Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions
What is the “best animation?” I’d say it’s animation that is exceptionally nice to look at, but also pays a great deal of attention to the little details within the anime. Little details like body language, events in the background, etc.
What makes Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions special is that it’s very very nice to look at. There are a tremendous amount of excellent, small details. Everything from body language, to realistic ways the body moves, to facial expressions are exceptional. Even though it’s not the main focus of the anime, it has “combat” animations that put almost any action-focused anime to shame.
The anime itself is pretty silly, but covers some very deep territory. The overall theme is middle schoolers trying to figure out how to grow up in Japanese Society. There’s a lot of good character interaction and depth. What is really fascinating is how they decided to animate the Chunibyo – normally, it’s treated as something beneath notice or worthy of contempt. The anime treats it as something special by animating it as the characters see it in their minds’ eye. If you’ve ever pretended to fight with superpowers when you were a child, I’m pretty sure it looked like that.
As an aside, Chunibyo is one of those nearly impossible to translate words because it is a concept that heavily relies on culture. And yet, it isn’t confined to Japanese society. Point at an average middle-schooler acting weird or crazy, and that’s Chunibyo. If I had to try to define the word, I’d say it’s the self-obsession or self-delusion that comes about through a lack of maturity. Make no mistake, this isn’t confined to children, but it’s most easily recognizable in children.
The Eccentric Family
You know when you get to know someone and you can recognize the subtle facial expressions that let you know what mood they’re in, regardless of what they do or say? That’s exactly what the animation of The Eccentric Family does. It is full of subtleties that give you insight into the characters so that you can see beyond what is going on at the surface level, and the animation introduces it so carefully, so well, that the viewers can really feel as if they are getting to know these people. Benten may always look serene and in control, but when her eyes squint up and she gets that little line pinching up at the corners, you know she’s genuinely ticked. Yasaburo may not cry, but when he looks up so you can’t see his face, you know his heart is crushingly heavy. Even Yajiro’s simple frog’s face says so much!
The animation in The Eccentric Family may at first appear to be very simple—clean lines, almost flat style, oddly muted-yet-bright colors—but it abounds in attention to detail. Yashiro playfully hangs on his mom’s arms while his older brothers talk. Yasaburo still sits like a dude when he’s shapeshifted into a high school girl. Benten smoothly cocks her head in the most flirtatious way as she slides her fan along Yasaburo’s chin. It’s the movement that counts, here. It’s the little subtleties and details that make you sit up, take notice, back up the scene to watch it again, and get that satisfaction of both being impressed and really enjoying the realistic touches that are throughout this anime.
On a final note, the backgrounds and landscapes for this show are wonderfully gorgeous, as well. They combine great detail with almost a flat impressionism to create images that invoke a feeling of what and where they are, rather than tell you precisely. If you’ve been to Kyoto, you will recognize the landmarks. If you’ve seen sakura (cherry blossoms), you are swept into the feeling that their beauty inspires. That’s what makes the backgrounds here truly special.
Zenko signing off.