NOTE: Review copy supplied by Manga Entertainment
Title: Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions! Take On Me
Anime Studio: Kyoto Animation
Publisher: Manga Entertainment
Genre: Drama / Romantic Comedy
Released: December 10th 2018
Rikka is now a third-year student, but she still has ‘chunibyo’ syndrome. University entrance exams loom on the horizon, and it’s spring break, and Yuta and Rikka are together as usual. One day, Rikka’s older sister Toka declares that she’s going to take Rikka to Italy with her, as Toka is moving to Italy for work and she thinks they should move together as a family. Yuta understands Toka’s opinion, but thinks that at this rate he and Rikka will be separated. Shinka and the other members suggest that Yuta and Rikka should ‘elope’ and thus sets the stage for Yuta and Rikka’s travels throughout Japan in their escape drama.
Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! The Movie: Take On Me is a very different beast to the previous film released earlier this year. Rather than acting as a recap film, this takes place after the events of season two of the series and seeks to bring the story to a true conclusion. As such, the story presented here feels a lot more complete, and this is certainly a welcome change.
The problem with the series is that the first season was so good that the second season was almost doomed to suffer by comparison. This being the case, when it started rehashing some of the same core themes, is did indeed end up with the reputation of being a subpar follow-up, even in spite of having plenty of fun moments. The reason I mention this is that this film essentially retreads some of the same paths again in terms of what the franchise is truly about. What this means is that when watching it, you will absolutely feel like you’ve seen some of the story elements before. Where the film shines is that the condensed timeframe has meant that the writing team have had to make sure that things don’t get unnecessarily drawn out. The result is actually quite magical.
A big part of Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! has always been the will-they-wont-they relationship between Rikka, the girl suffering from chunibyo (aka Middle-Grade Syndrome, where young teens who are desperate to stand out convince themselves that they have secret powers), and Yuta, the boy who wishes to move on from his bout of the same. While it was always clear that the pair liked each other, and indeed that they likely would end up together, there has not been a satisfying conclusion to this arc until now. In fact, the moment when the two finally bring that part of the story to an end is one of my favourite scenes from this year’s releases. It’s heart-warming, and really brings to mind the best sentimental moments from the franchise at large. The effect of this scene is also such that it paints a remarkably positive message about when you need to grow up and what parts of your childhood you can cling on to. It’s all just so well executed that it’s hard not to smile about it all.
Rikka and Yuta are not the only characters to get some shine here though. Nibutani and Dekomori take on the role of pursuers when Toka employs (read as essentially blackmails) them to chase down her runaway sister. The pair have plenty of fun moments together throughout, and whether you view them as frenemies or ship them, you’ll find plenty to enjoy with the girls’ shenanigans. Yes, it could be argued that the other characters are left out I the cold in terms of screen time as a result, but the key four here are treated so well that it’s easily forgivable.
In terms of animation, the film does feature one of my least favourite things: 3D items placed on top of 2D animation. That’s something that I always find visually quite jarring, and this is no exception. That’s a real shame because the film is otherwise fine. It may not be on par with productions by the likes of Mamoru Hosoda or Makoto Shinkai, but it does a fine job. The chunibyo moments are as impressive as ever when set against the more mundane moments, and everything else is decent enough. There are even a few nods to other Kyoto Animation productions when the characters visit places from the likes of Clannad and Haruhi Suzumiya.
In short, Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! The Movie: Take On Me is really a thank you letter to fans of both the studio and the franchise. It captures the best parts of the first season well, allows plenty of fan service for followers of Kyoto Animation, and despite some flaws, remains a perfectly entertaining film. It may be best suited for those that are already familiar with the story, but it’s not entirely unwatchable if you aren’t. In all, this takes an easy 4 out of 5 for me.