「聖母の…弁当箱(パンドラズ・ボックス)」 (Seibo no … Bentoubako ( Pandorazu . Bokkusu ))
“Pandora’s Lunchbox…of the Holy Mother”

Since I first saw the promos for this show, I thought it had a lot of potential. Potential to be cute, potential to be funny, and to have that certain kind of ridiculous levity that I enjoy so much. What it lacked – and has continued to lack for most of its run – is drama in any meaningful amount. Until now.

First of all, I enjoyed the parallels between Yuuta and Isshiki and Rikka and Dekomori. Dekomori going full yuri for her master was probably the funniest part (related: anyone know how to get blood out of a carpet? Or stop a persistent nosebleed? Just wondering…uh, for a friend), but for a truly well told joke, the best was the dual head on shoulder jokes. Dekomori’s was sweet, but to see Isshiki try to pull the same thing just made me lose it! Unexpected and hilarious! Also, tsundere Yuuta is a good thing.

But without a doubt the best scenes of this episode came next, when Yutta and Rikka were alone. The ambiance, the lighting, the direction of that whole awkward shuffle of two unsure young adults towards the place both of them want to be…perfect. Special mention needs to be made of the insert song. After how thoroughly the previous one flopped back in Episode 8, it was heartening to see one pulled out at exactly the right time! As a pure vanilla romance, chu2koi does things right. Rikka’s confession, Yutta getting all embarrassed about his mega chu2 confession, and that delicate pinky touch at the end…just beautifully done. Magnificent.

And yet, next is where the series transcends a level for me. Once again Touka beseeches Yuuta to help bring Rikka back to reality, and my first inclination was largely the same as the one for my other show this week – let her do what she wants! As Yuuta so rightly said, “She’s grown up enough.” It’s not that Rikka denies her father’s death anymore, not really. It’s that she doesn’t want to bury him. As soon as she takes her eyepatch off, that’s it – it’s over, he’s over. I think she’s grown up enough, and time will allow her to sort everything out to her satisfaction, just as it did for Yuuta and Shinka ditching their own chuunibyou pasts…and for that matter, all of us with everything we learn thanks to the passage of time. Your way hasn’t worked yet, Touka-san. Time to try Yuuta’s.

Now here’s the part that I initially missed about this series. While the drama with Rikka’s dad fell flat, that wasn’t this series’ drama point. Let me go ahead and quote myself from back in Episode 8:

I can only hope that this is all buildup for a massive emotional payoff later on. If so, it may be that this was done very well (in retrospect).

Called it–or rather, called the potential for it. Now, I want to make something clear – the scenes that centered around Rikka’s father from Episodes 7 & 8 were clearly designed to be dramatic and impactful, so the fact that they weren’t does mean they weren’t done very well. Insert songs aren’t used for frivolous reasons, and one falling flat means that a mistake was made. That said, it was also buildup for the source of the series’ true drama – Rikka’s mother. That worked much better, as it drove a point of conflict between Yuuta and Rikka. I’m still not sure I like her, but perhaps I hate her less. We’ll see.

Here’s where Yuuta made his decision. He confronted Rikka, in a way forcing her to choose between honoring the memory of her father (in her own way), and Yuuta himself, this boy she has come to love. Yuuta didn’t realize he was doing that, but he was. That was cruel.

As for the results, the episode ends with Rikka singing a song that her papa liked, and taking off her eyepatch…revealing two green eyes. As we expected, this second time she was without her coloured contact was a big moment, character-wise. She chose Yuuta! Yet, to my own eyes she doesn’t look any happier for having “grown up.”

From here there are two paths that could be taken, though really they’re the ones we’ve had all along – embrace their chuunibyou, or deny them. Though actually, there’s more complexity to that. There’s those two options, yes…but once that decision is made, it’s whether to keep being chuunibyou, or to move past. The best ending for our heroes is if Yuuta urges Rikka to take back up her eyepatch and return to being that girl he fell in love with…and yet she decides to move on anyway, keeping all of the cute innocence she had, save in a less delusional manner. Other endings would be okay, but worst of all is to deny and move on. That’s where Yuuta and Shinka are, but for Rikka, I feel the price will be higher. After all, Yuuta and Shinka just had to give up the delusions. For Rikka, she has to give up her father, and bury him, finally and forever.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – One of the sweetest dual confessions I’ve ever seen is followed up by the drama #chu2koi never had. Loved it!

Random thoughts:

  • I approve of Isshiki’s increasingly obvious attempts to court Kumin-sempai. Too bad she doesn’t appear to have realized that he’s aiming for her…even when he openly confessed at the end. Sleep on, Kumin-sempai. Forever alone, Isshiki-kun!
  • Beware of ex-chu2 girls. Or any girls, really. That’s probably for the best.
  • Related: I would enter their delusions, if you know what I mean. Erh…what? They’re underaged? Crap, I didn’t mean it like that!!
  • I liked how Rikka kept showing her eye throughout the episode. Good foreshadowing towards the eventual reveal.
  • Holy hell, their costumes were amazingly cool! …except for Rikka, who was cool and cute. I really hope the embrace their chu2 pasts enough to have fun with them once in a while, and to laugh at them as all true adults do. They’re just too cute together to not keep putting them into badass longcoats (trope!) and whatnot.
  • Can we get a special lite episode of Dark Flame Master Shinka vs (an emotionally distraught) Tyrant’s Eye Dekomori? Please? Pretty please?
  • Seriously, learn to use your OPs and EDs, KyoAni! The fact that they’re finally doing original work (~70% of this is original, as well as 100% of next season’s Tamako Market) is encouraging, but until they learn to stop breaking my mood with inappropriate EDs, they will not obtain Pantheon status in my book. The ED is part of the whole experience, people! I trust this’ll be fixed by next week. KyoAni employees read RandomC, right? Right. Glad we got that cleared up.
  • Last week, after I expressed some perplexity about why I wasn’t enjoying this show as much as I felt I should, many of you offered reasons. The one that I felt was most compelling was that chu2koi should be enjoyed as a simple vanilla romance. That’s not wrong – it’s one of the reasons I like slice-of-life shows, and I have compatible views on expectations in general. That said, I greatly prefer things this way. Love is wonderful, but it should be tested. Into the fire, my young friends! You’ll come out stronger, or not at all.

