There are many things in life that aren’t as bright and sunny as rainbows.
Sometimes we can get stuck in perpetual darkness, and must fight to break free. Depression is a serious problem.
Because anime is so diverse, it has dealt with depression quite a few occasions. Which anime brings these subjects back to life?
These are my top picks for anime that focus on depression, mental health and anxiety. Keep tissues close at hand.
17 Anime About Depression & Mental Health
1. Aku no Hana
Aku no Hana is a great anime about depression. We are all familiar with a society full of two-faced people these days. Not to mention the many false rumors that will constantly be floating around. Aku no Hana, based on Shuzo Oshimi’s 2009 manga series, was adapted into an anime series that aired in 2013. Fans were not happy with the animation, which was done using the rotoscoping technique. The live-action version was then released in September 2019. The story is about Kasuga Takao who is a bookworm. Saeki Nanako, a girl named Saeki, is his inspiration and makes him admire her from afar.
2. Aoi Bungaku
Aoi Bungaku has twelve episodes. It is based on six stories taken from Japanese literature and classic Japanese tales. The episodes were directed by multiple directors, including Tetsuro Yamaki, Morio Asaka and Shigeyuki Mita. They also feature Ryosuke Nakamura and Atsuko Ichizuka.
This series tells the story of a secondary school student who becomes distant from his peers. He falls into despair, self-misuse and uses drugs to relieve his pain. Each episode shows different phases of his life as well as how he was influenced.
Narutaru, or Shadow Star, is a manga series that was written and illustrated in manga form by Mohiro Kanoh. It was eventually made into an anime series of 13 episodes in 2003. Narutaru brings up teen depression because the female lead was bullied and she took her own life to cope.
Tamai Shiina, a cheerful young schoolgirl, met a strange-looking creature while on summer vacation. When Shiina returns to school, she meets other children who have also been able to make friends with a strange creature such as Hoshimaru. She soon discovers that not all of these creatures and their masters can be as friendly as Hoshimaru.
4. Kara no Kyoukai
Kara no Kyoukai, an anime movie that explores dark themes like depression, loneliness, suicide, and mature themes. The animation is beautiful and can be enjoyed by anyone who watches anime for its visuals. The original series was a light novel written and illustrated by Kinoko Nau. It was finally made into a movie in 2007-2013. Kara no Kyoukai currently has eight parts.
This story is set in September 1998. Japan was devastated by random suicide cases. A paranormal investigator agency noticed some disturbing similarities between the cases. The victims were all schoolgirls who fell to their death from the Fujou Building’s top.
Many people have wondered if they could relive their youth and start over. ReLIFE anime is for you if this is your case. ReLIFE is a high school romance, drama, and slice of life anime. It was originally a manga series in webtoon by Yayoiso. Satoru Kosaka directed the adaptation of anime TV series. It premiered on television in 2016. ReLIFE’s manga has also won the 2017 France Mangawa Award.
Arata Kaizaki is the protagonist of the story. He wanted to go back in time and relive his high school years, which he hated and failed. While he is working in an office, he regrets his life choices. He joins ReLIFE to start his profoundly youthful high school days. The anime helped people who didn’t have enough friends or were resentful about their past.
6. VIOLET EVERGARDEN
This anime series is amazing. The visuals are stunning and make me feel so much happier.
This story will bring you peace and help you understand how to get rid of your mental health issues.
The anime is a slice-of-life anime series that will show you just how difficult it can be to live a normal life.
This story tells the story of a young girl who was trained and used as a weapon in war, but her hands were destroyed in her last war. She had to quit and find a way to live her daily life.
So she could help her adoptive family as well as her friend, she got a job writing.
She was stunned by her superior’s unrequited love during the war.
She is interested in understanding the feelings of love and how they feel when they are together. She is confused about this feeling which has affected her mental health.
This anime is fantastic and shows you how important it is to have a normal life.
This anime has many funny moments. You will also find some beautiful anime girls here.
7. Welcoming to the N.H.K
If anime is about depression, welcome to the N.H.K.
Tatsuhiko Takimoto wrote the original novel Welcome to the N.H.K. It was later adapted into a manga series using Kendi Owa’s art in 2004, and made into an anime series in 2006 by Gonzo K.K. The anime shares a common theme of depression, anxiety, isolation and other hardships that many of us are facing. Welcome to the N.H.K trailer
Tatsuro Satou is 22 years old and a college dropout. He has suffered from severe social withdrawal for four years. Satou spends most of his time in his room and falls into bizarre conspiracy theories such as the belief that a secret organization controls his life and causes all his failures.
Misaki Nakahara was a mysterious girl he met on his travels. She seemed to be able to tell him a lot even though they had never met before. He didn’t know that Nakahara was also suffering from depression. Despite the challenges, Satou might find that the closeness between them can help him overcome isolation.
8. A Silent Voice – My Best Anime About Depression
A Silent Voice
Do you want to see a visually appealing anime about depression? The Silent Voice may be the right choice for you.
Produced by Kyoto Animation and directed by Naoko Yamada. Written by Reiko Yoshida. A Silent Voice is an anime series that was adapted from Yoshitoki Oima’s manga. The Series was first broadcast in Japan in 2016, and worldwide in 2017. While your usual anime focuses on the protagonists trying to be a better person, A Silent Voice will serve you with a bittersweet situation that makes their audience understand that the future mattered as much as the past.
Shouya Ishida, an elementary school student, struggles to overcome his boredom just like other teenagers. Shouko Nishimiya (deaf girl) transfers to his class and suddenly, a way popped into his mind. Shouya and his classmates bully Shouko Nishimiya out of sheer boredom. Shoko is still compassionate and will befriend Shouya no matter what.
Shouya begins to feel guilty and becomes a bully target. Shouya is forced to apologize to Shouko many years later when he decides to end his own life.
