Anime about insecurity and personal growth teaches you practical things you can use in real life.
Insecurity in itself is something that’s problematic in society. And it’s the root cause of most problems you can think of.
Personal growth is what comes after that, and choosing to grow from your insecurities and become a better, stronger person.
Everyone’s capable, even if in their own way.
Let’s talk about anime that highlight and show these themes.
Watamote is a slice of life series about Tomoko Kuroki. A girl with little to no self esteem at all.
Despite how energetic the intro is to this anime, it’s actually depressing in some ways.
Tomoko goes from being an introvert who doesn’t care much for herself or appearance, to trying her best to better herself.
She doesn’t always success, and often fails. But it’s relatable and makes use of dark comedy to do it.
2. Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden became one of my favorite anime of all time because of its themes and well written story.
The main character, Violet, is an ex soldier. A girl who was “used” as a tool during the war that’s now in the past.
One thing that impacted her at the end of it was her major saying “I love you”. So Violet goes on a journey to discover the meaning of love.
Along the way she overcomes many deep insecurities and regrets she has, and begins to grow into a better version of herself.
It’s not just Violet, it’s the many characters she comes across and helps who have insecurities and moments of growth as well.
Barakamon is about Seishu Handa, a young man who’s sent off to live on an island after punching someone for criticizing his calligraphy.
He’s arrogant, a little. That comes from his obvious skills as a calligrapher. But he soon starts to be “humbled” by his new experiences.
He learns from kids, the main one being Naru. And his new environment gives him time to reflect, think, and become a better man.
Underrated slice of life that deserves so much more credit.
4. Good Luck Girl
Good Luck Girl is a comedy/parody series like Gintama and Saiki K. So it doesn’t seem like an anime about growth or insecurity on the surface.
The reality is different though.
Ichiko Sakura, the main character, is an entitled, stuck up b*tch to say the least. She lives with a butler who does everything for her, and comes from a rich family.
It’s not until her butler dies in the first episode or so, that she starts to realize how ungrateful she’s been. And how she’s taken life for granted.
Part of this is because of Momiji, a “poverty god” who claims Ichiko has too much happiness energy, making everyone around her miserable.
For a comedy series, and a short one at that, there’s a surprising level of character development and growth seen from the MC.
5. Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends
Haganai is about 2 students who make a club together with the goal of making friends, and avoiding loneliness.
The club is called “The Neighbors Club”.
Once formed, they invite more people to the club and hang out, with the intention of becoming friends.
This anime at its core is really about loneliness and the struggle of making friends. Especially friendships that will last.
On the surface there’s Ecchi, comedy, fan service… But another theme is also bullying.
6. Little Witch Academia
Little Witch Academia is made by Studio Trigger. And is an underrated anime series for its quality.
It has strong female protagonists as far as writing and the purpose they bring to the show.
Atsuko Kagari is a witch in training, and the only one who gets into the academy without any innate talent.
She’s mocked, disrespected, made fun of, and put down by others because of this fact. And at times, she feels like giving up.
Being the rebel she is, her goal is to prove everyone wrong. And that’s where we see the mix of insecurities and growth at the center of the story.
7. Assassination Classroom
Assassination Classroom was probably one of my first 100 or so anime series. And even now it’s one of the best I’ve seen.
Koro Sensei teaches a class students, who are considered delinquents. The goal is to prepare them for a coming disaster.
The anime becomes more than this narrative, and is educational, inspiring, sad, and has tons of teachable moments.
8. Yona Of The Dawn
Yona Of The Dawn is about a red headed princess who’s almost killed in an assassination attempt. And is forced to go on the run.
For someone who’s had a sheltered life, she’s weak, naïve, useless, and has no real life skills that will help her survive.
The anime is about her progress, inner conflict, and how those around her help her grow stronger and more independent.
The anime is in desperate need of a 2nd season!
My Hero Academia
He gets lucky after meeting his hero, and gets a chance at becoming the hero he dreamed of being as a little kid.
At the heart of Deku’s story is hardship, rejection, bullying, and his journey in overcoming his weaknesses and shortcomings.
It’s not just Deku, it’s characters like Todoroki, Ochako, Tenya, and so many others.
Insecurities and personal growth.
10. How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift?
This is an anime about exercise, fitness, and personal development at its core. With comedy and humor slapped on top of it to make it entertaining.
It’s also an educational series, literally. Like the “personal fitness” version of Cells At Work.
Hibiki, the main character, is insecure about her weight. And becomes more confident after getting into fitness.
The anime also highlights the perception of “weight” from a woman’s point of view, and other things.
Hitoribocchi might seem just like a cute girls doing cute things anime, but it’s actually beyond that.
Hitori makes it into a new school, a school without her best friend. And that best friend encourages Hitori to make some friends by herself.
Being an introvert and having social anxiety, it’s asking a bit much. But that’s the point.
