: Everyone has a different theory...
This character's behaviour is so bizarrely outside the norm that Real Life
psychologists would be scrambling for the diagnostic manual to try to figure out what to diagnose them with. It's way
beyond mere ordinary quirkiness. No reasons are given for the strange behaviour. No specific diagnosis is ever mentioned in the story. In fact, any resemblance to any real disorder is likely accidental; the character's symptoms are exactly those symptoms the writer wants them to have. It is a case of Ambiguous Disorder.
The disordered behaviour will often be Played for Laughs
. This technique is generally used to avoid writing yet another Patient of the Week
story about some specific disorder and to focus on the laugh-producing elements without having to deal with the serious issues. Or, less generously, to mock the kooky outer aspects of mental illness without the risk of getting angry letters.
In the instances where this trope is played seriously, the character usually overlaps with The Spock
, Pinocchio Syndrome
, or Tin Man
and focus on this character's struggle to befriend people or otherwise fit into society.
A lot of mentally ill people in classical literature, especially from the 19th century and earlier, tend to be this; psychiatry was a very young field back then (and, until a certain point in history, didn't exist at all), and so there was no manual to turn to if you wanted to give your character odd quirks.
Compare The Disease That Shall Not Be Named
, Soap Opera Disease
, Victorian Novel Disease
, and G-Rated Mental Illness
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Anime & Manga
- Osaka from Azumanga Daioh thinks in ways so completely different from other people that it's easy to think she might be mentally disabled in some way. She's dreamy and inattentive, prone to weird misunderstandings, has poor motor control, and occasionally seems to suffer from actual hallucinations. But although she seems mentally slow, she gets only slightly below average grades at a regular school and manages to socialize more-or-less normally. She even has some Genius Ditz tendencies: she's prone to penetrating insights that escape all the other characters, she's surprisingly well-versed in some obscure topics like marine biology, and her odd way of looking at the world makes her extremely good at certain kinds of riddles. The joke here — which can easily escape Western viewers — is that Osaka's spacey, laid-back personality makes her a humorous inversion of the stereotypical brash, loudmouthed, Hot-Blooded Idiot From Osaka.
- Apachai Hopachai of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple acts childlike to a degree that goes way beyond the usual Man Child level.
- Inspector Lunge. Absent staring, hand-tics, Spock Speak, socially clumsy, isolated, compulsively obsessive. It's especially weird that nobody ever mentions any possible diagnosis, considering the manga's protagonist is a doctor and several characters who are psychologists, though mostly of the forensic variety, also feature prominently.
- Johan, the eponymous Monster, has many strange qualities (that is, beyond his ruthless manipulations, homicidal mania, and stated ambition to Kill All Humans). The product of a twisted and aborted-too-late Gone Horribly Right social experiment to produce The Übermensch, he comes across as Bored With Insanity, has a tendency to cross-dress as his own twin sister, and had at least one massive Freak Out when he came across a book from his childhood that was severe enough to leave him in a coma. He has reckless and suicidal tendencies but wants to die by another's hand and a pretty bleak view of the human condition and life itself.
- Bakuman。: Eiji Niizuma has extremely odd sitting patterns, demonstrates some trouble with social conventions and nonverbal clues, and has an obsessive interest and talent in a particular subject. Ice Queen Aiko Iwase also qualifies.
- Edward from Cowboy Bebop is ludicrously intelligent but shows absolutely no ability (or inclination) to socialize in a remotely normal fashion for even brief periods. She almost always skips, cartwheels or dances instead of walking, and she sings improvised songs about whatever she's doing, often as a substitute for normal conversation. Her closest friend is a hyperintelligent, non-talking dog.
- White from Tekkon Kinkreet: there's definitely something mentally different about him, but it's impossible to distinctly tell what. He's exceedingly childish for his age, refusing to bathe unless prompted and unable to tie his own shoes at age ten. Yet at the same time White has a... ''vivid'' imagination and occasionally a strange, almost cosmic insight.
- Detective Conan:
- Hattori Heiji's really thick about other people's feelings, bad at picking up social cues, and extremely awkward a lot of the time. He can't lie without stuttering and giggling like an idiot, and he latches onto ideas or interests and does not let them go. For example, when he first became friends with Conan, he talked about Shinichi SO incessantly that his childhood friend believes him to have a girlfriend in Tokyo with the last name Kudo. He's also extremely adept at remembering little details and noticing anything out of the ordinary, no matter how minor.
- The protagonist, Shinichi Kudo/Conan: In the first episode, he does not know when to stop rambling on about Holmes and Conan Doyle and talks to Ran about it the entire time they are at the roller coaster. Even whenever he dates her and starts off wanting to tell her his feelings, instead he ends up gabbing about Holmes again. He is not very social and it is implied that many of his teachers and classmates believed him to be arrogant and self-absorbed. Also, he seems to be quite blunt and unaware of social tact.
- Considering how quirky most of the characters in Eyeshield 21 are, the fact that both Shin and Tetsuma are both considered a little "off" by both the other characters and standards of the series says something:
- Shin speaks in monotone with textbook level formality, has an encyclopedic knowledge of everything related to physical fitness (he maintains a VERY strict nutrition plan and seems to be very well-read on human anatomy), and absolute devotion to improving himself as a football player. At the same time, he speaks his mind in the most direct way possible (both positively and negatively), has no interpersonal skills or awareness of social norms (he doesn't see anything wrong with walking around shirtless), and is completely oblivious about anything that's not football or school related (when his teammate Sakuraba grows a beard, gets a crew-cut, and starts training harder, the only thing Shin notices is that Sakuraba's muscle tone has improved). Nonetheless, he's very respectful and always means well, so the few friends he has seem to take his many idiosyncrasies in stride.
- Tetsuma is very literal-minded, even more oblivious to social norms then Shin (as well as being an expert on his position), and can't seem to function normally without his best friend to tell him what to do. When he does speak (which he'll only do if someone specifically tells him to speak), it's very robotic and formal. Most likely because of his difficulty in interacting with people, he dearly treasures his friendship with Kid, who accepts him regardless.
- Lain in her initial appearances within Serial Experiments Lain, she shows impairment in the use of nonverbal behaviors, has developed few peer relationships and the ties with two of her friends are very weak, does not show enthusiasm to seek enjoyment or socialization with others, and lacks social or emotional reciprocity. She also rarely speaks, and cannot converse well or start/hold a prolonged conversation. Finally, she becomes unusually enthralled by computer/technological objects and their construction as the series goes on. Never mind the loss of sense of time and space, vivid hallucinations(?), moments of amnesia, hearing voices... All possibly justified from being an Artificial Human. Or the Anthropomorphic Personification of the Internet. Or something.
- Jirarudan/Lawrence III from Pokémon 2000. He's an art collector of a ridiculously high magnitude who seems to have learned social skills entirely by rote, has a narrow and fixed attention span, wears a long coat with an undershirt to tropical islands in the middle of summer, has almost no change in facial expression or vocal intonation despite living by his passions, seems to have difficulty recognizing cues from others, and takes everything, including the legend and Misty screaming at him, only by the words presented without considering tone or alternate meaning.
- Nozomu "Mr. Despair" Itoshiki of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. Focuses on one topic for an incredible amount of time; depressive and paranoid to a nearly delusional degree (although it's Played for Laughs); is a self-proclaimed master of not looking people in the eye due to a family custom that would force him to marry the first person he makes eye contact with. The rest of his family have their own quirks and likely played a large role in making him the dysfunctional mess he is.
- Yuuki Rieko of 14Juicy displays a limited emotional range and seems to have no interest in, or aptitude for, anything but soccer.
- Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke. At the age of fifteen she's never made a single friend, and frequently misinterprets social cues with hilarious results. She doesn't seem to find this at all weird. Though this is mostly explained by her frightening appearance causing people to avoid her and her resulting social inexperience.
- Several protagonists in the Gundam franchise have traits like this. Seems to have something to do with being a Newtype.
- Amuro Ray of the original Mobile Suit Gundam is capable of social interaction, but absolutely hates it. He's paranoid, prone to focusing on himself, and in his Establishing Character Moment, is shown sitting in his room in his underwear, not having eaten in a day, looking at a computer chip through a microscope and studiously ignoring the evacuation siren blaring outside. His friend Frau specifically states that this isn't uncommon behaviour, and that his neighbour was supposed to come in and tell him if the siren was going off.
- Kamille Bidan of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam has similar Newtype traits to Amuro in addition to a volatile temper and a near-genius intellect, but is also capable of compassion. Big Bad and sort of Shadow Archetype to Kamille Paptimus Scirocco is similar but has incredible disdain for people and an extreme Lack of Empathy in addition to a charming facade that he uses to manipulate people to work for him, several textbook signs of sociopathy.
