What They Say:
In a strange turn of events, Yuuta and Rikka are forced into living together. And though this should be exciting for the two of them, it comes with a plethora of challenges. The biggest of these, however, arises when Yuuta’s childhood friend Satone Shichimiya walks back into his life. And what’s even worse is that she also has a crush on Yuuta! Not to mention that she is also stricken with the same Chuunibyou Rikka is. So not only does Rikka now have to compete for Yuuta’s heart, she also has to compete for her own delusional life against her new arch nemesis, Sophia Ring! Will Yuuta be able to preserve and advance his relationship with Rikka in the midst of all this?
Contains episodes 1-12 + OVA.
The audio quality on this DVD release was a tier above what I expected it to be. Being accustomed to Blu-rays with higher audio and visual quality, I’m always skeptical when I throw a DVD into the disc tray. This time, however, there was barely a difference at all. No audio drop outs were experienced throughout the entire series and volume stayed equalized throughout all three discs. Both Japanese audio and the new English dub are included in this release.
The DVD edition of Love, Chunibyou & Other Delusions: Heartthrob is displayed in standard definition in the typical 16×9 aspect ratio. Even though this is only standard definition, visuals are still impressive thanks to the always impressive Kyoto Animation. All 12 episodes (As well as the OVA and special features) run smoothly all the way through. Thanks to natural lighting effects, the series has a slightly nostalgic tinge while maintaining a bright and vivid color palate. Even though the colors are not as vibrant as they would be in native 1080p, they don’t morph into something unenjoyable. Character designs from season one are the same (Except for a few new haircuts) and all the new character designs are interesting and easily parallel to the consistency of first season characters. Fight scenes have a wonderful aesthetic to them, but you can’t really expect much less from Kyoto Animation. Everything is up to code in the visual department.
There isn’t really anything fancy to report as far as packaging goes for the standard DVD edition. The product comes tucked away in the clear shrink-wrap casing that was have all grown to love. The graphic on the case itself, however, is actually rather detailed and displays Satone, Rikka, and Yuuta under well-designed title text with a cute little heart added onto the end. The back of the case gives a short summary and includes all of the special features as well as few thumbnails of the series. The discs themselves, which are all different from each other, are rather impressive and vibrant. The product looks exactly how I wanted it to — nearly identical the first season’s release. Even though there is no slipcover, this DVD is suitable for an average collector.
The menu of the standard DVD edition is one of the unanimated family, meaning the only motion you are going to see during your time spent at the menu will be when you move to make a selection. Each disc’s menu is evenly split with a large box including episode titles with the other half being a character picture. Highlighting an episode gives it a bright blue highlight as well as moving a magic circle icon next to it. This makes it extremely easy to distinguish what you are selecting, a widely under-looked feature. The menu loops the opening song to the anime and changes songs upon moving to a different section (IE: Special Features).
The special features of this release include: Textless OP/ED themes, four trailers for other Sentai Filmworks shows, one OVA episode, as well as all six Chunibyou Lite! shorts. The OVA can be played in both the original Japanese audio as well as English, but the shorts are limited strictly to Japanese. There is no commentary for anything included on any disc. Disc 1 features the textless themes as well as the trailers while Disc 3 contains the OVA and all six shorts. There are no special features on Disc 2.
(Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Following the widespread success of the original Love, Chunibyou, And Other Delusions (Which I am just going to refer to as Chunibyou/Season one because who has the time to keep typing out that title?), Heartthrob/Ren seemed like an adaptation that would be impossible to avoid. Based on the 2011 light novel series by Torako with art from Nozomi Ousaka, Chunibyou caters to any fan of the slice of life or comedy genre through quick-witted dialogue and a lovable character roster. Being picked up by Kyoto Animation definitely aided it’s relevance, and the series has now become a bombshell among the anime community in both Japan and America.
