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We all have our moments of needed isolation, but some people can end up taking this isolation to the extreme. These social hermits are known as hikikomori, those who will do anything to avoid interacting with others. They rely on family members or limited income to support their lifestyle, which is usually quite unhealthy.
Anime have plenty of examples of unique hikikomori for us to relate to! Whether their self-imposed isolation stems from a traumatic event in the past, or from an obsession with their own personal hobbies, the hikikomori on our list all have a desire to be left alone. We picked the anime characters who best exemplified this situation, desiring their own space in the most extreme manner!
10. Risa Itami from Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (GATE)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: July 2015 – September 2015
GATE follows the story of Youji Itami, a Japan Self-Defense Forces officer who sees a mysterious portal open on his way to a convention. When monstrous beings begin charging through the city, Youji moves quickly to save as many people as he can while the rest of the JSDF attempt to stop the creatures coming out of the portal. Three months after the initial invasion, Youji leads a team into the portal itself, to discover all that they can about the “Special Region.” The team hopes to create peace between humanity and the inhabitants of this Special Region, but if they should fail, the resulting war will be devastating…
Though Risa Itami is Youji’s ex-wife, she remains on good terms with him, enough to ask him for food and money to support her hikikomori lifestyle. Risa is a mangaka for mostly doujinshi-styled books and prefers to spend most of her time in her home, working on her manga.
9. Ito Hikiotani from Punch Line
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: April 2015 – June 2015
Yuuta Iridatsu manages to escape a bus hijacking thanks to the help of a mysterious hero named Strange Juice. Unfortunately, Yuuta discovers his soul is separated from his body, with his soul in the care of Chiranosuke, a cat spirit. Yuuta attempts to rejoin his soul and body, while meeting many other unusual residents in the Korai House. Chiranosuke soon tells Yuuta about his unusual gift – he becomes much stronger upon seeing panties! However, if he sees another pair while still a spirit, his gift will cause an asteroid to crash into the Earth, effectively killing all life and ending the world. Yuuta is soon dragged into a conspiracy plot by an evil organization, even as he uncovers more of his own strengths…
A young woman who prefers not to deal with others, Ito Hikiotani is a resident of the Korai House. Ito avoids the other residents of the House as much as possible. She was bullied in school, resulting in her eventual absence from school altogether. She also appears to suffer from a social anxiety disorder, leading her to avoid stressful social situations. However, Ito gradually gains more confidence thanks to her friends, allowing her to return to school again.
8. Jun Sakurada from Rozen Maiden
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: October 2004 – December 2004
Jun Sakurada is a hikikomori who was affected by events at school and now stays at home, ordering things online to use before the trial period ends. One day, a note appears on his desk asking whether he would wind something; without thinking too much, Jun circles yes. A lifelike doll named Shinku appears in his house, entering Jun into a game that will change his own life forever…
Though the Rozen Maidens are interesting in their own right, Jun is the focus of our interest for this list! Jun is caught up in the Alice Game when he receives Shinku, and forced out of his shell to help her win.
7. Takumi Nishijou from ChaoS;HEAd
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: October 2008 – December 2008
High school student Takumi Nishijou has been hearing about the “New Gen” murders occurring around his city of Shibuya, but he doesn’t pay much mind until strange things start happening all around him. From a strange pink-haired girl at a murder scene, to a terrifying picture he finds on his computer, Takumi’s fate seems to be caught up in these unusual events surrounding the murders…
Takumi spends most of his days living in a metal container, playing video games, though he gets pulled out into the rest of the world after events draw him in. He prefers to spend his time in delusions with Seira, a 3D character from an anime called “Blood Tune.” Takumi suffers from these delusions often, as he spends much of his time alone and has a hard time distinguishing from reality as a result.
6. Shiro and Sora from No Game No Life
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: April 2014 – June 2014
To siblings Shiro and Sora, the real world is just another game, one that they would prefer to avoid in favor of online games. One day, the legendary gaming duo receives a strange email challenging them to a chess match – one with unusual strings attached. Sora and Shiro are transported to Disboard, a world where all conflict is settled through games rather than war. The siblings have found a new goal: unite the 16 races of Disboard and become the new gods of this world!
Shiro and Sora are well-known among the gaming community as the infamous “Blank,” spending all their time competing in various games. Sora’s past makes him unwilling to dedicate himself to much else, developing a lazy attitude toward everything that his younger stepsister goes along with. The two are basically attached at the hip, spending all their time together and breaking down whenever they are apart.
