People sometimes tell lies, imagine a completely different fantasy world, dream about the distant future, or invent a lover’s relationship that only exists inside their heads. This process repeats from the day we are born until the day we die. Forever and ever. It is depressing. It is shameful. But it is dear to us. ”
One day before the Mayan Apocalypse, the world of Chunnibyou draws to a close.
Now, to be fair, I have to say that I’m a fan of the show. I’ve always been a fan. I liked the characters, I liked the animation, for it was crisp, and I liked the music, which was mostly appropriate, save for the ED during episode 11. So I’d probably be biased. Nonetheless, I felt that the ending was decent, if not great, for a somewhat original adaptation such as Chu2Koi. Take into account, of course, that KyoAni mostly took their inspiration from the end of Volume 2, and ran with it.
Episode 12 was essentially the depiction of the effect Rikka’s departure, both from the school and from their world, had on the rest of the characters. While Dekomori essentially broke free of her chunnibyou, Kumin seems to have gained it, if only because she’s just playing along. This turns out to be true when she stops Yuuta on the highway to reveal to him that Rikka had met him two years ago, and that he was the reason for her extreme chunnibyou. Spurred by both romance and duty, a determined Yuuta cycles to Rikka’s house, and they run away with the help of Makoto, Sanae and Shinka.
The ending wasn’t particularly amazing in the sense that nothing really unexpected happened. I mean, Rikka did move away after all, but it was hinted last episode. The finale didn’t have anything stupid like “it was all a dream” or some nonsense like that, so I’d give it a pass. Yet what the finale did well in was essentially to wrap up most of the loose ends of the series. We see Rikka becoming understood, and perhaps formally saying goodbye to both her father, and her extreme chuunibyou. True that we didn’t really see whatever happened to the Kumin-Makoto relationship, but I doubt anything will ever happen, since it’s mostly for laughs, anyway.
The finale also acknowledges the most basic problem of pretty much the entire series: Yuuta’s just a kid. He wouldn’t know what to do. He doesn’t know what to do. Last episode, he breaks down because he doesn’t know how to handle the situation. This episode, he doesn’t know how to handle Rikka’s departure. The entire series, he was practically following Touka’s instructions/blackmail to get Rikka to reform. But who really has the right to decide such a thing?
So Shinka knew from the start? Perhaps she had an inkling of what had transpired. But she’s right nonetheless: she’s sort of doing it to fit in. Yuuta once said he experienced chunnibyou because he felt left out from his friends. It was sort of a means to cope with his life, and it worked. This was of course, what we assumed Rikka’s chunnibyou was. Yet it was revealed that it was more of a means not to cope with her father’s death, but more to , somehow, feel liberated from reality, or fit in with the DFM. It became less a coping mechanism and more a way for Rikka to feel in. And thus, Rikka’s a victim not of circumstance, but of painful self-consciousness, something chunnibyou sufferers seem marked by: they seem to experience much more introspection and emotion than say, Makoto or Kumin. Mostly embarrassment, but still. Yuuta was caught up in the image of the ‘normal’ high schooler. It’s what he modeled himself after and what he tried to get Rikka to become. But is it not just another way for him to feel connected? In the end, we come full circle: no-one has the right to decide how we live, right? What is normal and what is not? What is right and what is wrong?
Yet, the finale could be summed up in three words, if I were to be negative: deus ex machina. Or four words, with the inclusion of the word, ‘fucking’. Look, I loved the show. I’m a sucker for it, I can’t help liking the show. And I’m writing this article mostly to sing its praises. It’s one of my failings as a writer. But Jesus Fucking Christ, the reason for Rikka’s chunnibyou is both cliche yet perfect at the same time. It establishes a link between Rikka and Yuuta, which is cliche enough, but it sets up the reason why Yuuta has to take duty, and the significance of his actions on Rikka. Hence the extreme change when Yuuta tells her to wake up. And the letter he mailed himself? I don’t even. Furthermore, despite closing most of the loose ends, there’s still no sense of ‘closure’. What will happen to them after they escape from the police? Does she just become chunnibyou again, and go to school as usual? What about Sanae? What about the club? What about their futures? Is there going to be an OVA?
Nonetheless, I liked the show. I liked it a lot. I liked it so much, here is an entire article dedicated to it. Yet, the show will not be a classic, by any means, or the best, but it was enjoyable.