Hikikomori

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hikikomori_kiri.jpg

"I hate the outside. Screw you, outside!"

No man is an island, but hikikomori are peninsulae. A hikikomori is a specific, extreme form of The Shut-In who will do anything possible to avoid having to interact with any other person, up to and including never leaving his house for years on end.

The word comes from Japanese; although it's not an exclusively Japanese phenomenon, it seems to be more prevalent in Japan than anywhere else. This is because Japanese culture can easily facilitate someone becoming a hikikomori. First, there's an incredible pressure on young people to succeed, which leads them to snap and withdraw from society. Second, there is a strong social stigma about mental troubles that discourages these young people from seeking outside help. Third, there is a strong tradition of caring for one's family members, so a shut-in's parents will indulge him by cooking for him or doing his laundry. In Japan, you'll almost never see the occasional Western trope of a parent cutting off their Manchild and forcing him to live on his own. And it's even possible for a hikikomori to live on his own (if he has a source of income, at least), because Japan is full of vending machines and tiny 24-hour corner stores (and also the Internet) that allow you to buy things with the absolute minimum of human interaction.

Hikikomori are controversial in Japan. Many of them are also otaku, as they tend to assume an obsessive activity as a vague coping mechanism. Works aimed directly at otaku avoid ascribing hikikomori characteristics to otaku characters for fear of offending their audience. Mainstream media will not portray them positively; they may even portray hikikomori as violent, especially in the late 1990s thanks to several bizarre and high-profile crimes committed by shut-ins. (Many psychologists will say that a hikikomori cannot be violent by definition, as they're nowhere near confident enough to hurt others, but this stereotype persists.)

It's not as well-defined a phenomenon as one would like, as the general prejudice against avoidant behavior makes it difficult to assess, diagnose, or explain it without a lot of controversy. Part of the debate is how much one can attribute this behavior to shut-in behavior in general. Another question is whether it derives from neurological rather than neurotic traits and thus might be related to autism spectrum disorders like Asperger's Syndrome. Regardless, the Japanese don't like to talk about it, so the number of cases that actually exist is pretty much unknown.

In media, hikikomori will be Played for Drama as much as Played for Laughs (the latter is more encompassed by the Basement-Dweller). They're often shown as creative types, hence the trope of the Reclusive Artist who often behaves like this; the main difference is that the Reclusive Artist is usually old and grumpy at the world, while the hikikomori is young and terrified of the world. A hikikomori without a source of income (which is most of them) is usually also a NEET.

See also The Hermit (who might be a hikikomori but just as often isolates himself for more esoteric or spiritual reasons); Basement-Dweller (who doesn't have mental problems, he's just a lazy mooch who won't grow up); Daytime Drama Queen (a Western version who's not addicted to nerdy stuff, but Soap Operas); and Crazy Survivalist (who withdraws from civilization because he thinks it's about to collapse).

