I’m a sucker for a good romance anime. These shows pull at my heartstrings because they tend to be cute and, at times, genuine. Also, they illustrate how you can find love in the strangest of ways, as in the case of Chuunibyou. At face value I thought Chuunibyou was a show filled with teenagers having super powers and fighting evil, but all of that happens in the imagination of some of the characters. At the heart of it all, Chuunibyou is a teen romantic comedy and a great one at that.
Chuunibyou follows the story of Togashi Yuta and Takanashi Rikka. Before the events of the story Yuta suffered from “Eighth Grade Syndrome”, or “chuunibyou”, which made him believe that he was an imaginary character known as Dark Flame Master. Upon settling in at his new high school, after overcoming Eighth Grade Syndrome, he meets a girl named Rikka, who is currently suffering from Eighth Grade Syndrome herself. Yuta learns that Rikka lives one floor above his apartment and they soon become friends. Along the way they become friends with Nibutani Shinka, a girl in the same year as Yuta and Rikka who also used to suffer from Eighth Grade Syndrome, Dekomori Sanae, a middle school girl who calls herself Rikka’s “servant” and Tsuyuri Kumin, a girl one year above Rikka and Yuta who likes taking naps whenever she gets the chance.
Since it was produced by Kyoto Animation you can see the resemblance the art style has to shows such as K-On, Hyouka and Tamako Market. The art style fits with the cutesy, slice-of-life feel the show gives. On the surface, Chuunibyou looks like a typical harem anime (one guy surrounded by many girls). On the contrary, the other girls in the series act as support devices for Rikka and Yuta’s eventual relationship. This makes the romance between Yuta and Rikka more genuine and allows the series room to illustrate how their love for one another develops. I also enjoyed the comedy aspects to the show. Because we know the “powers” that Rikka has stem from her imagination the interactions she has with her peers, especially Yuta, are very funny.
All the characters in the show are very likable and show off their unique personalities very well; save for Isshiki, Yuta and Rikka’s classmate, who mainly serves as the comedy relief character. Each character, especially the supporting characters, feel like they have a sense of purpose in the series and that is one of Chuunibyou’s greatest strengths. The heartfelt moments between Rikka and Yuta were also great in that they emphasised how important the one meant to the other. I liked how the series teased its audience during those moments: as you think they’re about to kiss, for example, something happens that disrupts them from doing so.
Though Chuunibyou may be a love story, it is one of the few shows that illustrate unconditional love among friends and lovers. Even though Nibutani and Dekomori cannot stand each other, for example, they have a sisterly bond with one another that is illustrated when Dekomori becomes sad when Nibutani starts ignoring her in one episode. Nibutani, Kumin and Dekomori all want Yuta and Rikka to be happy and want to help them develop their relationship with one another. Above all else, Chuunibyou teaches us an important lesson: always be true to yourself!