Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions is the 2013 outing from Kyoto Animation and director Tatsuya Ishihara (Clannad, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya). Finally making its way to the UK from Animatsu Entertainment – Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions is beautifully animated and one of the funniest series to come out of Japan in recent years.
The story follows Yuta Togashi as he enters a new school far from his previous and, more importantly, the people who went there. His motivation? To avoid those who might remember his unfortunate experience with ‘Chunibyo’ or ‘Middle-Schooler Disease’. While Yuta is desperately trying to escape his past, Rikka Takanashi, his new neighbour and classmate have a full-blown case of ‘Chunibyo’, much to the chagrin of Yuta. Fellow classmate and class representative Shinka Nibutani is also a former sufferer of ‘Chunibyo’ and is in the same boat as Yuta; any mention of ‘Chunibyo’ sends both Yuta & Nibutani into fits of screaming embarrassment. Unfortunately, Nibutani is also constantly reminded of her past, no thanks to the efforts of Rikka’s servant Sanae Dekomori, who idolises her online hero Mori Summer, Nibutani’s ‘Chunibyo’ alter ego. While Nibutani tries to destroy any evidence of her past, the two constantly fight, Dekomori often referring to Nibutani as a ‘Fake’ Mori Summer.
As you would expect with half of the main characters suffering from ‘Chunibyo’, the series is full of crazy moments and some of the most awesome fight scenes. The fights are genius, not only are they full of magic and giant weapons but the juxtaposition of what’s happening in reality through the eyes of the normal character and those with ‘Chunibyo’ is fantastic. Imagination versus reality at its best here; when a character believes they are fighting an epic battle with magic and in reality, they are fighting with umbrellas and ladle’s, it really gets the fits of laughter going.
Kyoto Animation are without doubt one of the best studios for creating beautiful looking series; much like P.A. Works, they have a distinct style that is instantly recognisable. While the series is not that action-heavy the fight scenes being so epic are better viewed in HD and the Blu-ray release really does them justice. Subtitles are presented in yellow, not the preference of many, but on the Blu-ray release, they are of a high quality and easy to read, which is a plus.
The voice cast for the English dub, while good, does really change the dynamic of the show somewhat; Rikka, in particular, feels like an entirely different character from her Japanese counterpart at first but gradually eases into the role. The OP “Sparkling Daydream” by ZAQ is good but the real gem is the ED “INSIDE IDENTITY” by Black Raison d’être, which features the voice actresses for the four main female characters; Maaya Uchida (Rikka Takanashi), Chinatsu Akasaki (Shinka Nibutani), Azumi Asakura (Kumin Tsuyuri), Sumire Uesaka (Sanae Dekomori).
Extras can be found on disc two and include; the OVA episode “Sparkling… Slapstick Christmas”, Chuni-Shorts which are the six “Lite” episodes that were aired on YouTube during its initial run in Japan, thankfully they are in a higher resolution than when they were first aired, Japanese Promos and as standard clean opening and ending animations. Unfortunately, the release does not include the Depth of Field shorts from the Japanese blu-rays that essentially make up an OVA worth of content focusing on battles.
Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions is a perfect example of what makes Kyoto Animation one of the best anime studios, beautiful animation quality, fantastic storytelling ability and never taking anything too seriously. Hidden under all that comedy and action there is a good romance story to be told, the characters are charming and endearing - Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions is just a perfect blend of comedy, romance and some brilliant storytelling.