Tag Archives: Chuunibyou

The Best of Us, The Worst of Us, The Lot of Us: Rikka

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

(As a quick aside, this post was significantly better written beforehand, however, my WordPress decided to forget half of the post after I went to sleep one night and so I had to rewrite a significant portion much differently. Regardless, I hope you enjoy).


Chuunibyou is an oddball series animated by Kyoto Animation. It focuses on the life of Yuuta and his wish to start high school over as a new person. This is because Yuuta spent his middle school days with a “disease” known as Chuunibyou, a condition which invokes in its victims the horrible fate of *checks notes* …writing and acting out a horrible OC while looking like a complete dork. Needless to say, the actual stakes of this series are fairly low. However, while that may be true in an absolute sense, the series does a fairly good job of absorbing us into the world of these “delusions.”

At the center of these delusions, and the show’s secondary main character, is Rikka, a girl who is still afflicted with Chuunibyou, and who ends up slowly dragging Yuuta back into this world. So, “what is this world?” you might ask. Well, it is complicated, but it most often manifests itself as a series of JRPG, action-adventure, and fantasy tropes which the characters have collectively agreed to be a part of. Well, mostly agreed to be a part of, as Yuuta’s hesitancy to embrace his character of “Dark Flame Master,” which left him without any real friends in middle school, becomes a major sticking point throughout the series.

The show does seem primarily concerned, though, with Rikka, and Touka’s, her sister, concern that this Chuunibyou will leave her without the ability to function as a real member of society. From Rikka’s perspective, it is this world of fantasy and delusion that serves as an escape and purpose. Each battle with Touka, imagined as the evil “priestess,” or Nibutani, who Rikka believes to be a false incarnation of her former character “Morisummer,” brings with it a sense of living genuinely.

I said before that the stakes of this series are fairly low, and that is very much the case. While Touka definitely worries for Rikka’s health, she never goes as far as to take her to a doctor or therapist, at least within the confines of the story told. It is possible to imagine her resisting that suggestion strongly, but still. In contrast with that, the death of their father and a subsequent forgotten run-in with the “Dark Flame Master” himself seem to be the catalyzing factors in Rikka’s strong sense of Chuunibyou. This, again, begs the question: what exactly is at stake for Rikka?

At first, it seems to be her father’s memory. When observing Yuuta’s character, Rikka came to believe that her father was trapped in the “horizon” of this Chuunibyou world and that by training and getting stronger she could eventually find and rescue him. While the end of season one, and the resolution of Rikka’s feelings surrounding her father’s death, it becomes Yuuta, and their burgeoning romantic relationship, that keeps her involved in the world of delusion.


After she reconciles her feelings and beliefs about her father at the end of season one, her primary driver becomes Yuuta, and with the introduction of a little bit of competition for his affection in the form of Satone, her Chuunibyou becomes firmly grounded in their relationship. Her mystical battles become ones of love, rather than a fight to preserve her father’s memory.

Chuunibyou’s existence as a real-world concept is attributed to Japanese comedian and commentator Hikaru Ijuin when he used it in 1999. In that context, he was referring to middle schoolers with wide imaginations and very little shame. However, after psychologists began investigating the condition as potentially real, Ijuin became worried and retracted his statement. As I mentioned above, Chuunibyou has very few actual stakes in its narrative, at least as far as most people would use the term. So, if it is not a real condition, and her problems involving the loss of her father are gone, then what does that mean for Rikka?

While this series is technically one of my favorites from Kyo-Ani, on the whole, not many people rate the show particularly high. I cannot speak for everyone that has watched the series all the way through. Still, I do think it is worth applying a couple different lenses to her character.

