Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – Accepting Reality or Embracing Delusions?

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Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, one of the anime in the Fall season, was quite a pleasant surprise, and it also delivers a profound message, the prospect of accepting reality.

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First of all, what is a chuunibyou? Chuunibyou, or “Eighth-Grade Syndrome”, is a real term used in Japan, to describe middle school students usually aged at fourteen who act delusional as if they have knowledge about anything or as if they have some special powers. They are arrogant and self-centered, as opposed to their normal selves, as if they had an alter ego. This is not restricted to merely middle school students however, as some suffered chuunibyou till high school, or perhaps even till adulthood. According to the Chuunibyou User Manual, there are three types of chuunibyou: DQN, Subcultural and Evil Eye chuunibyou.

When one suffers from, DQN-type chuunibyou, he pretends to be arrogant and anti-social. They may even sometimes act like a delinquent, when in fact they are not one. The subcultural-types are when someone tried something less mainstream (even though they didn’t like it), and immediately established themselves as something special. The third type, Evil Eye chuunibyou, centers around delusional people where they believe they had some sort of special powers hidden within, perhaps even creating an alter ego as a vessel for said “powers”. As you can see, the anime mostly stems from the first and most majorly, the third types.

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Takanashi Rikka was suffering from chuunibyou since at a young age. It had been shown later that Rikka’s father had passed away when she was just a child, and not accepting that reality even now, she escaped to her delusions. Attaching on her eye patch, she thought of herself as a superior being, possessing a power known as the Wicked Eye; taking the Evil Eye chuunibyou term quite literally.

Yuuta managed to break her delusions at one point, and she returns to reality. She tried speaking normally and actually tried to make friends. However, under all that facade, she never smile, she didn’t seem happy at all.

A little after that, Yuuta found out the root behind Rikka’s chuunibyou. In her case, when all hope was lost, she saw Yuuta by luck, who was at that time, still an active chuunibyou. Thinking how cool the “Dark Flame Master” was, she ventured into the world of chuunibyou as well, and her fun, boisterous days begun. She seeks the Unseen Horizon, thinking that her dad is still there. Returning back to the “world of chuunibyou”, she finally managed to say her proper farewells in the “horizon”, something which she couldn’t do so back then. In the end, her chuunibyou traits are still intact.

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At that end, I think the message behind the anime is the essence of escapism, or more importantly, the balance between accepting reality and escaping from it. It is important to accept reality; you need to face off against it, no doubt about that. Our lives however, aren’t just all about fighting off against reality, we need to have some fun as a mean of escape, and in Rikka’s case, her chuunibyou is the main source of fun.

This can also be quite akin to our anime hobbies. A lot of us watch anime for the escapism, but it is not a good idea to be so obsessed over it that one becomes a NEET or social outcast. That is why balance is so crucial, balance between your favorite hobbies and life, balance between your delusions and reality, and once that balance is achieved, the days will be fun, yet productive.

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20 thoughts on “Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – Accepting Reality or Embracing Delusions?

  1. Thx for explaining these three forms of these phenomenon, DQN sounds really close to adolescence, were the kids starting to doubt authority ^^. I guess DQN is the most popular form.

    m not sure if japanese students have a lot more stress in their school system while growing up. When they develop rather unique Chuunibyou like evil eye. I think evil eye must be pretty awesome if they still know the differnce between reality and their fantasy world.

    Youre totally right about the camparison with consuming anime and escaping reality. But it’s a fun activity, like shopping, going to cinema or doing sports. These things make the daily life more interesting next to taking care of your future and cover the expenses of living. Humans are no machines and need time to relax and forget about bad or annoying events.

    The reason why I started watching anime is actually a sad one, yet it changed a lot to the better at that time.
    As silly as this sounds Im thankful for this, as it helped me going forward in my life and as you’ve said after my weekly anime nights Im feeling very productive and at ease (nearly) every day.

    • Or when teenagers begun their rebellious phase o.o Kids were innocent by nature, and when they starts doubting, they becomes cynical and paranoid, it’s a step where every kids have to go through. Welcome to adulthood :D

      Actually the term Chuunibyou came about in a rather odd fashion. I can’t remember the name, but it was when a certain someone was interviewed in a radio show when he talked about this and begun using the word Chuunibyou. Since then, the term became widespread. If such terms came about, I’m sure there must be some level of stress the students are garnering, probably from… learning English? xD

      Indeed right? It’s something we need in order to carry on. Escapism is important, we will just going to break ourselves if we keep hitting everything straight on, ironically, it’s a habit of mine which I should avoid. It was exactly this that made me so stressed out recently.

      Aww, glad to see it changed for a better. Indeed, anime is the ultimate salvation :D

  2. Although peer pressure wishes for us to ‘blend in’ and become what they perceive to be ‘normal’, I do think there’s an extent to how ‘normal’ you should become. Not too much where you forget how to have fun and act as an individaul; leading your own life however you want it. But at the same time, you can’t use that and cause mayhem for others in order to act out your individualism. But in terms of the specifics as to where to draw the line, that’s up to the individual.

    Great post Kai! Why didn’t I think of doing this~ :P

    • Indeed, there’s an extent to how much one’s imagination can reach, but there’s also a limit how one’s normality is achieved. It is all up to oneself to balance the two and effectively and have fun at the same time. Being too normal loses a person’s individualization as well, as if that person is a robot.

      If I thought of anything else interesting, I’ll think of making a collaboration with da tofu xD

  3. I was really surprised, but happy, to see Chuunibyou turn out the way it did. At the beginning I was expecting the same old slice-of-life fare, but then it got really deep into Rikka’s past and turned into a drama. It was a cute and sweet drama though, the perfect story for a short anime like this. I think the focus on escapism really resonates with a lot of anime fans too.

    • A lot of people prefer the slice of life first half without the drama, but in my opinion, I think the second more dramatic half of the show is what made this anime memorable and different. Yea, the concept behind Chuunibyou is quite alike to us anime fans.

      • I got the impression that a lot (though certainly not all) of people who were liking the first half and then not the second half were actually having trouble understanding the second half.

        • I guess it’s not especially a direct message either. When you think about it, the anime had already started vaguely going into this direction in the first half.

  4. Pingback: Kai’s Philosophy on Watching Anime « deluscar

  5. Pingback: Kai’s Philosophy on Watching Anime | deluscar

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