Friday’s Feature: Awakening the Dreamer Inside

Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions - Rikka

Warning: The post this week is just a little bit of a ramble. It does get to a point but my apologies.

There’s a reason so many people love Rikka Takanashi as a character. It isn’t just that she’s a moe high school character with an eye patch and a cute parasol (making her perfect for cosplay). It isn’t that she is a lead character in a coming of age/romance story where she gets her happy ending. Admittedly, both of these traits make her pretty appealing.


No, what draws viewers to Rikka is that she is someone who has fully unleashed her inner dreamer. She is someone who is firmly rejected a reality she dislikes and is actively trying to shape a world where she feels she can be who she wants to be. It might seem selfish for her to simply push those who are worried about her away and it might seem childish. It might also seem at first glance that this is Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions is about putting aside your childhood dreams and moving on, but I think a lot of viewers get a very different impression from the story.

Certainly Rikka does tone down her behaviour as she grows closer to Yuuta Togashi in the story. For a small portion of the story, Rikka does even completely reject her delusions in favour of experiencing ‘normal’. However, it is clear by the way the story presents this section with Rikka looking abjectly miserable and everything that made her sparkle essentially sucked out, and Yuuta feeling incredibly guilty  for being the one responsible for guiding her to being ‘normal’ even though it was who she was that caught his attention, that this story doesn’t endorse surrendering to reality.

Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions

Instead, this anime seems to firmly ask the audience to question the expectations of normal even while ending up with a compromised ending where the characters learn more to curb their delusions to within a certain acceptable boundary. And a lot of that resonates with people in the audience.

People want to feel like they are being ‘true’ to themselves. They don’t want to feel like they’ve given in to society or had to compromise on who they are. At the same time, it is an essential life skill to learn how to get along with others and live in the world. However, I feel this show makes us wonder if some of us have surrendered too much and given up too much of who we were in the process of finding some solid ground to stand on.


It is something I’ve been thinking about lately as I go about my day. How much of what I do and say exists only because it needs to? How many of my choices are made because to make another choice would be to cause a disruption to others? And do I still see myself when I look in the mirror?

I’m not actually having an identity crisis mind you. Just wondering if somewhere along the line my inner dreamer got beaten over the head by practicality, rationality, and a need to just get on with things. And I don’t dislike my practical and rational side that allow me to get on with things. These are traits that help me to set a course based on what I want to achieve and find the path to get there. Without these very sensible traits it wouldn’t matter what dream I conjured up I would never get closer to achieving it.

And that’s the pure beauty of Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions. Rikka has taken on her persona and has continued for a fair length of time searching for the Unseen Horizon but she herself knows she can’t get there. She has no clear idea of what it is or where it is or how to accomplish her goal or what comes after. It is Yuuta, who stands with what foot firmly in reality and utterly refusing to move and the other foot hovering over the line, that manages to plot the course. Rikka is the dreamer, the one who determined the destination, but it is Yuuta who takes them there.


At the same time, Yuuta couldn’t go anywhere on his own because he was essentially treading water. He had a single goal of becoming normal and then just wanted to maintain a status quo. He was completely without a destination which is why Rikka’s will completely overwhelmed him.

The perfect balance of dreams and reality with the understanding that without dreams there is no destination in mind. Without a destination actions simply keep us bobbing along. However, without a firm grip on reality, we can’t reach the places we dream about.


I love that anime makes me consider my own life and the choices I make. I love the way it makes me question who I am and who I want to be. Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions is an anime that really hit home for me and at the centre of it all is this questions about whether or not we should find our normal or whether we should embrace our dreams. Quite happily the story finds the happy middle ground and that seems like pretty solid advice to me.

