You can call me ‘Dr. Cool’…as long as there aren’t any police around
Welcome back to my humble clinic in the basement of Metanorn HQ. I trust you still remember the gist of things from last time, yes? I’ve got some new clients, and they’re proving to be most…troublesome. Can I ask for your help? I’m rather short-staffed as it’s only me in here. Sometimes I lose track of things. Dearest assistant, please sit down and take notes as I diagnose my animated patrons. Not everyone stops to notice what it is that truly ails these people, and it will take more than an empathetic “cheer up” to fix things. Let’s take that extra step and find the root of the problem.
There are a fair amount of spoilers below, so proceed with caution!
Patient: Gasai Yuno
Series: Mirai Nikki
Diagnosis: Delusional Disorder & Conduct Disorder
Calling Yuno mentally ill is really only stating the obvious for those of you who have watched Mirai Nikki. Most of the characters on the show are pretty twisted in their right, but Yuno takes the cake. She murders her parents and clings to one person in her class that she barely knows in order to retain a few shreds of hope. She stalks her new love interest, Yukki, to a frightening degree. She follows him around, sends him texts, watches his every move on her diary, and kills anyone who so much as tries to befriend Yukki. Her jealous, possessive streak runs so deep that she sedates him and locks him in an abandoned building so the two of them can live together, without any outside interruptions. Yes, these are just a few of Yuno’s troubling symptoms.
This is an interesting case of a character providing so many symptoms, that I’m a bit lost in terms of deciding exactly what is wrong with someone. Therefore, the real problem isn’t deciding whether or not she qualifies for a serious mental disorder, but in deciding which ones actually apply to her. Using Yuno’s stalking as an anchor for making my diagnosis, I came to the conclusion that she has delusional disorder. The co-morbidity with conduct disorder was easier – because most people who act like general psychopaths fall under this category. I diagnosed Nanami with this in my first Playing Doctor if you want to re-read about it.
However, we all know why and how she’s a psychopathic killer, so let’s talk some more about how she qualifies for delusional disorder. Yuno’s obsession with Yukki and the way she fantasizes about being with him fall under the category of severe non-bizarre delusions. While her delusions about spending forever with Yukki make logical sense (as opposed to believing her dreams are controlling flying wolves that eat parts of her brain every night), they are so extreme and central to her life that they cause a lot of harm to..well…everyone.
Suggested Treatment: Immediate treatment will be necessary. Subject will need to be held in a mental hospital for a period of several months or even years until she has regained her sanity and no longer tries to kill people. Even in a world where you need to kill people to survive…Yuno is messed up and needs round-the-clock help to set her right. Medication and limited visits from Yukki should help the process.
Series: Black Rock Shooter
Diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder
Allow me to preface Kanari’s diagnosis with this statement: I have only seen 3 episodes of Black Rock Shooter and I don’t plan to watch any more. Kanari undergoes a rather drastic change in episode 2 that seems to free her of this disorder, but I can’t say that for certain because she might have reverted back to this state past episode 2. Before Kanari metamorphizes into a fairly high-functioning human being, she showed enough worrying symptoms that I had to diagnose her despite my distaste for the anime itself. Yes, let it be known that BRS exaggerated these character’s behaviour so much that they qualify for mental disorders. One of the important rules in diagnosing someone is to see if they react unusually and more extremely than what is considered normal. Almost all the characters in BRS do this, but let’s focus on blondie, huh?
I believe Kanari had borderline personality disorder before she went through her big transformation. This personality disorder is marked by rapidly-shifting moods and emotions, general instability, and very twisted interpersonal relationships. Imagine a hysterical woman, and you’ve got a perfect picture of how someone with this disorder will act. On the more cognitive side of things, these individuals will constantly switch between thinking their friend likes them or hates them and will feel the need to come up with desperate measures to avoid abandonment. However, their perceptions are often wrong, and they undergo rather drastic measures to get an already loyal and empathetic friend to try to like them and never leave them. Kanari meets all the criteria for this rather well. Her mood changes at the drop of a hat, and she’ll go from being sugary sweet to a total bitch in 1 second flat depending on how strong she perceives her relationship with Yomi to be at the time. The intensity of her relationship with Yomi and her rampant jealousy lead her to impulsively threaten to commit suicide for no good reason. This impulsivity and tendency for self-harm is yet another facet of borderline personality disorder.
Suggested Treatment: Dialectical behavioural therapy is supposed to be the best treatment for BPD…but Kanari seemingly recovers after going through a state of mental shock. Welp, that was simple.
