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Overcoming something you fear can be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do, as it can take a long time before you’re successful (assuming you are…unfortunately, some people never are). Most people just tend to avoid their worst phobia(s) altogether, and that can be done as long as it’s something you don’t have to deal with every day. However, not everyone is that lucky, as the more common phobias tend to crop up in your everyday life at some point.
As with most topics in anime, characters that have certain phobias tend to handle it in a variety of ways. Some phobias serve as a way for the character to grow and develop, as they realize their desire for something else is worth undergoing whatever their biggest fear is. Some phobias serve as comic relief, such as when the character’s phobia tends to be completely irrational or won’t actually hurt them as much as the character think it will, if at all. Still other characters’ phobias tend to be unique quirks that tend to be more related to OCD-like tendencies. Whichever take on the phobia it may be, here are the Top 10 Phobic Characters in Anime.
10. Levi Ackerman – Automysophobia (Attack on Titan)
Automysophobia is defined as the fear of getting dirty, and based on Levi’s behavior as a “clean freak”, it would not be surprising for him to have a form of this phobia. Levi strives to stay clan at all times and takes extra measures to make sure that his weapons are clean in addition to himself, even going so far as to clean his blades while still on the battlefield so soon after combat. However, Levi is not above getting dirty when he feels it’s necessary to do so, as evidenced by his performance in battle. It would be fair to assume that while Levi may have automysophobia, his obsession with staying clean and keeping his weapons clean is not to the point where it prevents him from fighting whatsoever, suggesting that his phobia is not as bad as it could be.
9. Sakura Kinomoto – Spectrophobia (Cardcaptor Sakura)
Spectrophobia can lead to a person fearing ghosts, and this is a fear Sakura developed at a young age thanks to her brother, who could actually see ghosts. Although Sakura herself couldn’t see them, her imagination combined with her brother’s descriptions resulted in her fearing them for quite some time. However, in one particular instance, Sakura was able to overcome this fear when she realized that what she took to be a ghost was actually a Clow Card, which she had no fear of. As a result, her fear instantly vanished, which proves that sometimes people are able to overcome their fears by viewing them as something else entirely that they can handle.
8. Death the Kid – Asymmetriphobia (Soul Eater)
Although Death the Kid mainly suffers from OCD, it’s manifested into asymmetriphobia, or an obsession over having things in his life be symmetrical. Kid takes extreme measures to make sure things are either equal or perfectly aligned in order not to break symmetry, even in the middle of battle or at the expense of his mission. Kid has been known to go berserk and release his full power if something in perfect symmetry is broken. Kid’s obsession with symmetry even goes as far as only having Liz and Patty serve as his weapons of choice, as any other weapons offered to him were refused on account of them not being symmetrical. A source of extreme anxiety for Kid is the fact that there are 3 white stripes on the left half of his bangs that he cannot get rid of due to him being a Shinigami. Despite all these obstacles that obstruct Kid from achieving symmetry in both his mind as well as the world around him, he is still able to somewhat function normally as the series progresses, even though this phobia of his will never leave.
7. Misty – Entomophobia (Pokemon)
Entomophobia, sometimes referred to as insectophobia, is essentially the fear of insects, and there’s no mistaking Misty’s fear of Bug Pokemon early on in the series. While the phobia of insects differs in the sense that it’s applied to Pokemon in this case, the idea of certain insects in the presence of certain people doesn’t sit well with them, even if they don’t have a phobia. Misty is certainly no acception to this; she completely becomes paralyzed with fear upon encountering Caterpie with Ash in Viridian Forest, and her phobia doesn’t do her any favors when she, Ash, and Tracey travel to Murcott Island, known for having a lot of Bug Pokemon. While Misty is somewhat OK with Ash’s Butterfree at various points in the series, this is as close as we get to seeing Misty overcome her fear. That being said, Misty’s phobia doesn’t severely limit her that much due to the minimal encounters she has with Bug Pokemon in the series.
6. Doraemon – Musophobia (Doraemon)
Musophobia is the fear of mice, and unlike some of the characters on this list, Doraemon has a specific traumatic experience that caused him to have this fear. Doraemon originally had a yellow color scheme, but due to a robot mouse attacking him and gnawing off his robotic ears, Doraemon ended up drinking a “sadness” potion that resulted in the blue color scheme he possesses to this day. Doraemon’s fear of mice comes up a lot in the series, as his enemies will try to take advantage of his fear through the use of anything mice related, including toys shaped like mice and robot mice. Luckily, despite being a hindrance at first, Doraemon is able to overcome his fear through the help of his friends and his 4th dimensional pocket on his stomach that he can pull any gadget from. An ironic fear to have being a robot cat, but certainly a justifiable fear due to Doraemon’s unpleasant experience.
