This rather unwieldy-titled movie brings us to the conclusion of the Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions saga, and draws everything nicely to a close, at least as far as Rikka and Yuta’s relationship is concerned. This is their final year of school and they are taking their first tentative steps into adulthood, but what does that mean for somebody like Rikka? She is still in the grip of her chunibyo and she realises that she must now face a decision. How can she fit into the adult world, and if she tries to change then what does that mean for her relationship with Yuta? Who does he love? Rikka, or the chunibyo persona she has created?
The second series was a frustrating exercise in treading water with their relationship, and at last it’s time to thrash out those kinds of issues. Up to this point, Rikka and Yuta haven’t even kissed, so just what is the nature of their relationship? What is holding Rikka back? These problems are tackled against a backdrop of a runaway storyline. Rikka’s sister wants her to move to Italy. Rikka and Yuta want to stay together, so they go on the run. The resolution to this revolves around a misunderstanding that stretches credulity to its limit, but it is really just an excuse to give them a reason to progress their relationship, and create some funny situations in the process, with their friends in hot pursuit, being blackmailed by Rikka’s sister. Yuta’s unwavering devotion to Rikka has been adorable and, in perhaps his loveliest moment of maturity beyond his years, he makes the very astute decision to visit Rikka’s mother. I was rooting for him. And that’s one of the things that has made this whole series so great: you can’t help but love these characters and want things to turn out well for them.
One problem Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions has always had is never quite knowing what to do with the ensemble cast. The one big disappointment of this film for me is that this problem actually gets worse. Dekomori and Nibutani at least get plenty to do, and they are very funny, but once again a potential relationship between them is teased and comes to nothing. The series has been a little too focussed on Yuta and Rikka, at the expense of the other characters, who have never actually progressed from what they were when it all started. They are brilliant, funny characters, who deserved better. Kumin is pretty much redundant throughout, as is Satone. Despite being a much better character than Kumin, and one who actually had an original purpose, that purpose has long since dissolved, leaving her clinging on to the ensemble cast of characters as a failed love-triangle hanger-on. They all have their moments, but it’s a bit of a shame that two of the six characters have ended up as comic relief, and two with virtually nothing to do other than cheer on the Rikka/Yuta relationship. For Satone there is an air of regret to that, but the writer has no answers to offer.
In the end, it’s all nicely upbeat though, if a little silly. But maybe “a little silly” is exactly what we needed to conclude this series. After all, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions always had one important message to deliver: there’s nothing wrong with being a little bit silly in life. Be yourself. RP
Read next in the Junkyard… Love, Chunibyo & Christmas