Full-length images: 17, 20, 22, 23, 26.

End Card


      1. The sad truth that I don’t want to hear. They might be able to make a second season but then they’d go and make big changes again regarding the 2nd LN.

        Then again I’m fine with this. OTP with no rivals is good. I hate it when it turns to who wins the MC or rather I’ve grown out of it.

      2. I would rather not see a second season for shows like these. They’ve already confessed, their love is being tested, and it’ll all come to a fine point. What would the use be for a sequel? Once you taken the love build-up out it really wouldn’t be interesting.

        Still liking it the way it is. 😀

      3. s2 so you can see them all grow’d up and married life and have a cute like chu2 offsprings being all weirdos and cute and call them self like DARK wicked eye MASTAH(eye patch with fluttering coat)! along with dekmori kids being their servants! hahah

    1. Storytelling is my thing. I’d be a total failure if I couldn’t call things like that once in a while…and all the other storytellers would be failures if I wasn’t wrong pretty often as well, heh

  1. Stilts, I’ll have to disagree on what exactly Yuuta made Rikka decide, if anything, during those last few minutes under the tree. If I recall correctly (if I don’t, kill me D:), the confrontation was cut out, left to speculation. However, considering how Summer confronted Yuuta and told him he did the right thing, I’d actually guess that Yuuta brought up an issue about Rikka’s mother instead, which caused Rikka to have a reflection. The song to me represents her finally accepting her father’s death…since the lyrics seem appropriate for that meaning. Kyu Sakamoto…such a nice singer ;_;.

    I’m unsure of my guess myself, but that’s what I’m excited to seeing proven/disproven in these last few episodes! I love this show Stilts as much as you do! ^___^

    1. I was more than a bit upset we didn’t hear that confrontation, but I’ll be very disappointed in Yuuta if he didn’t at least mention Rikka’s Mom. I agree though, given Nibutani’s reaction Yuuta must’ve justified himself well, which leaves me hopeful that Yuuta is still on Rikka’s good side and in a prime position to stay by her side to help her deal with everything.

    2. Well, we have two episodes, and given that we were given a fairly ambiguous idea of ‘something’ happening under the tree, I think KyoAni will revisit that scene again and we’ll find out just what happened, acting as a flashback to support the things that are going to happen. Can’t wait!

  2. I think the reason why the drama of this episode had more of a kick was because of how the first half built it up. I couldn’t help but DAWWW at the first half, but towards the end when things got melancholic it hit with more force than it probably should have. Like getting out of a hot tub then jumping into a pool. Also I agree completely KyoAni, needs to know when to use its ED. Just like in ep 7 it completely ruins the mood.

    1. After a certain tragic event in Clannad AS was immediately followed by the bright and bouncy ED, and everyone who I saw commenting about it was saying HOW THE **** COULD THEY DO THAT, it’s clear to me that what is happening here is not that KyoAni don’t understand about “maintaining the mood”, it’s more that they are sometimes using the ED to actually break the mood rather than enhance it.

      We watch the shows as a single discrete “package”, generally without ads, but in context in their original medium, they are preceded by one show, followed immediately by another, and split up by ads. People who watched Chuu2 in Japan probably didn’t sit around in a diabetic coma for ages afterwards (like I did), they just get on with watching the next show. Therefore, the ED can fulfil the same function as an amuse-bouche between courses at a fine dining restaurant – it “cleanses the emotional palate” ready for the next show.

      1. This is probably the first time I’ve heard a reasonable theory about KyoAni’s use of EDs… and it makes so much sense that you can only wonder why more people haven’t figured it out.

        Dammit, KyoAni, why can’t you cater to the freeloaders watching your work for free instead of that nasty domestic market which will eventually buy your BDs in great numbers? 😛

    2. What Angelus said isn’t wrong in regards to commercials. That said, it doesn’t explain why studios like J.C. Staff or Sunrise make sure that the ED (and occasionally OP) fits in with the tone of the end of the episode. The ED happens immediately after the episode ends, with no commercial break in between! And while perhaps people watching on TV don’t sit in a mood-coma for so long (though they can…the mute button does exist in Japan!), it’s worth it trying to extend it for a minute more instead of poisoning it. Ohandalso, people accept that commercials aren’t under the production team’s control, but the ED is.

      So yeah, I’m not backing down on this one. This is a pretty big annoyance for me.

      1. Not only that, but in this case the ED even came before the end of the episode. No, I think this is far more carelessness than intent on KyoAni’s part.

        IMO, the masters of OP/ED use in recent years have been Shaft. The two ef series, in particular, really nailed it. There is a stark dichotomy between how the aforementioned tragic developments of Clannad AfterStory (or, I would add, Kanon) and those of ef: a tale of melodies were handled. Instead of breaking the mood like KyoAni, Shaft took pains to enhance it with an appropriate, one-off ED (in one case, a slow, piano remix of the OP).

