Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 10 – Coming to Terms with Reality
December 9, 2012 Leave a comment
Coming to terms with a terrible loss will never be easy, with various people reacting in different ways and coping as best they can with what support is available to them. As Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai has progressed we have learned more about Rikka and the reasons behind her Chuunibyou, and how it is a defence mechanism that she has used to deal with the sudden death of her father. It is difficult and arguably wrong to pin the blame for Rikka’s current personality on any one individual, with her entire family sharing shouldering the burden. As families go Rikka’s is shown in stark contrast to the family life of Yuuta, she lacks the warm, understanding family that he has, with a flat that is largely empty due to Touka’s work hours. Her grandparents clearly care for her, but due to her grandfathers personality means that her ways of coping with loss are viewed as childish and silly. The sudden nature of her fathers death, coupled with her entire family keeping his illness from her clearly had a significantly stronger impact on Rikka than they could ever imagine. Her Chuunibyou along with her quest for the Unseen Horizon was her way of making sense of world that no longer seemed to care about her and perhaps was viewed to be a dark and dangerous place. This is further emphasised by Rikka labelling her grandparents house as the headquarters of her enemy The Administration Bureau and calling Touka the ‘Priestess’.
By creating an alternate world full of mystery and intrigue where she is able to search for the place her father went to, along with the creation of enemies and threats, Rikka is able to make sense of her loss and her pain. The problem is that in doing so she makes it significantly more difficult for her to ever fully come to terms with her father’s death and to move on from that part in her life. Her Chuunibyou is clearly important to her, something that Yuuta has already recognised, acknowledging that through her day dreams and role playing Rikka is dealing with loss in her own way. However, the longer she drags out this dream world the harder it will be for her to ever truly leave it and live in the ‘real world’. On the other hand, Yuuta has called this notion of a ‘real world’ into question, constantly wondering whether or not Rikka’s Chuunibyou is truly dangerous and destructive. He knows that she cannot live in her dreams for her whole life, and through their interactions we see a character that accepts every part of Rikka. Because of his Chuunibyou past as the Dark Flame Master, Yuuta continues to feel embarrassed by the antics of Dekomori and Rikka.
But, as the series has progressed we have seen a softening in his attitude towards Rikka, and while he may continue to disagree with her interpretation of the world, he doesn’t completely reject it and at crucial moments is willing to play along. He has accepted Rikka for who she is rather than who he thinks she should be, and by the same token has slowly grown to accept his Chuunibyou past and view it from a different perspective. His ability to understand his own Chuunibyou and interact with Rikka regardless of how she acts demonstrates how far Yuuta has come since the beginning of the series. Furthermore, this change that we have seen in his character and attitudes towards Chuunibyou partly mirror how his family has always seen him. At the very beginning we see his younger sisters and mother happily playing around – we are seeing a family that accepted his Chuunibyou phase regardless of how ridiculous it was, and even enjoy it. Yuuta’s mother is particularly fascinating since she clearly liked his alter ego and we see through the way she acts that this is a family that doesn’t label anything as weird and are willing to work around any difficulty. By gradually growing to accept his and Rikka’s Chunnibyou, and despite the occasional moment when Yuuta is clearly embarrassed about his past we are seeing the effect that such a family has had on his attitudes to life and to how you should view the world.
Having such a caring and understand family who are willing to play along with any alter egos or strange behaviour clearly made it significantly easier for Yuuta to move on from this stage in his life and even look back on it as something entertaining if incredibly embarrassing. Rikka’s family on the other hand completely rejects her alter ego, suggesting that it is childish and ridiculous. Far from helping this attitude has further alienated Rikka and only helped to push her further into her own dream world. When Yuuta helps Rikka move all of her stuff into Touka’s flat we begin to understand how fundamentally lonely she is. Rikka is rejected by her grandparents and has to live in a flat that is almost always empty because of Touka’s demanding job. Furthermore, Touka’s attitude towards Rikka doesn’t help matters, and by constantly attempting to force her own reality onto Rikka, Touka inevitably strengthens Rikka’s dependence on her alter ego and dream world. Rikka’s world and her alter ego as the wielder of the Tyrant’s Eye become central to her everyday life precisely because her family, through their rejection of Chuunibyou has alienated her.
