Chuunibyou (中二病 / 厨二病), often shortened to chuuni or chuu2, is an often-derisive Japanese slang meaning "Middle [School] Second [Year] Syndrome",note  and refers to a kind of behaviour that most commonly appears in middle-school students but can appear in people of any age.

As a colloquial term, the exact "symptoms" of chuunibyou aren't entirely set in stone. Generally a chuuni acts like a mature know-it-all and/or thinks they have special powers no one else has, but some definitions even go as far as including being obnoxious, arrogant, and/or acting superior to the standard set of behaviors. Saegami Hyouya's Chuunibyou User Manual breaks it down into three main types:

  • DQN (Delinquent): Pretends to be a delinquent when in fact they aren't or can't become one. Makes up stories about gang fights and crimes and/or boasts and pretends to know about that subculture.
  • Subcultural: Latches on to minority or "alternative" cultural groups seen as "cool" to try to make themselves appear interesting or special.
  • Evil Eye: Interested in Magic and Powers and often believes they have special or supernatural abilities themselves (stereotypically a Magical Eye and/or Evil Hand). Generally creates a special magical persona namenote  for themselves in accordance with those believed abilities. Also known as the Delusional Type, due to high incidence of becoming a Cloudcuckoolander. Likely the most iconic form of chuunibyou, and rare outside of Japanese Media.

According to the online Japanese dictionary Jisho's entry on Chuunibyou, it's defined as "behaving in a way characteristic of teenagers going through puberty, esp. by being overly self-conscious; 2nd year of junior high sickness".

While chuunibyou is by no means limited to Japan, most places don't have an overarching term for it - in the United States, those exhibiting chuunibyou might be said to be in "teenage rebellion", a "goth phase", being "a punk", and so forth. However, the Japanese slang has started to catch on thanks to The Internet and Memetic Mutation. Some popular series such as Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions (wherein the term is left untranslated) were and are major contributors in this cultural exchange.

Visual Novels with emphasis on Action, Fantasy and/or Expospeak are known as chuunige (chuuni games), though the term is usually meant affectionately. Fate/stay night and Dies Irae are the most well-known examples of such games.

Sub-Trope of Immaturity Tropes and Stock Japanese Characters. Not to be confused with the English phrase "sophomore syndrome", which has a very different connotation.

Trope Namers and Codifiers

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    Tropes Associated with Chuunibyou 


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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 the heroes of justice from Tokusatsu shows, and has always desired to be one himself. One day, he decides to get a custom 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. And then things start to get weird...
  • 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.
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys
  • Shaman King
  • 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 especially when he dies during battle, even those who claim to find his behaviour annoying.
  • Love Live! Sunshine!!: Yoshiko Tsushima, or, as she prefers to be called, Yohane. She believes she is a Fallen Angel who has been cursed and banished from the heavens to explain why she has extremely bad luck. Her arc in the anime is actually about her having grown out of it and wanting to leave it behind, but being unable to because the persona was that deeply ingrained into her personality by then — it can be observed in later episodes that "Yohane" now doubles as a subtle fallback coping mechanism for nervousness.
  • My Hero Academia: Fumikage Tokoyami is a mixture of all types, being quiet and reserved with Cold Ham tendencies, owning several gothic memorabilia that he is somewhat embarrassed about and having actual Casting a Shadow powers.
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.: Shun Kaidou is a Conspiracy Theorist who has a secret identity known as Jet-Black Wing, fighting to protect the world from the Dark Reunion. In actuality, it's implied that Kaidou is Obfuscating Stupidity and only keeps up the antics as an outlet because he comes from an extremely strict household with an Education Mama.
  • In Boruto, Boruto starts acting like one when he thinks he's unlocked his Byakugan, complete with sunglasses and a smug attitude. Everyone else just finds his behavior weird and think he's making it up to get attention.
  • Maria Imari from This Art Club Has a Problem! is one, going on about grimoires and supernatural powers, and even wearing a medical eyepatch at one point.
  • Based on the Big in Japan Ur-Example Don Quixote, there's Zukkoke Knight - Don De La Mancha, a free adaptation of Don Quixote made in The '80s, that follows the adventures of Don Quixote De la Mancha, a man that believes he's a knight and fights against monsters that there're on his imagination as well idolizes romantically to Dulcinea, who takes advantage of him for her own purposes.