When I talked about the series back in 2019, I threw out the idea that the Chuunibyou could be a metaphor for neurodivergent people. After all, Ijuin retracted his statement in 2009, and the first light novel for the series did not come out until 2011. Though the specific cultural connotations of the word are lost on me, it is clear that the term Chuunibyou developed a context outside of the comedian’s initial comments. After all, Rikka’s journey involves fighting against both her sister, at times Yuuta, and others who tell her that she eventually has to become “normal” despite the fact that remains a serious challenge. The metaphor is not totally one to one, however, since Chuunibyou is considered a temporary condition, whereas things like ASD and ADHD are usually with people for life.

Even outside of that more narrow interpretation, however, the influence of magic and fantasy-style games and anime can be evidence of a general appreciation for nerdy subcultures. These groups, almost by definition, exist outside mainstream tastes. As a result, many people in these groups can feel isolated. Finding comfort with people who are also in those groups becomes one of the few avenues for expressing themselves against a conformist society. The backdrop of Japan here also plays a surprisingly relevant role, as cultural homogeneity in Japan is even greater than in places like Western Europe or the U.S.

Ultimately, regardless of the interpretation one might use, Rikka’s character is about breaking hegemony. She exists in a world that is unsympathetic to her as a person, and as much as Yuuta might be embarrassed by her at times, he cannot help but feel grateful to her. Her steadfast sense of self in the face of an uncaring environment is admirable, to say the least.

How do you feel about Chuunibyou and the character of Rikka? Are there other characters I should take a deep dive into? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!


Final Thoughts: Chuunibyou

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Back in 2017, I watched Chuunibyou for the first time to my absolute delight. The series, despite my initial impressions of just another uninspired slice of life series ended up being unique in a way that was both admittedly cringe but also endearing. As I talked about in one of my latest OWLS posts, the show has a great message about allowing reality to be replaced by fantasy as a way to cope with the the harshness of it. Aside from that, though, the show’s characters are extremely well written. I had not watched the show in a while, when I remembered earlier this month that the show received a movie sequel back in 2018. So after re-watching both seasons of the show and seeing the the movie, here are my Final Thoughts on Chuunibyou.

Chuunibyou as a Metaphor for Autism

When I first watched the show back in 2017, one of the things that stood out to me was the concept of Chuunibyou, otherwise called 8th grader syndrome. It was a so called disease that caused people do play out some kind of fantasy without much respect for the real world. After finishing the first season of the series, one thing that came to mind was the similarities between Chuunibyou and Autism. After all, the metaphor kind of makes sense. Autism, generally speaking, causes problems with learning and social interaction. This is shown a lot with Rika, and how, even with Yuta’s help, she struggles to live as a normal person. It is also true that not all people who have autism have it forever. As it turns out, a small minority of kids who are diagnosed with autism actually end up losing it, usually with the help of early intervention and treatment.

However, the metaphor is not perfect. While some are lucky enough to lose their autism, most cases of it are usually lifelong conditions, so the idea that so many kids could just lose it in such a short period of time is a little preposterous. Also, both Yuta and Rika were not born with the condition, but rather became enveloped by Chuunibyou after watching someone else affected by it. Written a little differently, though, and the metaphor might have actually worked.

Yuta’s Responsibility

Regardless of what Chuunibyou actually means, one thing that remains constant throughout the show is Yuta’s influence over and responsibility for Rika. When the two meet in the first episode, Rika confronts Yuta over is Dark Flame Master persona that he had waved goodbye to with one final chant before starting his first day of high school. After telling her he is done with that life, Rika becomes even more interested in him. Eventually, since the two live in the same apartment complex, they just start hanging out. Toka, Rika’s sister, sees Yuta as a positive influence, and so is more or less ok with him.

The two do end up spending a lot of time together, even going so far as to start dating. Still, Rika remains a Chuunibyou. While Toka has always dealt with her sister’s weirdness, she viewed Yuta as a way to “fix” Rika. Ultimately though, Yuta ends up becoming a sort of shield both against Rika’s immediate family’s wishes that she would be normal and expectations of others. He allows Rika to be who she wants, validating her as a person along the way.