Without anyone around (save for Dekomori), Rikka clearly became dependant on her quest for the Unseen Horizon, not just because that is where she believes her father is, but because through this quest she could distract herself from her own lonely and alienated life. The presence of Yuuta and the existence of the Oriental Magick Napping Society in Summer have therefore been instrumental in the subtle changes that Rikka has gone through since episode one. Here are a group of people who accept her in one way or another and continue to interact with her on a daily basis. Nibutani is a particularly interesting character within the group because of her attitude towards Chuunibyou and her attempts to destroy every last trace of her past. But, as the series has progressed we have seen her change, with Nibutani partly dropping her act as the perfect student and willingly taking part in club activities. Her constant fights with Dekomori are fascinating to watch, as we are seeing two characters constantly disagreeing with each other while also having a healthy and entertaining friendship. This group is central to Rikka’s current changes, with every member playing their part in filling the loneliness that her Chuunibyou and her families rejection of it has created.
While Nibutani, Dekomori, Kumin and Isshiki have all been important to Rikka in one form or another, it is Yuuta who has ultimately been central to the gradual changes that we have seen over the course of the series. Their mutual affection is particularly significant as it represents the first time that Rikka has interacted with Yuuta in the ‘real world’ rather than through his alter ego of the Dark Flame Master. It also helps to demonstrate how Rikka’s Chuunibyou is becoming less important to her she views the world, with Yuuta and her other friends taking its place in subtle but important ways. However, Rikka and Yuuta’s current relationship has highlighted a further problem with Rikka’s family and their attitudes towards her and how she views the world. As the series has progressed Touka has increasingly relied upon Yuuta to relay messages to Rikka and interact with her, effectively pushing all of her responsibilities on him. We see a beautiful and confident woman who is also socially awkward and incapable of interacting with Rikka. The few times we have seen them interact Touka has played along with Rikka’s Chuunibyou, using it as an opportunity to force her own reality onto her sister.
Touka is a character that was forced to work due to her father’s death and their mother disappearing, so there is the suggestion that she may resent Rikka in some way because of her apparently carefree and untroubled attitude towards life. In this episode Touka shows Yuuta a letter from an Italian restaurant that want to recruit and train her, she goes on to say that she has no reason to reject this offer. Touka isn’t necessarily irresponsible for taking up this offer, and in many respects it is the right thing to do, but it is her attitude towards Rikka and her overdependence on Yuuta that is particularly interesting. It’s like Touka cant really interact with Rikka and instead forces the issue of getting her to acknowledge her fathers death and live in the real world onto Yuuta because of how close they are. With this attitude and the complete absence of their mother (who returns during the episode) that is rather shocking and further reinforces the notion that it is precisely because of this family life that Rikka has continued to live in her dream world. As Yuuta says in this episode and has already stated before, Rikka is facing reality, she knows her father is dead and understands that their happy family life will never come back to her.
Her personality as the wielder of the Tyrants Eye, along with eye patch are a form of protection, and while she understands what has happened, the sadness from that event and problems it has caused were too much for her to handle. Perhaps she feels that her family is rejecting the existence of her father, and maybe resents them for keeping his illness from her, this coupled with the sudden disappearance of her happy childhood memories must have been frightening. Her family on the other hand haven’t helped her through this period in her life and have simply dismissed it and her Chuunibyou, suggesting that she should live in the real world. But what constitutes the real world? Does it really matter that Rikka plays along to her role as the wielder of the Tyrant’s Eye? To her family, these questions clearly matter, but Yuuta recognises the importance the Unseen Horizon has to Rikka and understands why she has continued to search for it, even though she must know that it doesn’t exist. Touka talks about letting her keep searching for the Unseen Horizon would be irresponsible, and perhaps she is right, but it is also irresponsible for her family to reject her current self in its entirety and simply try to push their own view of the world onto her rather than try to accept it.
The appearance of Rikka and Touka’s mother was particularly fascinating, and through this one simple scene we were able to see that regardless of her actions she does care for them. While the death of her husband and their father clearly had a significant impact upon Rikka and Touka, it must have also left its mark on her. Keeping his illness a secret may have been tremendously difficult, especially given Rikka’s reaction to his sudden death, with this in mind her disappearance, while hardly helpful is understandable. By meeting her and seeing how much she cares about her daughter Yuuta is finally willing to push the issue with Rikka, even risking his friendship and burgeoning romance with her. He understands that to Rikka her eye patch is important and through its use and he search for the Unseen Horizon she has managed to keep her pain at bay. However, he also understands that the longer she leaves it the harder it will be to deal with that pain and the more damaged her relationship with her family will become. His sudden demand to Rikka was shocking, but the right decision and ultimately it could only ever be Yuuta who demands that Rikka remove her eye patch. And by removing the eye patch after singing her fathers favourite song Rikka is perhaps demonstrating that she has always known he was dead and because of Yuuta has finally been able to accept it and move on with her life.