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

No man is an island, but a hikikomori is a peninsula. A hikikomori is a specific, extreme form of The Shut-In who hasn't left his bedroom for a ridiculously long time (at least six months).

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 incredible pressure on young people to succeed, which leads them to snap and withdraw from society. Second, social stigma about mental illness 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 their kid by cooking or doing laundry. In some western countries, mainly those from the Anglosphere, a Basement-Dweller's parents will usually get fed up at some point and try to intervene in their child's isolationist behavior in some manner, either seeking out council from or demanding that the child talk to a mental health professional, or even outright kicking them out, but you'll never see that in Japan. And fourth, Japan is a remarkably easy place to live without ever having to interact with a human being, being full of vending machines and 24-hour corner stores (so if you do have to leave the house, you can do it in the middle of the night when nobody's around) — on top of being able to just buy things on the Internet.

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.)

While Hikkomori was initially considered to be specific to Japan, the phenomenon started to the observed in the West around the time of the 2007-08 financial crisis, which forced many precarious young people to move back in with their parents. The US also has a competitive university entrance competition and business culture that many younger people found themselves disillusioned with in the wake of the crisis.

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.

More recently, hikikomori people now connect with one another online, publish journals and newspapers, and even meet in person to share research and perspectives. Vosot Ikeida, who's been a hikikomori for over thirty years, believes the condition originates commonly in emotional and mental child abuse. He has started several meeting groups and websites that he hopes will encourage communication and connection not just between hikikomori and the outside world, but between parents and their hikikomori children. Kenji Yamase believes with some mental health experts that hikikomori origins are complex but it often seems to begin with something happening to interrupt one's life routine — say you have to quit your job to care for an elderly parent — and then difficulty resuming your old life.

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. NEETs are frequently also hikikomori and the terms are often used interchangeably.

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). See also Loners Are Freaks and Bullied into Depression. If someone literally can't leave their house (and usually they want to), it's an Enclosed Space or Implicit Prison.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day:
    • Jintan 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.
  • Arata Hinohara from Arata: The Legend became one for a while as a result of Kadowaki bullying him in middle school.
  • At her introduction, Shiemi Moriyama from Blue Exorcist is one of these, but she overcomes it by the end of her introductory chapter.
  • Case Closed:
    • The novelist Hideomi Nagato became this after, as a high school student, he was horribly disfigured in a fire.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Charlotte, Yuu temporarily becomes one for part of Episode 7 due to his sister's death.
  • 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.)
  • 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 BSoD state inside his room... then he gets out, hugs his parents, and starts working on his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Eden of the East has an involuntary example in 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. (Why he never thought of buying another pair online is never addressed.) There were probably quite a few other examples present in the last couple of episodes, but they were... rather abruptly forced to cease to be such thanks to the machinations of The Hero: Exactly how and why is difficult to explain without spoiling the entire plot.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Leopard of The Girl Who Leapt Through Space has the distinction of being anime's first hikikomori AI.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka encounters one such shut-in; one of the other students realizes that the kid is a hikikomori 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Japan from Hetalia: Axis Powers 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 BSoD 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".
  • The main character of Holyland, Yuu, used to be this before street fighting.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In March Comes in Like a 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.
  • Yuu Matsuura in Marmalade Boy was this close to becoming 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.
  • 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 ½. 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.
  • 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.
  • La Brava from My Hero Academia became a shut-in after she was cruelly rejected and mocked by her crush, spending her days locked in her apartment watching internet videos and shunning all contact. She almost committed suicide before she discovered Gentle Criminal, venturing out to become his partner in crime.
  • Chisame Hasegawa in Negima! Magister Negi Magi 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.
  • Kitahara towards the end of Onani Master Kurosawa. Like everything after the Wham Episode, played tragically, hauntingly straight as Kitahara has apparently attempted suicide 5 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.
  • Onimai: I'm Now Your Sister: At the start of the series, Mahiro refers to himself as a "self-sufficient home security officer", which is just a roundabout way of saying "Hikikomori" without actually using the word. He fell into the lifestyle due to being constantly Always Second Best to his Child Prodigy younger sister, Mihari. One of Mihari's goals in using her Mad Science to both regress and gender bend her brother to a middle school-aged girl is to correct this, coming up with various excuses to get Mahiro to leave the house, either of his own volition or by bribing him, such as giving him money he can spend to by gacha game cards, but only if he goes and buys them himself.
  • Kayoko Nagato from the third season of Ojamajo Doremi ends up with a bad fear of going to school due to all the bullying she had received from her classmates due to her slow and clumsy nature, her Only Friend unwittingly brushing her concerns off and the heavy pressure from both her teachers and her parents, causing her to stop going to school out of the belief she was causing trouble by being there. Her anxiety over it is so bad, she always ended up panicking whenever she is confronted about it by others and whenever she does try to go back, resulting in her vomiting. Even after meeting Doremi, Kayoko can only stay in the nurse’s office at first, as she still feels like all of the other students hate her and due to the past pressure from her old teacher and her parents. It’s only when everyone listens to Kayako’s story and reasons that they finally take the right steps by apologizing to Kayoko and giving her the support and reassurance she desperately needed, allowing her to return to class.
  • 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 eats 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.
  • Sahoko from Pieta is a recovering hiki.
  • 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.
  • Mejiro of Princess Jellyfish is an unseen resident of Amamizukan 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. The final chapter of the manga reveals that the real reason Mejiro became a hikikomori is because he's actually a man, and since Amamizukan has a "no men allowed" policy (which Mejiro himself came up with), he was forced to shut himself up in his room so the other residents wouldn't find out he was male.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Tales of Wedding Rings, the elven princess Nefritis has spent the last fifty years as a timid shut-in who won't even leave her room. Her elder brother Jade encourages this behaviour, as he thinks hes honouring their late parents' last wishes by keeping her safe from the outside world. When Satou comes to marry her and claim the Ring of Wind, she is forced by necessity to come out of her room and her shell.
  • Ultimate Otaku Teacher has Kagami, Kotarou, and Sachiko. They got better.
  • Himawari Shinomiya of Vividred Operation, due to a friend making a promise to her only to break it, became an extreme Hikikomori who only would go to school via her computer. This eventually came to an end when Akane made her a promise and made sure to keep it.
  • Souta's novelist sister Izumi from Wagnaria!!. 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.
  • Sunako, of The Wallflower. The plot is basically to break her out of being a hikikomori, with healthy amounts of Bishie Sparkle.
  • 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.
  • ×××HOLiC:
    • 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.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, Doctor H., the nonbiological father of the Supermen, prefers to stay in his house a lot of the time. An episode in Season 3 reveals that having accidentally injured Big M. and Little M.'s faces with an elevator door by accident is what discouraged him from venturing outside.

