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The 14 Best Anime About Social Anxiety

Updated May 29, 2019 2.6k votes 785 voters 33.9k views14 items

Social anxiety is defined as an intense fear of interacting with others or being negatively judged by them. It can be seriously debilitating, and make it hard for those experiencing it to lead fulfilling lives. But social anxiety isn't confined to the real world - there is also plenty of anime about anxiety worth watching. 

Some of these shows, like March Comes In Like A Lion take social anxiety seriously, depicting the character's struggles with gravity and empathy. Others, like Welcome to the NHK and My Roommate Is A Cat blend hilarity with empathy, while a few, like the recent Hitori Bocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu, have a mostly humorous take on the issue. In some cases, the protagonist struggles with a serious case of social anxiety that is resistant to all attempts at improvement, while in other cases it's easily resolved. Whether social anxiety is the main theme of the series or simply an important aspect, it adds a dash of realism and intrigue to the show in question.

Which of these anime dealing with social anxiety do you like most? Vote up your favorites to let the world know what you think.

  • Photo: Shaft

    Rei Kiriyama has never had any luck with social relationships. As a child, he's bullied and isolated, and things only get worse as he gets older. His parents pass away, and his adoptive father puts him on a pedestal for his exceptional shogi talents, causing his adoptive sister to despise him. By the time he gets to his late teens, he has little desire or ability to form meaningful bonds with anyone. Thanks to other people, like the warm and friendly Kawamoto sisters and his boisterous self-proclaimed rival Harunobu Nikaido, he's never completely isolated - but it'll take a lot of work for him to come out of his shell. 

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  • 6

    My Roommate Is A Cat

    Photo: Zero-G

    Subaru Mikazuki has always preferred books to people, but after his parents pass away, he becomes so afraid of human interaction that he can barely even be persuaded to leave home to meet his editor or help publicize his books. When he adopts a stray cat who he eventually names Haru, he's not only forced to form a bond with a living being in a way he wasn't willing to before, he's also forced to talk to other people, like the friendly pet shop owner and her brother. As his world begins to expand thanks to Haru, so does his comfort with other people. While Subaru will never be an extrovert, speaking to others starts to become less something to dread and more something to look forward to. 

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  • Kotoura is afraid of interacting with other people, and she has good reason to feel that way. Her psychic powers grant her the ability to read other peoples' minds, but not the ability to differentiate between thoughts and words. As a result, she reveals other people's secrets, destroying her own friendships and even breaking up her parents' marriage. Thanks to this, she's shunned by anyone who finds out what she can do, and lives in constant fear that her true nature will be revealed in new environments. She comes out of her shell when a cheerful deviant named Manabe, a psychic researcher named Yuriko, and others, finally accept her for who she is.

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  • 8

    Recovery of an MMO Junkie

    Photo: Signal.MD

    When 30-year-old Moriko Morioka quits her corporate job, it's a huge relief for her, because it means that she no longer has to deal with people. Instead, she can spend all of her time in her apartment, gaming to her hearts' content. While this makes her genuinely happy at first, she does start wishing for true human connection. This is harder than it looks because she's too anxious to initiate real-life conversation. When she discovers that the "girl" she made friends with while playing a "boy" in an MMO is actually someone she knows in real life, her naturally nervous personality is put to the test as she navigates their budding relationship.

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