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.
Welcome to the NHK features one of the most severe cases of social anxiety ever depicted in an anime. Tatsuhiro Satou is so afraid of the outside world that he leads the isolated life of a hikikomori, only venturing outside when he absoltuely has to. He not only fears social interaction, he also suffers from multiple paranoid delusions about the government and the media, and is constantly on the verge of financial ruin. One day, a neighbor girl offers to help him overcome his problems - but she may be just as troubled as he is, if not more so.
Because they're too afraid to go outside and interact with other humans, sibling duo Sora and Shiro spend all of their time inside playing video games. They're incredible when it comes to gaming, defeating nearly everyone they ever challenge, and rising to the top of the world of Disboard when they're transported into a universe in which gaming has actual real-world consequences. But even once they become leaders of a nation, they're terrified to walk through a city street, surrounded by people who might judge them. The only way that they can be comfortable interacting with others is when gaming is involved.
Hitori Bocchi - whose name literally means 'lonely' or 'alone' is so socially anxious that the idea of talking to another person makes her physically ill. When she and her only friend Yawara Kai are accepted into different middle schools, her friend presents her with a challenge: make friends with everyone at her new school, or else never talk to Yawara again. This challenge wasn't meant to be cruel - it was meant to make sure that Hitori Bocchi would actually make friends at her new school. Will she be able to battle her fears and talk to her classmates, or will she remain forever alone? You'll have to watch the show to find out.
Poor Tomoko Kuroki. All she wants out of life is to be popular, but that goal is frustratingly out of reach. Why? Because she's utterly terrified of interacting with the people who she hopes will adore her. Rather than simply talking to her classmates, she concocts all kinds of elaborate schemes to try to get their attention. These schemes are destined to fail because her grasp on what other people find appealing is nonexistent. She also projects her anxiety on others and transforms in into hatred, internally raging about her "popular" and "slutty" classmates while wishing that she could be accepted by them. While the show can be hilarious, it's also a bitingly realistic depiction of social anxiety.