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Japan from Axis Powers Hetalia refers to himself as a hikikomori in the strip alluding to Commodore Perry's arrival to Japan. Meeting the Americans after 200 years of isolation terrifies him so much that he almost has an Heroic B.S.O.D. at the mere idea of speaking to them. Truth in Television here, since Japan shut off all contacts to other countries before the Meiji constitution was adopted. The strips with isolationist Japan and Netherlands confirm this, as Japan locks himself in his room constantly and when Netherlands steps in he panics and screams that he doesn't even want the sunlight to touch him. He even automatically curls up in a ball on the floor whenever he hears the word "open".
  • 7 Seeds:
    • Natsu was one before being cryogenically frozen. She stopped leaving her home and going to school because she was bullied.
    • From the Ryugu Shelter arc, it's implied mangaka Sakata was this partly due to his job. First thing he did when disaster struck the earth and he was in the shelter was to shut himself into his room for three days... creating a manga to cheer people up.
  • The Welcome to the N.H.K.'s characters pretty much out-hikky everyone else. This trope is built into the premise of Welcome to the N.H.K. (where "NHK" stands for the Japanese equivalent of "Japanese Hikikomori Association" instead of "Japan Broadcasting Corporation"), whose lead suffers from the condition, to the point that almost every major character in the show represents a specific symptom of the Hikikomori-condition! Much like the other characters, this is used for both hilarious Black Humor and audience sympathy. It also does a good job in showing why people become Hikikomoris. One character had severe untreated social anxiety, another was relentless bullied in school, and a third has a Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Jun from Rozen Maiden, although he denies it, and we don't learn the reasons why he mysteriously isn't in school until much later in the story (at least in the anime). He does develop out of this role through the anime, and by the second season he has soundly resumed his studies. A similar development can be seen in the manga, and it is given a passing mention when he meets the alternate version of himself in which he remained a hikikomori through most of junior high as he notes that he wasn't at all so optimistic back then.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler:
    • Nagi. This is not immediately obvious since she covers it up by being a cute girl and being 'homebound' involves her enormous family estate, but Hayate almost immediately observes that she's not very socialized and has an unusual obsession with video games and manga, and makes a point to get her out of her house.
    • Izumi is accused of this. Turns out she has a good reason though.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei has its own hikikomori student, aptly named Kiri Komori. After being forced to leave her room at home, she secludes herself in various rooms at the school. However, instead of the social ineptitude characteristic of hikikomoris, Kiri shows symptoms of extreme agoraphobia; she quite happily interacts with her fellow students and teachers, but constantly shuts herself in tiny, cooped spaces, and is almost never seen without a quilt that she crouches under. The series seems to like playing with the idea of her never leaving the school. She shows up at Nozomu's home in season one on account of it being a school vacation, and it's later ret-conned that Nozomu lives on school property, so she wasn't actually leaving the school itself. Later in the series, Kiri shows up at a Beach Episode, and Nami wonders if she should really be there. Then, it turns out that it's not a real beach, but was instead set-up at school. However, it's Double Subverted, since it's at a different school than the usual one, and Nami isn't completely convinced by Kiri's rationalization that she's a "school hikikomori". Interestingly, like Japan (see above), Kiri was also opened by Commodore Perry.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Akito, the head of the Sohma family, appears to be cultivating this in the rest of the family. And she is one as well.
    • Near the end of the series, it was revealed that the original God was one, living alone in a house on a hill, terrified of meeting other people. The entire curse got started when he met a cat and decided that it'd be best if he and a close circle of animal friends only stuck to each other for company, throughout multiple lifetimes.
  • Computer expert Seven in Loveless is heavily implied to be a Hikikomori, and is shown spending lots of time on her computer (including in an online RPG that serves as a communicator between characters in the series) and collecting anime figurines.
  • Karin's family see a documentary about hikikomori and think Karin is one. They try an intervention, ignoring the fact that Karin was watching the documentary with them.
  • Ken in Digimon Adventure 02 appears to be one of these to Muggles for a time, but the reality is much worse (he's the Big Bad and it wouldn't do for his parents to see him go into his room, not be there, and mysteriously be absent for days, so he keeps the door locked.) Eventually, he doesn't even bother and decides to stay in the Digital World, effectively running away from home. After his Digimon partner dies and he realizes it's not a game, Ken spends some days in an Heroic B.S.O.D. state inside his room... then he gets out, hugs his parents and starts working on his Heel–Face Turn.
  • A serious example, taken to extremes, is Takumi, the protagonist of Chaos;Head. He lives in a shipping crate surrounded by anime figures, is deluded enough to see anime girls talking to him, and is paranoid to the extreme. The effects of his personality and lifestyle on the characters and situations he (reluctantly) encounters are the major part of the story. Of course Taku is also not a real person and suffers from a mental condition known as Gigalomania. He's actually best described as a "borderline" case. He still makes sporadic appearances at school, and has even made a "minimum attendance shift chart" to ensure that he can obtain enough credits to graduate. Not exactly something to be proud of, but admittedly a step higher than many of the cases on this page.
  • In the first Hell Girl anime series, there's a female hikikomori whose school teacher tries to reach out to her. At the same time she is communicating with what appears to be another student online. That person is actually her teacher (who isn't aware that the person he's talking to online and the student he's trying to help are the same person). He encourages her to send her teacher to Hell.
  • One Cromartie High School episode involves a guy who's tough and violent in real life, but friendly on the internet. He starts losing patience when a troll directs a string of nasty posts at him — ending with the deadly insult of calling him a hikikomori. (He then punches a guy out on the street for bumping into him, unaware that it's the troll.)
  • In the soccer manga Meister, one of the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits in the school's soccer team is Koori Taira, an admitted hikikomori who seems dually based on L from Death Note and Gosunkugi from Ranma ˝. He's antisocial, confrontational, self-centered, and seems to think he has hypnotic powers. But he's also the core of the team's defense and a generally unstoppable engine on the field.
  • Yuu Matsuura in Marmalade Boy was this close to become a hikikomori at age 12, when he found a letter written by his grandmother, which hinted that the man he knew as his dad wasn't his biological father.
  • xxxHOLiC:
    • Yuuko essentially forces one of her clients to become one when the price of the wish is that she never allow her image to be captured on film (It Makes Sense in Context).
    • Watanuki also becomes one; not being able to leave the shop except under very specific conditions is the price he has to pay for continued existence.
  • Chiba Seiya from Flunk Punk Rumble became one three days into the school year because of a bunch of delinquents looking for him. The main characters managed to get him out of his room though, by beating the crap out of the said delinquents.
  • Eden of the East has Itazu Yutaka. Called "Panties", not only because the kanji in his name can be read that way but also because he became a recluse after losing his only pair of pants. In the movies, he is no longer one.
  • Leopard of The Girl Who Leapt Through Space has the distinction of being anime's first hikikomori AI.
  • Sahoko from Pieta is a recovering hiki.
  • Amanuma Shinichi from Mekko Rarekko became one after he was tortured by a group of students because he turned one into the teachers. This caused him to believe that everyone has a dark side to them that they were hiding and when he transferred to Taishou's class, he tortured him just like when they were in first grade.
  • Chrona from Soul Eater seems to display symptoms of this, as he/she has a distinct trouble interacting with people due to an abusive upbringing. Prefers to stay in his/her room in Mister Corner, often for several days at a time.
  • Tomohiko Yamada of Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai hasn't left his house in three years after the death of his and Nagisa's father, and rarely leaves the comfort of his statue, book, and video filled room. Even his mother recognizes that he fits this trope: "Tomohiko has that rather popular condition, right? What is it? Hi... hi... hiki-..." When he did eventually leave the house to help Nagisa find the missing remains of her murdered best friend Mokuzu, he ended up vomiting due to the stress, though he was otherwise fine.
    Nagisa, on her brother: ""Beautiful, gentle natured, and shockingly intelligent... but at the same time, he's just as surprisingly useless."
  • Kitahara towards the end of Onani Master Kurosawa. Like everything after the Wham Episode, played tragically, hauntingly straight — we get to see when she finally snaps from all the abuse, bloodily cutting herself with a wood carving tool in response to two girls taunting her; when the main character comes to visit months later her mother is openly hysterical about saying the wrong thing to her and pushing her over the edge. It's shown she has good reason to be afraid of accidentally pushing her, too, as Kitahara has apparently attempted suicide 5 separate times during the past few months; when she finally does leave the room, she's reduced to panic attacks by all the sights, sounds, and wide empty spaces, and the idea of meeting people reduces her to tears. It takes a Cooldown Hug by the main character, along with a Patrick Stewart Speech about how important connecting with others is, to bring her out of it for good. Unfortunately, the other almost universal trope in manga is also played straight.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka encounters one such shut-in; one of the other students realizes that the kid is a hikkikomori when he asks the family about his activities and learns that he only leaves the house to buy train schedules because he's a train enthusiast.