Honestly, Its Just Fun

For as important as it is to dive into the meaning behind a particular show, Chuunibyou also serves as a reminder of just how fun it can be to watch slice of life shows. Chuunibyou as a condition that Rika and the others have all dealt with creates a funny, dysfunctional family vibe that endures throughout the length of the series as well as the movie. Hmm…

Oh! The Movie!

Chuunibyou! Take on Me! was pretty much half of the reason I even decided to rewatch the series, so I guess should talk about it for a bit. Honestly, my expectations going in were pretty high. After all, Chuunibyou is a Kyoto Animation property, not to mention that the movie format would like give them even more room to play around with the gorgeous animation they are known for.

Unfortunately, and it pains me to say, the movie was not much more technically impressive than its anime series counterpart. The animation in terms of fluidity was more or less the same, and the Chuunibyou based action sequences were pretty much on par with their counterparts in seasons one and two.

Story-wise, the movie was great. Toka, wanting Rika to live with her in Italy so that she can be taken care of, moves her stuff out of Yuta’s apartment. In response, the two decide to elope, running all across Japan, trying to escape from the evil priestess. As the two journey together, Rika struggles to understand what it is that she wants. However, by journey’s end, the two make the ultimate lover’s contract and decide to get married.

If I had to describe the movie in one word, it would be satisfying. While it is true that their relationship kind of goes from zero to 100 real quick, with Yuta proposing to Rika seemingly out of nowhere, it also just makes sense given their relationship. It was never really in question whether or not the two were going to be together, and so the movie just speeds up that ending. Normally, I would be complaining about this, and indeed even in Chuunibyou this kind of pacing is pretty weird, but given the nature of the relationship between Yuta and Rika, it could be argued that it makes sense.

Overall, Chuunibyou has emerged as one of my favorite KyoAni series as well as one of my favorite in general. It is certainly unique in its presentation and ideas, and also is just in general a fun show to watch. It is definitely a worthwhile show to watch.

How do you all feel about Chuunibyou? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

OWLS October “Fantasy” Post: Chuunibyou and Fantasy as a Means of Coping

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Thank you all for joining me once again for my OWLS post this month. The theme for this month is Fantasy. Here is the full prompt:

In the month of October, we will be exploring the world of fantasy in pop culture. The genre of fantasy focuses on telling stories about our external and internal environments. There are many ways we can interpret the word, fantasy. For example, we can talk about how a fantastical place could glorify what reality should be or the dangers of ideal expectations. Fantasy could also be seen as taking a “wild journey” or a “hallucination” and how that can affect our psyche and well-being.  Fantasy can also focus on our personal dreams and expectations and how those expectations do not align with our reality. Overall, our posts will reflect on how we view the fantasy genre and what we can learn about these pop culture mediums.

Also, do be sure to check out both Irina and Megan, who will be talking about Natsume and respectively.

Now, for this month’s topic, I decided to do something a little different, as you might have gleaned from the title. I just so happened to be re-watching Chuunibyou, and since the show has plenty of fantasy elements in it without specifically being fantasy, I figured it would be a good enough fit.

Now, onto the post.

Life is hard. I know that might not seem like a bold, ground-breaking discover, but it is worth reminding ourselves. The world is filled with tragedy, from big events like 9/11 and the Kyoto Animation fire that happened just a few months ago to smaller things, like a family member passing a way. It is pretty much inevitable that people will experience some kind of tragedy in their lifetimes. However, what is often more important than the tragedy itself is how those affected by it respond.

Fantasy, as genre in fiction, dominated by many things: the myths of old, dangerous adventures, and tales of legendary heroes. One thing that Chuunibyou explores quite well is what happens when those types of stories become a mechanism for avoiding reality.

Chuunibyou’s story follows Yuta, who has just entered high school far away from where he went to middle school. The reason? Chuunibyou. Chuunibyou is a condition where middle schoolers fall into fantastical delusions, perceiving a different reality entirely, often times one in which they have magical powers, and fight against forces of darkness or light. Embarrassed by his persona as the “Dark Flame Master,” Yuta vows to leave his past behind him and start again as a normal teenager. Unfortunately, Rika Takanashi, does not make that easy for him.

Rika is also a Chuunibyou, except she has not gotten over hers. During their first day of school, she finds Yuta pretending to be the Dark Flame Master one last time. Later, she confronts him about it while the two are in the nurses office. Rika wants him to become his old self once again. Of course, Yuta, still wanting nothing to do with his old Persona, tells her no, and from there the two begin hanging out, with Rika trying her hardest to get the Dark Flame Master to come back.

The show starts out innocently enough. Rika drags Yuta into starting a club, recruits her “servant” Dekomori, and even invites Yuta to come to her grandparents home during the summer. All of this is for her ultimate goal of finding what she calls the “Invisible Boundary Lines.” Of course, Yuta remains clueless about what she means for most of the show. However, around the time episode seven comes around, it is revealed why Rika continues to believe her Chuunibyou delusions and the Invisible Boundary Lines.

When Rika was younger, her dad got became terribly ill, to the point of not being able to recover. Not wanting to her to be sad, Rika’s sister Toka and her mother hid it from her, until the day he passed away. As a result, her father’s death came out of nowhere, and Rika was devastated. While living with her sister for a while, Rika saw Yuta, concealed from the world in his Chuunibyou, unhurt and happy. She then made the decision to cope with her father’s death by pretending it did not happen, and began her own Chuunibyou. Her search for the Invisble Boundary Lines is, in reality, just a way of prolonging the task of accepting the truth.

Of course, Yuta is unaware that he is the source of all this until the show’s final episode of the first season, only that Rika remains unable to come to terms with her father’s passing. It is clear to Yuta after his visit to her grandparents home that Rika is suffering. He tries in his own way to help, but it simply does not work. What he is left with at that point is a feeling of uselessness, one where he wants to help but cannot.

What started as a sweet and innocent show about a somewhat strange high school girl and teens trying to leave the past behind turns out to be a tale of using the world of fantasy to deal with her own tragedy.

However, it also becomes a tale of how one chooses to cope with said tragedy. Near the end of the show, Rika’s sister asks Yuta to get Rika to stop being a Chuunibyou. Initially, Yuta somewhat agreed with Toka, thinking that breaking Rika out of her delusion would be best.

However, after going back to being normal, Rika decides to move away, and live with her grandparents again. She ultimately decides that, after years of being a Chuunibyou, she wants to do whatever will make her mother happy. Yuta, who thought he was okay with her living a normal life, realizes Rika is suffering even more now than she was before. The show ends after he comes to rescue Rika from her normal life and encourages her to be herself.

The message is clear: coping with tragedy is something people do in their own ways, and while it may not always be the healthiest way, embracing a world of fantasy might be better than simply living in a tragic reality.

How do you all feel about Chuunibyou? Let me know in the comments

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!

Core Necessities for the Slice of Life Genre

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

Hello everyone, welcome to one of my contributions for the Animanga Festival. If your unfamiliar with it, allow me to explain.

The wonderful Auri of Manga Toritsukareru Kon decided that it would be a fun idea to host an online festival spanning the month of October which includes various writing prompts, activities, games, and events. It is completely free to participate and some of the events even have prizes to be won. If you are interested in knowing more you can check out the link above.

Today’s activity is called “Core Necessities.”

Prepare a set of 2-4 manga, anime and/or webtoon each with a short explanation. But here’s the thing, they all have to belong to the same genre.
Create a starter set for someone new to the genre and get creative! Add in common tropes, cliches and enjoyable scenes.

For the activity, I decided to go with the Slice of Life genre. With all of that being said, let’s get into it.

The Slice of Life genre in anime can often be a difficult one to navigate. Often times people can wander into conversations about different shows, hear people singing its praise, and go home only to seemingly find a show about nothing, and while that is true to an extent, it does not reflect the full scope of the genre in an accurate way. For today, I will talk about a few slice of life series that I think are a great introduction to the genre and explain why they are worthwhile series.

