On the Ninth Day of Anime: Understanding the Wandering Soul in Chuunibyou

[gg]_Chuunibyou_Demo_Koi_ga_Shitai!_-_10_[DD9540F4].mkv_snapshot_10.07_[2012.12.13_09.55.55]

Let me preface first that I never wanted Chu2koi to be strictly comedy from the get-go, which is to say that I prefer the second half of the anime to the first. Yes, the chuuni battles and the constant DEATHing was cute and fun. I was afraid it would, however, mask the underlying troubles at hand. For me, Chu2koi was a 12-episode excursion down memory lane. It was also about the many different interpretations of what “growing up” meant.

[gg]_Chuunibyou_Demo_Koi_ga_Shitai!_-_11_[7F7B8D55].mkv_snapshot_14.43_[2012.12.13_09.55.32]

Chu2koi gradually veered away from being about seeing cute girls doing cute things: it turned into a character study. Watching the dramafest that was the events leading to the ending was a trial towards understanding why each character looked towards chuunibyou as their emotional outlet. The message that Chu2koi gives to us is, ultimately, ambiguous. Though the fact that chuunibyou is a symptom and not the illness remains, the solution is presented in many different lights. Rikka may have been able to reconcile her chuuni persona and her grief over her father’s death by the end of the story, but not everyone has a dead parent or a similar tragedy to justify learning from this kind of message, nor does everyone agree that it was the logical progression of events. Yuuta is now slightly more comfortable with his chuuni past, yes, but that’s just getting over his initial embarrassment via an awkward embrace of his childhood and he’s now dating a cute loli so screw that. Sanae may not have changed at all, but seeing how quickly she was able to transition between chuuni and non-chuuni and back to chuuni again means that she’s more in control and ready for the not-so-distant future, but not everyone can change so easily.

The message I agree with the most is what happened with Nibutani. She bounced from being completely anti-chuuni towards realizing that she just needed somewhere to belong. And, in the end, she still hasn’t really figured out where she belongs. Cheerleading turned out to be a social hive of toxic gossip and relentless backstabbing, and Drama reminded her too much of her chuuni days due to a president that apparently has more unbearable zeal than Rikka herself. She wanted a way to enjoy high school life, but not at the expense of either her happiness or her integrity as a teenage girl. As much as she hangs out at the Far Eastern Magic Nap Society of Summer, being around other chuunis is hardly a middle ground for her to settle. What does matter, however, that there are people who understand her troubles, and are going through the exact same thing she is. I believe that’s why she was the most capable in understanding what was happening in the story at hand, because she basically completed the journey before everyone else did. Her extreme behavior ended up making her become a more rounded person by the end of the story.

Regardless of all of that, the reason anyone should watch this show is to hail our glorious leader Chuumin-senpai. I would advocate pretend fights and naptimes any day of the week. Plus she shows us that older people can be chuuni too, if only for the fun of it. Sleep on.

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