Commenting On: Anime and Mental Health: The Connection

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All Comments: 19

  1. Amado says:

    Great article! Really help me a lot to understand several things. I just watch Makoto Shinkai movie “5 centimeters per second” and it left me a hole in the chest. Maybe because I feel in some ways identify with the male MC and how he see her loved girl. But what hit hard about this anime movie was that it was so real, you don’t always get to be together with the love of your life and also, the fact that you grow up but you have uncertainty of the future. You question your life style, whether you like or not your work and other stuff. I really recommend this show (under your own risk LOL). It would be great if you can tell me what do you thing about the characters from professional point of view. Stay safe!

  2. Geraldine says:

    Anime triggers my anxiety and usually when I try to distract my self from something I watch anime but I canโ€™t now. What should I do?

    1. Katy Castillo says:

      Unfortunately, we do not have an answer that we can provide you. I’m sorry.

  3. Conner K says:

    From suffering from anxiety and having in the past 6 months been diagnosed with depression, anime has really been a help. The notable ones include Tokyo Ghoul and Black butler. only Tokyo Ghoul really tackles mental health but they both are really good ones. I go back and forth with my mentality all the time so anime really is a help.

  4. Matt says:

    I love the article and I can totally relate I was feeling so alone until I found this so thank you.

  5. Lillian J. says:

    This is actually very helpful to me. I’m doing a research paper on how anime can help people to deal with depression, anxiety, etc. And i just love how this was published this year. It’s rather convinent.

  6. Lauren W says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope that you are okay and know that each day you get out of bed is a small victory, it should be celebrated as some people don’t understand the struggle it is to do so. You are important and your story matters so thank you again for sharing with the community!

  7. Jen C. says:

    Just finished reading this post, and while I’m not an avid Anime fan/watcher, there is one that I remember grabbing me. I watched Mobile Suit Gundam Wing several years after it had aired, but whenever I go back and watch it, I am reminded of why I fell in love with the show. I relate to the characters, and as I continue to go through the things life has thrown at me, I relate to them even more. My favourite character in that show was Duo; and the older I get, the more I find myself relating to him. Pushing away the past, making light of things, putting on a tough, happy demeanour… all to deal with the tragedies he’s dealt with. (I’ve probably got a bit of Heero and Quatre in the mix, too.) Duo puts on a happy-go-lucky, nothing can hurt me, attitude because it’s the easiest way for him to press on.

    I haven’t been formally diagnosed, but I think I’ve had depression (or some form of it) since I was a child, but I didn’t have a word for it. My battles come and go, usually triggered by a situation I have no control over. But, I’ve always taken a deep breath, plastered a smile on my face and presented the world with a brave face because that was the best way I knew how to deal with what was happening and continue going to work, meeting with people, and just living life. I often push things down in order to get through my day, because I know there is someone in my life who needs a shoulder or an ear to listen to them.

    I also have ADD (diagnosed), and it affects my life just as much as the depression does. When the two get playing together, my day gets really interesting, lol!

    Thank you for posting this article and putting yourself out there. It isn’t an easy thing to do, but it reminds us that we are not alone in this. So, thank you!

  8. Lauren Wilson says:

    Wow guys, the feedback on this article is so wonderful. Thank you so much for supporting this article, it means so much to me. I want to not only spread awareness about mental health, but also play a part in ending the stigma attached to it. There are so many hurting people out there who are afraid to get help because of that, and I just want them to know that it is okay.

  9. Gregory Vendramini says:

    I would go a bit further: For a long time, Anime was the only genre to show things as they really were. Not just depression, but a lot of things.

    I remember when Magi Madoka came out, and a friend of mine said she just screams and cries when someone dies, pointing out how she should ‘do something, fight, I don’t know’. I always thought “But, crying and screaming is the normal reaction for a 13 year old who just saw her friends die!”

    On normal series we usually see characters behaving like superheros even when they’re not, anime portraits people how they really are. This happens not only with depression or PTSD but with a lot of subjects, but since we know very well how depression works, we can easily identify what’s right and what’s wrong. What looks real.

    That’s a hell of a first article, Lauren. What an entrance! It’s very well written and informative, and I’m eager to see what else you got to tell us.

  10. JBeezy says:

    The author of Neon Genesis Evangelion was/is mentally ill. I would argue he portrays some of his mental illness struggle through his characters. Anime in general tends to focus on the emotional aspects of life – including tragedy. That’s part of why I enjoy watching anime ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. KountSarpadeon says:

    Oh, boy. Here we go.

    I think, as a character, it was Alucard. As bizarre as that sounds. I’m bipolar, and Alucard’s manic highs and brooding lows, the undertone of ever-present depression and a feeling of emptiness is pretty much what I feel every day. Sure, for him, it’s his own permanence, his immortality that drains life of all enjoyment, but its close enough.

    Now, onto a little contribution of my own:

    First off, everybody needs therapy in Evangelion, everyone in the main cast. Gendo Ikari with his detachment and inability to express emotion; Ritsiko Akagi with her monumental repression; Misato Katsuragi’s near-nyphomaniacal focus on sex (as means of escape, or rather, as means of self-validation through self-humiliation) and mountanous daddy issues; Rei Ayanami’s identity dissociation and, lest we forget, Asuka Langley Soryuu. If there ever was a character who was not a can of worms but a can of slithering snakes, she’d be it.