- Kira Yamato of Gundam SEED shares many of Amuro's personality traits; the main difference is that he tries to be social (despite sucking at it) while Amuro deliberately avoids other people at all times.
- Stellar Loussier from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny functions like someone much younger than her chronological age thanks to Neo's periodic mindwipes and the cocktails of drugs she's regularly given, but put her inside a mobile suit and she becomes an Idiot Savant. It's implied that much of this is the result of PTSD from witnessing the horrors of war, but we don't get enough of her backstory to say for certain.
- Tiffa Adill from After War Gundam X is a Mysterious Waif who in the beginning largely keeps to herself and fixates on creepy drawings she makes to express her emotions, wears loose-fitting clothing that looks like something a girl with sensory integration issues would wear and demonstrates a form of Spider-Sense in additional to more explicitly supernatural Seers abilities. The fact that she herself questions whether she's really a Newtype makes it even more ambiguous.
- Shu Ouma from Guilty Crown is an Extreme Doormat with No Social Skills who admits to himself that his mind might be out of step with everyone else's, and has only made "friends" by going along with what other people say. When he makes a carelessly cold remark about someone else and is reprimanded for it, he can only think about his own feelings that were hurt, rather than feeling bad about what he said. He also has trouble with making eye contact with other people. One could make the argument that the's on the autism spectrum, given his aforementioned feelings of disconnection from other people, difficulty making friends and fear of eye contact.
- Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury from Sailor Moon is incredibly intelligent, but has a hard time making friends or fitting in with kids her own age, and often comes off as cold and unemotional to her peers. This is even more pronounced in the live-action version, where she also displays a complete inability to understand sarcasm, hyperbole, or social cues (which is Played for Drama a few times).
- Eru Chitanda of Hyouka gets easily distracted and has an outright obsession with mysteries, and isn't able to stop thinking about them until she solves them. It's also implied she may have some sensory integration issues and seems to have much sharper senses than other people.
- Fruits Basket:
- Ren has some sort of intense codependency focused on her husband — so much so that years after his death, she remains intensely hostile to the point of extreme emotional abusiveness toward any female character she saw as a rival for his affection, including her own daughter. This seems reflect insecurity over class issues in their relationship — Ren was a lowly maid before the head of the household fell in love with her — but her behavior is so extreme that it's hard to believe she wasn't a bit unhinged even before; at one point, her response to feeling as if her "mind is very clear" is to take a knife and threaten her own child with it, to get back an empty box. The most we're told is that she's "a little sick, mentally and physically", but no specifics are given.
- Akito shows similar behavior. Intense co-dependency towards the other Zodiacs (to the point of having a complete breakdown at the thought of any of them leaving) just the tip of the iceberg. Akito has also been known to physically and mentally assault anyone who threatens what she considers to be the happy little world the Zodiac all live in. She has no friends outside of the Zodiac, and even those relationships are awkward and strained. While more than a little of this is likely the result of Akito's abuse at the hands of Ren, it's also hinted that Akito inherited some sort of mental instability from Ren and/or Akira.
- Machi seems to have some sort of disorder, too, although it's considerably more subdued than Akito's or Ren's. She has no friends (except her half-brother), dangerously low self-esteem, and trouble communicating with people in general. And then she feels compelled to ruin things when they're too "perfect", either methodically or in fits of violence. Presumably this is because of all the stress and anxiety that she built up trying to be a "perfect child", all compounded when her parents essentially declared her a failure and shifted their affections to her little brother.
- Generally Played for Laughs, but the extremely strange behavior of most of the cast of Axis Powers Hetalia coupled with how they've lived through countless years of wars, diseases, and other difficult times makes one wonder.
- Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail is extremely socially awkward and serious, and holds other people to such high standards that she tends to drive them away. Much of this can be explained by her traumatic childhood and the fact that she hasn't been very well socialized with other people.
- Ellis in El Cazador de la Bruja is somewhere between this and a Cloudcuckoolander. Possibly explained by her being an Artificial Human.
- The character Satsuki Yatouji from X1999 is a computer genius and one of the world's most dangerous hackers. In her personal life she mostly avoids contacts with other people (and is frequently annoyed by it) and spends most of her time connected to the supercomputer Beast. She is also extremely rational and seems to have problems with understanding human emotions.
- Death Note:
- Super-detectives L and Near have several odd tics and habits and a near genius intellect that highly suggest some manner of disorder, though nothing's ever spelled out in the series.
- Villain Protagonist Light Yagami is also undeniably insane, but it's never clarified where exactly it comes from. Between his monster god complex, inability to cope with any perceived evil, and constant manic laughter, there's something definitely wrong with him; that's all without even discussing the fact that he picks up mass-murder like a new, exciting hobby. For the record, Word of God states that Light went off the deep end was because he was a perfectionist and couldn't reconcile that with the fact that he had unintentionally murdered someone except through Insane Troll Logic.
- In Free!, if it weren't entirely Played for Laughs Haruka's obsession with water and swimming, to the point that he once attempts to dive into a fish tank after stripping down to his swimsuit in a pet store, would almost certainly result in someone trying to diagnose him with a disorder. He's also extremely socially awkward and very blunt when interacting with others, which isolates him from most of his peers.
- Aku no Hana:
- Sawa Nakamura is manipulative, constantly lying, has no regard for social conduct or other people's property, prone to violent and profane outbursts, and pretty much can only express herself via anger. At most, her classmates just treat her as that weird girl who sits in the back of the room. Her family, even though they worry about her, just leaves her to her own devices.
- The main character, Takao Kasuga, whose obsessive fixations, self-loathing, and sexual frustration go far beyond typical teenage Wangst.
- Area 88, the 2004 TV anime version:
- Shin Kazama only speaks when absolutely necessary and has a blunted affect. He's socially awkward, as seen with how he interacts with Ryoko in flashbacks. He's aloof and detached from the other pilots at Area 88, and only slightly less so with friends such as Kim and Mickey. He demonstrated this behavior before his time at Area 88, so it can't be attributed to depression or war trauma.
- Mickey has a somewhat bipolar temperament. He can be cheerful and gregarious in some situations, and extremely angry at other times. He's prone to violence, as demonstrated when he punches Makoto Shinjou in the first episode and beats him within an inch of his life in the last episode. It's not clear if this is Mickey's default personality or a result of his war trauma.
- Hime Shirayuki/Cure Princess from Happiness Charge Pretty Cure seems to suffer from sensory overload issues when more than one person tries to speak to her or when she hears loud music. A Running Gag in early episodes is that she usually becomes overwhelmed to the point that she physically flees the room when in these types of situations. She also displays a general lack of knowledge of how to behave in most social situations.
- In Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, despite Mashiro's behavior, it's never outright stated that she has a mental disorder. The closest thing her dormmates did to name her a disorder was for Sorata to call her "special", having been fed up with her antics earlier that day.
- In Pokémon Special, Black is so focused on his goals that he needs his Munna to literally eat his dreams in order to focus on the task at hand. Attempts to do so without clearing his mind causes him to overload his brain and faint. He does eventually get a little better whenever White is concerned, but it still takes a lot of considerable effort. Black also has No Social Skills as a result of being so focused; he isn't inherently a Jerk Ass, but often he honestly just doesn't notice how his actions can inconvenience or hurt others.
- The Nuns of Kuragehime clearly have something, what with their singular obsessions, various tics, and near-total inability to interact with anyone outside of each other, but this isn't focused on and usually only pops up as a source of comedy.
- One of the first things the audience learns of Shiro of No Game No Life is that she has a communication disorder. In Japanese parlance, that is a catch-all phrase that covers not only what is strictly the medical definition of the term, such as Speech Impediment, but also such things as social anxiety or autism.
- The protagonist Tomoko from No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular seems to live this trope. She's extremely socially awkward, to the point of being incapable of talking to anyone who isn't her relative or best friend without stuttering and stumbling over the simplest of words several times. She also seems to view herself as superior to other people for no good reason, often taking anime and manga clichés as her stepping stones to becoming popular but they generally end up failing. While the series is playing it for comedy at times, it gets Played for Drama just as often.
- Saori from Wandering Son is asocial and moody beyond the normal pubescent awkwardness. She's shown to have not have any friends most of her life and goes near hikikomori once. She Cannot Tell a Joke, has terrible social skills, and is awkwardly blunt. When confronted with a friendship issue Saori decides to ruin her 2-year friendships and avoid them.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Jericho has a case of this which is not played for laughs, but rather for drama. The narrator Jericho has one of these. While his behavior is often kooky and generally silly (like monologing his life aloud), at times he gets downright evil (being mentally unable to comprehend how beating a girl into unconsciousness was wrong). Word of God states Jericho has a real condition, but the author refuses to admit what it is. As such, there's a lot of guessing by the fans as to what condition he really has..