Heartthrob picks up right where season one left off — with Yuuta and Rikka slowly trying to move their relationship forward. The issue is that Rikka is still extremely shy and has problems even holding his hand. But now, due to unforeseen circumstances, the couple has to move in together as Rikka’s sister is moving away. Now, there are certain issues that would typically arise from this situation that we’re just going to overlook because it’s Yuuta and Rikka we’re talking about. You’ll understand if you watched the first season. Regardless, this is a slight hurdle for the two of them but essentially allows them to move closer together on an emotional (And physical *wink*) basis. Or at least it should…
Out of nowhere, Yuuta’s childhood friend, Satone Shichimiya, waltzes back into his life. Girlfriends don’t typically like when other girls do that sort of thing and Rikka is no exception to that rule. What makes it even worse is that Satone is the girl that Yuuta owes his chunibyou to in the first place. Needless to say, Shichimiya (Who is also stuck in chunibyou limbo) becomes not only a rival in love for Rikka but a rival in the dark realm as well. So now we have sort of two different conflicts: Rikka vs. Satone/Wielder of the Wicked Eye vs. Sophia Ring. The great thing about these conflicts is that they essentially wind up fusing together as the two girls come to terms with themselves and the way they feel. It’s like a battle between good and good as opposed to good and evil. Just instead of camouflage, both sides are wearing hair ties and mini-skirts (Which is totally better, in my opinion).
Now, the great thing about this show is the steady build-up of each girl’s feelings. Satone, even though she is sort of an antagonist in a way, is just as likable as Rikka. There really is no bad guy as far as this sequel goes, and that just makes the conflict more…conflicting. It’s up to the viewer to decide how they want the love triangle to shift. And as I said, it just builds and builds until the two girls can no longer contain their feelings and erupt in emotional supernovas most likely visible from planets we haven’t even heard of. If there is anything that Heartthrob excels in when compared to its prequel, it’s the strong coming-of-age theme for nearly everyone involved — but more specifically Satone and Rikka.
There are some things that suffer in this sequel, however. Considering the majority of the characters in the Chunibyou universe have already been established and introduced to us prior to Heartthrob, there is a noticeable lack of character development present throughout this series. Now, I understand why some people will defend that and say that it isn’t really necessary for character progression to carry over, but I’m going to disagree. There are plenty of sequels out there where the main characters continue to change throughout multiple courses, why should this go against that? Rikka and Yuuta are essentially the same people they were in season one all throughout Heartthrob. Even when the conflict is resolved there isn’t much change apart from Rikka trying slightly harder to come to terms with her feelings. And I mean slightly. Like, so slightly that the ultimate unraveling of her inner struggle is kissing her damn boyfriend on the cheek. As for Yuuta…yeah, he’s still exactly the same person he was in season one.
With this lack of development in established characters, however, comes one phenomenal use of character development in that of Satone Shichimiya. Even though Rikka obviously has more camera time in Heartthrob, I’d go as far as saying that Satone is the true focal point of this series. She is the sole character whose struggle is relatable and realistic. The final arc places her in a situation that viewers dread for the entire series and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. But the tough part is you can’t even get upset about it because realistically, we all know that Yuuta and Rikka are the couple that actually belong together. This scenario — the whole love triangle ultimatum thing — is something that happens to many people throughout middle school and high school. I know I made various connections to my personal life throughout this sequel. If anything, Chuunibyou Heartthrob does a great job exemplifying that and just that.
Love, Chunibyou, and Other Delusions! Heartthrob is not as enjoyable as its first season, but it is more emotionally stirring and relatable. The comedy is bright and quirky, the characters are exquisitely memorable, and the addition of Satone Shichimiya is a much-needed wake-up call for the Chunibyou series. Though character development in pre-existing characters has been tossed on the backburner, there are still plenty of moments in Heartthrob that fans of season one would be delighted to see. I’d mark both this and the prequel down as essential viewing material for all slice-of-life fans, both new and old.
Standard Japanese Audio 2.0, Standard English Audio 2.0, English subtitles, clean OP/EDs, The Rikka Wars! OVA, Chunibyou Lite
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: C+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 25th, 2015
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: Standard 480p Anamorphic
Aspect Ratio: 16×9