Anime, a style of animation that originated in Japan, has grown in popularity in India over the last few years. Naruto, Death Note, and Dragon Ball Z are some of the most widely watched anime in the country. While it is a beloved form of entertainment for many, there have been questions about its potential impact on mental health. In this article, we will be exploring the psychological effects of anime on the human mind. 
  • Anime and Body Image

Body image issues are a potential side effect of watching anime. In a lot of anime shows, you’ll notice that the characters have heads that seem bigger compared to their bodies. In addition, most anime characters often have small and very similar body shapes with little diversity. Research shows that unrealistic body portrayals in the media can contribute to low self-esteem and eating disorders among young people.
  • Anime and female representation

A common criticism of anime is how they portray their female characters. Most animes show female characters being submissive, which contributes to gender stereotyping. Another criticism of anime is that they show female characters in an overly sexualized manner, which might have negative impacts on the minds of female and male viewers.
  • Anime and violence

Some anime series might include extremely violent and graphic content. This can not only contribute to normalizing aggression but also lead to other mental health side effects, such as nightmares.
  • Anime linked with anxiety and depression

Anime is a form of animation that has its roots in Japan. So researchers in Japan have been studying the mental health impact of anime for a long time. In recent research conducted in Japan in 2022, it was found that young people who identify as anime fans are at an increased risk of facing mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression. 

Other psychological effects of anime

  • Anime, like any other form of entertainment, can be addictive. This can lead to a loss of productivity in other aspects of life.
  • Binging on anime can cause sleep issues.
  • Overuse of anime can lead to escapism from real-life issues.
  • Binging on anime may also cause social isolation and excessive screen time.

The brighter side of anime

Previously, we explored the potential side effects of anime on mental health; however, watching anime can also have positive effects on your mental health, such as:

Anime talks about mental health openly:

One of the positives about anime is that it brings mental health issues into mainstream discussion. Multiple animes depict characters going through mental health issues and overcoming them. For instance, the popular anime character Naruto is said to have been suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). By creating characters with mental health conditions, anime challenges the stigma around mental health. These characters can also act as inspirations and role models for someone who struggles with mental health issues.  


Like other forms of entertainment, anime has both positive and negative effects. It can be an effective coping mechanism on the one hand, but it can also lead to escapism, unrealistic expectations, and exposure to violent content on the other. The impact of anime is heavily influenced by how much it is consumed and influenced. You can reduce the negative effects of anime on your mental health by managing your anime consumption. 


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Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin