Anime Review: Love, Chunibyou & Other Delusions! Heart Throb (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 26.02.2017

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Love, Chunibyou & Other Delusions! Heart Throb (UK Rating: 15)

Courtesy of Manga Entertainment, Yuuta and Rikka are back on 27th February, with more tales of love, comedy, romance and, of course, chunibyou delusions! After such a satisfying conclusion to the first season, a second season is a dangerous prospect. Will it build upon the story and deliver more quality stories or sully the memory of the first with an unnecessary sequel?

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The concept of chunibyou is hard to explain. Some people may have known chunibyou in their lives, although there's no word for it in English (this is known as a lexical gap!). As kids, everyone plays pretend, acting out their favourite show or game with their friends, but most people grow out of it. For those who take a little longer to grow out of it, the term chunibyou is used. It literally means "Eighth Grader Syndome." Protagonist Yuuta was a chunibyou all through junior school; he fancied himself a dark lord known as the "Dark Flame Master" and his antics earned him quite the reputation. Finally, as he progressed from junior school to high school, he planned to put all that behind him, and then he met Rikka. Despite being in high school, Rikka was still very much into her chunibyou delusions and when she discovered Yuuta's past, she thought she had found a kindred spirit. The series followed the pair as they grew closer, with Yuuta first seeing Rikka as a nuisance and embarrassment but growing to really care about her, especially as he found out the heartbreaking reason behind her syndrome.

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This latest series picks up with the relationship having taken a drastic jump it seems, with Rikka and Yuuta now living together. It's not quite like it seems, though, with both of them having their families off travelling, the pair are staying together, along with Yuuta's sister. The pair also finally starts to understand what their "Love Contract" means and what it is to be in a relationship. Right on queue their relationship is put to the test when Yuuta's childhood friend, Satone Shichimiya, bursts back into Yuuta's life. Shichimiya is actually the girl who introduced Yuuta to being a chunibyou, and the pair were very close, going as far as to touching noses whenever they parted. With her sudden reintroduction into Yuuta's life does Rikka have a rival in both love and magical battles?

No. No, she doesn't. At first, it seems a love triangle will begin to develop, but while there is a quick battle between the girls in the world of delusion and some jealousy from Rikka, there is no real ambiguity for where Yuuta's affections lie. Instead, there are some regular slice-of-life style story beats and some familiar plot points from the first season. There are the obligatory episodes around a field trip to a hot springs resort, a beach episode, and many other chunibyou to do "battle" with, while Yuuta and Rikka learn to come out of their shell around each other and become a real couple. It makes for a heart-warming and charming story. Seeing this shy little couple pluck up the courage to hold hands, to spend time together, to say those three little words, and even have their first kiss. That romance may be the focus of the series, but there's also plenty of comedy. With so many chunibyou in the cast, the characters are regularly forced into cringe-worthy situations that evoke tons of funny moments.

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This is from Kyoto Animation, so given its stellar track record, obviously this looks absolutely gorgeous. Kyoani has got its slice of life game down to a science at this point, with superb character designs and its signature fantastic lighting. Then, when the world switches into the delusions of the characters, huge and fantastical battles take centre stage that are filled with amazing effects and dynamic animation. On top of the 12 episodes from the second season, this release also contains the an OVA, where Rikka stumbles upon Yuuta borrowing a pen drive filled with photos of an idol he was previously a fan of. Rikka is not particularly pleased with Yuuta seeing these risqué pictures and the two have their first real argument. It's a superb episode, and possibly one of the best in the season. Additionally, there is also Chunibyou Lite, a series of six short episodes, each only around five minutes in length, but they are all filled with hilarity and are a great addition to the collection.

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Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
While it retains much of the charm of the first series, Love, Chunibyou & Other Delusions! Heart Throb is not quite on par with it. What first seemed to be a series dedicated to introducing a love triangle and a threat for Rikka, turns out to be touching story of two young people learning to love that will test even the most stone-hearted of viewers. The quality of the presentation meets the high standards of the first season, though, as Kyoani continues to produce sensational looking series.

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