[MGRR]Anime and Depression: A layman’s perspective.

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manner with society at large after immersing themselves too much in  the anime world, this would cause them to become withdrawn leading to isolation and discrimination by society at large and thus they would fall into depression after being rejected.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.

Example: ARIA

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!!


13 responses to “[MGRR]Anime and Depression: A layman’s perspective.

  1. Escapism don’t solve the problem! Depression is not dealt with by taking one’s mind off the issue, but doing things to solve the problem. Anime does not help motivate the depressed into actually doing anything useful so doesn’t really help that much.

    Well, it does teach people how to be cynically depressed like in NHK.

  2. Nice writeup, though the opening paragraph reeked of academic writing, not that it’s a bad thing P:

  3. There are many popular theories as to why anime as with all other forms of electronic entertainment can cause depression.

    Correlation does not imply causation, as the statisticians say. We can’t say for sure whether one thing causes another, in this case; we can only point out relationships between them.

    Otherwise, I like that you went so far as to list depression-fighting shows. Personally, I’ll go for any show with some solid adventure and politics when I want to leave the real world behind — Last Exile, for example, or even something like Shana.

  4. @Shin Getter: Anime in my opinion can actually motivate people to do something about their problems. I think its a problem of perspective actually.

    @Shin: After writing all those assignments i sorta have this academic writing thing ingrained into me.

    @Pontifus: True enough, there is not enough evidence to suggest that anime causes depression. As anti-depressants go, I’d rather take slice of life shows as they are idyllic and soothing.

  5. Why would you get shot for loving ARIA? Everyone loves ARIA! I’ve never seen it but no matter where I go on the blogosphere, EVERYONE loves it. It almost makes me want to watch those 52 epsiodes. So very many episodes…

  6. Yea, you’re more lightly to be shot/beaten with an oar for NOT mentioning ARIA.
    Put simply, it all depends on what you watch, anime being broader than… the broadest thing you can think of. There are shows that may just turn the otherwise happy little watcher into a depressed lump, and there are those that can achieve the reverse. And again, mileage varies with persons.
    Maybe I should try writing these academic papers so that I actually end at proper conclusions one day -_-“

  7. Moralfags depressed me to no end. 😦

  8. @omisyth & issa-sa: the haters are out there somewhere, hiding and bidding their time.

    @Hangmen: The cancer that is killing our great nation.


  10. that helps me a lot, anyway.

  11. It’s an unwelcome thought, but I can certainly see anime as a trigger for serious depression.
    To become emotionally involved with an animated character, with the face of a baby, the sexual appeal of a teenager, and the integrity of an adult seems to me a recipe for depression. I suspect that most people are not at risk, but some may be sensitive enough to suffer from unreasonable expectations.

  12. know what? i do not believe that anime combats depression. i know someone who watches it all the time and it is causing him to stay in his darkened room all day long watching anime.. It is causing him to become depressed. He was completely normal and has a happy life. Great grades in school. Great kid in balanced healthy home.. But when he began watching anime,after a year,i watched this beautiful 17 y/o young man slowly decline. So don’t give me your final thoughts that anime is beneficial..

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