Chronic Illness in Anime and How to Cope

Last Updated on August 2, 2020

Chronic Illness is definitely one of the few topics I can talk about a length(along with Harry Potter, Miraculous Ladybug, Angels of Death and a few others). Since starting Mental Health Mondays, I thought I would showcase some of the actual physical ailments that anime characters have gone through.

Five Anime Shows that Portray Chronic Illness

Full Moon wo Sagashite

Chronic Illness: Throat Cancer

Mitsuki Koyama wants to be a professional singer more than anything in the world. Unfortunately, her body doesn’t agree. When she develops throat cancer, she’s faced with a choice: get surgery to remove the cancer and risk losing her voice, or leave the cancer untreated and risk her life. When two death gods appear to inform her she only has a year to live, she decides to use that time to live to the fullest and pursue her dreams.

This was one of my first anime and manga. It actually got me to start drawing more. I love the old school design graphics. Both the anime and manga made me cry(even with slightly different plots).

Clannad

chronic illness in anime shows clannad

Chronic Illness: Unknown

Since birth, Nagisa Furukawa has suffered from an unnamed hereditary illness that causes repeated bouts of fever, weakness, and pain. Throughout Clannad, she faces repeated attacks of this illness, which cause her to miss school and other social experiences. In Clannad: After Story, it becomes a much larger problem, leading to her death after giving birth to her daughter, Ushio.

Clannad does something with Nagisa’s plot that few anime do. When Nagisa expresses concern that she burdens her parents with her problems and prevents them from achieving their dreams, they loudly declare she has done no such thing, and their job is to take care of her and watch her achieve her dreams. It’s not uncommon for people with a Chronic Illness or disability to feel like a burden, so it’s refreshing to see Nagisa’s parents explicitly reject such fears.

Welcome to the NHK

Chronic Illness: panic disorder/anxiety

I’ve already done a full post about Welcome to the NHK but this one is more mental than physical. Still, the main character struggles with his mental illness that it causes so main physical issues. I’m pretty sure he has panic disorder/social anxiety and possibly agoraphobia. The anxiety gives you full panic attacks where you’re nauseated and dizzy. Even standing is hard.

Where Tangents Meet(Webtoon)

Chronic Illness: brain trauma

Of course, I would put a webtoon in here. There’s a comic online(animated) that someone created online. The creator instantmiso is also the creator of Siren’s Lament that we’ve mentioned a few times on here.

Rachelle is an 18-year-old girl who was once very mature and talented at dancing, but she has an accident as a child that leaves her mentally different. She now acts very lovable, usually smiling and laughing and only occasionally showing true sadness, though it still exists. She is a bit less understanding and dense though, as she fails to understand casual jokes and the like. Though this isn’t something she was born with, it’s still a chronic illness that she will have to deal with for the rest of her life.

March Comes in Like a Lion

Chronic Illness: Kidney Disease

Two characters in March Comes in Like a Lion struggle with physical illnesses; they show how chronically sick people look out for each other. Harunobu Nikaidou, the self-proclaimed rival of protagonist Rei Kiriyama, is an energetic person on the surface, but beneath his cheerfulness and vigour, he suffers from an incurable kidney disease that makes everyday life a challenge. Nevertheless, he remains enthusiastic about his chosen dual profession as a shogi player and children’s book author and has no plans to let his illness get in the way.

Because Nikaidou’s enthusiasm borders on recklessness, his mentor, Kai Shimada, advises him to slow down and take care of himself. Shimada, another shogi player, has serious health problems of his own. In Shimada’s case, it’s a recurring stomach condition that makes eating difficult and sometimes even prevents him from completing shogi matches. While he isn’t always great at taking care of himself, Shimada advises Nikaidou to be more careful with his own precarious health.

So there you have it. Five different anime(and one webtoon) that portray a chronic illness in it. Though this was different than our normal #mentalhealthmonday, I hope ya’ll still like it.

As always,

Keep Smiling!

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thenerdygirlnews
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.

4 Comments

  1. I always cried watching these shows. I need to check out some on this list.

  2. Haven’t seen that many posts on this subject in relation to anime, but it’s definitely one worthy of exploring. Have you seen I Want to Eat Your Pancreas? It’s one that immediately came to mind for me, and one with a story that I really appreciate.

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