I definitely enjoyed this episode of Chuunibyou more than the first two, for the simple reason that it made me laugh when it was trying to a good percentage of the time. I really think this is a series that’s trying to work on two levels – as a straight-up farce, and as a nostalgic and sincere take on the innocent delusions of adolescence. I can’t speak for the novels but as for the anime, it isn’t really working for me in the second sense – I find it too self-aware and self-indulgent for any sincerity to take. But this episode really did work on the first level, and that’s a definite step forward.
The comedy was very solid here, and part of that is the fact that Rikka’s utter inanity is starting to wear down my resistance. It’s an interesting take on the gender roles too, as it’s the guy who’s physically rough on the baka girl this time. I’m not too invested in Yuuta or his quest for normality, but it’s fun watching Rikka go through her paces because of two things that must be present for that kind of gag to work: she’s absolutely 100% invested in the fantasy, and she’s completely incompetent in executing it.
The focus of Rikka’s delusion this time is setting up the
Choir and Part-Time Badminton Far Eastern Magic Nap Society of Summer, as a base of operations for her magical battle with, well – her sister. I’m not quite sure why Yuuta goes along with this for as long as he does to be honest – maybe a case could be made that he secretly longs to unleash the Dark Flame Master again, or perhaps he’s just too soft-hearted to let Rikka completely make a fool of herself (which she does anyway), or even has illicit feelings for her already. Rikka’s interests soon merge with that of Kumin-sempai, whose own quest to form a napping society is meeting with it’s annual futility. My favorite part of the episode comes when Rikka tries to convince Nanashi-sensei (Inoue Kikuo) that she has a fifth club member by unleashing her “other personality” Katherine (after unsuccessfully trying with the cat). Problem is Rikka can’t understand any English, and I loved both her hapless panic and Nana-sensei’s deft dismantling of the ruse.
There are all kinds of funny little tidbits – Rikka actually saying “Blah, blah, blah!” in the middle of one of her daft explanations (and Yuuta’s reaction, one of FukuJun’s best moments), and the term “Electric Ocean” to refer to the internet (actually has a certain poetry to it). Rikka’s acolyte Dekomori Sanae (Uesaka Sumire), equally delusional but in an age-appropriate way, as she’s a middle-schooler, has some funny moments in her intro but may wear thin quickly. And when the beautiful Nibutani decides to join the FEMANSOF – for reasons unknown (reciprocated crush?) – she at least gives Yuuta a legit reason to stick around. I’m still put off by how shameless the show is with the vamping – KyoAni really never learned the lesson that just because they can do things doesn’t mean they should – but comedically, this ep was definitely a step in the right direction.