Anime · Wonder

Kushikawa Hatoko: Her Cry of Isolation (Part 1)

If Saekano‘s main story gets adapted into a visual novel (and not made separately with original story), Katou Megumi route’s bad end would pretty much look like this.

I’d like to welcome Ino-Bato‘s infamous…

 

Episode 7

 

This is probably the biggest reason most people today will ever want to watch the show at all–because they have seen Kushikawa Hatoko breaking down on the protagonist who has been putting her to the sideline for the first six and a half episodes (that’s more than halfway through the story, yo).

 

Putting extraordinary performance from Saori Hayami and fine animation on Hatoko’s emotion aside, everything she has said in this scene goes deep and dark to tackle the issue that is Chuunibyou.

What is it?

 

Loosely translated to eighth grader syndrome or middle (中; chuu) school second (二; ni) year syndrome (病; byou), it is a term referring to those who display behavior patterns that predominantly exist among… you guessed it… eighth graders, but are not of those ages.

At around eighth grade (13-14 years old), most Japanese teenagers would still be exposed to anime and not the other way around. While the rest of the world have internet access to anime via streaming sites and such; Japan, on top of those things, still have the old way to the vast contents. It’s called television!

The teens are an age of self-discovery and novelty-seeking behavior. But there is a great chance that Japanese kids have already seen a lot of anime in their young age so when they hit their teen years, the two behaviors will lead them to being socially independent. Apparently pretending that their reality is of the things they’ve seen in anime is one way of being independent.

What about the rest of the world? Especially the West?
Take a good look at your family members or relatives who are of around 12-14 years old. If you see a smartphone or tablets on them then there is already a clear difference. It is the influence from the online world that makes people outside of Japan much less prone to becoming chuuni nowadays. Taking my very own experience into the explanation, even my friends and co-workers have seen anime in their high school years–that’s anywhere from 16 to 18 years old and by that time most of them would have already been able to logically separate fiction and reality.

 

And why should you care?

 

Despite not being officially set in medicinal stone; like many types of syndromes, Chuunibyou is treated by majority of the human population as something that shouldn’t truly alienate those affected from everyone else – we’re trying to come to terms with the people suffering from such disorder. It’s called a syndrome because there can be more than one symptom present at any given time, most of which are behavioral. Until you’ve met a real sufferer of chuunibyou who is beyond delusional, please don’t make light of the syndrome outside of anime or any other Japanese media.

Another biggie is that some people purposely pursue the life of a chuuni despite not knowing that it is actually painful for those who didn’t choose to have that kind of life. But then again by being a chuuni, they probably believed that any delusions–as seen by the normal eyes–are their reality. So, in a way chuunibyou is reality escape mechanic for some; at least it was the case for Kanzaki Tomoyo.

That’s right. Tomoyo was a chuuni long before Jurai.

The things you make up
The things you make up…

 

As described by her older brother, Kanzaki Hajime:

Chuunibyou comes in varieties but they share a core. It starts with self-denial; creating a different self and a fictional setting because you can’t accept yourself and the world you live in. However, those emotions are also a fierce craving for self-affirmation – you wish for someone to accept you just as strongly as you wish to be someone else. This unresolved paradox of self-denial and self-affirmation is the root of it all.

The cause for Tomoyo to pursue her chuuni life is interesting in its own right. Just watch the show, damn it. 😛

Jurai on the other hand has absolutely no legitimate reason to become a chuuni; he just became one because it’s a way of not lying to his feelings (of mostly thrill/excitement).


Your way of life affects those around you

 

This is actually a huge controversy when it comes to seeing videos of rude kids online – half of the people will comment on lack of parenting while the other half will be quite doting, saying something along the lines of, ‘s/he’s my kid, I raise her/him however I want; lay a finger on her/him and you’re dead.’

Throughout the first six episodes, there has been a hell lot of remarks from the heroines on Jurai being a hopeless idiot, perverted and most of all chuuni. The term was dropped on scene very often and left unexplained just like that. And when the explanation really came, it wasn’t to the person who needed that the most…

Kushikawa Hatoko

The childhood friend who was mentally saved by Jurai’s choice to nickname her Fire Phoenix because back in elementary school, she was often called Yakitori-chan (焼き鳥ちゃん) since her surname could be alternatively made up with two sets of Kanji:

串 (Kushi; skewer) and 皮 (Kawa; leather/animal skin).
Hatoko’s family name (Kushikawa) is actually written as 櫛川.

After that incident, she clearly takes interest in the man who saved her from being bullied, follows him to every one of his shenanigans.

What Jurai has really been doing in the first six and a half episode consists mainly of neglecting Hatoko’s side of interest. He really didn’t remember that she is a normal person!
And by normal, she hadn’t been into the AMLNVN (that’s anime, manga, light novel and visual novel) culture since the beginning.
[tsundere] I’m totally not making a shout-out to Izanagi-kun here [/tsundere]

For Jurai to has made matters worse, he had not been of any help to Hatoko when she’d really wanted to understand why the things he’d endlessly proclaimed that were awesome… were so.

 

Why does this matter to you, again?

 

Just look at the bigger picture; if this is the you right now then please consider every time you ‘recommend’ anything to your friends. Don’t just go, “Hey, watch/play _____. It’s awesome sauce!”
You don’t need to rectify an essay as to why they should be watching/playing it either. Slowly work your way into their hearts, take their side. It’s much easier and much less painful if the first thing you get out of your friends is, “I don’t watch anime/play that type of games.”
Because it is then you can find an alternative route to convince them.

