So two seasons later, Kyoto Animation has a new show out. Considering how much I enjoyed their last show (you can see just how much here) there was no way I could pass this one up. Like their last work Hyouka, Chuunibyou is based on a light novel series, but the genre is a little different this time around. Hyouka dealt more with drama and quiet slice of life moments, but Chuunibyou is all about the comedy (for now, at least). I’ve seen the first 3 episodes, so I’ll be basing these impressions on that.
So let’s get some small details out of the way. Chuunibyou is a light novel by Torako, and picked up for animation by Kyoto Animation, the first of this 12 episode series airing on September 27, 2012. Now without further ado, let’s examine this a little deeper.
So Chuunibyou is primarily a comedy, dealing with this affliction in the local youth populace called “Chuunibyou”. If you were ever a kid, you might know a little bit how this goes. When you’re a kid (elementary/middle school) some kids are into incredibly embarrassing fantasy-based roleplaying. When I say embarrassing, I mean suuuper embarrassing. And that, essentially, is Chuunibyou. Of course, most people grow out of that as they enter high school, but sometimes… You don’t. And here our story begins.
We meet our main character, a young man beginning his high school debut, a man named Togashi Yuuta. He used to be afflicted with chuunibyou, but as he grew up and out of that, he realized how horribly embarrassing his middle school career had been. So he packs up and goes to an out-of-the-way high school where no one would know him. Unfortunately on day 1 he meets Takanashi Rikka, a girl who never quite got cured of her Chuunibyou. So Yuuta, our former Dark Flame Master, is drawn into a wacky school life unable to escape the one thing he wanted to escape. And that, in a nutshell, is the story.
Of course, this kind of story is really just a setup for wacky situations and plot lines to occur, and that’s more or less what it does. I think, at some deeper level, Yuuta is trying (though he would never admit it) to relive those happy days he had in middle school by befriending Rikka. But for now it’s Yuuta thrust into Rikka’s crazy place as he tries to mitigate the damage he’s causing to what he thinks is his social standing. So let’s get a bit more into the characters here. We have our male lead, Togashi Yuuta. He was formerly afflicted with chuunibyou, and wants to do nothing more than to step away from that part of his life. It utterly embarrasses him. Unfortunately, he deals with constant reminders of it from his younger sisters and his mother, along with his own memories. Will he ever break free from his past’s deadly grip?
Apparently not, as one of the first friends he makes in his new high school (a school he made sure none of his old classmates would attend) is Takanashi Rikka, a girl caught in chuunibyou’s full swing. She wears a fake eye patch, believing the eye under that patch to be the mystical “Tyrant’s Eye of Truth”. It’s a little difficult to describe her personality fully, but she more or less totally lives in a fantasy world. She’s just a little bit insane. Despite all that, however, she is still a normal girl. Probably. Somewhere deep down, I’m sure. There are little hints here and there over the course of the first 3 episodes, but I think we’ll have to wait to see more.
Moving on to easily the most impressive aspects of this show, the art and animation. Well, the art is fairly standard KyoAni fare, I suppose, so I’ll leave that alone for now. But the animation, my god the animation. It’s gorgeous. There are a few action scenes (that are actually delusions) primarily in episode two and three, and they look absolutely amazing. I think if Kyoto Animation put out a brand new original action series, it would easily be the one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Even barring the two or so small action sequences, the rest of the animation is clearly superior to most other anime out there nowadays. There’s just a certain level of quality Kyoto Animation puts into their work that you can’t deny, and it’s extremely evident here.
The last point I want to cover is the music. I was pleasantly surprised by the BGM; there were some neat tracks in there. For me that’s quite something, since I generally gloss over BGM as I watch anime, so that’s a plus. Besides that, the opening theme is “Sparkling Daydream” by Zaq, and it’s… Well, it’s something. I’ll be honest, the actual music for the theme isn’t that great (ditto for the ending theme), but the animations for both are nice and catchy. I don’t really mean that in the way I did before, insofar as quality animation, but the way everything’s put together for the opening is just… neat to see. It’s difficult to explain, I think, but the opening is greater than the sum of its parts.
Likewise for the ending, which is Inside Identity, performed by the voice actors of the main female characters (Uchida Maaya, Akasaki Chinatsu, Asakura Azumi, Uesaka Sumire). I enjoyed the song a bit more, but the animation itself was a little less… exciting, I suppose? Though maybe that’s generally the way ending themes go. As a last note, I found the ending theme to be quite similar in style to K-ON’s ending themes like Don’t say lazy or No, Thank You. I think those were pretty cool, so I enjoyed this too.
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