        Now, I’m not saying KyoAni needs to suddenly start changing the OP animation every episode, or running it ten minutes into the show, or having six different EDs for a twelve episode series. That wouldn’t really fit their style. But they could certainly use the occasional one-off theme (or just run the credits over the ending without a theme), as many studios do, where the mood requires it. In fact, they could have fairly easily run the credits over Rikka’s song, and the effect would have been much better.

  3. Oi… this episode!! First 3/4 were golden awesome mushy goodness (dat pinky!!), then things got messy. I agree we were always headed here, but Tooka moving away and their mother showing up just threw things off. I don’t blame Tooka for moving on with her life, but if our new couple had had even just another week to sort themselves out, I’d feel a hell of a lot more optimistic. Right now it’s more like the rug getting pulled out from under their feet. Pulling off the patch and no yellow contact does show that Yuuta is at the same level as Rikka’s father in her heart since she only did it because it was Yuuta that asked, but we’re at a VERY delicate stage. One wrong move by Yuuta now and she’s gonna go full-blown gloomy depression, taking her mother with her. Like Stilts said, Yuuta and company need to figure out a way to help Rikka accept a bit more of reality for the sake of her and her mother. Yuuta needs to show her that he loves her playful side, and to keep the chuunibyou because it’s fun, not to hide behind, while still being there for her 100% while the family works things out.

    Young man, failure is no longer an option XD

    1. That’s a good way to put it…she needs to lose the chuunibyou (the delusions, the actually believing), but that doesn’t mean she needs to lose a love for fantasy. I mean, that’s why all of us are here, ne?

  4. This episode is lovely to say the least. Well, she was waiting for someone to rely on before ditching her Chuunibyouness. Now that she’s found Yuuta, she’ll be much more willing to let go. Still, a couple more episodes to expand on things further and at the pace it’s going right now, looks like things will conclude quite nicely.

    1. I think we may well see one final ‘battle’, but it could be of a different type, with a demonically hansdsome Dark Master and a cute, laughing Rikka, showing that dreams have their place as fun, not a replacement for reality, and ending with a kiss that fades from the dream background back to reality (fin…)

  5. I actually liked how KyoAni handled the drama as an offscreen event. The context of the events is still there but it avoided any needless pretentious drama that I was worried about. In essence the good feeling that I got from the confession scene wasn’t ruined.

    I also like Isshiki’s bro-ness this episode. I really appreciate moments when the designated buttmonkey gets to shine when it the important things come. He definitely has my support on his quest for Kumin.

    P.S. So if Dark Flame Shinka and Tyrant’s Eye Dekmori did the roleplay, does that mean they started hugging and making out? Sorry, its the goggles talking.

    1. Gods, I hope so. Deko-chan looked pretty heartbroken this episode, I bet she could use a good hug.

      …seriously, where’s that lite episode? With yuri hugging at the end, please!

  6. How do you apologize to an anime character? I had it totally wrong about Rikka’s mom. I thought she’d abandoned the girls. Rikka rejected her. Her showing up with the bento just about broke my heart.

    I’m still impressed with the animation of the girls when reality intrudes. When Rikka is looking out the window with Dekomori she is drawn more realistically than she normally is. Dekomori also looks different in that scene. The confession scene was one of the best I can remember and I think he fell in love with the whole package. Not just the Chuuni and not just the normal.

    I also think the confession is key to what is coming. Yuuta understands Rikka’s emotional state amazingly well. She needed her fantasy to buffer her feelings. She obviously felt betrayed because they didn’t tell her of her father’s illness. Not having time to reconcile the fact that she was going to lose him and savor the time available, she also couldn’t lean on her family to grieve afterwards because of the feeling of betrayal. Now she has Yuuta for support in the real world. He can’t take the place of her father in her heart, but he can provide the support she needs while she finally allows herself to grieve. Yuuta grasped the meaning of the warm bento and was confronted with having to force even more reality on Rikka so he could reconcile her and her mother. Given the situation it’s somewhat of a desperation move. Now the question is did her trust in him allow her to face things or will his actions break that trust or both?

    As far as the connection with the LN goes, I don’t even think it comprises 30% of the anime.

    1. From a japanese-centered POV, if it was Rikka’s father plea, then the family was obligued to not tell her about the ilness. There was no way out of that. Saying that, and after seeing the bigger picture, I can finally say this with no regrets:
      Let’s begin with mom. How many years has she tried to reconnect with Rikka after her father’s death? We’re talking about a Sayaka Ohara’s soft-voice mom character, an epic-class sweet mom. It broke my heart seeing her bento for Rikka.
      Now, Touka is clearly chained because of Rikka. Her lack of aceptance of their mom forced Touka to move to Tokyo with her. She has expend more years caring for her just because Rikka’s selfish attitiude. How many more years she need to do that? Now she has the chance to move to better things. That’s why Touka needed Yuuta to fix the whole issue.
      As for Yuuta, I didn’t expect to finally man up. He understood that Rikka was using him as a way to continue negating reality, and with that, he couldn’t give away his Chuu2 past.
      In other words, Rikka is a weight on everybody’s elbows. She need to understand that she’s not the center of the universe, and that her attitude and stupidity of negating reality is hurting other people that care for her.
      What to expect from now on of the final eps? A reprise of the script from The Dissapeareance of Haruhi Suzumiya. Whoever wrote this BS watched too much the latter part of Toradora, and if this is really anime-only material, KyoAni make a huge mistake.

