My journey through the series Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! has been a ride of ups and down. I won’t rehash what you can see in my posts, but instead I want to talk about the one thing that’s been on my mind since I watched it. Every now and then, regardless of a show’s quality or staying power, I find myself drawn to certain characters, they stay in my mind and get me really thinking. When that happens, I just have to talk about them. The person we are talking about today is no different, so after the cut let’s take a character dive into Chu-2′s Toka Takanashi.
Throughout my time with Chu-2, especially in the first season, I found myself fascinated by the character of Toka, Rikka’s big sister and the voice of mature reason among the group of
tumblr bloggers high school students. As someone whose high school years are well behind them, but who always tries to be empathic I found myself sympathizing with Rikka, but also understanding Toka’s position. I got her feelings, her frustration and her struggles, even as the series painted her, while not a villain, the series antagonist.
Chu-2 makes it clear through that first season that Toka is stepping into a role she shouldn’t have. Like with the characters of Lilo and Nani in the Disney film Lilo and Stitch, we see a relationship between sisters that never should have been. With Rikka unable and unwilling to live with her mother, and her grandparents not accepting of her chunibyo tendencies, it falls to Toka to step up and be the ‘parent’ that Rikka needs. She looks after her sister, giving her a place to live, even when she should be living her own life. The age gap between the two characters, Rikka being 16-18 and Toka well into her twenties is important to note here as well. Toka should be focusing on her career, enjoying her post-secondary life, and reveling in the freedoms your twenties give you.
Instead, she is stuck trying to dig her sister out of the self-imposed well of denial she is in. This is where Toka comes in as the ‘baddie’ of the first season and beyond. She serves as the brutal reality check that Rikka doesn’t want. The nagging voice that tells her to grow up, abandon her delusions and accept reality. Not only about the fact that their father is dead, but that she is acting ridiculous. While Chu-2 mostly frames this through comedic moments, I couldn’t help but see the real reason behind it. I do think Toka loves her sister, the patience she has and the schemes she comes up with to test Yuta’s resolve and dedication to their relationship is proof enough. And while Yuta seems genetically disposed to giving Rikka her space and allow her to bloom into a mature person on her terms. Toka has no time for that. She wants Rika to get over this bullshit and stabilize herself so she can move on with her own life, and that’s an important point as well.
Toka is not someone who is preparing or even willing to alter the course of her life to suit Rikka’s needs. She loves her sister, cares for her, but she is also not going to put her own world on hold for her. She has a job, a career, and later in the series, a fiancée. She has already finished her grieving for her father and has put it behind her. And while she wants to help Rikka, she isn’t going to stop her own journey because of it. That is something her mother should be doing, not the big sister. So when she lashes out in frustration at Rikka, or when she sounds hopeful that she might move past this ‘phase’ it is not only because she cares, but also because she’ll be ‘free’ of her own obligation. Take on Me, the concluding film to the series is at its heart about that, can Toka trust Yuta to take care of her sister? Can she place the person who was placed in her care, into the hands of someone else. The result of course is yes, and Toka is able to get married without any concern.
I’ll admit a lot of this is my own personal interpretation of the story. But I can’t deny that after watching the series this was one of the biggest things that stuck with me. Toka Takanashi is fascinating character and her relationship to her sister sticks out even among all the talk of magic circles, dark flame masters, and over the top imaginary action. It probably could have gotten more development, but there is little point in Monday-morning quarterbacking it now. It, and Toka remain an interesting element to Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions!, and helps flesh out not only Rikka’s own journey, but how people react to their world and the events that surround it.
At least that’s what I believe.