Pluffei: Herro every-nyan and thank you for tuning in to another one of our MoarPowah Objections! This is the usual sarcastic but relatively passive Pluffei.
Kaushik: And this is Kaushik! Today we’ll be objecting over what we think of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, so far. For the record, I am enjoying it.
Pluffei: Yeah, I know, you wrote an impressions on it. And also for the record, I am the one who absolutely hates it. But let’s start on the good points of the show.
Kaushik: The good points? The best point by far is the animation. KyoAni’s done it again, and Chuunibyou definitely looks great. And unlike their last work, Hyouka, this one is quite a bit more action-y so you can see that delicious animation goodness. Unfortunately of course all of the action scenes are delusions, but that doesn’t stop the quality.
Pluffei: I’ll give you the animation, definitely, and art too while I’m at it. KyoAni has had a recent surge in animation quality. As it was in K-ON! and most likely Hyouka as well, they put so much into animation and art that the backgrounds never have unnecessary blank space, and more surprisingly, absolutely no one has the same character design; not even the side characters no one pays attention to! But, what about the music?
Kaushik: I’ve been pretty disappointed with music this season insofar as opening and ending themes are concerned. Chuunibyou is no exception to that, both the opening and ending themes are mediocre at best. As far as the BGM is concerned… It’s okay at best. I haven’t heard enough of it to create a particularly strong opinion on it yet, but so far it’s just okay.
Pluffei: We’ll just leave it at that I can’t even remember the Chuunibyou OP or ED, and move on to the most important part of our argument, or why I hate Rikka Takanashi. From what was explained in episode 1, basically Rikka is a high school girl still afflicted with the ‘disease’ called Chuuni-byou, or “2nd Year Syndrome,” which basically means that she’s a total retard and acts like a middle schooler.
If we were to localize the meaning of this ‘disease,’ I’d say it’s on par with what afflicts the middle school kids here with know-it-all attitudes and who would defend their mental fantasy worlds to the death. Or, diehard naive kids who label themselves xoxokwuteypiexoxo or, for the Accel World reference, Black Snow Princess. Or, of course, straight from the episode, who could forget the Dark Flame Master.
Kaushik: My first defense of Rikka is that she’s only in her first year of high school. She was in middle school just a few months before the show takes place. People don’t exactly change overnight.
That being said, the entire premise of the show is that she’s a little bit insane. That’s why it’s called an affliction or a disease. So it’s normal to see her as stupid. I suppose the point to take away from that is to laugh at her for doing what she does.
So… I’d say the show couldn’t really operate without her being “dumb” or “stupid” or anything to that effect. That’s what a lot of the humor is based on and it’s essentially the premise of the show.
Pluffei: I’ll throw it out there I’m the type who never enjoyed shows where characters are just downright illogically dumb to that degree, but I guess people like that do exist (both people who do enjoy shows like that, and people who are dumb to that extent).
In terms of how funny it actually is, Rikka isn’t funny at all. In fact, she’s just annoying as hell, especially when she goes on about leveling up in real life or about having the Tyrant’s eye. For me, she’s just such a unrelate-able character, and her plight of desiring to believe (note that I say desire to believe) in the fantastic isn’t one I can sympathize with at all. She should just freaking grow up.
Kaushik: I can’t really argue against her being funny or not, since everyone has their own sense of humor, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call her annoying. Rikka certainly has issues and perhaps even some mental difficulties but I’d say that’s part of her charm as a character. She’s delightfully insane I suppose. That being said, I think I enjoy her most when she’s painfully brought out of reality by Yuuta. It reminds herself and the viewer that despite all she says and does, she’s really just a normal girl way down deep. Way, way down deep.
Pluffei: It’s good that we at least both agree that despite her loony talk, she does realize that she’s living in a fantasy. Which brings up the question, why does she persist on believing in what she knows isn’t true?
Kaushik: Well, besides it being funny, I have a sneaking suspicion that something in her past causes her to act the way she does now. Probably some big event. Of course, I base that on nothing but the fact that I’ve seen a lot of anime and read a lot of manga/light novels. Still, I’m reasonably confident there’s at least some reason she acts the way she does, beyond her being a little loopy.
