A Japanese slang term which roughly translates to "Middle School 2nd Year Syndrome".
Chuunibyou (also known as Chunibyo, abbreviated as chuuni and/or chuu2), or "Middle-school 2nd Year Syndrome", is a colloquial and rather derisive term in Japan which describes a person at the age of fourteen would either act like a know-it-all adult, or thinks they have special powers no one else has. Some would even go as far as being obnoxious, arrogant, and often look down on adults or older people. This way of thinking or acting is mostly seen in teenagers during adolescence, however there are people who still act like this even after reaching adulthood. Chuunibyou uses the word "byou" for "syndrome" or "disease" but it does not actually relate to any medical condition or mental disorder. According to the Chuunibyou User Manual (Chuunibyou Toriatsukai Setsumei Sho), there are three types of people who have chuunibyou traits:
- DQN (Dokyun kei): Pretends to be anti-social or acts like a delinquent when in fact he or she is not or cannot become like either one. Tells made up stories about gang fights or crimes, or boasts and pretends to know about that subculture. "DQN" is slang for "antisocial person" or "annoying delinquent".
- Subcultural/Hipster (SubCul kei): Prefers non-mainstream or minor trends and establishes themselves as being special. People of this type do not really love the subculture itself but rather strive to obtain the "cool" factor by not having the same interests as others.
- Evil Eye (Jyakigan kei): Admires mystical powers and thinks that he or she has a hidden power within them as well. It is this trait that they create an alias specifically for said power. This is also known as the delusional type.
Trope Namers and Codifiers
- Hikaru Ijuin is said to be the first person to use this word as it was heard in his radio programme Hikaru Ijuin's UP'S. During an episode which aired on 11 November 1999, Ijuin mentioned, "I'm still contracting 'chuunibyou' myself". In the following week, Ijuin started a corner called "Am I sick? Oh, it's just Chuunibyou." in which Ijuin reads "cases" contributed by his radio listeners in his radio. Ijuin originally described chuunibyou as the things people normally do during their 2nd year in middle school. As the term grew more popular, it became a slang term among Japanese internet users. Other derogatory terms such as "High School 2nd year Syndrome" (kounibyou), "Elementary School 2nd year Syndrome" (shounibyou), and other similar derivatives started appearing and also became Internet memes. It was then that Ijuin himself tweeted a message regarding this issue by saying, "I have no interest in this word anymore because it has lost its original meaning from when I first described it.".
- Chuunibyou User Manual by Saegami Hyouya is basically an All There in the Manual for this kind of syndrome, becoming even a reference for future works in Japanese Media. The book was released on 2008 under Kotobukiya publishing and even having its own manga based on this book.
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Anime and Manga
- Masayoshi Hazama is one of the main characters of Samurai Flamenco. A male model by occupation, Masayoshi has a love for Super Sentai/Power Rangers-type shows, and has always desired to be a hero of justice. One day, he decides to get a custom sentai suit made to finally live out his dreams as a hero. While he has no fighting experience, he gives his all when acting as a superhero, trying to instill the concepts of truth and justice into the delinquents he runs into while on patrol. He believes himself able to convince these kids of the path of justice, and able to hold his own in battle, although neither of these are particularly true. Still, he never gives up on his dreams and believes that with enough dedication he can truly become a hero like the ones on TV.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Before the manga became entirely about card games, one Villain of the Week was a classmate who claimed he could see the future (and arranged for his predictions to come true). When exposed by Yugi, it turned out his predictions were all prewritten, such as "There will be an earthquake". In Japan.
- The protagonist trio of Daily Lives of High School Boys are seen as chuunibyous, in which in various scenes they played as they are part of a RPG. Also, Motoharu the Delinquent, despite his notoriety as a delinquent, he only really looks the part, and is one of the main group's friends.
- Shaman King
- Wooden Sword Ryu and his gang are the Japanese Delinquents Who Don't Do Anything, who act scary but never break any rules and can be so considerate at times that it verges on comical.
- In the Sequel manga Shaman King: Flowers, Hana accuses Yohane of only acting like The Rival because of chuunibyou. He's correct.
- In Pani Poni Dash!, Behoimi acts like a Magical Girl, though she grows out of it over the course of the series.
- In Martian Successor Nadesico, Jiro Yamada (or as he calls himself, "Gai Daigoji")note is a Hot-Blooded Real Robot pilot who thinks he's in a Super Robot series, shouting out the names of attacks from his favorite anime while in combat. He also serves as something of an inspiration to the rest of the cast, even those who claim to find his behaviour annoying especially when he dies during battle.