    Comic Books 
  • A famous Western example of chuunibyou is Kick-Ass, in which Dave Lizewski (AKA 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 Delinquent-type as well a Western example of a Tsundere.

    Fan Works 

    Light Novels 

  • 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.
  • Bridge to Terabithia: Two fifth-graders invent a fantasy world in order to escape the pressures of everyday life. It doesn't turn out well for them.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Touhou
    • 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).
    • Sekibanki from Double Dealing Character is described as giving off a chuuni vibe, in that she looks down on both humans and youkai despite her own lack of importance.
    • Sumireko Usami is a textbook example of chuunibyou, 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 an angry young man obsessed with strength, who denies being friends with any human characters, to the point where he initially seems like an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy. However, it soon turns out that his anger is the result of stress, and when calm he's actually a Nice Guy who just happens to like black clothes and making dramatic poses in battle. Hau even calls him out on acting mysterious just to seem cooler.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, Owain displays many stereotypical chuuni traits like Calling His Attacks, geeking out over stories about legendary weapons, and pretending that his sword arm is possessed and thirsts for blood. Both his portrait and his map sprite show him standing with his hand held dramatically over his face. When he reappears in Fire Emblem Fates as "Odin", he even has a personal skill which increases his critical hit rate when wielding weapons with cool names.note 
  • The True Final Boss of the Undertale Pacifist Route, Asriel Dreemurr, comes off as the type. Though he does have genuine power - godlike, in fact - he uses it in a way that makes it amply clear he's gunning for all the Rule of Cool stereotypes. Atrocious Alias (God of Hyperdeath)? Check. Boasting about suppressing his true power? Check. Several Impossibly Cool Weapons, such as dual swords and a giant rainbow laser? Check. An over-the-top ultimate attack, which he is shocked you withstand? Check. This is appropriate, since Asriel is literally a child (probably even younger than teenage) and is literally playing with you. In good "kid with the 'undodgeable laser gun' on the playground" fashion, he is invincible, so to defeat him, you have to convince him to stop... but not without resorting to some hax of your own.
  • Ranko Kanzaki from THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls is an example of this. She is notorious among her co-idols for her obscure and difficult-to-understand chuunibyou talking style. However, despite being chuunibyou, she is innocent and sweet and others find it surprising that she is really scared of horror and ghosts.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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 developed this persona in order to entertain his childhood friend Mayuri Shiina.
  • Dangan Ronpa
    • Celestia Ludenberg, Ultimate Gambler in the first game. Decked out in Elegant Gothic Lolita attire, despite being about as Japanese as the entire rest of the cast, insists that that's her real name. Free Time Events have her "backstory" as a series of references to gambling anime, she's said to give people letter rankings based on her opinions of them, and her greatest desire is to live in a castle waited on hand and foot by pretty male vampire butlers. Her quickly-turned manservant, Hifumi Yamada, also counts as one, as a Large Ham obsessed with his favorite fictional character to the point where in Free Time he genuinely believes she's real, not to mention being a bit of a white knight. Might be why they're the closest thing to friends in the class one another have. Celestia manipulates him into committing murder thanks to the latter delusion before killing him herself, and her real, somewhat hickish name Taeko Yasuhiro is a plot point in that case. Her obsession with this delusion ties both into her Villainous Breakdown and her subsequent execution.
    • Gundham Tanaka, the Ultimate Animal Breeder from Super Dangan Ronpa 2. An eccentric individual who talks like a cartoon supervillain and aspires to use the dark arts to conquer the world. When he's found guilty of murder, he attempts to protect himself from his execution with his alleged "dark powers", only to fail.
    • Himiko Yumeno, the Ultimate Magician of New Dangan Ronpa V3 appears to be carrying on the trend. She wears a witch hat and insists her magic tricks are the product of actual magical powers. Though her "real magic" is what the second case is centered around, making her its prime suspect thanks to the body turning up at her show, she's cleared of any charges and, bucking the trend of the previous games, never kills anybody before going on to be one of very few survivors of the game.
    • Also in v3, the mastermind herself counts as this, again crossed with Otaku. Obsessed with Danganronpa to a fault, she spends much of the trial post-unveiling insisting that she is Junko Enoshima and cosplaying as various other characters. She seems to have no identity whatsoever outside of this.