Friday’s Feature: Awakening the Dreamer Inside

Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions - Rikka

Warning: The post this week is just a little bit of a ramble. It does get to a point but my apologies.

There’s a reason so many people love Rikka Takanashi as a character. It isn’t just that she’s a moe high school character with an eye patch and a cute parasol (making her perfect for cosplay). It isn’t that she is a lead character in a coming of age/romance story where she gets her happy ending. Admittedly, both of these traits make her pretty appealing.


No, what draws viewers to Rikka is that she is someone who has fully unleashed her inner dreamer. She is someone who is firmly rejected a reality she dislikes and is actively trying to shape a world where she feels she can be who she wants to be. It might seem selfish for her to simply push those who are worried about her away and it might seem childish. It might also seem at first glance that this is Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions is about putting aside your childhood dreams and moving on, but I think a lot of viewers get a very different impression from the story.

Certainly Rikka does tone down her behaviour as she grows closer to Yuuta Togashi in the story. For a small portion of the story, Rikka does even completely reject her delusions in favour of experiencing ‘normal’. However, it is clear by the way the story presents this section with Rikka looking abjectly miserable and everything that made her sparkle essentially sucked out, and Yuuta feeling incredibly guilty  for being the one responsible for guiding her to being ‘normal’ even though it was who she was that caught his attention, that this story doesn’t endorse surrendering to reality.

Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions

Instead, this anime seems to firmly ask the audience to question the expectations of normal even while ending up with a compromised ending where the characters learn more to curb their delusions to within a certain acceptable boundary. And a lot of that resonates with people in the audience.

People want to feel like they are being ‘true’ to themselves. They don’t want to feel like they’ve given in to society or had to compromise on who they are. At the same time, it is an essential life skill to learn how to get along with others and live in the world. However, I feel this show makes us wonder if some of us have surrendered too much and given up too much of who we were in the process of finding some solid ground to stand on.


It is something I’ve been thinking about lately as I go about my day. How much of what I do and say exists only because it needs to? How many of my choices are made because to make another choice would be to cause a disruption to others? And do I still see myself when I look in the mirror?

I’m not actually having an identity crisis mind you. Just wondering if somewhere along the line my inner dreamer got beaten over the head by practicality, rationality, and a need to just get on with things. And I don’t dislike my practical and rational side that allow me to get on with things. These are traits that help me to set a course based on what I want to achieve and find the path to get there. Without these very sensible traits it wouldn’t matter what dream I conjured up I would never get closer to achieving it.

And that’s the pure beauty of Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions. Rikka has taken on her persona and has continued for a fair length of time searching for the Unseen Horizon but she herself knows she can’t get there. She has no clear idea of what it is or where it is or how to accomplish her goal or what comes after. It is Yuuta, who stands with what foot firmly in reality and utterly refusing to move and the other foot hovering over the line, that manages to plot the course. Rikka is the dreamer, the one who determined the destination, but it is Yuuta who takes them there.


At the same time, Yuuta couldn’t go anywhere on his own because he was essentially treading water. He had a single goal of becoming normal and then just wanted to maintain a status quo. He was completely without a destination which is why Rikka’s will completely overwhelmed him.

The perfect balance of dreams and reality with the understanding that without dreams there is no destination in mind. Without a destination actions simply keep us bobbing along. However, without a firm grip on reality, we can’t reach the places we dream about.


I love that anime makes me consider my own life and the choices I make. I love the way it makes me question who I am and who I want to be. Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions is an anime that really hit home for me and at the centre of it all is this questions about whether or not we should find our normal or whether we should embrace our dreams. Quite happily the story finds the happy middle ground and that seems like pretty solid advice to me.

Still, I’d love to know what your thoughts are on the show and the idea so please leave me a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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22 thoughts on “Friday’s Feature: Awakening the Dreamer Inside

  1. Another series I need to rewatch one of these days – it’s been a few years since the last one. I’ve never been able to find enough good writing/analysis about it to satisfy me, so thank you for this post. Rikka always made me think of Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes, with the way both of them totally disappear into imagined worlds that are still fully real to them (and they’re both awful at math, too!).

    1. Calvin is such a great character. I know it isn’t anime but I’d love to write something about Calvin & Hobbes one day. He’s just brilliant.

  2. Its a great anime. I have seen it for three times. But I want to see more about there relationship life. They should marry and story should go on.

  3. I always interpreted the show as saying, Yuta isn’t wrong for wanting to be more normal but at the same time he is sacrificing a lot of joy he could otherwise be having. Rika always seems to be enjoying life whereas, I wouldn’t say he /isn’t/ but, it certainly seems like he is doing so a lot less. That’s why I like the ultimate compromise the show delivers.

