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Old 2013-12-12, 22:29   Link #1
Fireminer
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Thumbs up Diseases in Anime

Just today that I realized that the only diseases that you could caught in the Anime/Manga world are Common Flu, High Deteriorating Rate, Cancer, and... Nothing! Excluding things like Blindness or Amnesia which is caused by accidents. Not even close to our top deathly diseases list.

So, why? Japanese health care system is really good? Bringing things like Tuberculosis to the screen is considered disgusting? Or because there are only a few Anime/Manga about professional medical like Black Jack?
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Old 2013-12-12, 23:51   Link #2
Konakaga
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You forgot the worst of all diseases in anime, the dreaded "key"-itis!
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Old 2013-12-13, 00:47   Link #3
FateAnomaly
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Are you saying TB is still common in your country?
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Old 2013-12-13, 00:51   Link #4
Fireminer
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Uh huh! TB is still a major and dreaded diseases in Vietnam. And with the rise of Diabetes and AIDS, it only get worse.
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Old 2013-12-13, 01:49   Link #5
Eisdrache
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1| Since we seem to have settled on TB, about 1% in Asia and Africa are infected with it. (wiki table 2007)

2| The health care system in Japan has close to zero relevance for producing anime. Let me tell you why: Because there is no damn reason for it.
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Old 2013-12-13, 02:06   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisdrache View Post
2| The health care system in Japan has close to zero relevance for producing anime. Let me tell you why: Because there is no damn reason for it.
Exactly. Aside from making good drama (and just saying "cancer" works for that one), what is the point of having diseases in anime? Seriously. No nation goes super-specific with diseases in their entertainment a lot unless it's based on some true story...not Hollywood, not Japan, not France...
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Old 2013-12-13, 09:23   Link #7
Triple_R
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A couple additional answers here, one in-canon and one meta...

1) As we probably all know, anime features a very high number of kid/teenage characters, and very few adults. There's a fair number of diseases that affect adults more than kids/teenagers, and some of them are very rarely found in kids/teenagers (arthritis, for example). Kids/teenagers in general tend to be pretty healthy relative to the adult population, except when it comes to more minor things, like the flu (I had the flu much more often as a kid than I do as an adult). So to a certain extent, it actually makes some in-canon sense that there's not that much specific disease going around in anime.

2) At a meta-level, writers know that if you give viewers something very specific and based in reality, they're going to expect you to "do the research" and present it with real world accuracy. Some writers just don't have the time to "do the research", and hence go with generic "sickness" so they can just bed-ridden the character, maybe give that character a high temperature or heart rate, and call it a day.
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Old 2013-12-13, 09:41   Link #8
SeijiSensei
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Anime does have a number of characters who suffer from mysterious illnesses; the girl in Moshidora is a good example. Sickly girls benefit from an extra dose of moe since they activate the fragility and protection aspects of that concept. The most obvious example is Misuzu from Air.

I will tip my hat to the manga-ka and producers of Space Brothers, though, for giving one of the characters a serious specifiable illness.
Spoiler for the disease:

There's also the "get sick if you get wet" meme that recurs with a vengeance in anime. I can't count the number of times a character has fallen into water or stood out in the rain then developed a cold or flu the very next day! Getting wet, even when it is cold, has little relevance to illness, and most viruses take at least three and often five days to incubate.

One thing I know for certain about the Japanese healthcare system is that they keep people hospitalized far longer than other advanced economies. Only South Korea comes close, and its average length of stay is less than half that of Japan's.
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Old 2013-12-13, 11:06   Link #9
Fireminer
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Thanks for all these answers! It's just that my father recently had to go researching about Disable people because of Fertilizer and Insecticide. After observing these poor souls, you must have asked yourself: Is this the projection of Hell?

Anyway, that reinforced another of my opinion: The diseases mostly occured inside the victim, like Cancer. Guess that only Horror genre could depicted the agony of people like patient of Leprosy patients.
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Old 2013-12-13, 12:12   Link #10
Dhomochevsky
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Your list of anime diseases is very uncomplete.

Let me help you:
1.) zombie-ism - infected by getting bitten by a zombie, or by getting resurrected by a kuudere mage
2.) vampirism - infected by getting bitten by a vampire, or through some techno-magical experiment
3.) metal-syndrome - turned to metal by tree of genesis
4.) laughing man malware - infected through wireless access
5.) sexual zombie-ism - quite similiar to traditional zombie-ism, but only happens in hentai
6.) coma - afflicted after dying in a VR-MMORPG
7.) chuunibyou - psychological disease caused by raging hormones
8.) crystallization - vector yet unknown, 'guilty crown' phenomen needs further observation
9.) the heat - afflicts catgirls, dog-girls and other females trending the furry line during fanservice episodes
10.) wild mutation - apparently caused by skin contact with some kind of crystal, reversible

And that's just off the top of my head.

