What is Evangelion depression?

This post answers: What is Evangelion depression? How is depression portrayed in the Evangelion? What can we learn about depression from Evangelion? What is depression? What are the symptoms of depression?  What are the causes of depression? What are the treatment options for depression?

What is Evangelion depression?

Evangelion is a psychological anime drama written in the form of Mecha. Apart from its immense popularity among anime loves, the show is also considered one of the best fictional depictions of depression. It is inspired by the deepest psychological principles and thoughts of Carl Jung and Freud.

The show is about a teenager named Shinji Ikari, who is asked to join and work for an organization named Nerv in order to fight beings known as Angels in the show. Shinji pilots an advanced machine known as Evangelion for combatting Angels and succeeds several times. The show was inspired by the writer’s own struggle with depression as well. The show became so famous that it led to the creation of a whole franchise known as the Evangelion franchise.

How is depression portrayed in the Evangelion?

In the show, we see Shinji’s struggles with living. Depression has almost snatched speech from him. He doesn’t talk to anyone and stays silent almost throughout the show. He repeatedly listens to the same songs, and could often be seen in a state of contemplation. He sees life as meaningless.

The meaninglessness of his life pushes him towards nihilism, a point where he clearly doesn’t see any utility in his living. He compares his life with other people and sees how they are happy, and he is not, which makes him angry and sad at the same time. He even sleeps on a public bench alone during one of his severe depressive episodes. Shinji repeatedly describes himself and his life as worthless. He feels like he has nothing to be proud of. He feels sad even when people praise him. He is so frustrated with his life that he considers himself unable to feel anything positive.

These are all clear-cut symptoms of depression. People with depression remain sad, consider themselves and their lives worthless, are unable to feel anything positive, and are unable to maintain positive relationships with people. All these characteristics are evident in Shinji’s character. Shinji feels helpless in the face of his depression. People encourage him, from time to time, to stop being sad and depressed, but it doesn’t work for him.

What can we learn about depression from Evangelion?

Some elements we learn about depression from Evangelion are : 

Depression is a personal problem

Evangelion gives us a great and deep insight into the problem of depression. The best thing about its depiction of depression is that it portrays depression as a personal problem. This is very true of depression. The best psychological cure for depression is understanding the importance of personal responsibility.

Once people with depression understand that their depression is not due to other people, they start realizing that they are the ones who can change their fate. Shinji gradually realizes this fact as the show proceeds.

You can’t beat depression without facing it

One of the prominent themes in Evangelion is Shinji’s battles with the Angels. These are giant monstrous creatures that are threatening to destroy humanity. Facing them is the only wise way forward. This is true of depression.

Depression is no different than a giant monster that wants to engulf and destroy. You have either the option of staying silent and doing nothing, which would surely lead to your destruction by the monster. Or, you can muster up the courage, face the monster, fight it, and hopefully defeat it. This is exactly what Shinji does. He fights the monsters and defeats them.

You are brave

When Shinji defeats several Angels, it gives him an insight into his own potential. He regarded himself as worthless. Defeating the Angels helps him realize that he is way stronger than he thinks he is. 

When people realize that they are brave enough to face their depression, it goes away on its own. This is deeply rooted in psychoanalytic thought. Freud repeatedly emphasized that you cannot get rid of your unconscious worries and conflicts unless you face them with bravery.

You have to connect with other people

Shinji is being forced by his father to join the Nerv and fight the Angels. This shows that people with depression are often voluntarily not ready to face their unconscious conflicts. It is not easy to face depression. 

We also see that Shinji becomes more confident and brave as he fights the Angels. His confidence is boosted by the help of the Nerv crew. This shows that although your depression is your own, you cannot completely defeat it on your own.

Love is the best cure

Shinji feels attracted to Asuka, a Japanese-American girl. She almost acts like a messiah in his life and triggers positive feelings of love in him. 

Shinji feels relieved after his encounter with Shinji. This is helpful in understanding depression. Shinji feels better after he gradually comes out of his isolation and connects with other people.

You have to connect with other people and seek their help. People with depression often get isolated, which worsens their depression. It’s only after they decide to socialize a bit that they start experiencing some relief.  

Get out of unrealistic guilt

The show also shows us that depression is about unrealistic guilt. Shinji feels extremely guilty after he had to kill Kawrou. He didn’t do anything bad because he was saving humanity by killing Kawrou. However, the guilt he felt, as a result, spiraled him into depression.

Depression is rooted in unconscious conflicts

The show teaches us that depression is often highly rooted in unresolved old childhood unconscious conflicts. We see that Asuka’s mind gets infected by an Angel, which pushes her into the hell of her unconscious traumas.

