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Chaos;Head
Chaos;Head
Chaos;Head
Anime Review

Those eyes. Whose are they? What's with the semicolon between words now in all new anime titles? Well, whatever, the latest in this fad of two-words-connected-by-semicolon is Chaos;HEAd, a supernatural thriller with disturbing psychological overtones. One nice thing about animation as a medium is that, since it's already not "real", trying to determine what "reality" you're watching is impossible. Chaos;Head plays on that, providing you the viewer with an inside look at what reality might be like *if* you're already an unstable, delusional protagonist.

Our story centers around Takumi, an incredibly introverted, "soushoku danshi", reclusive high-schooler who'd rather spend his time in front of his PC playing games, or watching anime. He's essentially abandoned the real world; he doesn't even care for girls, at least, not the 3 dimensional types. He is however, completely taken with anime chicks, so much so that he buys all the figurines and even imagines himself having conversations with one.

Chaos;HeadHowever, that's all about to change as a chat-room incident via his computer provides him with images to a murder scene, a scene that hasn't happened yet, but he stumbles into it the very next day. Suddenly, he's on the run from the killer, while also being suspected of being the killer by the police. And just as suddenly, all these women are starting to notice him, and he's not sure why. In the meantime, between his own thoughts confusing the subject as well as his delusions and fantasies, we the viewer cannot make heads or tails of what's real and what's not, so we get to experience exactly the same kind of confusion as Takumi, which makes for an engrossing mystery.

Based on a 'click through' visual novel/videogame, there's a considerable amount of plot to absorb in just 12 episodes, but at the same time we're given some red-herrings that lead us astray from what's really going on.

Chaos;HeadEven Takumi questions what's happening as a complete delusion; that perhaps the entire thing is just going on in his head. After all, why would he suddenly be meeting up with all these cute girls? And then there's all the technobabble to try and explain how "gigilomaniacs" can "realboot" their delusions into reality, and why every one of them ends up with a Di-Sword. Ultimately, the technobabble turns out to be related to the story, but what's *really* going on is just so bizzare, you begin to wonder if it wasn't easier to explain it all as Takumi's just insane, and it really is all a delusion -- but that's just not the case here.

And when you do learn the truth, reality starts to morph quickly towards a drug-trip-gone-wrong showdown that can either make sense but not tie up some loose ends, or, really make you question whether the ending presented is really the ending at all, and MAYBE Takumi *is* insane and the whole thing is in his head.

Chaos;HeadI mean, that's the problem with animation. Since none of it's real, you can't tell what's real even in the animated "reality". Especially when realbooted delusions and intertwined delusions and the main character being a nut-job in the first place make us question; can you ever again trust what's "real"?

Funimation has done an admirable job with the translation, although it was perhaps too literal (the killer is called "The General" in English, while originally his name was "Shogun"), but part of the fun for us geeks was watching all the internet-related inside-jokes. Yahoo becomes "Taboo", and Google is "Deluoode" and a popular phone charm all play supporting roles in the series.

While feeling influenced by Paprika and The Matrix, it's also a remarkable insight into the "Grass-Eating-Boys" phenomenon in Japan, where men have become less interested in the social norms of the "real world", and have instead started walking down the path of stagnation. And while that alone could be disturbing enough, Chaos;HEAd takes it to a whole 'nother level of disturbing by basically convincing us that nothing we've watched was what it was.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, January 2012

Below: Scenes from Chaos;Head.

a screen capture from Chaos;Head

a screen capture from Chaos;Head

a screen capture from Chaos;Head

a screen capture from Chaos;Head

a screen capture from Chaos;Head

a screen capture from Chaos;Head

a screen capture from Chaos;Head

a screen capture from Chaos;Head

a screen capture from Chaos;Head



Chaos;Head

Chaos;Head Website Links:


Chaos;Head - The Official Anime Website from FUNimation

Official Chaos;Head website (Japanese)

Official Chaos;Head Noah website (Japanese)

Official Chaos;Head anime website (Japanese)

Deluoode Search Engine (Japanese)

Chaos;Head at Visual Novel Tranlslations

Chaos;Head at Animepaper.net

Chaos;Head article at Wikipedia

Chaos;Head (TV) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia


Below: Cover illustrations and promotional artwork for Chaos;Head.

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Chaos;Head

Chaos;Head

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Chaos;Head

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