Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! The Movie: Rikka Version (Cert 12)
1 Disc DVD/Blu-ray (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 91 minutes approx.
Before you get too excited about the prospect of another entry from the fancifully quirky Chunibyo universe inhabited by Rikka Takanashi and her long-suffering boyfriend-cum-protector Yuta Togashi, this film is a bit of a white elephant.
As the title suggests, it is actually a recap of the events of the first TV season of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! as told from the perspective of Rikka – in other words, the narrative revolves around her unique Chunibyo influenced view of the situations, which are not as factually accurate as the reality they portray.
The idea of taking a popular TV series and condensing it into a manageable single chunk for theatrical release is not a new one, with many a noted anime property taking this step to fleece more money from the fans. This is a cynical way to view this practice but let’s be realistic, it is anime studios basically selling us an old banger of a car with a brand new paint job.
In this instance however, Kyoani seem to have pang of guilt about this and rather than insult the Chunibyo fanbase but simply regurgitating what they already know, they have bookended this redacted compilation with two new scenes. The opening is a fun adjunct that fits perfectly within the established diegesis of the central storyline, whilst the ending provides a little insight into the events between the end of the first TV series and the second one.
This film was released in Japan within this timeline so fans had their appetite whetted ahead of the second season, whilst here in the UK this belated release comes after the two series have been already hit the shelves. Therefore, it serves as a retrograde gap filling than a primer for what is to come, and now doubt will have many fans referring back to the second series to get some of the references.
Not that this will be seen as a bad thing by the faithful follows of this franchise who will no doubt feel a sense of completion having finally been informed of this otherwise mystery leap in circumstances for Rikka and Yuta, hitherto explained in the merest of depth and sufficient clarity.
So, what do we actually get from this film? As mentioned above, there is a spectacular opening sequence built around a battle between Rikka and her loyal servant and fellow Chunibyo victim Sanae Dekomori. I won’t spoil why they come to blows and the outcome is rather predictable given the timeline but it remarkably effective in making the audience kind of wish it was a genuine canon development.
The closing segment can be discussed more openly as the consequences are already public knowledge via the second season of the TV show. It expands upon the living arrangement of Rikka and how she ended up sharing the same abode as Yuta which was how we found them at the start of the second run. We also get our first glimpse of Satone Shichimiya, who would become a focal point of the second series, an intriguing teaser had we seen this first.
Otherwise, the majority of the material is familiar territory, mostly recalled at light speed. With Rikka playing narrator, the story is less about Yuta struggling to subdue Rika’s Chunibyo and help her settle into high school life with as little embarrassment as possible, and more about framing everything as if the Dark Flame Master and Wicked Eye personas were real.
It’s a cute gimmick but not overplayed since most of the visuals tell the story with sufficient clarity without needing to oversell this aspect of Rikka’s eccentric personality. But because roughly 70 of the 91 minute runtime is allotted to recapping the events of the 12-episode TV series, quite often we leap from one crazy escapade to the next with nary a pause for breath, meaning context is regularly compromised.
Supporting characters like Sanae, narcoleptic senior Kumin Tsuyuri and Shinka Nibutani, aka Mori Summer, are introduced via chaotic musical montage of their wildest moments by way of delineating the gist of their personalities and roles within the story. Once we enter the more serious portion of the tale, things do slow down a little, offering a welcome respite from the bombardment of manic action, yet arrive with such abruptness it is feels noticeably plodding.
One thing that can’t be denied is KyoAni didn’t scrimp on the production values of the new material – if anything, they made sure that they delivered a top-notch visual treat, especially in the opening scene, though the jury is out on the CGI dragon clashing with the 2D characters it shares the screen with. The quality of the presentation has always been a staple of the animated side of the franchise so whilst this is part cash-in, the effort to make it worthwhile visually is appreciated.
We can debate if this film really needed to exists when maybe a short OVA or prologue to the second season might have sufficed instead, but if you have a cash cow in your hands then you milk it. If the Chunibyo saga is new to you this isn’t really a good starting place to be frank as it presupposes the audience is already familiar with the story and the characters, as evident by the aforementioned audacious opening.
Going out on a limb, Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! The Movie: Rikka Version might not be an essential purchase but is very effective in reigniting interest in the TV series, reminding the hardcore fans, or even those who enjoyed it for what it was why they loved it in the first place.
If you are hankering for more Chunibyo however, watch this space as a second film Take On Me, based on canon material following the events of season two, is heading our way very soon!
English Language 5.1 DTS HD -MA
Japanese Language 5.1 DTS HD -MA
Clean Opening Animation
Clean Closing Animation
Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! Lite: “My Brother 2”
Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! Lite Clean Closing Animation
Rating – ***
Man In Black