Best Anime about Depression

Best Anime about Depression
Containing sensitive themes and topics, these anime shows seek to explore the depths and pitfalls and reverberating effects from the destructive mental illness that is depression, on lots of different levels. From anime about emotional pain to, anime about mental health issues, to anime about mental illness, these anime shows about depression try to document the darkness of feeling the world drain of colour and the darkness depression can bring. From feeling you just want to hide and feeling pointless, guilty and a waste of space, finding a way out of that darkness is hard and it’s a challenge to get other people to understand what it’s like, much less help you through your tough times. Fortunately, there are many anime about depression. No matter if you’re struggling through yourself or if you want to be able to better relate to a friend, these depression anime are great places to start and are somehow so comforting to watch. Here are some of the best anime shows with depression or featuring depression within them. I hope you enjoy!

Best Anime Shows about Depression


15. Watamote

Best Anime about Depression
A girl that is trying to climb out of the rut she is in and become popular like other students, Tomoko finds it incredibly hard to socialise and all she longs to do is stay at home wrapped up in her games and manga. She struggles on many levels, which makes her an incredibly multifaceted and relatable character, especially as her attempts kind of fall flat on their face. She is so reassuring to watch for someone with depression, we can also emphathise deeply with her aims, goals, yet little patience and interest in certain things and the ultimate longing to just stay in her room, her safe place.

14. Orange

Best Anime about Depression
Orange is a slice of life/romance drama series and definitely underrated! Naho Takemiya, the female MC, has romantic feelings for Kakeru Naruse. The feelings are mutual. Kakeru in particular loses his mum, and deals with her death pretty hard. It’s because he feels guilty for not giving his mother the “respect” she deserved, even if he didn’t mean it that way. She dies the night after an incident like this. Wanting to off himself, self harm, and end it all, his friends do everything they can to help him through his struggles. You get to see how difficult it is for a depressed person to “just be happy” and be so called 'positive' because everything will be alright. There’s a past/future element to this anime as well involving time in a supernatural setting, but it’s subtle.

13. Serial Experiments Lain

Best Anime about Depression
This is an anime that isn't afraid to tackle dark themes like self hurt and mental illness, which is refreshing to see and fascinating to watch, as those with similar experiences can find themselves in the characters. It follows Lain Iwakura, a troubled anime girl character with mental illness, she is shown to struggle with psychosis, often hallucinating and sees things that aren’t real, such as at one point she thinks that steam is coming out of her hands. This makes it even more difficult for her to make friends as she is very detached from the world around her. She is very quiet and has a slumped posture, also being very timid and deeply scared to check her emails.

12. Kara no Kyoukai

Best Anime about Depression
The kara no kyoukai movie is full of dark themes like depression, loneliness, and the topic of self hurt, but it presents as an amazing anime which worth every bit of your time. It starts typically with a depressed guy who attends a new high school and finds himself in a harem situation. The story is based on Mirai Fukuin which is a side story of Kara no Kyoukai tale. It is separated into two sections.

11. Paranoia Agent

Best Anime about Depression
“Paranoia Agent” is a 13 episode series that deals with the mental and psychological health of its characters. The characters refuse to see a problem with their mental state until they are attacked by a little boy, nicknamed “Lil’ Slugger”, on roller skates who hits them with a golden baseball bat. These attacks don’t happen until the character is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Toward the end of the series, the show makes the viewer question if “Lil’ Slugger” actually exists or if he’s a figment of the first victim’s imagination and her fear helped “Lil’ Slugger” spread across Japan.

10. Narutaru

Best Anime about Depression
This dark anime deals with mature themes such as depression, self harm and the psychological impacts of bullying. Although it seems cute at first, it is deceptively dark and also explores mental illness, like depression, in a beautiful way. We first meet happy go lucky schoolgirl, Shiina, who encounters a strange looking creature whilst on her summer holiday. They befriend each other and Shiina names it "Hoshimaru: The Round Star." When Shiina returns home after the summer to go back to school, she starts meeting other kids that also have befriended a strange creature like Hoshimaru. But she soon finds out that not all these creatures and their masters are as friendly as Hoshimaru.

9. Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei

Best Anime about Depression
This dark anime spins themes of depression in to a dark comedy, with many elements that are very relatable for so many individuals. Nozomu Itoshiki is a high school teacher that suffers from a severe but functioning depression, but has an incredibly fragile composition, that even the smallest of misfortunes can send him into a pit of raging despair. In the anime we even see him attempt to end himself at many points. The dark comedy sparks from the interactions between the professor and the other personalities in his class, Kiri Komori, a recluse who refuses to leave the school; Abiru Kobushi, an enigma who frequently arrives to class with severe and mysterious injuries; the hyper-optimistic Kafuuka Fuura, who is depicted as Nozomu's polar opposite; and several other unusual girls, all of whom are just as eccentric.