Harmony is the way forward

The ending of the show reveals that strength lies in unity. The cure for misery, depression, suffering, loneliness, and alienation is nothing but the harmonious unity of all mankind. An environment that is full of harmony and support is one of the best cures for depression. In the end, Shinji realizes that he needs the help of other people in order to survive, and that breaks him free from his depression forever.

What is depression?

Depression is one of the most common serious mental health conditions that negatively impact how an individual feels and thinks.

Depression is associated with feelings of sadness, a loss of interest in daily activities, and drastic changes in the energy level and the daily routines of an individual.

Depression in itself can lead to other physical and emotional problems which can be detrimental to a person’s functioning.

The symptoms of depression can vary from individual to individual from mild to severe depending on various factors.

Studies indicate that depression affects about 15% of adults every year and one in every six people experience depression at some time in their life.

Although depression can occur at any age it is more common among teenagers and early adults. Research indicates that women are more vulnerable to depression than men.

What are the symptoms of depression?

The characteristic symptoms of depression are:

  • Feelings of sadness or depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in activities enjoyed in the past
  • Changes in appetite leading to weight gain or weight loss
  • Changes in sleep patterns with very little sleep or long hours of sleep
  • Decrease in the level of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling guilty
  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  • In severe cases thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms of depression must last up to two weeks and cause significant impairment in an individual’s daily functioning to meet the diagnosis of depression.

What are the causes of depression?

Depression can be caused due to several factors such as:


Age might be an important factor in understanding the severity of depression in people. Reports indicate that elderly people are at higher risk of depression than the.


Another very common reason for individuals to experience depression is a conflict that can be internal or external. Many individuals are biologically vulnerable to high levels of conflict falling prey to depression more easily.

Major life events

Many individuals might also experience depression due to major life events such as the death or loss of something very personal.


Reports indicate that women are more likely you get depressed the reason for this is not explained in much detail but it is believed that the hormonal changes that women experience might contribute to their higher likelihood of experiencing depression.


Certain over-the-counter medications might also lead to depression in many individuals such as isotretinoin interferon-alpha and corticosteroids.

Serious illnesses

In many cases, depression occurs as a comorbid condition with other illnesses that individuals are experiencing be it physical psychological.

Substance misuse

It is found that about 30% of individuals with drug abuse and misuse are diagnosed with clinical depression.


Individuals who have a history of depression in their family are more likely to experience depression than those who do not. This indicates that depression can be genetic to some extent like many other I kept disorders.

What are the treatment options for depression?

Depression though widespread is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. About 90% of people with depression respond well to treatment.

Some possible treatment options for depression are


Antidepressants are very commonly prescribed by doctors to individuals with depression. These medications are not sedatives or tranquilizers. They generally do not have any stimulating effects on people who do not experience depression.

Antidepressants usually show their effects within a few weeks. However, in cases where patients do not see any improvement after several weeks, they can alter their doses based on the suggestions provided by their health care practitioners.


Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy. It is used as a single mode of treatment for mild depression or for moderate to severe depression along with antidepressants.

Psychotherapy might involve the individual alone or other related individuals for instance the family of the concerned person.

Depending on the severity of depression psychotherapy might take a few weeks or much longer for significant improvement

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy where the therapist actively focuses on problem-solving. This is done by helping individuals replace their negative thoughts with more positive ones.

Electroconvulsive therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy is a treatment model that is commonly used for patients with severe and major depression who usually do not respond to other lines of treatment.

It involves brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia.

Patients receive electroconvulsive therapy two or three times a week for a total of 6 to 12 sessions.

Self-help and coping strategies

Apart from therapy and medicine individuals can also carry out some self-help coping strategies such as carrying out regular exercises, getting sufficient sleep, indulging in pleasurable activities, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding alcohol to reduce their symptoms of depression


Depression, as a theme, is very clear in Evangelion. Shinji is a teenage boy who finds life completely unbearable and wonders why he is not happy. The writer of the show says that he had been going through terrible depression, almost for four years, when he was writing Evangelion. The show teaches us that depression is curable only through facing it, being brave enough to fight it, and through connecting with other people, and seeking their help.

Frequently asked questions: What is Evangelion depression?

Is Evangelion a Mecha or a drama?

Evangelion is a psychological drama written in the form of Mecha.

What are the common mental disorders depicted in Evangelion?

The common mental disorder depicted in Evangelion is Depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety.

Who wrote and directed Evangelion?

Evangelion is an anime series written and directed by the Japanese writer and director Hideaki Anno.