Colorful, directed and written by Keiichi Harada is an anime that was inspired by the 1998 novel by Eto Mori. This anime is a relatable tale about how students feel pressured to graduate before they can enter college or university. It explores daily struggles that humans face, but are afraid to face.
An impure soul, upon reaching the train station of death is granted a second chance at life. It will reincarnate as Makoto Kobayashi (a 14-year old boy who committed suicide). Within six months, the soul must search for the greatest sin committed by Kobayashi. The soul notices the emotions and actions of others as it travels.
10. Serial Experiments
We have all heard the topic of modern technology and mental illness. People can access social media at will, and without thinking about how it might affect their mental health. Serial Experiments Lain, an anime series written and directed by Ryutaro Nagamura, was produced by Yasuyuki Umeda in 1998. The show aired 13 episodes and successfully presented the topic.
This story centers on Lain Iwakura (a shy, introverted, 14-year-old girl) who gets a disturbing email. It is from Chisa Yomoda who has recently committed suicide. She was taken to a virtual network of communication that is very similar to the internet via her email. As she encounters cryptic mysteries, Lain’s world is turned upside-down. Lain finds herself immersed in more bizarre and surreal events, where identity, consciousness and perception take on new meanings.
11. March comes in like a Lion
March Comes in Like a Lion
Sadness is one key to depression. But apathy is another. This is when there is no interest in, enthusiasm for, or concern. March Comes in Like a Lion was originally a manga series written by Chica Umino. It was adapted into an anime series directed and produced by Akiyuki Shibo and Kenjirou Okada. The series aired 22 episodes.
The anime is based upon a manga that won Manga Taisho. It tells the story of Rei Kiriyama who is one of the elites in the worlds of shogi and Japanese chess. He is subject to immense pressure from both his adopted family and the community because of his rank. Kiriyama, who was seeking independence, moved to Tokyo at the age of 17 and took poor care of himself. https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZL5nnx4vd7k?feature=oembedMarch Comes in Like Lion Trailer
He met Akari, Hinata and Momo Kawamoto shortly after arriving in Tokyo. They were sisters who had lived with their grandfather, who runs a wagashi shop. Kiriyama has never had a close family bond like this. As Kiriyama struggles to keep his body and mind healthy through his career as an shogi player’s, he must also learn to communicate with others and understand his emotions.
12. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April
Others believe that this anime is a romantic, tear-jerker animation. Your Lie in April also depicts a story about childhood trauma based upon domestic abuse. Your Lie In April was originally a manga series written by Naoshi Arikiawa and illustrated by him. It was adapted into an anime series back in 2011. The anime section of the 2016 Sugoi Japanese Awards also awarded this series.
Original story about Kousei Arima, a brilliant pianist who has been called a human metronome after his mother’s passing. He falls into a spiral and is unable to hear his piano. Years later, he met a beautiful violinist, Kaori Miyazono, who stirred up his world and sets him on a adventure to face the music once again.
The anime also shows Arima’s traumatizing childhood, which caused him emotional and physical abuse from his mother. This is something that most viewers didn’t see. His mother, who suffered from a chronic illness, is often depicted in the series as a tragic story. Even though she can be kind to Arima at times, she will also force Arima into perfectionism at all costs. This series can still present sensitive topics well.
13. Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei
Did you know that Japan had the second highest suicide rate of all G7 countries in 2019? Even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic, suicide is a leading cause of death in Japan. Sayonara, Zetsubou Seni tells the story Nozomu Itoshiki, a pessimistic homeroom teacher. His students have their own problems: one is chronically optimistic, the other has obsessive compulsive disorder and one is agoraphobic. This is a condition where someone will panic easily if they are placed in places that they cannot reach.
Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei is a satirical comedy anime that covers various aspects of Japanese culture and life. The manga was adapted by Koji Kumeta’s manga series. It has now been adapted into an anime series with 12 episodes. Despite this, the moral message of the story and its intention are being successfully perceived.
14. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion
This series might appeal to shonen lovers. Neon Genesis Evangelion is a unique presentation of mental illness. As there is nothing noble in struggling with depression, so is forcing children to save the planet. Hideaki Anno, a director who has suffered from clinical depression himself, tried to incorporate psychological elements into the series. The anime was ranked the number one anime in Japan Media Arts Festival 2006. This being said, Neon Genesis Evangelion was the first shonen series that encapsulates depression.
Rainbow was originally a manga series written and illustrated by George Abe. The 26-episode anime series was created by Hiroshi Kojima. It aired from April 2016 to September 2016. The manga won the 51st Shogakukan Manuscript Award in the General category in 2006.
This story takes you back to Japan in 1955. Mario Minakami, along with five other teens, arrived at Shounan Special Reformed School on the same day that they were arrested for serious criminal charges. As they all were assigned to the same cell, they also met Rokurouta Sakuriagi, an ex-boxer with whom they form a close friendship later on. The seven cellmates fight to survive during the harsh suffering and humiliation of Ishihara, a sadistic guard who holds a grudge against Rokurouta and Gisuke Ssaki, a doctor who enjoys humiliating boys. The show also explores the question of how one can return to normal life after suffering such trauma.
16. The Tatami Galaxy
Although this series isn’t as weighty as others, it demonstrates a relatable principle of life: every choice you make will affect your life. It was originally a novel by Tomihiko Murimi. Masaaki Yuasa directed 11 episodes of the anime series. The Tatami Galaxy anime won both the Japan Media Arts Festival Grand Prize for Animation Division in 2010 and the Tokyo Anime Award for the Television Category in 2011.
The Tatami Galaxy successfully takes us to the misadventures of a young man on a adventure to make friends, find life, and the rose-colored campus life he always dreamed of in such an artistic, surreal way.