- John Egbert in Homestuck fanfic Brainbent is the only person in St. Lobaf whose disorder is unclear, though fans speculate that he has schizophrenia.
- Sai in Second Bloom is not very social, very good at art, loves bright colors, has a lisp and is a little slow, but since this is the shinobi world, they don't identify it.
- Otacon's portrayal in Stray maintains the Ambiguously Disordered traits he has in canon, but adds a few new symptoms - he's not great with metaphors and figurative language and it's mentioned at one point that he can find facial expressions hard to read.
- In the Sherlock fanfic Baker School Blitz, while everyone at Baker Boarding House has some sort of mental disorder or disability, since it's a special school for the disabled, no one explicitly comments on the nature of Sherlock's disorder, nor that of his brother, Mycroft.
- A recurring theme in Gender Confusion, during one arc, is the author attempting to find a credible diagnosis for some of the characters using Zetsu as the resident psychologist. Subverted after a believable conclusion actually is drawn, rather than left ambiguous for the whole story.
- Caim from Mass Effect Human Revolution is clearly heavily traumatized by his past, but there's no DSM-recognised anxiety disorder that can be staved off by harming others.
- Ada Linus from The Bombshell is shy, has an adverse reaction to touch and noise, has certain habits she strictly adheres to such as wearing the same clothes for days at a time, and has a difficult time reading emotions and body language as well as idioms, among other things. She also exhibits an extreme fascination with all things technical.
- Gensokyo 20 XX:
- When Yukari had gone insane, remaining like that for about two stories, she was prone to wandering around, which occasionally involves searching for Ran like a lost pet, screaming at random periods (whether or not that is part of it is left up in the air), going ballistic at a moment's notice (according to Amoridere), rambling, and generally incoherent most of the time. By the time of Gensokyo 20XXV, she seems to have regained her sanity, aside from the bouts of Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!!
- Reimu has mood swings during the events of 20XXIV and, later in 20XXV, chapter 54, it is revealed she periodically stares into nothing, muttering nonsensically or in what she used to communicate in, along with catatonia. It was also noted that she seemed to have some sort of psychosis.
- Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces. He's a hoarder, a massive conspiracy theorist, and an extreme luddite and creature of habit.
- Lisbeth Salander of The Millennium Trilogy. She exhibits several oddities, including Photographic Memory, extremely selective interests (mathematics and computer hacking), and very few changes in expression or vocal tone. The author said he envisioned her as somebody who has turned into "somewhat of a sociopath" from incredibly traumatic experiences, or how a modern-day Pippi Longstocking might turn out after growing up as an mentally odd orphan handled by the somewhat infamous Swedish bureaucratic system.
- No clear diagnosis for Matt is ever given in Peter Pays Tribute. He carries a bottle of Febreeze with him to public restaurants for fun, apparently.
- In the book Changeling by Delia Sherman, it's strongly implied that Changeling has been diagnosed with something, but it's never stated what.
- Colin from An Abundance of Katherines — his social skills are a mess. His only real friend in high school actually needs to tell him when his conversation topics are boring. They become friends after he thinks it is funny to refer to his eye as a "pupillary sphincter." His friend, who was home-schooled up until that point, remarks something along the lines of, "I've only been in public school for 2 days, and I know that your sphincter is not something you talk about."
- In Peter F. Hamilton's The Dreaming Void, implants giving people their own built-in "heads-up display" are ubiquitous, but only Troblum is described as having or needing a "protocol behaviour program" to prompt him through ordinary social situations. He's got an obsessive interest in a thousand-years-past war (that just so happens to be the subject of the two previous books set in that universe) and is explicitly stated to have no real ties to anyone in the Commonwealth.
- Sherlock Holmes as portrayed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Later depictions of the character can differ, but the original stories make it fairly clear that it's not just that Holmes is incredibly smart — his brain works in a different way from most people. He's got a hefty dose of social awkwardness and assorted weird behavioral quirks to go along with the extreme intelligence and perspicacity, as well.
- The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime: the main character is clearly non-neurotypical, and readers almost invariably assume he's autistic, but no diagnosis is stated in the book — and in fact the author has said he didn't intentionally base the character's behaviour on any specific disorder.
- Daymar the wizard from the Dragaera books is truly brilliant, but also extremely Literal-Minded, and oblivious to social cues unless they're explicitly spelled out — and after they are explicitly spelled out, he never shows even a trace of embarrassment about how awkward his own behavior was.
- Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a more serious example of this. He was held back for being "emotionally damaged", but the disorder is never named. He seems to have trouble in social situations and seems to be very sheltered from normal life.
- Jay in the Spaceforce series is clearly not quite normal by the standards of his own species, the Taysans, and perhaps even by human standards. His commander Salthar describes him as a 'sociopath', but this seems to be because, unlike most Taysans, he's adept at lying and has no shame when it comes to pursuing sexual liaisons. However, despite his ruthlessness and tendency to be a Manipulative Bastard, he is capable of feeling love and loyalty.
- Bella from Twilight. By her own admission, she has trouble connecting with people in general. Apparently her only friend in Phoenix was her mother, who she still forgets to write to when in Forks. She becomes extremely obsessed with things like becoming a vampire, while making no plans for things like college or a career. She becomes so unhealthily obsessed with Edward that when he leaves her, she first is catatonic and then makes no effort to move on with her life, instead choosing to spend her college money on motorcycles and nearly killing herself cliff diving. She gives very little thought to the consequences of her actions, and tends to not understand why people react the way they do.
- The narrator of Oh, the Humanity!: A Gentle Guide to Social Interaction for the Feeble Young Introvert has a pretty spectacular one, mixed with generous doses of denial and Know-Nothing Know-It-All. Traits include an obsession with germs, total disinterest in other people's lives ("I meant to call you to tell you you have so much to live for...I'm sorry, I've just been doing so much gardening lately"), a grasp on human interaction that can at best be called fumble-fingered, an inability to focus or prioritize (at one point delaying a pub crawl for two hours because he forgot to give his parakeet its ear medication, and didn't like to wake it up), and massive, hubristic pride in the social skills he does not in fact possess. It's unclear how much of this emerged from his Hilariously Abusive Childhood.
- A side story in The Dresden Files, told from Murphy's point of view, makes Harry Dresden an in-universe example of this: From most Muggles' viewpoint, Dresden, a self-declared wizard, has a tendency to poke around crime scenes, looking or asking for things like toenail clippings or hair straws, mumbling to himself and never looking people in the eyes. In addition to this is his at-times-dubious personal hygiene, Man Child personality, near-pathological need to snark at and gainsay authority figures, and Nerves of Steel that make it unnerving when he seldom shows outwards reactions to things normal people would lose their wits over. The end result is that it makes him seem, at best, a high-functioning but very eccentric autistic. By reading most of the books (which are from Harry's point of view), most of these behavior patterns are explained logically, but that doesn't make him seem any less weird to the muggles he must uphold The Masquerade to.
- Gracie Milne, a minor character in Tipping the Velvet, is a bit like this. She doesn't really have any identifiable symptoms, but she's definitely more than a little odd, acts rather young for her age, and she may have sensory processing differences considering her fixation with colors.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
- Fregley has no friends and is blissfully unaware that his bizarre behavior disgusts others. He's a more negative portrayal, with his social deviations shown as weird and repulsive. This could be a case of Unreliable Narrator, since Greg Heffley (the narrator) is just a kid and probably doesn't know much about any disorders that Fregley might have. His repulsiveness in Greg's eyes could just be due to a lack of understanding.
- Greg himself seems to display some mixture of narcissism, OCD, and sociopathy.
- Harry Potter:
- Luna Lovegood could have some kind of personality disorder, probably because of her upbringing under her eccentric father Xenophilius (who himself is an odd duck) combined with witnessing her mother's death and being socially isolated for her outlandish ideas. However, she's a very wise girl with a strong sense of empathy and understanding of people, especially Harry.
- The books heavily imply that pre-Voldemort Tom Riddle was a sociopath, but it's never directly stated what precisely is wrong with him. He sees absolutely no value in forming relationships with others unless there is some benefit in it for him, he is completely incapable of feeling love in any capacity, he enjoys working alone and refuses to confide in any of his "friends", he is disturbingly good at understanding how to manipulate people into doing what he wants, and can kill anyone, from babies to his own remaining family, without any hint of remorse. Word of God also states that being conceived under a love potion left him completely unable to experience or understand love.
- Harry himself also shows symptoms of PTSD during book five.
- Severus Snape is a genius when it comes to magic; he exhibits a narrow, intense interest in magical studies and, as a preteen during his first year at Hogwarts, knew more about dark magic than most seventh-years did. But on the flip side, he's twitchy, reclusive, lacking in social graces, and generally creepy and off-putting.
