It’s night and you’re standing on your balcony. All of the sudden a cute girl dressed in a dark and slightly Gothic dress drops in on you from above. You catch her stocking-clad feet in your hands and help her on her journey down the building. This is how you meet Rikka, and is certainly an interesting way to meet someone!
Rikka, her eye patch, and her outlook on the world have found a special place in my heart. Suffering from eighth grade syndrome, she thinks that she is a sorceress who has been possessed by the Tyrant’s Eye. Eighth grade syndrome is an affliction that makes you believe that you are in an alternate universe where magical things like the Tyrant’s Eye are real. While this might be a very entertaining, magical and beautiful world and may be a fun place to visit… it’s an illusion. An illusion that those around you, for the most part, cannot see, and they will often look at you like you are a bit crazy.
She wears an eye patch on her right eye to keep the Tyrant’s Eye in check when she doesn’t need its power. She carries an umbrella around with her at all times that will quickly become her weapon when she needs one. Her best friend Sanae Dekomori also suffers from this syndrome. Dekomori refers to Rikka as her master and they are on the same side fighting invisible battles together everywhere they go.
Yuuta, the stranger that Rikka dropped in on, suffered from eighth grade syndrome in the past. He was known as the Dark Flame Master and is now desperately trying to distance himself from his past, as it was a huge embarrassment for him; until, that is, this mysterious girl appears and tries to drag him back into that world. He fights it every step of the way of course. As the series progresses and the two develop feelings for each other, he does indulge her once and a while. It’s not often, and usually it’s just for a few moments, but it is enough to help Rikka through whatever emotional or physical problem she was having.
While it would seem that someone with this syndrome- someone who was willing to be so openly involved in this illusion- would be open and receptive of those around her… that’s not exactly the case with Rikka. She is actually quite cautious of strangers. She will often jump into a battle pose when she first meets someone until she realizes that they are not there to attack her.
Even though she does come to love Yuuta, she is reserved even with him for quite a while. Well, we’re two seasons in, and while she does open up emotionally to him it usually takes quite a bit of prodding for her to do so. This may be the biggest reason that I can understand and identify with the character of Rikka. It might be a total contradiction to be so open about something that many people are going to look at you a bit oddly for, yet not be too open about other things until you get to know them, but it works for her. The relationship Rikka develops with the other characters in the anime allow for her to slowly open up and express some of the things of her past. You get to see who she is and where she is coming from. She might retreat her magical land where all things are possible, but as with any syndrome like this there is usually a reason.
Rikka might be a fun and cute character, but don’t underestimate the depth to her. She may be young, but she has been through quite a bit in her short life, and she knows how to appreciate the people in her life. We could all take a lesson from her. Sometimes we might be a little slow to let someone in, but once we do they are loved forever and we will go through hell and high water to help them and keep them safe.
I quite enjoyed my journey with Rikka, Yuuta, Dekomori, and the many other characters of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions. If you enjoy a great story that develops at a natural pace, or at least the natural pace of someone who is slightly closed off, I highly recommend checking the series out on Crunchyroll (http://www NULL.crunchyroll NULL.com/love-chunibyo-other-delusions). There are many more characters who I may discuss in a later Building Character, who each have their own story that is well worth delving into.