Characters with mental illnesses (or seem like they have it) have a long history in anime and manga. Most times, these illnesses are used to explain a character’s suffering and behavior, giving them quite the complex backstories. Not to mention, they also make interesting foundations for awesome character development and viewer engagement. Here are some anime characters who struggle with some sort of mental illness.
Yuno Gasai (Future Diary)
Diagnosis: Personality disorder
Don’t be fooled by Yuno Gasai’s sweet and good-girl looks because deep down, she’s pretty insane. She stalks the protagonist, Yukiteru, to no bounds. She’s prepared to kill anyone who gets in her way towards gaining his affection. Aside from her deadly obsession, she also has the ability to transcend space and time. Yikes!
Furuichi Teraoka (Xam’d: Lost Memories)
When Furuichi Teraoka was a young man, he was pretty normal. But when war broke out, his life took a drastic turn. Depression befell him and caused him to start attacking people he cares about and do villainous things.
Death the Kid (Soul Eater)
Diagnosis: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Death the Kid’s obsession with symmetry was, at most times, a humorous part of the anime. It was portrayed as a silly quirk that people wouldn’t easily identify as a mental disorder.
Sasuke Uchiha (Naruto)
Diagnosis: Antisocial personality disorder, childhood trauma
Sasuke suffers from childhood trauma. Specifically, his own brother massacred his entire family. Because of this, he has *serious* abandonment issues and an obsessive need for revenge. He even severed all ties with his friends, believing this will make him stronger.
Akira Kogami (Lucky Star)
Diagnosis: Bipolar disorder
Akira’s cute persona is a cover-up of her extreme mood swings. Whenever she’s annoyed or threatened, she instantly breaks character. She sheds her bright persona and turns into a violent, selfish, cynic on the brink of becoming a has-been.
Midari Ikishima (Kakegurui)
Diagnosis: Compulsive gambler
Midari’s gambling addiction stretches to playing sadistic games of life and death. She also has masochistic and suicidal tendencies. An example of which is when she stabbed her own eye with a pen to pay a debt to the president.
Hansel and Gretel (Black Lagoon)
Diagnosis: Dissociative identity disorder
In the anime, Hansel and Gretel are far from the stories we’ve been told as kids. Here, they are twin soldiers who have tendencies to switch personalities. This roots from prolonged abuse and neglect that they suffered from as children.
Shion Sonozaki (Higurashi: When They Cry)
Diagnosis: Hinamizawa syndrome
A fictional mental illness, Hinamizawa syndrome gives people anxiety and paranoia. Consequently, they commit strange and violent acts. Shion is probably the craziest among the cast. Her murderous rage is almost demonic, making her one of the most iconic insane anime characters.
Himiko Toga (My Hero Academia)
Diagnosis: Manic syndrome
As a child, Himiko had a disturbing interest in blood. She once brought home a bloody bird and asked her parents if it was pretty. Because of this, she has the power to transform into anyone just by ingesting their blood.
Hisoka Morow (Hunter x Hunter 2011)
Diagnosis: Psychopath, pedophilia
Hisoko is the type of villain that does not hesitate to shed blood and kill. Speculations also point to him being a pedophile because of strange moments of arousal as seen in the video above.
Shiro (Deadman Wonderland)
Diagnosis: Dissociative Identity Disorder
Many of Deadman Wonderland’s characters have some sort of mental illness. However, Shiro’s mental illness is the only one explicitly identified. It stems from years of being tortured in a lab.
Light Yagami (Death Note)
Diagnosis: God complex
When the Death Note fell on Light Yagami’s hands, he went mad with such power. He developed a sort of God complex, which led him to believe that justice was in his hands.
Osaka Kasuga (Azumanga Daioh)
Diagnosis: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Osaka’s ADHD is rather a harmless personality quirk. Prone to daydreaming, she’s quite slow and easily distracted. However, this also makes her brilliant at answering riddles. Her unusual way of thinking gives her a very vivid imagination and a unique way of seeing the world.
Nyu/Lucy (Elfen Lied)
Diagnosis: Dissociative identity disorder
Through the course of her life, Lucy developed up to three different personas. The disorder began in her childhood due to the cruelty that surrounded her.
Tatsuhiro Satou (Welcome to the NHK!)
Diagnosis: Anxiety, inferiority complex
Tatsuhiro Satou suffers from crippling anxiety which makes him believe that everything happening is a conspiracy against him. He also feels that people are making of him and see him as a joke. His fear of reality and the cruel world has even led him to attempt suicide.