  • The main character of Holyland Yuu, used to be this before street fighting.
  • Sunako, of The Wallflower. The plot is basically to break her out of being a hikikomori, with healthy amounts of Bishie Sparkle.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Despite being a personification of despair that only deals with humans to kill them, the witch Kirsten still manages to be a hikikomori. She interacts through a computer monitor, under the handle 'H. N. Elly'. Considering that witches are former Magical Girls who fell in despair, Kirsten may have been a hikki in her former life as a human/Magical Girl.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, when the computer club president goes missing, Haruhi uses this term to refer to him, asking Kyon where a hikikomori might be hiding (hinting that Kyon himself is one). Usage of this term is probably to further show how rude and blunt Haruhi's character can be since she uses the term so blatantly.
  • Detective Conan:
    • The novelist Hideomi Nagato became this after, as a highschool student, he was horribly disfigured in a fire while trying to rescue a little girl trapped in there. A fire that he and his friend Mitsuaki caused... and which killed the parents of the girl he saved, Miyuki Hyuuga. When Miyuki, now his dad's Sexy Secretary, falls for him and asks him to marry her despite what has happened... Hideomi commits suicide out of guilt.
    • Another novelist has hidden himself in the attic because he thought he committed murder—he continues to publish under his brother's name, whom he is ghost-writing for.
  • Wandering Son:
    • Yuki is shown to have been one of these in middle school and high school, after she dropped out due to being bullied by being forced to wear a Sailor Fuku. By age 20 she's shown to have gotten better.
    • Saori and later Mako became dangerously close to becoming this. Saori was coaxed out of it by Takatsuki. Mako paralleled Yuki's reason - she was embarrassed when her crush caught her outside as a girl - but when Oka mentions he didn't even know that was her she goes back to high school.
  • At her introduction, Shiemi Moriyama from Blue Exorcist is one of these, but she overcomes it by the end of her introductory chapter.
  • Chisame Hasegawa in Mahou Sensei Negima! apparently becomes one after high school for a few years, but later joins Negi's Mars terraformation project as an advisor. She already had something of the personality in the series, but wasn't as much of a recluse as these types usually are. However it was shown she liked being an internet idol and was a bit of a shut in.
  • anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day:
    • Jintan from became this after the death of Menma and his mother. At the start of the story, his friend and Dogged Nice Girl Anaru has to go to his home and give him his share of schoolwork. And then Menma's ghost comes in and he has to stop holing himself up to help her fulfill her Ghostly Goals...
    • Also, Menma's mother Irene. She closed herself off to the whole world after her daughter's death, and is hurt and angry at Menma's friends for managing to somewhat move on while she's trapped in her pain.
  • In 3-gatsu no Lion, Rei heavily implies in the narration of his childhood that Ayumu became one after realizing he could no longer keep up with Rei in shogi, mentioning that he holes himself up in his room and drowns himself in video games.
  • Souta's novelist sister Izumi from WORKING!!. She is actually shown leaving the house once in the series, and her siblings treat it as a very scary thing. This is because she is so frail from constantly being in her room working on novels all the time and rarely stepping foot outside of her room for as long as what is implied to be months at a time.
  • Arata Hinohara from Arata Kangatari became one for a while as a result of Kadowaki bullying him in middle school.
  • Denpa Kyoshi has Kagami, Kotarou, and Sachiko. They got better,
  • In Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo, one story deals with the extremely screwed-up adult children of a businessman. One of said children never talks and never leaves his room. He refuses his stepmother's suggestions that he eat with the rest of the family, in favor of having his meals left outside of his door. He refuses to even leave his room to attend his father's funeral.
  • Highschool DXD:
    • Gasper Vladib is one after his introduction in season 2 as Rias Gremory's other Bishop. Interestingly, this has NOT stopped him from carrying out his duty as a Devil, making and fulfilling contracts over the Internet. He is getting better, though, as he is now emotionally capable of going outside (provided he is not alone), and having conversations with people he is close to. But he will still hide in a box if he gets even a little startled.
    • Riser Phenix briefly becomes one after being defeated by Issei. It becomes so bad that he will even refuse to even see his own family because he had a bad dream (probably about Issei) the night before and totally FREAKS OUT when Issei shows up at his bedroom door, most likely due to the Trauma Conga Line of losing to Issei, who was a weak, newly reincarnated devil, having his fiancé stolen by him, and having this all happen in front of a crowd of high-ranking and very aristocratic devils.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, X was once a cheerful, up-and-coming trainer, but is now a depressed shut-in who refuses to leave his room despite his childhood friend Y coming by daily to plead to him to come out. It is all but outright stated that he had an extremely bad experience with the paparazzi. Despite the fact that his house got destroyed when Team Flare went after his Mega Ring and now he's forced to be outside to get the plot going, he's somehow put together a make-shift mobile room for himself that Y's Rhyhorn has to carry around on its back.
  • In the educational tankobon Know through Manga! Schizophrenia, by Yuki Nakamura (whose mother has schizophrenia), the main character Kokoro, as she moves through the schizophrenia prodrome, becomes more and more like this, quitting her job due to hearing hallucinations at work which she perceives to be the critical voices of her co-workers commenting on her frequent mistakes, hardly coming out of her room for anything, sleeping during the day and staying awake and eating during the night, often feeling unable to move at all and just lying in her futon, and feeling all kinds of random (negative) feelings and thinking random thoughts, until she has a total breakdown, hearing lots and lots of voices in the room, mainly of her former co-workers discussing her in 3rd person showing their disapproval of her, causing her to think the house is being watched and even that her thoughts are being read, sending her into a confused panic. Her mother takes her to the hospital shortly after and she is put on medication and is not long after diagnosed with schizophrenia. Though she is doing much better at the end of the story, she is still mostly homebound, not working or going to school, even though she is 24. The book warns that among the hikikomori, there are cases of mental illness hidden.
  • The protagonist of Inside Mari is a hikikomori. He went off to college excited about meeting new friends, finding romance, etc but after a few months noticed he had no friends because he was waiting for others to come to him. In his second year he stopped going to his classes. He falls for a high school girl and becomes a bit of a Stalker with a Crush. Then he ends up taking over her body somehow.
  • Keito, protagonist of Cat Street lived as a shut-in for seven years after she blacked out on a stage performance, not even finishing grade school and losing any contact with the outside world.
  • Mushoku Tensei:
    • Rudeus was this in his previous life. After being made a social pariah at school he spent nearly twenty years locked up in his parents' house. The plot kicks off when they die and his siblings, unwilling to support him, disown and beat him. In his second life Rudeus didn't leave his parents' house for six years due to the trauma from his previous life. He is grateful when Roxy takes him outside against his will as it allows him to put the fear behind him, which was more than anyone in his past life had done for him.
      • Backstory revealed later on delves deeper into how it was a self-sustaining cycle of jealousy, self-hatred, and fear. He wanted to be able to go out and make his way in life but the fear kept him from doing so. This made him jealous of his family who had no issues and so he lashed out and shunned them while they had no real idea how to help him. Eventually they stopped and he fell into otaku hobbies in hopes of distracting himself, but never finding anything meaningful for his life.
    • Nanahoshi shows all the signs of this but is infinitely more successful and driven than Rudeus was. She hates this new world, and wants to ignore it in favor of getting back to Japan.
  • Mejiro of Princess Jellyfish is an unseen resident of the Nunnery whose Social Anxiety Disorder means she never leaves her room and only communicates with the other girls via written notes she slips under the door.
  • Ito from Punchline is one due to bullying. She was disowned by her father for dropping out of school. This caused her to move away and live by herself. Ito doesn't leave her house much.
  • Main character Shinichi from Outbreak Company was a shut in until just before the series started, when his parents finally gave him an ultimatum to get a job or be cut off. This becomes a plot point in the middle of the series, when he uses his experience of being a shut in to reach out to Petralka when she gets stressed out and locks herself in her room for an entire day.
  • Another has hikikomori characters in its different continuities:
    • In the novel and manga, there's one named Kazumi Akazawa who is the brother of Izumi Akazawa and is said to have hung himself in his bedroom before the story began.
    • In the anime, Yumi Ogura's older brother Atsushi is only seen in his room, playing games at his computer. And this causes his death, since an excavator rams into the Ogura house and crushes him to death.
  • In Charlotte, Yuu temporarily becomes one for part of Episode 7 due to his sister's death.
  • Fafnir in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is a modern interpretation of being a hoarder who spends all of his time protecting his possessions. His namesake (and, in 'verse, he himself) inspired the concept of the dragon and his hoard.
  • In Gundam Build Divers, Koichi Nanase had spent four years as one due to his friends abandoning him and the Gunpla Duel game in favor of the then-new Gunpla Battle Nexus Online game. He ends up shaking it off after finally coming to terms that he still loves Gunpla and Gunpla Battling and gaining new friends who enjoy the hobby as well.