Here is my obvious guide for dummies, towards the hard-to-get type:

  • Have them watch movies that are well presented to the Western audience.
    No. TV series won’t work as well as movies because not only they are dead giveaways to that uninterested person as ‘anime’, in most cases nobody has a lot of spare time to dig into something they are not interested in to begin with.
  • This is basically where you become the guide; take them by the hand (not literally) and lead your friends to a new world!
    Be a good guide, don’t drool around as they might see through to your intentions.
  • Everything in your language, including the title.
    So don’t say Koe no Katachi when you can lure them with A Silent Voice in English.
  • As for the recommendations themselves, Ghibli movies are definitely the best way to go; otherwise as unintentionally stated above, A Silent Voice will do just as fine because it views the issue of bullying and disability–some things that are concurrently realistic to the Western society.
  • A synopsis alone should be enough to convince anyone who doesn’t truly hate anime to the guts.

 

If this plan succeeds then you will be safe to bring that friend of yours into the next stage–an actual anime with all crazy settings screaming Japanese.
If it fails then you know to really not waste your time on that person; I’ve made a post about hate for anime way back and that’s basically what they are doing.


 

It got worse from there. As Jurai slowly turned chuuni via Tomoyo’s influence (while at the same time Tomoyo ironically turns away from chuuni to normal), he started using aliases on things that already have verified, technical labels on them. So for Hatoko who was already struggling to keep up with his novelty-seeking behavior (such as preferring evil over justice), having to follow up on jargon can be extremely difficult as Jurai definitely wasn’t slowing down on his fictional discovery.

I mean, just try me! Tell me about your favorite battle shounen shows and the characters’s moves, their names and all because it is an unwritten rule that attack moves must have names; there is nearly 100% chance that none of them will ring my bell. This is practically what Hatoko has been dealing with.

By the way, the thing with evil–we people with almighty logic call it antagonist; it is justice in its own right. This is where Jurai failed to explain to Hatoko; in fact he didn’t even give a damn about explaining it to her, thus the reason why she’s taking it out on him.

And this is just the issue with anime jargon. Jurai, like all chuuni out there, makes it worse by overwriting simple events with famous scientific and religious labels even if they have very little correlation. I have yet to see an anime season where there is absolutely no mention of Schrödinger’s cat. To hell with everybody trying to act smart by slapping this thought experiment into their shows. Jurai then went on to use a freaking thesaurus to call everything he wrote something else, albeit with the same meaning.


 

Ironically, Andou Jurai believed that being chuuni was to not lie to himself. But because Jurai wasn’t being himself, his childhood and closest friend Kushikawa Hatoko was affected by his way of life. In dire times, he wasn’t speaking in his own words and therefore she wasn’t able to understand anything of him.

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6 thoughts on “Kushikawa Hatoko: Her Cry of Isolation (Part 1)

  1. Great post! You have certainly brought up an interesting topic that all geeks certainly need to consider. Trying to share our experiences with others is probably one of the trickiest things we have to deal with. I think the core of it lies with our passion for sharing what we love with others and we forget to see things from the other person’s perspective (which admittedly is hard to do). On the flip side, you don’t see other fragments of society like sports fans ever have to explain why they love sports- it seems like people just get it. I think it just shows the issues that people can have when communicating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It resonates to me so loud I thought Hatoko was literally calling me out for my love of anime, seeing how I couldn’t even get my brother go watch other anime despite him having finished the entirety of Naruto!

      So exactly I went according to my own guide, having him and his girlfriend watch the two popular romantic drama movies. I made no compromises either; I had to be there or else he wouldn’t watch it!

      Communication is the key, indeed…
      A very interesting one at that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I have been on both sides of the spectrum with that. When I first got into anime, I was visiting a relative and they didn’t give me a choice in the matter- they told me I was watching it lol. I mean not the best way to do it but it worked. When I try to get someone new to watch anime, I try to find them something in line with their interests and go from there- just telling them that it is something they might enjoy based on their interests and it works.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Really, what an interesting and enjoyable read. Though… here I was, chilling and assaporating the good memories about that part of Inou Battle (really, I think it will be the most remembered one of it, I mean, I think no one was expecting that to happen…), to just suddenly see my chuuni avatar name dropped there.

    Holy Grail it might because I’m like, never addressed, so the effect was shocking (oh but not really in a bad way, just made me want to roll on the floor from the shame), but I was glad I wasn’t drinking anything. Seeing it written down somewhere that isn’t my dashboard makes me question why I chose that… ah. Yes. Chuunibyou. Heh, the irony (not that I’m totally out of it though, I just don’t publicly ridicule myself anymore).

    My embarassment aside, I totally forgot about that really deep and in my opinion meaningful description of “Chuunibyou” Kanzaki gave of it. I feel somehow less silly to recognize my still somehow chuuni state. Saved as a quote to remember.

    That guide to multiply Otaku in the world is indeed a really good one. Now, if I had actually people to test that on it would be great. Sadly, the title thingy doesn’t really work here as… for whatever reasons no one knows English fluently enough (how can you say “f*ck you” instead of “thank you” tell me). Though I only have my classmates and relatives as sample. Furthermore, they just hate japanese people.

    > Tell me about your favorite battle shounen shows and the characters’s moves

    Not really my favourite, but I love the moves’ names, among which the ones I like the best are “Hip of Babylon” and “Giga Tit Breaker”. Too bad I can’t show their respective visuals, as WordPress will treat me as a spammer otherwise (too many links).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha well maybe it is because I have seen a bit of anime, I am going to guess the moves are parodied off of Fate and Gurren Lagann, put into Keijo!!!!!!!!?

      That guide of mine was based on my real experience, of course!

      Started from my Little brother and later my best friend–I converted them~

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ding Ding Ding!

        That’s correct! Wait, why did I say I like the parodied version better than the original? I suppose it’s simply funnier that way.

        Hou, nice to know you were able to convert people. I tried with my brother and… acquaintances too, without much success. .

        Like

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