Anime characters suffer from a weird and wonderful variety of diseases, many with little resemblance to pathology in the real world. Join us on a journey through anomalous anime afflictions and pray you don’t fall ill with any of these!
Note: This article is heavily based on a https://forums.animeuknews.net/ thread begun by user Dai. Without his consent and creativity, this article could not have existed. Thanks also to the other users whose edited contributions comprise much of the following article, each are credited at the end of their respective sections.
Acute Hydrological Pyrexial Pertussive Coryzal Rhinitis (The Anime Cold)
Differs from the common cold in several distinct ways. This virus is carried by every drop of water in Japan, rapidly absorbed via contact with skin or clothes. Even bottled water acts as a vector, though only when poured directly onto the skin rather than when ingested. Once within the bloodstream, the virus incubates for 12 hours, then manifests as a high fever and persistent cough. Concerned friends, convinced of the risk of imminent death, will often insist the sufferer “goes to hospital” or “sees a doctor immediately”.
Symptoms persist for 24 hours and then resolve completely. During the symptomatic period, the afflicted person is contagious to others only while they lie paralysed in bed. Despite the absence of water spray, any character entering the bedroom/plague pit risks a rate of transmission approaching 100%, especially if unrequited romantic feelings are involved. (Dai)
Acute Severe Ecchi Influenza (Perverted Anime Flu, closely related to The Anime Cold)
Typically acute-onset raging fever in young, busty females, usually inexplicably caused by getting wet in the rain, associated with complete loss of motor function, incoherent moaning and inability to perform even basic self-care tasks such as self-administration of antipyretic medication. Mandatory treatment includes young, inexperienced (probably boring) male main character stripping young female naked, gingerly mopping the sweat from her febrile body (works best if he removes and uses his own shirt), and inserting rectal paracetamol/acetaminophen suppositories with his bare finger because god forbid there are any oral medications in the medicine cabinet. Bonus efficacy if the female is his stepsister/real sister/teacher/other deeply inappropriate person to be horrifyingly intimate with. (Doctorkev)
Mass Love Blindness
A form of mass delusion whereby a group of strong independently-minded women will, one by one, succumb to a dangerous obsessive lust towards an absolute ass-hat of a man. Symptoms include bickering and one-up-manship over who gets the most attention from said tool. At its worst it can lead to destructive physical violence within the group. Scientists believe it may be a form of rabies. (WMD)
Terminal Absence of Personality (Milquetoast) Syndrome
An affliction common to every bland harem anime protagonist. A completely average teenage boy, of average build and average intelligence becomes a dull grey singularity of concentrated mediocrity that inexplicably never fails to draw every assorted neon-hair-coloured female within a 50 mile radius into his event horizon of dullness, leading to contrived misunderstandings, endlessly spinning plot wheels and controversial endings that spark flame wars that rage for decades after everyone should have stopped caring. (Doctorkev)
Closely related to, and may occur in conjunction with, the above Mass Love Blindness. This condition renders an anime character blindly oblivious to another’s attraction to them, regardless of how blatant their feelings, nor how heavy-handedly the supporting characters hint. In especially serious cases, the sufferer may remain incognisant in the face of a direct and clearly-worded love confession. In rare cases, this chronic condition may resolve in the final year of high school, but often persists long after. (Dai)
Mysterious Anime Blood Disease (either Crypto-Haemoptysis or Crypto-Haematemesis)
Manifests only in anime characters Fated For Immediate Tragic Death. Typically a character will randomly cough or vomit blood, a sure harbinger of impending expiration. Usually no other symptoms, though can also manifest alongside Unhealthy Pallor and Plot Disposability. No microbiological or pathological causes have been identified. No known anime characters have survived even a single episode of this rapidly terminal illness. (Doctorkev)
Acute Erotic Nasal Haemorrhage Disorder
Typically exhibited by young anime males starved of physical contact with the opposite sex. The slightest stimulation drives blood pressure to catastrophic levels, leading to the activation of the Anime Blood Pressure Release Valve located within the nasal septum, resulting in fountains of blood spurts at inopportune times. Sufferers should have platelet level tests and clotting factor assays performed as a matter of urgency, plus endure mandatory exposure to depressing anime such as Now and Then, Here and There, Grave of the Fireflies or Dog of Flanders in order to douse their hypertension-stoking flames of passion. (Doctorkev)
Rarely correctly identified, this condition is especially common among Shonen Jump protagonists. The sufferer is usually parasitised by the tapeworm in early childhood, resulting in a lifelong obnoxiously insatiable appetite. The cardinal symptom is the host’s ability to consume several times their body mass in one sitting without gaining weight. This is a result of the parasite’s rear end extending through a microscopic Tannhauser Gate, where it evacuates waste byproducts into a vast tract of hyperspace. (Dai)
Moe Sickness Syndrome
An illness primarily afflicting girls, it strikes in early childhood. The disease causes frequent hospital admissions (required for only vaguely defined reasons), before causing the sufferer to become bedridden some time before their debut in the show. Common signs of other chronic illnesses such as a sickly, gaunt pallor and debilitating fatigue seem strangely absent. On the contrary, patients exhibit a bright and cheerful appearance in the face of apparent adversity, coupled with a fatalistic acceptance of their situation. As the illness progresses, it typically leads to melancholic subplots that contrive protective feelings (or “moe”) towards the sufferer in the audience.
In cases where the disease persists into adolescence, typically the sufferer’s childhood friend visits them in hospital every day as they hope earnestly for the discovery of a cure. May culminate in tragic death, contrived mainly to drive forward the protagonist’s character development and trigger “feels” in the shamelessly manipulated audience. [See also “visual novel”] (Neil T.)
Protagonist Parental Death Syndrome
This fatal condition has a 95% chance of striking down at least one of an anime protagonist’s parents before their first year of high school. Poorly understood, medical science has failed to identify any consistent cause of death, even when the suffering parent had been hospitalised for years prior. Any parent proficient in sport or other competitive activity is almost 100% predisposed to an untimely death. (Dai)
This skin condition is frequently mistaken for a small sticking plaster across the bridge of a person’s nose, but is actually a type of wart. Sufferers are typically 10-year-old boys who wear a baseball cap and shorts, lead a gang of three or four children, and have an aggressive, tsundere-type disposition towards protagonists of sports or martial arts anime. This condition was especially prevalent from the 1970s to 1990s, but has been in decline during the 21st Century. (Dai)
Terminal murderous derangement contracted mainly by pink-haired anime girls who develop unhealthy, obsessive attachments to otherwise unremarkable (perhaps even boring) protagonist-type characters. Symptoms include wide, staring, unblinking eyes, pupillary dilatation, obscene muscular strength, the ability to smell rival females from over 50km distance, predisposition to incredibly destructive feats of violence, obsessional and compulsive thoughts, pathological jealousy, and proficiency in use of a wide variety of murder weapons. May be triggered by past experience of trauma or abuse. It is unclear whether the pink hair is a symptom or a predisposing factor. (Doctorkev)
A mysterious ailment, underlying aetiology unknown. A character declares “I’ll be alright” (or similar) then proceeds down a series of self-destructive actions until death. Preceding this they may have experienced a sudden upturn in fortune — finally coupled up, or discovered their partner was pregnant. Why such positive outcomes lead to a breakdown in mental faculties is one of modern medicine’s most baffling mysteries. It is always fatal and there is no known cure. (WMD)
Thanks again to Dai, WMD and Neil. T for their consent to have their contributions adapted for this article.
Please join me again later for Know Your Anime Diseases — Part 2 to further your pathological anime education!