    Comic Books 
  • Jessica Cruz, the most recent Green Lantern, gained severe agoraphobia after her friends were murdered by mobsters. She's made progress since her first appearance, however, and though she's socially withdrawn and has serious anxiety, she is currently not confined to her home.

    Fanfiction 
  • Several, (though not all) of the Element Bearers end up suffering this in Divided Rainbow as a result of the Swap.
  • In Shatterheart Syaoran hides in his room to escape the group's antipathy towards him, only time he leaves is to get food when everyone's asleep in their rooms or go bathroom or for chess matches. He would let himself starve instead of going outside when someone sleep in the living room. Kurogane slowly breaks him out of it when he befriends him.
  • In the Kill la Kill fic The Mysterious Lady Kiryuuin, Satsuki (it's rather obvious) is one and, apparently, the reason for this is because she's very shy, painfully so, and, as chapter five seems to point to, she is afraid of being and going outside. In conjunctions with her being shy and having a fear of being outside, she seems to have some kind of disorder. Later, in the story, she does leave her house, despite being so shy and agoraphobic, just because she wanted to see her friends.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • This seems to be the allegorical premise of Kairo (later remade into Pulse), wherein people who find a haunted website withdraw from society and eventually disappear altogether.
  • Ima, boku wa (review) is about a hikikomori who is forced to deal with the outside world when his mother finds him a job. Then she dies.
  • The title character in Little Voice almost never leaves her room in her mother's apartment, spending all her time listening to her deceased father's vinyl records and perfectly imitating the singers' performances.
  • Tokyo! : the main theme of one of the three chapters, "Shaking Tokyo," is an exploration of hikikomori and its interference with the victim's need for love.
  • Half of Castaway on the Moon is about this. The other half is about a man trapped on an Island.
  • The title character in Abel by Alex van Warmerdam.
  • Nothing: Andrew is suffering from extreme social withdrawal, and won't leave the house that his parents left him. His best friend and roommmate David is apparently his only outlet to the world.