Pluffei: Playing the trauma-card, eh? Well, if they do end up doing that, I can make the point that the plot is predictable and relies on clichés. Which actually, is true to an extent even now. The normal-boy-crazy-girl theme has been used plenty before, and although this show does stands out from the rest (Denpa Onna, BokuTomo, etc…), going back to Rikka, I can’t say that it stands out in a good way.
What I think it comes down to for me is that it just seems Rikka is too crazy. Just comparing her to some other heroines in similarly themed shows, for BokuTomo, Yozora realizes her inability to make friends and makes an effort to change that by making a club where she could befriend other people who shared her problem. In Denpa Onna, Erio thinks she is an alien, and because no one understood it, she simply decided not to associate with other people anymore.
In comparison, Rikka clings onto fantasy, and instead of befriending someone who shares her opinion on this matter, she persists on trying to befriend the very person who directly disagrees with her. And all this while, she’s (rather rudely and aggressively) attempting to push her beliefs onto him.
While she may have her reasons for being the way she is, until the show starts explaining them, there is no way Rikka as a person should be likeable.
Kaushik: I’m not going to argue your comparisons since that isn’t really what this debate is about, but you’re wrong on how Rikka clings to her fantasy. She does not befriend Yuuta because he is normal, far from it. What drew her to him in the first place was hearing him talk about his past as the Dark Flame Master. I think, more than anything else, she thought she found a kindred spirit in him.
Of course, she was sorely disappointed when she hung out with him a bit more, but by then I think a bond was already formed. I think she just wants Yuuta to be like her, and… Well, she’s no more forceful than other characters. I mean, just going by your own example, Yozora is just (I’d argue way more) forceful than Rikka is.
Pluffei: The fact that she wants Yuuta to be like her is a flawed way of thinking, but I’ll ignore it for now. And, Yozora is more forceful on average, but the difference is that I don’t think her actions have never been outright rejected as wrong by the normal-boy character. Sure, what she does is strange, and she’s downright mean to the people she dislike (i.e., Sena), but she’s never forced her friendship onto an uncooperative Kodaka.
For Rikka, two entire scenes were dedicated to Yuuta trying to tell her that he’s not the Dark Flame Master, and him telling her to stop spouting nonsense, but of course she basically ignored what he said at first (ignoring what other people say, another aspect that seems to just be gleamed over as comedy). Which is why I say that she persists on trying to befriend someone who basically wants to reject her existence. It’s not like Yuuta hid what he thought from her at all! In any case, when it finally gets through to Rikka that Yuuta is done with his phase, she freaking cries.
All I have to say for that is, why the hell should she have had a say in what he decides to do with his stuff in the first place? She’s barely known him for a day. There’s so much wrong with her mentality, and I don’t think the Chuunibyou part is entirely to blame. It just accentuates her un-likability and makes it that much more blatant for me.
Kaushik: I don’t have a problem with Rikka’s character for 2 reasons. One, her character isn’t exactly new (a loud, pushy, crazy person) in the world of anime. I’ve seen it before, and if I wasn’t annoyed then, I’m not annoyed now. Two, she’s kind of cute. I will admit it’s mostly when she’s being snapped out of her delusions by either her sister or Yuuta, but I enjoy those moments when she’s reminded she’s a normal girl. Plus, her delusions kind of remind me of my own childhood, so she’s relatable.
Pluffei: Ah, I guess those times are ok. More so because I enjoy her pain (just kidding). Otherwise, I think you’ve summed up what I have in mind. She’s too childish for her age, and the fact that she clings to this childishness really irks me to no end.
But I think being loud, pushy, crazy, and may I add self-absorbed (she doesn’t listen when other people are talking), can’t be pinned on her being childish. It’s her personality itself at fault. Like you said, for you, you haven’t been annoyed with characters too similar to her in the past, and you’re not annoyed now. For me, I’ve been annoyed with characters similar to her (namely Haruhi) and I am still annoyed now. And so, I feel like I’m not obligated to tolerate her, and the fact that people like her at all is just bewildering.
Kaushik: Well, to each their own. I think we’ve summed up our points adequately. A good a time as any to wrap this up.
Pluffei: I will agree with you there. Tune in next week for another MoarPowah Objection~
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