    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.
  • Following Rewind's death in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, his husband Chromedome withdraws from the rest of the ship, opting to spend as much time as possible lurking in the room they once shared, watching his farewell message again and again. He doesn't get over it until they find a still-living quantum duplicate of Rewind aboard a devastated duplicate Lost Light.

    Fan Works 
  • Danganronpa: Paradise Lost: Protagonist Daisuke Hiyori is the Ultimate Hikikomori, and cheerfully introduces himself through stating that he hasn't left his apartment in years. While this does end up in him initially being Innocently Insensitive at times, his latent Simple-Minded Wisdom is what proves to be the quality that allows him to oppose Monokuma's latest Killing Game.
  • 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 sleeps 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.
  • Restraint starts with Azula's family asking Ty Lee, her former best friend and, unknown to them, her former girlfriend, to help get Azula out of her room. She hasn't left it in a long time.
  • Satsuki in The Outside is this, as she's agoraphobic and so, to her, everything to do with the world outside of her house is dangerous, imposing this sort of thing on Ryuuko. Later in the story, we find out more why she's this, as she used to be more of The Shut-In (being sick), but, due to almost dying of an asthma attack the one time she did go outside, she was left traumatized, even more when Soichiro died.
  • Serizawa in the Mob Psycho 100 fanfics Nothing Breaks Like a Heart and Customary Relations.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged: Liz is terrified of getting killed in the death game, so she never leaves her shop, which is in a safe zone.
    Asuna: Thanks, Liz! You do such great work. I don't know why we don't spend more time together.
    Lizbeth: Because I refuse to leave the safety of my shop, and you keep selfishly declining my offers to stay with me and live in my closet like some adorable bogeyman.
    Asuna: ...Oh, right! Knew it was something.
  • Total Drama Legacy's Katherine is a rare non-Japanese example. When she was 3 years old, Katherine saw her father get harassed in public and get beat up by a gang of thugs, and this caused her to think the outside world was cruel and unforgiving. Ever since, she has been terrified of leaving her house- she had a panic attack on the first day of kindergarten (forcing her parents to homeschool her), and before coming to Pahkitew Island, she hadn't left her home in years.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Big Hero 6, after Tadashi is killed in a fire at the exhibition hall, Hiro withdraws from everyone else for about two weeks, until he stubs his toe and Baymax responds to Hiro's exclamation of pain, with Hiro and Baymax finding a lone microbot and following it to an abandoned warehouse.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Avengers: Endgame, Thor shows graphically (and hilariously) how five years of shutting yourself in a room doing nothing but playing video games, guzzling beer, and inhaling junk food out of depression can turn anyone into the overweight love-child of Santa Claus and Jabba The Hutt.
  • This seems to be the allegorical premise of Kairo, 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 rtime 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.
  • Suicide Room is a rare case of a Western movie with such characters. The protagonist meets online a social shut-in, who didn't leave her room for the past three years. Eventually he is convinced to follow suit.
  • Housebound combines this trope with Madman in the Attic in the form of Eugene, a profoundly mentally ill man who has been living inside the walls of the heroine's house her entire life - without her knowledge. He's ultimately a Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold, though.
  • Ultraman R/B The Movie: Select! The Crystal of Bond has a depressing example when Katsumi reunites with his old friend, Toi, who had inspired him to achieve his dreams of studying overseas back in his Elementary School days, which he promised will visit upon returning. Meeting Toi for the first time in years, Katsumi is equally surprised and disgusted to find out from Toi's mother, that Toi (ever since failing his dreams as a video game designer) has been reduced to a shut-in who spends all his time playing video games in his bedroom and barely leaves the house to interact with anyone else.
  • Kimi: Angela is this due to her agoraphobia. She hasn't got out in at least months, and strongly fears doing so. Eventually she does to report the crime she's overheard. The ending shows she's over this and is happily outside with Terry.
  • Bad Ronald: A No Social Skills teenager named Ronald will eventually Go Mad from the Isolation with many hurt along the way. Played for Horror.
  • The Whale centers on Charlie, a morbidly obese man who never leaves his apartment and has as few social connections as possible. Prior to the start of the film, his only social contacts are Liz, a nurse that tries her best to mitigate his condition, and his online students, whom he teaches with his camera disconnected. He asks the pizza delivery man to simply leave the pizzas outside his door and take money from the mailbox so he won't see him. His social circle only expands at the start of the film when Thomas, The Missionary, drops by, and when he tries to reconnect with his daughter after Liz tells him he probably has less than a week to live.

