Chuunibyou – The High School Crisis

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Ever come across characters or people acting like they're in a fantasy world? This is more common than you think, and the Japanese have a term for it which is Chuunibyou.

Sometimes a young boy influenced by games, anime, manga, movies and costumes can end up having Chuunibyou. In this article we are going to see everything about this sophomore high school crisis in Japan.

Chuunibyou, or “2nd grade high school syndrome,” is a Japanese term used to describe a certain type of teenage behavior. It is often characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-exaggeration, dramatic behavior, and an intense desire to stand out from the crowd.

The syndrome is often harmless and fades over time, but in some cases it can lead to serious social and psychological problems.

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Chuunibyou - the high school crisis

What it means Chuunibyou

Chuunibyou (中二病) is a slang term used to refer to chuugakkou ni-nen byou [中学校二年病] which literally means "second-year high school illness" in Japan. 

Chuunibyou is used to describe a person who exhibits delusional behavior, especially thinking they have special powers. 

Originally this term was used to refer to children in their second year of high school who like to act like adults and belittle others, the term has evolved into a term used to describe delusional behavior.

Some symptoms of this syndrome are:

  • Exaggerated or grandiose behavior: Acting as if you were the star of your own action movie, or constantly speaking in a grandiose or pretentious manner.
  • Dramatic behavior: Always trying to be the center of attention, or going out of your way to cause a scene.
  • Intense desire to stand out: Dress strangely or eccentrically, or try to stand out in any way possible.

This term originated in 1999 when it was first used in a radio program called “Hikaru Ijuin UP'S“. People with Chuunibyou can be literally crazy, difficult to get along with, and sometimes have a triggering problem, or an identity crisis.

Chuunibyou - the high school crisis

Types of Chuunibyou

There are 3 types of Chuunibyou, I will describe each one and leave an example dialogue.

DQN [系] Dokyun-kei

DQNs pretend to be antisocial, or act like delinquents, when in reality they are not. They create stories about common gang behavior such as fighting or pride themselves on knowing about this subculture. “DQN” is slang for “antisocial person” or “annoying delinquent”.

Example: (To be furious with his own mother and say: respect my privacy!)

  • You're full of Band-aid! What happened?
  • I was in a gang fight.
  • Oh seriously, I know you don't have a gang.

Subcultural or Hipster – Sabukaru-kei

Sabukaru-kei [サブカル系] often avoids everything popular or known, prefers lesser-known tendencies, and establishes himself as being special.

People of this type don't really love their own subculture, but rather strive to get the "cool" factor by not having the same interests as others.

Example: (Listening to Japanese songs to be different)

  • When you go to get Pokemon cards, I want Japanese originals!
  • And can you read Japanese?
  • -_-; Yes, of course I can...

evil eye – Jankigan-Kei

Jakigan-kei [邪気眼系] admires mystical powers and thinks they have a hidden power within them. This type is also known as the delusional type. They often establish a special name, and often name their powers and things involving fantasy. 


  • Don't take this bandana that's on my left wrist. It's been sealed by an evil spirit inside of me and if you take it out, I might lose control.
  • Dude, calm down. You just have chuunibyou.
Chuunibyou - the high school crisis

Is Chuunibyou a disease?

Chuunibyou by far is a mental problem or the like, but being a problem often psychological when it is the way of escape from the reality of some.

Unfortunately, there are many people who have Chuunibyou in Japan, and many end up not overcoming this phase for lack of people's acceptance.

If someone admires idols, celebrities, foreign cultures, and starts acting like one of them, they can be labeled as a variation of Chuunibyou.

While chuunibyou is often associated with negative connotations, there are also some positive aspects. For example, many people who suffer from chuunibyou are incredibly creative and imaginative.

They often have a very strong sense of individualism and are not afraid to express themselves. If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from chuunibyou, don't hesitate to seek professional help.

While it can be a difficult syndrome to overcome, with proper treatment and support, it is possible to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

Anime characters with Chuunibyou

At various times characters with this syndrome appear, some of them are:

  • Rikka “Wielder of the Wicked Eye, Master” Takanashi – Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!
  • Erio “ET” Touwa – Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
  • Megumin – Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
  • Gundam “Forbidden One” Tanaka – Danganronpa 3;
  • Jurai “July, Ju-kun” Andou – Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de
  • Yoshiteru “Blademaster General” Zaimokuza – Oregairu;
  • Hyouketsu no Judgness – Mayoiga
  • Ryouko Satou – Aura: Maryuuin Kouga Saigo no Tatakai
  • Shun “Jet-Black Wing” Kaidou – Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan
  • Akiko “Shion” Tachibana – Anitore! EX

Note that most Chuunibyou augment their name with some strange middle name derived from powers, abilities, foreign names, and other representations.

chuunibyou in the world

The term Chuunibyou ended up gaining more fame in the West with some anime that deal with this theme, such as "Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!" and other anime that have a character with this problem like:

  • “Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de;
  • Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai;
  • Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko;
  • NHK ni Youkoso!;

Is that you? Have you ever run away from reality? Have you ever tried to be an adult when you weren't? Do you imagine yourself with powers and in fantasy worlds? Or is it an Otaku who insists on learning Japanese, only hears things and only talks about Japan? Then you have Chuunibyou!

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