      1. There are so many things wrong with your assessment that I’m almost foaming at the mouth.

        First the sister. No way whatsoever has she been limited by Rikka. Firstly she has been living on her own working as a chief for a good many years now while Rika has been living with her grandparents. Now she has an offer to train in Italy she is taking it up, as you would. Remind me how she has been limited?

        Secondly the mother. I have ZERO sympathy for her. After her husband dies she is left with a distraught 12-13 yo girl who doesn’t want to forgive her or talk to her. So what does she do? She ABANDONS her and dumps her with the grandparents. I am a single parent with a daughter that age myself so I know a little how difficult it can be but there is NO excuse for what she did.

        Finally, why the hell are none of these adults actually acting like adults? The mother made no effort to actually find Rikka but instead just dumped the Bento on Yuuta. She seemed to have no idea who he was. They keep on dumping things on Yuuta expecting him to fix Rikka. It is not his job!! He’s a kid in love with a girl, not her shrink! Personally I think Rikka feels betrayed by what Yuuta asked her and I will not be surprised if their relationship takes a massive hit in the following episode.

      2. SeedStriker‘s opinion may be considered biased in one direction, and Scruffy‘s one may be considered (a bit) biased in the other one (but you both caught my attention so I liked both your posts).

        Although I don’t agree with the extent of the conclusions expressed by SeedStriker, he has put some “seeds” that made me think. There is no way that Rikka’s behaviour doesn’t cause any problem for anyone, as we could see her troubled grandparents and sister (we had no real clues about her mother up until now). Anyway, I wouldn’t go so far as to say “Rikka, it’s your fault for not snapping out of it, I have no sympathy for you”. That is not fair. Even if her behaviour is not ideal, it’s understandable under the circumstances.

        On the other hand, I do agree on the general points in Scruffy’s post, but I also think a couple of things are “misplaced” here. A loving parent would do anything for her doughter, and never abandon her. I don’t think anyone would disagree on that, nonetheless, we don’t have enough info on Rikka’s mother to judge her. We only know Rikka lived for some time with her grandparents, we don’t know for how much her mother tried to patch their relationships. I am more inclined to think that at a certain point her mother started to see herself as a hurting presence for her own doughter, and tried to relieve her from that bourden by keeping some distance. And from what I can tell from the last episode, that must have been a though decision. At least, that is what the storywriter has managed to make me think. We should be able to know better in the last episodes.

        As for Yuuta, again I do agree that it would be an adult responsibility to help Rikka out of her problems, but this is a story that lives in the anime dimension. No matter how realistically it may be portraied, it’s not a “real world” story, it’s a story from a world where younger people have the most important duties, sometimes as important as to save the world by perhaps piloting a huge mekka, or sacrificing themselves. So, here, it makes sense for Yuuta to be the one that will help Rikka.
        And we, who watch anime to enjoy our time in that different world, well, we like it that way 🙂 Yuuta ftw. BTW, I’m an adult but I find myself “projected” in an ageless dimension when watching anime.

        I hope you SeedStriker and Scruffy will continue to enjoy this show to the end, it’s really a good show. Immerse yourself in the story, bring with you your feelings, leave out real world’s details.

  7. Well I certainly loved this episode, especially the first 3/4 of it. The confession scene was great but the ending left me with a bad feeling , hopefully nothing terrible happens next episode.
    I find it funny that with all the talk of love rivals and triangles last week we sort of got one here. Even though not really a serious one.

  8. Now that was a fantastic confession. And the music was magnificent.
    The whole thing was so sublime that I kind of turned my brain off for the rest of the episode.

    I was grateful they skipped the actual argument. The sheer amount of unbridled drama would’ve ruined everything for me.

  9. As much as I would like for Rika to conquer reality I can’t help but wonder if she truly can at this point. Seeing This I can’t help but feel that the thing that we and Yuuta love most about Rikka may have left along with her delusions. It’s like her source of life is gone. I really hope they don’t make her go emo on us. At least my exams will be over by the time the next episode airs.

    I think Rika has more time then she would have been allowed to continue her delusion a little longer and grow up more gradually; but now that her sister is leaving and her mother is coming back so there was really no other choice. Rika has to deal with the problem now.

    I noticed the animation quality especially in the first half. Seeing Rikka and yuuta all shy and awkward was adorable. (BTW is that the artist who sang that insert song the same one that did the opeing for the Lite episodes?) The direction of that first have magnified the significance of every subtle gesture, most notably the pinkies.

  10. I think the stream i caught cut off the very ending and cut straight to the end credits for some reason, because I SURE AS HELL NEVER WITNESSED NOR REMEMBER ANYTHING ABOUT RIKKA TAKING OFF HER EYEPATCH AND CONTACT LENSE! I really want to go back and see another stream now!! I want my first experience back! Refund!

    That said, it was sure worth waiting for the drama. I just hope that whatever happens, that both are happy. We have 2 episodes left. I can’t wait.

  11. I don’t know about you, Stilts, but I’m still not feeling the dimensions. The emotional payoff of this episode was good and all, but I don’t think it did very much in the way of adding dimensional value to Yuuta and Rikka’s relationship. Everything up to this point has been about Yuuta entering Rikka’s life and gradually filling the void that was left by her dead father as they got closer to each other, eventually allowing her to finally let go of him. This episode appears to be the final culmination of that premise (Or the beginning of the end, at least). It was well-written, powerful emotionally even- but it still revolved around a singular aspect of the main couple’s relationship, that is, the whole boyfriend-replaces-dead-dad thing. It may have added a sea-trench’s worth of depth to that premise, but did nothing to expand the scope of the main couple’s connection beyond it; it remains the sole basis of their entire relationship.

