Reviewed by: Eeeper
Released by: Animatsu
Age Rating: 12
Region: 2 - UK
Length: 300 minutes
Subtitles: English [For Hard Of Hearing]
English 2.0 Stereo
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
Yuta Togashi thought he had problems dealing with one delusional girlfriend in the person of Rikka Takanashi, but now things are about to go totally insane as his former "one true soul mate" from when he was a chuni himself returns with a vengeance! So how bad is Satone Shichimiya's re-entry into Togashi's chuni-verse likely to be? Let's just say that she's so epically off the deep end of the chuni-scale that she prefers to use the name Sophia Ring SP Saturn VII and that she'll joyfully tear Togashi's real world to pieces in order to get him back in her imaginary one!
Some girls just want to have fun and some want to break down the walls between their boyfriends and themselves. But when a girl's idea of fun is breaking down the wall between their presumed boyfriend and reality, retreating into a fantasy world might just be Togashi's best option. Especially since Satone knows where ALL the skeletons from his past are buried. Toss Rikka's equally delusional friend Sanae into the mix and girl-crazy begins to take on a whole new meaning!
We all know how anime that deals with magical powers works, right? Your plucky protagonist (and his endless parade of capable but not hero material girls) calls upon the demon/Judeo-Christian/vaguely Nazi-ish powers he’s been imbued with, says something completely ridiculous by way of a spell and the whole thing ends in a giant explosion. Win-win, right?
What if all that was made up? As in, in the imagination of the characters and that’s it? Would the show still be watchable? That’s the premise of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions and this, its sequel series subtitled Heart Throb.
Following the exploits of Yuta Togashi and his friends from school as he tries to leave behind his earlier school years when he had a more active imagination and had taken up with the Chunibyo delusion that anime characters exhibit in middle school. They usually dress in gothic clothing, have adult mannerisms and tone of voice and loudly proclaim that they are a warrior or magician and can use magical powers. So it is with Yuta that he was once the Dark Flame Master and had friends who engaged in similar notions. But now, he’s given that up. Too bad he came in contact with Rikka Takanashi, a girl who lived in the apartment above him and for her own reasons, didn’t give up the Chunibyo delusion. She had very specific reasons to still believe this type of thinking. As well as Rikka, Yuta also encountered Shinka Nibutani (who went by the name Morisummer) a recovering Chunibyo believer, Sanae Dekomori a complete believer and Kumin Tsuyuri who isn’t a Chunibyo believer but like hanging out with the others and napping the rest of the time in the club they all belong to. No, really.
Now, the first season dealt with Yuta and Rikka helping each other out and realising that they were attracted to each other. It finished with them tentatively stepping out as a couple. This season sees them explore whether they’re ready to be a couple, what hang-ups they have about themselves and whether their lover's pact (within the construct of the delusion) constitutes a real relationship. On top of that, they’ve got a new character who knew Yuta back in the day coming to literally move into Rikka’s old apartment and the other cast members having to deal with their own mistakes and foibles being followers of the Chunibyo way of thinking.
I didn’t see the first season so I’d suggest you check out Priss’ review on Otaku News for more info. But the second season does keep you in the loop by going back and reminding viewers of facts that are relevant so I never had to double check a fact to keep up. That said, I deliberately didn’t read up on the show before seeing it so I kept waiting for there to be some kind of explanation as to why nobody else could see these amazing attacks and spells being cast. This is how much attention I pay to Anitwitter. So for the first few episodes, once I figured out the whole concept, I cringed as they called out their spells and attacks. I used to do this stuff when I was ten or eleven. Watching it again brings it all back. But that’s odd considering that I watch anime where the rules of the show are usually more fantastical than merely a bunch of people "pretending" to have magical powers. So why do I cringe more at Chunibyo? I suspect it’s because much like the dilemma faced by Yuta as he struggles to grow out of his Chunibyo delusion, we know that anime in general (with notable exceptions) is not the uplifting, noble and soul searching medium that we defend it to be online or with non-anime fans. Sometimes, it’s really about people doing ridiculous things and shouting stuff at each other that would get them arrested in real life. We should be mature enough to see the implausibility of anime plots for what they are and Chu-2 (the shortened title of the show) knows this. So the makers of the show poke fun at the audience while exploring Yuta’s growing affection for Rikka and her growing nervousness at leaving behind some of her Chunibyo delusions in favour of being with Yuta in real life, not because she’s forced to but because ultimately, she wants to.
The jokes are always welcome and the season has the standard school trip, beach trip and summer festival tropes on display while at the same time, uses it all as cover to see our two lovers inch forward towards an uncertain but interesting goal while their friends help and others try to hinder. The music and animation by Kyoto Animation is excellent and while the English dub by Sentai Filmworks is made more cringeworthy by the sound of twenty and thirty some adults pretending to be teenagers pretending to have magical powers, it’s perfectly fine and actually works when they get to say their magical powers thing rather than the dialogue around it save for the more dramatic moments between Yuta and Rikka.
All in all, Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions - Heart Throb is a winning show with a sly, knowing construction around a romance story. Completely recommended and totally enjoyable.