Millions of individuals all over the world suffer from the mental health condition of depression. It can be a difficult and lonely experience that is frequently accompanied by a feeling of helplessness and despair. However, anime has the ability to illuminate the depths of sadness and its challenges in a way that profoundly affects viewers thanks to its distinctive storytelling and visual approaches. In this article, we’ll look at the 16 best anime that realistically and nuancedly depict sadness and its effects on individuals and society.
Anime can depict characters’ inner thoughts and feelings, enabling viewers to identify with and relate to their challenges. These animated series not only present the signs and difficulties of depression, but
Grave of the Fireflies
Isao Takahata’s “Grave of the Fireflies” is a touching and tragic animation movie. The movie, which takes place in Japan during World War II, tells the tale of a young boy named Seita and his younger sister Setsuko as they try to survive the turmoil and destruction of war. The impact of war and grief on the characters’ mental health is expertly shown in the movie, especially Seita, who struggles with the pressure of responsibility and the insurmountable difficulties of taking care of his sister.
“Grave of the Fireflies” shows the effects of depression on Seita’s mental health as he battles with feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and despair as the siblings deal with hunger, homelessness, and societal indifference. Seita and Setsuko are shunned and outcast by their own group, which serves as another example of how stigmatized mental health is in wartime society.
“Grave of the Fireflies” provides a moving and accurate depiction of despair while highlighting the effects of tragic events on one’s mental health. The video masterfully depicts the nuances of depression, including the internal battles, the outside obstacles, and the social stigmas that depressed people may experience. It acts as a potent reminder of how crucial it is to have empathy, compassion, and understanding for those who are suffering from depression and the significant effects it has on their life.
The psychological suspense anime series “Paranoia Agent” is led by Satoshi Kon. The story of a mysterious attacker known as “Lil’ Slugger,” who randomly assaults victims with a baseball bat, is followed in the television show. The series goes into the psychological states of several characters who are affected by the attacks, including their battles with depression, as the city is overtaken by fear and suspicion.
Tsukiko Sagi, a character designer who is attacked by Lil’ Slugger, is one of the main protagonists in “Paranoia Agent”. After the incident, Tsukiko’s mental state quickly deteriorates as she succumbs to depression, guilt, and shame. Her internal fight with depression is depicted in the series, along with her battles with loneliness, self-doubt, and warped ideas of reality.
“Paranoia Agent” also explores how cultural expectations and pressure can fuel sadness. The series explores how Tsukiko’s mental health is affected by the negative aspects of celebrity, the demands of creative activity, and severe social judgments. “Paranoia Agent” presents a comprehensive and introspective investigation of depression through its psychological and surreal storytelling, illuminating the complexity of the illness and the influence of outside events on one’s mental well-being.
Hiroshi Kobayashi’s innovative animation series “Kiznaiver” examines the idea of empathy and emotional connection. In an effort to foster harmony and understanding among a varied group of people known as “Kiznaivers,” the novel is set in a futuristic metropolis where a scientific experiment unites the emotions of the participants.
Katsuhira Agata, the protagonist, is a person who experiences despair and indifference. Due to prior experiences, he is emotionally cut off from others and incapable of feeling either physical or emotional suffering. As a result of the experiment’s need that Katsuhira to bear the emotional load and suffering of others, he is forced to examine his own depression and self-identity issues in great detail.
“Kiznaiver” illustrates the complications of depression, including the difficulties with communication, self-isolation, and the masks people may put on to cover up their inner agony. The show examines how prior trauma affects mental health and stresses the value of sincere emotional connections for recovery.
The Wind Rises
The artistically magnificent anime movie “The Wind Rises” is helmed by Hayao Miyazaki, who is renowned for his skillful storytelling and fascinating animation. Jiro Horikoshi is a gifted aircraft designer, and the movie portrays the fictitious biographical story of his aspirations to build stunning aircraft despite the obstacles posed by illness and war.
Jiro deals with a variety of personal and professional issues throughout the movie, including his struggle with depression. Jiro battles personal tensions, self-doubt, and the weight of his creations being utilized for harmful ends during World War II as he toils ceaselessly to pursue his passion for flight. Jiro’s emotional journey is brilliantly shown in “The Wind Rises,” showing his struggles with optimism and despair as well as the negative effects of his depression on his mental health.
