Check-in Station: Chu2koi eps1-5 (your grasp on reality scares me)
The popularity of this show has escaped me from the moment I read about it. Things like what studio is animating it, and what voice talent butters the toast for the show, never really mattered to me until after I’ve watched something. And the idea of something cute and delusional has never maintained any sense of novelty with me. So I came to Chu2koi with a hardened outlook. I like to see why something is popular with the general viewership and it usually pays off, even if I’ve already been exposed to spoilers. However, Chu2koi‘s special properties may be escaping at this moment.
So Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, or Chu2Koi as I’ll now and forever call it, is a show about moving on. Or at the very least attempting to move on. Yuuta Togashi is starting high school and he’s trying to move on past a bad case of “8th grader’s disease”. I’ve never heard of its equivalent in western culture, but it seems to basically be middle schoolers becoming embarrassingly infatuated with something and living it out to the fullest of their ability. It always seems to be heavily fantasy based, and always seems to involve manga-like back stories about alternate worlds and past lives. Now that I think about it, a currently running series that I’m starting to like deals with this subject, too. OreShura is the anime I’m talking about. The beginning of Yuuta’s high school career starts out well enough, and is perfectly normal. He even runs into what will become his eventual crush, Shinka Nibutani. But it’s all damned once he mockingly whips out his old Dark Flame Master persona on a balcony. He thinks he’s alone, but a weird little girl with an eyepatch has seen him. A girl who has yet to get over her “8th grader’s disease”. The girl’s name is Rikka Takanashi, and she ropes him into a situation where he’s completely attached to her, and they’re in a club together. So begins the story of Chu2Koi.
To be honest, I’m not exactly enamored with this series. So far, episode two has probably been my favorite of the five episodes I’ve watched so far. It was a good mix of the things I do like about this show. The comedy is alright. The characters are so so at this point. And it’s cute and reasonably endearing at points. It shines through at times when you see that Rikka is just a big fraud who obviously has a crush on Yuuta and wants him to join her imaginary world. It’s those moments that keep her from becoming just a moe blob mascot. Plus it’s interesting when you see that she’s a polar extreme of Yuuta’s life. Yuuta is desperately trying to move on from the past Rikka represents. And Shinka represents that to a tee.
Shinka is beautiful, popular and appears to be the model student. When Yuuta randomly ran into her in episode one, she represented his goals, and progress away from the life he now shunned. The only strange thing is that she’s very interested in Rikka and Yuuta’s newly formed club. But Shinka isn’t at all what she appears to be either. And we don’t find that out for a few episodes. Shinka is just like Yuuta, and also moving on from 8th grader’s disease. And to be blunt. She’s a b– *ahem* She’s an ice queen. Harsh, driven and desperate, she’s just attempting to bury any proof of her past indulgences. And she uses Yuuta to that end. It’s pretty ridiculous how she ends up joining the group, but at least it’s an explanation to why someone like her is even around. It’s also a plus that her harsh dynamic joins this group mainly comprised of delusional dreamers.
Speaking of dreaming, that is my favorite part of this series, so far. The scenes where Rikka and/or her partner in crime from middle school, Sanae Dekomori, act out their fantasies in battle are the most fun and exciting to watch. It’s kinda like Haruhi, where you’re looking at something spectacular and out of place and don’t know what to make of it. But unlike Haruhi, not only is it not real, but it’s made hilariously clear everytime that they’re not acting out reality. Still, the scenes are beautiful, vibrant and a highlight for any episode.
On the negative side, Yuuta feels like a very base male protagonist. It’s a problem I see a lot in anime I watch now. It’s almost like a show can’t be made now this sort of character in it. He’s not bad by any stretch, but you can tell that his worth can’t be measured by any other means than the thoughtful acts he performs to the girls in his pseudo-harem. Also, and this is a very personal problem, I don’t find the show really engaging for the most part. It has some good points in each episode for sure. But at times, I feel too much like I’m waiting for those moments to pop up among the mundane and silly.
All in all, this show portrays itself as very average to me. There’s nothing grossly negative about it at all. But I guess so far I’m not seeing the magic everyone else is seeing in it. I definitely plan on finishing out the series, it’s only seven more episodes. And I’m guessing things pick up now that Shinka has been added as the final main piece of the group. So now I anxiously await the chance to see if this show rises to its reputation, or if I find out that I’ve just watched another very popular, very average anime.