Common Health Problems in Anime: how they differ from reality! (part 1)

Dealing with sick people occupies most of my day and since I am such a big anime fan, it’s impossible not to let the two topics get mixed up in my mind every now and then. After years of watching anime, I have come across many illnesses in anime that really amused me in so many ways. In this post, I am summarizing common health problems usually encountered in anime and I’ll try to give some fun discussion along the way. Enjoy!


Fatigue and frequent fainting especially in young female is nothing new both in reality and anime. We have all seen female anime characters that often skip class and go to the infirmary because of this condition. Some even undergo blood transfusion conspicuously. The symptom is usually the result of anemia (inadequate oxygen carrying in bloodstream). Many things can cause anemia. Let’s look at some of the most common causes.

In reality: for young women, blood loss especially through menstruation is the first thing that comes to mind. Other possibilities include hereditary disease, drug-induced, improper diet or leukemia

In anime: First and foremost, for your own safety, make sure the girl is not a blood-sucking vampire since vampirism is the most common cause of this condition in anime. For those who are not vampires, the exact cause is never clearly stated except that these girls have always been in poor health. From my experience, they always end up dead or kidnapped causing the hero of the show to go on an adventure or quest for revenge.

Common cold

This is probably the only condition in anime that is not very different from reality. A character gets fever and runny nose after rainy day is a familiar situation. In fact, this is almost a must-have condition in any slice of life anime just like beach vacation or school festival. When one character gets sick, the others will have to pay a visit. That’s one or two episode worth of story!

Coughing up blood

Coughing up blood or hemoptysis in reality is not always fatal. Anyone with bleeding per gum or nosebleed can produce bloody mucus. True hemoptysis implies lung and airway disease such as infection or, in older people, lung cancer. In anime, if you cough up blood, you are doomed no matter how healthy you were. Curiously enough, this fatal condition often affects older character that is close to the show’s protagonist such as the protagonist’s mentor, supervisor or relative. Trauma is another common cause of coughing up blood but contrast to reality, coughing blood in anime can result from any type of injury to any part of the body.


We all know that headache is mostly not serious. Lack of sleep, excessive mental stress or alcohol consumption can cause headache. When it comes to headache in anime, supernatural or scientifically fictional factors are always the cause. For instance, sudden headache is very common in characters who have recently betrayed their comrades. These characters are possessed or mentally controlled by the villains of the show. When they are reminded of their previous lives or loved ones, the headache strikes. Wide ranges of other possibilities such as being attacked from super high frequency sound wave or recovering from a brainwash sporadically occur.


Nosebleed is another extremely common health problem in anime that requires lengthy discussion on the nature and possible cause. Luckily, I have already done that in another article published earlier this year. Make sure you read it here!

This is only the first part of this article. You wouldn’t believe how many more silly health-related conditions are waiting to be explored.  Please stay tuned for part 2. I’m having fun!

33 responses to “Common Health Problems in Anime: how they differ from reality! (part 1)

  1. Haha anime headaches are pretty extreme. Anemia sucks for girls esp.

  2. Love nosebleed ftw! 8D

  3. you look like you really had a wonderful time with this article, which is probably why it looked so good! MOst people (like me!) probably just watch thru the entire anime, too used to really notice these illness and their symptoms and etc! And kate having a headache…?

  4. The one thing I’ve always wondered about with the common cold in anime is that a character who gets a fever will usually end up fainting from it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone having a fever so bad from a cold that it would make them faint – of course, maybe I just haven’t been around that long/don’t know many people, or perhaps Japanese people are more likely to? Or it could just be used for a dramatic effect in anime.

    Also in anime, they get a majorly flushed face when they have a fever. I think this is true of Japanese people too – at least, they typically get a blush when they’re drunk. Has something to do with the Japanese metabolism.

    • Flushed face results from blood vessels dilation. It is an attempt of our body to release heat onto the environment.
      But faint is unlikely, though. Maybe they are just experiencing extreme fatigue?

    • Strangely enough, I haven’t thought about actual death while working on this post. Maybe because it is so common?
      (Hyatt’s case simply baffles me, by the way)

  5. Reminds me of that Sora no Woto episode where Kanata got “Malaria”. I don’t know if that was a translation error, but recovering in a day from malaria just doesn’t happen >_>…

    I’m actually very prone to nosebleeds. When I went to get it checked, they told me it was because I have a vein in my nose very close to the skin surface. Because of that it doesn’t take too much to make it bleed. For example, it might be really hot and humid outside. Fruit known for raising blood pressure (lychee) can also give me nosebleeds. There’s always the “oops I rubbed my nose a little too hard” problem too :P

    • Oh, really?! I didn’t recall hearing anyone mentioned about Malaria. But if it was really Malaria, Kanata should have turned yellow :)

  6. the nose bleeding thing is the most common on anime ive watched.. really great specially when it comes to ecchi scenes lol.. drop dead nose bleeding.. like the nose bleeding in soul eater..

  7. lol nosebleeds~ this article must have been pretty amusing/interesting to write

  8. Really interesting idea, and you’re clearly in an educated position to do it justice. I look forward to the rest!

  9. Haha, I saw this post coming the moment I learned that you’re a doctor.

    Anemia is something I see all the time in anime and manga. It’s so popular for some reason. It seems that the only cause for it is always simply “poor health.”

    Love what you wrote about the other ones too. Really interesting post. ^ ^

    • I recall few anime clearly stated that the girl had anemia but unfortunately, no one tried to find out the cause of the condition. But that’s not the point, of course -_-

  10. Good stuff, out of those I’ve probably seen common cold and anemia the most in anime. Nosebleeds are a whole different story.

  11. Lol, I liked how there were a few funny points. It was a nice readd btw :]

  12. Pingback: Common Health Problems in Anime (Part 2): some mental disorder and boobs! « Canne's anime review blog

  13. One difference I always wonder about is when they use those fever pads in anime. Are those really that common in Japan? Around here I’ve only used (and seen people use) a moistened washcloth. I’m curious to know how effective those stick on pads are.

    • Fever pads or cooling pads contains no medication, just cooling property so they are not different from moistened cloths or ice pact. They are just more easy to use :)
      I never use that or see anyone close to me use it since when I am feverish, I take paracetamol and the fever will be gone.

  14. Pingback: Common Health Problems in Anime Part 3: from fake drowning to finger sucking! | Canne's anime review blog

  15. do not forget about ‘mystery incurable ilnees’ like it was with nagisa&ushio from clannad, misuzu from air (cant fairly remember) and many others

  16. Lol, I liked how there were a few funny points. :)

  17. I find it interesting that, in anime, when a character does happen to get sick with the flu or a cold, they tend to get really, really sick, so sick that they do things they usually wouldn’t do unless drunk, and then they don’t remember anything about it afterwards. It’s a good plot device to further love complications in an anime and all, but in real life, I don’t think anyone gets high off of a cold or a fever. Though, I guess I’m not too positive on this subject. =P

  18. What anime for the anemia picture is that? Thank you.

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