Did you ever watch an anime that had a romance subplot that was actually better than the main storyline? Chrome Shelled Regios was like that for me.Well, if you were to take that sort of anime and remove all but vestigial traces of the main plot, what you would come away with is Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, a 2012, 12 episode series from Kyoto Animation. How's it work out, you ask? Surprisingly well, in this instance.
Yuta Togashi is now entering high school, and has transfered to a school where none of his classmates from middle school went to, as he is trying to overcome an embarrassing past: Chunibyo, sort of a combination of delusions of grandeur and LARPing. Unfortunately, the girl next door, Rikka Takanashi, is every bit as reality challenged as Yuta once was, and drags him back in...Godfather III style.
- Cohesive. For a story about something that boils down to mild mental disorder, the plot is surprisingly well put together. Characters largely behave in a sensible manner, and ever the Chunibyo characters actions make sense from their own altered perspectives.
- Adorable. You can't help pulling for Rikka. She's not your typical anime heroine, but everyone loves an underdog, and boy is she ever one of those. Plus, she wears an eye patch, and that's always cool.
- Plot twists. I'm not usually a fan of series that change the perspective or overturn the rules of the game halfway. This is an exception, in that when a big surprise is dropped in the 11th episode, not only does it make sense and give you an 'aha' moment, but you also wonder how you didn't see it coming.
- No Dub. That's right folks, get out your reading glasses and don't worry about the volume. This is only available with English subtitles. Sentai Filmworks has licensed this for a dub, but that isn't slated to come out for a while. If you want this fine anime, you watch the sub and you take your chances.
- Short. Yes, this is only twelve episodes long. A movie was released in September, but it is only a retelling of the events of the series from Rikka's perspective (rather than Yuta's). A second season is set to air early next year, which brings me to the last con...
- Epilogue. This series needs one. While satisfied with the trend of events at the finale, there are a lot of open points. Knowing a second season is coming reduces some of the irritability I would normally feel over thsi many loose ends, but the last section of episode 12 is just too much a cliffhanger, even for a series finale.
Really the best thing that can be said about this series is that it can remind you that the world really is a magical place, if you're only looking at it from the right perspective.