Let’s briefly explain what Chuunibyou is:
Chuunibyou is a Japanese word that describes people who mix up fantasy with reality. This isn't the only definition of the term, it also applies to those who believe they are someone they really aren't, usually someone of great knowledge and/or with extraordinary powers. Chuunibyou is often translated as “The middle school 2nd-year syndrome” or “The 8th-grader syndrome”, as this is the approximate age that people acquire this “disease”. Many grow out of this infantile mindset, but others; most times unconsciously, continue to have fantastical delusions throughout their teenage years and onwards. Please take note that this delusional behaviour is not related in any way with mental illnesses.
It's important to mention there are several types of chuunibyou and these most commonly fall under three categories: DQN, Subcultural and Evil Eye. DQN is the type that pretends they live a misfit life full of fights and “bad boy” behaviour; Subcultural is anyone that pretends to like something just to be socially accepted, when clearly they don't know anything about the subject; and Evil Eye are those who believe to have magical powers or abilities no one else has. Of course, some chuunibyou syndromes don’t fall strictly under these categories; other types include people who believe to be royalty, other species or simply just mix up their own imaginary world with reality.
With everything explained, here are the top ten anime characters that display their chuunibyou with pride!
10. Ako Tamaki from Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?
(And you thought there is never a girl online?)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2016 - June 2016
Ako is one of the main characters in Netoge and even if she looks happy and upbeat, she has a strange case of Chuunibyou. She confuses reality with her favorite MMORPG game. In this game, Ako travels around as a healer and is married to a guy nicknamed Rusian. In real life, Ako doesn't go around trying to heal people or dressing up as a magical girl; she’s rather normal at first glance. When Ako meets Rusian in real life, she still believes she is his wife in real life, this is when we start to realize her “wife chuunibyou”.
Only calling someone else ‘husband’ wouldn't really be considered chuunibyou, but when Ako interacts with others besides her game teammates, we can see that Ako’s real personality is shy and reserved. Ako basically roleplays as her upbeat character from the game and doesn’t understand why she can't call ‘Rusian’ her husband in real life or other real life friends by their game names. At some point, Ako confesses that she hates “normies” or people with an extremely normal life, hinting that maybe she is doing all this on purpose just to avoid becoming a normie. This theory was left unclear in the series and her Chuunibyou “disease” was never cured.
9. Kobato Hasegawa from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2011 - December 2011
Kobato is borderline of being too young for chuunibyou, but we decided to keep her because she is one of the most famous characters with chuunibyou “characteristic”. Because of her age, we can determine she is probably an 8th grader in school, the cursed year for our unfortunate character.
In Haganai, we can trace the origin of the “disease” chuunibyou; for Kobato, it all started after watching an anime about vampires and ever since then, her chuunibyou kicked in. Kobato believes she is a vampire named Reisys VI Felicity Sumeragi that has lived thousands of years. Sometimes, Kobato snaps out of her delusions and acts like a regular child… will she make it to 9th grade cured?
8. Jurai Andou from Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de
(When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2014 - December 2014
“When chuunibyou goes out of control” this is the only way to describe Inou-Battle. Of course, this setting is perfect for the helpless case of chuunibyou affected, Jurai Andou. Just knowing Andou’s power is named “Dark and Dark”, we can easily classify this case as Evil Eye type chuunibyou.
This chuunibyou enthusiast has friends, but among all the other chuuni cases, Andou is the only one that embraced and loved his power -even if it’s useless- from beginning to end, therefore winning him this spot. Although the chuunibyou world actually “becomes reality” in this anime, we can see a sort of “on and off” version of the delusions, clearly showing that this series is literally about “what could happen if we put a bunch of kids with chuunibyou in a room”. As the series concludes, Andou’s chuunibyou is cured after certain events (don’t want to spoil more) making him become more mature.
