Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, localized as “Chuunibyou, Love & Other Delusions” in the west, or known simply as Chu2Koi, was a show I watched in November 2013, and quite enjoyed. I’ve enjoyed it enough to give it an 8/10 score, when most RomComs hover around 7 if they’re good, and 6 if they’re not. It had some delicious drama, it had good acting (Fukuyama Jun is my favourite), it was beautiful, it was heartfelt, and it felt genuine, exactly because it dealt with the fantastical, in a manner not too dissimilar to The Fisher King.
(Sorry about the lack of post yesterday, got engrossed in a book and stayed up all night to finish it. Today will have two posts, enjoy!)
So when season 2 was announced for January 2014, I was quite excited, my main problem with most romantic stories, which is even more prevalent in anime, is that once the couple “gets together” and overcomes the “real difficulty” of admitting to each other and to themselves how they feel, and get over whatever outside interference there is, the piece just stops, and we don’t get to see an actual couple having an actual relationship. Chuunibyou Ren (the title of the second season) seemed to promise it’d give us exactly that. But it didn’t. Oh boy, did it not.
Before we continue further, most series after they end give you “OVAs” or “Specials”, non or semi canonical stories, often the so-called “Beach Episode”, content that is fluffy and just has you spending more time with the characters you like, but without progressing or addressing the main narrative much. It’s bonus content, and you take it to just spend more time with the characters. Often, they’re a bit dull, and not very interesting.
Chu2Koi Ren had 12 episodes. Of which, at least half were “OVA-like”, in how they dealt with the characters just having fun, messing about, having a sleeping contest between sleeping clubs (yes, really). I won’t lie, with the exception of the aforementioned sleeping-contest episode that almost bored me to sleep (I mean it), I’ve enjoyed almost every single episode, I liked the antics, I liked the small moments, I even really enjoyed the Nibutani and Dekomori arcs, but it wasn’t what I came for.
It didn’t help matters that we’d have two episodes of “story”, of relationships, then 2-3 episodes of amusing nonsense, and so it went. You see, we were promised relationships, but for most of the season the so-called couple had not only not progressed, but regressed, to where months went by between episodes, and they didn’t even hold hands. The show made a good point, that this is how Rikka, the heroine, is, and that Yuuta (the male lead), would take time with her. But at some point it felt sort of a stretch.
And then came the finale. They kissed, and told us, “From now on we’ll move forward, and have a real relationship!” but at this point I was a bit annoyed with the series, they’d taken the promise of the first season, and didn’t deliver on it, but instead told us, “This will be our promise for a potential third season”! A kiss is a fine place to stop such series, sadly, but it’s exactly where we stopped last season, basically. The show gave us the old “RomComs are about sweet misunderstandings and nothing, and when we talk, the show ends.” – But again, we’ve been there, done that, with these characters! And the show knew this story was barely enough for 5-6 episodes, which is why the other half was essentially filler. It was very much what I spoke of in my Nisekoi piece on the nature of RomComs, but from a show that promised to go beyond.
Shichimiya’s story and sadness reached to me, I enjoyed my time with the characters whose antics I like, I enjoyed the show almost every single week, but I still think it was both wasteful, and insulting, in how it made a promise, didn’t deliver, then gave us the same promise again, while trying to sell us on how this delay is “good”, and “fitting”. Phooey on that. You can read my notes for every single episode of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren here. I still heartily recommend the first season.
I will also, once more, leave you with a song, the ED of the series which was magnificent, one of the better OPs/EDs of the past year.
So, dear readers, any show that disappointed you this year? Or perhaps a show where you liked the episodes but not the series, or disliked most episodes and still liked the series?