Aura: Maryuuinkouga Saigo no Tatakai: Fantastical World Explored

Aura: A Dark and Thought-Provoking Tale

A Captivating Story of Adolescence

Aura, a film released in 2013, bears striking similarities to the popular anime series Chuunibyou. Both narratives revolve around a first-year high school student, recovering from chuunibyou (a condition where individuals believe they possess supernatural powers), as they struggle to escape their past. The story of Aura features a male lead named Satou Ichirou, a teenager still haunted by the effects of chuunibyou. He is met with a black-haired heroine, Satou Ryouko, who is deeply immersed in her fantasy world as a means of coping with difficulties at home. The thematic focus of Aura centers around the challenges faced by adolescents, the conflict between self-identity and societal conformity, and the contrasting values of a healthy imagination versus a grounded reality.

The Origins of Aura

It is important to note that Aura predates Chuunibyou, originating from a light novel by the cross-platform author Tanaka Romeo. The light novels by Torako, which appeared later, have raised questions regarding their similarities to Aura. While opinions on the matter may vary, the undeniable parallels between the two works are difficult to overlook. However, when it comes to the tone of the anime adaptations, Aura and Chuunibyou diverge significantly. Aura presents a darker and more bittersweet atmosphere, focusing less on comedy compared to the familiar works of Tanaka embodied in Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita. Moreover, Aura marks a departure for both the director, Kishi Seiji, and the writer, Uezu Makoto, known for their previous collaboration.

A Tale of Bullying and Self-Discovery

Aura is not merely a story about chuunibyou; it dives deeply into the issue of bullying that plagues Satou Ichirou’s life. The main character, a 10th-grade student, suffered severe bullying during his middle school years due to his “Light Fang” activities. This traumatic experience has had a lasting impact not only on him but also on his family, especially his overprotective mother. The struggles faced by Satou and the repercussions felt by his loved ones are intricately depicted, shedding light on the seldom-explored perspective of the family unit impacted by bullying. Despite his past, Satou attempts to move forward and assimilate into his new school, where he has managed to make friends and gain recognition from the popular group.

An Unexpected Encounter

One fateful night, a visit to the school to retrieve a forgotten textbook brings Satou face to face with Satou Ryouko, who is still fully entrenched in her chuunibyou persona. Ryouko’s elaborate costumes and props manifest her fantasy world, intertwined with the narrative of Light Fang in some aspects. However, it is the genuine interaction between Ryouko and Ichirou that becomes crucial. Ichirou recognizes Ryouko’s challenging situation, seeing shades of his former self in her. Despite acknowledging the fictionality of her stories, Ichirou admires her unwavering commitment and refusal to conform to societal norms, likening it to breaking free from the constraints of normalcy.

The Dark Side of Nonconformity

It is crucial to emphasize that Aura is distinct from Chuunibyou in its disposition, taking the audience on a dark journey that explores the harsh realities faced by nonconformists in high school. The once-potential friends in Ichirou’s social circle quickly turn against him and Ryouko when their association becomes evident. The ridicule and cruelty inflicted upon the pair, along with the other “Golden Dreamer” children in their class, highlight the ugliness that arises when individuality clashes with the conformist expectations of society. Ichirou, understanding Ryouko’s pain all too well, chooses to stand up for her, thus challenging the bullies. As the plot unfolds, the bullies unearth Ichirou’s shameful past, threatening to pull him back into the abyss of despair that characterized his previous school life.

A Predictable Yet Engaging Conclusion

While the climax of Aura’s story may be somewhat predictable, it remains heartfelt and impactful. Certain aspects, such as the shrine-like structure built by Ryouko on her desk, may stretch believability. The depiction of the resolution may not match the excellence of the buildup to the crisis. Nonetheless, Aura manages to captivate the audience with its overall narrative. Although it may not possess the broad appeal of Chuunibyou, which benefits from the animation prowess of Kyoto Animation as a TV series, Aura succeeds in tackling significant issues faced by teenagers. By grounding the story and characters in reality, the stakes feel exponentially higher. The anime poses thought-provoking questions about the value of imagination, the expectations of society, and the weight of facing reality – all of which make it a relevant and engaging topic for exploration within the medium.

Kishi Seiji and Tanaka Romeo: Masters of their Craft

Director Kishi Seiji’s Proficiency

Kishi Seiji’s prowess as a director shines through in Aura, demonstrating his ability to handle weightier material beyond the realm of game adaptations. The film showcases a level of discipline rarely seen in his previous works. Tanaka Romeo, on the other hand, stands as one of the most talented authors in contemporary Japanese popular culture. His writing style, exemplified vividly in Aura, boasts remarkably sharp and unpretentious dialogue that adds depth and authenticity to the characters and their interactions. Aura’s success may not stem from its visual spectacle or the boundless imagination of its creators, as seen in Tanaka and Kishi’s preceding collaboration, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita. Nevertheless, it serves as a testament to their storytelling abilities, marked by its realistic portrayal of the painful adolescent journey.

A Window into Tanaka Romeo’s World

While Aura may not be Tanaka Romeo’s most extravagant work, it leaves a lasting impression with its exploration of complex themes. Tanaka’s extensive repertoire offers potential for further adaptations, such as Cross Channel, an adult game rife with intriguing narratives, or Rewrite, an all-ages visual novel that holds promise for adaptation. The injection of Tanaka’s unique voice into the anime landscape would undoubtedly enhance the industry’s diverse range of content, making it an exciting prospect for fans and enthusiasts alike. His elevated status as one of the most distinguished figures in Japanese popular culture attests to his ability to craft narratives that resonate with audiences on a profound level.


Aura ventures into the realm of adolescence, bullying, and the struggle for self-identity. As a dark and introspective film, it tackles themes that closely mirror the experiences of many high school students. While the narrative may follow familiar trajectories and encounter some believability challenges, it remains a thought-provoking piece of cinema. Aura distinguishes itself from the lighthearted Chuunibyou, presenting a more somber perspective on the clash between one’s imagination and societal expectations. Through its realistic characters and engaging storytelling, Aura invites viewers to contemplate the value of individuality and the consequences of nonconformity.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Aura suitable for all audiences?

Aura addresses mature themes, including bullying and the challenges of adolescence. It may not be suitable for younger viewers or those seeking light-hearted entertainment.

2. How does Aura differ from Chuunibyou?

While both stories feature protagonists attempting to overcome their chuunibyou past, Aura takes a much darker and more introspective approach. The film dives into the depths of bullying and the potential consequences of nonconformity, offering a contrasting tone to Chuunibyou’s comedic elements.

3. Does Aura provide a realistic portrayal of bullying?

Aura offers a relatively realistic depiction of the impacts of bullying, emphasizing the toll it takes on both the victim and their family. While some aspects may be dramatized for storytelling purposes, the film sheds light on the emotional and psychological effects of such experiences.

4. What makes Aura stand out among other anime films?

Aura’s strength lies in its ability to tackle weighty themes and engage viewers on an emotional level. It confronts the challenges faced by teenagers, exploring concepts of self-identity, societal conformity, and the power of imagination versus reality. These thought-provoking elements elevate Aura above many other anime films.

5. Will there be further adaptations of Tanaka Romeo’s works?

Tanaka Romeo’s extensive catalog offers rich potential for future adaptations. The anticipated adaptation of Cross Channel, an adult game with captivating narratives, or Rewrite, an all-ages visual novel with widespread appeal, could further emphasize Tanaka’s influence and fresh perspectives within the anime industry. The prospect of future adaptations from Tanaka Romeo generates excitement among fans eager to witness his continued contributions to Japanese popular culture.