- Jeremy Clockson in Thief of Time, who has No Social Skills and becomes agitated to the point of violence when confronted with inaccurate timekeeping. He also has medicine, so presumably he has been diagnosed with something, but we never learn what (and this being Discworld, where No Sense of Humor is Nichtlachen-Keinwortz Syndrome, it's unlikely the diagnosis was anything a Roundworld psychologist would recognise).
- Fifty Shades of Grey:
- Anastasia Steele is extremely thin, has a poor self-esteem and body-image and never wants to eat. This brings a whole new meaning to her nickname, "Ana".
- Christian Grey, who by his own admission is "fifty shades of fucked up". He dislikes interacting with others, save for a small circle of people he's close to. He seems to have difficulty with communications, often getting angry with Ana for not knowing something she couldn't know unless he told her. He has extreme issues with impulsive behavior, immediately responding to a joke e-mail Ana sent by driving to her house, tying her to the bed, and forcing himself on her, without giving her a chance to explain the situation. He also seems unable to rationally think about previous situations (for example, he continues to hate blondes because a blonde police officer took him away from his dead mother's body, even though sixteen or so years have passed and he should be able to think about it differently). Oh, and he enjoys taking submissives who look like his "crack whore" mother (his own nickname for her), because he enjoys pretending he's beating her. He blames this behavior all on childhood trauma even though said trauma ended when he was four and, by his own admittance, he doesn't remember much of it.
- Handled fairly realistically in the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Several of his stories involve characters going insane but never clearly diagnosing them. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that psychological terminology was not as mainstream when he was writing. It can also be justified by the fact that some of his characters may be suffering from mental conditions that even modern psychology wouldn't be able to clearly place (any "official" diagnosis being an approximation), especially given that most of his "insane" characters became such as a result of seeing horrors beyond their comprehension.
- It's often speculated that Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind is a sociopath or a psychopath. An actual psychiatrist, Dr. Hervey Cleckley, argued that Scarlett was a fictional example of a partial psychopath in his 1941 book The Mask of Sanity: "Her incapacity for a true commitment in love is apparently unmodifiable; her egocentricity is basic. She seems to be without means of understanding the strong emotions in those about her or of having adequate awareness of what makes them act when they act in accordance with principles they value. Unlike the complete psychopath, she successfully pursues ends that lead to her material well-being and she avoids putting herself in positions of obvious folly and shame. In her, however, we sense an inward hollowness and a serious lack of insight."
- Wiress from The Hunger Games acts a lot like a person with severe autism, but she might just be deeply traumatized -or just generally odd. A case could also be made for "mad" Annie Cresta.
- Bradley Chalkers from Theres A Boy In The Girls Bathroom clearly has some kind of behavioral/conduct disorder-he bullies people, performs poorly in class, has almost no friends, displays odd behaviors like cutting paper into tiny pieces-but it's never specified.
- In Hush, Hush, Nora generally cannot/will not remember traumatic events that happened to her (such as Jules trying to kill her, or someone drugging and chasing her). She is obsessed with her boyfriend and whether or not he's cheating on her, and is incredibly concerned about him leaving her even before he shows any indication that he'd do so.
- Brandon from The Leonard Regime acts very strangely. Some his thoughts and acts are outright ridiculous, and nobody knows why he does it.
- The title character's sister from Raptor Red, though not human, is clearly stated to not think or act like a normal raptor. She has terrible fits of temper, doesn't think logically, and is so highly aggressive that she can't stand the company of other raptors (they're normally a social species). It's possible she has some form of dinosaurian psychosis.
- Claudia in The Baby-Sitters Club may have a learning disability such as dyslexia.
- Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is undoubtedly brilliant: a Supreme Chef on a grand scale, a Gadgeteer Genius, a Fiction 500 businessman, etc. At the same time, he is a Mad Scientist with a wildly whimsical way of thinking, his factory is a CloudCuckooland of his own design, he can be Literal-Minded (he believes whipped cream needs to be prepared with actual whips), and he has severely Skewed Priorities — namely, his sweets/inventions over people — and No Sympathy for those who get into trouble despite his warnings. The 2005 film adaptation also gives him No Social Skills, though this is in conjuction with an Adaptation Expansion backstory that gives him a Freudian Excuse. The 2013 stage musical goes in a darker, more poignant direction, giving him a Sugar and Ice Personality as well as greater self-awareness of his eccentricity. His I Am What I Am song "Simply Second Nature" has him explaining to the tour group that he was born with a restlessly creative mind and a drive to realize his visions. He admits that he's prone to Hearing Voices, and yet he's happy to be who he is.
- Coronation Street has Roy Cropper, who is simply seen as odd by his neighbours with his bizarre lectures on really trivial subjects, fascination with details, and that little bag he carries everywhere.
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Gil Grissom. His level of social understanding fluctuates between episodes, along with his attention to trivial details and love of bugs.
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Detective Robert Goren; it's suggested he simply never learned proper social skills growing up because his entire family suffered from one mental illness or another. Goren is what happens when the genetic dice are loaded to roll Snake-Eyes and come up Lucky 7 anyway.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- Sheldon is socially challenged, has fairly monotonous speech, and exhibits heavily ritualized behaviornote . He even has hypersensitive hearing; the others refer to it as "Vulcan hearing" and are usually cursing it due to his overhearing things they wish he didn't. He also shows a disturbing lack of empathy, obsessive behavior, and an unusual number of phobias.
- Leonard rather noticeably struggles with keeping eye contact in a conversation and fidgets with his fingers constantly. Besides Raj (who is unable to speak in front of a girl) he is the one with the most trouble actually trying to communicate in an unfamiliar social environment. Unusual for this trope, these things are downplayed as the series progressed, factoring a lot of his issues into his low self-esteem at the beginning and showing a great deal of personal growth.
- Raj was shown to be almost biologically unable to to speak in front of a woman without some sort of anti-anxiety medication or alcohol to calm his nerves. This ended up actually being, well, diagnosed in the second season by Leonard's mother as selective mutism.
- Sheldon's Distaff Counterpart Amy Farrah Fowler shows many of the same symptoms, but later given a twist that makes her further removed from being a female Sheldon. Some of her oddity stems from the show playing her demi-sexuality for laughs.
- Before Amy was introduced, fans saw Leonard's mom as a "female Sheldon". She's cold, detached (to the point she's only ever had sex to procreate and Leonard was forced to build a hugging machine that his dad borrowed) has no problem with treating her son as a test subject and embarrassing him (despite, ironically, studying and understanding human behavior is her job, which also makes this a case of The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes), and several weird Sheldon-esque traits such as demanding her coffee be made a certain impossibly specific way and announcing "I have to urinate" every time she gets up to go to the bathroom. From dialogue, it's clear her mother deliberately held her back from socializing with other children when she was growing up.
- Community: Abed is incredibly fascinated with films and television and is a bit obsessed with projecting their tropes onto real life. He has a strange, somewhat sterile demeanor, doesn't seem to know (or even when corrected, care about) how to go about certain social situations, and is face-blind. He also becomes highly distressed whenever anyone tries to tamper with his life as he's familiar with it (such as messing with the engine of his Dreamatorium or moving clocks an hour back). Whenever he's about to have a meltdown he lets out a high-pitched whine. Lampshaded on numerous occasions, either by the story (in Advanced Dungeons and Dragons he is referred to as "Abed The Undiagnosable"), other characters and even himself (in the pilot he rattles off everything he knows about Britta from their one conversation including that she has a brother who "works with children with a disorder I might want to look up").
- During the Musical Episode, in one of the songs he sings, "On the spectrum? None of your business.", apparently to the audience.
- While not being exactly there at all, Taxi's Jim Ignatowski often forgets about people, he lived for five years in a condemned building and he once pestered Alex to the point of harassment for not watching ET The Extra Terrestrial. He's also an Hero-Worshipper of Louie, who ostensibly treats him like crap.
- Matthew Gray Gubler claims that he plays Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds as autistic, something that's never been confirmed. The only time that the possibility did get a mention in the show is when a villain described Reid as having autistic leanings, but this was part of an extremely inaccurate Breaking Speech delivered to this entire team. (Reid's issues may, however, stem more from his difficult childhood and equally difficult job.)
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
- The episode "Sweet Dee Is Dating A Retarded Person" revolves around this trope, with Dee dating a rapper named Lil' Kevin, who acts much younger than his age, displays odd hand tics, and is incredibly strong, all of which Dee to believe that he is mentally disabled. However, at the very end of the episode, it turns out that he isn't, he's simply very eccentric.
- A whole book could be written on Charlie. He displays dyslexic tendencies and can't read, is a musical savant (he is able to masterfully play a keyboard despite having absolutely no formal training, and claims "Keyboards just make sense"), displays almost superhuman strength at times, displays unhealthy fixations on his love interests, and seems to have an impossibly high threshold for pain.