    This episode may have made the show emotionally deep, but did nothing to expand its emotional breadth. Chuuni remains as one-dimensional as it was last week before the eye-patch was removed. The well-written emotional payoff for everything that’s been building up over the last 9 episodes certainly counts for big points and makes Chuuni a significantly better show overall, but having said that, the show still remains horribly simplistic, lacking the nuance and complexity requisite to critical transcendence…

    1. What’s wrong with having a show that was absolutely faithful to it’s premise and consistent at that?

      If I’m trying to dig from the storyline writer’s PoV, I believe this is the best that they can achieve from this premise. They introduced the family subplot at the beach episodes, and leaving them unresolved purposely, while starting to introduce the romance. Romance build up for some episodes, climax, and then it’s time to use the hidden ace, Mom’s rule. Connect the loose ends for a new climax to resolve all of the introduced plot : Romance, family and the chuunibyou itself.

      I see nothing wrong at all from that structure. We only have two episodes left, and I guess there will be no second season. In this pace, introducing a new horizontal dimension would only destroy the focus and it will most likely unresolved in time.

      “The show still remains horribly simplistic, lacking the nuance and complexity requisite to critical transcendence…”
      IMHO, I can't see than statement as anything other than an elitist's prick when the show didn't go in the way that they want. How could it be called simplistic, lacking the nuance and isn't complex enough? You sure didn't appreciate the effort to add this kind of depth. It's a rare feat, especially in a 12 ep romcom anime.

      The amount of details in this episode are simply amazing, and I surely prefer this "sea-deep trench" level rather than introducing a late plot which most likely will turn the show into a spaghetti-level mess, and I'm sure many Chuunibyou viewer demographic also prefer this kind of approach. For more "complex" plot, why don't watch another show that has more potential for that kind of "complex" (this show's Psycho Pass, for instance)? I won't trade the show's depth at simple emotion for that.

      I don't know why some people keep scoring ALL shows with a single point of view. Different shows are meant to be valued with different way!

      1. IMHO, I can’t see than statement as anything other than an elitist’s prick when the show didn’t go in the way that they want.

        Do not conflate my personal enjoyment of a show with my critical assessment of its quality; they are entirely separate and distinct. I’ll have you know that I enjoy Chuuni immensely, and that it is one of my personal favorites of the year. Having said that, one cannot deny the fact that something’s wrong with everything, and there is always room for improvement even in A-rank shows like Chuuni. As a critic I hold every show I watch to the highest standard of accountability; nothing short of S-rank classic-quality material impresses me, and even these will be picked apart by my piranhic critical instincts for any minute flaws that they will invariably possess in my endless quest for perfection. And by classics I am referring to universal classics, not simply classics within the medium of anime alone, although I very much doubt that Chuuni will end up being nearly as memorable as even those over the course of the next 3-5 years, as well-executed as it may be.

        Romances that focus only on a singular vertical dimension almost never measure up to the classics no matter how well-executed they are because they fail to establish a unique, distinct identity that sets them apart from the rest of the crowd. A well-executed tale of romance that fails to establish a distinct identity is merely good, but one that does sets itself apart from all others. This identity is usually established by means of horizontal dimensions; a unique and emotionally powerful combination of elements come together to burn the show into the hearts audiences as an experience that is not only powerful, but also distinctly its own- i.e. a classic.

        This is not to say that establishing a unique identity within a singular, vertical dimension is impossible, not at all. However, it is a lot more difficult to do because every vertical dimension of romance has literally been explored ad nauseum throughout the ages; romance being one of the most common themes in storytelling even since long before the time of Gilgamesh. It is entirely possible to develop a sea-trench’s worth of depth within a singular, vertical dimension and never touch any unique, novel aspects of it, and this is indeed the norm. (Contrasted against horizontal dimensions where a unique identity can be created far more easily by mixing and matching various romantic sub-thematic elements, adjusting their numbers according to the desired level of depth as per time constraints.) Unsurprisingly, this immensely complicates the task of finding new, never-before-competently/widely explored nuances within the vertical scope of any singular sub-thematic element of romance that can form the basis of a tale’s unique identity, making it a progenitor of its form. The sheer difficulty of this endeavor makes one question whether it is at all possible with the time limitations of a 1-cour season- I would contend that it is entirely possible, albeit very difficult to accomplish. Yet even if we concede for argument’s sake that what KyoAni is doing with Chuuni in 12 episodes is literally the best that anyone could ever possibly hope achieve in terms of sweet vanilla romcoms within the confines of a short 1-cour season, it is clear that their “best” simply isn’t good enough; a deep vertical dimension alone does not a timeless classic make- depth alone is cannot establish the distinct, unique, “apparently-first-of-its-kind” emotional identity that almost every classic romance possesses.

        Let me set things straight- as it stands Chuuni is a good show, probably even great, and is one that I greatly enjoy and love, personally- but beyond its superficial eighth-grade syndrome comedy-gimmick it has failed thus far to carve out a distinct emotional identity for itself within its core romantic plot-line. It is this identity that forms the shape of the unique brand that is seared into the hearts of audiences by emotionally powerful writing, leaving the mark of a timeless classic. Yet even stories that somehow manage to accomplish this insurmountable feat are not immaculate- and if I, in my endless quest for perfection would happily admonish even these for their shortcomings without reservation; what more of tales like Chuuni that falter right at the cusp of transcendence? Whether Chuuni will be able to cross the threshold remains to be seen; nothing is over until it is over, after all- but with only two episodes left to go, I’m not holding my breath…

      2. I DO DECLARE THIS DUDE TO BE THE BLOGGER WITHIN THE BLOGGGer’s BLOG?!?!?! or is he just THE COMMENTS BLOGGER! grmmm need a catchy’er title for him ill work on it until next reply!