    Literature 
  • The self-proclaimed otaku in World War Z was one, and spent all his time on Image Boards discussing trivia and obscure facts. When the Zombie Apocalypse starts, he spends his time dedicating himself to researching how to defend yourself from zombies, zombie information, and what Japan would do to protect himself, going so far as to hack into doctors studying the infection for e-fame. He gets so obsessed that it's a long time before he realizes the entire city has been infected.
  • Daito and Shoto from Ready Player One.

    Live Action TV 
  • Endgame: Arkady Balagan after witnessing the death of his fiancee. He shuts himself up in a hotel.
  • Tsuyoshi in Sh15uya is revealed to have been one prior to having been put into the virtual Shibuya.
  • Psych had a one-shot hikikomori character who only went out on Thursdays to the convenience store and to buy video games. Once-a-day/week/month trips to a convenience store an extremely common hikikomori trait (as is only going out to buy games/anime/manga/etc).
  • House once had a hikikomori as a Patient of the Week.
  • Wataru Kurenai, the eponymous Kamen Rider Kiva, starts off the series like this. The first time we see him he's covered from head to toe, including a stocking cap, protective goggles, and a face mask because he thinks he's "allergic to the world" and communicates mostly using a notebook full of pre-written responses. For these reasons (plus the unusually fancy Western-style house he lives in), the locals call him "Ghost Boy"note . Cool Big Sis Megumi manages to get him out of the "containment suit" and actually speaking pretty early on, but he's still extremely shy and introverted for most of the series. Then he suffers a Heroic B.S.O.D. following Mio's death, but he comes back from it a true badass.
  • In one episode of Nowhere Man, Tom encounters an orphan who has not left his house since his parents' death, living off delivery items he is able to pay for with the money he got by writing a brilliant piece of software for a venture capital firm.
  • In the live-action Hell Girl series, one of Ai's clients is a male hikikomori whose father has been murdered. The episode takes an unflinching look at his self-inflicted isolation and the pain it causes both him and his father. It's a Tear Jerker that conveys the tragedy of such a lifestyle better than any simple denunciation of slackers could.
  • Luther references the phenomenon by name when describing the Millberry Twin's emotional isolation. Their complete surrender to fantasy and total lack of healthy relationships fuels their violent string of crimes.
  • The Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders episode set in Japan features one as the killer. Being physically large and sticking out in a crowd is considered to be part of his reasoning, but mostly he's just socially inept and doesn't really care to interact with people. Until his parents commit suicide, of course, and he decides stage the suicides of the people he deems responsible. He isn't actually seen until the final confrontation, unusual for a universe that likes to show the killer committing the crimes, but an effective use of Painting the Medium.

    Music 
  • Shintarou of Jin (Shizen no Teki-P)'s Kagerou project is a hikikomori but is slowly being helped from his situation by the Mekakushi Dan.
  • Zola Jesus have a song called Hikikomori.

