Now that their romance is well and truly set in stone, and with her sister leaving and her mother moving in to contend with, it seems as if Rikka has finally decided to set aside her delusional ways, remove that trademark eyepatch and embrace reality.
Needless to say, this is a pretty tough ask for a girl who has been ensconced in her own fantasy world for so long, but it seems as if her struggles are nothing compared to those of Sanae, who staunchly refuses to give up on her friend and the world that they created together. With even her strongest pleas falling upon deaf ears, Rikka continues to rehabilitate herself by making new friends, ditching all of the weird and wonderful paraphenalia in her room, and even going so far as to disband the club she started.
But is this what Rikka really wants? Even Yuuta seems unsure of this, seemingly missing Rikka's previous vibrant self on one level with simultaneously finding himself to be relieved that she's discovered normality at last. When her mother invites Rikka to visit her father's grave with her, it seems as if this is the final make or break moment in Takanashi's future, with her decision either pushing her back to her delusions or moving her onward to fully accept the loss of her father. Is Rikka ready for this, and is it what's best for her? Dekomori is convinced that it isn't, but Yuuta... well, deep down he simply doesn't seem to know.
What a turnaround this week's Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai has been from the rest of the series to date - almost entirely bereft of comedy, it focused hard on the emotional fallout of Rikka's decision to embrace reality and what it means for both herself and those around her. There's a wonderful subtlety to both Rikka and Yuuta's behaviour throughout the episode - so many words left unsaid; so many thoughts left unspoken. Even Dekomori's typically brash actions centred entirely around her fantasy world have strong undercurrents of realism - she knows that the life she's living is utterly daft, but when it comes to the crunch she's simply trying to protect and help her best friend. All of this makes for a heady emotional mix which has a surprisingly strong kick to it, continuing the feeling that the series has reach another level over the past few weeks now that its slapstick comedy has been put on the back burner. It's almost like watching a different series - let's call it Chuunibyou: After Story - and to be honest I like this take on the show's premise much, much more.