# Magic and Progress (Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai!) I finished *Chūnibyō* over Christmas, and I hope I won't offend too many people by saying it felt particularly relevant as an ex-LARPer. I've also just finished reading Grant Morrison's *Supergods*, and it could have been written about this series - or even by one of the *Chūnibyō* characters. Humanity is the storytelling ape; distinguished from our relatives more than anything else by our ability to connect events into narratives - or form new ones out of whole cloth. But if Morrison is to be believed, even our earliest art betrays a tension between story and reality. Cave paintings were part history, part fantasy, and part ritual - an attempt to control our reality by depicting that which we want to happen. *Chūnibyō* swerves back and forth on whether fantasy is a good thing. At first, female lead Rikka seems to have it all worked out; she enjoys her harmless games, as do those around her; it's the stodgy normals Yuuta (male lead) and Shinka who have a problem. If they could only overcome their foolish embarassment, they too could gain magical powers and save the world. But gradually we see the darker side, the holes in Rikka's life that lead her here. The implications make me slightly uncomfortable - I met many well-adjusted people at Cambridge who nevertheless enjoyed dressing up and hitting each other with sticks at the weekend (actually that could describe a number of different circles). The normal life needs to make a case for itself - I've been a vociferous defender of normality in lifehacker circles, but normal adult life is actually pretty fun; not so high-school, at least not for me. There's something greatly admirable about Rikka because she's made her life so much more meaningful than those of her peers, even if that meaning is illusory. The show teases us with its pacing, following the line of its argument; early episodes are nothing more than playing around, but as the show starts taking Rikka's delusiouns seriously so do the characters. As everything comes together for the school festival they no longer seem like kids playing - we see Yuuta for the first time in his "Dark Flame Master" gear, and it actually looks pretty damn good. Shinka is running around recruiting fiercely for the club, putting as much effort into their performance as a film director. Even Rikka has managed to step it up a notch, pulling together a truly stunning costume; nervous even to talk to Yuuta for fear of breaking kayfabe. And then, of course, the show twists off once again, running in another direction entirely, but I won't spoil that here. I won't say you have to watch *Chūnibyō*; it ultimately does nothing you can't find elsewhere. But it tells a beautifully well-paced story, the characters are likeable (and just about escape the shadow of *Haruhi*), and it's all put together with KyoAni's trademark beauty and charm. This is not a great show, but it's a very good one. [Home](/) <div id="disqus_thread"></div> comments powered by Disqus