This post is a reply to newgeekphilosopher’s post. Pardon the shoddy writing as i am not quite good at this.
To properly dissect this topic we must first understand the meaning of depression. Depression as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is a medical condition in which a person feels very sad and anxious and often has physical symptoms such as being unable to sleep. Thus for anime to cause depression the conditions above must manifest itself in the patient.
There are many popular theories as to why anime as with all other forms of electronic entertainment can cause depression. Chief of them is the commonly labeled the geek condition, in this case the patient loses his/herself completely in the fictional world and comes to detest the real world they live in. Another theory is that people become unable to communicate and socialize in an appropriate manner with society at large after immersing themselves too much in the anime world, this would cause them to become withdrawn leading to isolation and discrimination by society at large and thus they would fall into depression after being rejected.
While the theories stated earlier might hold some water, there are actually many animes that hold an advantage in combating depression that many have overlooked either by accident or on purpose. Below are some of my observations of the benefits of anime according to genres that I am somewhat familiar with, do note that I have not watched every single anime in existence so my examples could be in contrast with that of others.
Benefits: Generally hot blooded action in impossible situations tends to help take one’s mind off the pressures of life.
Example: Black Lagoon.
Seriously, no one wants to be the good guy all the time. Black Lagoon is the epitome of decadence, of letting the wild side of oneself loose. With the pressures of daily life piling up it is necessary to let loose and Black Lagoon delivers in this department with lots of fast paced action which includes gunfights and chase scenes.
Benefits: Generally makes one feel good about themselves because they know that they are way better than the idiotic lead, prevents self pity. If not, the girls in the anime would certainly put a grin on your face.
Example: School Days
The fate that i really wish most harem leads would enjoy.
The best example of a pick me up harem because people know that Makoto is a useless asshole and yet he got the girls so it logically follows that any person would also have a fair shot at finding their true love. If that’s not enough the ending of it put a huge smile on my face as I watched what most harem leads should have got. (I personally prefer it if the male lead dies and it becomes a yuri harem instead)
Slice of life
Benefits: The most soothing genre of anime, most effective at warming the hearts of depressed people.
Okay, I might get shot for this but ARIA is my preferred choice when it comes to slice of life animes. The setting in picturesque Neo-Venezia on the planet Aqua(formerly Mars) provides a great backdrop for the anime with its peaceful atmosphere and slow life. ARIA is a good choice for those whose life on the fast lane is eating away at their sanity.
Although most the animes listed above are good as anti-depressants there are some animes that are made to depress. Examples of such animes are Saikano and Evangelion. Watching either of the above would likely result in the watcher feeling more depressed than before. Also, animes of the horror genre is best avoided during periods of depression as well, losing sleep after watching isn’t going to really help brighten your mood. Unless of course, if you are like a certain someone i know who loves blood.
And so, I have arrived at the conclusion that anime might in part contribute to depression but controversial as it might seem, watching anime actually helps combat depression. Thus, anime fans are not more prone to depression, in fact they might be less likely to fall into depression!!