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The 14 Best Anime About Social Anxiety

Updated May 29, 2019 2.8k votes 871 voters 38.1k 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.

  • 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.

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    Welcome to the NHK

    Photo: Gonzo

    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. 

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  • 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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  • Photo: C2C

    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. 

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