Why are Anime Characters Always So Skinny?

Last Updated on January 7, 2020

Why are anime characters always so skinny? I mean, it could be because skinny people are just easier to draw. Or is it something deeper? Something a bit more real? Something like being slim equals being beautiful in many people’s minds.

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In episode 4 of the original Sailor Moon anime, Usagi apparently puts on some weight and decides to go on a diet. But oh my glob, look at her! She is as skinny as a pole. To add insult to injury, Luna makes fun of Usagi by drawing a chubby version of her. I really thought that was mean of her.

In Kitchen Princess, supermodel Akane Kishida goes to extreme measures to start losing weight. She continues this unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle until Najika makes Akane her Grandmother’s peach cobbler and gets her to realize that she’s beautiful the way she is. But the reality isn’t always like that. Most girls(and even guys) don’t have the support they need.

In the end, is being thin a bad thing? No, of course not. But in the anime society, it can at times go to an extreme.

Related: Am I Ugly?

Sometimes looking at anime characters can have as much damage as looking through the photo-shopped versions of people in magazines. Why? Sure, it might be easier for the animators to draw but we also have to remember that anime isn’t reality. As much as we would love that to be so. The people in magazines are airbrushed to show the even skin tone, the large eyes and slim, “perfect” body.

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Anime shows a world where that anime characters always skinny. But we have to be careful with that. The desire to be thin can be a strong and dangerous emotion. I’m 26 now but have dealt with an eating disorder since I was 15. That wasn’t even the first time that I was told that I was fat. And I wasn’t at all. I was 5 feet 7 inches and weighed 120 for most of my life. I was UNDERWEIGHT for my height but a few comments made me feel fat and disgusting. So, I became a binge eater. I would go a day or two eating nothing but maybe a cracker or two and then stuff my face. After all that, it would of course make me sick so I would purge it out.

Even now, I struggle with my eating. I hide my body beneath baggy shirts and hoodies. The anxiety of eating out with friends makes me sick so I’ll usually just avoid people and places. Which in turns means I don’t get out much. But that’s a whole other can of worms.

Eating disorders are more common than they should be. And with the anime characters that we admire and look up to, that can at times causes us to try to look more like them than is physically possible. I mean, anime is made to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. That’s how they’re drawn. But in reality, if we were that size, we would be no bigger than a stick and couldn’t even hold our heads up.

Now that’s a scary image.

Related: Why are Anime Girls Always Dieting

Rai’s article from Rai’s Anime Blog is where I got my idea for this article in the first place! Go check out her awesome blog!

What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

As always,

Keep Smiling!

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SEO Marketing Analyst who spends her time watching anime and reading anything she can get her hands on. Passionate about Disney, Harry Potter and helping those with depression and anxiety.


  1. On my observation, its a reflection animators'( may it be Japanese, Chinese anime) cuisine. The Japanese, in particular, are meticulous on their food – from seafoods, veggies and others, that is why a large number of them has a slim body. The anime on this regard, becomes a reflection of their culture and norm.

  2. In Japan, (which is a common setting for anime and manga) eating certain foods is apart of their culture. People from Asia, (specifically Japan) tend to be slimmer, at least in my experience so it could be just the artists drawing what they’re so used to seeing. Of course, there is going to be manga artists who draw the characters skinny for the sole purpose of pandering to certain audiences but that’s not the case for all.

    • Because most Asians don’t have terrible diets like westerners do, munching on 40 burgers and suger filled treats since a young age. If you ever go to Asia or even better, live there, you’ll see a fat person would be a minority, like maybe 1 in 500, not exagerating

  3. I agree! I mean, as a maaajor anime fan I have for years and years known in my heart everything I chase for as personal goals is an anime reality. And that’s not 100% unhealthy as you say, I mean, being thin will help me live longer and be in better shape. But there comes an expectation to look LIKE your favorite characters, and that can get challenging, for sure. Great article.

    • It really does. I would measure the size of their thighs and waist, and try to FORCE my frame to be like that. Definitely not healthy. Now instead of trying to reach a certain number, I try to reach for certain goals, like one more mile or to wear a swimsuit with confidence.

  4. I am only 5 to 6 kgs overweight and I feel so disgusted when people can’t accept me the way I am even right now I am struggling to lose weight but after reading this article I feel a lot better so thanks

  5. Well you have my support and I do think we do sometimes forget what we watch is a 2D world that even though is tried to be made realistic is fake. And I think the joke was supposed to be ironic since she’s already thin and maybe show a deeper meaning like even though you see this perfect girl in front of you she still as her own doubts and insecurities and that’s normal for everyone no matter who you are.

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