7. Maria Imari from Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!
(This Art Club has a Problem!)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2016 - Ongoing
Imari was introduced in mid season of KonoBi as a possible love rival for Usami. She’s beautiful, shares the same hobby with Uchimaki and even likes the same anime series. At first, Usami worries how their similarities would make Uchimaki fall in love with Imari but what she doesn't know is that Imari has a little secret, she has Chuunibyou.
Uchimaki is the first one to notice her little over the top fondness for Black Dragon Eye, the anime they both like, but for another otaku, obsessing over an anime is somewhat normal. Later, Imari shows more Chuunibyou “symptoms” like wrapping her arms in bandages or having a signature move. In the 7th episode, we can clearly confirm her Chuunibyou as she meets Collette. She confesses to Collette she protects the school rooftop from an evil entity and that she must keep the bandages to seal her powers as they are too strong. Through the eyes of Collette, Imari is a real hero and decides to become her apprentice.
6. Tomoko Kuroki from Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!
(WataMote: No Matter How I Look At It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Unpopular!)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2013 - September 2013
Just by the name of the series we can tell this is gonna be a strange anime, but it gets even weirder when we meet the protagonist, Tomoko. This girl is incredibly creepy, ugly, and with the social skill of a shoe. On top of that, she loves fantasizing that she is very pretty, popular and cool, and doesn't understand why others don't see her as the best person in the world. She believes her big brother is in love with her when in reality, he hates her; she lies to her only friend making her believe she has a passionate relationship with a boyfriend, who is secretly imaginary; among other delusions. In all the series, we see into Tomoko’s little made up world and how she fails trying to force others into believing it.
All these delusions can only be accredited to subcultural chuunibyou, this kind of delusion makes characters want to appear cool in the eyes of others in order to be socially accepted, this being the perfect description of Tomoko Kuroki.
5. Erio Touwa from Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
(Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2011 - July 2011
Believing you have superpowers is one thing, but believing you’re a completely different species is another thing. Erio’s chuunibyou makes her think she is an alien investigator sent to Earth to study humans. Like a proper E.T., she tries to fly on her bike and, of course, getting badly hurt in the process… a chuunibyou that could lead you to physically hurting yourself is an intense case of delusion, almost a mental incapacity. On top of walking barefoot around town, Erio’s chuunibyou makes her believe that wrapping herself in a futon is the ultimate source of protection… this girl and her delusions definitely have a toxic relationship.
Her down to earth cousin, Makoto Niwa, needs to cope with his delusional cousin by trying to make her realize that she’s just a regular human and that she’s using her “alien activity” to close the gap of her disappearance and memory loss. After seeing how everyone treats Erio you can only end up with three questions: Is she an actual nutcase? Was she really abducted? Or does she simply have a special place next to the definition of chuunibyou?
4. Ame Ochibana from Denpa-teki na Kanojo
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: February 2009 - December 2009
Ame is a girl that believes she was reborn from another time to serve her king, Juu Juuzawa. In fact, Ame and Juu are regular high school students who soon become involved in a murder case investigation. One of their classmates is murdered and Ame proposes she can catch the killer and solve the case if Juu so wishes.
Ame’s Chuunibyou is unique and accepted with respect. At first, she sounds like a crazy person but after seeing that her investigation methods are actually on point and leading to answers, the game starts getting serious. Ame believes she is a servant of a king, therefore, she always speaks politely and straight to the point. She pushes herself into Juu’s life, believing that because of their past lives, they are meant to be together, and slowly but steadily, Juu starts to believe that her delusion may actually be a reality. Ame’s Chuunibyou condition is never cured and, in fact, is compensated!
3. Shun Kaidou from Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan
(The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.)
