Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 11 – Colourless World
December 15, 2012 Leave a comment
It is a supreme irony that the one thing apparently hurting Rikka was also filling her world with colour and laughter. Her Chuunibyou, while extreme and often nonsensical was nevertheless an essential part of her life and the one constant that allowed her to make friends and create a club out of her widening social group. Without it she has become, not only normal, but also boring and lacking the liveliness that we have become used to over the course of the series. Rikka is a character that has had to deal with the loss of her father at a young age, thus resulting in her Chuunibyou, that she was going to come back to ‘reality’ sooner or later was also obvious, but the way she has gone about it seems to be far more damaging than her Chuunibyou ever could be. Throughout the series Touka has talked about Rikka using her Chuunibyou to run away from reality and simply ignore the truth that is before her eyes. She has viewed Rikka’s Chuunibyou as dangerous and also annoying at times, especially during the summer holiday arc where she tried to force the issue of their father’s death onto Rikka. 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.
Touka is arguably correct in her attitude towards Rikka, along with the notion that ignoring the truth that is in front of her is damaging and will become harder to accept. However, she fails to understand the importance of Rikka’s fantasy world to her, along with the entire concept of Chuunibyou. Yuuta has already pointed out that Rikka may understand what has happened and is dealing with it in her own way. She knows that her father is dead, but understanding and acknowledging are two different things, so her Chuunibyou is perhaps a way for her to come to terms with the loss. 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. But, with the appearance of their mother, along with Yuuta’s insistence that she take the eye patch off we now see Rikka and Chuunibyou in a new light, one that is infinitely more complicated than we might have first thought. Taking off her eye patch was important and a significant step for Rikka, that she did it while singing her fathers favourite song suggests that she is attempting to remove that element of protection and acknowledge that he is dead as Rikka rather than the wielder of the Tyrant’s Eye. In this respect she has taken the same steps that Yuuta and Nibutani went through when they move on from their Chuunibyou and attempted to lead ‘normal’ lives. But for Rikka, because her Chuunibyou arguably carried with it far more significance than either Yuuta or Nibutani’s, this process is potentially damaging.
As the episode progressed we see Rikka in a similar light to Yuuta at the beginning of the series, she is normal, almost excessively so, and lacks the joy that she has had in previous episodes. Yuuta arguably put more work into being ‘normal’ than he did as the Dark Flame Master, the same can also be said for Nibutani, and it came across as forced for them both. As Rikka attempts to do the same we see hesitancy, but also courage as she tries to make friends, but once again, there is this detached feeling when watching her. We no longer have Rikka marvelling at everything and complaining about having tomatoes in her lunch, the life has been drained out of her and replaced with a normality that is also grey and dull. However, the importance of Rikka wanting to make friends cannot be overstated, and in doing so we see her making a significant and important step. The problem is that she has effectively lost something incredibly important to her in order to gain these little rays of hope and life. The pressures of her family are also beginning to show, and while she can now talk to her sister, it is only as she is leaving for a new job in Italy. Furthermore, she continues to keep up the act of being normal out of consideration for her mother, suggesting that Rikka feels anything to do with Chuunibyou would hurt her mother.
As we watch Rikka and Yuuta clear away the paraphernalia of her Chuunibyou there is sadness in the scene that is almost tangible. By clearing everything away Rikka is effectively denying a significant part of her past in order to make her mother happy under the mistaken belief that her mothers happiness comes before her own (rather than both being equal). As everything is cleared away including the black curtains, her room goes from this magical, colourful place filled with life, to one that is normal, and dull. Throughout this scene Yuuta continues to shadow Rikka, and partly acts as emotional support due to his presence, but we also see a certain tinge of guilt and regret as the episode unfolds. By tidying and boxing away everything that Rikka has collected over the years there is a significant resemblance to Yuuta’s only Chuunibyou phase. At the beginning of the series he is introduced while tidying away all the various items that made up his Dark Flame Master persona. But, after his meeting with Rikka he rethinks his original plan to throw it all away. Regardless of the problems his Chuunibyou cause, it remains an important part of his life, and one that he arguably has yet to fully move on (and why should he really), with certain elements of the Dark Flame Master cropping up from time to time.
