Thursday, 4 October 2012

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! - Episode 1

I would imagine we all have recollections of getting too wrapped up in our own imaginations over the course of our childhood, imagining perhaps that we really did have superpowers or some other delusions of grandeur.  It seems that for some, however, those delusions (or "chuunibyou" to use the Japanese term from this show's title) take rather longer to dissipate.

For Yuuta Togashi, the start of his high school life is a perfect opportunity to leave those delusions behind him, with a fresh start away from his embarrassing junior high turn as the self-professed "Dark Flame Master", complete with dark coat, bandaged arm and huge sword that he carried around everywhere - indeed, such is his desperation to leave those days behind that he's attending a high school well away from any of his former classmates.

Any hopes of normality are quickly dashed however, as he finds himself sharing his new school and class with a girl who he quickly diagnoses as the delusional type of which he is so familiar - the trouble is, she's already latched on to his past as the Dark Flame Master thanks to a careless moment on his part, and she seems thrilled to be able to regale somebody with her tales of the Wicked Eye which she keeps "sealed" beneath an eye patch.  Despite her claims of keeping this vast power in check, Rikka Takanashi (the girl in question) is ultimately a rather helpless young girl, and no matter his intentions Yuuta soon finds himself looking after her in pretty much every aspect of her life, whether it's escorting her home or helping her move boxes into the apartment one floor above his own.  Is this the blossoming of a beautiful friendship, or is Yuuta simply lumped with helping out a crazy girl who should know better?

In comparison to a lot of Kyoto Animation's output, this opening episode of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai certainly feels a little different from the norm to some extent - a little more suggestive in tone in places, and with a plot that feels lifted straight out of an otaku-pandering light novel... ostensibly because that's exactly what it is (albeit a novel selected and published by KyoAni themselves prior to this adaptation).  Its humour also feels as times like it draws its train of thought from Nichijou which would be rather worrying quite frankly, were it not for the fact that the show's first online-only "Lite" episode seemed far more well-developed in comedy terms.  On the flip side of that negativity, the show looks nice enough (albeit not in Hyouka territory) and it's quite hard not to like Rikka for all her foibles, while there's a feeling that there may be some hidden depths to the series further down the line in Rikka's case to boot.  For now though, this feels like just another series without anything to really mark it out from the crowd aside from some decent production values - a rarity for this studio, as there material normally makes you sit up and take notice even when it isn't necessarily to your tastes.

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