  • 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 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.
  • High School D×D:
    • 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.
  • Artie in InCryptid is a comic book geek who hasn't left his basement in years. Justified, as he's an incubus who can't control his pheromones: in short, girls (and gay/bi men) fall in love with him everywhere he goes and he has no idea how to handle it.
  • Kazuma in KonoSuba is a room-dwelling geek who spent all his time playing videogames prior to dying and being sent to another world. Something Aqua refuses to let him forget and regularly mocked him for. This is the result of him seeing a girl he had made a Childhood Marriage Promise to with another guy, which caused him to fall into a depression.
  • Yuna from Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear was a 15-year-old Teen Genius who lived alone in a fancy high-rise apartment, paid for with her skill in the stock market, the deed signed by her grandfather (who's only heard through Yuna's side of a phone call), and her food delivered to her. Her parents are absent, mooching off of Yuna for what she assumes to be a hedonistic lifestyle abroad. She spends most of her time playing a VRMMO as a solo adventurer—until she racks up so much total time playing that a mysterious force decides to send her into another world to make friends and interact with others. Unlike most examples of this trope, she shows no signs of social anxiety or otherwise being uneasy around new people and is, in fact, extremely outgoing and friendly.
  • Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation:
    • 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.
  • Sophia in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is a medieval version. After having enough scorn over her appearance among the high society, she isolated herself to avoid the hurtful words of other nobles, as well as not wanting others to look at her, although befriending Catarina put an end to this. This is also why she becomes a romance novel fan as she started reading those out of escapism.
  • 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.
  • Overlord (2012): Thousand-Eyes Astrologer, a seer from the Slane Theocracy and the Seventh Seat of its Black Scripture, becomes so indescribably terrified after using her power to bear witness to the Battle of Katze Plains that she shuts herself in her room and refuses to ever leave, constantly hiding under her blanket and trembling in fear. Considering the monstrosities that Ainz unleashed in said battle, it's a miracle that she didn't go catatonic.
  • The Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Ryuunosuke almost never leaves his room because of his dislike of people, though he does go to school to have enough attendance to pass the year.
  • Welcome to the NHK's characters pretty much out-hikky everyone else. This trope is built into the premise of the story (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 of showing why people become Hikikomoris. One character had severe untreated social anxiety, another was relentlessly bullied in school, and a third has a Dark and Troubled Past.
  • 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. This finally forces him out of his apartment.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alice in Borderland: Takatora is revealed to have been one of these before the events of the series. He would stay isolated in his room, ignoring his mother and spending his time writing lengthy blog posts that no one else read. After being transported to the alternate version of Tokyo, participating in the deadly games transformed him, leading him to become a trained killer.
  • 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 to 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.
  • Endgame: Arkady Balagan after witnessing the death of his fiancee. He shuts himself up in a hotel.
  • Dorothy encounters one of these in an episode of The Golden Girls when she's helping her mother Sophia volunteer for Meals on Wheels. The individual in question subscribes to the program to keep himself fed. However, this hikikomori is a middle-aged man (played by Martin Mull) whose apartment is basically a shrine to The '70s; he's secluded himself because Technology Marches On and it, and the world in general, terrifies him.
  • 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.
  • 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 BSoD following Mio's death, but he comes back from it a true badass.
  • On Law & Order: SVU, one Victim of the Week was a woman who had been raped repeatedly by the same man, and who had become a recluse in order to protect herself from being hurt again. She lived in a downstairs apartment, had an unlisted phone number, enlisted a neighbor to pick up groceries and such for her, and worked from home (except for one day a week, when she would have to turn in paperwork).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Tsuyoshi in Sh15uya is revealed to have been one prior to having been put into the virtual Shibuya.
  • Twin Peaks had Harold Smith who suffered from intense agoraphobia and couldn't go outside without suffering an intense panic attack.