    Second, the villains in anime where there are designated villains tend to be mentally ill in a variety of ways. Just open up the DSIM-V (or is it still IV?) and put your finger on a random page: there’ll be a villain who exhibits those traits. However, in general, they tend to be narcissists with delusions of grandeur, or well-intentioned extremists who view, (for instance) something like genocide as an imperative, not a monstrous act, as it will supposedly lead to some form of “greater good” in the long run (the definition of said greater good is usually a nightmare made flesh, but hey!)

    Third, Light Yagami from “Death Note.” Narcissistic personality disorder, sociopath (as difficult as that is to define.) His immediate flying leap over the line from having a notebook that can kill people to becoming a god cements his status as being unstable even before the notebook fell into his hands.

    Most everyone in “Black Rock Shooter.” Then again, half of it is battles in the center of the mind, so.

    Tatsuhiro Sato and Misaki Nakahara in “Welcome to the N.H.K.!” Sato: paranoia, psychosis (auditory and visual hallucinations, delusions galore), and a touch of hypochondria (he loves diagnosing himself with stuff.) Misaki: depression (self-mutilation is involved in the manga), complete lack of self-worth. She’s an attention seeker. Also, she admits to Sato that the only reason she was hanging around him is because he is even more pathetic than she is. You do the math.

    The Major in any continuity of “Ghost In the Shell.” Problems with self-identification and an interesting strain of body dysmorphic disorder: in that, as a consequence of being a full cyborg, she views her body as something external to herself, an object and not her own. This is shown to be a result of her having to go full cyborg at a very early age, and her coming to view her physical “shell” as nothing more than a “thing.” Too many examples per continuity (an interesting instance is in the original manga where Batou steals her brain case from her body, and she has to remain confined to just her cyber-brain. She expresses discomfort at the fact that her brain is still sending signals, no matter how faint, throughout a nervous system that simply isn’t there.)

    Tohru Honda from “Fruits Basket.” My GOD. Stepford Smiler to a cringe-worthy degree. Major depression, by default.

    “Revolutionary Girl Utena” is pretty much a trauma conga line wripped in a fairy tale wrapped in symbolism wrapped in weird stuff.

    Rumi in “Perfect Blue.” Delusion, possible dissociative identity disorder or rather just “identity dysmorphia” if that’s a thing. It is now. I said it first, people!

    Tsukigo Saki in “Paranoia Agent.” PTSD, sort of – it’s a trauma that marred her since childhood. Also, Mitsuhiro Maniwa loses his mind and surrenders himself to a grand delusion.

    “Speed Grapher” is filled with people whose psychoses are expressed in the form of fetishes/philias. Or rather, fetishes/philias that are taken to psychotic levels; in part due to the mutogen in their system that allows them to physically manifest these fixations, and in part because they’re all quite insane.

    Nozomu Itoshiki in “Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei!” Actually, frak that, every single character in this one have SOME sort of mental illness and/or psychotic behavior. The protagonist gets props due to how prone he is to falling into despair, as per his namesake (quite literally, too!)

  12. EVA-04 says:

    Shinji Ikari likely suffers from Emotional Detachment Disorder, a frequent diagnosis of those who suffer premature and sudden separation from caregivers. His mother died when he was four and his father abandoned him soon thereafter, forcing him into a self-induced social isolation. Recovering from this condition is much of what EVA is itself about.

    Anno once spoke of this as “self-induced autism” and while that’s probably not quite right, it’s close in terms of the effects on the persona. But cutting himself off from the world, Shinji deliberately stunts his own emotional growth, seeing adulthood as “bad” and living as an emotional child. But one cannot remain a child forever without continued and eventually self-destructive isolation. The conflict between that part within Shinji which wants to remain small and that which needs to grow up is Evangelion’s real dramatic dynamic.

  13. Pedrospr says:

    Was pretty informative, good article ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Lauren W says:

    Thank you so much, it means a lot that you’ve read this and can apply it. My goal is to help get rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness, kids who suffer from it have a hard enough time just being teenagers. Thanks again and spread the word!

  15. Aaron Dutil says:

    Very interesting post, I used to work with a lot with a young adults who watched anime and read manga, they too struggled with mental illness and they seemed to identify with the characters in the series. Good job writing this and putting yourself out there!

    1. LostSoulOtaku says:

      I really enjoyed reading this article so thank you for posting this. I just wanted to say that I myself am going threw severe depression along with anxiety. I can’t really remember the first time I started watching anime since I’ve watched it all my life.

      It wasn’t until I turned 21 and became like obsessed with it.

      One of the anime shows that I can relate to in a way right now is “Tokyo Ghoul” just because you know kaneki goes threw a lot of dark s**t! and I can relate to his pain because I myself have gone threw some dark s***t In my life. And I see the struggle he’s going threw of staying human and not become the monster that hides inside of him. he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, he wants to live a human normal life. I get him because, all the crap I’m going threw right now I can at any moment snap out and become some one that I’m not and start breaking things and throwing things. I don’t want to be a monster. Don’t want hate to consume me and be like everybody else only because I’m hurting.

      1. LostSoulOtaku says:

        Be like everyone else who judges and hates***

      2. Lauren W says:

        I hope that you are okay, and know that it’s okay to hurt and ask for help. I myself struggle with depression and anxiety and it sucks sometimes. I can relate to your hurt but I don’t pretend to know it because everyone hurts differently. Know that you matter. You matter very much to someone, and there will be days where you will hurt but know that they don’t last. I hope that you know that I meant everything I said at the closing of that article and my hope is to make it easier for people with a mental illness to reach out and ask. Your story is important, and each small victory should be celebrated.