Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions -Heart Throb- (2014)

Episode 01 – 12 + OVA

The Devil VS The Evil Eye! Ultimate battle!

Vanishment This World! The second part of Kyoto Animation’s slice of life rom-com Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions ~ Heart Throb, based on the light Japanese novel series written by Torako and illustrated by Nozomi Ōsaka, continues the misadventures of Yūta Togashi (aka the ‘Dark Flame Master’) and Rikka Takanashi (who thinks she’s a sorceress with a ‘Wicked Eye’) as they enter their second year of high school and take their relationship to the ‘next level.’

After a minor apartment bungle finds Rikka sorta homeless, the series kicks off when she’s prompted to move into the Togashi household with Yūta and his younger sisters Kuzuha and Yumeha (naturally their folks are away on business in Jakarta), thus forcing the couple to become closer as they begin to understand what being in a relationship is truly all about. Rikka’s still obsessed with ‘delusions of grandeur’ or chunibyo (as it’s called here) and Yūta is still happy enough to play along. This time around the eye-patch-wearing Rikka (who has a yellow contact over her hidden eye) is searching for a bunch of tokens, which the Dark Flame Master hid when he was younger, in order to awaken something called the Dark Flame Dragon.

Let your imagination run free!

The rest of the gang from the Far Eastern Magic Nap Society of Summer are also back for more shenanigans, including my favorite twosome, brown-haired cutie Shinka Nibutani (whose embarrassing past alter ego, mage Mori Summer, gets her into more trouble, chiefly when she’s running for student council president) and her pint-sized rival, Sanae Dekomori, who’s still constantly quarrelling with ‘fake’ Mori Summer. Sleepyhead Kumin Tsuyuri returns as well, this time getting an episode to showcase her ‘napping’ skills as the group partakes in a ‘siesta match’ against a rival club in episode 5. Rikka’s older sister Tōka also shows up for an extended cameo (and even brings along a surprise visitor) — we last saw her when she moved to Italy to work as a chef at the close of the prior season.

The only new add-on in Heart Throb is a pink-haired chunibyo from Yūta and Nibutani’s past named Satone Shichimiya, who dubs herself Sophia Ring SP Saturn VII. The spirited Shichimiya or Sophia (as she’s commonly referred to) causes a few complications for Rikka and Yūta’s relationship when she moves into the latter’s residential building. Sophia, you see, still holds a torch for our protagonist, and this tension causes Rikka to become somewhat jealous (mainly in the second half of the show). Still, Sophia’s a fun new addition and gives us more of a glimpse into Yūta’s past (or ‘Hero’ as she likes to call him). Moreover, I really liked Sophia’s overall design (I dug the love-heart-shaped sticker on her left cheek) and her playful personality (she thinks she’s a magical devil girl and wields a cutesy looking scepter when in battle), this chunibyo enthusiast adding a smidge of comic relief to the series whilst ultimately bringing Yūta and Rikka closer together.

… strike while the iron is hot!

Directed, once again, by Tatsuya Ishihara, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions ~ Heart Throb is just as bright, colorful and vibrant as its predecessor, even if it lacks the emotional punch of what came before, and isn’t quite as deep, narratively speaking. Either way, if you’ve grown to care about these characters, there’s a lot to like here — from the traditional summer Bon festival, to a light beach trip where the gang spends some time at Kumin’s aunt’s beach house, to the constant bickering between Dekomori and Nibutani (the pair even joining forces, at one point, to sniff out another Mori Summer imposter), there are enough distractions to warrant a watch.

Additionally, the fantastical fight sequences (where the girls duel with gigantic weapons) have been amped up and look even better than they did in the first go-around; I just wish there were more of these wild interludes in-between the drama. Oh, be sure to check out the very good OVA, titled The Rikka Wars (one of the better offerings here), where Rikka and Yūta get into a fiery disagreement over the contents of a USB stick, both parties being in the wrong and eventually coming to realize it — I found this situation to be quite relatable as I’m sure many of us have a tendency to become stubborn when in the midst of a silly argument.

Salty but sweet

The opening/ closing are pretty standard for a show of this ilk; ‘Voice’ by Zaq starts things off with some 360 shots of the gals accompanied by some spiffy action shots of Rikka clashing with Sophia, while the closer, ‘Van!shment Th!s World’ by Black Raison d‘être, features the girls just kinda standing around or posing — both are serviceable, if not somewhat generic.

At the end of the day, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions ~ Heart Throb does feel like a bit of an unnecessary extension to the story (the first season ended pretty perfectly if you ask me), but if you enjoyed the last 13 episodes, you’re bound to have a good time here. It helps that the animation by KyoAni is excellent and should delight those who know what to expect. Wrapping up the proceedings with another satisfying conclusion, let’s hope that the next chapter of this anime is a spin-off rather than a direct follow-up; if we’re lucky it’ll be based around the twin-tailed Dekomori and brash Nibutani — I can watch these two babes butt heads for hours!

3 / 5 – Good

Reviewed by Mr. Movie

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions -Heart Throb- is released through Madman Entertainment Australia