      3. Sorry, I should have made myself clear first, too.

        I have read about your personal enjoyment for Chuuni, and I should have acknowledged that in my post. My post was directed to your high standard of critiques, that for me seems to be strange at first.

        Let me say something at the front, I also don’t consider Chuunibyou as a normal masterpiece/classic. For that “title”, it has to do more horizontal depth, similar with what you have said in your latest post. In anime medium, probably I would pick “Fullmetal Alchemist : Brotherhood” as my recent, favorite candidate. It could mix almost every genre and succeed at delivering all of them in more than satisfying feat. I would say that it’s one of few examples of anime that trying to deliver so many horizontal approach, and succeeds at it. Other example for my personal masterpiece pick is a contrast of FMA:B, Clannad After Story. Rather than delivering a balanced perfection, it succeed at pushing the emotional limit to a point that nothing could accomplish before, for me, although it was inferior in almost everything else to FMA.

        We could add any other series (LotGH, Eva, etc.), but the only similarity between them is that they are shows that have more than two cours. You have mentioned about limitation for one cour show, and I would say that Chuunibyou probably could succeed to enter “One cour masterpiece” league, if it exists. The only recent show that could rival this probably would be Madoka, although it’s on a completely different genre so it’s hard to compare them. I think it has exceeded other recently notable one cour show, AnoHana, although they’re hard to be compared since AnoHana are filled with subjective values.

        My conclusion? Actually we have similar opinions, but I was pointing at your harsh standard for a cour show. As a writer wannabe, I should tell you that writing a “masterpiece smart story” is by no means easier than writing a long one. Limiting scope, adding depth, maintaining focus, technical details… There are a lot of factors that should be achieved at near-perfection, and it’s a hard thing to do. Chuunibyou also has some flaws, but it made a strong breakthrough for romcom genre, that for years haven’t even made strong enough effort to deliver “Romance”. Comparing it to another level of perfection wouldn’t be fair, like complaining a magnificent short story with TLOTR books.

        But fine, I understand your desire for perfection, I’m just trying to balance the opinion for the fairness sake 🙂

      4. But fine, I understand your desire for perfection, I’m just trying to balance the opinion for the fairness sake 🙂

        No worries, I love being challenged; I am grateful for every reply that I get, and find delight in them, scathing as some may be. Because it is only through challenging our own ideas that we learn.

        And I do see where you are coming from, although I’ll maintain that where (near)-perfection is the goal, format and medium are non-issues. A transcendent tale is one that puts most others of its genre to shame regardless of format or medium and is remembered throughout the ages- like the original Sherlock Holmes shorts versus sh*tty wannabe mystery mangas or generic mystery novels…;)

  12. “It’s not that Rikka denies her father’s death anymore, not really. It’s that she doesn’t want to bury him. As soon as she takes her eyepatch off, that’s it – it’s over, he’s over.”
    “That said, it was also buildup for the source of the series’ true drama – Rikka’s mother.”

    which is what i was getting at in my around here unpopular comment (and i suspect this one won’t be either) a few episodes ago.
    while whether she is or isn’t “old enough” is a fair matter of debate, the issue really was never should Rikka just “let go” of her father.

    trust me, you never really let go anyway.

    the point was is it really so much better to continue to pander to her delusions and say Rikka shouldn’t be forced to have to “bury her father”, when in exchange she’s basically burned her relationship WITH EVERY OTHER MEMBER OF HER FAMILY in doing so?

    “she needs her own time, her own pace to deal with her grief. she basically disowned her family throughout her teenage years in doing so? that’s ok! her pace!”

    is THAT really the good way to play this out?
    Touka’s way didn’t work, but THAT will?

    That’s probably what changed Yuuta’s mind on the matter. he knew his way wouldn’t work either. him basing on his own experience didn’t match up here.
    this wasn’t him with his social issues but ultimately a strong family unit around him the entire time. for all his delusions, as we saw in the flashbacks, he was still very grounded in some real world anchors; family being one of them.
    this was Rika was choosing to stay in her delusional world, and doing so at the cost of all her real world anchors; even if that meant pushing away her living family (including mother and sister).

    1. i agree heartily. i mean, we watch the anime and sympathize with rikka and enjoy her antics but the rational part of our minds should tell us that true cartharsis would come only with her acknowledging the reality of what happened which certainly isn’t synonymous with forgetting or abandoning her father

  13. After all the weeks of laughs, I seriously can’t be the only one getting a little misty eyed at the end. I felt things are developing really fast. The timing of Rikka’s mother returning and the advent of the reality train hitting the couple right after a confession is kind of sad.

    I would feel uncomfortable being in Yuuta’s shoes, having to make a decision between letting Rikka be the way she is or destroying the only barrier that prevents her from fully accepting her father’s death for the sake of her “well-being”.

    The ending scene got to me. Just for trivia the Song is “Miagete Goran Yoru no Hoshi o” or “Look up at the stars in the night” by Kyu Sakamoto in 1963. If anyone ever watched Twin Spica it was also used as an ending song for that (I was surprised to hear it in this and that was what made me look up the song XD, the song struck an emotional cord here just as much as when I watched that anime).