  • 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.

  • Antigone Funn of Wooden Overcoats hasn't left her home/workplace, Funn Funerals, during daylight hours for over ten years. Part of it is due to extreme allergies that force her to wear a ridiculous "survival suit" when she might be around pollen, and part of it is due to her extreme social awkwardness. The only time she ever goes out is once a week when she sees a movie at the local cinema's foreign film club. (The fact that she's the only member is part of the appeal.) However, it's clear she doesn't like this about herself, and she does try and force herself to get out more.

  • The reclusive, porn-obsessed Trekkie Monster from Avenue Q is based on this stereotype. In the Bowdlerized "School edition" of the play, his song "The Internet Is for Porn" is replaced with one called "My Social Life Is Online", more or less sums up this trope.

    Video Games 
  • Endrance in .hack//G.U.. 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.
  • Merrill of Dragon Age II becomes one in Act 3 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. (However, it isn't as bad if Merrill is Hawke's Love Interest, as she lives with Hawke and thus does go outside sometimes.)
  • 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.
  • Genshin Impact: Raiden Ei/Raiden Shogun locked herself away in a small dimension called the "Plane of Euthymia", and leaving her responsibilities as the leader of Inazuma to three clans called the "Tri-Commission" and a puppet created after herself while she shuts herself away from the world. Because of this, she is sometimes made fun of by the fanbase or Yae Miko and called an "otaku" by the former. She's still relatively new to fiction, though.
  • The protagonist of Hikkikomori RPG is a Hikikomori.
  • 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.
  • Kaoru Watabe from The King of Fighters was this prior to KoF '97 due to her 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.
  • 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.
  • Lonely Wolf Treat: Following the second game's Downer Ending, Mochi becomes depressed and spends the next few weeks cooped up inside Treat's house, never interacting with anybody other than Treat herself. Only after the fourth game, where she goes to the hot springs with Treat and her friends, does she start going back to her usual Genki Girl self.
  • Monster Lab: "Who are you to ask De La Sombra to return to the outside world! It is far too scary- er, beneath him!"
  • The titular OMORI spends all of his time in a White Void Room with nothing but a sketchbook, a laptop, a tissue box, and his pet cat Mewo. At least until he finally decides to enter the colorful world of his neighbors and befriend them, but even then it takes him a while to open up. His real-life self Sunny is in a similar boat, due to being in a state of deep depression over a tragedy that caused his real-life group of friends to disband. One of the game's routes is even called the Hikikomori route, and the name of both the game and the title character is derived from the term, as well as from the Latin phrase "memento mori".
  • 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.
    • On a similar tangent to Futaba, Hikari from Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is so traumatized to the point that she closed herself in her room and it's heavily implied that she barely even gets out before the game's epilogue.
  • Jack from Plantasia is a grumpy recluse who hasn't left his estate in a few years. He’s suffering from depression brought upon by the death of his wife Julie.
  • Pokémon: The Pokémon Sewaddle (Japanese Name: Kurumiru) evolves into Swadloon (Kurumaryu), the appearance of which is based on the Hikikomori archetype (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).
  • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, Red (the protagonist from the previous game) appears as a Final Boss on Mt. Silver. It's revealed that he's been there ever since the end of that game (so about 3 years, and counting periodic returns, by some estimates a total of 8 years). During this time, he didn't tell anyone where he was going or why, and made no contact with anyone (not even his mother).
  • Murasaki from Senran Kagura is usually seen secluded in her room playing with her teddy bear, Bebeby, or surfing the internet all day. If she's dragged out of it for shinobi-related matters like missions or training by her team, she's basically trying to convince them to let her go back to her room any chance she gets. Her online username is even cute_shutin.
  • 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.
  • 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 at the end of Double's story mode, where she's revealed to have a bunch of doujin magazines and a copy of Skullgirls.
