Exploring the World of Anime

Mood Instability in Anime

I love, I don't/

I love you…no, I don’t.

I’ve actually been watching a number of anime lately; not a lot, just more than I had been due to my busy schedule. I figured out that I could watch anime during my commute which makes my ride on public transportation smoother and more enjoyable. Not sure what took me so long to realize that I could actually use my iPad for something more than reading books on the train.

On my commute, I’ve started watching Tonari no Kaibutsukun. Suffice it to say, I am enjoying the show. But watching the main characters behaviors brought to mind how there seems to be a high level of mood instability in anime. This could be attributed to the fact that many characters are prepubescent or teenagers; however, it occurs with adult characters as well, especially females.

The male main character in Tonari no Kaibutsukun, Yoshida Haru is all over the place with his moods. Granted, he has poor social skills but the mood instability derives from a place elsewhere. Mood instability is so common in anime, that there are tropes dedicated to it (to make it seem better that the characters are unstable), notably Yandere and Tsundere.  These characters general have a personality disorder but as anime fans, we are either enamored by it or annoyed.

The good thing about some series is that they will explore why a character is batty. Tonari no Kaibutsukun appears as if it is going down to track to explain Yoshida Haru and Mizutani Shizuku. It looks like both come from unstable homes. Yoshida Haru has daddy issues and Mizutani Shizuku has mommy issues (though she’d never admit it being the Ice Queen). Then we have Yuno Gasai from Mirai Nikki, the ax-wielding stalker not really a girlfriend but working on it by being an obsessive psycho. She still managed to sort of get the guy to fall in love with her in the midst of her drastic instability. The chick was all over the place.

Anime teaches us to be patient with those with drastic mood instability. In fact, anime just tells us to just be ourselves and someone will come along that will like us. So punching a girl in the face or grabbing her by her collar, then lovingly stroking her hair is okay. She will accept you. Codependency is all over the place in so many anime series and it is both males and females. It doesn’t bother me; adds to the charm. But there sure seems to be a lot of it.





  1. One of the things I like about anime is that some of it really does address head on the flaws all of us have, though some are more realistic than others to be sure. I was floored when I first realized some shows actually explore reasonable reasons a given character acts the way he or she does AND a point of the story is to see how they overcome (or not) their issues.

    Of course, as with all such stories, usually (but not always) such traits are Larger Than Life ™, but even then if handled properly that just helps to make the story’s point.

    Unfortunately for me and Tonari no Kaibutsukun, that story hit a pressure point far to many times. A guy hitting a girl is just not something I can tolerate, and it made it worse that every time she seemed to brush it off — I eventually dropped the show because of it.

    • Tonari no Kaibutsukun is a bit disconcerting in that way, that when Haru has an anger outburst and Shizuku gets popped, its not addressed. I’ve only seen it occur once where I gasped and couldn’t believe it was not addressed. But this is not the first time I’ve seen this behavior in a show. I see it a lot with female characters hitting male characters or beating them with sticks. Which is another topic, the physical nature of many shows.

      • “Which is another topic, the physical nature of many shows.”
        I’ll watch for it if you start one 🙂

      • I’m thinking about it. I see it a lot in shows; so many slaps, grabs, pulls, pushes. Yikes!

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