Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 08 – Acceptance
November 25, 2012 Leave a comment
The complicated nature of Chuunibyou and the main characters of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai was once again explored in this episode, although the focus was on Rikka and her growing relationship with Yuuta. Chuunibyou as an idea and a ‘problem’ is clearly far more complicated that the first episode of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai would have you think. It is something that hides an immense amount of emotional and psychological turmoil within which various characters and people move. Within the series it has become clear that Rikka’s Chuunibyou is a way for her to escape from the truth, a means with which she can continue to believe that her father is alive and that her family still exists as she once remembered it. Her various role-playing games with Dekomori can therefore be viewed to have a dual meaning. They clearly incorporate an element of fun, with Rikka and Dekomori enjoying themselves and pulling everyone along for the ride, but they are also a continuation of her on-going struggle to come to terms with her father’s death.
As the series has progressed all of the other characters have grown used to their surroundings and are gradually growing used to and acknowledging their pasts. Nibutani and Yuuta in particular seem to be slowly coming to terms with who they were in the past and how much of an effect it has had on their current lifestyle and way of viewing the world. Despite her constant objections and her complete dismissal of Chuunibyou as ridiculous, she continues to associate herself with everyone else. During these recent episodes she appears to have completely forgotten about her initial reason for joining the group, and instead of constantly trying to destroy the Mabinogion, has taken over the part of Dekomori’s foil from Rikka. This group allows Nibutani to be herself, and instead of having to maintain her public persona of the ‘perfect’ student, can happily badmouth people and generally mess around to her hearts content. No one in this group will berate her, or look down on her because of her Chuunibyou past, and despite her constant bickering with Dekomori it has lately taken on the form of play fighting rather than real insults.
Yuuta has also adapted to life with the eccentric ways of Rikka and Dekomori, and in doing so appears to have come to terms with his past, or at least accepted that it happened. The care and attention that he shows towards Rikka, along with his constant dismissal of her strange comments and phrases also suggests that rather than feel embarrassed when near her, he can understand her in far more depth than many others. This relationship he has with Rikka also suggests that he has accepted her Chuunibyou, and despite finding elements of it preposterous, acknowledges that there isn’t much that can be done straight away. Rikka on the other hand has yet to fully acknowledge her true feelings, and instead hides them beneath the mask of her Chuunibyou. Her role-playing then takes on a deeper meaning to that of Dekomori, with the various phrases and ideas that she utters linking her current self with that of her past when her father was alive. Through her Chuunibyou and the Tyrants Eye, Rikka has created a series of psychological barriers that allows her to continue in the belief that her rather is still alive.
The sudden loss of her father and the fragmentary nature of her family have evidently had a significant impact upon how Rikka views the world. By labelling Touka as the ‘Priestess’, and her grandparent’s house as The Administration Bureau Rikka can make sense of the feelings and emotions that these people and places create. Rikka is making sense out of chaos in many respects by attaching these labels to the virus places that have caused her pain. Furthermore, her father keeping his illness a secret from her arguably influenced how she viewed the world at the time, thus allowing her to link her fantasy world and conspiracy theories with the sudden disappearance of the stable family she once knew. The sudden nature with which her life was upturned and changed can be thought of as almost dream-like. With Rikka creating the Unseen Horizon to make sense of everything and giving her something to work towards. Her Chuunibyou phases is therefore not a simple act or case of role-playing for fun, but can be viewed as a defence mechanism.
Touka views it as a nuisance and dangerous, suggesting that these ridiculous phrases and moves are Rikka acting like a selfish kid. And while Touka arguably understands or acknowledges the importance of Rikka’s imaginary world she also views its continuation as dangerous. She continues to push forward, trying to force Rikka to accept that their father is now dead, and that they no longer have a family as she once remembers it. Touka wants Rikka to get over a phase that she views as damaging and stop causing trouble for their grandparents. But in doing so Touka only further reinforces the negative impact of their fathers death on Rikka, and by dismissing everything as ridiculous also demonstrates how little she really understands about Rikka or Chuunibyou. As a defence mechanism it has worked quite well, and allowed Rikka to move on with her life, but the danger is that she becomes wholly reliant on her own fantasy world and no longer views the real world as anything other than a dream, or perhaps nightmare. Furthermore, the longer this continues, the harder it may arguably be for Rikka to finally accept her father’s death.