- A famous Western example of chuunibyou is Kick-Ass, in which Dave Lizewski (a.k.a. Kick-Ass), a sixteen-year-old high school student, decides to become a real-life superhero, despite having little-to-no fighting skills or training, and no super powers, he assumes the superhero role by fashioning a costume from a wetsuit bought on Ebay, inspiring dozens of teenagers like him to become superheroes like him (and eventually supervillains too). Another case is Hit Girl, which apart of becoming a vigilante and having real training and skills (with the same Evil Eye-type than Kick-Ass), she's also a DQN-type as well a Western example of a Tsundere. This comic book series (as well their movies) also were inspiration for the anime Samurai Flamenco.
- The most famous example and the reason why this term is widely known outside Japan is Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions (mostly because of the anime adaptation than the light novel). It follows a boy, Yuta Togashi, who in middle school had chuunibyou and called himself the Dark Flame Master, which ended up alienating him from his fellow classmates. He ends up finding this behavior embarrassing, and tries to reinvent himself in High School. However, a girl with chuunibyou, Rikka Takanashi, catches wind of Yuta's past and becomes interested in him and his Dark Flame Master persona. She herself believes that she is a sorceress with the ability to see other people's destinies through her "Wicked Eye", which she keeps hidden behind a medical eyepatch. Hilarity ensues as the two begin to become friends and they start to learn more about each other's lives.
- Yoshiteru Zaimokuza from My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU has delusions about being a warlord in another life and even having a lifetime rivalry with Hachiman Hikigaya who also has a coincidence in his name just as Yoshiteru. He's recognized as a chuunibyou for all the other members of the Service Club (even being called by Yui and Komachi as "Chuuni-chan"), but Hachiman, who sees he has the "novelist syndrome".
- Rinna Kazamatsuri from Chivalry of a Failed Knight is a member of the Shinigami, a C-Range Blazer... and a chuunibyou, who even referenced Rikka Takanashi having an Eyepatch of Power to "seal her powers".
- In Oreimo, "Kuroneko" is this, wearing Gothic Lolita dresses, threatening people with curses, and enjoying shows because they're hard to understand. It's a while before the audience even learns what her real name is.
- The 2001 mystery novel Hyouka (most known for their manga and anime adaptations) is about a group of students part of the Kamiyama High School's Classic Literature Club. All of them take very seriously their duties in the Club, at the point of working more as a Mystery Club than a Literature Club, solving fictional cases made by themselves.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The titular Prince came up with his identity in his teenage years as a way to get back at his Muggle father (hence half-blood) by using his witch mother's last name. He was known to run around with a gang of people who would later become the first Death Eaters and came up with some very nasty spells. He's better known as Severus Snape.
- Don Quixote, is largely regarded as the Ur-Example of chuunibyou-focused stories, even when the eponymous protagonist is nearing 50 years of age.
- Hikikomori No Chuunibyou is a Steam's Indie Platform Game (with touches of Puzzle and Beat 'em Up) made in 8-bit about a Hikikomori who also is a Chuunibyou and has been obligated to go outside, passing stages using parkour-like abilities and martial-arts techniques.
- Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII. Squall starts an introverted, cold and taciturn teenager who pushes away those who would otherwise be considered his friends. During the game Squall narrates his thoughts and feelings in silent voice-overs, during which he reveals he acts the way he does for fear of getting close to people. Squall comes to rethink his choices in life when he falls in love with Rinoa Heartilly and comes to accept the support and friendship of his comrades, becoming more social.
- Sanae Kochiya is an unusual example in that she really does have supernatural powers, she's just way too enthusiastic about them (and occasionally lapses into If Jesus, Then Aliens).
- Sumireko Usami is a textbook example of chuunibyou syndrome, being convinced of her inherent specialness, belief in mystical phenomena and general obsession with the occult, and superiority complex towards her peers and everyone else she meets prior to the serving of humble pie she gets at the hands of Reimu and Gensokyo's youkai. Unlike many other examples of this trope, however, she actually has very potent Psychic Powers.
- The story of Dateless Bar "Old Adam" focuses on chuunibyou as a general theme, in the form of the adults Maribel and Renko meet that are obsessed with the stories about Gensokyo told by the former's pseudonym, Dr. Latency.
- Gladion from Pokémon Sun and Moon has many hallmarks of this character type. He's got an angry demeanor and denies being friends with any human characters, is obsessed with strength, poses dramatically during battle, and even gets called out by Hau on acting mysterious just to seem cooler.
- Rintarou Okabe is the main character of Steins;Gate. He is a self-proclaimed mad scientist and villain, and will often partake in strange mannerisms such as talking to himself via cell phone and laughing maniacally in order to keep up this persona. However, he does not truly believe himself to be a mad scientist, but rather he acts like this in order to entertain his childhood friend Mayuri Shiina.
Indexes: Stock Japanese Characters, Immaturity Tropes, Characters as Device, School Tropes, Character Flaw Index, Youngsters
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