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is probably the most entry level show on this list, and by that I mean it is the most Slice of Life on this list. A pretty simple show on the surface, but the show itself is a great exploration of the characters involved.

Its story revolves around Sorata who, after refusing to give up a stray cat he found, is forced to move into his high school’s Sakura Hall, made up of the more interesting characters at the school. Of the many he meets there, one recent transfer, Mashiro Shiina, stands out to him the most, and when he eventually is forced to take care of her, well, the story starts there.

Part of what makes this show such a great introduction to the genre is that it is a lot like other high school Slice of Life shows, in that it mixes in a lot of everything. There is comedy, romance, drama, all tied together in a neat, 24 episode package. It also introduces a lot of the common tropes found within the genre, such as the “main character misunderstanding” and more general fan service. On top of all that, it has got a pretty unique story line from most other Slice of Life shows, in that often time it explores the lives of all its main cast, in this case show how they are all working towards their goals of doing well in their respective fields.

From the outside, it may not look like much, just a seemingly generic Slice of Life, but for the most part it is not, and the parts of it that are actually serve to enhance the experience for newcomers of the genre.


Another to watch when getting started with the slice of life genre is Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, or just Chuunibyou for short. This one is definitely a bit weirder than Sakurasou, but once you get past the purposeful cringe inducing moments, it actually becomes a pretty fantastic series.

Chuunibyou is about Yuuta Togashi, a high school student with an embarrassing past as the “Dark Flame Master.” The reason for this is Chuunibyou, a sort of disease in which the people suffering from it experience delusions, imagining things that do not exist. Luckily for him, this disease only lasted through middle school. However, for his classmate Rika, Chuunibyou never left, and now he has to deal with her and a few other in his everyday high school life, becoming ever more sucked back into the world of Chuunibyou.

The show puts the all to familiar feeling of middle school cringe at the forefront of its story, using it mostly for comedic purposes, and to advance the romantic plot line between Yuuta and Rika. For some, this kind of story might even be too much, and they may just want to turn it off. However I strongly recommend against this, because beneath the cringe surface lies a fun and interesting story about dealing with the past and societal expectations of what behavior can be considered appropriate. Not to mention that for many, including myself, the cringe worthy subject matter is actually fairly relatable and in a weird way nostalgic. It manages to bring back memories from times that were much simpler than today, when the world felt manageable.

That nostalgia, combined with the fun and quirky cast of characters makes it a much watch for anyone wanting to enter the slice of life genre.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

Lastly, who people appear to be on the surface and who they actually are often times to completely different people. The reality is that most people try and cover up their problems and insecurities with a more contrived persona, and this reality is not lost on My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU.

SNAFU’s story revolves around Hachiman Hikigaya, a high-school loner with a bone to pick with just about everything that has to do with high school. However, this nihilist attitude lands him in trouble with his teacher, and as punishment he is forced to join the Volunteer Service Club, an organization whose stated purpose is to help other students with their problems. Hachiman goes to the club’s meeting only to find their is just one other member, the girl known to other students as the “Ice Queen,” Yukino Yukinoshita. Together, the two of them, along with a girl named Yui, work to solve the problems of their fellow students, using rather unconventional methods.

What makes this show a necessity in the Slice of Life diet of any anime fan looking to get into the genre is the way it approaches the story of its characters. Most of what the show’s main characters deal with is the dysfunction of their classmates, dealing with their problems on a somewhat episodic basis. Each dive into another character’s problem often reveals the true personality of that character, and the troubles they face both as high school kids and as people. However, it does not just deal with their classmates problems. For every episode in which the problem of a classmate is seemingly solved, the psychology and problems of the main cast comes more into frame, revealing more of the reason behind Hachiman’s nihilistic world-view.

In structure, the show is still very much of slice of life, but in content, the show differentiates itself from other by offering a sort deconstruction of the typical high school slice of life show.

What other shows would you put on a list like this? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!