Gia's List: The 7 Most Inconvenient Phobias in Anime

by Gia Manry,

Everyone's scared of something. Some people are scared of a LOT of things. And then there are people who are absolutely petrified of just one thing, beyond all rationality. These are people who suffer from a phobia, and anime characters seem to suffer them at a higher rate than most of humanity. Sometimes these phobias just get in the way in an episode or two, but others seem to be an ongoing problem. These are the most inconvenient of them:

7. Slugs - Lina Inverse (Slayers)
In her world, Lina Inverse is generally viewed as one of the strongest sorcerers alive. She's also seen as one of the most dangerous because she's unpredictable and has a temper like a stick of dynamite. As it turns out, though, she has one horrible weakness: a crippling fear of...slugs. Common, garden variety slugs. She doesn't come across them often, which is why she's the first entry on this list, but let's face it: to be that powerful and taken down by a mollusc? That's definitely a little sad. Fortunately for Lina, it doesn't seem to be widespread knowledge. If it was you'd probably see a major uptick in slugs as pets. (You can also scare Lina by threatening to tattle to her sister Luna, but that's an even bigger secret.)

6. Turtles - Motoko Aoyama (Love Hina)
A skilled swordswoman and martial artist, Motoko Aoyama also slays demons and performs exorcism as necessary, so you wouldn't think that there would be much that would scare her. Unfortunately, there is, and that fear is of...turtles. Which you'd think would be pretty avoidable, but in the world of Love Hina there's a Tama-chan around every corner. Leave it to unlucky landlord Keitaro to wind up bringing home a pet that causes one of his tenants to melt into a puddle of fear, anger, and distress...especially the tenant he has the hardest time getting along with (on-again-off-again relationship with Naru nonwithstanding). Though it's not all Keitaro's fault: poor Motoko actually wound up having to deal with an entire tribe of turtles in the manga, too.

5. Mice - Doraemon (Doraemon)
You all know Doraemon as the robotic cat who pulls fantastical machines out of his mysterious pouch and was sent back in time to improve the life of Nobita Nobi in order to help out his future children, right And as the cat with no ears. Well, it turns out that his ears were actually bitten off by a robotic mouse in the future, resulting in the poor earless, pouch-ified robo-kitty developing an acute, paralyzing fear of mice. It also resulted in the originally yellow cat going off and drinking "sadness," which turned him (you guessed it!) blue. Doraemon's musuphobia is particularly inconvenient because, as a cat, people tend to assume that he wants to eat mice, or is otherwise not bothered by them, and, well.

4. Dogs - Shun Mitaka (Maison Ikkoku)
Have you ever loved someone who had a pet that you were allergic to? How about a pet whose very appearance sends you fleeing for your life? Such is the case of Shun Mitaka, one of several suitors vying for the hand of widowed landlady Kyoko Otonashi. Mitaka is a wealthy, charming, and friendly tennis coach who stands as rival to the series' protagonist, Yusuke Godai. Unfortunately, Mitaka's fear of dogs becomes a problem as Kyoko owns a large dog named after her dead husband. Mitaka tenaciously works to overcome his fear so that he can court Kyoko properly and without fear. Of course, he does this by exposing himself to the dog owned by the girl his parents want him to marry, but the man means well.

3. Bugs - Misty (Pokémon)
Imagine being a Pokémon trainer, and it's your dream to train your Pokémon against other Pokémon constantly until one day you're the best: the top-ranked Pokémon trainer in the world! Now imagine that you have a horrible fear of an entire species of Pokémon (except for the "cute" ones). Your desire to squash those bugs may result in you being excessively aggressive with your own Pokémon, and you lose battles against the bug-types (which were originally one of the weakest in the games). We're not just talking about an inconvenience here, we're talking potential career obstacle. Talk about a pain!

2. Flying - Shinichi Chiaki (Nodame Cantabile)
Japan is a fascinating nation with an excellent infrastructure for traveling within the country. However, it is an archipelago, and if you want to escape its islands, you're probably going to have to fly. A subplot of some significance in Nodame Cantabile covers protagonist Shinichi Chiaki's terror of air travel, which is an intensely unfortunate fear to have in the modern era, and doubly so if you live somewhere like Japan. In Chiaki's case it's tripled by the fact that he wants desperately to become a famous professional conductor, which will most likely require study in Europe and world travel. It's not the most ridiculous phobia on this list— it is, in fact, probably the most understandable and problematic.

1. Cats - Ranma (Ranma 1/2)
Cats are everywhere, especially when a girl who turns into a cat claims to be your fiancée and generally tries to hang around and make your life difficult. Combine that with the usual neighborhood and Stray Cats, and the occasional cat demon, Ranma winds up around cats a lot. Especially after most of his enemies, rivals, and manipulative friends have learned about his phobia. And his fear isn't a mere discomfort or distraction; he goes completely...well...catatonic. At least for a while: enough exposure to cats will eventually put Ranma in a sort of weird martial arts trance, and once or twice this has actually saved his butt. But generally speaking, cats are a no-go in the Tendo/Saotome household.

The new poll: Since Rumiko Takahashi's Ranma 1/2 came up this week, I thought I'd ask: which of Ranma's self-appointed fiancées did you like best? (Note: not which one you thought he should actually marry...just which you liked best!) Vote here and check back next time for the results.

The previous poll: Turns out that ANN readers just wanna fly: in our poll of the Slayers spell you'd want to learn (if you could only learn one), the combination flying/shield spell Ray Wing won by a significant margin with 32% of the vote. Your second choice was a giant black magical sword (Ragna Blade, 16%) and, of course, the massively powerful destruction spell Dragon Slave (11%). Here are the full results:

  1. Ray Wing: flying, plus a magical shield - 32.35%
  2. Ragna Blade: big black magical sword! - 15.71%
  3. Dragon Slave: the magical equivalent of a nuke, takes a while to summon - 11.12%
  4. Fireball: quick, easy, and destructive - 8.03%
  5. Flare Arrow: explosive precision fire strike - 7.89%
  6. Giga Slave: See Dragon Slave, but bigger and harder - 7.25%
  7. Elmekia Lance: damages the enemy's soul - 6.96%
  8. Lighting: light up your life! Or a dark cave - 5.52%
  9. Burst Flare: big ball of white flames - 3.23%
  10. Other (I'll leave a comment) - 1.94%

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