- Episodes: 85
- Aired: July 2016 - Ongoing
Oh my god… this guy! He’s the perfect definition of Chuunibyou syndrome. What makes him so great is the exaggeration of his chuunibyou, with a comedic twist and honestly, a shitty character. Kaidou believes he has supernatural powers no one else has and that he is the hero who will save humanity from an organization called Dark Reunion. At first, he was confident telling his Destined-Hero story, but his classmates quickly dismissed him as “crazy”. Then there was one time when, because of an emergency, Saiki decides to use his own -real- superpowers to take control of a situation; unfortunately he had to disguise the power as Kaidou’s imaginary thunder power.
After this event, Kaidou’s ego skyrockets and aside from becoming cocky, his superpower story is now backed up. Kaidou’s case of chuunibyou is so acute it doesn't look like it will ever go away. So far, only Saiki knows that he is just an emotional wimp with the worst case of chuunibyou ever.
2. Ryouko Satou from Aura: Maryuuin Kouga Saigo no Tatakai
(Aura: Koga Maryuin's Last War)
- Episodes: Movie
- Aired: April 2013
This film is probably one you’ve never heard of, and it is highly suggested that you watch it! It has one of the best chuunibyou characters in anime. The plot of the movie revolves around chuunibyou and how people with it are subject to bullying.
Ryouko believes that she is “The researcher”, a person invisible to citizens of “the phenomenal world”, with the mission of collecting dragon terminals in order to reach another world. She is emotionless and extremely professional, ignoring the real world around her. Satou Ichirou met her one night out of pure coincidence, and since then has vowed to protect her… from the real world, that is. She is the target of a severe case of bullying because she walks around dressed like a witch with a “magical” staff, ignoring everyone who interacts with her. She never ever wavers from her role-playing as a researcher, but the bullying only made her speed up the process of her reaching “the other world”. Because of this, Ichirou must now face her at the final destination, the last war between fantasy and reality.
Ryouko had the potential to be our number one, but because of fame (and airdates) she has lost the chuunibyou crown to our first place….
1. Rikka Takanashi from Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!
(Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2012 - December 2012
To no one’s surprise, we have Rikka in our number one position. Thanks to Chuunibyou demo Koi Ga Shitai!, many of us understand the true definition of Chuunibyou. Rikka is the clearest example of the delusional syndrome of a Chuunibyou, and with this character, we can see this “disease” start, develop and “be cured”, as well as, a possible reason or explanation on why teens get affected by chuuni.
Clearly, Rikka falls under the category of Evil Eye, believing that her Wicked Eye has unique super powers. In the anime, we can see what the chuunibyou looks like in real life, as well as, in the “alternate reality” seen through the eyes of Rikka; to which we have to admit, looks kinda cool. Rikka’s chuunibyou is active whenever, with whomever, and is always trying to attack her sister even in public, or have ‘epic’ battles with weapons (normal objects in reality).
Her chuunibyou was sparked accidentally by her neighbor, Yuuta, a long time ago and it was fueled by the strong emotion of denying a truth she could not accept. Yuuta helps Rika reach “The Horizon”, the imaginary place where Rikka believes has her happiness. Yuuta helps Rikka open her eyes to reality and Rikka helps Yuuta to not be ashamed of who he really is, thus making them fall in love with each other and “curing” Rikka’s delusions.
How many chuunibyou characters can you name? After reading this list, clearly, many others came to mind, which is natural because anime series from all genres are full of them.
In this list, characters like Kuroneko from OreImo, were left out because we aimed to expose the ones with a clear and intense syndrome of chuunibyou; other characters like Chiyori from Selector Infected WIXOSS, were also left out because they were simply too young to be considered chuunibyou, even if they were already clearly showing the syndrome. Some characters like Megumin from KonoSuba, even if they clearly display chuunibyou, they are automatically disqualify because they really do possess magic or special abilities inside a fantasy world. Finally, characters that also appear in series with more than one chuunibyou character, like Colette from KonoBi or Dekomori from Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, were also excluded from the list.
Have you ever met someone in real life with chuunibyou? Or have you ever experienced it yourself? Let us know in the comments below!