9 Thought Provoking Anime About Anxiety And Depression

Frankly speaking, most of the animes are somehow related to depression and anxiety, even if for a short time. Today, you’ll be finding the top animes that are particularly focused on countering depression and anxiety.

It’s lovely and thought-provoking to witness MC walk out of his shell with courage and accomplishment. Usually, they’re fighting against all odds to make their lives better and indirectly give us the most important life hack, “Never Give Up.” So, paying them a tribute for giving us such a thought-provoking storyline, I have created this list. So let’s dig in.

9: Ping Pong The Animation

ping pong the animation is based on sports and sportsman struggles-min

Ping Pong the Animation is an underrated anime that explores the emotional toll competitive table tennis takes on its characters. Ping Pong The Animation perfectly depicts how even games and sports cause depression when chosen as careers.

Peco and Smile both feel immense pressure to succeed, which leads to doubts about their abilities creeping in. As they push to reach the national tournament, viewers see how losing affects their mental states.

Both young men struggle with frustration and a loss of motivation after defeat. The director portrays their anxiety and depression with empathy to give viewers insight into coping with competitive stress.

8: Tokyo Ghoul

Wholesome souls struggle the most in moments of crisis. Tokyo Ghoul delves into the psychological challenges of Ken Kaneki after he transforms into a half-ghoul. The trauma of his new circumstances in Tokyo Ghoul’s rotten world and his hunger for human flesh take a toll on his mental well-being.

Isolating himself from friends and living in constant fear of losing control, Kaneki battles with anxiety and depression as he adapts to his new predatory nature. The anime explores what it means to feel like a creature instead of a human and how that crisis of identity can foster mental anguish.

7: Insomniacs After School

insomniacs after school highlights depressing youth struggles

Insomniacs After School is a Seinen tale of two teenagers struggling with blossoming love, career stress, and sleepless nights.

Everybody knows that a teenager struggles the most in today’s fast-paced world. Ganta Nakami and Isaki Magari are both high schoolers struggling with sleepless nights. However, with each other’s company, they began to fall in love while securing a passion for future events.

6: Sing “Yesterday” For Me

sing yesterday for me mc is shown depressed for being jobless

In today’s fast-paced world, countless youngsters are jobless even after their higher studies. Being jobless while getting older causes unimaginable anxiety and depression. Sing “Yesterday” for Me is a seinen tale featuring a NEET Mc.

It features Rikuo Uozumi, a college graduate who’s stuck in the first gear while his peers are making progress in their professional lives. Throughout the tale, he experiences a love triangle while managing to find a suitable profession with steady growth.

5: My Dress Up Darling

My Dress Up darling mc was a loner

Most of the fandom takes My Dress Up Darling as a lightweight rom-com anime. Along with wholesome romance, this anime delivers the self-discovery journey of the protagonist.

The story revolves around a loner teenager, Wakana Gojou, who has exceptional tailoring skills. His boring life, overflowing with designer skills, found a purpose when a school’s hottest gal asked him for help to compete in a cosplay tournament. The slow and steady growth of MC from a depressed loner to a reliable man is wholesome to watch.

4: Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead

Zom 100 Bucket List of the Dead shed light on exploitative workplace

On the surface, Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is an action comedy anime; however, with each episode, it features several characters struggling with their lives.

The show begins by shedding light on the tiresome workplace environment. Akira Tendou is the main protagonist, whose life is no less than that of a slave in his exploitative company. With the arrival of a zombie virus, Akira is free to do as he pleases while maintaining his survival. Zom 100 is not fully focused on depression and anxiety, but it still highlights this issue among many characters in other forms like overthinking, regrets, past traumas, and much more.

3: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evanglion highlights the mental struggles of its main characters

If not for best mecha, Neon Genesis Evangelion is remembered as a series with a depressing cast and complex plot. The young Evangelion pilots are entrusted with the weighty responsibility of defending Earth from angel attacks. Beyond these harrowing fights, they also wage private wars against inner feelings of sadness, fear, and isolation.

Each character struggles in their own way with loneliness, trauma, and low self-worth. Meanwhile, the ever-looming apocalyptic threat fails to prevent psychological storms from brewing within their minds. 

Through emotionally gripping storytelling and nuanced character development across 26 episodes, Evangelion brings much-needed attention to mental health issues. It highlights how even seemingly invincible child soldiers remain vulnerable to depression and anxiety.

2: Welcome To The N.H.K.

Welcome To The N.H.K.

With its unflinching gaze, Welcome to the N.H.K. peers into the darkest corners of the human condition. This iconic anime shines a light on modern society’s unseen “skeletons in the closet,”  focusing its lens on hikikomori and social withdrawal.

Protagonist Satou’s severe isolation is a descent into the depths of his own psyche, avoiding responsibilities as well as relationships in an anxiety-ridden fog. Through his journey, the series paints a poignant portrait of crippling depression, paranoia, and purposelessness.

1: Serial Experiments Lain

Serial Experiments Lain is classic anime about deep psychology and depression

No matter how good modern-day animes are, in terms of the original storyline, classic masterpieces are the best, like Serial Experiments Lain. Warnings ahead: if you watch anime for fun, don’t bother watching it because it’s that dark and serious.

Serial Experiments: Lain explores mental health themes in a subtle yet impactful way. In her journey through reality and cyberspace, Lain battles an “online identity crisis” that leaves her feeling disconnected and misunderstood. She wanders through a fog of confusion and loneliness, struggling to find solid ground. Among the best anime about depression and anxiety, Serial Experiments Lain ranks at the top.