Still, I’d love to know what your thoughts are on the show and the idea so please leave me a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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Friday’s Feature: Reality in Romance

Victor - Yuri on Ice

With the Spring 2017 anime season wrapping up it is inevitable that a lot of people would be reviewing and discussing Tsuki ga Kirei. Overwhelmingly the reviews are positive and what I keep hearing again and again is how sweet the romance is, how pure it is, and how relatable and real it feels. It was a show I dropped early on but I’ve been watching double episodes over the last week to try to finish it and while I personally still find it incredibly slow moving I can also see some of the reasons why it has been held in such high regard by others, and yet it made me think about what I actually want from a romance story.

I’d like to put in here that I am not trying to actually review or critique the show.


And that’s the key word. It is a story. Fiction. The whole get swept away and dream of everything working out happily ever after with the guy/girl/whatever of your dreams. While grounding the whole thing in reality might work for some people and the relatablility might help them engage with the story, for me Tsuki ga Kirei misses the mark. It is sweet that these two young people are engaged in a first romance and learning what that means and how to deal. It’s actually kind of adorable. But as far as a story goes it seems lacking to me.

When tension is inserted into the plot through flat phone batteries, confiscated phones, petty jealousy, third wheels, and the like it really feels like someone remembered it was supposed to be a story and that in the last twenty minutes nothing has happened other than the cute girl avoided eye contact with the reasonable looking boy again. That might seem like a harsh evaluation and certainly if you are more caught up with the characters you might not agree, but while watching the episodes I am openly checking the time in almost three minute intervals just to make sure it hasn’t stopped entirely. Plus, they were pushing the credibility of reality when they had a teenage girl let her phone go flat when she knew he was likely to message her.

But again, this is all personal preference. I don’t like the romance in Tsuki ga Kirei because it is, for the most part, very believable and (for lack of better words) kind of dull. Guy meets girl, they like each other, have a few minor hiccups on their journey and continue on (I haven’t got to the end yet so don’t know if I have a happily ever after awaiting me or not). Essentially, it is so real that it feels like I should just sit in a shopping centre foodcourt and watch it unfold around me rather than watching the show.


Say, I Love You was another romance that I had difficulty enjoying. Despite a genuine fondness for the main character, I found the story slow moving and the character interactions mostly flat. The only reason I watched it more than once was a friend of mine quite liked the series. Admittedly, the third time I watched it through I started to really like it and I ended up buying it on DVD so all and all it couldn’t have been that bad. Essentially it depicted fairly believable high schoolers (other than the model who you have to admit was not a typical student even if her social networking issues were pretty relatable) engaging in relationships that were plagued by the usual issues of miscommunications, jealousy, and pettiness.

So what does it take for me to get into a romance?

Basically the romance needs to be one part of a bigger story. I need to feel that the interactions are moving somewhere and that there is a sense of movement in the plot and with the characters. It doesn’t hurt if the romance takes on a more fairy tale point of view either. There’s something to be said for sweet romances where people get swept off their feet and find their true love. It may not be ‘realistic’ but it makes for grandiose stories with characters I can get behind and fall in love with, at least for the duration of the show.


This is where I think Yuri on Ice really sold itself to me. It had Yuri’s story as an ice skater and the romance was an integral part of that story. I could relate to the ups and downs and misunderstandings in their relationship and yet it moved along quickly and had that sweeping feeling of things just moving forward inexorably to a predetermined ending. Basically it felt like a story infused with romance rather than a series of events between two characters that might end up with them being romantically intertwined. I know from reading some reviews of Yuri on Ice, that some viewers didn’t really relate to Victor and Yuri’s romance and felt it was too easy, too rushed, too forced, or too one sided, and that’s where personal preferences come in and probably the reason there are so many different kinds of romance story out there.

We all like a good romance (even those people who insist they don’t will have that one story that makes them smile/cry every time they watch it). For me though, I think I’d like my romance a little less realistic and a little more fantastical. I can see reality already so what I’m looking for in a story is something that has some connection to reality but goes that little bit further to bring something truly special or memorable to the table.

That said, I am going to finish watching Tsuki ga Kirei. Who knows, by the time I get to the end I might have even learned to love it. But I’m turning it over to you and asking you how you like your romance? Do you prefer the realistic, the sweet, the spicy, the funny, the dramatic, or some completely different style of romance altogether? I’d love to know.

