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Mar 24

Movie March – Chuunibyou The Movie

The girls are back in town

Hello? Ah, I couldn’t see you there, over the Unseen Horizon. Yep, today’s Movie March installment is taking a journey into the delusional by covering the Chuunibyou movie. This isn’t the first Kyoto Animation movie I’ve reviewed this month, but unlike that I wasn’t really sure what to expect coming in. Would it be a film worthy of the Tyrant’s Eye and Dark Flame Master, or something best left to be annihilated by the Mjlonir Hammer?

For those whom I’ve just lost totally with that last paragraph, Chuunibyou is a show about “eighth-grader syndrome”, or that part of life some of us go through where we discard our mortal names and live in a make-believe world where we’re actually super powerful wizards or warriors or what have you. It was something I could emphasize with, though I didn’t have it nearly as bad as the kids in this show, which was part of why I enjoyed the original series so much back in 2012.

Somewhere in KyoAni they’re having a good laugh over when Gainax was a threat

And I wasn’t the only one. It went over pretty well in the anime community. While some lamented it as the usual KyoAni moemoe fare (hi K-On), others saw past that to the heart this series had. And more importantly, the actual plot threads it had. So where does this film fit in? Well, it was screened a few months before the second season started airing, acting as a recap film of the events of the first season with a few new bits tacked on at the beginning and end to help segway into that new season.

The film opens with Rikka, the leading girl, in full swing of one of her dreamworld delusions, imagining the wedding of her and Yuuta, with appearances from all the rest of the cast, before Dekomori steps in and intervenes, leading to a big fight scene which I’d call epic if KyoAni had any ability to do 3D CG whatsoever. Surprisingly, one of the leading studios in pretty can’t pull it off on the big screen and you get a dragon that jerks around.

The one time this month when stills do more justice than motion

If you’d never watched this series before and that’s lost you, then this movie probably isn’t for you. Chuunibyou’s pacing was one of its strengths, and that doesn’t translate well into a 90 minute (which when you cut out the new content is more like 70 minute) format. And that’s the biggest problem.

For people who’ve seen the series, its only really the final few scenes that’ll add anything as they segway into the second series, the rest is all done far better and in far more detail by the actual show. Heck, they skip over the biggest reveal in the entire show, and there’s a lot of speed cuts that ruin any emotional depth the original run had. Similarly, for people who’ve not experienced Chuunibyou, it throws you in at the deep end tied to a rocket-boat and blasts ever onwards, with little regard on getting you up to speed.

What this is then, is a refresher for people who saw the show and needed to be brought back up to speed ready for the next installment. So, people like me. Except we still fit into that first class of people I just talked about, so you’ll be sitting there more irked than nostalgic.

It’s not all bad though. While I may question why this really exists, and the pacing and time allocation of what is here, it still has KyoAni production values. Everything bar that dragon looks damn pretty, and the delusion scenes are still visual tour de forces. The music however, has taken a back seat. The opening and ending have nothing on the series’ Sparkling Daydream, to the point where after playing a new ending song they bring back Inside Identity and its funny just how much better than the new tunes it is.

But style can only carry you so far, and while its great to see certain scenes again, this wasn’t complicated enough of a show to really require them. It was the slow evolution of the cast as they came to terms with delusions and the reality life dealt them that made it a hit, and that just isn’t something they could pull off against the clock. If you’re a Chuunibyou fan, you need only see the final ten minutes or so as it helps set up season two (begging the question why it wasn’t in that show’s first episode as well…), and if you’re not but interested, I urge you to watch the series over this.

This has been King Slazo, Vice-Chairman of the Administration Bureau’s Welsh branch of the Unseen Horizon Suppression Committee, signing off. Death.

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The end is truly in sight now. Got a request of a movie you’d like to see featured? Or maybe you want to write an article yourself? Then get in with touch with myself, Reaf or one of the committee. Or you could tweet us, or write on the Facebook, or post on the forums! Otherwise its Sean batting clean up which means we probably won’t see a single western film…