  • Patchouli Knowledge, a recurring character in the Touhou Project 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 Touhou Suimusou ~ Immaterial and Missing Power and Touhou Hisouten ~ Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and as a partner in Touhou Chireiden ~ 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 Touhou Koumakyou ~ the 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.
  • Idia Shroud from Twisted Wonderland is a shy, introverted man who dislikes being outside and prefers to stay inside his dorm and surf the internet.
  • Osana's stalker is called one by his sister in Yandere Simulator. He does venture out and meet Osana, who he is convinced is a conduit to bring Magical Girl Pretty Miyuki into the real world. He ventures out again to capture Osana's cat to hold it hostage. He's nuttier than the usual shut-in.
  • 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.
  • Madotsuki, the protagonist of Yume Nikki, or at least that's the most common 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • 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.
  • The protagonist of Double Homework spends months alone in his room playing video games following the Barbarossa incident. Johanna cooks and cleans for him during that time.
  • Yumiko in The Fruit of Grisaia and The Eden of Grisaia 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 visual novel Nowhere Safe and its sequel star a female hikikomori.
  • 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.
  • Yakumo Miroku from Spirit Hunter: NG is a very reclusive man whose only known contact is the publisher of his children's stories. Nobody's even sure if he's still inside his mansion when Akira and co. begin investigating, and Rosé even suggests that he could've died in there and none would be the wiser.
  • 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 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.

    Web Animation 
  • ATTACK on MIKA: Komoru is a textbook example of one. He is a lazy slacker who mooches off his mother Ayaka, demanding her to give him allowance everyday. He goes as far as stealing from her to spend it on a game raffle.
  • In the "Okkusenman" video, during a scene where the protagonist wonders about his childhood friends, one of them is shown as having become one.
  • Etra chan saw it!:
    • Yuri quits her job and becomes a shut-in after receiving several anonymous phone calls from Katsura, who is obsessed with her.
    • Karin was a shut-in for four years, until she personally meets Kuroki after chatting with him through video games. The two fall in love and tries to get married, despite Karin's parent's objection. However, the two learned that her parents already "married" her to a dying, old man for his wealth and supported her lifestyle so that she wouldn't know the truth. The old man's son helps the two annul the marriage, allowing them to be together.
    • Akamatsu becomes a shut-in when he failed to get into a medical college and Azami covered up his failure by keeping him isolated. He grew fat and hopeless, until he saves his childhood friend, Karin, from his unstable mother. With his mother's arrest and Karin's support, he decides to take control of his own life and shed his lifestyle.
    • Katsura seems to become one, after failing to get into the company he wanted to join and quitting his part-time jobs, but it turns out that he'd been studying and planning to join a different company to get better qualifications to try again and quit his part-time jobs because he'd saved enough money to tide him over for a while. He'd managed to finally get accepted into a company and was already planning to move out of his parents' house when Tokusa came to check up on him.
    • Akane and Azami became shut-ins because of their own reason. In Akane's case, she was rejected by her crush and was called a "pig" by him, as for Azami's, she was bullied by other girls because of her weight.
    • Hiiragi finds out that his favorite celebrity, Karin, has admitted to having plastic surgery. The reveal causes him to throw all of the Karin merchandise away and become a shut-in.
  • On The Edge: The episode Kurebayashi cries for an unfortunate mother... features Nobunaga Sato, a college graduate who applied for work in a hundred companies and got rejected by them all. The bullying he received at the company that did accept his application (a printing factory) drove him to become a shut-in.
  • Used for a gag in an episode of Puffin Forest when Ben is talking about how city guards are useless. A guy calls the guards for help with a magic problem and the guard responds that magic isn't real. The guy asks how the guard could possibly not believe in magic when they live in a fantasy setting where magic is everywhere and the guard answers he has never been outside, ever.