Thanks for reading.

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Karandi James.


Shelter Review – 6 Minutes Long But Fairly Compelling

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Shelter Overview:

6 minutes about a girl who the write up tells me is named Rin who is 17 who lives in a simulated world.

Shelter Review:

If this had been an advertisement for a table or virtual reality and a product name had come up at the end I probably wouldn’t have been surprised. Apparently it is meant to be a music video (or so says Facebook, six thousand other blog posts, and Twitter – though interestingly enough the description of the video on Crunchyroll doesn’t mention that).

Other than the initial woe is me dialogue (at least she doesn’t say she’s an ordinary girl but she does do the insist-I’m-not-lonely thing), the anime is silent until the end except for the music that plays over a montage of what is at first an ever changing virtual world controlled by the girl’s tablet and then her memories which reveal where she is and how she got there. It’s actually beautiful to watch and they do build a fairly emotional narrative despite the short time frame and large absence of dialogue. Worth 6 minutes of your time. Probably not worth the flames and words that people are throwing around arguing whether or not this is anime.

Thinks Shelter is alright but not brilliant.

Shelter is available on Crunchyroll.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Feature: A little too real (or why I’m putting Free on hold)

free promotional image 1

A little while back I started watching Free. It was an anime that I’d heard all the hype about and utterly and completely ignored. Good looking guys swimming. Whatever. Anyway, given over the last 12 months I finally started giving sports anime a go, and given I’ve found quite a few anime that didn’t normally fit into my preconceived notion of their genre, I finally decided to give Free a look. Unfortunately, I won’t be finishing Free this year so I won’t be reviewing it as a series, but I kind of felt I needed to explain why. So not so much a feature today as a brief explanation.

I’ve gotten to episode 6 and this is where I’m leaving this series for the time being. And it isn’t because it hasn’t been interesting or engaging. In fact, I’ve really loved the episodes I’ve watched. The characters are actually surprisingly interesting and have a lot more depth than I would have assumed from anything I’d seen prior to watching the series.

The story is pretty basic but it is the characters driving the show. It’s pretty to look at (and I’m not just talking about the guys) and the music is fantastically well suited to the show. All of this means that if you were sitting on the fence about watching Free, I’d recommend at least giving it a go. Maybe it won’t grab you but it certainly isn’t the vapid viewing experience I assumed I was getting into.

So why am I putting Free on hold?

My reason for putting this on hold is personal. I have issues with water and particularly with drowning. Normally, this doesn’t interfere with my viewing experience.


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Watch Another. Characters go to the beach and start messing around. It’s a horror anime and nobody died yet that episode. Of course this was going to end tragically. The biggest surprise in that sequence was that it wasn’t actually a drowning. That sort of anime doesn’t try to get you emotionally invested in the characters and the deaths are sensationalized to the point where you don’t really feel it as a death. No issues watching that.

Going into Free, particularly once I realised there was a character who couldn’t swim at first, I expected them to have a near drowning encounter. I kind of expected this to be quasi-dramatic and then maybe we’d get the start of a mouth to mouth sequence that would lead us into a typical anime moment of blushing or whatever. I expected that and I expected to be just fine with it when it happened.

Then they go to the ocean. Taking a character who has only just learned to swim into the ocean? Right. Now I’m concerned.

And then that character chooses to go in alone, at night.

While I like that anime can given an emotional response, anxiety is not the emotion I’m really looking for. I did get through the sequence and I did watch the next episode just to confirm that all the characters are in fact fine, but right now every time I think about finishing series I just kind of see him going under, the first rescuer freezing, the others coming in, and it all just is too much for me.

I’m going to give Free some credit for actually making me care about the characters and their situation enough that nearly drowning someone had that much impact on me. And I am going to go back and finish this eventually. But for now, I’m giving myself space from it so I’ll probably pick it up again next year sometime.

Not much of a feature, sorry, but I do have to ask: Were there any anime that hit too close for you?

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James