Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions – Heart Throb
Directed by: Tatsuya Ishihara
Produced by: Eharu Oohashi, Shigeru Saitō, Shinichi Nakamura
Voice cast: Jun Fukuyama, Maaya Uchida, Azumi Asakura, Chinatsu Akasaki, Eri Sendai, Kaori Fukuhara, Kikuko Inoue, Mami Shitara, Souichiro Hoshi, Sumire Uesaka, Yuri Amano.
Air dates: Streaming Thursdays at 11PM CST on Crunchyroll
Did you ever wonder what it is that makes us geeks? Just what is it that makes us different from the madding crowds, the “silent majority” who think of our obsessions with everything from fantasy and science fiction to cosplay and anime as weird, juvenile, immature, or downright evil? Perhaps it’s that child-like sense of wonder and imagination that we’ve never lost, that ability to put ourselves into the shoes of the heroes and heroines we read about or see in our favorite films and shows that sets us apart.
In the series Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions, also known as Chuunibyou demo koi ga Shitai, directed by Tatsuya Ishihara, we meet a group of Japanese students trying to come to grips with their essential geekiness and the embarrassment and social stigma often associated with geekdom in Japanese society.
The term “chunibyo” roughly translates into “junior high school second grade illness,” a term denoting early adolescent fantasies about having magical powers and abilities and creating alternate personas for oneself. Our protagonist, Yuta Togashi, was heavily into chunibyo in junior high, where he went around calling himself “Dark Flame Master,” in the process alienating himself from his classmates. Embarrassed by his past, Yuta starts off in a different high school where nobody knows him, determined to leave his chunibyo past behind.
Alas, it is not to be. Along comes Rikka Takanashi, our female protagonist, who is still deeply into her own chunibyo delusions, and discovers that Yuta is the “Dark Flame Master” who she has heard about, and becomes interested in him, much to his embarrassment. While Yuta at first tries to avoid Rikka, eventually he accepts her and begins helping her through tutoring and establishing and maintaining her club on campus. Eventually, Yuta learns that Rikka’s father, who died of a terminal illness while she was still a child, is the cause of her delusions, and he agrees to help her search for the “Ethereal Horizon,” a mysterious place where Rikka believes she will be reunited one more time with her late father so she can say goodbye to him a final time. In the process, Yuta and Rikka become romantically interested in each other.
The reason for the spoiler above is to give you, gentle readers, some background on the current season, which picks up where the original series left off. In the second series, we see Yuta and Rikka still in high school, and Rikka’s still deeply into her chunibyo, although Yuta is far more tolerant of her antics now and tries to bring her around to reality now and then. A new wrinkle in the plotline arrives in the form of a former classmate of Yuta’s from junior high, who is deeply chunibyo herself and still deeply attached to Yuta. While Crunchyroll is not streaming the first series, I highly recommend that you go and watch it for some background on the second. The first series is currently available on Anime Network.
Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions – Heartthrob is a series that serves to remind us all of what it was like not so long ago, when we were all deep in our own chunibyo. It also serves to show us how those wonderful early adolescent delusions have matured as we have matured and are still with us today, and that’s what makes us geeky, different, weird, and frankly, pretty damn cool.