So, recently, I’ve been watching some sports anime.
In particular, they were a 2-season baseball anime and a football anime.
Both the main character inside both anime are wimpy, and typical underdogs that work their way up through sheer hardwork. As much as they belittle, and see no worth in themselves, they still wouldn’t give up on improving their skills. They couldn’t. Because once they gave up, they lost their purpose. Their everything.
It was the only thing that they can hold on to, no matter how bad they are at it.
The feelings they have for their sports, are precious.
For them, these emotions are irreplaceable.
And, precisely because of these, they stood out. Their desire of getting recognized and their need to garner attention pushed them forward. They are able to practice relentlessly, and never backing up from challenges because of these. They don’t want to lose the spotlight. They can’t afford to lose it.
No matter what.
That’s their motivation.
And from another perspective, that’s the case of Chuunibyou.
Having drifted away from its origin, ‘Chuunibyou’ have shaped many translations to its real meaning. However, the one I found best describe it is not just one (an eight grader, especially) trying to be cool to impress others, so that they can establish themselves as “unique”.
But it’s the fact that Chuunibyou characters often realise that what they are doing is degrading themselves. They are aware that differentiating themselves from others in this way, is an odd, unacceptable method.
Often times in anime, characters diagnosed with Chuunibyou dress up weird, talk weird, act weird. And this “weird” is the term used to describe something that’s out of norm of society, out of the normal standards within which how we interact with one another. They are the “oddballs”.
But, why? Why do they do it to this extreme?
I was checking back one of my old posts (2019 kind of old) and it was then that I realized it. The dots connected.
The reason is exactly the same as every shounen sports main characters aiming to go to Nationals: they want to be recognized. Not just by others, but most importantly, by themselves.
The only difference is that Chuunibyou characters can’t get past the challenge stage. They can’t move on towards the winning direction, but only managed to confine themselves within a reality that they can be winners too.
They confined themselves within the reality they made up.
And, they find comforts in it.
Chuunibyou, ultimately, is an escape from reality, that manifest physically.
It’s a delicate balance between a strong sense of self denial and self affirmation.
They do not regard themselves as “mortals”, yet they seek the recognition to be one, more than anyone. They dreaded a push, or a closure to their stories. They put themselves in this conflicting state that do not allow themselves to move on until they move on. Confusing?
That’s the core of it.
Chuunibyou characters are often used as a method to develop a character, by moving them on from a low state of their life; this is done either through their own realization, or when received a strong, lasting push by those around them.
And by doing so, these characters are subjected to judgement, both by themselves and others around them. They indirectly created a bigger hurdle for them to pass, sinking themselves deeper in an abyss of self-discovery. That’s how they engage the plot. This is a fascinating concept when applied in stories, but that’s not all.
If you think about the contradiction of this concept, each, and every one of us has a little part of Chuunibyou inside us.
Sometimes, we would find ourselves having little thoughts where we deny that we are able to do certain things, and then proceed to doing it just to prove that we can do it. And Chuunibyou is a mechanism, a human mechanism, derived from this paradox. Sure, we might not all cosplay in normal days, or any day, but there are times we just hope to think big, act big and the urge to go all on something.
Imagine yourself charging to the finish line at the end of the race, without restraints, faster than anyone.
Imagine yourself being able to drop everything you’re doing now, book a plane, trample on a journey.
Imagine yourself relaxing in the most ideal scenario, just lazing around after everything’s been settled.
Imagine yourself speaking your thoughts in an outburst, surprising everyone, convincing them all.
Imagine, the little courage that you could have mustered.
Just how far would it have taken you?
I guess what I’m trying to say can be summed up as a quote by Jim Carrey, even if sometimes we are unconsciously being tugged along by the rope of fate, led by words and action of others, pressured and couldn’t be true, it’s important to know that
Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world.
And that’s why, we strive to make changes, don’t we?
And by making changes, no matter how small it is….
You, have a little bit of Chuunibyou inside you.
(and, that’s a good thing.)
Thanks for reading.