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"Dryden explained that Van had gone into something called an "angst coma," which is what happens when the brain shuts down as it rapidly approached the Sasuke Limit."

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

A subtrope of the more general Heroic BSOD, this refers specifically to a comatose state to the exclusion of other forms of mental breakdown. A milder form is Deep Sleep.

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

Examples of Angst Coma include:

Anime & Manga

  • In Vision of Escaflowne, Van goes into an Angst Coma after going berserk and killing a number of minor villains. Hitomi enters his mind to try to bring him out of it, but it is ultimately Merle's heartfelt pleas that do the job.
  • The Big O: In the first episode of the second season, the main character goes introspectively catatonic as he struggles to figure out just who—and what—he is.
  • In Elfen Lied, Kouta, the male lead, suffers amnesia and spends an entire year in a coma after watching his little sister Kanae and his father get slaughtered right in front of him by Lucy.
  • In the manga Chrono Crusade, after the carnival battle in volume 5, Chrono forces himself into a Convenient Coma to keep from hurting Rosette. It takes her going into his mind and digging around in his memories before he's prepared to continue on his quest.
  • In Gundam Seed, after the return to Earth, Kira Yamato goes into a coma, partly from the stress of re-entry, and partly because he failed to prevent the destruction of a shuttle full of refugees.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Satoko enters one after seeing her entire village massacred by a gas leak which she escaped by falling into a river. The aforementioned was inspired at least in part by the ending of Tatarigoroshi-hen (that was cut in the anime), where it's Keiichi who does this in a similar situation. It's also inspired in part by a scene from the Play Station 2-only Taraimawashi-hen, where Mion enters this after having been rescued from events largely comparable to Watanagashi-hen/Meakashi-hen.
  • Kamui in X 1999 ends up in one after his former best friend Fuuma violently assaults him and kills Kotori right in front of him. It takes Subaru going on a Journey to the Center of the Mind to get him out of it.
    • Subaru has experience in this, as in Tokyo Babylon he pulled his childhood friend Midori from the one she fell in after being brutally raped. And he fell into one after Seishirou revealed that he was the Sakurazukamori, going catatonic until his sister Hokuto pulls a Thanatos Gambit and perishes at the hands of Seishirou. And in the X TV series, he has a third one after killing Seishirou himself... but after Hokuto's soul contacts him, he recovers just in time to help Kamui in his final fight against Fuuma.
    • In the original X manga, Kotori became The Ophelia aftert witnessing the death of Kamui's aunt Tokiko - who died exactly like her mother Saya did.. The movie and TV series soften the massive blow via sending her into a coma instead, giving her the chance to use her Dream Weaver powers for a short time while still "asleep"; she does so very briefly in the movie, and much more actively in the series.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka suffers her infamous Mind Rape by the fifteenth Angel (not to mention that her life was already going down the drain before that). That puts her in an increasingly severe State of Heroic BSOD for the reminder of the Series. She ends up catatonic by episode 24. She gets better. For about five minutes.
  • Fate Testarossa from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha faints when her mother makes it clear beyond any terms that she rejects her. Fate herself comes back when she realizes she is not alone.
  • In Please Teacher, it was revealed that the reason for Kei's "standstill" coma was him witnessing his sister's suicide. Not only does this psychically inhibit his aging (although he is legally 18 after a 3 year coma), modern science in his universe has catalogued and recognized it.
  • Aki Izayoi from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's suffers from this after watching Divine falling to his (supposed) death.
  • Luffy from One Piece suffers from this after his attempted rescue of his beloved older brother, Ace, ends with Ace sacrificing himself to save Luffy from Akainu and dying in Luffy's arms.
  • Keiko from Yu Yu Hakusho suffered from one while watching Yusuke being beaten up to near death by Younger Toguro.
  • Fumika of Shigofumi, after shooting her father.
  • Ken Ichijouji from Digimon Adventure 02 slept for several days when he returned home after his defeat in the Digital World. In this sleep, he recalled memories of his deceased brother and resolved his feelings of abandonment and neglect.
  • Clair Leonelli in Heat Guy J goes into one after he is deposed from his position as Mafia leader and loses his home and two Mooks/friends all in one day, in addition to his extant Daddy Issues.
  • Blue falls into one when she sees her long-lost parents vanish right before her eyes. Considering her rather crappy circumstances and everything she put into getting over it, it's understandable. Props to her for managing to get back on her feet to keep fighting and save them.
  • Played for Laughs in Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu! After Tessa's very overt advances become too much for him (after her XO and father-figure informs Sousuke that if anything "happens between them" he'll fire Sousuke out a torpedo tube), Sousuke faints from the stress. Well, that and the exhaustion of going four days straight without sleep.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has Kenshin go into one when Kaoru gets killed by Enishi. Or so he's led to believe.
  • Margery Daw from Shakugan no Shana goes into this after discovering that the demon she was chasing for all her life was in fact a piece of herself.
  • In Aim for the Ace! Hiromi goes into one after returning to Japan from a tournament in the USA... and finding out that not only Coach Munakata died, but that everyone but her knew it and they kept her out of the loop..
  • Naruto goes into a coma when he can't come to terms with how hopeless Sasuke's situation is, though "coma" is something of an overstatement as it only lasted a couple hours and ended without any mental journey.
  • This happens to a teenager named Tamanosuke Itou in Detective Conan, after two members of his (very troubled) theatre troupe are murdered within few hours. The trope is discussed by Kogoro and Conan, who deduce that the poor boy's body simply shut down out of the sheer effects of the Break the Cutie he went through. He wakes up towards the end and confronts the killer.
    • In a case, it's said that the wife of one of the victims of a Serial Killer fell into one after her husband's murder and is still in it in the present. Her son ends up locating the killer, confronting, and then killing him.

