Hello all, long time no post! Like my first post (Anime Like The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa?) I’m back to shamelessly ask people to do what I can’t seem to achieve with Google again!
I’ve been watching Love, Chuunibyou, & Other Delusions recently, and it’s nice lighthearted fun and all, but I actually had a slightly weird desire for recommendations after watching it…
For people who aren’t familiar, it’s very broadly a romantic comedy about teenagers who pretend they’re various types of ridiculous fantasy characters (like “the Wicked Lord Shingan” or “Dark Flame Master”). There are some really fun sequences where they imagine having dramatic magical fights, and it’s animated to show how they see it in their heads, with all the gothic scenery and them shouting the names of their ultimate spells and launching off big magical explosions and whatnot-- and then cuts back to how silly they look playing pretend in real life.
I sort of vaguely recognize the trope they’re playing with just from general cultural osmosis, but I realized I don’t really know any fantasy anime that sincerely do the thing they’re parodying here. The anime is sort of lovingly poking fun at the ridiculousness of that genre, but, well… it’s just made me want to watch some of that stuff for real >_>
So long story short, do people have recommendations for the type of big, dramatic, high-power fantasy anime that Chuunibyou is parodying?
Your talking about chuuni stuff.
Truth be told, you would have to watch children’s anime to find what your looking for. The idea of a chuuni character is they’re extremely immature nerds who can’t stop acting like they’re from a cheesy anime made for kids.
Your best bet if you don’t wanna go that far is to start looking into shonen anime, a close cousin of this sort of stuff. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure makes great use of people with really varied power sets and influenced a ton of other shonen works. Part one is fairly simple, but it’s only about nine episodes of the anime, so you can breeze through that part (just be warned it is extremely gory, other parts have their moments but part one is about vampires and monsters and goes all in on it after awhile). Part three, stardust crusaders, is as close as I can think to what you want, but it will be much weirder and have a whole lot more homoerotic subtext.
Shows based on light novels tend to play this stuff straight, but I cannot recommend any of these because they are all trash and garbage, and the only good ones don’t follow that formula.
All this said, if anyone is streaming G Gundam, that will be extremely your thing. It’s Gundam except as a fighting anime and there’s a lot of yelling and secret technique names and bold declarations. Also there’s a windmill Gundam.
In general, I think you’re looking at classic shonen style anime. Dragonball, Naruto, Bleach, etc. I haven’t seen Black Clover, but that seems to be a pretty popular new one that doesn’t have hundreds of back episodes. Also, Sailor Moon and other magical girl anime might fit the bill.
I’ll throw in a recommendation for the Certain series: A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun. Lots of over-the-top “magic” battles but set in a modern day timeline.
Just a warning that pretty well all the worst “anime bullshit” tropes originated in shonen series.
And Legend of the Overfiend.
The idea of chuunibyou (translated basically as “eighth grader syndrome”) is a less a parody of a specific anime and more a parody of the somewhat universal tendency of teenagers to have an embarrassing and often edgy phase at around age 14, whether that’s a goth phase or a fantasy of having superpowers (personally I did at some point in my childhood enjoying duelling with sticks and imagining myself as a Jedi, though unlike the extreme in the show I didn’t go around in class actually pretending to be one). In Japan that often manifests itself as fantasising that they’re the main character from some anime.
The first series that jumped to mind for me when it comes to cool anti-hero characters with the ultimate darkness sealed in their left arm etc. is Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho, which was deeply influential on the genre. It’s a classic and I think it still holds up for the most part today. Other similar characters appear in shows like Hunter x Hunter (from the same author) and of course there’s always the one and only prince of the Saiyans, Vegeta from Dragonball. Fullmetal Alchemist also comes to mind for me.
As @JKDarkSide said, light novel adaptations are where you can find most of the unironic power fantasy wish fulfilment nowadays (think of Sword Art Online and its legion of copycats) but most of them are hard to recommend as a critic, even if I’ve enjoyed several of them in a turn-my-brain-off-first kind of way. There’s an entire isekai genre with a new light novel getting an adaptation every season if you want to go down that route - recently I kind of enjoyed last year’s That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.