It’s about Hitori’s growth.
The anime’s relatable for people who aren’t the most socially adept just yet.
It makes uses of comedy in a slice of life format to tell the character’s stories.
12. Goblin Slayer
You might not see Goblin Slayer as an anime about insecurities or personal growth. But underneath the surface it is.
Ignoring the traumatic first episode, Onna (the blonde girl) goes through a lot of growth in the series. With the help of Goblin Slayer.
Her trauma from episode 1 is connected to her progress later.
As for Goblin Slayer, he starts to come out of his awkward, introverted shell that he’s been in because of past trauma.
But both are connected, mysteriously.
Without saying too much all the relevant characters grow in their own ways, and deal with their insecurities differently.
This makes each character relatable in one way or another. And it also makes them memorable since they’re well written and easy to identify with.
Re:Zero is about Subaru Natsuki, who dies and is reincarnated in a different world.
After being brutally murdered in the first episode, he finds out he’s able to “return by death” an infinite amount of times.
With 2 seasons out now, the anime is about his journey and personal progress. And how he makes sense of the f*cked up world he’s in.
One of his main motivation’s is Emilia, a girl he meets in episode 1. Not to mention the first person he bonds and connects with.
Few characters compare as far as Subaru’s realism, and the trauma he’s put through.
15. Perfect Blue
Perfect Blue is about Mima Kirigoe, a pop singer turned actress. She has die hard fans who obsess and even stalk her.
This gets worse when she quits being a pop singer since she’s so famous. The idol image suffocates her, and that’s her reason for stepping away from it.
This is a movie so I won’t share too much, but it does highlight insecurities in a way most anime can’t.
16. Lovely Complex
Lovely Complex exposes double standards we have in society, and how each gender is judged and expected to be.
Otani, the male MC is a short guy who’s self conscious about his height.
Girls make fun of him for it. Even to the point of saying you’re not a “man” if you’re too short.
Risa Koizumi, the female MC is a tall girl. Taller than usual. And deals with the same judgements and criticisms thanks to social conditioning.
It’s easy to see what the insecurities in this anime are about. Overtime you see the growth between both characters in different ways.
It’s about Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric. 2 kids who decide go to extremes to save their “dead” mother.
It backfires, and they’re both cursed in different ways as a form of karma.
The concept “the law of equivalent exchange” is a constant theme, meaning for everything you do, you get an equal amount back in return.
The reality isn’t so straightforward though, and the anime explores this in depth and has some solid writing.
18. Gurren Lagann
Gurren Lagann is the coolest looking Mecha series to exist. I stand on that. The main character KAMINA is a big part of it.
The 3 main characters, like many others, grew up underground. And are told to never attempt to reach the surface.
Kamina being ambitious can’t settle for that, and they all manage to break out and reach the surface. Or what we know as “earth”.
Everything about this anime is motivational. In some ways it even teaches you about what it means to be a man.
Let’s not forget the growth and insecurity aspects as well.
19. Interviews With Monster Girls
Interviews With Monster Girls is exactly that. Monster girls (a vampire, a succubus, Dullahan, etc).
They can’t seem to fit in with regular humans in their school, and one teacher in particular helps them out.
Being as fascinated as he is by them, he goes out of his own way to help them build confidence and break the ice with people who fear them.
It’s like therapy in a way, but the anime is comedic and definitely has some important life lessons.
20. New Game!
New Game! is about Aoba Suzukaze, a girl who’s dream is to work in a gaming company. And become part of the industry as a woman.
This is an important aspect of New Game. You get to see the perspectives of women working in the gaming industry, and the work schedule, etc.
In the end, New Game is about personal progress, but in a work, career context.
It has some of the freshest art in the anime industry.
21. A Place Further Than The Universe
A Place Further Than The Universe is about a group of girls who go on an adventure together. And the challenges they face along the way.
I’m surprised the anime is mentioned so little, especially when it first released back in 2018.
The Rising Of The Shield Hero
No proof, no hard evidence, no due diligence, nothing.
He’s banished and left to struggle on his own. And the news spreads far and wide.
This makes Naofumi angry and weary of people, especially since he was transported to this world in the first place. Making it even more unfamiliar.
All the controversy surrounded this anime when it released is nothing but a fallacy.
It’s an important anime with a lot of lessons to be learned from it.
23. Wonder Egg Priority
Wonder Egg Priority, when you break it down, is really about insecurities and personal growth.
It defines it.
Similar to Interviews With Monster Girls (but much deeper), this anime has a “therapy” element to it.
Each girl has their own problems as teenagers, and they’re given ways to deal with it. And help others along the way.
It’s a psychological series by the way. The interactions feel realistic and well done.
- Plastic Memories
- Skip Beat
- Kokoro Connect
- One Punch Man
- Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple
- Bloom Into You
What other anime can you think of?