The ‘Family’ in School Centric Anime


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The world of dreams and fantasies that school centric anime portray further allows them to explore the complex nature of the Japanese family and its place within Japanese society. The ‘Japanese Family’ is full of diversity, with differences and differentiations depending on social class, historical cultures, legal cultures, and economic conditions (White, 2011). There is not a single, all-encompassing ‘Japanese Family’, although the Meiji Government (1868-1912) attempted to create one with their reinterpretation of the ‘ie’ household (extended family based on patrilineal descent). This version of the Japanese family became a matter of state concern in the establishment of a modern nation, but it only exists because of the force of ideology and power promoting it; it is a dream of what a family should be, rather than what it is (White, 2011; 129). The family is often viewed by the state as a continuation of its power, ideology and morals, a unit that recreates social and cultural norms and can pass down a sense of belonging to something substantially larger than itself. It is therefore essential to have a solid family structure in place in order to create society, and to engender the moral imperatives of honour, self-sacrifice, and pride. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 12 – Different Perspectives


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Chuunibyou is a fascinating and complicated idea, one that embodies the surprisingly simply but occasionally complicated notion of imagination. Throughout this series we have been told how ridiculous and embarrassing Chuunibyou is, with repeated examples of the strange and the wondrous shown in the form of Rikka and Dekomori. Chuunibyou is a social Haiku, as a term it is used to condense and concentrate numerous complicated social and cultural situations and attitudes into a single, easily used idea. At its most basic, Chuunibyou is essentially a term used to describe adolescence, a period in everyone’s life where external influences and ideas can have a tremendous impact on how you view yourself and the wider world. It is therefore tremendously difficult to truly label someone as a ‘sufferer’ of Chunnibyou, apart from those who act in the most extreme ways. Rikka, Dekomori, and the past Yuuta are all perfect examples of the more extreme end of Chunnibyou, with each character taking on a new, and altogether different personality. The way they act, speak, and interact with the wider world around them differs tremendously from the social ‘norm’, therefore marking them out as wider, or perhaps dysfunctional. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 11 – Colourless World


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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. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 10 – Coming to Terms with Reality


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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’. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 09 – Group Therapy


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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. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 08 – Acceptance


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. Read more of this post

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! 07 – Living in a Dream


Rikka has always been a curious character, not because of her personality as the wielder of the Tyrant’s Eye, but because of everything that has gone unsaid. We know very little about who she truly is behind the mask that she has created, and even less about her past. The reasons for her Chuunibyou have slowly begun to make sense of course, with Rikka placing a great deal of importance in the hobby group and everyone that has gradually gathered around her since the start of the series. As I have explored in previous posts, the entire concept of Chuunibyou is both interesting and arguably flawed. As a word and means with which to describe a series of factors largely based around adolescence it doesn’t allow for the necessary complexities of this period in life when trying to explain why certain people act in particular ways. The major problem with the term is that it tries to cover too much, an instead is used to describe the weirder end of the spectrum – characters like Rikka, Dekomori, and even Nibutani and Yuuta. Read more of this post