5. Son Goku – Trypanophobia (Dragonball Z)
Trypanophobia is simply the fear of needles. While they can be unpleasant, it’s almost comical that one of anime’s strongest characters of all time has this fear. Goku shows almost no fear going up against the likes of Vegeta, Frieza, Perfect Cell, and even Beerus. Yet Goku almost falls to pieces when he becomes aware that there are needles in his presence. This is best exemplified in the Frieza Saga, where Goku mistakes Vegeta’s attempt to put him in the healing tank after his encounter with Captain Ginyu as an attempt to use needles on him, resulting in bewilderment from Vegeta, Krillin, and Gohan. DBGT even has a scene where Goku has to encounter a fusion of his fears in Sugoro’s game; an angry Chi Chi tries to give Kid Goku a shot with a giant needle. Needless to say, it can be difficult to find humor with phobias, so this is a refreshing take on the concept.
4. Elie - Astraphobia (Rave Master)
Astraphobia is the excessive fear of thunder and lightning, usually brought on by a traumatic experience of experiencing a shock of some sort during a thunderstorm. Elie experiences this fear right as she wakes up with her amnesia. Struggling to come to terms with who she was and why she had no recollection of any recent events, Elie encountered Sieghart, who ended up striking her with a blast of lightning. This would result in Elie immediately becoming immobilized and shaking in fear whenever a thunderstorm occurred or experiencing the tiniest f shocks. Certainly a justifiable phobia that is hard to overcome.
3. Jun Sakurada – Agoraphobia (Rozen Maiden)
One of the more relatable phobias to have, agoraphobia is the fear of places and/or situations that can cause someone to panic, be embarrassed, or feel helpless. Jun Sakurada, like many other anime protagonists, has this fear in addition to being a NEET (not in education, employment, or training) as well as a hikikomori, one who isolates themselves from society. This phobia is entirely a mental one, making it one of the hardest to overcome. In Jun’s case, obtaining Shinku puts him in situations with the Rozen Maiden where he eventually grows more confident to the point where he can overcome his fear of avoiding public places or situations and go to the library and even back to school. However, what worked for Jun doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, and unfortunately some people withdraw so much into themselves that they cannot overcome the phobia. That doesn’t mean it’s too late for some people with agoraphobia, but it’s not an easy road to travel.
2. Tsunade - Haemophobia (Naruto)
Haemophobia is the abnormal fear of blood, whether it be your own, someone else’s, an animals, or even pictures and videos of it. In Tsunade’s case, losing her loved ones one after another resulted in her developing this fear, especially when she failed to prevent her loved one’s death due to excessive blood loss. This resulted in her leaving Konoha for quite some time. However, it is due to Naruto’s persistence and his ability to master the Rasengan that Tsunade is able to overcome her paralyzing fear of blood and defeat Orochimaru. Tsunade’s method of overcome her phobia is an inspirational one; sometimes all it takes is realizing there’s something you care for more that can allow you to mentally block out your fear.
1. Gene Starwind – Spacephobia (Outlaw Star)
Spacephobia is exactly what it sounds like: the fear of outer space. A small amount of people can truly relate to having this fear considering we are in the very early stages of space travel. For Gene, however, his fear of space resulted from a space pirate attack when he was 14, resulting in Gene’s father sacrificing himself in order to save Gene. As a result, a fair amount of Gene’s character arc throughout the series is him not only coming to terms with what happened to his father, but also getting over the fear of space that he developed as a result. Luckily, with the help of old and new friends and an adventure that is circumstantially laid out before him, Gene is able to overcome his fear and finally stop running away.
Overcoming your personal fears is never easy, and the reality is that sometimes the only thing someone can do is to avoid any encounters with them whatsoever. However, that won’t always be the case, in which case you should best be prepared for how you can handle your fear if you do one day face it. These 10 characters certainly have a unique way of coping with their phobias. But what are your guys’ thoughts? Is there someone missing from this list that you feel should have been included? Should someone else have been #1? Let us know in the comments!