So, we finally got around to watching this movie, which is a suitable substitute for the first season, as it’s pretty much the first season (our reviews here) on fast-forward, complete with a few awkward cuts from one episode to the next. The conceit is that in the time before Rikka knows whether she has to move away or will be able to live alone above Yuuta, she retells her story to the audience from her perspective.
The only problem is, aside from the sequences that bookend the film and a couple narrations, there’s nothing different from the events that take place here and the way they unfolded in the first season. It would have been interesting to see more new material from that time, rather than simply rehash it all in abridged form. Thus, this film is kind of a let-down, but only for those who went into it not knowing what it was going to be.
For those who want to be brought up to speed on how Yuuta and Rikka fell for each other and ended up living alone together (however briefly), this film does the trick, though certainly nowhere near as efficiently as, say, Kill la Kill’s excellent cold-open recap. For those like us who thought there’d be more original material, it was still enjoyable to go back and be reminded why we liked the franchise so much we eagerly awaited its sequel, which is proving just as good.
As for the original material, the ending, in which Yuuta (along with Touka) have to go to bat against Grandpa Takanashi, and it was great to see Rikka’s moment of jubilation upon learning they succeeded. But the star of this film is the entire pre-opening credits sequence: a gorgeous, lavishly-animated wedding-slash-battle that’s really just a Rikka daydream. If you’re not interested in a gorified season recap, we still recommend watching at least this first bit of the film, which is a great microcosm of why we love the franchise so much.
After their embrace, Rikka consults with Dekomori while Yuuta talks with Isshiki on how to proceed. Both are supportive. While walking home, after a couple failed attempts, Rikka successfully confess to one another and enter into a “lovers’ contract”. On coming home Touka takes Yuuta to a cafe, where she tells him she’s moving to Italy to train to be a chef, and their mother will be moving in with Rikka. The next day at school, Rikka’s mom appears with a lunch for her. Yuuta tells her to take off her eyepatch, but a heated exchange ensues. Yuuta doesn’t perform with Rikka for the festival. Later that night at the talent show, Rikka sings a song her late father liked, then removed her contact and eyepatch.
That was one hell of a hug last week. Yuuta’s first time hugging a girl, and Rikka’s first time hugging a guy. Considering their inexperience, it’s inevitable they’d have trouble figuring out how to proceed. And yet, they do a pretty damn good job of it, not spending episodes not talking or avoiding each other or falling subject to rivals – just walking home, getting stuck in the rain, grabbing a bite at EcDonalds (yeah that’s spelled right) and ending up under a bridge with a beautiful, romantic scene of the town-lit river. And they make their feelings known to each other. Yuuta definitely gets style points for preparing a confession as Dark Flame Master, and of course Rikka eats it up. Weights are lifted and everything’s peachy…until Rikka’s mom enters the picture.
Rikka’s mom…the one whose responsibility was to deliver the truth about her father in a timely fashion, but didn’t, resulting in a complete fiasco when Dad died. Rikka hasn’t forgiven her, and we don’t blame her. But we also understand Yuuta’s position: he can’t continue to enable Rikka to live in a fantasy world; she needs to turn the page and grow up. The time for that comes right quick too, as their honeymoon is tragically brief. In a rapid flashback of Things Not Going Well (when Yuuta presents Rikka with a lunch her mom made), we see them grappling roughly, so far removed by the day before, when she seemed so fragile she might break if he held her closer. But after that tantrum, when Rikka removes her eyepatch – her trusty armor against…something – in front of the whole school, it’s like a long-overdue first step towards adulthood.
Rating: 9 (Superior)