Hmmmm like everyone’s mentioned, I’ve seen a variety of your classic shounen shows (G Gundam, Dragonball, Naruto, Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho, FMA, SAO and a bunch of trashy isekai shows, from those mentioned), but somehow the specific blend of ingredients in the scenes from Chuunibyou seemed like it was getting at a slightly different sub genre that I wasn’t familiar with. It might be the case that I’m already pretty familiar with the fantasy anime out there, and there isn’t any secret trove of not-trashy stuff that’s like the scenes in this show waiting for me =P
Now that I think of it, the whole naming your attacks thing reminds me of that oft-memed scene from Overlord, and I guess you’re right @Cody, isekai is kinda the spot for fantasy action these days, though it’s often noooot great >_>
Edit: Also I considered explaining more about the concept of chuunibyou in my original post and I was going to mention playing with toy lightsabers and trying to use the force to move things as a kid XD
It was a little while ago that I watched it, but I like Blood Blockade Battlefront. It was a high action show that was semi self aware (there is a scene where three characters try to do special attacks at the same time, and the names appear on screen jumbled and they get mad at each other for interrupting their cool entrance) but it does have a really annoying womanizer character
You want Symphogear. Gay idols punch monsters and also this happens
also if you don’t mind anime video games, Under Night In-Birth is basically just a bunch of chuuni getting special powers and then fighting each other for fun.
I think Index is the chuuni-est just by virtue of it not seeming super self-aware.
Stuff like Symphogear and Gurren Lagann would apply but I feel like they’re in on it?
Everyone needs to watch Symphogear though
Symphogear is amazing.
If you liked Chuunibyou, I would look into Beyond the Boundary, which was also made by KyoAni at around the same time, and very much felt like “What if the Chuunibyou characters were serious”
You might also enjoy When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace which is more like the opposite of Chuunibyou in that the characters DO have crazy powers but don’t have any enemies to fight so they just goof around.
Other recent high energy action shows I’ve enjoyed and have interesting things to say are Gatchaman Crowds, Planet With and Concrete Revolutio.
There’s also what I consider the epitome of Teens With Superpowers: X The TV Show by CLAMP. (Don’t watch the movie)
…that is about as far from chunni as you can possibly get, and I’m, saying that as someone who considers Gatchaman Crowds my all time fave.
Crowds is more like a long series of political essays where every major character is openly queer in some way than any sort of traditional action show.
It’s not fantasy or chuuni or even anime but you should watch Kamen Rider. It’s usually very over-the-top in ways i think are similar to what you’re asking about, and it’s a very popular long-running franchise in Japan so odds are at least some of the stuff you’re familiar with is parodying parts of it in some way. It’s also cool as hell and fun.
2011’s Kamen Rider Fourze is probably the closest series to what you’re asking about as it’s set in a high school where a mysterious group is giving disaffected teens powers that turn them into monsters. It very deliberately takes a lot of tropes from high school animes and from shonen action series, as well as from American teen movies like Mean Girls. Great fun. It also starts with the main character respecting women so much he jumps off a bridge about it and really you gotta respect that.
Alternatively, the current series Zero One just started a few weeks ago and has real cool designs and is very good so far.
Yeah, but it still has transformations, over the top fight scenes, mysterious prophecies and so on. I think it’s close enough to what was asked for while also being good enough to be worth watching.
I guess speaking of Beyond the Boundary and Chuunibyou… does Haruhi count?
…but it doesn’t. For the vast majority of both seasons, there are almost no fight scenes because part of the point of the series is that superhero fights obfuscate actual problems. The prophecies are just vague foreshadowing and aren’t treated as particularly important.
I recommend Crowds in general (it’s genuinely brilliant, especially where Insight ends up going), but it is a really poor fit for what OP is asking for here.