If you’ve been watching anime for a while, you may have learned of the dreaded Middle School 2nd Year Syndrome (Chuunbiyou). Somehow, this condition has avoided mainstream recognition despite being widespread among the youths of today. If you can’t recognize the signs, you may not realize that your friends and relatives are suffering until it’s too late. In fact, you may be a victim yourself without even knowing it.
But rest assured, I am here to help spread Chuunbiyou awareness so that none have to suffer needlessly.
First, it is important to recognize the telltale indications that you or someone you know may be a Chuuni.
Common indicators of Chuunbiyou syndrome are:
- A propensity to antisocial and/or withdrawn behavior despite longing for human interaction
- Demonstrative self-importance
- A habit of recounting unlikely or incredible sounding events
- Knowing more than everyone on most subjects
- Ritualistic behavior
- A tendency towards idol worship
- Adapting a different identity (often inspired by fictional characters or idols)
- An exaggerated attention to details
- A bandaged arm
- An eyepatch
- A *true* name
- A high likelihood of being liked by Irina
- Being 14
It should be noted that not all these symptoms are required to make a reliable Chuunbiyou diagnostic. Only in the most extreme cases are they all present at once. As such, if you know anyone exhibiting 5 or more of these symptoms, you may have a case on your hands.
Thankfully, some research has been devoted to the cause and we currently have 4 identified subsets of Chuunibyou.
As identified in the Chuunibyou User’s Manual (https://hlj.com/product/kbyyk005) and all over the web, the types are as follows:
- DQN (DQN系, dokyun-kei) – Pretends to be anti-social or acts like a delinquent when in fact he or she is not or cannot become like either one. Tells made up stories about gang fights or crimes, or boasts and pretends to know about that subculture. “DQN” is slang for “antisocial person” or “annoying delinquent”.
- Subcultural/Hipster (サブカル系, sabukaru-kei) – Often avoids everything mainstream and has a heavy preference to “things that few people like” and establishes themselves as being special. People of this type do not really love the subculture itself but rather strive to obtain the “cool” factor by not having the same interests as others.
- Evil Eye (邪気眼系, jakigan-kei) – Admires mystical powers and thinks that he or she has a hidden power within them as well. It is this trait that they create an alias specifically for said power. This is also known as the delusional type.
- Denpa/denpa-kei – For individuals who are disconnected or dissociated from the people around them.
It should be noted that it’s most likely not a coincidence that symptoms tend to appear in adolescence, when individuals strive to create independent personalities and is most prevalent in cultures or communities that tend to impose a certain uniformity as well as encourage admiration of others. As such people or characters that are deemed unique are more remarkable and more likely to become the subject of individual admiration.
However, merely identifying a victim isn’t enough. What should we do next?
There is some comfort to be taken in the fact that the condition is usually not degenerative or permanent. In fact, there is a high chance that the symptoms will dissipate on their own in time. In the meantime though, there are some precautions you should keep in mind:
– Do not attempt to remove bandages. These are either there because the person was in a violent fight and you will get blood everywhere OR they are the only thing containing that person’s demonic otherworldly powers. Without them you will put yourself and everyone around you at risk!
– Do not try to deceive a Chuuni. Most of them will be able to tell right away through ESP and the rest will most likely pick up on subtle body language cues that are indiscernible to the rest of us. Although Chuunis are not usually violent by nature and will not lash out unless absolutely necessary, it is still wise to keep such powerful individuals as allies.
– Always take notes when speaking with someone with Chuunbiyou syndrome. The condition temporarily offers huge reserves of knowledge and wisdom and you should make sure to take full advantage of that while you still can. There is no telling when these enlightened few ill no longer be able to educate you.
– Approach Chunnis carefully and openly, like a small animal. Although it may appear from an outside perspective that Chuunbiyou syndrome is a desirable condition, providing the sufferers with many capabilities the rest of us would gladly pay for, it is in fact very difficult to deal with. New abilities are often difficult to control and occasionally painful. People constantly want to take advantage of the more powerful patients. Having access to knowledge and a view of the world way beyond that of your fellow man gives rise to some very uncomfortable realities. It is no wonder that Chuunis are therefore suspicious by nature. It’s a healthy self -preservation mechanism that should be respected. Make sure you show that you mean them no harm and have no intention of exploiting them.
– Finally, always bring snacks. Using expanded brainpowers is very draining on a system. Make sure your Chuunbiyou friends stay well nourished and hydrated at all times.
We do not yet have a vaccine to prevent the condition, but scientists are working around the clock. For now, I hope this little guide will help you to better understand and deal with this condition.
Oh, also never look under the eyepatch. In fact, never look under anyone’s eyepatch. Why would you ever do that? That’s just way too invasive. Unless you’re an eye doctor…