Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Anime Review: Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions

I initially started this show when it came out last fall (wow I hadn't realized it had been so long) but since Sentai only puts up the first episode for free on their site I didn't have any way, or motivation, to continue. But it's up on hulu for free now and I wanted to give it another shot before the sequel (and movie) come out later this year/early next year. Although, now that I've seen the show I'm not exactly sure how they plan to make more of it.....

Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions (Chunibyo Demo Koi ga Shitai)

Summary: Back in middle school Yuuta suffered from chunibyo, "8th grade disease" where he was convinced he was actually a super-powered individual and did all sorts of strange things. As a higher schooler he now completely regrets all of this and feels like he'll never outgrow the shame so to help he starts high school where none of his old classmates are. Everything seems to be going well so far until he catches the eye of a classmate whose still fully in the chunibyo thrall and his life once again takes a turn for the weird. 

The Good: I had expected this show to be a bit mean spirited actually, that it would just spend its time mocking all the character with chunibyo but, even though almost all of the humor was generated by just how weird those characters were (or by how much their weirdness embarrassed the rest of the cast) it wasn't mean at all. The show never got preachy about having to leave behind childhood fantasies or anything like that, heck in some ways it seemed to be saying "sure, have a few delusions and live a little, that's what makes life fun!" (it even seems to suggest that everyone goes through this at some point or another, that everyone wants to believe that they're special and, well, maybe there's nothing wrong with that). 

The Bad: While I did enjoy the series (I've seen a lot of people say lately that they enjoy Watamote since they relate and even though I was never a chunibyo I feel like I relate in a similar way to Yuuta here) I just never quite fell in love with the series or got really excited watching it day to day like I do with my favorite shows. There was always just something that kept me from connecting with it, I don't know if it was the characters, the story, or what exactly but I think my decision to drop the show last fall was a fair one. I didn't hate the show and there are many other worst shows out there but I don't feel like I was missing out for not finishing the show after all and in some ways, even with it's flashy fantasy battles and the family drama, it felt just a bit bland. 

The Production Values: This is a Kyoto Animation show which means that it looks completely fine, although I must say that after Hyouka I'm not sure if any of their shows will impress me as much. Everything looked fine but nothing about the designs really stood out to me, they just came across as a little bland and even the "magical fights" look like ones I've seen half a dozen times before (although, considering the characters were probably inspired by those exact same fights that would make sense). As for the voice acting, Jun Fukuyama grew on me a bit as Yuuta but for a lot of the show sounded way too old for a tenth grader. I know why he was cast, because everyone knows him for being able to do big, hammy voices*, but you guys know that he's not the only voice actor who can do that right? Right? 

I'm going to give this show a 3 out of 5 since it was fun by the end but I don't see myself rewatching it anytime soon, or even remembering it a couple of years down the road (although I wish there was an English word equivalent of chunibyo, I half want to use the word to describe half of tumblr). However, I don't see myself watching either the movie (which I believe is a retelling from Rikka's point of view) or the second season since, well, this wrapped up really well and I don't see what there's left to tell. From what I've gathered, this anime was loosely based on a currently running series of light novels (I'm not even sure how those books worked since it seems like the anime took a lot of liberties) and the second season will be based on the second volume, so there is material, but I really do feel like everything was already wrapped up well and don't see a need to continue with the story. 

*heck, a couple of manga series I follow have gotten drama CDs lately and cast FukuJun for just that, being able to switch between a nicer persona and a crazy one, and in all of these cases it frustrates me since he just doesn't fit the role in any other way which is why I'm grumbling more than usual over this. 

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