Chuunibyou Ren finale, and a digression about my visit to Kyoto

You may remember that I was going sightseeing in Kyoto. And I did. I strongly recommend it. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes, because you’ll do a lot of walking. Highlights included Maruyama Park, the old-fashioned Higashiyama district next door to it, and the Fushimi Inari shrine. My calves are still complaining about that last one. The tower and the Manga Museum are both worth a look, and you could get lost in the train station itself. I did, more than once.

And naturally, I had to stop here:

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Six stops, I believe down the JR Nara line, at Kohata station, right across the street. I took a few photos of the building and proceeded to the nearby store, where they were promoting the Tamako Love Story movie and the next season of Free!. In fact, looking at the items in that tiny store gave you some idea of how the revenue is shaping up for them. There was still plenty of K-ON! merchandise to be found, trinkets, posters, art books, etc.. Still a good deal of Haruhi stuff, too. Even a couple pictures from Air and Kanon. But I was looking for Hyouka merchandise, preferably an art book, but all they had were a few postcard books and the like, probably the last of the stock (though I did score Chitandra and Ibara USB sticks). There was almost nothing from Nichijou at all …

All the while I was wondering what amazing work was being done at that moment on the two floors upstairs and back at the main office. Oh, that’s right: Tamako Love story and Free!.

So they just wrapped up a sequel, are about to release a sequel film and then air another sequel. Well, they do have something coming up farther down, but there’s no doubt that Kyoto Animation is in a holding pattern right now. For the past year, they have brought out well-crafted, clever works that display their trademark smart direction and top-of-the-line animation, and they’ve all been forgettable. I know Kyoani is not a company that takes risks, but they’ve brought out work that has surprised people before. The first season of Chuunibyou was the last really fresh work they did. Which leads me to the finale of season two.

They were going to kiss, but ...
They were going to kiss, but …

There was no reason for Chuunibyou Ren. In the final episode, what happens? We expected Yuuta and Rikka to kiss, you know, on the lips, if only to get the other girls to shut up. There was more of this nonsense talk about the dark flame dragon being loosed. And what happens? Nothing. And that’s fine with them. I don’t mind these two shy adolescents not rushing in their relationship, but they covered this same ground earlier in the series. I feel almost insulted. If you’re going to have a sequel, have some kind of story! And don’t set up a good story arc and cop out of it by having all the characters act reasonably! Satone looked like a legitimate threat to the relationship at first, but in the end she was just too damn nice to interfere. So the show had nothing but sideshows like the Dekomori/Fake Mori Summer feud. But they had no idea what to do with Kumin, and Isshiki became so irrelevant that his running gag was that no one recognized him. Afraid to take the possible stories further, like Yuuta and Rikka are afraid to even kiss, the show ran out of steam long before the season did.

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Well, I’ll probably watch whatever Kyoani puts out, because I admire their productions, and I’ll root for Amagi Brilliant Park whenever it comes out.

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5 thoughts on “Chuunibyou Ren finale, and a digression about my visit to Kyoto

    • Oddly, while googling “visit kyoto animation” brings up a couple of useful sites right off that bat, no such thing happens for shaft. Either that says something about the fanbase, or maybe Shaft is more secretive and work out of places dilapidated old buildings like you see in Baemonogatari.

  1. I both agree and disagree on Ren. I liked that Satone didn’t interfere, and that the whole point of her character was not to harem-ize or to create a love-triangle conflict, but to show heartbreak without interfering with Rikka and Yuuta’s development. The only problem is that neither of them did any growing – Yuuta stayed at the level he was at the close of the previous season (willing to make room for a little Chuunibyou without falling apart) and Rikka was just… well… Rikka. But it’s also important to point out that two characters setting their own pace without neither pressuring the other is a pretty refreshing concept as well.

    But yeah, overall, it was a season that could have been three or four extra episodes tacked on to season one instead of an independent entity.

    I’m bummed that there was no Hyouka stuff at KyoAni, though! That has to be their most underrated series ever. It needs more love (and a US release).

    • I would have been find with keeping Satone nice and decent but somehow creating some triangle-conflict anyway. Well, I guess she sort of did that as far as Rikka’s concerned. I agree that Rikka didn’t show any growth, that is, if you mean she doesn’t drop any of her delusions. It occurs to me now that the romance with Yuuta might be prolonging her condition, that is, she found another emotional issue (LUV!) that she can’t handle, and the Tyrant’s Eye is the only way she can deal with it. I hope she learns some better ways to cope with her emotions, but it wouldn’t be as fun to watch, I guess.

      There WERE a few Hyouka things, just not many. That show looked so good I wanted an artbook or something, but no …1

  2. Even if Rikka didn’t drop her delusions, if she found a coping mechanism that allowed for more normal, independent functioning, that would be great (Satone’s done it, so why can’t she?). Yuuta can’t be parent and boyfriend all at once. It’s too much of a mess.

    I guess an artbook does exist (http://www.ebay.ca/itm/JAPAN-Hyouka-Art-book-Meibamen-Sengashuu-vol-1-/370815012687), but it didn’t seem as though the show picked up enough for them to keep it in production. Too bad, because I agree – it was a BEAUTIFUL show! KyoAni really knows how to make a scene shine.

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