After getting halfway through Steins;Gate, I had to play the waiting game for the final 12 episodes to be released. In the meantime I decided to watch Chaos;Head, a series based off a visual novel game by the same company that put out Steins;Gate. Though the character designs for Chaos;Head were a bit more blasé, in line with more stereotypical anime fare, added with seemingly heavy harem tones, the story at least sounded interesting, focusing on delusions similar to Steins;Gate time travel. Yet, like many ideas that sound good on paper, Chaos;Head suffers from bad implementation of an interesting concept.
Takumi Nishijō lived a secluded, hikkikomori lifestyle as he attends school in Shibuya. He suffers from delusions, most focusing on an anime character name Seira, and lives in a storage container on the roof of the school. Takumi repeatedly states he has no interest in real girls, much like Keima in The World God Only Knows, but these statements are mainly in the beginning of the series, where most of the plot building takies place. This aversion to girls, as the series progress, dissolves into a strong attachment to many girls Takumi interacts with, especially Rimi Sakihata, a girl who he is completely terrified by at the beginning of the series only to have her eventually becoming the person he cares most for.
The first half of the story focuses on the New Generation murder events. Takumi, who after surfing a message board, receives pictures of a murder that has yet to occur. The next day he stumbles upon the same murder scene he saw, a new part in the murder series. The girl he sees is a pink haired girl staking a man to death. The next day, the girl, Rimi, is at his school and acts like she has no memory of the murders and claims she knows Takumi, yet he has no memory of her. From here, the plot spirals around unraveling the New Generation murders and Takumi’s dwindling grip on reality.
In the second half, the series begins to fall apart as it become more action oriented. A large, evil corporation called NOZOMI is orchestrating in the shadows to create a device, named Noah, which can alter people’s reality and make delusions real. There are a group of people trying to stop them called Gigalomaniacs, who can produce a weapon called a Di-Sword by altering reality with their delusions. Most of these individuals are girls, except for Takumi. The plot progresses with some pretty decent twists and turn that lead to a big battle at the end to stop NOZOMI from activating their device.
What really turned me off to this series was the sword fighting in the latter half. There were plenty of great story ideas using delusions as weapons and altering reality to fulfill personal desires, but when the sword fighting kicked in I pretty much tuned out. I was expecting a much lower key series, like Steins;Gate, but instead found myself watching mediocre action sequences coupled with stereotypical “don’t give up” final battle moments. If Chaos;Head had ended with a full on delusion battle, comparable with great psychic battles scenes similar to series like Akira, I would have been thoroughly impressed.
I won’t say that I didn’t enjoy Chaos;Head, but it just wasn’t memorable. The series could have been redeemed by being consistent with the delusions theme. Instead, the Chaos;Head derails into numerous sword battles, but it does thankfully seem to stay enough on the tracks to make it watchable to the end. For a 13 episode series, I’ve seen worse, but I’m disappointed by the unfulfilled potential Chaos;Head has going for it with a great story concept.