Continuing my musings on the Enneagram of Personality. Read the first part here.
Kobato is difficult to categorize. At fourteen, the brain’s electrochemical systems have only just started to put together the patterns that characterize adult thought. At that age, you’re still puzzling out what a personality even is. So I’d say Kobato right now is Type Four: The Individualist… But it’s less about her character than it is the character of an age.
Type Fours feel different. Nobody understands them; they see themselves as walking, unrecognized, at the precipice of love and loneliness. As you can imagine, this setup often leads to self-esteem issues. Unhealthy fours cope by indulging in a “fantasy self,” an imagined version of who they’d like to be. An aimless young man, for example, pretends that he’s a brilliant mad scientist, Hououin Kyoma. Or a little girl with no friends reinvents herself as Reisys VI Felicity Sumeragi, a noble mistress of the night.
In other words: Four is the chuunibyou type.
Akirascuro also believes in the fantasy self. But to qualify as chuunibyou proper, he says that there must be an accompanying urge to do. A case of “8th-grade-itis” requires some form of acting out, even if just the ineffectual, delusional kind: Kuroneko in OreImo threatens to use black magic against people who bully her, and Lelouch is admired in Code Geass because he uses the Power of Kings to enact precisely the revenge he’s always wanted. The common thread in Akira’s definition is motive inspiration: a spark of nerdrage as bright as the sun.
But is that really what characterizes chuunibyou? If you’ve ever known a self-absorbed middle schooler (or been one yourself — no shame in that), then you know: Awkwardness, lameness, utter uncoolness, thy name is thirteen. Indeed; the worse off you are, the more likely you are to indulge in fantasies of a unique destiny. It’s a directly negative relationship, and that’s the most important part.
Chuunibyou isn’t merely power fantasy in itself. Not even power fantasy that leads to action. It’s the tension between power fantasy and pathetic reality.
So, losers and good-for-nothings: Rejoice! Your chuunibyou is glorious.