In the diverse and colorful world of anime, numerous shows address thought-provoking themes; one topic that’s growing increasingly prevalent is anxiety.
Beyond flashy battles and intriguing mysteries, the best anime series delves into the human psyche, exploring deep emotions. In the process, they often offer insightful takes on mental health issues like anxiety.
Not only do they portray these conditions with sensitivity and empathy, but they also create an intimate connection with viewers who may be facing similar struggles. So, if you’re searching for anime about anxiety, you’re in the right place.
Let’s embark on a journey through these stories that bravely tackle this complex subject, providing comfort, understanding, and perhaps even a path to healing.
Anime About Anxiety
This section uncovers a list of top anime that poignantly spotlight anxiety. Often masterpieces of storytelling and animation, these shows subtly weave anxiety into their narratives, encouraging dialogue about mental health. Each unique in its approach, they provide viewers with relatable characters and situations, making them must-watch pieces.
1. A Silent Voice
This poignant film, directed by Naoko Yamada and produced by Kyoto Animation, explores the themes of regret, bullying, disability, and, significantly, anxiety. Shoya Ishida, the protagonist, is haunted by his past, where he bullied Shoko Nishimiya, a deaf girl, leading him to experience social anxiety and isolation.
As he navigates his guilt and seeks redemption, the narrative explores the debilitating effects of anxiety and the potential for personal growth and reconciliation. The movie’s careful and empathetic treatment of its characters’ mental states makes it a profound examination of anxiety, making the viewers reflect on the complexities of human relationships and the importance of understanding and empathy.
2. March Comes in Like a Lion
This anime beautifully illustrates the struggles of Rei Kiriyama, a professional shogi player, dealing with issues like depression and social anxiety. The series is praised for its raw and honest portrayal of Rei’s emotional journey.
His loneliness and anxiety reflected through stunning metaphoric animation, resonate with viewers on a deeply personal level. Besides showing the bleak realities of mental health issues, the anime also provides hope and comfort, showcasing the importance of support systems and resilience.
3. Welcome to the N.H.K.
A brutally honest depiction of social anxiety and paranoia, this anime follows the life of Tatsuhiro Sato, a hikikomori (a term in Japan for people who withdraw from society).
Sato suffers from intense social anxiety, leading him to create elaborate conspiracy theories, one of which is the N.H.K., an organization he believes is causing his antisocial behavior. The series masterfully integrates dark humor with tragic reality, providing a poignant portrayal of mental health issues and the struggle for self-acceptance.
Orange dives deep into the realm of regret and anxiety through the life of Naho Takamiya, a high school student who receives letters from her future self. These letters detail the events leading to her friend’s suicide and urge her to take different actions to change the outcome.
Her anxiety is palpable as she battles with the fear of altering destiny. The series takes a sensitive approach toward complex themes of grief, guilt, and anxiety, prompting viewers to consider the significant impact of their choices.
Colorful is a reflective film dealing with life, death, and the human spirit’s resilience, all while highlighting issues like self-loathing and anxiety.
The protagonist, a soul given a second chance at life by inhabiting the body of a 14-year-old boy who committed suicide, grapples with his past mistakes and the anxiety they bring. As the narrative unfolds, it lays bare the intense struggles of living with guilt and anxiety while also expressing hope and forgiveness.
6. Your Lie in April
A beautifully poignant series, Your Lie in April revolves around the life of Kosei Arima, a music prodigy living in a world without sound after his mother’s death. Burdened by the weight of his past, Kosei battles performance anxiety that has held him back from playing the piano.
This anime is a deeply moving portrayal of the struggle to overcome personal traumas and the debilitating anxiety they induce. It masterfully weaves together music, love, and friendship, creating a narrative that shows how connections with others can play a pivotal role in healing.
7. My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected
This anime follows Hachiman Hikigaya, a high school student with a distorted view of life, leading to his voluntary social isolation.
Hikigaya’s cynicism and social anxiety are relatable to many viewers, and the series highlights how these issues affect one’s interactions and relationships. The anime explores themes of friendship, love, and personal growth, ultimately emphasizing the importance of understanding others and being understood.
8. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Although popular for its mecha action and complex plot, Neon Genesis Evangelion offers a profound exploration of anxiety. The protagonist, Shinji Ikari, is constantly battling self-doubt, anxiety, and depression, intensified by the tremendous responsibility of piloting a giant robot to save humanity.
The anime delves deep into the psyche of its characters, revealing the harsh realities of mental health struggles and their impacts on interpersonal relationships, creating a thought-provoking and emotionally intense experience for viewers.
9. Komi Can’t Communicate
In this heartfelt series, we meet Shoko Komi, a girl admired for her elegance and beauty but who struggles with severe social anxiety. Her dream of making friends is complicated by her inability to communicate effectively, making her situation intensely relatable for viewers who face similar struggles.
The series beautifully portrays her journey toward overcoming her communication disorder, showing the significance of understanding and friendship in navigating anxiety.
