Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 09 – Group Therapy
December 3, 2012 2 Comments
Over the past couple of episodes it has become clear that Rikka’s Chuunibyou was a defense mechanism that she created in order to cope with the sudden loss of her father. 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.
While this defence mechanism may be potentially damaging to Rikka, with her fathers death becoming ever more difficult for her to acknowledge, it has had certain important side effects. Through her Chuunibyou Rikka has gained an important group of friends who play along with her delusions in one form or another. Nibutani, Dekomori, Kumin, Isshiki and most important of all Yuuta have gathered around her and have become a part of a social circle that she once lacked. During earlier episodes when Yuuta visits Rikka’s house we see how fundamentally lonely she is, and how important meeting Yuuta has become to her current life and social interaction. She has gradually opened up to Yuuta and begun to rely on him for emotional and moral support, while still continuing her quest for the Unseen Horizon. What is certain is that Rikka is happy when around Yuuta, and their time together has had a significant impact upon how she views the world. So, while Rikka’s Chuunibyou may seem eccentric and a little strange, it has had certain positive effects on her and how she now views the world.
However, it has now become a barrier to Rikka, and far from helping her has become confused with new unfamiliar emotions that Rikka feels whenever she is near Yuuta. During episode eight, Yuuta accompanied Rikka home and even bought food for her at a convenience store, thus providing new and exciting experiences for her. Until this point Rikka has been taken care of by her sister, and because her job has only eaten home cooking with Touka banning the consumption of other food. This in itself is hardly a bad thing with Touka demonstrating how accomplished she is as a chef. However, through her interaction with Yuuta Rikka has a new and apparently exciting experience, thus bringing the two closer together. Throughout the series everything that Rikka has experienced, be it sad or exciting has also involved Yuuta in one way or another. In this respect Yuuta is the one other constant in Rikka’s life other than her search for the Unseen Horizon. It is therefore hardly surprising that as time moved on she would develop considerable feelings for him.
Unfortunately she now confuses her newfound feelings of love for Yuuta with her own delusions, and for the first time her Chuunibyou becomes a barrier to her continued relationship with this influential and important person in her life. Last weeks episode demonstrated how confused Rikka has become with her role-playing muddled with her current feelings for Yuuta, ending in a wonderful shot of Rikka stroking his hair while he is asleep. But, because her desire to search for the Unseen Horizon is so strong, along with the continued importance of her Chuunibyou as a defence mechanism, Rikka doesn’t know how to react to these strange, new feelings. Her constant blushing and the turning away whenever he looks at her, reinforced with her efforts to avoid Yuuta demonstrate how much of a shock this change has been. Although Yuuta true to form is as ignorant of this change in Rikka as she is. Because of the importance that Rikka has placed upon her search for the Unseen horizon and her entire persona as the wielder of the Tyrant’s Eye she automatically uses this other universe to make sense of something that to Nibutani appears obvious.
Her attempts to make sense of her new feelings for Yuuta only further serves to confuse the situation and make it ever more difficult for Rikka to approach Yuuta, let alone interact with him. Interestingly enough during one particular sequence where Rikka calls Yuuta to a shrine for her and Dekomori to exorcise him we see a subtle, but important change in her. During the usual sequence where Rikka calls forth her other reality with the line ‘Banishment, of this world’, nothing happens, and instead of the overdone fantasy fights she is left dazed and confused. Yuuta’s presence along with her new feelings for him have slowly begun to push her back into the real world, with Rikka’s failure to call forth her imaginary universe perhaps signifying how much has changed since episode one. The shock that she feels when this invocation fails, along with Yuuta’s straightforward approach towards her forces Rikka to flee, unable to cope with the changes that have happened in how she sees him. There are characters such as Nibutani who fully understand what is happening to Rikka, and although she may deny it, her continued presence in this group is important.
For all her constant moaning about Chuunibyou and the way she continuously reinforces her distaste for anything to do with such people, Nibutani has become another important member of this small social group. By confronting Rikka about Yuuta, Nibutani demonstrates that through Chuunibyou she has gained an important group of friends. She is the only one who understands why Rikka is acting in such a way, and by confronting Rikka directly she forces her to acknowledge that it might not be to do with the Unseen Horizon at all. Rikka continues to mix her delusions with these new feelings, further complicating and already complicated situation and making it increasingly difficult for her to approach Yuuta as she once did. As we see Rikka slowly melting down due to her own inability to reconcile two different approaches to Yuuta and the world we also see subtle but important changes taking place.
Watching Rikka botch her lines and completely fail to confess her love for Yuuta is hilarious, especially given Nibutani’s reactions to the situation, which further reinforces how much she has changed since episode one. At the same time, this simple scene with all its comedy helps to reinforce how much Rikka has changed and how confused she is with her current situation. Trying to juggle two opposing views of the world is difficult, and by frequently mixing them up and resorting to her delusions to make sense of everything we are seeing a Rikka who can no longer retreat into her own little world. Yuuta is once again the character that pushes Rikka forward, changing her perspective of the world and the people who are around her. Other characters view Rikka through a particular medium, be it the eccentric, or in Dekomori’s case, from within the delusion. Yuuta has consistently been the only character that acknowledges Rikka as she is, although as we see in this episode, until the trip to her old home he continued to have certain misgivings about her.
Until that point Yuuta continued to view Rikka’s search for the Unseen Horizon as some form of play-acting without any deeper meaning. But the trip demonstrated the importance that her delusions continue to have for her, and reinforces the chaotic and complicated nature of Chuunibyou. His acceptance of her, along with the acknowledgment that when you see a beautiful sunset it is believable that the Unseen Horizon may exist is as fascinating as it is important. Yuuta isn’t necessarily suggesting that he believes in the Unseen Horizon, but is instead showing that he understands why Rikka views it as something real. This simple sequence helps to demonstrate the importance of Yuuta’s existence to Rikka and how he has become the anchor for her delusions. While other characters have dismissed her delusions as ridiculous, or played along with them as Dekomori does, Yuuta has grown to understand why they are important and their significance to Rikka. He has also become to link between Rikka and Touka. While Touka may consider Chuunibyou to be silly and constantly tries to force Rikka into acknowledging that her own delusions aren’t real, she also understands the importance of Rikka’s world, at least in part.
This episode further demonstrates how little Touka understands Rikka, and also how she and Rikka are very much alike. Neither of them can really interact with the other, finding it difficult for various reasons to talk to each other like sisters. Touka in particular uses Yuuta as a way of communicating with Rikka and perhaps growing to understand her. Her appearance from under Yuuta’s bed and subsequent conversation with Yuuta about Rikka’s current actions suggests that she is as socially awkward as Rikka. And as Yuuta points out, rather than coming to him she could just ask Rikka herself. But Touka is too embarrassed to ask Rikka, suggesting that she, like Rikka doesn’t really know how to act when the other is around and resorts to getting Yuuta involved instead. In many respects Yuuta has become a part of their family, while Rikka and Touka have also become a part of his family with their interactions. In the end it came down to a dangerous situation to make Yuuta realise how important Rikka is to him. When she is dangling off the roof the quick responses of Yuuta shows us that he truly cares for her. When they are hugging at the end with Rikka clinging on to Yuuta we are seeing two characters that are linked through a shared set of experiences and feelings. This shared hug with the sunset in the background perhaps suggests that they are finally together emotionally as well as physically, with Rikka perhaps realising how important Yuuta is to her without her Chuunibyou complicating matters.