Much like Hyouka, I have a love-hate relationship with this season’s Kyoto Animation product, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! I love it because visually it is a cornucopia of all things that power anime and make it an enjoyable medium. I don’t like it because ultimately it’s the same tiresome teenage-coming-of that Kyoto Animation has done a dozen times before…most recently in Hyouka. Its saving grace, probably, is in the two anime-only characters. Dekomori, specifically, simply made the show a lot more fun as far as her fast-pace personality and those gags for a character smarter than her pay grade.
I want to specifically talk about episode 7, because throughout this episode the dreamy Kumin-senpai reminded me how things would be like if Kyoto Animation animated The iDOLM@STER. This random post is brought to you by the seiyuu connection between Kumin and Yukiho, Azumi Asakura.
Isshiki probably did not say that Kumin looked like a Showa idol in the novel, but in the anime it is quite the trigger, at least for someone with my disposition. It means Kumin channels those old-timer (well, ’60s-80s) TV and stage personalities (I suppose the term applied to only women) who stood tall and sang, giggled gracefully as they mingle with various MCs on variety shows or visiting soldiers on tours of duty. It’s that kind of image you see inside run-down Japanese bar restrooms, on beer posters. It also personifies, today, a kind of lost past that some people long for. A lot of ink has been spilled in the recent years about Japanese idols generally, but this kind of thing is more about a class of people who conduct themselves in a certain way? It’s charming.
[This blog post is also brought to you by Animazement, an anime con that has consistently brought over Japanese voice guests that personify this idea.]
As a matter of comparison, Yukiho Hagiwara is no Showa idol. She’s more like your timid AKB48 understudy, except proficient with the shovel. Someone like Takane or Azusa is closer to that concept. Kumin, on the other hand, is slowly getting enough screen time to show off her after-school regalia, complete with a strategically placed mole. As Isshiki said, Kumin fits that ideal to a tee, right down to her white, one-piece swimsuit. How quaint, I guess.
And it is quaint. Dekomori and Rikka may be in a world to themselves, but Nibutani sets a different kind of ideal–the one I’m more used to. I’m not sure how realistic Nibutani’s attitudes are, as far as what goes for “normal,” but it seems reasonable. Here we have a totally someone from the left field in Kumin and, well, it’s kind of nice, not to mention it is entirely natural. It’s like having a visual (Rik-)kei idol next to an ’80s idol, and then you have Britney Spears-tani right here. To that end I’m not sure what the show has to say about any of this, besides that Isshiki would shave his head for any one of them.
For North Americans, you can catch Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, Ep 7 “Reminiscences… of Paradise Lost” at the AnimeNetwork, with a subscription. The translated episode title happens to describe Showa-era nostalgia too, doesn’t it?
PS. There is one strangely technical aspect about Chuu2 that I like: Nijine is the composer. I previously stumbled on his work from Hatsukoi Limited, and the same weirdly fitting music came across in Chuu2 as, well, weirdly fitting. I really like that overly sentimental take from Hatsukoi Limited but as far as I know I am the only person ever who took note from that show’s music (outside of the OP/ED and Marble connection). In this anime, well, I’ve not made up my mind yet. But I think this Nijine person really has it together, given this pretty impressive list. Impressive only because I like a lot of these songs.
PPS. Seiyuu X-COM is kind of on hiatus, partly because of the approaching holiday, and also because I have a current-season backlog that I’m trying to hack away. It is as if I’m barely getting by and keeping my face above the surface, but only to be overwhelmed on every Thursday. Losing a week of broadband internet because of Sandy certainly didn’t help. With Thanksgiving coming up hopefully that means I’ll have time to catch up for good. Or maybe I’ll drop even more shows.