When I heard that Chuunibyou was going to have a second season I was more worried than excited. The original series had a perfectly fine ending that seemed to leave no need for a sequel. Furthermore, long-running comedies usually cease to be funny after a while as the writers run out of inspiration.
Well the sequel is here and the good news is that it is still hilarious. (Your mileage may vary. This is slapstick comedy and won’t be to everyone’s taste. However as slapstick comedy goes, it rarely gets better than this.)
The second season is streaming on Crunchyroll under the name “Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions – Heart Throb –“. The Japanese title is Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren. “Ren” is written as “romance.” As for the rest of the Japanese title, no two people seem to give the same translation but I favor “She has Eighth-Grade Syndrome but She’s Still Loveable.”
I tend to feel that something that is funny enough is its own excuse, but from a pure storytelling standpoint it’s still not clear that this is a story that needed to be told. The original series started out with pure comedy, then introduced a sad backstory and finally wrapped it up with a heartwarming ending.
The new season is back to pure comedy with some over-the-top additions to the premise. In particular we are supposed to accept that Yuuta, Rikka and Kuzuha are living together in an apartment with no adult supervision. It strains the imagination to believe that the adults would agree to this. Kuzuha is barely a teenager herself and is in no position to supervise two horny older teens.
(Come to think of it, we only see Tooka agreeing to the arrangement. It’s not clear that Yuuta’s parents really understand what is going on, or that Rikka’s estranged mother and grandparents have even been informed.)
The second season introduces a new character: Satone Shichimiya, Yuuta’s friend from middle school and the one who originally infected him with Eighth-Grade Syndrome. She’s thus a potential romantic rival for Rikka, but Rikka probably needn’t worry too much. Like any good anime hero Yuuta will probably remain loyal to the girl he’s pledged to.
The series has settled into a pattern that some anime fans call “kindergarten romance.” The hero is surrounded by beautiful women but he’s committed to one of them in a basically non-sexual relationship, where they still think that even holding hands is a big deal. Japanese fans tend to think of this as an inspiring example of pure love, while Western fans usually find it ridiculous.
In this case it may make more sense than it usually does. We have a bunch of teenagers who, even if they aren’t exactly “deluded,” are not willing to settle for the mundane realities of normal adult life. For them to avoid sex might be a very good idea.
The series continues to promote the idea that you should be yourself, do what makes you happy and not worry too much about what other people think. For American viewers that sounds rather trite, though it doubtless sounds rather subversive to Japanese viewers.
As for me, I’m prepared to keep watching as long as it stays funny.