    Video Games 
  • The protagonist of Hikkikomori RPG is a Hikikomori.
  • Madotsuki, the protagonist of Yume Nikki, or at least that's one interpretation of her. She has issues.
    • She would literally rather die than go outside. Her blood goes on to fertilize gardens upon gardens of Epileptic Trees.
  • Patchouli Knowledge, a recurring character in the Touhou series, has apparently not left the library of Scarlet Devil Mansion for over a century, making her an extreme example of the trope. In keeping with the stereotype, her obsessive studies have rendered her one of the strongest magic users in canon, but a combination of anemia, asthma, and lack of Vitamin A leave her incapable of fully utilizing them most of the time.
    • It's worth noting that her popularity has kept having her return as a playable character in Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and as a partner in Subterranean Animism, not to mention being in a great many doujinshi, so it should be said that her Hikikomori status was rather suddenly ended by the events of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil.
    • Also Kaguya Houraisan, who hid in and never left the Eientei, which leads her to be called a NEET. The 4koma series Life of Maid has Patchy getting along rather famously with her during the beach vacation arc. Though this is a reflection of the time period in which she lived when she first arrived on earth: Japanese noblewomen weren't expected to go outside very much at all.
    • Satori Komeiji also counts, since humans' and other youkai's hatred of her being able to read their minds caused her to isolate herself in the Palace of the Earth Spirits with only her many pets for company. Even then she spends most of her time in her room, reading and writing books. It should also be noted that it's mostly self-inflicted - if she'd just stop talking about the whole mind reading thing, much fewer people would hate her.
  • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Vera Misham has spent over seven years living alone with her father in an art studio. Their only contact with the outside world is through a mailbox. When Vera is forced to leave, she is extremely quiet and shy: when the protagonist tries to meet her, she hides out of his sight for a half hour before he realizes she's there.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice gives us another - Armie "Sarge" Buff, who is somewhat downplayed, communicating with people outside through a remote control drone with a camera, mic and speakers. She is forced to overcome her issue after being orphaned.
  • Geo Stelar in Mega Man Star Force, though only for the first game.
  • Mizutani Eri, one of the idols in The Idolmaster: Dearly Stars. She used to be an Internet idol, but her manager coerced her into making a real-life debut as she was recovering.
  • Henry Townshend of Silent Hill 4 was The Quiet One even before he woke up one morning and found himself literally locked in his own apartment. While his shut-in-ness is supernaturally enforced by a malevolent spirit, none of his neighbors show much concern that they haven't seen him for days.
  • Takumi in Chaos;Head game, as mentioned in the Anime/Manga section.
  • Endrance in Dot Hack GU. As Haseo converses more with him through email, he reveals information about how he buys everything online, doesn't go out to eat (his mother cooks his meals), and lives with his parents even at age 20. Combined with the fact that he's almost constantly logged in to The World (he only goes offline to eat and sleep) and that he's borderline underweight make him a pitiable hiki indeed. He's at least willing to change; he says he'd leave his home to meet with Haseo, for instance.
  • Pokémon: The Pokémon Sewaddle (Japanese Name: Kurumiru) evolves into Swadloon (Kurumaryu), the appearance of which is based on the Hikikomori archtype (specifically, of the "Hikikomori hiding under a blanket" stereotype). Swadloon specifically eats fallen leaves, much like the "fed by slices of food slid under the door" stereotype of severe Hikikomoris. Furthering/cementing the comparison, it evolves into Leavanny (Hahakomori) via happiness, which is one of this generation's Cute Monster Girl Pokémon (much like Lopunny is in Generation IV).
  • The Nintendo DS version of Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side 2 adds, as one of its bonus characters, Komori Taku. Playing his route requires the heroine to draw him out of his shell and convince him to start coming to school.
  • Persona:
    • People with Apathy Syndrome in Persona 3 seem to become this from the normal people's point of view, although there are some who can be seen in streets.
    • Persona 5 has Futaba Sakura, who became this after her mother's death and Futaba's (mistaken) belief that her mother blamed her for it. She gradually breaks out of her shell with the party's help, and eventually becomes your team's Mission Control.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, most folks assume Mister House is basically one of these, what with the whole "communicates solely via robo-messenger", "your character is the first one into that hotel in generations" and "hasn't been seen by anyone since the Great War" schticks. If you work for him, or basically just ignore him, you're free to think the same. If, for any reason, you attempt to kill or otherwise disable him, you find out he's basically been inside a life-support pod for over two centuries that's hooked up to his entire hotel's security and control systems, as well as remote-access to any of the mass-produced robots he supplies.
  • Merrill of Dragon Age II becomes one in Act III of the game as she becomes more and more obsessed with the Eluvian; she only leaves the house to buy food, and one of her friends even starts having groceries delivered to her to make sure she actually eats.
  • Monster Lab: "Who are you to ask De La Sombra to return to the outside world! It is far too scary- er, beneath him!"
  • In Little Busters!, Kyousuke slowly starts turning into one of these in Refrain, spending all of his time in his room with the light off reading manga and only eating bread, to the point where his roommate gets freaked out and stays with his friend instead. There's a bit more to the situation than just this, though, and what Kyousuke's also working on turns out to be very, very important.
  • The King/the original Kazuaki in Hatoful Boyfriend became this in the depths of depression, though he had the one friend who made going and doing things more worthwhile. And who assisted his suicide and stole his identity. In the alternate universe comic where he survived to later become a teacher he discovered that someone else in his apartment block had died, became obsessed with the idea that if he stayed in his apartment all the time he'd die too, and left and made that friend in better circumstances.
  • Aeon from Skullgirls universe is said to be a shut-in otaku. This example is particularly amusing because she's the game's goddess of time. We actually get a preview of her hikikomori tendencies in the end of Double's story mode, where she's revealed to have a bunch of doujin magazines and a copy of ''Skullgirls''.
  • Kouta Meoshi in Sweet Fuse At Your Side is a shut-in who has dropped out of high school and spends all his time at home playing video games. On his route, he eventually explains why: as a child, he was the only witness to a terrible traffic accident, and although he wanted to help he was too scared and upset by the experience and by the police's intensive questioning to be able to tell them what he'd seen until it was too late to be of any help. Meoshi was left so eaten up by feelings of guilt and uselessness that he could no longer bear to interact with others, instead immersing himself in video games as a means of feeling he was still good for something.
  • The visual novel Nowhere Safe and its sequel star a female hikkikomori.
  • Kaoru Watabe from The King of Fighters was this prior to KoF '97 due to her being an Ill Girl and being confined to a wheelchair, which left her unable to communicate with other people. She slowly gets better by seeing Athena's determination on TV and sends a letter to her to cheer her and her teammates on. When she finally meets them, she is very happy and becomes friends with them, even pulling a Big Damn Heroes moment on the Psycho Soldiers Team in one of their '99 endings.
  • Frau Koujiro, from Robotics;Notes, became one not long after her mother's disappearance. She spends most of her time in her apartment, which is perpetually messy and frigid from the air conditioner being cranked down, working on solving the mystery of her mother's disappearance and finding cheaters in the video game she developed. For some time after joining the Robotics Club, she wouldn't attend except via video conference. Her social skills are also deplorable, between her talking in Leet Speak and barely concealing her sexually perverse fantasies.
  • Yumiko in Grisaia no Kajitsu and Grisaia no Rakuen hates going outside or doing anything, particularly in the latter story where she doesn't bother to get involved with Thanatos' little marathon of sorts and further acquires the nickname Bocchi, presumably short for Hitoribocchi, or All Alone. In the epilogue, despite being on a tropical island she's still as pale as ever because she never goes outside.
  • Murasaki from Senran Kagura is usually seen secluded in her room playing with her teddy bear, Bebeby, or surfing the internet all day. Her online username is even cute_shutin.
  • Hidabat from Yo-kai Watch. When he curses someone, he causes them to become one as well. He is a bat-like Yo-kai, with his Japanese name, Hikikōmori, being a pun on this and of the Japanese word for "bat". His wings are even patterned like a wrap-around blanket.
  • Komali from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, whose original Japanese name is even "Komori." You first meet him holed up in his room holding Din's Pearl and refusing to go out. He's a shut-in because his beloved grandmother died recently, and he won't give Link the Pearl because it was a gift from her. Going through Dragon Roost Cavern and calming down Valoo, who had been attended to by his grandmother, will convince him to grow out of this.