By throwing everything away he was effectively denying this part of his life, and therefore whitewashing over things that have had an impact on how he views the world even now. By putting everything back into his room, we see Yuuta acknowledging their importance and understanding that regardless of how embarrassed he might still be, he cant just throw everything away. Rikka is effectively doing the same thing, but because she lacks the family to support her, coupled with the clear pressure that she feels regarding her returned mother we see a girl who is unwillingly pushing everything she loved away in order to please others around her. She is abandoning her Chuunibyou, not because she wants to, but because she thinks that it is the right decision to make. Dekomori clearly doesn’t agree and continues in her efforts to return Rikka to the person she once was, unfortunately Rikka is currently set in her ways. However, we see glimpses of the old Rikka, particularly when Dekomori shows her some ‘magical stones’, the glow on Rikka’s face is clear, but she remains determined. From these small scenes it is clear that Rikka hasn’t moved on from her Chuunibyou, and is still utterly fascinated with the realms of fantasy, but is forcing herself to leave it all behind and to become a ‘normal’ person.
Through all of this we have Yuuta who is both happy at Rikka finally acknowledging the death of her father while also sad at the sudden change that she has undergone. He is evidently responsible, at least in part for her sudden change, and as Dekomori points out, it was his presence that allowed Rikka to continue her search through the realms of fantasy. He was her emotional and moral support, and the only character that truly interacted with her as both Rikka and the wielder of the Tyrant’s Eye. However, as Nibutani points out, both Yuuta and Rikka are trying too hard to please, with Yuuta attempting to be normal regardless of how Rikka acts. Throughout the episode there are points where Rikka is clearly waiting for Yuuta to say something, perhaps to acknowledge the existence of the Unseen Horizon like he did in the previous episode, or at least allow her to slip back into her Chuunibyou personality. The problem is that Yuuta is stuck; he can neither tell her that the Unseen Horizon is real, or talk to her as a ‘normal’ person, because to Yuuta she is clearly someone who is normal, regardless of how eccentric she acts. During the final scene when Rikka is waiting for the train, we see two characters that cannot be true to their own feelings and are constricted by what they think right. Yuuta could have easily talked to Rikka about the Unseen Horizon, but he feels that he no longer has the right to do so.
As Rikka leaves and Dekomori begins to shout at Yuuta he finally erupts, letting all the pent up anger and frustration out. As he yells at Dekomori we see a character that fully understands the problems he has faced and what he should have said, we also see Dekomori as someone who fully understands that the Unseen Horizon doesn’t exist, while also acknowledging the importance that it has for Rikka. Yuuta is not wrong in his assertions that Rikka must come to terms with the reality of her father’s death and her current place in life. The Unseen Horizon clearly doesn’t exist, but at the same time we see Yuuta break down as he realises the importance that such a fantasy holds for Rikka. Acknowledging your reality is important, but ignoring it or dismissing it as ridiculous isn’t going to serve any real purpose other than to drain what little joy Rikka has left from her. Chuunibyou is clearly incredibly complex, and regardless of how silly some of Rikka’s actions may have seemed, they held a joy and wonder that the ‘normal’ world lacks. If you have to give up that sort of joy simply to live a ‘normal’ life where everything is dull and the realms of fantasy cannot exist regardless of how entertaining they are then there seems little point in moving on from Chuunibyou. By attempting to push everything that she has been involved with away, Rikka risks hurting everyone around her including herself. Ultimately it will be up to Rikka and Yuuta to work things out and perhaps realise that ignoring her Chuunibyou and acting like it never existed is far more damaging than her quest for the Unseen Horizon ever could be.