- Spinelli on General Hospital. Nicknames everyone, Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness...but when Dr. Matt Hunter suggests undergoing tests for autism, he refuses, saying "I am me".
- Reginald Barclay from Star Trek: The Next Generation shows severe social anxiety, along with an obsessive streak and a compulsive tendency to retreat into fantasy.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Anya — at first viewers are led to believe her complete lack of social skills is a result of having been a demon for centuries, but eventually it's revealed that she acted exactly the same before she became a demon.
- Andrew also shows a fair degree of social ineptness, sometimes flat affect, and a fascination with certain topics that leads him to recite in detail at times.
- Spike managed to improve his social skills over the course of a century, but he has a mixed bag of vaguely bipolar, obsessive, borderline and schizoidal tendencies which come and go with the story. Whenever he's bored, he'll do something ridiculously suicidal just for the hell of it, he stalked Buffy for over a year, and once had a full-blown psychotic episode.
- Michael Scott of The Office — No Social Skills, near-total inability to understand metaphors, sarcasm or hyperbole, savant-like skills in regards to sales, very strong indications that he has never had any friends, and overall behavior that no normal person would believe was acceptable. This pops up in a lot of Steve Carell roles.
- Cal Lightman of Lie to Me. Quite socially uncomfortable, with a very fixated interest on lies and facial expressions as well as psychology. He destroyed his own marriage because he couldn't switch off.
- In Hannibal protagonist Will Graham claims to be on the autistic spectrum. He exhibits several characteristic commonly associated with Aspergers but Bryan Fuller commented in an interview that, "[With Asperger's] you can't read social cues. [Will] has an empathy disorder where he reads too much and it overwhelms him". When asked where he falls "on the spectrum" by Jack Crawford Graham himself explains that he's closer to being autistic than a sociopath, possibly as convenient shorthand to explain that he's aware he has a number of eccentric traits, but that he's not violent or dangerous. Hannibal also explains later in the series that at least some of Will's issues have to do with having a larger than normal number of mirror neurons, which has some basis in theory but is for the most part invented by the writers.
- Dr. Walter Bishop started like this, but this is jossed in a Cerebus Retcon where Walter got William Bell to perform brain surgery on him to stop him becoming evil like Walternate. All indications are he was already an emotionally distant genius before the elective brain surgery, though.
- The Alternate Universe Astrid is highly intelligent, gravitates toward Spock Speak but makes realistic exceptions to it, and doesn't look at anyone when she talks, and according to Word of God she has Autism. In her A Day in the Limelight episode, we learn that she is fully aware that she isn't "normal" and feels incredibly sad and frustrated that she couldn't relate to her father the way she wanted to.
- Bernard Black of Black Books. Very socially awkward and uncomfortable with changes in an extremely repetitive routine. Also has an extreme Lack of Empathy, enjoys the suffering of others, and honestly doesn't seem to understand that having his book shop sell books and make money is a good thing (he's infuriated when Manny sells his entire stock, because it would mean a minute long phone call to his supplier). Also The Alcoholic, which probably exacerbates things. When Manny leaves, he is so unable to take care of himself that it nearly kills him.
- NCIS: Lab Rat Abby Sciuto. She is very good at what she does and shows a childlike sense of joy while working, she will often give long-winded and highly technical speeches when explaining something, she is extremely attached to and protective of those she cares about, and she becomes almost unable to function both professionally and personally if she has to dress in anything other than her typical goth style or can't listen to her music while working.
- Chloe O'Brien of 24. It's not mentioned as any sort of possible mental illness in the show; other characters just vaguely refer to her as having an odd personality. She is often blunt to the point of rudeness, easily irritated, especially when she is in the middle of something, and is generally dismissive of other people. She is, however, not without empathy. She usually isn't aware she's engaging in behavior most would find odd or annoying until she notices the way people are looking at her. It's just that most of the time, she doesn't care.
- RO from Sea Patrol has a very black and white view of the world, and when asked if this was true he responded "I'm not racist." Then there's his believing Bomber fancied him after she gave him a peck on the cheek, and him not wanting to take credit for saving her life because she told him not to go near her.
- Renfield Turnbull from Due South is just odd, even compared with Bunny Ears Mountie extraordinaire Benton Fraser. Some fans have wondered how someone with his apparent emotional volatility and clumsiness ever made it into law enforcement.
- In Raw Philip displays poor social skills, is incredibly awkward at making small talk, likes to keep orderly lists and cooking is his big obsession.
- Leon from Tucker is obsessed with Mexican wrestling and sea creatures (even sponsoring an octopus) and has a strange collection of human hair.
- Brick Heck on The Middle. He has the Verbal Tic of, at least once each episode, repeating what he just said in a whisper while looking downward. He's in a special social skills class at his school. He is obsessive about reading almost continually, to the point that he's delighted to get a toy robot for his birthday... because the instructions are in different languages, and he hopes to learn Japanese that way.
- Saga Norén of Bron|Broen has No Social Skills to an extreme degree, is shockingly lacking in apparent empathy and compassion, and has an extremely rule-bound attitude to life. The actor and creators have said that she probably is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but that they deliberately didn't state it explicitly or work from a list of recognized symptoms because they wanted to write her as they wished without misleading or offending people.
- Jerry, Elaine and George of Seinfeld. Complete Lack of Empathy, constant selfishness, unthinking cruelty, continual rejection of any maturity or adult responsibility, and meticulous adherence to a (often fabricated) social code not because they care about others but because it is expected of them. Surprisingly, Kramer is rarely presented as anything other than a regular person who just has a lot of quirks and a wild imagination, while the other three are basically sociopaths Played for Laughs.
- Father Ted:
- Ted is supposed to be the most levelheaded, but is a chronic liar, willing to break laws to achieve his means, and dreams of completely unrealistic things. Bishop Brennan is the only character who can see Ted for what he really is, which is why they mutually hate each other. The creators have noted they were inspired by Seinfeld and it really shows with him.
- Mrs Doyle has some very odd quirks that suggest she is hiding something about her life (not even the main characters know her first name, for example). The most glaring of these is the fact she wants people to forget she was ever married.
- Tom, who likes to boast of being a psychopathic killer, but is always friendly to people.
- In a flash forward on Roseanne we see Jackie take an adult DJ to a psychologist. He expresses little emotion, has a monotone speech pattern, and is fixated on how Becky has changed.
- Person of Interest: In "Masquerade," Finch seems to have a panic attack while taking the dog out for a walk, but it's not confirmed what exactly caused this. Seeing how this happened after Root kidnapped him, it's entirely possible that the trauma of the ordeal may have affected Finch substantially.
- Christopher Moltisanti in The Sopranos, who has emotional outbursts, fits of alternating aggression and depression, and serious attention deficit difficulties. He self-medicates through drug abuse. His various undiagnosed mental problems are brought up by other characters on multiple occasions.
- Occurs in-universe in an episode of 30 Rock, when Pete and the writers become concerned that Jenna might be a sociopath, when she passes this supposed test. At the end of the episode, she shows that she's capable of empathy and it's concluded that she's not a sociopath, just highly narcissistic.
- Timothy Spall, who plays Lord Emsworh in Blandings, said of the character, "Nowadays he'd be diagnosed with some kind of condition."
- Power Rangers RPM: Dr. K has absolutely No Social Skills, while Gem and Gemma have the mentality of five-year-olds and an inordinate fondness for explosives, yet all three are technical geniuses. Fans tend to blame their issues on the fact that they were denied normal childhoods: a government think tank abducted them and nurtured their scientific gifts at the expense of everything else.
- Power Rangers S.P.D., Bridge is a Cloudcuckoolander who has a tendency to ramble and make odd, if usually accurate, statements.
- Supernatural: The angel Castiel has a lot of vaguely related traits: literal mindedness, limited interpersonal skills, No Sense of Humor, and schizoidal tendencies which he attributes to not having spent much time on Earth, even though none of the other angels (including a number who have spent less time on Earth) have any of his problems. Before the civil war, he seems to have been fairly well-liked and to have had a good relationship with his angelic siblings, so his quirkiness probably hasn't caused him any real problems.
- Cat Valentine, the red-haired Genki Girl from Victorious goes a little beyond normal CloudCuckooLander-ness and sometimes acts strangely eccentric. Sometimes she even knows what she is saying and is a bit ditzy.
- Game of Thrones:
- Viserys exhibits a range of bipolar-like tendencies, among other things. First, there's all his mood swings which range from intense calmness to manic twitchiness. There's also his uncontrollable rages, bouts of depression, and extreme self-delusion. His sister Daenerys says that the worst of it only started after they were forced to sell their deceased mother's crown to survive, but considering he's the son of "Mad King" Aerys Targaryen and there's an in-universe saying that the Gods flip a coin when a Targaryen is born as to whether they'll be destined for "insanity or greatness" this makes sense, and centuries of incest probably haven't helped.
