Remember back when Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (Chu2koi) and Little Busters! haven’t shown yet people like me were mad at KyoAni of how they chose to animate Chu2koi and not Little Busters was looking forward to Chu2koi just because to compare it to Little Busters! and to hate KyoAni even more if it is nothing short of amazing, well, I guess KyoAni did it again, and with episode 3, I can finally conclude that KyoAni did make a wise decision to animate Chu2koi even it if means of giving LB! to J.C.Staff.
Episode 3 was a blast to watch, and will most likely be my second favorite show this week, right after the spectacular Smile Precure episode that aired this week, an episode that I loved it for almost the same reason that I like this week of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! , that one or more the characters are one of us, making us to easily relate and praise those characters and plays homage to several shows or genres of shows. While this week’s Smile Precure manages to show the passion that Yayoi has to the (super) robots genre, the whole show of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, and hence episode 3, reminds us of our younger, more foolish, more creative selves.
Growing up with Gundam
If I can define my childhood with one anime series, I would highly likely use Gundam. With Gundam Wing being one of my first Gundam shows that I watched (apparently I liked it so much that my friends got me a VHS of Mobile Suit Gundam: Soldiers of Sorrow for my birthday one year, which obviously have no relations to Gundam Wing plot wise…). And later, like most kids in Hong Kong, started building Gundam models, quickly going from High Grade to Master Grade (Perfect Grade was too expensive for a kid). My interest in Gundam later brought me to Super Robot Wars, a franchise of games that mashes dozens of mecha shows together to fight along/against each other, and hence expanded my horizons to the vast amounts of mecha shows. Recent years, while my craze for mecha has died down, but at least I still droll over the Super Robot War’s battle sequences. Throughout my adolescence, I have been a pretty big mecha fan.
In a sense, that’s why, despite my best efforts to support Akane (mostly because of her funny, friendship-orientated and hot-blooded personality, which is also usually found in some characters in mecha shows), Yayoi was really the star of episode 35 because of how much she resembled our mecha otakuness.
As for Chu2koi, while the robot references are a lot more subtle, but I still found three instances in episode 3 where it can be interpreted as a homage to the mecha genre. In the beginning of the fight between Rikka and Sanae, Sanae started singing some tone for a battle BGM, and when I hear it, I am reminded of a battle theme of some sorts from an mecha anime show. After thinking and searching a bit, I found that the closest song to Sanae’s BGM is Gunbuster March from Gunbuster, played when Gunbuster first appeared from the spaceship with it’s hand folded. With Chu2koi borrowing from Gunbuster, one of the most iconic mecha shows, just tickles the mecha otakuness in me or my past, making me scream in joy for it.
Another reference is also made by Sanae. Sanae’s weapon Lunatic Mjollnir Crusher, basically a humongous golden hammer, resembles GaoGaiGar’s Goldion Hammer (not as hard to pick up, both is a humongous golden hammer), with the Crusher referencing Goldion Hammer’s successor Goldion Crusher. While I have not watch GaoGaiGar before, but his Goldion Hammer attack is one of my favorite attacks in Super Robot Wars, and it is always a joy to see how OP it is, so I’m again very delighted to see such a mecha reference in a show that really have nothing to do with mechas. [Though you can also say how her weapon is similar to Vita's Graf Eisen from Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha because of the hammer's ability to increase in size, though Graf Eisen itself might be referenced from Goldion Hammer (links to danbooru)]
The last mecha reference is when Sanae said how she is the same age as the Second and Third Children, a blunt reference to Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Shinji Ikari (Third Child) and Asuka Langley Soryu/Shikinami (Second Child), which I think both of them are 14 years old, putting both Children at grade 8, or chuu2, and also Sanae at grade 8 if the reference is correct [inb4 Shinji is an unloved chuunibyou], which would put her right at the grade that chuunibyous tends to appear in. Again, like GaoGaiGar and Gunbusters, Evangelion is also an iconic mecha series that is loved or hated by the community (hate because of the TV end and of all the angst teenage leads that came because of it).
It was Sanae that pulled all three mecha references out eh? Maybe she is just a really big mecha otaku, and hence the best character in Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (but Pillow Senpai so cute also….)
Adolescence in general
Aside from just reminds us of the mecha otakuness inside us, the antics of Rikki and other just reminds us of our childhood and adolescence in general. While we might not have been as chuu2 as Rikki was (even if we were, we might never want to admit it), who never picked up something boring like a ruler or wooden stick and imagined it to be a sword and start playing around or start an adventure? Even I remembered that I would take my completed Gundam figures and use it to create make-believe fights between each other, usually causing my figures to snap into pieces after prolonged moving around… (o the horror). Also, Yutta’s desire to seal off his old life is something that we also experienced as we grow up and see our past as overly childish and embarrassing, something that I kinda also did when I first entered into university, only to revert it shortly after…
Chu2koi lite episode 4 also did a good job in making me remind of my past, of how confused I would be when I first entered into a supermarket, of all the choices there are, and all the unknown spices that seem as foreign as potions from my games, (FYI: I still donno what most of the spices in supermarket does) and I guess that might have been a time where I also would make up overly weird and complex explanation for stuff that I don’t understand.
On top of just being moe and having really fluid and high quality fight scenes, with the show reminding of our adolescence and serving references to our mecha otakuness, I think we have found a show that almost everyone will enjoy, and while it might be on everyone’s number 1, it will be highly rated, and APR have shown that already since the start of this season.
Off-topic: I hed that the female lead of Robotics;Notes made several Char Aznable, that should be pretty good also.