    Great show, great post, enjoyed! 🙂

  4. Yuuta is one of my favorite romcom protagonists because of how realistically grown-up he acts,considering his situation. Most other teenagers in anime don’t act their age, but Yuuta has that responsible air while still being a goofy teenager, and I really like that contrast.

    1. His character is pretty fantastic in how he balances himself. He’s still really awkward at times, but he kind of looks at the larger picture as well. And yeah, he actually feels like a kid rather than a grown up in high school.

  5. I’ve written reviews on that show too. I always took it to mean that is about the love you feel for people who have mental illness. Its also about the transfer of responsibility from the older Sister, who desperately wants a life of her own and a career as a pro chef in France, and the teen boy. He accidentally offered the girl this madness that distracts her from the pain of losing their parents and her terrible loneliness caused by female Aspergers Syndrome. Then he got over it, but she’s still crazy. Its a lot like an animated version of Benny and Joon, which has pretty much the same themes. LCOD is on my Top 10 list and I recommend it to people because it covers important points of both Japanese culture and anime itself. Its also massively influential. Remember the nickname for the hero in Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Dark Flame Master. That was referencing this show.

    1. I guess you can see it that way, but I’ve never really seen Rikka as being mentally ill. It makes for a different reading on the same situation.

      1. I always thought she was mentally ill. Her sister fights with her over it, and she’s mostly trying to stop her acting out, but that doesn’t really work with Aspergers. It is related to Tourettes, after all. I have a nephew with the male version of this, and the entire TV show Big Bang Theory is about Aspergers. They made that into comedy too, but its still one of the bigger common struggles for first world nations. We reach a point with Aspergers suffers are useful for engineering and technology because of their focus and OCD/obsessive tendencies, and we benefit from that. But Aspergers is hard to deal with in the day to day. And Rikka is a pain. A cute and adorable pain, but still a pain.

          1. Only someone who wasn’t a family member of someone suffering from Aspergers would dare suggest anything otherwise. I do hope this never becomes as personal for you as it has for me. There’s other stuff in history with similar intersections to real life I’d rather not explain. But real, nonetheless. (Jonestown) Ahem.

          2. There are a lot of assumptions underlying that last comment that I’m not going to correct, but I do feel you should avoid assuming personal knowledge of people you are talking to online.

          3. I’ll leave this as having different interpretations of this story, as previously stated. And apologies for the assumptions. My family do not find Tourettes or Aspergers very enjoyable, so “suffering” is appropriate to actual life experience. Several of my cousins and uncles have it, and my brother has ADD/ADHD like my mom did. We are grateful that the series of doctors and courses of treatment found medication that worked for my nephew after nearly 20 years of effort to help him function in the world. I’m glad he lived, because for a while there he was walking out into traffic without looking.

          4. Absolutely. As an Aspie allow me to reiterate that we don’t “suffer” from Autism/Asperger’s – we HAVE Autism, we ARE Autistic, we ARE ON the Autism Spectrum. The only thing we suffer from is ignorance and misunderstandings towards our condition.

            We don’t suffer from Autism because there is nothing to suffer from. Autism is simply having a brain that is wired differently from others, and whilst this may hinder us in some aspects of life, like being socially confident, it opens doors to fresh and unique perspectives that neurotypical people won’t be able to envision themselves.

            Granted it is hard for us, and for parents of an Autistic child having to adapt to and work with our peculiar ways and foibles which can be demanding but again, this isn’t suffering as parental love is unconditional. It might be an inconvenience having to make special allowances all the time, but if this helps bring out the best in your child then it is worth it.

            Sorry for the off-topic rant Karandi, but to bring things back to Rikka, I can say that I felt some empathy with her and related a bit to her plight as I did (and sometimes still do) live in a fantasy world in my head but I just don’t display it outwardly or act upon it – not in public anyway! 😉

          5. Don’t worry about it. I kind of thought someone was going to jump on that comment sooner which is why I replied the way I did because I know a lot of people who would have said exactly what you have just said.

  6. I really loved the first series (I’ve not seen the second yet). Rikka was such a great character. I think you’re right that the show promotes a middle ground of staying true to your inner dreamer while still living with the boundaries of reality. It’s one that I fully endorse; dream chasing is a big part of life for me, and not losing sight of my inner child is something that I hold dear.

    1. I still need to review the second season. While not as strong as season one, I think it does add some welcome additions to how Rikka and Yuuta’s relationship would progress from this point (awkwardly). Though the whole love triangle thing that gets introduced is kind of eye-roll worthy.

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