    Look up at the stars in the sky
    The small light from a small star
    Is singing of a small happiness

    The scene in the ending made me tear up a bit. I can’t help but get overwhelmed by the nostalgia and warmth from those lines. It just made me think in Rikka’s case about the happy memories she has with her father, however, it also evokes a sense of distance somehow. Her singing it as she is facing the reality of her father’s death really hits me hard…

  14. It’s official. Stilts has ED song fetish.

    About the episode, I find it funny that Kumin-senpai just laid out the futon and sleep there just like that and no one is bother by it at all… guess they’re used to it by now. And I really like the confession scene, it was both touching and a bit funny at the same time – true to the chuunibyou style.

    1. So I’m curious Stilts, please give us an example of what you would consider good ED. You’re saying it’s not just the song but how they use it in the anime. My recommendation for just such an ED song and use would be Vidro Moyou, the ED for Ano Natsu de Matteru. Wonderful song and firmly integrated into each episode.

    2. Now I’m not Stilts, but I often think good ED songs are the ones that can flow into the ending scene flawlessly. Like Toradora for example, the ED themes were mostly upbeat, but somehow they still worked. Anohana was good with that as well with it’s ED theme. Oh and all of Gundam 00’s themes worked absolutely perfectly with ending scenes.

    3. Toradora, Ano Natsu de Matteru, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, and both seasons of Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. All of those took the zeitgeist of the episode and extended it into the ED, sometimes even using the ED as a partial insert song to maximize the effect. Kyoukaisen was especially good since they switched between their light-hearted and dramatic EDs based on the tone of that particular episode (ending).

      1. There were some speculation on Ano Natsu that, due to the slower pacing of the earlier episodes, the writers ran out of time, necessitating them to use the extra minutes from the ED.
        But I have to say, Ano Natsu was one of THE best shows that I have seen to blend the ED transition. The timing, ED sequence, everything.

  15. aw, they should have let the cute love last longer and started with the mother drama next week, the way they so suddenly went from the lovey dovey cute stuff to heavy drama was just…rushed. My least valued player of the week was definitely Touka who ruined the moment and cornered Yuuta in confronting Rikka, they had come a A LONG WAY! Now Yuuta has to spend time trying to mend the damage he might have done by forcing Rikka out of her world. I remember you said that it seems for once the mother was the dirt bag in an anime series, the way they showed her though they clearly trying to win the audience’s sympathy. Her expression, her behavior was that of a broken down widow rather than someone who refused to take responsibility for her children…we’ll see soon enough. But man it wasn’t need to transition to this serious drama so fast…so I disagree with Shinka who thinks what Yuuta did was the right thing.

  16. This is my first time posting here at RC and I would like to thank you Stilts, your reviews has always been fun to read. At the beginning I was expecting something like a brofist between Isshiki and Yuuta but then he just laid his head on Yuuta’s shoulder, that part killed me XD.

  17. Only random letters and punctuation marks can summarize how I felt while watching this yesterday. @_@

    I don’t even have any words to say to this episode but good job Takemoto….. Well aside from maybe blaming Ishihara for not letting them omit the ED ala Hyouka.

  18. i don’t agree that yuuta was forcing her to choose between him and her father… rather i think that it’s more of a choice between a dead family member and one who is still living, her mother. sure, if rikka continues to reject her mother this way, she may have to move away and in that sense, leave yuuta. but yuuta being the sweet guy he is, surely won’t force rikka to choose like that. it would be more along the lines of – why not forgive and treasure the family you have now, instead of holding onto to something long gone~~ ka na…

  19. This was an amazing love comedy, I love it. It was so cute, just how I would imagine it. Hopefully we get to see more of Rikka’s “normal” self. This is probably my 2nd fav. anime this season, including SAO, and Sakurasou.

  20. After all of this is done, I think I need to rewatch “True Grit” or maybe “Escape from New York” maybe some old “Rambo” or “Predator” too, just to get my testosterone level back to normal. Damn! Kyo-Ani and your moe cartoons. xP

  21. Too many diabetic-inducing sweetness this episode, followed by some well executed drama.

    The running joke of Isshiki’s inherent “gayness” has been exploited again since episode 6, but him mimicking Dekomori in resting his head on Yuuta’s shoulder just took that up another level. XD

    For Mori Summer, there’s just no getting away from her chuuni past, even her cute junior high friends were ex-chuunis themselves. At least she has friends she wants to “avoid” (I use this word lightly, as Mori Summer isn’t exactly rejecting them outright), whereas Yuuta and Rikka had none.

    Kinny Riddle
  22. For the second time (like the beach episode) I thought that the show could have potentially gave us lots of laughs/funny/comedic moments on this school festival, but it didn’t come into realization because of the sudden transition to very dramatic moments. Don’t get me wrong, I say that the transition is much better in this episode than the beach episode, but the dramatic parts could have “wait” a little bit longer. I just found it strange that Rikka’s mom will come to there school to give an obento and I say “hey this could wait” I wished I have seen more on what their club was supposed to do, but it was cut off.

  23. yuuta still bit since hug with rikka while speaking of rikka indeed she fallen for yuuta love give two alone together from train stop to e-donald food & etc.

    then rikka’s sister appear talk to yutta about she has go to italy yet rikka’s mom coming in but rikka has not talk to her mom since whatever to her father.

    so rikka’s sister ask yuuta to wake up rikka into reality then festival day in all ready yuuta meet her then wonder cue night appear yutta wake up rikka.

    then rikka sing & wham her eyes are normal.