- Daenerys shows no emotion while watching her brother be killed via molten gold to the head, and later unflinchingly ties the woman who killed her son to Khal Drogo's funeral pyre. From there on, she's shown as being extremely focused on her goals, occasionally to the point of foolishness (for example, badgering merchants for ships, without considering that she has no way to pay for them). While she certainly shows more empathy for those in her care than Viserys did, including putting her own goals in jeopardy for the sake of freeing slaves on several occasions, she also is shown to be capable of violently dealing with anyone who tries to hinder her without showing any signs of being bothered. A major source of dramatic tension with her character is what side of the coin for the Targaryens she'll end up being.
- Joffrey, a product of incest himself, displays a disturbing fondness for violence. At times he even seems to be sexually aroused by it. He shows no signs of empathy whatsoever, is extremely impulsive (ordering an entire crowd of peasants slaughtered because someone threw a cow pie at him), and derives joy from inflicting random cruelty on others. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what's wrong with him, but whatever it is it's bad.
- Merlin would appear to have this. He has to make up increasingly bizarre explanations that are maybe just plausible to deflect suspicion, but earn him many a weird look. Arthur alone thinks he is a cross-dressing woodworm-obsessed pathological snarker who can barely function as a keeper of cleanliness. Justified when nobody points this out often since this is nearly a thousand years before anyone began seriously diagnosing mental disorders.
- It should be noted that by the end of the series, Merlin has pretty much ceased caring about anything that's not Arthur, to the point of wild mood swings, irrational and irritable behavior, and selling out his entire people. Many have called his behavior obsessive.
- Morgana and Uther seem to share some deeply rooted tendency towards madness. Even Arthur shows some signs of it sometimes. In one deleted scene, Arthur mentions that his grandfather went mad as well, and Merlin points out that these things tend to run in families.
- The chubby-yet-implacable-assassin Arby in Utopia suffers from a multitude of ills. His speech and mannerisms are stilted and he appears to suffer from a complete Lack of Empathy or even meaningful interaction with other people and kills at the behest of his handlers without question. It turns out he had been tortured and experimented on by his father as a child and Arby isn't even his real name, and after suffering regret from murdering a bunch of schoolchildren he proves he has Hidden Depths and performs a Heel-Face Turn.
- Randy from My Name Is Earl, despite multiple characters claiming he isn't handicapped or disabled, just "slow" and "simple". It was eventually implied that his behavior is the result of brain damage incurred when he once inexplicably stopped breathing long enough for his parents to assume he had actually died.
- Doctor Who originally played off the Doctor's eccentricities as him being an alien, until later seasons established that other Time Lords viewed him as weird and unpredictable, and the mountains of PTSD (which in canon he just ignores) certainly wouldn't help. The exact nature and severity of his quirks varies wildly between actor, writer, and individual episode, but it's evident that he's largely unique in the universe and would defy diagnosis anyway.
- Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Beatrice Mason, one of the suspects in "The Blood of Juana the Mad" is generally agreed by most characters to be suffering from some kind of 'mental affliction'. Exactly what is not clear, although it seems to combine aspects of Aspergers syndrome, OCD and Hates Being Touched.
- Artie from Warehouse 13 has poor social skills, a Hair-Trigger Temper, OCD-esque tendencies, has trust issues, and rants and snaps whenever his status quo gets challenged. This is strongly suggested to have been caused by the fact that he's spent a large part of his life working alone in the Warehouse. Having his once best friend betray him and become a Manipulative Bastard borderline supervillain probably didn't help.
- The Good Wife: Elsbeth Tascioni, who's easily distracted by things surrounding her and led to flights of fancy by them.
- Something is clearly wrong with Jon Moxley (aka Dean Ambrose, former WWE US Champion and former member of The Shield) but precisely what that something might be is unknowable. Aside from being violent and angry, which could be attributed to his traumatic childhood, Moxley also exhibits paranoia, hears "voices" occasionally, and swings wildly between despair and begging his opponents to "put him out of his misery" to being a ranting near-psychotic with a God complex. Perhaps the closest diagnosis would be Borderline personality disorder, but Moxley doesn't fit well into any diagnostic criteria.
- Oracle Of Tao: Ambrosia has a Sugar and Ice Personality, coupled with dramatic Tsundere moments, and occasionally has rather dramatic depressive episodes. You'd probably say she's bipolar, except her down periods are more flat, like a schizoid. She also has serious fears that she doesn't exist, and that she's hallucinating the entire game events. Add a few Axe Crazy episodes, and you get a very strange picture. It's clear what the cause is though, her real parents had to give her away because she was note , her adoptive parents died, and people she hired to help with her inheritance used her money and left her on the street. She has basically no trust in people until Nevras comes along.
- Tales Series:
- Tales of Symphonia has Raine Sage: a cold and calculating, but incredibly intelligent young woman who normally acts like an aloof mentor who always has to be right... and who devolves into a child-like state the moment she discovers a temple ruin, an ancient weapon or anything to do with the civilisations of past eras. She's shown to have difficulty relating to the other party members, especially in the anime where her Ice Queen elements are really played up. It's mostly treated as comedic, as her similarly-bright sibling Genis is just plain embarrassed by her enthusiasm (at one point, she even descends into maniacal laughter over the insides of an old temple). Her mother left her and Genis at a ruin that transported them to the world of Sylvarant when they were very young, terrified at the possibility that they would grow up as lab rats or labourers like most half-elves. Raine's obsession with ruins developed from a wish to be reunited with her family.
- In a sidequest, you can learn that her mother fits the bill. It's not clear what's the matter with her but she has very clearly gone insane from the pain of being forced to abandon her children, as she spends all of her time talking to a doll that she believes is Raine.
- In Tales of the Abyss, most of the characters show some kind of dysfunction, but only one of them has the dysfunction as the cause of their backstory, instead of the result: Jade Curtiss. He's bizarre when you first meet him - highly intelligent and mixing traits of Stepford Smiler and Stepford Snarker into one darkly humorous mask of unreadability. You later learn that as a child, he never showed any outward emotion besides a confidence in his skill and intelligence that extended into arrogance, that he liked to kill even weak and harmless monsters, and that he's 'never understood what it means to die'. This attitude led to him killing his teacher with a spell he couldn't control when he was twelve, and spending the next decade or so trying to bring her back, creating clone after clone, until he nearly died as a result and his best friend had to convince him to stop. He also shows some social awkwardness (in one skit, he joins Anise in tickling Guy as if he either doesn't understand or doesn't care that what's cute from a fourteen year old girl is weird from a thirty-five year old man) and obliviousness to his own emotions (in the Disc One Final Dungeon, Anise points out to him that he must like and respect the other party members, and Jade seems genuinely surprised to realize that she's right).
- Guy Cecil freaks out every time a woman makes physical contact with him as a result of post-traumatic stress from having his sister and all of the maids in his household sacrifice themselves to protect him, causing him to be buried under a mountain of female corpses for days.
- Pascal in Tales of Graces seems to have rather strange obsessions and does not understand exactly how socially awkward she can be at times. Her immature behavior makes many players surprised to discover she's 22 years old (although the visual design for her character doesn't help).
- It seems possible in Tales of Vesperia that Raven could have some type of Split Personality. His alter ego Schwann is drastically different from his Raven persona - the first upstanding, militaristic, well-mannered and honourable, and the second friendly, goofy, flirtatious and casual. They also refer to each other as different people when they talk about each other, as in Schwann's boss fight when Schwann says Raven isn't here. However, unlike most classic examples, he's completely aware of what happens when he's in either persona, hence the ambiguity.
- Heavy Rain has Norman Jayden. He's shown to be socially awkward and has difficulty carrying on normal conversations, though these could be argued as symptoms of his abuse of Triptocaine and the ARI.
- Otacon from Metal Gear — socially awkward, rather Literal-Minded, obsessive, tends to retreat into fantasy, extremely emotional. This may all be explained by his traumatic childhood (which involved being sexually abused by his stepmother, which caused his father to attempt to kill his stepsister and commit suicide when he found out), however.
- There's explicitly something wrong with the title character of American Mcgees Alice, but the PTSD from her family's deaths doesn't explain the hallucinations, delusions, or episodes of mania and catatonia so severe she was institutionalized. When asked later on, American McGee confirmed that this game was a "natural extension" of the Alice series going under the assumption that the previous stories weren't either fantasies or real events, but hallucinations she honestly thought were real.
- Marisa Kirisame actively shuns human interaction (to the point of willingly living in a youkai infested forest), has multiple obsessions that she seems to abandon as often as she acquires them, has no sense of personal property, is a severe hoarder, and is belligerent and trigger-happy even by Gensoukyou standards. It is repeatedly noted that she is much more like a youkai than a human, which would put her into Blue and Orange Morality if she weren't determined to retain her humanity.
