Many come to art, including anime, to see a reflection of their emotions and find a sense of belonging through someone else’s narrative, drawing hope and comfort of understanding from relating to characters’ journeys. Isolation and loneliness are melancholy yet familiar feelings to almost anyone, as most people experience feeling withdrawn from the rest of the world at some point in their lives.
In those moments of solitude, anime that touches upon themes of seclusion and alienation comes to the rescue, providing comfort and company or contemplation of one’s experiences to those seeking it. These anime about loneliness are impossible to forget once one experiences them.
10 Isolation Is A Core Theme Throughout All Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Variations
In discussions surrounding Neon Genesis Evangelion, the themes of loneliness and isolation represented by its protagonist, Shinji Ikari, come up repeatedly. This thought-provoking mecha classic excels at portraying Shinji as a complex, troubled character, and his inability to connect to others and understand himself prevents him from taking action.
Themes of loneliness permeate Evangelion’s narrative, showcasing the state of isolation as the unfortunate essence of the human condition. Yet, in different variations of the story, heroes overcome separation and find peace in building meaningful bonds.
9 March Comes In Like A Lion Is A Hopeful Journey From Miserable Isolation To Happiness
Even the most heartbreaking and unbearable situation can be overcome with the genuine support of others, the poignantly emotive and melancholic anime March Comes In Like a Lion tells its viewers. Yet, that conclusion doesn’t strike the show’s hero, a depressed shogi prodigy Rei Kiriyama.
The audience explores the depths of Rei’s plummeting mental state in detail, learning about his troubled past of abandonment and the present of isolation. And seeing this lonely, emotionally scarred boy finally find the strength to heal is a delight.
8 Tomoko’s Struggles In WataMote Will Be Relatable To Anyone With Social Anxiety
One of the most well-known anime comedies about social anxiety and isolation, WataMote, makes good-natured fun of the crippling inability of its heroine, Tomoko Kuroki, to make friends. As someone who thought playing dozens of high school visual novels must adequately prepare her to conquer a real-world high school setting, Tomoko finds herself disillusioned by actual school life.
An introvert with no social skills, the girl fails time after time to make progress in overcoming her awkwardness and becoming popular. Many fans wholeheartedly relate to her struggles.
7 Casshern Sins’ Stillness Captures A Unique Feeling Of Meditative Solitude
A slow-paced introspection of isolation, death, and life, Casshern Sins is a somber journey not everyone would be willing to undertake. A tale of the immortal Casshern traveling through the post-apocalyptic wastelands of his world, bringing death wherever he goes, is packed with heavy-hitting themes and contemplations.
Yet, at the heart of it lies a melancholy sense of ever-present loneliness, a state the entire world shares with Casshern. While not the most exciting anime to watch, Casshern Sins excels at creating a sophisticated atmosphere of inescapable solitude.
6 Aoi Bungaku Series Doesn’t Shy Away From The Dark Side Of Isolation
An anthology series adapting multiple Japanese literary classics, Aoi Bungaku Series paints a grim, hopeless picture of reality and deals with uncomfortable topics, including isolation. Its first story, Ningen Shikkaku, brings to screen Osamu Dazai’s novel of the same name, a manifest of loneliness and its haunting consequences.
The story’s teen hero goes through the stages of life questioning his place in the world, constantly feeling alienated from others. An uncomfortable watch, Aoi Bungaku Series is still one of anime’s most thought-provoking depictions of loneliness.
Many try to dismiss My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU as a generic high school rom-com. However, the series can get surprisingly deep at times, diving into the topics of loneliness and social alienation.
The show’s hero, the nihilistic, friendless cynic Hachiman Hikigaya, is the embodiment of someone who’s accepted their isolation as the norm and looks at everyone enjoying the company of others with resentment. Yet, the series excels at bringing Hachiman out of his shell as he gradually opens up to the world and sees the faults of his ways.
4 All Readings Of Serial Experiments Lain Touch On Its Overwhelming Feeling Of Isolation
Serial Experiments Lain is famed for being ahead of its time in its portrayal of the internet. However, the avant-garde mystery classic is much more than just a prophetic take on social media.
In fact, the surreal downfall of a socially awkward introverted teenager losing all sense of identity in a blurred world between physical and technological realities sticks with people for much longer than the show’s commentary on cyberspace. Lain’s character is rooted in isolation, a feeling she tried to overcome by surrendering to the Wired.
3 Isolation In Mushishi Is Comforting & Thought-Provoking Instead Of Daunting
Not all tales of isolation have to portray a secluded lifestyle as something negative. Instead of seeking the company of others, the hero of the iyashikei classic Mushishi finds peace in rural Japan’s meditative mountains and forests. There, Ginko studies the peculiar supernatural life form, mushi, a basic organism existing beyond the bounds of good and evil.
The disturbances caused by mushi often lead Ginko to odd encounters. However, most of his time is spent in a comforting state of isolation, traveling the mesmerizing landscapes of the countryside.
2 The Wallflower Is A Comically Endearing Story Of A Shut-In Girl Overcoming Her Insecurities
A much more comedic and heartfelt take on loneliness, The Wallflower introduces the viewers to Sunako Nakahara, a shut-in with an antipathy for beauty and an unhealthy interest in the occult. After getting rudely rejected by her crush, Sunako withdrew herself from society, refusing to leave her room.
Yet, in a classic shojo comedy fashion, her world gets turned upside down when she meets her new roommates. Amusingly, they are four extremely handsome boys tasked by Sunako’s aunt to bring the girl out of her self-inflicted isolation.
1 The Extremes Of Self-Inflicted Isolation Turn Sinister In Welcome To The NHK
No anime explores the NEET phenomena better than the thought-provoking exploration of a shut-in’s psyche that is Welcome to the NHK. Inspired by the real-life experience of its author, Tatsuhiko Takimoto, who remained a hikikomori even after the publication of his bestseller, it dives into the paranoia-induced mind of Tatsuhiro Satou.
For the past four years, Satou remained in his small messy apartment while his mind spiraled down a conspiracy theory rabbit hole. A bleak depiction of isolation, Welcome to the NHK is celebrated as the most eerily realistic story about extreme seclusion.
NEXT: 10 Anime Inspired By Their Creators’ Lives
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