Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! was never an anime that I held to a very high standard. Sure, the animation is breathtaking, the characters are wacky and lovable, and I always found each episode to be an overall enjoyable experience, but I never found the capacity to take it all that seriously in a critical sense, because it’s not meant to be taken seriously. Mind you, this is a good thing. Heck, the first season became one of my favorites back in Winter 2012.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have the capacity to leave me a bit disappointed. It might be a moe-tastic show that may not amount to anything more than that in terms of appeal, but the characters did manage to grow on me during that time, and I found myself caring about their personal conflicts if such things were ever brought up.
Innocence be damned!
In the first season, we see Yuuta and Rikka’s relationship develop from an awkward acquaintanceship to the blossoming beginnings of a romantic companionship. That’s a very big leap in terms of character development. In comparison to that, what we get here is pretty abysmal.
That’s not to say Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren didn’t build up their relationship at all. On the contrary, I’d say Yuuta/Rikka did pretty well for a couple within a romantic comedy – in fact, they progressed further than most of their other-series counterparts in 24 episodes, especially when the unexpected “third person” came along. They managed to hold hands, act a little bit more lovey-dovey like they should be, and they’ve even started kissing each other on the cheek. It may have been slower to develop compared to more functional couples (remember: this is an anime about manchildren), but it was cute and does fit the nature of the anime.
So close, yet so far
However… that’s as far as they really got. The ever-so-often teased kiss (on the lips) between the two never happened. We’re basically cheated out of it at the very last minute by the means of a very forced and infuriating interruption – a phone call, possibly one of the worst uses of a romantic comedy clichÃ© known to date.
YOU SHALL NOT PASS.
These types of situations are meant to be funny – for example, the many times it’s employed whenever either Syaoran or Sakura try to confess to each other in Cardcaptor Sakura never failed to make me laugh. But here, it’s not funny. It’s the last episode of the season and it’s infuriating. All of this relationship build-up to the moment your main couple exchange their first kisses and you yank that conclusion away for an attempt at comedy. Some would call this a “kick in the ass”.
You better back the fuck up before you get smacked the fuck up!
Ugh… despite that, I still enjoyed watching Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren. The characters were still as wacky as they were in the first season and, of course, I always felt that their personality, quirks, and interactions are what ultimately carry this series – the Nibutani/Dekomori-centered episodes were actually some of the high points of the season.
Outta the way, best girl coming through
Which brings me to Satone Shichimiya. She’s the new addition to the cast and was expected to be the “romantic rival” of sorts for Yuuta’s affections. As we saw a bit more of her character for a few episodes, I predicted that she was never going to become a true romantic rival and it seems like I was correct in that assumption. While Satone did make Rikka jealous on multiple occasions, he was indeed one of those “I Want My Beloved to be Happy”-archetypes and served to progress Yuuta and Rikka’s relationship rather than hindering it. The real conflict was her dealing with her feelings.
Four girls in the picture… sadly, only one can be best girl
Her adorkable personality traits and feelings really clicked with me – she’s become my favorite female character in the Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! series and it’s a real shame she didn’t get as much screen-time as the over-glorified anime-original characters (for anyone not in the know, Dekomori and Sanae were not in the novels this anime was based on). They could have at least showcased her in the ending theme… but alas. Anyway. Between her and, well, this scene:
…they pretty much sum up the highlights of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren for me.
Two seasons of cute hyper-imaginative antics is probably enough for KyoAni even if it would be nice to have more. After this, KyoAni will probably try and make us forget this ever existed like the Full Metal Panic!adaptations, the Haruhi Suzumiya adaptations, the Lucky Star adaptation, the Nichijou adaptation, etc. The list goes on.
Not only is it super successful, but it’s a good thing that Chuu2 is actually an IP that’s completely owned by Kyoto Animation. And thus doesn’t suffer from any of Kadokawa’s bullshit (I think).