What happens if Peter Pan falls in love with Cinderella and Cinderella loves him back? What if this happened at Prince Charming’s ball and he’s painfully aware of it all? That basically sums up the situation in this trilogy by BuzzG.
Peter Pan syndrome, as you might already know, is a pop psychology concept that describes an adult who is socially immature. Accordingly, the song is about a man who can’t grow up. He’s in love with the girl from his childhood, who ended up sending him a wedding invitation. Ouch.
At her wedding, he still can’t help but wish that she wouldn’t say her vows and would run away with him. He realizes the impracticality of his wishes, so he conceals it by giving the bride a cheerful “おめでとう” (congratulations). In the end, he is someone who only knows how to run away, as the chorus indicates, despite understanding that Neverland can never be found.
The “Cinderella paradox” is more commonly known in the West as “Cinderella complex.” According to the 1981 book Cinderella Complex written by Colette Dowling, women have a fear of independence and subconsciously desire to rely on a man/men. The Japanese Wikipedia page for Cinderella complex further states that this hidden desire causes women to have high demands when seeking for a partner. The Cinderella of this song is in love with Peter Pan, but chooses another man to marry despite her feelings. If we take the Cinderella complex into consideration, her choice would be due to the fact that Camellia (let’s call her groom that for lack of a name) is a more dependable person. Indeed, she says “ハンサムな人が好き お金持ちが好きよ” (I like handsome people, I like rich people), but adds that it’s a lie that makes her feel unwell. Apparently, she doesn’t love Camellia at all, but still marries him because she feels an unromantic need for someone handsome and rich.
The camellia complex is something lesser-known. I couldn’t find information on it in English, but I’m sure it’s a thing in English too. It’s the counterpart to Cinderella complex, where a man desires to be the rescuer of a damsel-in-distress – a woman suffering from unfortunate circumstances. The Camellia in this song is the most perceptive of the three. He realizes the things going on between Peter Pan and Cinderella, and is hurt by the fact that they all have to keep deceiving each other. Yet, somehow, he feels that it is his duty to protect Cinderella by being her partner. He does genuinely seem to love her.
In the end, all three protagonists talk about being doomed by the sound of church bells. The marriage is inevitable because of their psychological fixations, but is also what serves as a boundary preventing them from accessing each other’s feelings.
Despite the cool psych things, I don’t actually know if I like the fact that it’s a three-part series. “Peter Pan Syndrome” alone conveyed a poignant unrequited love, and “Cinderella Paradox” changed the equation but does add to the tragedy. When it got to “Camellia Complex,” I felt like it was almost too predictable and not really necessary? Still, it’s a pretty series that I do recommend (especially this version by luz).