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I am taking a break this week from science and reasonable thinking to indulge the side of me that occasionally craves the exact opposite -- delusions, fantasy, fiction, and unreason. As much as I enjoy the Japanese culture and their animation industry, I don't get a whole lot of time in my personal life to sit down and watch anime on a regular basis. I don't collect manga, but I do collect DVDs. The latest addition to my library is the ridiculously short, but profoundly hysterical, Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! As far as I know, this 12-episode series has not been dubbed in English yet. In the absence of a suitable English title, fans simply call the series "Chu-2" for short.
My 10-year-old niece enjoys anime as I do, so I couldn't pass up a chance to watch a series that we could both watch and would probably both enjoy. Here is a brief and spoiler-free synopsis. A young boy, named Yuuta, starts high school while recovering from a psychological condition colloquially referred as "8th grade syndrome" or "chūnibyō." This condition compels the individual to pretend to have supernatural powers and abilities that they actually do not possess. They are also irrationally dramatic, arrogant, and paranoid of their peers who they profess to believe have supernatural secrets of their own. After recovering from this condition, the individual typically views their past behaviors with paralyzing embarrassment and shame.
Yuuta endures a few brief encounters with a young girl in his class, Rikka, bearing a medical patch on her eye and appears to be suffering from chūnibyō herself which has manifested as a belief that her eye contains the powers of a demon tyrant. Having the benefit of understanding endowed from experiencing chūnibyō himself, Yuuta befriends Rikka and attempts to help her find her grasp on reality while also trying to leave his past behaviors behind him and integrate into normal high school life.
Chu-2 starts off rather embarrasing to watch as Yuuta recalls some of the batty things he did before his recovery. He describes shameful classroom moments, public declarations that are nothing short of insanity, and styles of fashion one might call "out of place gothic." As Yuuta begins his interactions with Rikka, the series reveals some very funny moments where Rikka is the one behaving strangely and Yuuta is the anchor to reality. The two of them befriend other characters, some suffering from chūnibyō, others recovering from it, and others never having had it at all.
What I admire most about this delightful series is that it takes us on a psychological coaster ride into the mind of the delusional with stunning action and epic battles of magic and fantasy, but never fails from show us what is actually happening in reality through the eyes of normal on-lookers. The victims of chūnibyō know what reality is. They know their powers and declarations are not real. They each have profound psychological reasons to maintain those beliefs anyway despite reality.
My biggest complaint is that the series is just too short. Having to tell the whole story in 12 episodes, character development seems rushed and there is so much glossed over because of it. The story could have had so much more to it. This is one of those titles that will probably never be classic and popular because the animators didn't take a gamble on making a lengthy series out of it.
Chu-2 is entirely a child-safe anime, but has some interesting twists for you adults who love watching kids do silly things. There is a hint of romance and a bit of action -- things I always enjoy myself. I give Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! an 8 out of 10.
This blog is an editorial and contains only the opinions of the author. The author claims no expertise on most topics of discussion and this blog is not to be cited as an alternative for properly vetted journalism or scientific sources.comments powered by Disqus