The movie also shows how Jiro’s mental state is impacted by outside variables including societal expectations, financial limitations, and the certainty of war. Jiro, despite his successes, encounters setbacks and challenges that worsen his despair, illuminating the intricate interplay between internal and external elements in one’s mental health.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
The anime series Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, which is helmed by Masaki Tachibana, shows what happens after a catastrophic earthquake strikes Tokyo. As Mirai and Yuki, two siblings, navigate the mayhem and devastation left behind by the earthquake and look for their way home, the series follows them.
The anime depicts the effects of the earthquake on the protagonists’ physical and mental health in a realistic and heartbreaking way. It displays the disaster’s early aftereffects, such as burning buildings and other widespread destruction, as well as the difficulties people faced in getting access to needs like food, water, and medical care.
The series explores the psychological effects of the catastrophe, notably on the two brothers, in the midst of the mayhem. As they experience the loss of loved ones and come to terms with their own mortality, Mirai and Yuki must deal with terror, trauma, and grief. The show follows their emotional journey as they seek the willpower to keep going forward while grappling with the terrible realities of their predicament.
The captivating anime series Banana Fish, created by Hiroko Utsumi, is based on the Akimi Yoshida manga. The mafia, narcotics, and corruption in New York City serve as the series’ central themes. Banana Fish’s core themes are trauma, addiction, and the grave psychological ramifications of a tragic past.
Ash Lynx, a young gang leader with a tragic past, and Eiji Okumura, a Japanese photojournalist who is drawn into Ash’s perilous world, are the main characters of the anime. Banana Fish addresses Ash’s tragic history and the psychological scars it has left on him as the plot progresses. The show sensitively and deeply explores Ash’s battles with PTSD, addiction, and the psychological effects of his tragic events.
Banana Fish explores how trauma affects various characters, including Ash’s adversaries and allies. As characters fight to escape the cycle of violence and abuse and deal with the repercussions of their earlier deeds, the anime illustrates the cyclical nature of trauma.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Restoration of an MMO Kazuyoshi Yaginuma’s endearing anime series Junkie, also known as Net-juu no Susume, depicts the life of Moriko Morioka, a 30-year-old woman who withdraws and finds comfort in the virtual world of online gaming.
The anime digs deeply into Moriko’s battles with melancholy, social anxiety, and the difficulties of adjusting to adulthood. Morioka establishes new connections through her online avatar and discovers a sense of purpose and belonging in the gaming world. Recovery of an MMO Junkie illustrates the value of online relationships in offering comfort and company to people who may find it difficult to communicate with others in real life.
The show also explores the ideas of self-discovery and personal development. Moriko encounters difficulties, makes blunders, and picks up important life lessons as she sets off on her internet travels. The story of Moriko’s road to self-acceptance in Recovery of an MMO Junkie highlights the value of pursuing happiness for oneself, even if it requires taking chances and venturing outside of one’s comfort zone.
A young traveler named Kino and their talking motorcycle named Hermes go through a mythical world rich with various civilizations, customs, and beliefs in Ryutaro Nakamura’s thought-provoking anime series Kino’s Go, also known as Kino no Tabi.
A pensive and introspective anime that explores existential themes and philosophical questions, Kino’s Journey is at its core. The series poses challenging queries about the nature of mankind, morality, and the purpose of life through Kino’s adventures. Every place Kino travels to presents distinctive and frequently morally difficult situations, compelling Kino to wrestle with moral quandaries and consider the complexity of human nature.
The themes of loneliness, solitude, and the pursuit of connection are also explored in Kino’s Journey. As a lone traveler, Kino frequently suffers from emotions of disconnection from the outside world and a lack of a sense of belonging. The show explores the difficulties and rewards of building enduring relationships as well as the value of human connection in navigating the complexities of life.
Taichi Ishidate’s gorgeously illustrated anime series Violet Evergarden tells the tale of Violet Evergarden, a former child soldier who later turns into an “Auto Memory Doll”—a ghostwriter who writes messages on behalf of other people. The anime, which is set in a post-war age, follows Violet’s path of self-discovery, healing, and emotional understanding.
