Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! REN - Episode 1

A new school year is a perfect time for change, and boy has there been a lot of changes for the main cast of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions as this second season begins.

Although both Nibutani and Isshiki have undergone some striking makeovers - one in the hope of rising to the top of the school's pecking order, the other in the hope of rising to the top of the girl's attentions - and Dekomori has somehow managed to become the student representative (one-upping Nibutani in the process), the real news here is that Yuuta and Rikka are now living together.  Admittedly, they aren't exactly doing so in that way - rather, Yuuta's family have moved away for work, as has Rikka's sister, and after the latter's apartment was accidentally sold (how do you accidentally sell an apartment?) Rikka was left with nowhere to live until Yuuta took her in.

Of course, this puts both of them in an awkward situation as they try to avoid anyone else at school finding out - an impossible task once teachers start questioning why letters to Rikka's household are being returned and friends start seeking to pay her a visit.  It seems that even older sister Touka isn't aware of these living arrangements, so her return inevitably leads to a literal and proverbial pitched battle for the future of where Rikka might live.

Having rattled off all of those changes at the start of this entry, you could certainly say that "the more things change, the more they stay the same" - ultimately, this opening episode of REN exhibits all of the hallmarks of the first series of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, be it the physical comedy, those "alternate reality" action scenes or the fact that Rikka is a really annoying character.  This does leave me wondering where the series can go to fill its episode requirement, but for now this was a reasonably entertaining starting point - the aforementioned action scene certainly succeeded in its ability to one-up anything the first series attempted, some of the physical comedy actually worked pretty well (particularly when it revolved around Kumin - maybe I just like seeing her get hit) and there were some smart bits of dialogue being thrown around to comic effect.  The whole "chuunibyou phenomena" in anime still feels well and truly done to me, but perhaps this can at least serve as an amusing last hurrah if it finds some interesting places to go.

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