Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!

“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso.

Yuta Togashi is an ordinary schoolboy – or at least he is now. He used to be a “chunibyo”, which literally translates as “second year middle schooler syndrome”. In other words, he had delusions of grandeur. He used to go around dressed in rather gothic clothing, carrying large cosplay swords and declaring himself the “Dark Flame Master”. Not surprisingly, people thought Yuta was weird and distanced themselves from him.

Now Yuta just wants to be a normal kid, and has moved to a new school where nobody knows him. However, the day before school starts, outside the balcony of his flat, a young girl in a goth Lolita dress and wearing an eyepatch climbs down a rope and encounters him. Yuta then learns that this girl, whose name is Rikka Takanashi, is at the same school as him. In fact, she is in the same class.

Yuta learns that Rikka is a chunibyo, but one who is proud of her behaviour. Her other oddities include wearing a gold contact lens in her covered-up eye which she believes has magical powers, wearing Heelys, and using an umbrella as a weapon. She seems to spend most of her time fighting her big sister Toka, whom Rikka refers to as an evil high priestess, while Toka is constantly trying to change Rikka’s behaviour. She is also aware of Yuta’s past, having spotted Yuta earlier in the day performing his Dark Flame Master stance one last time, and thus Yuta tries his best to prevent her from letting anyone else know that he was a chunibyo.

Despite everything, Yuta and Rikka become friends. They also make more friends at school, these being Rikka’s close friend and fellow chunibyo Sanae Dekomori; Shinka Nibutani, a girl in Yuta’s class that he takes a shine to  (like Yuta, she’s another former chunibyo embarrassed by their past behaviour); carefree and constantly sleeping Kumin Tsuyuri; and Makoto Isshiki, a boy in Yuta’s class who wants to attract the ladies and then falls for Kumin. Eventually Rikka creates a club for all six of them, the “The Far East Magical and Napping Society – Formerly Thereof”. As the series progresses, we learn more of Rikka’s past, why she became a chunibyo, and discover that she suffered a great trauma when she was younger. 

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions is a very enjoyable series for several reasons. For starters there is the comedy. There are plenty of laughs, especially in the first half of the series. There is plenty of comic slapstick, as well as character comedy extracted mainly from the embarrassment suffered by Yuta and caused by the people around him. But then the series becomes more serious as we learn about the rather tragic background of Rikka and the reasons why she became the person she is.

Another appealing aspect of this series is the quality of the animation. Made by Kyoto Animation, the series resembles their past works K-On! and Clannad. However, it also combines these similarities with some fantasy magical girl elements. These elements are of course totally fictional, as they are the battles Rikka imagines taking place between herself and other people, normally Toka and Sanae. 

One thing that might be of concern to people is how much this anime differs from the original novel it is based on. Many of the characters, such as Toka, Kumin and Sanae, only appear in the anime. Annoyingly, the novel is not yet available in English, so we will have to wait to compare the two works.

This collection has a decent selection of extras. There is the Christmas-themed OVA episode, some online short episodes, Japanese promos, and textless opening and closing of the two theme tunes, “Sparkling Daydream” by Zaq and “Inside Identity” by the voice actresses for Rikka, Sanae, Shinka and Kumin.

This series has been really enjoyable. It is funny, dramatic and wonderfully animated.

9 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

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