In this article, we will be exploring a selection of anime in which the main character struggles with self-hatred and low self-esteem. These characters often have to confront their own inner demons and past traumas in order to find their own sense of purpose and identity. From sports anime to romance, these stories delve into the complex and often difficult journey of self-acceptance and self-love.
Big Windup! (Ookiku Furikabutte) is a sports anime that follows the story of Ren Mihashi, a high school pitcher who has low self-esteem and lacks confidence in his abilities. Ren has been bullied and belittled by his teammates in the past, and as a result, he has come to hate himself and his own worth as a player. However, with the help of his new teammates and coach, Ren begins to learn to believe in himself and his abilities, and he becomes a more confident and capable pitcher.
A Silent Voice
In A Silent Voice, Shoko Nishimiya, a young girl who is deaf, reconnects with her former classmate Shoya Ishida, who bullied her in elementary school. Ishida feels guilty for his past actions and tries to make amends with Nishimiya, but also struggles with feelings of inadequacy and self-hatred as he comes to terms with his mistakes.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji Ikari, a young boy, pilots a giant bio-machine called an “Evangelion” to defend humanity against alien creatures called “Angels.” Throughout the series, Shinji struggles with self-hatred and worthlessness as he grapples with the expectations and responsibilities placed on him, and confronts the traumatic events of his past to find his own sense of purpose and identity.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a comedy anime about Nozomu Itoshiki, a highly negative and cynical high school teacher, and his interactions with his eccentric students. Nozomu is prone to fits of despair and has even attempted suicide due to small misfortunes. The show is a satirical slice-of-life set in modern Japan, covering various aspects of Japanese life and culture through Nozomu and his students’ experiences.
Taisho Otome Fairy Tale
Tamahiko Shima, a self-styled pessimist, lives alone in the mountains of Chiba after losing the use of his right hand in a car accident and being deemed incapable by his wealthy family. He is resigned to his fate of waiting for death and hates himself for being unable to live up to the expectations of his family.
One snowy night, he meets 14-year-old Yuzuki Tachibana, who has come to be his future wife. Yuzuki, who was sold as a bride to repay her family’s debts, proves to be thoughtful and dedicated to Tamahiko. The story follows Tamahiko’s interaction with Yuzuki and how her presence affects his monotonous existence and self-hatred.