Recap: The club decides to throw a Christmas party at Dekomori’s house. Rikka asks Nibutani to help her put some spark back in her relationship with Yuuta, which has cooled off a bit after she returned home.
Jel’s Thoughts: As a standalone episode, this OVA was a lot of fun as it was mostly just the cast hanging out and doing what they usually do. Dekomori trolls Nibutani, Isshiki impotently tries to woo Kumin while she just wants to nap, and Yuuta and Rikka have their own playfully repressed relationship going on. I appreciated too that the production values were still top notch despite this being a bonus episode, with top notch animation during the comedy bits and the mandatory Chuunibyou battle. It really wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen in the series before, but having been away from these characters for a couple months it was kind of like getting a visit from an old friend.
The fact that nothing has really changed though is what worries me about Chuunibyou going for a second season. I suppose it’s unfair to say nothing has changed as the club members are all a bit closer now, but I was hoping we would have seen Rikka make more progress after coming to grips with her father’s death. It also doesn’t make any sense that her relationship with Yuuta would have regressed again. When we last saw them she was happily holding on to him on the back of bicycle, now they’re back to not even being able to make eye contact? Maybe we’ll see more evidence of change as time goes on, but for now it kind of feels like we’ve moved backwards.
I don’t want to get too negative just yet though, as this really was a fun little romp with characters that are a pleasure to watch. For all my complaining it was still pretty cute to see Yuuta and Rikka sneak out together, and I never grow tired of watching Dekomori trolling Nibutani. Santa Kumin was really just icing on the cake. While I was satisfied with how Chuunibyou ended and felt they should have left well enough alone, watching this reminded me how much I enjoyed the series and maybe more wouldn’t be so bad. I just hope they can keep the story moving and characters progressing more than what we’ve seen here.
Zigg’s Thoughts: This episode reminded me of everything I loved and hated about Chuunibyou. On the one hand you’ve got some of the best animation around, coupled with delightful characters, genuinely funny jokes and an all around sense of spit and polish that makes this episode go down easy as can be. The dialogue is amusing, the fanservice mild but appreciated and overall this was an enjoyable trifle, as OVAs should be.
On the other hand, we’ve still got a parade of anime cliches lining up to be exploited, and it’s even worse after the ending of the season proper. Why on earth are Yuuta and Rikka back at stage one of their relationship again, especially since they shared what was supposed to be a powerful, revelatory emotional moment again. It is of course so the show can do the standard anime romantic tease where everyone is too embarrassed to speak to each other, let alone hold hands. I’m not saying season two of the show just needs to be boning every week, but come on guys, give me some actual indication of a relationship rather than this endless limbo where nobody is satisfied. It doesn’t help that some of the chuuni antics are beginning to wear a bit thin, and I especially found Dekomori more annoying than amusing this time out, though it doesn’t help that she’s saddled with the ‘party at the rich girl’s gigantic house’ plot we’ve seen approximately one billion times before.
As ever, I’m probably being a little harsh, and i did genuinely enjoy seeing these characters back on my screen, particularly Yuuta and bestest best bro Isshiki. The delusion battle sequence was as incredible and wonderful to look at as ever, and the girls dress up montage was a cheeky bit of fun. This OVA proved to me that I’m totally OK with the idea of more Chuunibyou, but also that there are issues that have to be ironed out before season 2 goes live. I’ll have my fingers crossed.