Anime shows for mental health in adults | Femina.in

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Illustration: Snapstuffwithmanav

Around 2020. In the middle of the pandemic, I was self-isolated, with little or no physical contact with the outside world; homework was in overdrive, and scrolling down to find the next bingeable tv show was the only thing to do after cooking a meal and doing the housework. Naruto, an anime show that I first encountered as a teenager, appeared on the Recommended Shows list on my Netflix stream, and I couldn’t help but gravitate to it and click on “play”. This led to the rebirth of a lost appetite for anime shows and a realization of how, on the one hand, it was quite risky to have anime shows like this accessible to kids under the age of 13 (a thought that had came to mind at this age even when I first watched Naruto) and, second, how attentive and thoughtful the script was to real-life struggles and social stigma. And it is in addition that it attaches as an adult humor, action and drama and evoking strong emotions as each of the many characters, whether heroes or villains of the series, progressed. Naruto, I soon got to realize, had all the elements of a good real-life TV show, except that it was fully animated and there were no limitations like filming locations or finding the perfect actors to play certain roles.

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Illustration: Snapstuffwithmanav

What is the anime really?
Anime is a gripping form of entertainment that often touches on topics relevant to adulthood, and it certainly not hold back to paint a realistic image of the man behviour through storylines that range from reality to fiction.

A style of Japanese film and television animation that is generally aimed at adults and children alike, it cannot be confused with Disney animation. Japanese anime has five categories, among which Kodomomuke is the only one specifically intended for children. ShÅ ?? jo is for young girls and Shônen for young boys, but the Seinen and Josei categories are where it becomes real and relevant to adults. Just as novels are adapted into feature films, Japanese anime series are also adaptations of manga books – Japanese comics and graphic novels.

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How does anime work for mental health?

Anime, or manga culture, has a history of projecting mental illness as a means of adding depth to a character and justifying their dark auras, which fits with the deeper themes that this variety of content tends to explore. The portrayal of mental illness is quite sensitive, and the anime culture has never shied away from highlighting these issues and, in some cases, even trying to resolve them with counterintuitive methods.

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“During my worst time, when my sanity wasn’t too good, I started watching a lot of gore anime like Tokyo ghoul and Parasyte and i got addicted shows As Death threat“says Noor, a 24-year-old student who took up anime.” So I thought about exploring sci-fi themes in anime because it’s one of my favorite genres, and I also wanted to try lighter shows in the Josei or ShÅ ?? jo categories. This led me to Seinen shows as Psycho Pass and Steins Gate, which was the highlight of my experience as it made me feel happy and made me rethink the way I viewed the anime. Plastic Souvenirs was fluffy and a good cry also, and shows as Yuri !!! On the ice corrected everything in my life. I found that the ShÅ ?? jo, Seinen and Josei categories worked best for my mental health.

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Problems like mental illness can easily be trivialized by creative freedom, but the anime, being a production of content written from manga novels, provides a lot of background to the storylines. It offers complexes characterizations protagonists and antagonists, which broadens the scope of an authentic portrayal, creating believable content that appeals to people of different age groups.

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Raising awareness about mental health through anime

Mental illness isn’t always a central theme in anime and manga, but, nonetheless, the way it is portrayed in these movies, shows, and books is quite interesting. There are countless characters who show signs of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. Some animated shows and films focus on the stigma surrounding mental illness, others present the dark and bloody side of the suffering associated with mental health issues; some even try to offer ways to remedy it. Coming from anime and manga culture, Anime for Humanity is a organization which aims to raise awareness of the positive impact anime has on society by serving as a source of inspiration and encouragement to those facing mental health issues. This non-profit charitable organization organization in Japan hosts many initiatives to help people and fight the stigma surrounding mental health by using cartoons, cosplay and video games. It not only has a list of anime characters that you can relate to if you are dealing with certain mental health issues, but also has in-house therapy resources for those who want to consult someone professionally.

GenerallyThe anime’s engaging visual language coupled with impactful philanthropic concepts make it the hub for exploring mature content in a youth-friendly and accessible way. And the body of mental health anecdotes that we can grasp from this type of content is truly amazing.

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