For many romances, confession is the end game. After an emotional journey of “Do they? Don’t they?”, a protagonist bares their feelings for all to see and receives the response they’ve always wanted – reciprocation. Most journeys end there, but for Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions: Heart Throb, that is only the beginning.
Following the events of Kyoto Animation’s first season, Rikka and Yūta are officially dating; although those around them are concerned it may be in name only. Their feelings are genuine, yet hand-holding still requires mental preparation six months down the line. Behind the series’ infectious humour, Heart Throb truly captures the essence of young love; the shyness, inexperience and confusion of what you are, or should be, doing. These feelings ring especially true for Rikka, who has them exacerbated by her delusions.
While their relationship hasn’t progressed, external circumstances lead Rikka to moving in with Yūta. As warned early on however, complacency can give an interloper their opening and almost like clockwork, a rope hung over the balcony leads Rikka to meeting her new upstairs neighbour, echoing the couples’ first meeting in season one.
Satone Shichimiya went to Middle School with Yūta, inspiring his “chunibyo” delusional phase. Unlike her “Yūsha” (hero) however, she doesn’t look back with embarrassment; instead, she chirpily insists that she’ll remain a “Magical Devil Girl” forever. I first thought Shichimiya an unnecessary addition to the cast, but the gradual growth she received culminated in an emotional finale that doesn’t quite reach the highs of the first season’s, but is satisfying in its own right.
Endearing character moments are really where Heart Throb shines best and I’m not just talking about the central pair. The tumultuous relationship between Dekomori and Nibutani is given ample attention, with their flip-flopping love-hate dynamic leading to what is arguably the series’ most heart-warming moment. Honestly, these two could replace Yūta and Rikka as the leading pair and I wouldn’t complain one bit. Even Kumin receives her dues with an episode about competitive napping – yes, you read that right and it was glorious. Now I can finally tell people I’m an athlete!
Kyoto Animation’s visuals hold up to the high standard now expected of the studio, with bright and detailed backgrounds that are subtle enough to not take attention away from the characters, as can sometimes happen with the likes of ufotable and Studio Ghibli. Kazumi Ikeda’s character designs are also of particular note; Kyoto Animation have developed a reputation for cute shows, but the cute and rounded designs on show here are so wonderfully crafted that I just to pinch them.
To be honest, if someone had asked me whether Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions needed a continuation, I would have turned down the idea without a second thought. However, the execution of this sequel has convinced me that these characters still had a story worth telling and moments worth sharing. If I had to sum up Heart Throb in a word, it would be “charming”.
Title: Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions
Production: Kyoto Animation
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
Platform(s): DVD, Blu-ray
Version Reviewed: Blu-ray
Released: Out Now!
Disclosure: A copy of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions was supplied by Manga Entertainment, the distributor, for the purposes of this review.