    Web Comics 
  • Not usually, but when her friends are absent for a while, Jodie from Loserz becomes this here.
  • In Questionable Content
    • Marigold starts out as a recluse obsessed with anime (especially hentai) and World of Warcraft, who works on a family company website from home and almost never leaves her apartment. Once she's introduced to the other characters, she starts to get out more.
    • Hannelore's backstory is an extreme example. She suffers from some very severe OCD and grew up on a space station as a nervous wreck, drugged into insensibility half the time and incapable of surviving without constant supervision. By her first appearance in the comic, she had learned to manage her condition enough to get out and socialize, and continues to grow more comfortable in company. When she visits the station and is finally able to hug her father without freaking out from human contact, everyone present who knew her only as a child is shocked.
    • Bubbles is a retired combat android who lives at her workplace and almost never goes outside, thanks in large part to crippling self-consciousness about being seen by people. Faye takes it upon herself to bring Bubbles out of her shell, with some success.
  • Dr. Schlock from Sluggy Freelance has been devolving into a shut in after taking charge of Hereti corp, often using video conferencing or inflatable decoys to communicate with people while staying locked in his office. His growing list of enemies and set backs is not being kind to his sanity.
  • Rob, a side character in Ménage ŕ 3, lives in the same building with the protagonists, and appearently hasn't left his apartment since the '80s.
  • Tower of God: Jaina Repellista Zahard is one of Zahard's Princesses, but ever since she got that sweet lighthouse she never left her room, spending her days spying on the tower and playing video games like Skyrim.
  • Cadis Etrama Di Raizel from Noblesse used to be this. He would never leave his mansion unless personally summoned by the Lord of Lukedonia.
  • 4 Cut Hero begins with the legendary hero who slew the demon king having retired and become an otaku hikikomori after realizing he has no useful life skills beyond blowing up demons.

