrossing story of a lost cat combined with Yuuta’s clinging to the notion of living a normal high school life and gradually failing was enough for us to rank this as an 8 relatively early, but that was before a totally unexpected diversion into Rikka’s imagination when she battles her older sister. What’s merely and umbrella and ladel become huge, FLCL-esque weapons wielded with lightning speed and deadly force in a kick-ass action scene. But this eye candy was only the icing of the cake; a means to an end.
It showed Yuuta that there’s still value in a vibrant imagination – it gives excitement to life and makes the ordinary extraordinary. He totally geeks out on an antique weapon on Rikka’s wall – checking himself too late to avoid Kumin’s bemused/charmed gaze – but it doesn’t seem to matter. Both Kumin and Shinka earlier on aren’t really put off by Rikka’s behavior, nor do they turn their nose up at Yuuta for it. Perhaps Rikka’s over-active and Yuuta’s re-emerging Chuunibyou-ness and Yuuta’s desire to make friends in high school aren’t mutually exclusive. Only his desire to be dull and normal is.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
Car Cameo: Honda Civic sedan on the bridge, right in the beginning.
Togashi Yuuta, over his eighth-grade fantasy obsession phase (which he calls “Eighth-Grade Syndrome or Chuunibyou), is hoping to start a new, normal life at his new high school, but immediately comes across Takanashi Rikka, a cute but eccentric girl who is still in the throes of Chuunibyou. What’s more, she heard him try to seal his alter-ego “Black Flame Master” and thinks it’s all very cool. He is forced to walk her new home, which happens to be the floor above where she lives, and then help move her stuff in. After dinner with his family, Rikka convinces him not to throw out his old life. He grudingly agrees.
Nazo no Kanojo X this is not, but we found the first episode a very charming and likable introduction to the unlikely couple of Yuuta and Rikka. For one thing, it focuses on these two and their interactions. It’s also nice to see teenagers interacting naturally and not blushing like tomatoes constantly. There’s a part of Yuuta who thinks Rikka is cute, but he’s embarrassed by all the nerdy nonsense she’s constantly spewing. For her part, Rikka is quick to befriend her “spiritual soulmate”, attempting to impress Yuuta by “opening” a train door with her mind, showing off her “Wicked Eye” (a contact) or winning him a free soda with a button-combo.
The two show great chemistry and promise, as Yuuta will no doubt try to juggle the new normal high school life – something he so desperately desires he enrolled at a different school from his middle school peers – with his unplanned relationship with this very odd girl. But he proves neither cruelly dismissive of Rikka nor totally opposed to playing along with her from time to time. As a KyoAni production, this series is suitably pretty and tight in its technical execution. We consider this a pleasant surprise and will stick with it.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Car Cameos: Incidental shots of a Daihatsu Conte and what looks like a Suzuki Wagon R Stingray (it’s very small)