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Score: 8.20/10

Synopsis

Although already a third-year high school student, Rikka Takanashi remains a chuunibyou—a "disease" that causes people to fantasize about themselves and their surroundings. Her relationship with Yuuta Togashi has also gone unchanged for the past six months, and with entrance exams right around the corner, both of them strive to enroll at the same college. However, Tooka—Rikka's elder sister—decides to take Rikka to Italy as she has found a stable job there. This unforeseen turn of events causes a commotion between the couple as neither of them want to be separated from each other. Desperate for ideas, they seek assistance from their friends, and after a brief conversation, they come up with a plan—to elope. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Movie: Take On Me is a sensational drama featuring the couple—Yuuta and Rikka—as they journey across Japan. The two attempt to prevent Rikka from being taken to Italy, but will they be able to succeed in doing so? [Written by MAL Rewrite]

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Take On Me is what the TV anime’s second season should have been. The film finally brings closure to Yuta and Rikka’s stagnant relationship while reinforcing the core themes of the series. Unfortunately, this also means that, despite having an all-new story, this film essentially rehashes the same conflict from the second season, only with better writing. The fact that we’ve seen these story beats before diminishes their impact, no matter how well they stand alone.

Take On Me begins with Rikka up to her usual antics. She’s in her third year of high school now, but not only does she still have chunibyo, she and Yuta still haven’t even kissed. This alone strains credibility, but fortunately the film immediately identifies this as a problem to be fixed. Rikka and Yuta go on a journey around Japan together, knowing that they’re escaping from impending reality, but wanting to maintain their current relationship until the end. Fans who have been waiting to see progress between these two will probably come out of the film feeling satisfied.

It is starting to get tiresome, however, to see this series revolve around the same “will they or won’t they?” romance in its third instalment. Rikka and Yuta may be an official couple, but if anything, they’ve gone backwards since the first season. By this stage, Rikka has some prosaic issues that she ought to be worrying about—like whether she can pass her entrance exams—but her only moments of introspection show her worrying about whether falling more in love with Yuta will make her “lose” her powers. This is the exact same conflict that was central to the second season. This time, at least, Take On Me allows Rikka and Yuta to progress their romance, but the issues of Rikka’s grades and future are never brought up past the beginning of the film. It’s a sweet resolution, yes, but it’s frustrating to watch these kids work through the same basic issues every time.

On the other hand, it’s not the destination that matters so much as the journey. As a road trip story, Take On Me encapsulates that idea perfectly. Fans of Kyoto Animation shows will get an extra kick out this film, as the characters visit the locations shown in Tamako Market, Sound! Euphonium, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Clannad, and other familiar series. Not only do these various locations provide fodder for some amusing sight gags and referential humor, it also gives the characters a chance to breathe outside the school setting. The gags feel fresh here; it’s especially funny to see Nibutani and Dekomori take on the role of the ineffectual pursuers. Their hilarious frenemy dynamic definitely steals the show more than once.

I should note that not every character gets a chance to shine in this film. Kumin-senpai has apparently graduated but still hangs around the school anyway, but this setup is a bit of a waste since she barely contributes to the plot in any meaningful way. Shichimiya, meanwhile, is stuck playing the same role she had in the second season—the friendly antagonist who pushes Rikka to make an important choice. To be fair, the series has always had a problem with utilizing all of its characters effectively, but I do wish Kumin and Shichimiya could have more chances to show off their quirks in this film.

It’s also a bit disappointing that the production values aren’t quite as polished as they could be. The film by no means looks bad—this is a Kyoto Animation production we’re talking about—but there were some noticeable imperfections with the compositing in particular. 3D objects like vehicles stood out against the 2D backgrounds more than they usually do for a Kyoto Animation production. I also couldn’t help but notice that the crowd scenes didn’t have as many background characters drawn in them as usual. The animation itself was on par with the TV anime series, which is to say it was full of energy and stylistic flourishes, but for a cinematic feature, Take On Me was a bit of a letdown.

In short, Take On Me is the quintessential Chunibyo experience: it captures the charms of the TV series but also the flaws. On a thematic level, the series has already said everything it needed to say in the first season; everything since has been an extended encore. The film functions best as fanservice, not just for Chunibyo fans, but for anyone who has ever loved a Kyoto Animation production. Take On Me is at its most fun when its jokes veer off the plot’s beaten track to revel in the countless Easter eggs aimed at KyoAni fans. I won’t spoil these, as spotting them for yourself is half the fun, but after watching the film I’ve started to think that maybe the world is ready for a Kyoto Animation extended universe saga.

Overall, I recommend Take On Me only for Kyoto Animation fans who weren’t too jaded by the second season of the Chunibyo TV series. Actually, you can probably understand the film without watching the second season. Only Shichimiya was a new development in that season, and her role is pretty much the same in the film anyway. Also, do watch this film if you’re a fan of the shipping, as it absolutely does deliver by the end. Otherwise, my general recommendation for Chunibyo is to stick to the first season of the TV series—it’s the best telling of the same story.

Acting so cute all the time that weaker men puke. Doing weird klutz stuff at least once a minute. Generating a weird, untranslatable sound effect when ever anything happens. And showing any traces of personality is automatically out of character. The life of a moeblob is certainly not the easiest, but gladly we have friends, family, school club and the will to do the things we want. This movie is practically identical to the anime series, offering new content and pushing the romance onward. Fans and haters will hold similar thoughts about this sequel for the given reason. Those who thought Tamako Love Story is the best conclusion KyoAni has ever given, will find Take On Me give them a gentle bitchslap in the face. Our story is amazing. The daily life of Rikka and Yuuta where we run from place to another in absolutely ridiculous tempo. The movie is practically a presentation of what side-tracking means. Much like the mind of a child, the focus changes from one play to another. Our characters constantly getting interested from new things and interacting with the newly discovered, only to find something better moments later. This type of ADHD narrative holds some beauty for sure. My favorite scene was the one where Rikka was supposed to study, but wore night goggles and ate cookies instead. If this is not how you life properly then I don't know what is. My favorite meme was Rikka failing to enter Mordor. As a person who also has found automatic doors to be my enemies, I can totally identify. My favorite explanation was Rikka's take on motion sickness. It's the devil! There are 4 core flaws here that all made me drop my score by one: - No date at a zoo arc - No one drinks dr. Peter - Deko's hair rolls didn't K.O anyone - They didn't use the song 'Take On Me' by a-ha even once - When Rikka brought destruction upon earth, there were no casualties - The movie contained direct to indirect kisses in 5:1 ratio which is way too low - The amount of Yuuta and Rikka holding hands totaled mere 16 minutes. What travesty. I started from 11 because this thing is beyond perfect by default, and I refuse to count because math is for nerds. I recommend this movie to intellectual people as there was a symbolic artwork in the background, The Creation of Adam. There were also countless eggies from earlier KyoAni shows, such as the stuffed animal being a character (Talking Pimp-Bird-san) from Tamako Market. I have decided to release my review with a score of a 10/10 to prove that I, indeed, understood these references. Those who don't think this review is amazing most likely didn't yet see the movie, or my references failed. Either way, this movie is beyond happy and I especially recommend this to people who aren't because you will be after watching it.

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