  24. 70% of this is anime original. So in short, no, and I wouldn’t expect a second season (or rather, a reboot) either.

    ^i’m agree with Stilts,there is no need anything to exploited anymore
    the love confession and Rika realization for reality,none any materials left
    possibility of next season has been utterly sealed imo

  25. Great episode. I love the little confession. The insert song was perfect, as was the ambience set off by the rain and the lights in the distance. I love how it was arranged in such a way that both Yuuta and Rikka were portrayed as teenagers their age – Totally shy and almost at a loss when it comes to confessing their love, yet exude an overflowing joy when they realised both liked each other.

    On the matter of putting her past behind, I have to agree with Touka, yet it seems ultimately Yuuta should make the final decision as to whether to help her move on or not. While I agree with the intent, the method is obviously wrong, making the entire thing feel a little rushed for my tastes. Yuuta could have potentially made a mistake there, and I must say it was a pity that there wasn’t enough time to highlight the drama between the two new lovebirds because it would have improved the quality of the episode further. So yes, I agree Rikka needs to be given time and at the appropriate moments, be gently guided away from hiding in her chuunibyou and facing the reality that her father is truly gone.

    This issue seems a little complicated though, so I won’t harp on it longer. I enjoyed the gags here (Isshiki in particular XD) and how Shinka plays her supporting role out wonderfully.

    1. Sigh, waiting to find out what the real results are of Yuuta’s actions are going to be painful. We don’t even know what he said to her besides demanding she take off the eyepatch. The only clues we have are the reaction to his yelling, her siting with the bento and the song/eyepatch removal at the after party. Is she broken? Is her chuunibyou gone? Is Yuuta on her sh*t list with her family?

      I have to feel for Yuuta. How painful it is to feel you have to hurt the one you love because you must do what you think is right for that person. How painful to just find love and then risk it all to help that person. Whether his actions are right or wrong what he is doing is probably the hardest thing he has done in his young life.

      Related to the insert song. If they had put the final scene before the ED and replaced the ED with a rendition of the insert song, I think that would have worked well and satisfied some of the criticism over having a bouncy ED right after such a dramatic moment.

  26. This episode definitely put you on the emotional roller coaster from laughing to d’aww to profound sadness!

    Though I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t see the Evil Eye vs Dark Flame Master

  27. Some of those screenshots are pretty badly chosen. Can’t you put some more effort into it?
    Nagnagnag, but anyway, when I first watched the episode, I thought this drama was really stupid. I still think it’s a little too convenient that Touka has to leave NOW of all times. But the rest of the drama fits what has been build up so far very well and I also understand Yuuta’s conflict. But he is being selfish in his approach to help Rikka. If only that mother didn’t stop by… He already had the right idea about Rikka trying to protect something with her Chuunibyou, but when that lunchbox entered the game, he made a big mistake.

    Hurry up, Yuuta! Go and make your girl happy by any means.

    1. If you’re going to criticize, please do so about something substantive. I put a great deal of effort into my caps; I merely didn’t choose to include that particular one (the tree was nice, but I felt that Yuuta was too small, and I tend to favour character-centric caps). Feel free to impugn my work if you feel the need, but I ask that you not insult my effort, nor that of the other writers here. It helps no one, and hurts much.

      And if you were joking, you might want to make that a little bit more clear in the future. Words matter, and subtly is hard to convey without context. Just a heads up.

  28. Wish this show was 2 cours instead because I feel things are getting rushed. Glad to heart that Stilts wasn’t swayed by the drama a few episodes back, since it also failed to rile up any emotions out of me. The insert song did indeed work better with the confession scene this time, but I didn’t can’t shake off the feeling of how contrived the developments in romance and drama have been(Well, mainly the drama I guess because I’m still not moved by it).

    Also, they really should have just omitted the usual ED song and let the credits roll. It really disrupted the mood that all the drama had created beforehand.

  29. haha all this hate on ED and moood buzz killing … skip it if you hate on it so much … someone said before the lyrics are relevant its something about confusion of identity shes still confused! she doenst know what to do even tho shes doing itttt!

    1. LOL, I don’t hate the ED song itself. The ED is fine most of the time, but it just felt rather inappropriate for the end of this episode. Also, you don’t have to tell me, I did indeed skipped the ED this week xD.

      1. I completely understand why someone wouldn’t want to see the ending. But this time when it started I was still thinking of what I just saw (Rikka finishing the song), when the first close up of Dekomori’s face appeared and made me burst out laughing 🙂 That felt good. I suspected there was more left, so I watched through it to get to the final scene… It worked for me.

  30. My first thoughts was, “why don’t they include Shinka in a love triangle?” and that it wouldn’t be that great of an idea (not that it wouldn’t be bad). Turns out, I’m actually glad they didn’t include her now.

  31. The ending song is ok normally, but this episode kind of spoil the ending since Rikka sang before the ending and it is soothing song. I just skip it, but they could have done better with the ending.

      1. I’m not really sure but, some people said that Kimi ni tonari wa(Next to you) by zaq will be out in the middle of january 2013 along with the other ost that they’ve used (i.e, the train scene where they went back home, just the two of them fufufufu :3)

        I Love Kumin-Senpai
  32. OK, my head is spinning. I understand there are two episodes left – except there are really three, and we have to wait until next summer for episode 13. IF I HAVE TO SIT UNTIL NEXT SUMMER ON A CLIFF-HANGER, I’ll just DIE!!!!


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