Between the cold open to From the New World, where shaky cam and blurring vision caused my eyes to start watering, to Chuunibyou’s seizure inducing OP, it hasn’t been a great season for my eyesight. It’s not that the lights in Chuu2 are strobe-like either. There’s just something about the relentless swapping from one side of the screen to another and each picture being replaced by blank white that causes massive white blocks on my vision. Plus making my eyes swing too and fro across the screen makes me dizzy. Combine that with the blurry vision and shaky cam of From the New World, and basically what I’m saying is my eyes have fallen out.
The thing that came to my mind watching the lead girl with her firm belief in her Chuunibyou was that otherkin stuff that’s so popular on tumblr. The general idea of otherkin is they don’t identify as a human, but instead as a cat or a dragon or a sea cucumber or whatever. They’re incredibly easy to make fun of, what with ridiculous statements like “that feel when you can’t see your tail”, but for whatever reason I’ve never really been inclined to do so. Seems a bit unfair to mock those who feel uncomfortable with who they are. OK maybe it’s a bit silly that they decide the reason that they don’t feel comfortable with who they are is because they are actually a giraffe, but they aren’t really being a menace to anyone.
Anyway, Chuunibyou reminded me of that. The character feels uncomfortable with their normality compared to the fantastical stories they read, so they imitate those stories and convince themselves that they too are cool awesome badass heroes. What I was expecting to be the logical story conclusion from this was the same kind that Denpa Onna did. The delusions the girl has are damaging her life and the story is about her slow recovery to relative normality.
But then Chuunibyou threw me a curveball at the end by revealing that the story won’t be about that at all. It’s instead about the joy of imagination and the rather depressing fact that we abandon these wild fantasies because we want to be boring old normal. Which wasn’t really a curveball in the first place. More a regular old fastball that I didn’t swing for because yeah I’m pretending I know baseball. Unlike Denpa Onna, this isn’t actually having any negative effects on her life. At least, from the first episode there’s not. I’m guessing she probably does have some issues, and the show becomes a quest to find a balance between the fantastical imagination and the fitting in with normal life that leads to a greater understanding, more enjoyment in their life, possibly a budding romance blah de blah de blah.
Something that does bug me is how checklisty it is. It’s about a normal dude moving to a new school where he meets a pervy sidekick (who, totally random aside, is black! OK a very very very light shade of black, but it caught me by surprise. Making a wild guess, maybe his parent, or one of his parents, is Thai or Malay or something. It probably will be never brought up, and maybe he’s not actually mixed race and just happened to spend his summer holidays on a beach while not wearing enough sunscreen, but it was still refreshing to get a dark-skinned character who isn’t this racial stereotype and is just a dude in school). The pervy sidekick them comments on the attractiveness of the girls in the class, particularly the year rep who the main character has his eyes on. But the OH SNAP in walks the crazy girl and his life is turned upside down. On their own there’s nothing particularly wrong with any of these points, but it’s annoying when it so brazenly follows the exact same set up so many of these stories do.
It’s also by KyoAni, so obviously it’s moe as fuck, to the point that it’s actually a bit frightening. KyoAni have gotten this moe stuff down to an exact science. It’s something in how the characters move. You know that sort of spastic lopsided run that children under the age of 3 have? The one where you stop and watch them because they’re so unbalanced that you just know they’re going to faceplant the pavement any moment? The way the characters move in Chuunibyou have that quality to them. I don’t mind it though, because it fits in quite nicely with the story. The lead girls’ attempts to be all badass keep being undermined by her constantly being adowabubble. Plus, everyone is moe. The guys have these cutesy pudgy faces. The mum pulls silly frowns. It’s fascinating to watch in an anthropological sense if you just pretend everything takes place on the Planet Moe.