- Flandre Scarlet clearly has something wrong with her, though how much of that is the result of being a youkai and how much due to being locked in the mansion basement for nearly 500 years with little to no social interactions is a good question. Either way she has the mentality of a child and has no real concept of restraint, and has No Social Skills to the max.
- Alice Margatroid suffers from nightmares for unknown reasons, holds conversations with her dolls, and manages to creep out everyone even in a society composed largely of monsters and supernatural beasties.
- Yukari Yakumo is just plain weird even compared to everyone else in Gensoukyou, with only her friend Yuyuko (who gets a pass for weirdness by being dead) having any idea how to deal with her. There are hints that she was originally a human, namely Maribel Hearn, who herself is an example.
- The incarnation of Sweet Tooth in Twisted Metal: Black is noted as having insomnia and an "unidentifed mental illness" in his psych profile. Wether he is a psychopath or just an incredibly twisted individual, he's a professional serial killer, and he loves his job.
- Dragon Age:
- Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins is used to people belittling his intelligence and found the silence in the monastery where he grew up absolutely unbearable. He eventually resorted to screaming just to bring people running.
- Anders of Dragon Age II is all but outright stated to have bipolar disorder (in addition to the Demonic Possession) - his character bio mentions manic and depressive phases.
- Merrill has trouble understanding figurative language, No Social Skills, Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, and borderline Hikikomori behaviour. If you read her as autistic, her fascination with (extinct) griffins may count as a special interest.
- In Pokémon Black and White, N was raised by Pokemon without human contact to be groomed into a tool for world conquest. The result of this is an inability to emphasize with humans, speaking very fast and in a lot of scientific terms, having a black and white morality viewpoint and a slight tendency to stalk people.
- Royce Bracket from Transistor is undoubtedly a genius, able to master the Process. But he speaks with a stilted cadence, often repeating phrases or mumbling to himself, or pausing to find words. This is reflected in his subtitles, so his awkward speaking style is completely intentional.
- Fire Emblem games, due to having Loads and Loads of Characters, tend to have a number of characters exhibit odd mannerisms and quirks. Miriel in Fire Emblem Awakening, for instance, lacks social skills, sacrifices any sense of empathy for a tireless ambition to learn and discover things, and often is detached from reality. She also doesn't seem to feel fear, as shown in her support conversations with Lon'qu where she continually puts herself in life-threatening situations just to test if he will save her or not.
- Vera Misham from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney dislikes being outside or in crowds, doesn't show much emotion on her face, does not understand "rules" of social behaviour (like when she stares at Klavier in court for a very long time), and communicates either in short, broken sentences or through sketches. She also shows signs of being a savant, as demonstrated by her ability to create perfect forgeries of artwork and evidence.
- Umineko: When They Cry:
- The Ushiromiya family patriarch Kinzo's behavior explains a lot about his children, with one flashback to WWII showing he was so depressed that he joined the army hoping to be killed in battle, and only snapped out of it when he met his lover, Beatrice Castiglioni and once she suffered Death by Childbirth went completely off the rails to the point of raping his own illegitimate daughter with said mistress because he believed she was her mother's reincarnation, an act which produced Yasu, below. Nearly every scene he's present in features him screaming at the sky.
- Maria is nine years old but behaves far younger, has bizarre reactions (or lack of same) to events around her, and she never seems to be able to avoid hitting her mother's Berserk Button when she really should know better. There's also her Verbal Tic (which unlike most examples tends to annoy other people) and lack of focus towards anything except for her hobby of studying black magic.
- Her mother Rosa definitely seems to have a few screws loose. Besides the aforementioned Berserk Button there's her abuse towards Maria, including rapidly alternating between screaming at her, hitting her and apologizing for her behavior, and her angry reactions to hearing about Beatrice since the young Rosa saw "Beatrice" fall off a cliff to her death and blames herself for it.
- Erika Furudo, introduced later in the series, definitely comes off as this because of her obsessive behavior and egomania. It says something when the Ushiromiyas, who themselves are a major case of Dysfunction Junction, pretty much immediately notice something's off about her and she quickly wears out her welcome.
- The spoilerific example of Sayo Yasuda, and by extension Shannon, Kanon, and Beatrice, whose issues seem to include pretending to be multiple people to the point of almost becoming them and probable gender dysphoria in addition to body dysmorphia caused by a horrific injury to their sexual organs that causes them to refer to themselves as "furniture" after finding out the truth about their origins mainly, the aforementioned rape of his own daughter by Kinzo.
- Almost every mage in the Nasuverse who isn't a psychopath could qualify for this at some level. Socially distant, obsessed with their own singular interests (their magic fields, their Origins and the Akashic Records in this case), frequently have special repeated tics or actions associated with activating magecraft.
- Katawa Shoujo:
- Kenji is obsessed with delusional conspiracy theories to a degree that would probably have psychologists scrutinizing him for schizophrenic tendencies in Real Life, although unlike all the other disabilities in the game this is purely Played for Laughs. That's before mentioning his extreme dislike of being around other people or open spaces, frequently locking himself in his room for days at a time.
- Rin definitely does not think like most people, forming connections and inferences that seemingly make no sense, switching rapidly between topics, is clearly artistically gifted even without considering she paints with her feet, and her behavior and comments can be socially inappropriate, not in the manner of someone who doesn't understand normal social interaction but more as if she simply doesn't care. Later in her route it's shown that Rin is aware to some extent of how odd she comes across to people, and the difficulties she has with expressing her thoughts, whether through words or through her art, are quite frustrating to her.
- Misha is an inverted variant. She has no obvious disabilities, so many players are left wondering why exactly she's at Yamaku. She's a bit quirky (energetic, laughs a lot, has some volume control issues), but not to the point that she'd be considered seriously mentally unstable, and Yamaku is not supposed to cater to mental disabilities in any case. It turns out that she came to Yamaku for other reasons: namely, she wants to be a sign language instructor and Yamaku is one of the only schools that has sign language courses. It's later revealed that Misha's bubbly hyperactive self is a facade to hide her crippling and near-suicidal depression as a result of unrequited love towards Shizune.
- Fuko Ibuki is amazingly immature for her age. Yes, she's technically younger than the rest of the cast and still has the mentality of a freshman even when she's in her twenties due to her being comatose for years, but she still acts far less mature than the average teenager, to the point where she gets mistaken for a grade schooler.
- And then there's Kotomi...
- Mituna has an ambiguous brain injury from over using his psionics that leaves him with strange tics, a tendency to become incomprehensible and have dramatic and sudden mood swings. He also lacks coordination and has to wear a helmet to avoid injuring himself.
- Jake, who was raised in almost complete isolation on a deserted island by his grandmother, has such poor social skills and is so oblivious to the feelings of others, including a tendency to ramble on about his issues without regard for the feelings of the person he's talking to, that it almost seems like a disorder. It's also implied that his Alternate Universe self Grandpa Harley (who seems to have had a normal enough upbringing, even though his stepmother was actually an alien empress) was similarly odd.
- Clubs Deuce/Courtyard Droll is very childish (despite being a grown man who's part of a gang), gets easily excited at the smallest victory, and has difficulty paying attention to people or focusing on a given task. He also seems convinced that his fellow gangsters are just his eccentric and lovable family.
- Caliborn/Lord English is undeniably a sociopath, but also admits finding it very hard to think clearly, often overlooks obvious solutions to his problems in favor of unnecessarily complex workarounds, has very poor social skills, lacks impulse control and self-awareness, and admits to "thinking in colours", suggesting he views the world in a fundamentally different way.
- Lalli, the resident Cat Boy of Stand Still. Stay Silent is suspected by fans to be somewhere on the autism spectrum. Thankfully, he's not a case of Hollywood Autism, if so, having his own wants and needs that aren't that broad-brushed or mistaken. Even if they are often ignored by other characters. He has patience close to that of a saint — even if he would quite like to openly strangle somebody if left to his own devices.
- Played for Drama with Dina of Dumbing of Age. She is obsessed with paleontology but doesn't really seem to understand other humans, by her own admission; at one point she gets depressed because some other girls mistook her for a retarded child (aside from her behavior, she looks about twelve). Her roommate Amber has tried to help her read social cues with mixed results. The creator has gone on record saying she's never been diagnosed with anything. For what it's worth, her parents behave similarly (at least, they're very laconic).
- In Ha from Cheese In The Trap seems for the most part just selfish, shallow and lazy, but then someone says something to set her off and she shows just how insane she is. This often involves physically attacking the people around her, though sometimes it is just shown in her sudden personality change, and her inability to be reasoned with. It's never played for laughs. Also Professor Baek hinted that Jung had some kind of disorder, but never specified what that was. He certainly has difficulty forming relationships with others, or understand how other people process the world.
