Remember when you imagined that you had some hidden superpower to summon dragons from the hells, or you are actually a secret descendent of a forgotten god? We’ve all been there – just around when you are in the 8th grade – or a disease (byouki) that you get in Chuuni (2nd grade in middle school), thus “Chuunibyou”.
Chuunibyou is reference often made for characters who are caught in this era and are associated with people acting strangely such as coming to school with bandages wrapped around their arms resembling a ritual to hold down dark powers within (reference of Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho).
There are several variations to this, but typically involve (a) having special powers, (b) having a hidden identity, or (c) multiple personalities.
Often, when a character within an anime series is portrayed to have Chuunibyou, everyone else knows and sees it as well…ouch…but there are also anime that makes a character appear to be Chuunibyou, but it actually is real.
One good example is Full Metal Panic! where the main character Sousuke Sagara is a 17 year-old sergeant working for a secret private militia, and everyone at school thinks he is just acting.
But there are then some series which go all-in and have the whole theme revolve around Chuunibyou such as Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!.
Also, there are often references of characters looking back to when they were “Chuunibyou” and call them Kuro-rekishi, or dark history that should have never been uncovered.