Review: Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions! Ren Episode 3: Magical Devil Girl in Pursuit

Review:

My previous query about obsession with darkness still stands. It seems like every character’s delusion has something to do with “wickedness”, “evil”, “devil”, or “darkness”, and yet somehow these are supposed to be the good guys in the characters’ delusions. Or something like that. Honestly, there’s part of me that is still uncomfortable with the delusions in this show (particularly the use of the pentagram), and there’s part of me that realizes it’s all gibberish nonsense. The more you watch, the more you kind of realize that Rikka is just making things up as she goes. Whether she’s aware that she’s living in a fantasy land or whether she actually believes that her delusions are reality, I don’t know, and that goes for every character in this show who indulges in their delusions.

As for this episode, we end up with some content that I am not pleased with, and by that I mean fanservice. The episode starts with Yuta having a dream about Rikka being naked in his bed, and while it wasn’t at all explicit (from what I saw), it still garners a, “was that necessary?” reaction which, in this writer’s opinion, it wasn’t. There is also a brief flashback to that scene early on in the main episode. Beyond that, the show stays clean of any nudity or fanservice, but it is still a blemish on an otherwise clean episode.

Plot wise, we get to view the arrival of Rikka’s potential rival, a former friend (as it turns out) of Yuta’s who has finally tracked him down. Much like Rikka, this friend also suffers from delusions, and, as we find out, is the reason Yuta became delusional in the first place. In the end, it all amounts to a number of hijinks, including Yuta wearing a magical girl costume (complete with wig) and a ‘battle’ between Rikka and her new rival. One thing I’d be interested to know is if the elaborate battle scenes are supposed to be what the characters are actually envisioning, or if they’re just put there for the audience’s benefit. Either would be a viable option, but if it’s the former, then that is an amazing imagination.

What I think the delusions come down to (and forgive me if this is explored in the first season) is simply Rikka’s way of dealing with the world around her. We clearly see her get jealous, especially of the closeness of Yuta and Satone, and we see Yuta deal with it through another “contract”. It seems clear that Rikka has at least some understanding of what it means to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but their relationship always comes back to some sort of “contract” within the delusional characters that the two embody (though Yuta’s is one of reluctance). Honestly, there’s probably something deep to examine here concerning one’s inability to adapt to the world around them, and how they make up for that, but I’ll leave that for the people who specialize in this sort of thing.

In the end, if you’ve enjoyed the series thus far, then there’s probably nothing that will surprise you or put you off, except maybe the bit of fanservice. I, personally, could deal with less of the pentagrams, although I don’t know if that’s really an issue of personal conscience or if it’s a hyper-sensitivity from letting the opinions of too many other people into my head. In real life I would completely avoid such symbols, but I’m still not entirely sure what to make of them in fictional media, especially in a show where they’re not being used for anything other than delusions (in other words, that the characters aren’t actually using them for occult activity).

A Christian Perspective:

Honestly, the review probably covered this for me. There is fanservice early in the show (skip to 00:42 if you want to avoid it), and a flashback to said fanservice around the 3:25-3:30 mark. One use of vulgar language is included, and there is violence, both real and imaginary (though with this show, the imaginary violence is, of course, animated as if it were a real battle). I mention below about Rikka drawing a pentagram on Yuta’s shirt, and Yuta eventually says that it looks kind of cool (or something like that), which certainly isn’t my reaction to a pentagram. Part of me is sitting here reminding myself that Japan does not have the same perception of pentagrams as we do, but then part of me wonders if that even matters. Given the basis of the show, is it truly safe to write off their inclusion as part of the delusions of fictional characters, or should we still be wary/stay away from them?

I also mention the inclusion of crosses on the clothing simply for the fact that they are being included among the other symbols. While the two never appear side by side, it just seems out of place to suddenly have them there, and perhaps a bit irreverent. Yes, I know we don’t worship the cross, but still… of course, again, the cross probably doesn’t have the same meaning to the vast majority of Japanese people as it does to us.

Oh, and there’s the fact that Rikka now refers to herself (that is, her delusional character) as a fallen angel.

So, again, I think it comes down to a matter of personal conscience and conviction. Do these things make you feel uncomfortable? Do you feel convicted from watching it? If so, then avoid this show. As you can see, I’m sort of on the fence about it, with one part of me put off by the symbols and another part waving my hand and saying, “You’re being silly, it’s just a show about delusional kids”. I’m sure some would push for the former opinion while others would rally around the latter. As a typical high school romantic comedy, it’s quite cute and interesting (I certainly want to see how Yuta and Rikka’s relationship develops, and if Rikka ever gives up the delusions), but the symbology in the show throws me off. It’s not even the fictitious use of “magic”. I’m fine with fantasy. It’s those stupid pentagrams.

Content Guide:

Language: 1 “d*m**d”

Alcohol/Drug Use: None

Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: At the very beginning of the episode, Yuta has a dream where Rikka is over top of him, naked. From what I saw (before scrolling down until only the very bottom of the screen was showing (so I could still read the subtitles)), they don’t really show anything in depth, but it’s clear that she’s naked. If you want to avoid this altogether, just skip ahead to 00:42. Yuta also flashes back to this scene briefly, around the 3:25 – 3:30 mark

Violence: A character gets his stomach stomped on; a character is kicked off his feet; a character is kicked in the head and then knocked out of the room; a “battle” ensues between Rikka and Sophia, in which they attack each other with “magic”, as well as physical blows; two characters are chopped in the head; two more characters are chopped in the head

Blood/Gore: Blood comes out of the nose of the student kicked in the head

Other: Rikka draws a pentagram on one of Yuta’s t-shirts (Yuta refers to it as a summoning circle); the magical girl outfit that Rikka produces has a cross on one of the ribbons; Yuta cross-dresses; there is also a cross on the dress Kumin puts on; Rikka refers to herself as a fallen angel; Rikka also has a cross hanging on her skirt (although that’s been there)

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