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.
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.
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