The Heart of Violet Evergarden is a moving investigation into the nature of humanity and the strength of empathy. As Violet attempts to come to terms with the tragedy and loss from her past, the series digs into her difficulties with emotional comprehension and social interaction. Violet gains knowledge about the complexity of human emotions through her employment as an Auto Memory Doll and gradually begins to establish her own sense of self.
In Violet Evergarden, the ability of language and communication to emote and create deep bonds is also demonstrated. The influence that words can have on people’s life is brilliantly captured in the series, which uses each letter Violet writes for her customers as a vehicle for their most profound feelings.
A group of friends in Orange, a touching anime series directed by Hiroshi Hamasaki, receive letters from their future selves warning them about the regrets they will have in the future and asking them to try to change the outcome. Orange, which is based on the Ichigo Takano manga, examines issues of friendship, regret, and the value of living in the present.
In the anime, Naho Takamiya, a high school girl, is urged to prevent her friend Kakeru Naruse from experiencing a sad incident through a letter she receives from her future self. Naho and her pals learn the value of living in the present and valuing their relationships as they collaborate to change the future while also navigating their own difficulties and regrets.
In Orange, the complexity of human emotions and the toll that regrets take on a person’s life are explored. As the characters wrestle with the effects of their decisions and work to alter the future, it digs into their inner conflicts, anxieties, and uncertainties. The series delicately conveys the gravity of regrets and the significance of acting now to prevent regrets in the future.
Koe no Katachi
The anime movie Koe no Katachi, commonly known as A Silent Voice, was created by Naoko Yamada and portrays the tribulations of a young boy named Shoya Ishida who tormented a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya in elementary school and seeks forgiveness in high school. Koe no Katachi, which is based on Yoshitoki Ima’s manga, explores issues including bullying, forgiving others, and the value of empathy.
The catastrophic effects of bullying on both the victim and the bully are depicted in the movie. It explores Shoya’s feelings of remorse, shame, and loneliness as he struggles with the repercussions of his acts. Koe no Katachi gently depicts Shoko’s struggles as she deals with her classmates’ prejudice and abuse of her because of her hearing disability.
Koe no Katachi illustrates the value of compassion and forgiveness in mending previous wounds via the course of Shoya’s quest for redemption. The movie explores the intricacies of human emotions and the difficulties of forgiving oneself and others as Shoya strives to atone and beg Shoko’s pardon. It also emphasizes the value of accepting diversity and the positive effects tiny deeds of kindness and compassion can have on someone’s life.
Sangatsu no Lion
Akiyuki Shinbo’s gripping anime series Sangatsu no Lion, also known as March Comes in Like a Lion, centers on the life of Rei Kiriyama, a young professional shogi player. Sangatsu no Lion, which is based on the Chika Umino manga, examines issues of loneliness, self-identity, family, and the therapeutic value of interpersonal interactions.
As he navigates the difficulties of his personal life and professional shogi career, the series shows Rei’s battles with despair and loneliness. As he struggles with the weight of his past and looks for his place in the world, it dives into his inner conflicts, self-doubt, and the quest for meaning. Sangatsu no Lion delicately depicts the difficulties associated with mental health by following Rei’s path to recovery and self-acceptance.
Sangatsu no Lion emphasizes the value of human relationships in overcoming adversity through Rei’s contacts with the Kawamoto sisters, Akari, Hinata, and Momo, who invite him into their house and give him a sense of warmth and belonging. The show emphasizes the value of community, friendship, and family in fostering one’s mental and emotional wellness.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Sangatsu no Lion, also known as March Comes in Like a Lion, is a riveting anime series that concentrates on the life of Rei Kiriyama, a young professional shogi player. Based on the Chika Umino comic, Sangatsu no Lion explores topics including loneliness, self-identity, family, and the therapeutic significance of social relationships.
The series depicts Rei’s struggles with hopelessness and loneliness as he manages the challenges of his personal life and professional shogi career. It delves into his internal problems, self-doubt, and search for purpose as he battles with the weight of his history and seeks to find his place in the world. By following Rei’s journey to healing and self-acceptance, Sangatsu no Lion skillfully captures the challenges involved with mental health.
