Mental Diseases in Anime

So I am finally going to rant about a subject that I said I would talk about, bipolar characters in anime, or just characters with mental illnesses in general. First, let’s start off with addressing the two mental illnesses that show up in anime, bipolar and multiple personality disorder.Bipolar disorder, according to Wikipedia, is a mental disorder characterized by periods of elevated mood and periods of depression. Symptoms include being depressed, impaired memory, mood swings etc. Another mental illness I want to discuss is multiple personality disorder. Multiple personality disorder is, according to Wikipedia, the presence of two or more distinct or split identities or personality states that continually have power over the person’s behavior. The personalities have different ages, personalities, race etc. and the switching of personalities can happen within seconds, to minutes, to days.

So really what I want to talk about is if anime gets this right or if characters actually have the mental illness. Now I’m starting with a character who I wondered about for a while, Alois Trancy from Black Butler. Most have said that he does have bipolar disorder because of his spastic behavior and quick change of personality. Which isn’t wrong, Alois does have symptoms of the disorder like sadness and irritability, but those could also just be him acting how he normally does. Everyone does get sad and irritable once in a while, but what does make me believe he does have bipolar disorder is the fact that he does change personality very quickly, which is a high in the disorder, along with the fact he shows poor judgment and he is very impulsive, he hits Hannah so many times in multiple episodes and he even stabs her in the eye. The only thing that makes me question is that bipolar disorder usually occurs in young adulthood and later in adulthood. Alois looks like he belongs in middle school, not sure if that counts as a young adult, for me young adult is at least 16-17.

Another character that may or may not have bipolar disorder is Akito from Fruits Basket. Akito constantly lashes out over small things. He also isolates himself a lot unless he wants to be around one of the other zodiac members, but that is usually to harm them. He acts completely helpless, is very morbid, is either sobbing uncontrollably or just staying emotionless, and always needs medical care. Akito barely leaves his house unless he needs to and when he does, there is always someone keeping watch on him or having Hatori, the family doctor, around. There is a cure for bipolar disorder and it’s a long term condition that requires a lot of medical care.

Now characters that have multiple personality disorder are usually side characters and are just kind of that eye candy for people who want someone dark and mysterious. I sadly fall into this category of people, for example with characters like Natsuki from Uta no Prince Sama and Hatsuharu from Fruits Basket. They both have characters that are hidden until they do a certain action or someone just pisses the character off. Now does this really happen with multiple personality disorder? Not really. Yes, the personalities do happen to switch on a dime, but there is nothing saying that a specific action causes the other personality to appear. The other thing is that the main personalities don’t remember anything that their other personalities have done; in fact I don’t think the characters even know they have other personalities. I’m pretty sure that isn’t how this works, at least for this long. Both of these characters are in their late teen to adult ages and they show no signs of knowing they have the disorder. Natsuki only figures out about his second personality when he is around the age of 23. That means he didn’t know about his other personality, Satsuki, since he was around 5 to 7 years old. I’m pretty sure parents of a kid with this disorder would have informed the kid so that they would be careful! They both also tend to have slight anxiety and depression.

Now, these characters seem to have a lot of depth with their respective mental illnesses, but the reason I wanted to bring this up is because there really isn’t a need for them to have these disorders. What’s the point of having them have things similar to disorders if you aren’t going to really address the symptoms or the harshness of growing up with it? Also, why all mostly male characters? It’s because the authors want a character for people to think they can “fix”, especially if it’s in a reverse harem or regular harem anime. For example, a solution to someone with multiple personality disorder in a reverse harem would be the girl spending time with the main personality and the second personality realizing that the main personality is fine and then it just goes away. -_- Not how it works, anime. Not. How. It. Works. If you are going to include it in there, it should at least have a purpose to be there and not just have the anime character be someone who people can imagine they are “saving” or something like that.

Alright, that is all. I was planning on doing this rant for a while, but I got stuck doing reviews with almost every anime I finished so thanks, prez, for kind of forcing me to write something else! Although, I guess this wasn’t much of a rant, but my thoughts on anime characters who I think have disorders along with my evidence and whether or not it’s really necessary in anime. Oh, well, it was neat to write and I enjoyed looking up things about these mental illnesses, makes me feel a little more aware. If you want to learn a little more about these disorders here are the two links I mainly used to get my information.

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder

http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/mental-health-bipolar-disorder#1

So……………….. Yeah, that’s the end. Bye!

~Kaela

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