Chuunibyou 2 – 01

Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -3 Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -7 Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -14

Whether it was necessary or not, the second season of Chuunibyou arrives with the same broadside that ushered in the first.

I liked 2012’s Chunibyou pretty well – better than thought I would at the mid-point, anyway.  It didn’t hit my Top 20 for the year, but it didn’t miss by all that much.  It ended up being a worthwhile show, if altogether lacking in subtlety.  In my mind Chuunibyou was a great premise that was limited by writing that never transcended “pretty good”.  In different hands I think there was an idea here that could have made a really special anime – but it ended up being a better one than I feared it might, in any case.

There are a couple of issues that have me torn about the idea of a second season, and none of them are resolved by the premiere.  In the first place I thought that Chuunibyou, more than most anime, had an ending that really felt like an ending.  It struck the right tone by not trying to answer a question (whether chuunibyou itself is desirable) that has no answer.  It left the story – and the main couple – in a good place.  As well, for me personally Chuunibyou is at the level of enjoyment where one season of a series tends to be my limit – unless things get substantially better in the second (and with sequels more often than not things go in the other direction) I lose interest pretty quickly.

So that leaves us with Chuunibyou 2.  The premiere was fine – right on a par with the almost entirely comedic first half of the first season.  But it’s also a reminder than there’s a very thin veneer separating this from being nothing more than another KyoAni straight-to-doujinshi moe show (the OP and ED make it absolutely clear that priority #1 is to keep that audience happy – they buy the Blu-rays, not just the doujinshi).  The veneer is still in place, but I don’t know if it’s enough to hold for another cour.  It feels to me as if this staff has gotten as much mileage as they can out of this premise, and there was a lot in the first episode that already felt pretty repetitive.

On the other hand, you’d have to be pretty out of it not to see how much more spark and energy Chuunibyou has than all of the creatively tired efforts Kyoto Animation has aired since this show’s first season.  Maybe it isn’t setting the bar high enough simply to compare this to other recent KyoAni series, but it certainly clears it – the jokes are still pretty funny, the comedic timing is generally good and there’s a visual flair that’s more than simply the glossy look and smooth animation KyoAni can churn out in their sleep.  Mailing it in is always the biggest problem with Kyoto Animation, and whatever problems it may have Chuunibyou has never – not yet, at least – felt like it was being mailed in.

The second season does find some material changes.  Tooka has indeed moved to Italy, and issues with her old apartment have forced Rikka to shack up become roommates with Yuuta (secretly).  Nibutani, still desperately fleeing Mori Summer, has dyed her hair and started saying “Go kigen you” in an attempt to be an ojou-sama.  Makoto has gone for spiky blond Johnny Rotten hair in an attempt to win Kumin’s heart.  Dekomori has moved up to high school, the same one as the others.

The problem is, though, that in reality nothing has changed.  Everyone is pretty much in the same place where they were when we left them – which, for me, kind of cheapens the message behind the highly successful (IMHO) ending to the first season.  Rikka is still chuunibyou, she and Yuuta still don’t act like a couple (why in the world shouldn’t second-year high-schoolers living together fool around a little?).  Nibutani may have changed her methods but she’s still running the same unwinnable race against herself, Makoto is still a butt-monkey and Kumin still sleeping in the clubroom, Dekomori still an annoying cheese-hating moeblob who worships the Tyrant’s Eye.  Where was the personal growth implied by the way the first season ended?

It’s certainly not too late for that to change, of course – though coming back to the same characters in the same place months after we left them feels like moving backwards.  The jokes are still pretty funny, the chuunibyou fantasy sequences artfully done, and the dialogue pretty snappy.  It’s far more lively than anything the studio has done since we’ve left these characters.  But I do hope we get something more than half a season of comedy followed by half a season of drama, and the characters wrestling with the same issues they did the first go-around.  I have my doubts whether Chuunibyou has the firepower to really craft a second season that feels in any way essential, but I do like this show and it would please be greatly to be surprised.

Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -11 Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -12 Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -13
Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -15 Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -16 Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -17
Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -18 Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -19 Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -20
Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -21 Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -22 Chuunibyou 2 - 01 -1


  1. T

    One word: Satone Shichimiya. She'd break or make this show, and it seems she's going to shake the status quo.

    I think the lack of progress has been rather convincingly lampshaded in this episode, after all Yuuta himself confesses that he doesn't really have a clue of how to be a romantic couple. But it's unfair to say they've gone back to square one. They haven't progress, but Yuuta and Rikka's relationship has defaulted back to the point they were at before all the Drama struck in Season 1.

    In a way, I theorize that Yuuta's meant to be a "herbivore" in characterization – basically, a play on the idea of the Japanese herbivorous man.