8. Your Lie in April

Best Anime about Depression
Your Lie in April is a notoriously dark, romantic and sad anime, but also a deeply emotional and moving anime show. It tells the story of two musicians, each battling a very dark and depressing past. However, the two seem to handle this sadness and despair in polar opposite ways, making one character balance the other. It documents dark themes such as grief and trauma, and how they impact on the human psyche. It is more based on dark events and the psychological impact of them rather than a more biologically occuring depression.

7. Wonder Egg Priority

Best Anime about Depression
This anime focuses on Ai Ohto, a teenager who loses her friend, which leaves her sliding in to depression, which she finds incredibly difficult to deal with. This theme bleeds into the other main characters of the show, all of which share a similar experience. Thoughts of suicide, self harm, and actual self harm in the case of Rikka Kawai (an MC) is a key plot point. The way the anime characters emotions, pains, and struggles is expressed feels realistic and true to life. It’s relatable in a way many anime aren't. It also has one of the most beautiful animation styles and carries gorgeous artwork, colours, and character designs that bring its darker themes to life.

5. Neon Genesis Evangelion

Best Anime about Depression
This super popular anime features many themes revolving around depression and mental illness, themes such as self harm, anxiety, abuse, hopelessness; but we might specially focus on Shinji Ikari, who is shown to be a deeply troubled figure in the anime and can be perceived to be struggling with severe depression. At the age of 14, he finds himself summoned by his father to the city of Neo Tokyo-3 after several years of separation. There he unwillingly accepts the task of becoming the pilot of a giant robot by the name EVA01 and protects the world from the invaders known as “angels.” He struggles to deal with overwhelming and difficult negative thoughts and these, combined with the crushing responsibility on his shoulders, push him deeper in to a paralysing despair.

Few anime protagonists over the decades have been as divisive as Shinji Nakamura. Evangelion subverts not just shonen tropes but also depicts mental illness in a unique way. The truth is, there's nothing noble about struggling with depression, just as there's nothing noble about forcing children to save the world. Director Hideaki Anno himself lives with clinical depression and did his best to incorporate psychological elements into his seminal series even as he struggled with his own mental health. Because some viewers still refuse to "get" Shinji or appreciate his failings, the intended allegory becomes only more poignant. In Evangelion as in our world, depression is rarely taken seriously enough. Shinji is exactly the protagonist he needs to be.

4. A Silent Voice

Best Anime about Depression
Are you looking for a visually pleasing anime about depression? A Silent Voice might be the answer for you. It is a really clever and interesting look at depression through a different angle, with themes of guilt, regret and isolation. After transferring into a new school, a deaf girl, Shouko Nishimiya, is bullied by the popular Shouya Ishida. As Shouya continues to bully Shouko, the class turns its back on him. Shouko transfers and Shouya grows up as an outcast. Alone and depressed, the regretful Shouya finds Shouko to make amends.  

3. Colourful

Best Anime about Depression
Second chances, damages, and peer pressures are the major themes that Colorful anime shows to fans. At the start of Colorful, a disembodied "soul" is given a second chance at life in the body of Makoto, a 14-year old boy who attempts to end everything. In order to keep on living, the soul inside Makoto must uncover Makoto's mistakes and resolve them within six months. An allegory for dissociation, Colorful encompasses countless struggles faced by young people growing up in the modern world. Makoto's parents are unsympathetic to his struggles, one of his classmates resorts to sex work to meet her needs, and the future seems pointless to him. When he befriends another student and learns to forge his own path, Makoto and the soul within him finally begin to see the point of living again.

2. Welcome to the NHK

Best Anime about Depression
For anime veterans this is probably one of the first shows that pops into your head when thinking about depression and also anxiety too. Here we meet Satou Tatsuhiro, a 22-year-old youngster who has been a hikikomori (an individual suffering from severe social withdrawal) for four years. Trapped in his room and becoming more and more detached from reality, he greatly fears the outside world and develops paranoid delusions, believing everything around him to be a conspiracy, that a secret organization is controlling his life, causing every of his failure. On his journey, he met this mysterious girl named Misaki Nakahara, who seemed to know a lot about him even though they haven’t met before. However, little did he know, Nakahara is also struggling with depression herself. But then again, the relationship between the two might help Satou to come out from isolation, even though it might be challenging.

1. Blue Literature

Best Anime about Depression
One of the most thoughtprovoking anime series you may ever watch, it consists of six animated adaptations from six classical Japanese literature pieces, including No Longer Human (Ningen Shikaku) and Run, Melos (Hashire, Melos) by Osamu Dazai, Kokoro by Natsume Souseki, Hell Screen (Jigoku Hen). You get a lot of Japanese culture in there too, which also makes it so enjoyable to watch. It is meaningful, wholesome, yet tackles very dark themes in a beautiful way. It conveys themes such as depression and battling with mental demons, feelings of being a failure at being human, hence the title, ‘No Longer Human’. It touches on themes of alcohol abuse and mental illness, and is somehow so comforting, especially to those who have experienced similar thoughts.

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