In anime, there isn’t a lot of canonical representation for autism spectrum condition, although there are plenty of characters who show signs of it.
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Storytelling and popular media benefit greatly from increased representation of marginalized groups and identities, and this is especially true in the realms of comics, movies, television, anime, and video games. The autism community, on the other hand, is still lacking in media coverage.
An individual who has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may present with a constellation of symptoms that range from mild to severe. This includes everything from an inability to think critically to a predisposition for routine and habitual behavior to the need for regular physical or mental stimulation. As a result of Japanese culture’s reluctance to discuss mental health issues, there are very few officially acknowledged autistic characters in anime.
There are, however, a large number of characters who are regularly headcanonized as autistic, or at least exhibit autistic features. We’ve got five common headcanons here as well as one canonically diagnosed anime character.
1. Kamille Bidan (Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam)
Kamille Biden, a character in Zeta Gundam Episode 8, is the only anime character with a formal diagnosis of autism. He is an accomplished Gundam pilot, having designed his own Gundam, which is an extremely rare occurrence amongst pilots of the genre. His actions are consistent with the spectrum. If this is the case, it could be a sign of “mind-blindness,” an inability to perceive or comprehend other people’s points of view and ideas. Kamille is prone to making rude or insensitive remarks or statements that he doesn’t understand are offensive to others, and he is notorious for this.
2. Futaba Sakura (Persona 5)
Erica Lindbeck, the voice actor for Persona’s protagonist, once referred to her as “on the spectrum,” and many Persona fans feel the same way. Her mother Wakaba Isshiki died of a heart attack at the tender age of seven, and even before that she was an extremely reclusive kid who preferred to spend time alone. Futaba’s mother’s terrible death forced her to retire to her bedroom, where she spoke with the outside world solely via the Internet afterward. She was accompanied by her father at all times, but she couldn’t bear to interact with anyone who wasn’t a family member. In the midst of her sadness and depression, she’s struggling to make sense of it all. For example, she has an interest in otaku culture and internet navigation. Futaba symbolizes the awful truth of the hikkikomori (shut-in) phenomena and the aftermath of catastrophic trauma.
3. L & Near (Death Note)
As one of the most common autism headcanons, Death Note’s L is the world’s finest detective. When it comes to his passions, he’s obsessive with the fine details, and he has a calculating mind that excels at plans and deciphering codes. The Japanese police perceive him as an eccentric, from his scruffy appearance to his peculiar seating posture to his sole interest in sugary tea and sweets. His social skills are poor, and he relies on his aide Watari for day-to-day tasks because he lacks executive functioning abilities.
Both L and his successor Near are likely to be members of the spectrum. Like L, Near spends most of his free time playing with puzzles, games, and other such distractions. When it comes to emotions, human connections, or the unpredictable nature of life, he has a hard time dealing with it all. Even when he’s around Mello, he has a hard time making friends. He’d rather talk about the latest developments in the Kira case than engage in pleasantries.
4. Jun Shiomi (Food Wars!)
There are some hints of Jun Shiomi’s autism, but he doesn’t meet the entire criteria for a full ASD diagnosis. She’s a certified teacher at the prestigious Totsuki institute, but she spends so much time at work that she neglects her own health, nutrition, sleep, and other obligations. Even though Akira Hayama, a classmate of Jun’s, shares Jun’s passion for scents and spices, he is the one who looks out for her, ensuring sure she has enough food and sleep. A responsible adult, Jun has a tendency to let things slip between the cracks. In the company of strangers, even while meeting Megumi Tadokoro, a first year student, she is prone to nervousness.
5. Mei Hatsume (My Hero Academia)
Mei Hatsume the inventor hero, like Jun Shiomi, has a few narrow-minded characteristics. When she’s not tinkering with machinery and contraptions, she prefers to spend her time playing with toys and spices. Due to her Zoom Quirk, Mei is able to create heroic gadgets that she shamelessly promotes to anybody who would listen. In reality, she only joined Izuku’s cavalry team in order to demonstrate her inventions to the audience of businessmen and executives. When she humorously groped Izuku head-to-toe to examine his physique, she had no sense of boundaries and was ignorant that she was acting oddly.
6. Senku Ishigami (Dr. Stone)
As a scientist, Senku has no interest in making new friends, flirting with girls, or even expressing himself openly; he is devoted to remaking the world through science, and inventing new gadgets or preparing a new chemical formula is what sets his heart ablaze, not the warmth of human companionship. Senku is genuinely committed to serving humanity, yet he has no desire to be recognized for his efforts by attending an awards ceremony or dinner. To begin the next project, he’d prefer to withdraw to his laboratory, where he’d prefer that no one disrupt him while he works. Rather than mixing with the populace, he aims to save it. Because of his brashness, he is known to anger his allies either without recognizing it or caring. When Senku works, he’s both productive and aggressive.