Through Rei’s interactions with the Kawamoto sisters, Akari, Hinata, and Momo, who take him into their home and offer him a sense of warmth and belonging, Sangatsu no Lion highlights the importance of interpersonal connections in overcoming adversity. The importance of friendship, family, and community in promoting one’s mental and emotional wellness is emphasized throughout the show.
Masaomi Ando’s captivating and contentious anime series Scum’s Wish, also known as Kuzu no Honkai, is based on the manga written and illustrated by Mengo Yokoyari. The show looks into the complexities of human relationships, desires, and the destructive effects of unrequited love.
Hanabi Yasuraoka and Mugi Awaya, two high school students who are both in love with other people but are unable to be together, are the main characters of the novel. They agree to function as each other’s replacement lovers and use one another as a channel for their unfulfilled wants. They become entangled in a web of emotional anguish, jealousy, and self-destructive conduct as their relationship develops, though.
In Scum’s Wish, themes of unrequited love, betrayal, and the destructive nature of desire are explored along with other dark and frequently taboo facets of interpersonal interactions. It depicts the bruising truths of unmet longings and the emotional toll it can have on people.
The show is renowned for both its fascinating character development and its sophisticated and nuanced depiction of human emotions. It poses challenging queries regarding the nature of love, interpersonal relationships, and the repercussions of one’s choices.
Based on the novel by Eto Mori, “Colorful” is a distinct and provocative animation film directed by Keiichi Hara. The movie depicts the tale of a spirit that receives a second shot at life after committing suicide and is reincarnated into the form of Makoto Kobayashi, a 14-year-old kid. Makoto battles melancholy, guilt, and the difficulties of adolescence as he adjusts to his new existence.
“Colorful” sensitively and authentically depicts depression while capturing Makoto’s internal conflict and emotional challenges. The movie goes into Makoto’s insecurities, self-hatred, and sense of isolation from people around him as the root causes of his depression. Makoto’s internal struggles and his attempts to comprehend and deal with his despair are depicted in a moving and relatable way.
The movie also emphasizes how Makoto’s relationships with his family, friends, and classmates are affected by his despair. “Colorful” explores the difficulty in asking for help, the stigma associated with mental illness, and communication barriers. The video emphasizes the significance of empathy, compassion, and human connection in aiding those who are depressed through its moving tale.
Welcome to the NHK
Based on the Tatsuhiko Takimoto novel, Welcome to the NHK is a melancholic and brooding anime series created and directed by Yusuke Yamamoto. The show centers on Tatsuhiro Sato, a 22-year-old hikikomori with depression, social anxiety, and a pervasive sense of self-hatred. Tatsuhiro is persuaded that he is a “conspiracy victim” and that the NHK, a shadowy organization, is responsible for all of his personal setbacks.
Tatsuhiro runs into a variety of oddball personalities while navigating his lonely existence, including his neighbor Misaki, a mystery female who professes to be able to cure him of his hikikomori status. Tatsuhiro starts to face his own demons, such as his anxiety about facing the outside world, his addiction to online gaming, and his excessive reliance on escapism, through his encounters with Misaki and other people.
The documentary Welcome to the NHK explores the difficulties of mental illness, social isolation, and the quest for purpose in life. It depicts the hard realities of dealing with anxiety and depression as well as the social pressures and expectations that can heighten one’s sense of helplessness and despair.
Finally, anime can successfully depict depression and mental health issues. Grave of the Fireflies, Paranoia Agent, Kiznaiver, The Wind Rises, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Banana Fish, Recovery of an MMO Junkie, Kino’s Journey, Violet Evergarden, Orange, Koe no Katachi, Sangatsu no Lion, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Colorful, and Welcome to the NHK are just a few of the rich and diverse range of anime that can offer deep insights into depression’s challenges.
These anime explore loneliness, trauma, loss, self-acceptance, and human connection. They generally show characters battling inner demons, complex emotions, and social pressures, which may resonate with depressed viewers.
These anime raise awareness, decrease stigma, and foster empathy and understanding of depression and mental health through their compelling stories, sympathetic characters, and powerful themes. They can bring comfort, validation, and insight to individuals going through similar situations and those who haven’t experienced depression.