Oh and by the way, the high rate of children in anime, whose parents are dead, so they are living alone, must have some cause.
We can blame about 50% of those to accidents involving cars and planes.
But the rest are more of a mystery and may hint to a great anime desease going on in the background, reaping mainly parents of main characters.

Last edited by Dhomochevsky; 2013-12-13 at 12:29.
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Old 2013-12-13, 13:31   Link #11
TheSix
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*great fictional disease.

Don't just say Anime has lots of dead protagonist parents, Bruce Wayne will get sad because you don't remember him ;_;
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Old 2013-12-13, 21:47   Link #12
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Tuberculosis is actually considered to be underreported and underdiagnosed in developing countries.
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Old 2013-12-13, 21:53   Link #13
Sackett
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I think the key point is to realize that illness in fiction serves a narrative purpose, and the diseases chosen must fit those narrative purposes, and that the most common disease that fits that purpose is likely to be chosen.

Narrative Needs:

1: A temporary illness that weakens a character providing an opportunity for another character to nurse them. Almost always this will be: the flu, a cold, or a fever. Since the differences are not that big in terms of symptoms, they often won't even clearly categorize it and just show the symptoms.

2: A terminal illness. Results in death, but leaves the character alive for a while so that their death can be anticipated, providing angst. Cancer is the number one pick for this. Why? Everyone knows what it is, it can effect anyone, and it can be a killer even in societies with highly advanced medicine. They could pick something more specific but why bother?

3: A non-terminal wasting illness. This will make a character weak and dependent on others. Most often seen in an "Ill Girl" character. This doesn't have a "standard" like the other two, but also is often never specified (usually with the justification that the ill character doesn't want people to know). Sometimes handwaved as "anemia," "low blood sugar," or "heart problems."

Note that Japan's health care is pretty much as high quality as European or American medicine. Tuberculosis, to cite the specific illness you mentioned, is pretty much a controllable illness in these societies. Same goes for leprosy. They may not even be diagnosed because the high levels of nutrition available mean the bodies natural defenses can prevent serious symptoms from appearing. Those types of illnesses are more likely to show up in a period piece, thus demonstrating how medicine has not yet advanced.
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Old 2013-12-14, 05:37   Link #14
Calca
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Originally Posted by Konakaga View Post
You forgot the worst of all diseases in anime, the dreaded "key"-itis!
Ya, only affects Mothers and Daughters
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Old 2013-12-14, 07:21   Link #15
Sheba
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Let's be honest here. Portraying small pox, black death, ebola, necrotizing fasciitis and more of those disfiguring diseases is not going to be fun for the animators and the target audience.
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Old 2013-12-14, 07:22   Link #16
RichardFromMarple
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Princess Mononoke briefly featured some lepers working as gunsmiths, but most of the time they were bandaged up to hide their sores.

Hikuru the main character in the Manga With The Light was autistic, which is a life long condition.

The late Keiko Tobe based the character on a son of a friend, & did a lot of research into the condition.
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Old 2013-12-14, 23:42   Link #17
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I would love to see an anime dealing about STDs.
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Old 2013-12-15, 02:21   Link #18
GundamZZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sackett View Post

2: A terminal illness. Results in death, but leaves the character alive for a while so that their death can be anticipated, providing angst. Cancer is the number one pick for this. Why? Everyone knows what it is, it can effect anyone, and it can be a killer even in societies with highly advanced medicine. They could pick something more specific but why bother?
Japanese entertainment industry loves tragedy. It is very typical in their anime, manga and novels. When the female protagonist has something she cannot reveal, the readers automatically assume the secret is the terminal illness.

Spoiler for less typical terminal illness:
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Old 2013-12-15, 07:28   Link #19
Fireminer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GundamZZ View Post
Japanese entertainment industry loves tragedy. It is very typical in their anime, manga and novels. When the female protagonist has something she cannot reveal, the readers automatically assume the secret is the terminal illness.

Spoiler for less typical terminal illness:
Can't blame them. Korean Drama is also like this.
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Old 2013-12-15, 10:06   Link #20
Iron Maw
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I would love to see an anime dealing about STDs.
Considering how often anime struggles with even getting to 1st base, I'd say don't hold breath.
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