  2. s

    I was under the impression that the point of this second season was to further the relationship between Yuuta and Rikka(you know, besides cashing on this profitable franchise kyo-ani style). It's very obvious Yuuta wasnt to connect with Rikka on a more emotional but finds it difficult due to their uhmmm "circumstances". The thing is Yuuta has some circumstances of his own that he has yet to deal as in his chuunibyou past, which the arrival of the new girl is going to spur out in the open. Now Ishihara has supposedly said that he is not doing a love triangle in this series and if that's the case, thank god (that gives me some confidence that this series is going to have some legs in its 12 ep run).

    Either way, Yuuta's feelings about Rikka, their relationship, and his chuunibyou past seem to be the major plot points that we be tackled this season, so i can see this second season having purpose besides cashing in on its season 1 sucess. The real question is whether all this can be executed in a satisfactory manner…guess we'll have to see.

  3. m

    I think you nailed it with saying "Yuuta has some circumstances of his own to deal with", and I think that the paper that was hidden in his notebook that Rika found is going to be a big clue as to what those were. It was hinted at in the first season, though it was more of a "I just don't get why ppl care about this stuff and I feel like an outsider" that drove him to his Chuunibyou, but I think this season will be Rika helping him face his past trauma and how that helps their relationship grow. Hopefully not making him join her in being a big ole bag of crazy…

  4. i

    Yeah this is moe shit and after that OP I have no interest in it, if I ever had one. Kyoani's style is now as big a turn off as ever. Every Kyoani show before K-ON was good to great. With the exception of some of Hyouka and the Haruhi movie, every adaptation since is moe shit or a bishie shit. I will no longer watch anything they make because there's a very like chance it will be shit.

  5. J

    I'm glad to have the Chuunibyou gang back. It may turn out to be a trifle, but it should be an enjoyable trifle. I think Kumin may have been more active in this episode that in the entirety of the first season.

  6. G

    I'm amazed at how so many japanese middle and high school kids are allowed to live on their own. Apparently all the parents get jobs over seas and just leave their offspring to fend for themselves.

  7. S

    It's always hard to know just what is real or just a trope but it sure is portrayed lots in anime. If it is real it's probably more related to their schooling system.

    I was a bit disappointed that Rikka's mother was just written out like that. To me the mother's betrayal of both Toka and Rikka by dumping her back on her grandparents was the biggest issue that was not dealt with .

  8. That happens 1000X more often in anime (and LNs) than it does in real life. In effect, it's a writing convenience.

  9. G

    That was my point in making the comment. Anime writers use it as a crutch in lazy storytelling.

  10. m

    Haha yeah it's not even an anime specific trope either. Many shows have these ridiculous situations for their characters, or young kids who act way more adult than most adults do. That's what made White ALbum 2 so good, was that it was a extremely rare chance to see characters act their age and deal with their situation in a such a realistic way. But it is hilarious to see kids living alone (especially in a house/apartment that makes you think "if you could afford to keep your old place AND your new home, why weren't you living in a bigger house to begin with?) and thriving on their own b/c they have more life skills/experience than most young adults.

  11. m

    At the end of the first season I felt as if it was implied that Rika was going to be over her chuunibyou bc she used it to finally get the goodbye with her father that she so desperately needed. Or at least maybe she, having accepted the fact that her dad is gone, would dial it back a bit. But obviously Ep 13 threw that away (and to an extent removing that aspect of the show would ultimately change it too much) and so season 2 really does seem to have thrown away all of the personal growth these characters have had. But I guess without their delusions its an entirely different show. I just hope it doesn't become a traight up comedy to cash in on S1 success. Not that it wouldn't be entertaining, but it feels like that would ruin everything that made season 1 so good. Comedies are great, but its the characters development that made the show much more than that. I def agree that their relationship needs to advance bc these unrealistically pure relationships you see in anime is way too played out.

  12. D

    I think they had to toss the growth away. The thing I didn't like about season one was that the reason for Rika to get rid of her delusions was essentially to conform to others wishes. Yuuta wanted to forget his past, as well as make her into a girlfriend. Her grandparents wanted her to be normal. Morisummer as well was horrible that way because rejecting her past was because she wanted to conform, too.

    To its credit the first series realized that in part this was a horrible thing, and tried to make it so that she chose it, but I don't think they could continue along those lines. I think chuunbiyou is so attractive because of the stifling conformity of Japanese society. There's very little in it to say that "I am valuable as me" as opposed to a person filling the role intended for them, and that wound up being more attractive than the actual message of the show. In the same way people wanted Bridge to Terabithia to be a real fantasy instead of a pretend one.

Leave a Comment