Patient: Kaoru Nishimi
Series: Sakamichi no Apollon
Diagnosis: Panic Disorder
I may have jumped the gun a little, but my first thought upon seeing Kaoru in class during the first Kids on the Slope episode was “panic disorder.” Kaoru displayed such a textbook case of it that I couldn’t help bringing it up. It became clear right away that Kaoru can generally function well in social situations, up to a certain point. Once his threshold is breached, he breaks rather than bends. He gets dizzy, his vision blurs, he feels nauseous, and his mind races. In other words, he has a panic attack. These are rather severe and frightening, and people who’ve had them before describe them to me as ‘dying, except you have to live through the entire experience.’ In Kaoru’s case, he has them very often, and it’s been a persistent condition since young adolescence, meaning that this isn’t a simple case of teenage nerves. The frequency of the attacks and the amount Kaoru worries about further panic attacks make this a rather clear case of PD.
Suggested Treatment: Like Kanari, Kaoru recovers from his ailment as soon as Sentaro and Ri’ko enter his life and boost his confidence. Panic Disorder is mostly treated by teaching the patient to alter their thoughts anyways with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, so this is a fairly realistic recovery. It just takes some willpower to start calming yourself down when you feel a panic attack coming on, and potentially learning some relaxation techniques. With great friends like Kaoru has, there’s no more need to be anxious, so Kaoru doesn’t even have to fight off attacks anymore!
Special Recommendation from BlackBriar
Patient: Muroi Seishin
Seishin Muroi is a very sombre monk who lives in an equally dreary village. In his spare time he writes depressing stories about the supernatural, chats with his one friend, and discusses moral rights and wrongs every evening with a well-spoken vampire girl. The usual, right? Okay, so Seishin lives in a slightly different setting where vampires are real. This is always something to take into account when diagnosing an anime character (yes, something I’m sure YOU ALL DO on your Saturday nights), because their idea of normal may differ from ours. In this world, the accepted norm is to try and kill all vampires. Seishin is the only one of the humans who sides with the vampires and even tries to rescue them. They are the only ones who understand his sorrow, and can fill part of the gaping wound that no one can – and ever will – be able to see.
Seishin generally has a high level of functioning in everyday life, but he is clouded by an ubiquitous haze of cynicism and darkness. Therefore, I’d say he has dysthymia instead of Major Depression. Dysthymia is like a watered down version of depression – it requires less symptoms to be diagnosed and the person doesn’t have to be as profoundly depressed, but they must show symptoms for at least 2 years. It was several years ago that Seishin tried to kill himself, so I’d say it’s rather safe to presume he’s been like this for quite a while. His sleeping problems were also taken account in my diagnosis, as people with any form of depression often have odd sleeping patterns.
Suggested Treatment: Seishin seems to be quietly suffering inside every single day of his life, at least from when we get to meet him. I would suggest some therapy first, as I feel like medication would be against his moral code. He needs someone to sympathize with that isn’t a vampire – someone to give him hope. He would have lived a very different life if someone had showed him the light instead of luring him away into the darkness…
Thanks for all your help again. We really got a lot done! I never tire of doing this, because the diagnosis process is so complex. It’s very rare that I can simply look at a character and pinpoint exactly what it is that’s wrong with them without cycling through my options. I went through at least 3 different combinations of disorders for Yuno before settling on the one you see in this post. Things are never black and white, and I might not even be right on many of these accounts. Keep in mind I’m just poring over the dog-eared pages of my textbooks and measuring characters up against the DSM standards to make these diagnoses. It’s a lot of cobbled-together research, and any two people could easily make a different diagnosis for the same person. The same goes for treatment.
Half of the time I start to wonder if they would really need treatment or benefit from it. I’ve seen a lot of anime where a character will start off meek, depressed and anxious only to get over it at the end. Yes, even characters who show severe enough symptoms for me to claim it’s a disorder and not just plain shyness. They get over it because of their friends. On one hand, we may be relying too heavy on medication to treat disorders when there are more wholesome methods. On the other hand, anime might be simplifying things too much by saying friendship is the cure-all for every personality or mental dysfunction. Mental disorders are not quite that simple to fix. These are neurochemical and physiological differences we’re talking about here – not some black mood or a “phase.”
I find it rare that anime ever label a character with a disorder. Characters can be overly sad, have hallucinations, or a frighteningly low level of sympathy and no one will ever think to take them to a psychiatrist. It’s so overlooked that even in anime they’re quicker to just tag someone as “insane” instead of explaining what precisely is wrong with them. There aren’t just sane people and insane people – it’s a spectrum. I would love to see more characters in anime given a canon diagnosis instead of just being called lunatics. Kuuchuu Buranko does this, but that’s the entire point of the anime, so it hardly counts.
Getting back on track, I hope you liked seeing me take a more science-based approach to analyzing anime characters. Again, I love doing this, but this is most likely my last post of the series. I’ve already covered a lot of the most common disorders, and not every new crop of anime for the season has a character with a notable disorder. Rest assured that this isn’t the last time I marry science and anime together to hide some education into your blog-reading experience (I suppose I shouldn’t presume…you may have learned absolutely nothing from me). Well, in that case, leave a comment and enjoy the parade of nurses under the spoiler tag. Nurses are the perfect way to go out with a bang, or so I would think.
Helloooooooo, Nurse!:Show ▼
I never break a promise, so here are some nurses for the dudes reading this.