5. Tatsuhiro Sato from NHK ni Youkoso! (Welcome to the N.H.K.)
- Episodes: 24
- Air Date: July 2006 – December 2006
Due to his isolation from society, college dropout Tatsuhiro Satou has become paranoid, believing in a great many conspiracy theories about the world. The biggest conspiracy that he has found is one involving his own hermit-status. Tatsuhiro believes that an organization called the Nihon Hikikomori Kyokai (NHK) is trying to spread hikikomori culture, including his own current lifestyle! Tatsuhiro struggles to break through his own habits, but he finds it difficult. An unexpected woman named Misaki Nakahara might be able to break through his barriers, but it will take a lot of effort for Tatsuhiro to let her in…
Tatsuhiro is a classic example of hikikomori behavior, dropping out of college to live shut in to his apartment. His belief in various conspiracies makes it harder to interact with society, as he is ultimately afraid of the outside world and interactions with others harming him in the end. Welcome to the NHK depicts a fairly accurate look at the struggles of hikikomori, though it does take some liberties with comedy. Tatsuhiro is an extremely paranoid young man, even fearing Misaki, who is only trying to help him in the end.
4. Izumi Takanashi from Working!! (Wagnaria!!)
- Episodes: 13
- Air Date: April 2010 – June 2010
Souta Takanashi finds he is unable to turn down the adorable Popura Taneshima when she offers him a job at a family restaurant. Takanashi has a love for small, cute things, and even though Popura is older than he is, he continues to treat her as a cute child. However, Popura is not the only new coworker that Takanashi must deal with, as he finds the Wagnaria restaurant to be full of eccentric characters. One thing is for certain – at this place of work, there is never a dull day!
Izumi Takanashi is the second sister in the Takanashi family and she writes romance novels for a living. The rest of her family takes care of her, as she stays mostly in her room and has a weak constitution as a result. She pays little attention to her appearance and is often covered in ink from writing.
3. Ryuunosuke Akasaka from Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo (The Pet Girl of Sakurasou)
- Episodes: 24
- Air Date: October 2012 – March 2013
Suimei High School’s Sakura Hall is a satellite dorm known for its unusual residents – and second year Sorata Kanda is being forced to move there! Though he himself is average in every way, his kindness causes him to take in some abandoned kittens, forcing him to be moved to Sakura Hall. Sorata meets many eccentric residents, and despite his friend Nanami encouraging him to get rid of the cats so he can move back to regular dorms, Sorata begins to grow used to the people there. When the pet-like Mashiro Shiina moves into Sakura Hall, she quickly latches on to Sorata, and he finds himself less willing to move. Will friendship and understanding be enough to allow these strange people to break out of their shells?
Ryuunosuke Akasaka is one of the residents of Sakura Hall, a shy programmer who rarely leaves his room. He is a pragmatic person by nature, often hurting others’ feelings by how direct his comments can be. Ryuunosuke loves computers, and prefers to communicate with others through technology, particularly the AI program he made called “Maid.” Thanks to his friendships with the other residents of Sakura Hall, Ryuunosuke is able to gradually adapt to the presence of other people, though some of his older habits as a hikikomori continue.
2. Sagiri Izumi from Eromanga-sensei (Eromanga Sensei)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: April 2017 – June 2017
Sagiri Izumi and Masamune Izumi became stepsiblings about a year ago, but their parents suddenly died, leaving the two alone. Sagiri has cut herself off from everyone, including Masamune, staying locked in her room. To support himself and his new sister, Masamune works as a light novel author. And in a surprising turn of events, he discovers that Sagiri has been working as his illustrator, under the name Eromanga-sensei! The two must now work together to take the light novel industry by storm.
Sagiri spends her time drawing for her brother’s light novel, and she has actually become quite popular online for her pen name. She doesn’t seem to get along with others, although she can be possessive about Masamune.
1. Jinta “Jintan” Yadomi from Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day)
- Episodes: 11
- Air Date: April 2011 – June 2011
Jinta Yadomi and his childhood friends have grown apart over the years, mostly because of the death of their friend Meiko “Menma” Honma when they were kids. So when Menma appears to Jinta, he doesn’t think much of it. After all, it’s probably just a hallucination, right? When Jinta begins to realize that Menma might be more real than he had thought, he leaves his life of isolation and tries to reunite the group of friends. They will need to go through all of their pain and guilt again in order to finally put Menma to rest.
Jinta is our number one hikikomori, not only for the extreme situation that pushed him into isolation, but for his relatable nature! Though he spends his days playing video games and skipping school, he is fated to fight his own psychological issues in order to help his friend be put to rest. Jinta took Menma’s death harder than any of his other friends, stopping his entire life to grieve indefinitely. Yet in the end, his hikikomori style of seclusion cannot take hold forever, not over the bonds of friendship!
Though the hikikomori lifestyle is not necessarily healthy for people, there are many anime characters who exemplify the characteristics. And as the characters on this list prove, some hikikomori can be loveable and valued, despite their anti-social nature!
Which of these characters is your favorite? Are there any other hikikomori characters you think should have been included on our list? Tell us in the comments below!