2016 was the year the sakuga cartel enacted their sinister plan of world domination. For years, they had been lying in wait, angrily debating the best Megumi Kouno cut behind closed doors. But now, they have moved out into the open. You can find these diabolical nerds in the streets, dancing around the statues of Naoko Yamada they have erected using Precure and Doremi storyboards and genga sheets. But worst of all, you can find them wherever you can find anime fans, crying over their favourite anime and arguing about pointless shit on twitter.
That’s right, any of us could be an agent for the sakuga cartel… even you or me.
This is a collaboration post with ZeroReq011 from Therefore It is. In Zero’s words, this is “somewhat of a general review, somewhat of a thematic analysis, and somewhat just two anime dorks having fun with words, roleplay, and other nerd geek weaboo stuff.” Hope you enjoy!
ZeroReq011: It’s a pseudo-harem set-up day at school. Four girls. One guy. The standout quirk of said guy is that he’s a–
Frog-kun: Zero, what are you–
ZeroReq011: INVASION BITCH
Frog-kun: O-Oh my God…
ZeroReq011: Don’t worry. She respawns.
ZeroReq011: Because chuunibyou. Chuuni. I’m practicing my chuuni impression for this piece. You like it? Come now, you know I’m not actually evil.
ZeroReq011: –ight then!
When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace. Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de.Inou-Battle for short. The one guy and four girls (okay, five girls, but her ship’s sunk pretty early on) are inexplicably granted superpowers. Naturally, they continue with their commonplace school lives.
I’m joking, of course. While I haven’t actually watched enough anime this year to string together a top 10 anime list, I did enjoy the stuff I got around to watching. I also feel that this was a productive year for me as an anime fan and for the aniblogsphere in general.
Time for the highlights!
I don’t know about you guys, but I normally find chuuni characters kind of obnoxious. You know the ones. They just go on and on with their delusions in a way that the anime generally tries to make seem quirky but ends up making you wonder if they need psychological help.
My discomfort with the chuunibyou archetype stems not from any particular dislike of juvenile fantasies (I mean, hell, aren’t we all chuunis on the inside?) but from anime’s general obsession with glorifying some pretty gross antisocial behaviour. To date, I still haven’t seen an anime that has dealt with chuunibyou in a way that has fully satisfied me. Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! managed to successfully walk the tightrope between empathising with chuunibyou and romanticising it, but it lost all of its balance in its disastrous second season. Aura by Romeo Tanaka attempted to portray chuunibyou in a more serious, dramatic light, but its themes were unambitious: at its core it was simply a “nerds being bullied” story.
So admittedly, my hurdle for a “good chuuni character” is not very high. Inou Battle is far from perfect, but it did manage to pleasantly surprise me in quite a few ways. It’s just a little bit more sensitive, a little bit more intelligent, a little bit more polished than the norm. I also feel like it manages to approach chuunibyou from a number of different angles and that it takes full advantage of its seemingly generic setup.