    Web Original 
  • Nessiah is a borderline case in Dept Heaven Apocrypha. He wasn't originally anywhere near this bad, but let's just say various things happened. He has been known to venture out of his room every now and again, but this is usually for necessity's sake, and someone is almost always with him.
  • In the "Okkusenman" video, During a scene where the protagonist wonders about his childhood friends, one of them is shown as having become one.
  • The Nostalgia Chick has been established as a pitiful shut-in... sometimes. Depends on the episode.
  • In SOTF-TV, Harold Finston Smythe could easily be a Western example of this trope. While he does go to school, he finds the experience traumatic both due to extremely poor social skills and being seen as a stalker by most of his classmates. As a result he could easily be described as a geeky shut-in who spends most of his time on the computer otherwise. When he gets to the island he doesn't take it well.
  • Taylor Welton in season 1 of Last Life. It takes her meeting Sloane, her (eternal) soulmate, to finally get her out of her room.
  • In The Guild, Codex starts off with no job, friends or life outside of the MMORPG she plays, and she stays indoors for weeks at a time. Part of the reason she gets the titular guild to meet in person is to try and meet people in real life.
  • In Something Witty Entertainment's Sword Art Online Abridged, Lisbeth rarely ever leaves her shop. It takes Kirito blackmailing and Asuna threatening her to get her out of it.
  • In a heartbreaking, real life example Gaijin Goombah admitted to being this while he worked in Japan in in this video after his ex-fiancee put him through "six months of hell" and began cheating on him a week after he left to work there. Becomes heartwarming when he begins talking about how he met his wife and saved him from that lifestyle and made him feel loved again.

    Western Animation 
  • Hey Arnold!
    • Stoop Kid was has been on his stoop since he was a baby and never leaves. Arnold eventually convinces him to step off it.
    • After Phoebe farts into a microphone and the entire school makes fun of her, she eventually refuses to leave her bedroom. She is cured when Arnold convinces her to return to school, where she goes to an assembly and lets her classmates have it for mocking her.
  • Marge from The Simpsons becomes a hikki in the episode "Strong Arms of the Ma" following a traumatic experience of being robbed at gunpoint. It's actually a somewhat realistic portrayal.
  • Spongebob Squarepants becomes one for an episode following a sports accident and a vague threat from his doctor about an "iron butt."
  • In Angela Anaconda, Josephine's mother is Agorophobic and never leaves the house. Angela pretends to develop Agorophobia but then starts to get Cabin Fever. Hilarity Ensues.
  • On Daria she and Jodie attend an orientation at a prestigious private school with their families. There, it is mentioned that a vast percent of the school's graduates go to Ivy League schools, while the remaining mostly decide to "take a break" from strenuous academic activities. Or buttoning their own clothes.
  • In the Ren and Stimpy episode "Hermit Ren", Ren becomes one and goes mad from the isolation.
  • Undergrads:
    • Gimpy will only leave his room when absolutely necessary. He even avoids going home to his family on Christmas vacation.
    • In one episode, Nitz isolates himself in his own room out of frustration out of being nothing but a forgettable Generic Guy to everyone. Ironically, this ends up making him more memorable to the student body.
  • The Batman's version of The Cluemaster is a villainous version of this trope. After losing on a game show, and an attempt to sue the show for fraud failed, he became a Basement-Dweller, and stewed in his own hatred over having been seemingly cheated out of winning. During the time between his loss and the show itself, he developed a intricate revenge for the host and producer of the show, and the person he lost to. He has dwarves for minions, and his own mother seems to have been brainwashed.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Suited For Success", the failure of the initial fashion show using the other Mane Five's own dress designs causes Rarity to have a Heroic B.S.O.D. and shut herself in her bedroom for several days, considering leaving town, until they coax her out by completing her own unfinished dress and arranging with Hoity Toity to hold a second fashion show with Rarity's original designs.
    • In "Putting Your Hoof Down", Fluttershy boards herself up in her house after her Jerkass Realization for fear of hurting otherponies with her new aggressive assertiveness.
    • Rarity gets another one in Sweetie Belle's Bad Future nightmare from "For Whom The Sweetie Belle Tolls". After Sapphire Shores fires her she snaps and spends the rest of her life locked within her house. Seriously, get that poor girl some counselling.
    • In "Amending Fences", we find out that Twilight's classmate Moondancer, who was briefly mentioned in the pilot episode by a trio of unicorns that also return in this one, gave up on friendship and became a shut-in after Twilight snubbed her party invitation to focus on the impending return of Nightmare Moon. It takes over half the episode for Twilight, Pinkie Pie, and the others to finally convince her to give friendship a second chance.
  • One appears in the The Legend of Korra episode "Rebirth", a shut in 22 year old man who has gained airbending and thus the Avatar's attention (since she needs to rebuild the Air Nomads), leading to a hilarious banter as she tries to convince him to leave his house, that ends up in questioning her life choices. He's also based on the animation director. The next season reveals that he eventually grew out of this and joined the Air Nomads, with his job being a tour guide for the Spirit Vine Wilds in Republic City.
  • Helena becomes this in episode 2 of Neo Yokio, and even mentions this by name.


Alternative Title(s): Hikkikomori

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Hikikomori