- Afkinz from Zoophobia does come across as rather odd. He has super-long hair that he lets his cat live in and sometimes hisses at random people.
- Kapura from the Mata Nui Online Game is a weird, eccentric Ta-Matoran whose manner of speech sounds like deliberately awkwardly worded philosophizing, often repeats himself, and sounds as if he's unable to articulate his thoughts in a way that doesn't make them come off as random. While other Ta-Matoran do their work, he's out practicing the art of "walking quick by moving slow" (and farting) in a creepy, dead forest. He doesn't stop practicing even when conversing with the player, and casually asks if you're the Makuta or not. He's slow (except when performing his technique), deliberate and unnervingly calm among all the hot-headed, fiery Ta-Matoran. Kopeke from the same game also shows signs of this trope, being coldly antisocial, quiet and emotionless in his rare moments of talking, doing his work with robotic precision.
- From Killerbunnies, we have Razelle, who, as can be observed, has some sort of psychosis if her backstory is to go by. Unfortunately, in her fits of delirium, she is prone to committing violent acts if left unrestrained.
- American Dad!:
- Steve Smith. Several episodes prove that he's capable of extreme violence, self-abuse, and just plain undiagnosable problems for laughs. Roger even lampshades this with his response to Steve's plan to exact revenge on a bully by dressing up like a girl and seducing him: "Yes, let's keep that plan between you, me, and the string of therapists who won't be able to help you."
- The Ditz Barry, though it was revealed in one episode that he is in fact a complete sociopath whose criminal inhibitions are "retarded" (their words) by powerful anti-psychotics that cause his odd behaviour. Though the real Barry still shines through sometimes ("Let's kill his parents next! Let's kill them all!").
- Cleveland, Jr. from The Cleveland Show. He's a teenager with the mentality of a child, and has a number of disturbing quirks, such as an obsession with cleanliness and order, and random bursts of violence (such as strangling a mannequin head for being "so pretty"). He also believes one of his stuffed animals is alive, to the point of hiring a nanny for it.
- Draggle from the original My Little Pony series shows signs of many disorders, and by default of her family life, Stockholm Syndrome. Also, her voice in "The End of Flutter Valley" indicates, erm, slowness due to Flanderization messing with her intelligence.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Pinkie Pie is a really eccentric Cloudcuckoolander who seems to inhabit normal reality only part-time and is almost pathologically cheerful and silly, with an obsession with parties... except that when a misunderstanding makes her believe her friends are excluding her, she immediately snaps into a state of paranoia and depression so severe that she becomes delusional and starts hallucinating. Pinkie has shown that she is aware of how annoying that she can be, but is either unwilling or incapable of altering her behavior. She is also implied to create the machines that she uses, and has displayed incredible memory and eye for detail.
- It seems to run in the family because Pinkie's sister, Maud Pie also displays eccentric behavior of her own. She shares her sister's literal-mindedness, but unlike Pinkie, she displays practically no emotion whatsoever. She also talks in monotone and has a narrow-minded obsession with rocks. This general behavior makes her so un-relatable to Pinkie's friends that they don't really know what to make of her and don't seem to "click" socially speaking. Maud is cognizant of this though.
- The official portrayal of Derpy Hooves showed her as ignorant to the scale of dangers and also simple in how she treats things, giving the impression that she's a bit... off.
- With Cheese from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, you can't really pin down what's wrong with him. He clearly was imagined by a special needs child (this is made painfully obvious when he's introduced), but what exactly that special need was is left ambiguous. Most likely it's just an amalgam of general "mentally challenged" stereotypes.
- King of the Hill: Dale is an awkward, paranoid Cloudcuckoolander whose conspiracy theories border on outright delusional — and yet despite his constant suspicion of everyone and everything, he's completely oblivious to actual conspiracies that are obvious to absolutely everyone else, such as his wife's affair with John Redcorn.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- Baljeet is dependent on routines and clear direction, unsocial, observant but somewhat oblivious and emotionally stunted, able to focus for long periods on repetitive behaviors.
- Phineas is unaware of Isabella's advancement towards him, Ferb rarely speaks (not at all in some episodes), and both are incredibly savvy in machines. It's shown that Phineas apparently has a pathological need to invent, as in one episode he suffered Heroic BSOD when he couldn't invent anything for hours, and the same may apply to Ferb; he did say he felt like he was going to scream if he didn't invent anything, though nothing came out of it.
- Candace is extremely obsessive over busting her brothers, and will do crazy things to do so. "Monster from the ID" also proves that her head is quite messed up.
- Ed the otter from Brandy & Mr. Whiskers has something. He has awkward speech patterns, uses big words, he's also a bit on the stoic side for the most part and is also physically clumsy when it comes to sports.
- Nonny from Bubble Guppies is a smaller example. He rarely ever smiles, has a bored, monotone voice, and is quite awkward compared to the other guppies.
- Lilo in Lilo & Stitch has a bad case of All of the Other Reindeer, but unlike many examples of that trope, she really is a genuinely strange little person who weirds out her "friends" with a strange mix of eccentricities, behavioral issues, social inappropriateness, and unusual interests. She may have the behavioral and social issues though because of her parents sudden death in a car accident, as well as the stress of possibly being split up from her older sister by social services.
- Daffy Duck in The Looney Tunes Show (carried over somewhat from older cartoons in which he was clearly insane, but not debilitatingly so). Bugs Bunny guesses that he's "a sociopath, "a narcissist" and "probably a psychopath". (He also sometimes seems to be unable to tell fantasy apart from reality — just see the music video for "The Wizard.")
- Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons. He acts much younger than his age, has weird mood swings, is quite the Cloudcuckoolander, doesn't seem able to tell fantasy apart from reality, and one episode shows he hallucinates. It's stated numerous times that he's on meds and Chief Wiggum, his father, mentions that Ralph goes to a "special school" as well as Springfield Elementary. A later episode depicted a flashback with Chief Wiggum holding a baby Ralph, who is drinking out of his bottle. Wiggum accidentally drops Ralph, and after he picks him back up, Ralph is no longer able to find his mouth with the bottle.
- Tom Kenny identified the title character of Sponge Bob Square Pants as "vaguely autistic", and points out that despite his odd behavior he is functional, is very passionate about his interests and good at his job, and speculates that this may be why a lot of real life autistic kids seem especially drawn to the character.
- Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender lacks empathy, and is a Consummate Liar to the point that Toph, the Living Lie Detector, can't tell when she's lying, and is manipulative as all get out. And yet despite her Magnificent Bastardry, when forced into social situations she proves to be cringe-inducingly inept when it comes to actually interacting with people as opposed to manipulating them. Slightly complicated by how Word of God is that this was mainly the result of her father's narcissistic influence but even as a child her mother wondered just what was wrong with her. She also demonstrates seriously inappropriate nigh-sexualised behaviour towards her brother (though this seems mainly designed to creep him out).
- From The Legend of Korra, we get Eska, who like her twin brother Desna is almost emotionless and speaks in a creepy monotone, has occasional emotional outbursts, and an abusive treatment of poor Bolin and violent reaction to him running out on the wedding. She isn't exactly rational, either, as she blames Korra for the ruined wedding, even though it's rather clear in the show that she and Bolin are Just Friends and Korra is way more interested in Bolin's brother Mako.
- Adventure Time has quite a bit of it due to being set in a Dysfunction Junction. Jake has a very short attention span and often blurts things out without thinking as well as tendency to do things without thinking about consequences or the impact on others, both physical and emotional. (Though he can probably be excused by the fact that, anthropomorphic or not, he's still a dog) Marceline is overly flirtatious with others, displays mild sociopathic tendencies, and seems to have trouble understanding other people's emotions. Lemongrab constantly shouts for no reason, flies off the handle at any problem, and borders on mentally challenged at times. Surprisingly averted with Ice King, who definitely has some form of dementia, a fact that is portrayed in a disturbingly realistic way.
- Superjail!: Where to begin with the Warden? He is shown to be very intelligent and yet has the mentality of a child. He also interacts better with animals and machines than with people and has sociopathic tendencies, especially when he's murdering his own inmates. (Although these are usually Played for Laughs.) Oh, and when he does befriend/fall in love with someone, he tends to be clingy and almost a bit of a creep around them.
- Hey Arnold! has the title character's cousin Arnie, who the other characters think is "dull" and "slow". His hobbies include counting things, reading ingredient labels (along with seemingly knowing what they are and how to pronounce them) and collections (specifically balls of lint and "plain flavored" gum), displays muted outward signs of emotion, and seems to have difficulty in social interaction (he constantly snorts and winks one eye at a time instead of blinking together).