10. Hitoribocchi No Marumaru Seikatsu
This anime tells the story of Hitori Bocchi, a middle school student suffering from extreme social anxiety. Her task of befriending everyone in her class is an arduous journey that viewers follow with empathy and encouragement.
The series brilliantly uses humor and heartfelt moments to showcase the realities of social anxiety and the courage required to step outside of one’s comfort zone. It’s a heartening story about friendship and personal growth, highlighting that everyone has their pace when dealing with anxiety.
Handa-kun is a unique take on social anxiety revolving around the character of Sei Handa, a talented calligrapher. Misinterpreting others’ admiration for him as hostility, Handa develops a case of social anxiety, resulting in comic yet heartfelt scenarios.
The series balances humor with an insightful depiction of anxiety, showing the disparity between Handa’s perception and the reality of his social interactions. It resonates with anyone who’s misunderstood social cues or felt isolated, making it both a humorous and empathetic watch.
12. The Anthem of the Heart
This compelling film focuses on Jun Naruse, a girl who believes her words cause pain and suffering, resulting in a self-imposed vow of silence. The portrayal of her selective mutism – a severe anxiety disorder where a person can’t speak in certain situations or to specific people – is profoundly realistic.
The narrative explores themes of self-expression, understanding, and the healing power of communication, providing a deeply moving perspective on dealing with anxiety.
ReLIFE follows the story of Arata Kaizaki, a 27-year-old jobless man who is given a chance to relive a year of his high school life. It deftly explores the pressures and anxieties related to societal expectations and self-worth.
As Kaizaki navigates teenage issues and personal regrets, he gains valuable insights into overcoming his anxieties. This anime beautifully illustrates how it’s never too late to change, learn, and grow.
14. Senryu Girl
The anime focuses on Nanako Yukishiro, a girl who only communicates through senryu – a type of haiku poem. Her unique way of communication is the result of her social anxiety. The series does an outstanding job of expressing how creativity can become a tool for those struggling with traditional social interactions.
Focusing on the blossoming relationship between Nanako and her classmate Eiji shows that understanding and acceptance can help overcome the hurdles posed by anxiety.
15. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day
This emotional anime revolves around a group of childhood friends who drift apart after the death of one of their own. The characters grapple with grief, guilt, and social anxiety, with each one portraying a different aspect of these complex emotions.
The series presents a thoughtful narrative on dealing with loss, the resulting anxiety, and the importance of reconciliation and closure. It highlights how shared grief can become a bridge reconnecting sundered friendships, offering hope amidst despair.
16. Mob Psycho 100
Mob Psycho 100, created by ONE, the same mind behind One Punch Man, gives us Shigeo Kageyama (aka Mob), a high schooler who happens to be a powerful psychic. While the series is loaded with explosive action and vibrant humor, it thoughtfully delves into Mob’s emotional struggles.
He grapples with anxiety, chiefly from his fear of hurting others with his powers and efforts to fit in. It brilliantly depicts how Mob, despite his overwhelming psychic abilities, faces challenges common to many adolescents.
17. Watamote: No Matter How I Look at It, It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular!
This anime offers a brutally honest representation of social anxiety through its protagonist, Tomoko Kuroki. She is a socially awkward high school girl who desires popularity.
Her often cringeworthy yet genuine attempts to fit in and her resulting anxiety are both heartrending and relatable. The series provides a unique perspective on social expectations, isolation, and overcoming anxiety in pursuing acceptance.
18. 3-gatsu no Lion (Sangatsu no Lion)
Also known as March Comes in Like a Lion, this anime, as previously mentioned, is a poignant tale of Rei Kiriyama’s struggle with social anxiety and depression. It’s a beautifully crafted narrative that offers a realistic, empathetic look into the emotional turmoil Rei experiences, making it a compelling anime about mental health issues.
19. Welcome to the Ballroom
The series follows Tatara Fujita, a directionless middle schooler who stumbles into the world of competitive ballroom dancing. As Tatara trains to become a professional dancer, he battles performance anxiety and self-doubt. The anime adeptly captures his internal struggle and determination, making it a vivid and inspiring portrayal of overcoming personal barriers.
Bakuman chronicles the journey of Moritaka Mashiro and Akito Takagi as they aspire to become manga artists. Amidst the captivating insights into the manga industry, the series showcases the pressures and anxieties of pursuing a dream.
It portrays the stress of meeting deadlines, maintaining ratings, and battling creative blocks. It is a great analogy for the anxiety and pressure we often face in our professional lives, making it a must-watch for its real-world parallels.
Anime is a vibrant medium that highlights the complexities of the human condition, including the often misunderstood realm of anxiety. The series we’ve explored in this article skillfully weave narratives around anxiety, offering poignant portrayals that evoke empathy and understanding.
From the struggle of social interactions in “Handa-kun” and “Watamote” to facing personal traumas in “Your Lie in April” and “Anohana,” these anime underscore the importance of mental health dialogue.
By resonating with viewers, they create a sense of comfort and connection, reminding us that we’re not alone in our battles. Dive into these narratives and embrace their transformative journey.