Title: Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Summary Yuuta Togashi suffered from chuunibyou while he was in middle school. When he graduated, he put that dark history behind him and forgot about it… or he was supposed to. High school was smooth sailing and full of enjoyment – until the unavoidable, sad event occurs. The event that locks Yuuta into a contract with Rikka Takanashi and disrupts his desperately ordinary life.
Review: Generally when I write a review it’s pretty soon after I watch the anime. However, being a little behind I’ve sometimes needed to skip through anime I’ve watched in the past to get a refresher. However, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! was one of those anime that I actually wanted to re-watch so soon after. I was always weary of starting a romance comedy anime because they never go the direction I’m hoping. They tend to start out great with a balance of comedy and romance with a small bit of drama; however, it soon turns into a roller coaster of emotions without the comedy that initially got me interested. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! actually kept the comedy going throughout the series. Although there was enough drama to keep an interesting story, it didn’t bog the anime down. It was the key difference that makes this romance anime special.
I’m happy that it wasn’t just the story which made this anime so amazing. At first glance the artwork doesn’t seem like anything special, maybe a little extra time spent on lighting and moonlit scenes. If you give the anime some time you realized it had some of the best art during the Summer 2012 season. The character models were beautiful with fluid body motions that helped make the action scenes more entertaining. That’s right, action scenes in a romance comedy that even put some action anime to shame. Although the action was fictional playing all in Rikka’s head (would that make it double-fictional?), it was some of the best I’ve seen. The scenes had everything from transformations, big weapons, powerful attacks, and special moves. It was fast paced and exciting, making it even funnier when the anime flashed back to reality of two people slapping each other and making funny poses. The art wasn’t just for comedy either. There were some very dramatic scenes and I can still see Rikka’s face when she gets hit with a wave of reality. Seeing the painful look on characters’ faces really brought the emotion home. It had my sympathizing with a character when I’ve never gone through anything close to the same experience. I think that says a lot about the anime, how it could take an art style so versatile switching between action, comedy, and drama in an instant. While the art was superb, it’s the story that makes me recommend this anime.
I mentioned earlier that romance anime generally fall victim to over dramatization, and that Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! created the perfect balance. What hooked me to the anime was the premise. I can’t say that I was cursed with Eighth Grader Syndrome, but I know that even as people get older they try to be something special, stand out in the crowd and place meaning in their life. I also know that sometimes people need an escape, and imagining you’re in a completely different world is a great way to do it. I could get into a philosophical debate about whether or not pretending you’re in a different reality is a good way to cope with reality, but I’ll hold off. Despite the anime’s light hearted nature it has a lot of powerful messages. The dynamic between the characters was especially involved because it had all kinds of viewpoints on a single topic. We were presented with two students who still suffered from Eighth Grader Syndrome, two who were recovering addicts, and two who seemed to never have suffered from it in the first place. Although the pairing might not have gone off as you’d expect, it was interesting to see the similarities and differences between people with the same background. For example, Dekomori had Eighth Grade Syndrome but had had no intention of changing, in fact she embraced it; Takanashi on the other hand started out strong, keeping true to her beliefs, but eventually began to doubt her alternate reality, taking the path to recovery. On that same note the two who were recovering addicts, Nibutani and Yuuta, shared a similar embarrassment for ever going through it in the first place. It was this attention to detail and character development that made this anime so amazing. It showed the good and bad for trying to be someone special. Should you stand out if everyone will give you awkward looks and find you weird, or conform to normality to live a peaceful, mundane life? In a way the anime answered this question by the end of the season and leaves the viewer thinking back on their past ‘mistakes’ and laughing about them. It’s true that this anime didn’t have the jaw-dropping confession or edge-of-your-seat suspense, but it had a certain charm.
Final statements: Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! is one of my favorite romance comedies because it offered something unique. The anime has great character development, art, and story. It is easily a high priority watch for any anime viewer and I am absolutely looking forward to a second season. I feel like it could offer even more in the romance genre that other anime rarely touch on.