Fan Works

  • Katara suffers one in the discontinued "Chong Sheng Trilogy" after a quite bloody Roaring Rampage of Revenge for Jet's death. When she snaps out of it she has a massive Freak Out and rushes to a dangerous river to scrub away her sins, requiring Zuko to rescue her.
  • The Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade fic "The Results of War" has a chapter where Hector of all people goes into an angst coma on the battlefield after his lover Karel is cut down in front of him.
  • This happens a lot in Mary Sue fanfics, so her love interest for the fic can sit beside her and hold her hand, praying for her to come back to him while reciting soppy declarations of love.



  • Ender enters one for a few days near the end of Ender's Game when he discovers that he unwittingly won the war committed mass genocide against the buggers while believing he was only undergoing training for it. Possibly justified in that he was physically and mentally exhausted at the time: the angst was just what pushed him over the edge.
    • Not to mention that he was psychically/spiritually/emotionally connected to the Bugger Queens at the moment he killed them all. They had been trying to reach out to the mind of their enemy in order to understand him and try to communicate in some way.
  • In Wicked, Elphaba goes into one of these for a year when Fiyero dies. Because of this, she is unsure whether or not Liir is her son, as she may have given birth and been unaware of it.
  • Talia of the Arrows trilogy lapses into a self-induced coma after being tortured nearly to death. Naturally, The Power of Love brings her back.
    • The coma was more due to an overdose of smuggled-in poison. Not that the torture didn't help, it meant that none of the Healers could convince her she wasn't being revived for another session or 15 with Ancar.
  • Honor Harrington in Field of Dishonor upon learning of the death of Paul Tankersley.
  • Happened to Myn Donos in the X Wing Series. He'd led a squadron of X-Wings into a trap. He, and his astromech, were the only survivors; after that he was emotionally dead but functional. Until his astromech was destroyed - the last Talon. His failure became complete. There's mention that his squadmates tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't respond.

  "Myn just lies there, staring off into nowhere. He'll eat if you put food in his hand, drink if you put the cup to his lips. But he's gone somewhere."