However, Touka’s attitude is equally damaging and through trying to force her own reality upon Rikka potentially damages her view of the world even more. Rikka knows that her father is dead and that their house and family no longer exist, if this weren’t the case then visiting her grandparents would not cause so much trouble. As Yuuta argues, it is precisely because she knows her father is dead that she is acting in such a way. Knowing and acknowledging are two different things, and while Rikka may know of her father’s death, she has yet to fully acknowledge it. Accepting that he is dead and moving on with her life is not a simple or easy thing to do, and by creating her fantasy world Rikka has given herself a way to accept his absence. The time and manner with which things happened and how her life changed has had a significant and perhaps lasting impact upon Rikka, thus making it difficult for her to truly accept the current situation.
Touka retorts by suggesting that this is how life works and to grow up means to accept what has happened to you and live with it. This may be true, but in many respects it seems that Touka has had to grow up far too soon. Their fathers death and then seeing their mother move away must have had a significant impact upon Touka, but unlike Rikka who partly retreated to her own world, she was forced to grow up and eventually move out in order to work. Her attitude is therefore one born from her experiences and the necessity with which she had to come to terms with these changes. It could be argued therefore that while Rikka may be taking too long to accept the situation, Touka had to accept it too quickly. As Yuuta points out, accepting isnt so simple and can be a very hard thing to do, the speed with which Touka accepts their situation has therefore potentially damaged her view of the world. In this respect she is the exact opposite of Rikka, and may perhaps be jealous of the fun that she has with Yuuta, Dekomori, Kumin, Nibutani and Isshiki.
When we look at the situation from this perspective neither attitude nor approach to their predicament is right, but neither are they wrong. Rikka most certainly has to accept the death of her father and move on from her Chuunibyou phase. But, to simply dismiss this phase and the friends that she has gained because of it is equally wrong and potentially far more damaging. By trying to force her own perspective and way of viewing the world onto Rikka, Touka is arguably causing more harm than good. She is trying to rush things and demonstrates that while she may understand elements of Chuunibyou, she doesn’t really know or understand its significance. Yuuta may be the only person who at least understands Rikka, and by acknowledging her current self, while also seeing elements of the Rikka that is beneath the surface he can perhaps allow her to come to terms with her own past and present. The others around her only see one facet of her personality, with the Chuunibyou element overriding everything else.
Dekomori sees Rikka as her alter ego, and through their role-playing allows Rikka to let go and simply enjoy herself, even though the phrase and elements of her Chuunibyou continue to hold a more serious meaning. However, by only seeing this element of Rikka, Dekomori helps to reinforce the dangerous nature of Chunnibyou, and allows Rikka to extend the fantasy realm further than it may otherwise have gone. On the other hand Nibutani only sees her delusions as something a child would do (never mind the fact that as teenagers they are still technically children), and dismisses everything that Rikka and Dekomori does as silly. Although this is partly because Nibutani wishes to leave behind her past self, and the presence of Rikka and Dekomori are continuous reminders of a past that she wishes were buried. Yuuta on the other hand is a character that interacts with Rikka as a normal person, albeit one with slightly eccentric tendencies. He may berate her and disagree with certain things that are said, but it acknowledges and accepts her as she is. By happily slipping into his Dark Flame Master ego to communicate with Rikka from time to time Yuuta also demonstrates an understanding of the importance that Chuunibyou can have for certain people.
The relationship that Yuuta and Rikka have has developed over the course of the series to one where they are almost more than friends. There are romantic elements involved, but Rikka has been stuck ion her own world for such a long time that the notion of romance and what her own feelings towards Yuuta mean may have escaped her. However, the ease with which these characters interact suggests that she trusts him and perhaps even thinks of him. The way Yuuta freely plays around with her food, taunting her with a tomato and even feeding her spicy food demonstrates how close their relationship is. Rikka is a fundamentally lonely character, but by meeting Yuuta she has gradually opened up and begun to rely on him for emotional and moral support. It is also suggested through a flashback that Yuuta’s time as the Dark Flame Master may have influenced Rikka and perhaps this simple glimpse into her past may provide the basis for their current relationship. What is certain however is that Rikka is happy when around Yuuta, and their time together has had a significant impact upon how she views the world. Furthermore, while she may not have had as much experience with love as others, she at least seems to know that the feelings she has when near Yuuta are important. Rikka remains an eccentric character, but beneath the eccentricities she is as normal as anyone else, although what counts as ‘normal’ is debateable.