Have you ever felt judged by “the normal” people? Found your niche in an otaku group that shares your same interests but… you’re still not convinced you quite fit in? That’s alright! Here, we’ve come up with a list of anime that only neurodivergent individuals can understand, whether it’s a character from the show that you can identify with, or the unique situations presented in the series that make you go “I’ve done that”. We are positive that these anime show something beyond the ‘typical’ presentation!
5. Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. (Komi Can't Communicate)
This is the story of the high school girl Komi, who has set the goal of making 100 friends. With her being beautiful and already popular at her school, you’d think that goal is nothing but easy, but there’s a problem, “Komi Can’t Communicate”. As the title implies, off the bat we see something that breaks away from the norm, and that is a protagonist who can’t communicate. No, it’s not that Komi is mute, but rather she has so much social anxiety that she can’t utter a word! Komi wants to have a social life, but her fear of speaking out loud overcomes her desire for friends, riddling her with social difficulties.
That changes when Tadano is assigned to sit next to her in class. Tadano is a very patient young man that understands Komi’s fear of speaking and has made it his goal to help Komi reach her 100 friend goal. We all appreciate the extrovert that adopts an introvert, and it’s nice to know that there are people out there willing to be understanding and helpful when it comes to building friendships. Having social anxiety or being introverted doesn’t always translate to not wanting a social life, and if you can relate to Komi’s desire for this, we recommend the series!
4. Aharen-san wa Hakarenai (Aharen Is Indecipherable)
High school is the best time in your life to reinvent yourself, start fresh, and make new friends. What happens when your first new friend is adorable but overly attached and completely indecipherable? That’s something Raidou had to struggle with when befriending Aharen Reina, a girl that’s far from normal. Aharen has social difficulties, but not the kind that will stray her away from a friendship, quite the opposite. Aharen has trouble figuring out what’s the norm for a friendship, often blurring the boundaries of personal space and social etiquette. She is a little awkward and introverted, but that doesn’t make Raidou want to give up on his first friend, however, Aharen speaks in a tone that is too low for a regular human to hear, so it’s almost impossible to tell what she really wants. Are you the one with the multiple quirks? Or do you have a friend who you just love that they’re so “weird”? No matter on what end you stand, you will surely have a good laugh watching Aharen struggle through her day and her friendship. It’s all in good fun, you won’t have enough of this wholesome anime!
3. Maoujou de Oyasumi (Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle)
If ADHD had an anime ambassador, that would be princess Suya from Maoujou de Oyasumi. Aurora Suya was kidnapped by the Demon Lord, who intended to lock her up in his castle so she could be scared and helpless to lure the Hero to rescue her. Little did the Demon Lord know that this princess wants no rescue or heroes, all she wants is to sleep comfortably!
Suya spends her days planning on how to upgrade her cell so she can reach the maximum comfort for sleeping. But everything overstimulates her, the sounds of the crowded castle, the texture of her pillow and sheets, the lighting — or lack of — in the castle, everything just seems to be in the way of her restful sleep! So she makes it her goal every day to help herself to anything and everything in the Demon’s castle and craft the ideal items for sleeping. Restlessness and sensory issues on one end, impulsiveness and excessive activity on the other are clear signs in the spectrum for some, and clearer signs in others dealing with ADHD. Whatever your reasons are for picking up this series, we know that you’ll end up absolutely loving the sleepy princess Suya!
More than the sports anime itself, we’re putting this on the list to focus on one character only: Hinata. This hyperactive protagonist may be instantly relatable for those with ADHD. Hinata is a sweetheart, he is energetic and loud and his borderline hyper fixation with volleyball has surely inspired many to the sport, or at least got a few viewers interested in the sport. He is a bundle of energy that can’t sit still, this and the fact that volleyball is always rushing in his head make him struggle to keep focused on studying for school, however, his fast reflexes are one of his strong points in the sport. A lot of fans of the show have come forward, comparing this character’s behavior with their disorder, but we’re here to tell you that nothing is disorderly with you or Hinata, he just has different focuses and priorities than the rest!
1. Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan (The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.)
Saiki just had to top this list, as every moment and every character in this show can be linked one way or another to any point in the spectrum. Those who have seen The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. know that no matter the first impression, given a chance, we all end up loving the anime and all the characters. If you have not seen this series, prepare yourself for one of the best comedy anime out there.
As the title implies, we’re going to be looking at the life of Saiki, a psychic with almost unlimited powers. Because his powers let him do anything, Saiki has become apathetic and uninterested in people or being part of society. His brain is always active, often having fast monologues about the idiocracy of the students in his school. Because of his abilities, he often forgets to communicate or act like a regular person to keep appearances, making him seem just as strange as his classmates. We can spend an entire article explaining the different characters and their comparison to almost every neurodivergent trait out there, but we’ll let you enjoy the show without spoilers! Come back and discuss your findings in the comments.
All the characters discussed here think, learn and react differently than your typical anime protagonist, but they never let those thinking differences get in the way of what they want, if anything, they use it to their advantage and end up creating that quirky persona we love. Being misunderstood is hard on everyone, but if you can identify with characters on this list and are having problems explaining to friends or family how you are feeling during a certain situation, share a series from this list with them, it may help them understand your condition and sympathize with you.