    • His squadmates eventually pull him out of it by putting him through a simulation of that same trap. He's understandably quite pissed, but this hair-of-the-dog technique forces him to deal with his emotions - after he gets through the anger, he can feel other things again. Not that he's fully healed, or anything; the trauma comes back to bite him later in the series.
  • In the Book of Mormon, Alma the Younger got up to a lot of anti-church antics as a kid. After an angel appeared to chastise him for this behavior, Alma fell into a deep sleep that lasted two days and during which he faced his sins and was forgiven.
  • Happens to Martini in The Alien Series a lot, as whenever his empathetic abilities overload, his body shuts down in self-defense.
  • About a billion times in Frankenstein. Any time something bad happens, Victor seems to keel over into a months-long coma/sleep. And since it's Frankenstein, bad things happen a LOT.
  • Seen in French Sci Fi novel Malevil. The cast barely survives World War III inside a castle cellar. The next day everyone mopes around in a silent daze. When one staggers to his feet to leave, convinced his wife is waiting for him, Emmanuel is angry that he has to leave his comfortable Angst Coma to stop his friend from killing himself.
  • Subverted in the Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Spring Dawning. The captive Golden General, Laurana seems to go catatonic after hearing that she is going to be tortured to death and have her soul given to a death knight and seeing her Love Interest Tanis Half-Elven serving her Arch Enemy, the Dragon Highlord Kitiara. In fact Laurana is just luring her enemies into a false sense of security and, as soon as Kitiara has completely disregarded her as a threat, she breaks free, curbstomps Kitiara, and makes her escape.
  • Turin has one in The Children of Hurin, after he finds out the princess he promised to protect is dead. He collapses on her grave and takes several days to be nursed back to health.

Live-Action TV

  • Gibbs from NCIS plunges into one of them after his wife and daughter are killed. He actually does this twice--because of an explosion/head wound/flashback . . . thingy. Well, it made sense in context. Sort of.
  • In Carnivale, Apollonia is in a vegetative state through which she can only communicate telepathically after giving birth to Sofie who was conceived via rape at the hands of Justin Crowe, thus bequeathing Sofie an avataric nature, which means her birth is traumatic to her mother, as per the show's mythology. Whew!.
  • In a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, Counselor Troi enlists the aid of a powerful alien telepath to enter the mind of her comatose mother and help her deal with her first daughter's death.
  • Buffy spends most of the episode "The Weight of the World" in one of these after Glory kidnaps Dawn.

Tabletop Games

  • This is a game mechanic in Exalted. Solar Exalts with high Compassion can take Heart of Tears as their virtue flaw, leaving them totally unable to do anything but weep (and flee from combat if attacked) for several days, once they've seen enough innocents suffer.
    • Actually, it only lasts one day, or one scene in combat.
  • Several games with a Sanity Meter or a fear system can cause this to happen. Ravenloft, Dark Heresy, and Call of Cthulhu can each have this occur in different ways.


  • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud's coma midway through the game may have been caused by Mako poisoning, but it's not until he deals with his amnesia and other psychological disorders with Tifa's help that he's cured.
  • Happens twice in Last Scenario. First, Ethan collapses the moment he remembers that Castor is his brother. The second time it happens to Castor, after his first defeat by the party leads to a Villainous Breakdown. Apparently, it runs in the family.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, Main character Luke falls into one of these due to the shear amount of trauma brought about by the The Reveal / Wham! Episode / Break the Haughty.
  • Desmond is stuck in one of these during the events of Assassin's Creed Revelations.


  • In Goblins, Fumbles has fallen into one of these after his torture by GoblinSlayer. Big Ears stated that his mind is broken beyond his ability to restore.
    • Hundreds of comics later, Vorpal Kickassio returns in Chief's moment of need. It doesn't help.

Web Originals

  • Vision of Escaflowne Abridged is the trope namer (see The Vision of Escaflowne example above). The characters have a technical discussion of the precise number of megashinjis (the series' standard base unit for measuring angst) Van must have accumulated in order to enter his Angst Coma.
  • The Nostalgia Chick succumbs to a 'bad movie coma' in her review of Armageddon (part 2?), which is this in all but name.

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Earth King", Zuko undergoes a severe fever and enters a coma in which he has vivid dreams in which his uncle and sister appear as dragons and argue over his life choices and another in which he seems to awaken only to look in the mirror and see himself as the Avatar (Zukotar?). Iroh says that this is "not a natural illness" and the whole thing is apparently caused solely by Zuko self-conflict.
  • Peter is in one of these when Venom is trying to bond with him in The Spectacular Spider Man.
  • Darkwing Duck: When she runs into the resurrected Taurus Bulba, Gosalyn goes catatonic for a minute, forcing Honker to take control of the vehicle they're both in. Considering what he did to her grandfather, it's perfectly understandable.

Real Life

  • Word on the street in Egypt these days is that the reason that former President Hosni Mubarak fell ill and became incredibly reclusive shortly after his resignation was shock from the realization that the country was nothing like the way he pictured it.