Don’t you think you’re trying too hard?
– Nibutani, referring to Rikka to Yuta
Episode eleven finds Rikka a totally changed individual. Now normal, she finds it’s hard to adjust after being stuck in eighth grade syndrome for so long. While Alexander of Ashita no Anime might see this as one making a transition from having a faith to believing there is no God, I see it in opposite terms, as the struggle some might have when converting to Christianity.
Fresh converts to Christianity often arrive into the faith with joy. And why not? They’ve found meaning and purpose to life and are warmed by the overwhelming tidal wave of grace. Fellow believers often feel encouraged by these new believers, who might remind them of the power of Christ (and also maybe of how they once felt). Unfortunately, converts may also alienate friends and family – I’m reminded of Kirk Cameron’s righteous energy on the set of Growing Pains. And in Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, Rikka shows a similar abrasiveness toward Dekomori, hurting her tremendously as she coldly fails to participate in their former roleplaying.
Even as we come to Christ, we can’t leave others behind. We fail to demonstrate love if we turn away from those that are closest to us. After all, turning to God doesn’t mean we’ve suddenly lost intimacy with those we cared for just a day or week before. I certainly struggled with this to some extent when I gave my life to Christ, though I didn’t realize it until my best friend (who still is to this day) mentioned that I’d changed in how I acted toward our group, and not for the better.
But shouldn’t we be something entirely different once we become Christian? Well, yes and no. Yes in that we have received a new heart and that we now flee from sin, understanding it’s ramifications and the atoning blood of Jesus’ sacrifice. But that doesn’t mean our personalities change – we still are who we are.
In episode eleven, the biggest change isn’t Rikka abandoning her delusions – it’s her lost of personality. She isn’t herself anymore – in fact, she’s almost an empty vessel, a forgettable character.
When we’re born again, so much changes – our loves, our purpose, our motivations. But our personalities don’t – or they shouldn’t. A fun-lovin’ guy is still a fun-lovin’ guy after coming to Christ. He just might no longer get drunk or hit on girls endlessly, instead drinking moderately and treating women with respect. He seeks to lose the vices – not himself.
And when we begin to grow in our walks, moving away from a life of sin (because Christianity is a process, not an instantaneous switch to perfection), we show others our testimony. But we also witness by staying who we are – we’re still Mike or Sarah or Janie – we’re just now Mike or Sarah or Janie PLUS Christ.
God wants all of us – and that means our personalities as well as our devotion.
And as we close in on the finale of Chuunibyou, I hope that’s, in a sense, what Rikka and Yuta will see. Face reality, but be who you are. While it’s wrong to lie to yourself, it’s never wrong to be yourself.