  • 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.
  • Rob, a side character in Ménage à 3, lives in the same building as the protagonists, and apparently hasn't left his apartment since the '80s.
  • Serizawa Katsuya from Mob Psycho 100 spent 15 years of his life living in his room out of fear of hurting others with his uncontrollable psychic powers. He only manages to leave after being sought out by another (more powerful) esper named Touichirou Suzuki who persuades Serizawa to join him on his crusade of creating a new world order for espers like them. While he does leave his bedroom to join the tyrant king, Serizawa's self-isolation resulted in him becoming extremely anxious in social situations and is near dependent on others. He starts to get better when he joins "Spirts and Such" and develops healthier friendships with the heroes.
  • Cadis Etrama Di Raizel from Noblesse used to be this. He would never leave his mansion unless personally summoned by the Lord of Lukedonia.
  • 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 setbacks is not being kind to his sanity.
  • Tower of God: Jaina Repelista Jahad is one of Jahad'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.
  • In Skin Horse, this is why Nick Zerhakker was chosen for Project Whirligig; they needed a subject who made no social connections that would lead to him being missed, and who initially wouldn't even notice he was in a VR simulation of his apartment.
    Dr Lee: In every respect,his brain is perfect for this project.
    Sweetheart: ...except for its actual personality.
    Dr Lee: Should've thought about that "no friends" part.

    Web Videos 
  • 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 real-life example Gaijin Goombah admitted to being this while he worked in Japan 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. 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 the stoop of his house since he was a baby. He never leaves due to fear and is eventually made fun of as a result. Arnold eventually convinces him to step off it, though he ultimately chooses to stay because now he can, not because he has to.
    • 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 Simpson 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 (where he shatters his rear end note ) and a vague threat from his doctor about an "iron butt."
  • In Angela Anaconda, Josephine's mother is Agoraphobic and never leaves the house. Angela pretends to develop Agoraphobia 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 percentage 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 & Stimpy Show 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 failing, he became a Basement-Dweller stewing in his own hatred over having been seemingly cheated out of winning. During the time between his loss and the show itself, he developed an intricate revenge plan 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 BSoD 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 counseling.
    • 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 after a run-in with demon possession, and even mentions this by name. She did this because she was becoming tired of Kaz and the rest of Neo Yokio's High End society. Hikikomori to the max.
  • Steven Universe: According to Yellow Diamond, White Diamond never leaves her ship, and never lets anyone in aside from her Pearl and Pink Diamond. Since she's also never left Homeworld in eons, it's also possible that she has spent that entire time in her ship. She finally leaves Homeworld at the end of "Change Your Mind".
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • Tina Belcher becomes one in "Ex Mach Tina" when she sprains an ankle and is given a mobile screen so she could still attend class while recuperating at home. She finds that Jimmy Jr. opens up to her screen and stays in her room longer than she was supposed to in order to maintain a relationship with him. She is finally pushed to leave her room by her family, who are worried about her well-being (and note that she's starting to smell).
    • "Roller? I Hardly Knew Her!" features an agoraphobic woman named Brenda, who was told by her therapist to start going into public places. She chooses Bob's Burgers because there's hardly any customers. At first she just sits inside her car in front of the restaurant, which has Linda and Teddy speculating why she's there. Eventually, Bob convinces her to come inside; she gets scared away by an overeager Linda.

    Real Life 
  • One of the most famous examples of this phenomenon is arguably Howard Hughes. Known to have OCD, Hughes locked himself in his hotel room near the end of his life and become an extreme shut-in and germophobe. He even bought out the hotel when they tried to remove him from the room. Hikikomori by definition don't really work or go to school, but Hughes did little to actually control his company during his more manic phases.


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Alternative Title(s): Hikkikomori


The paranormal did it

Keitaro explained that he was a former hikikomori since he got involved in a paranormal incident that made him stay at home for two years. Eiko helped him out of his situation.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / Hikikomori

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