Created By: hbi2k on November 9, 2009
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Angst Coma

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Refers to a situation in which a character enters a comatose or catatonic state that is either directly caused by his personal problems, or cured by dealing with his personal problems, or both. Often, the cure comes when the character confronts his demons in a hallucinatory Vision Quest, sometimes accompanied by one or more friends or loved ones who take a Journey to the Center of the Mind. For some reason, this condition is often associated with / exacerbated by Giant Mecha.

A subtrope of the more general Heroic B.S.O.D., this refers specifically to a comatose state to the exclusion of other forms of mental breakdown.

Compare Vision Quest and Journey to the Center of the Mind, which don't have to include the coma part or necessarily any angst. May overlap with Convenient Coma, which serves the plot rather than the character. See also: Wangst.

Examples:

Anime
  • In Vision of Escaflowne, Van goes into an Angst Coma after going berserk and killing a number of minor villains. Hitomi enters his mind to try to bring him out of it, but it is ultimately Merle's heartfelt pleas that do the job.
  • The Big O: In the first episode of the second season, the main character goes introspectively catatonic as he struggles to figure out just who -- and what -- he is.
  • In Elfen Lied, Kouta, the male lead, suffers amnesia and spends an entire year in a coma after watching his little sister Kanae and his father get slaughtered right in front of him by Lucy.
  • In the manga Chrono Crusade, after the carnival battle in volume 5, Chrono forces himself into a Convenient Coma to keep from hurting Rosette. It takes her going into his mind and digging around in his memories before he's prepared to continue on his quest.
  • In Gundam SEED, after the return to Earth, Kira Yamato goes into a coma, partly from the stress of re-entry, and partly because he failed to prevent the destruction of a shuttle full of refugees.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Satoko enters one after seeing her entire village massacred by a gas leak which she escaped by falling into a river.

Literature
  • Ender enters one for a few days near the end of Ender's Game when he discovers that he unwittingly won the war committed mass genocide against the buggers while believing he was only undergoing training for it. Possibly justified in that he was physically and mentally exhausted at the time: the angst was just what pushed him over the edge.
  • Talia of the Arrows trilogy lapses into a self-induced coma after being tortured nearly to death. Naturally, The Power of Love brings her back.

Television
  • In Carnivāle, Apollonia is in a vegetative state through which she can only communicate telepathically after giving birth to Sofie who was conceived via rape at the hands of Justin Crowe, thus bequeathing Sofie an avataric nature, which means her birth is traumatic to her mother, as per the show's mythology. Whew!.
  • In a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, Counselor Troi enlists the aid of a powerful alien telepath to enter the mind of her comatose mother and help her deal with her first daughter's death.
  • Buffy spends most of the episode "The Weight of the World" in one of these after Glory kidnaps Dawn.

Video Games
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud's coma midway through the game may have been caused by Mako poisoning, but it's not until he deals with his amnesia and other psychological disorders that he's cured.

Western Animation
  • In Season 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko undergoes a severe fever and enters a coma in which he has vivid dreams in which his uncle and sister appear as dragons and argue over his life choices. Iroh says that this is "not a natural illness" and the whole thing is apparently caused solely by Zuko's premature Heel–Face Turn.
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • November 7, 2009
    rbx5
    Heroic BSOD is probably broad enough to cover this, but I guess it could be a sub-trope.
  • November 7, 2009
    SNES
    In my very humble opinion, pruning the extremely broad Heroic BSOD isn't such a bad idea.
  • November 7, 2009
    Ronka87
    In that case, you could try trawling through Heroic BSOD to find some examples. (And be sure to cut them from the original page when this is launched-- don't need trope over-saturation.)
  • November 7, 2009
    hbi2k
    I like the idea of marking it as a subtrope of Heroic BSOD, so I changed the description to reflect it. If I have some time tonight I'll do as Ronka suggests and check that trope for more examples.
  • November 7, 2009
    Amazingly Enough
    An example from Heroic BSOD that would fit in this.

    • In Carnivale, Apollonia is in a permanent Heroic BSOD (i.e., a vegetative state through which she can only communicate telepathically) after giving birth to Sofie, who was conceived via rape at the hands of Justin Crowe, thus bequeathing Sofie an avataric nature, which means her birth is traumatic to her mother, as per the show's mythology.
  • November 8, 2009
    Amazingly Enough
    Post Traumatic Catatonia could be a good name, if you're looking for one.
  • November 8, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
  • November 8, 2009
    Game Chainsaw
    Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni. Satoko gets a particularly bad one after seeing her entire village massacred by a gas leak which she escaped by falling into a river.
  • November 8, 2009
    melloncollie
  • November 8, 2009
    John DiFool
    The Fisher King would certainly qualify (Robin Williams vehicle, not the original myth).
  • November 8, 2009
    Raven Wilder
    • Buffy spends most of the episode "The Weight of the World" in one of these after Glory kidnaps Dawn.
  • November 8, 2009
    Earnest
    Don't forget to link to/from Convenient Coma.
  • November 9, 2009
    henke37
    Please get a better image, the quality is horrible.
  • November 9, 2009
    hbi2k
    What's that? You volunteer to find me a better image? Wow, that's mighty nice of you. (-:
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