Dolphin Ring Striker 「ドルフィンストライカー」
Chuunibyou is soooo sweeet! Ok I’m being biased because I love watching hatsukoi 初恋 (first love) anime. I’m a sucker for the awkwardness and shy behaviour that only comes from being in love for the first time. But remember, our chuuni couple here aren’t like normal people. In fact as I mentioned in last week’s review and as echoed by Mori-sama (Shinka), Yuuta and Rikka behave more like father and daughter grandpa and grandchild! He cooks for her, does the laundry and limits her shopping when they go get groceries together! Yet after 6 months, they’ve not even held hands! Just what is going on???
Herein comes busybody Shinka who leads Kumin-senpai (I’m going to start making notes of her puns now because they’re actually quite good for learning Japanese lol) and Dekomori as they go on a quest to spy on the Tyrant Eye and Dark Flame Master’s love pact in action. Shinka takes on the role of representative fangirl, much as what Gou-chan did in Free! (KyoAni’s Summer 2013 fangirl fanservice extravaganza~) by putting a representative voice of the female watching population, into the show. As she said, how can a boyfriend and girlfriend, OF THAT AGE, shacking up together, NOT be lovey-dovey and up to something less than innocent puppy love? Granted Yuuta did spank Rikka for spending money too carefreely, they’ve not had anything physical since Christmas (Season 1 Episode 13 OVA), which is just. not. normal. Not that the spanking was normal either if you think about it…
Love expert (almost every class had one right?) Kazari Kannagi (Shirakawa Manami) says it best with the age old adage, “We may look calm, but every girl waits for the boy to make the first move’. Shinka roped in classmate Kannagi to help Yuuta set up a date with Rikka because especially for chuunibyou Rikka, ‘You need to coax her out of her shell’. Yuuta may know how to communicate and live with Rikka by coaxing her and playing along but when it comes to love and being her boyfriend, he is quite clueless about what methods to use, this being a more-challenging-than-usual kind of first love. So while it’s forgivable that they’ve not exactly moved into true BGR territory, 6 months really is dragging things a bit Yuuta!
Episode 02 was completely normal (as normal as chuunibyou sufferers get; no mock-battles and special effects) and the banter/conversation between Yuuta and Rikka was simply endearing and lovely to watch – I want more! From combining their dark powers to make the wind turbines spin to finally holding hands throughout most of their first proper date at the aquarium (Yuuta prepared the bento lunch of course), the narrative was spot-on romantic without the cheese, making sure to always stay focused on Yuuta and Rikka regardless of who’s angle we were watching them at, whilst keeping to the overriding theme of everyone’s chuunibyou. It was so cute watching Rikka’s confession at being very confused about what normal lovers and a normal girlfriend should do, having not understood the gibberish she’d read on the Internet (bless Uchida Maaya’s 照れ tere voice acting, she’s really starting to grow on me), I’d burst out laughing too like Yuuta did. And the Dark Flame Master is right about this love pact of theirs – it’s not a lover’s pact of the mundane. Being a lover’s pact of the Tyrant Eye, they need not feel obligated to do by the so-called conventional wisdom of commoners. The Tyrant Eye and Dark Flame Master can carry on their pact in their own way precisely because they are the dark masters. And watching this scene finally let me make sense of what I’ve had a nagging feeling all along about – their chunnibyou’s not just a means of escapism, it’s also a coping mechanism for their awkward and shy interactions of being in a relationship and it works brilliantly for both of them!
Yuuta’s slowly becoming my choice anime boyfriend-of-the-year (yes this is in spite of 2014 having just started) but as Mori-sama says (quoting Kannagi), if lovers keep putting things off between them, it gives someone else the chance to interfere. We see just that very person towards the end of the show as she made her entrance onto Yuuta’s veranda in the exact same fashion Rikka did a year ago. Will the Dark Flame Master remain loyal to the Tyrant Eye? Or fall under the magic spell cast by their new neighbour?
P.S: Welcome back Mori-sama and very briefly, Makoto sans hair again :)
Kumin-senpai’s pun of the week: Shacking up isn’t all that shocking. (Kudos to the subbers for their efforts too!)