Autistic Heroine: Mashiro Shiina from Sakurasao

am i autistic?

Shiina hair dry

I’d like to start this blog off with my personal story about being autistic. Time for a Flashback to 1988. I have Asperger’s, which is on the Autism Spectrum. I leave my usual classroom and attend special classes for occupational and speech therapy. During this time my parents tell me I have sensory issues. It’s the 1980s and diagnosis for Asperger’s and Autism needs to be very obvious. Looking people in the eye is very difficult for me. Fast forward to 1994, I am now 12 years old. Through a lot of effort, I learn to force myself to look people in the eye despite the discomfort. As a kid in the 80’s, I am able to pass as neurotypical. I spend most of my life without a diagnosis.

overcoming challenges

autistic shiina

Now let’s take things back to 2014. I start learning about Autism and investigating what it is. I take some diagnostic tests and see that it is highly likely that I have Asperger’s. After I see this, I started going to get therapy as well as working on some of the symptoms I dislike. Knowing what was so weird about me after all these years is enlightening. Social Anxiety was the big trouble maker, so I start forcing myself into more social situations. I begin by giving lunchtime presentations at my office and going to technical business meetups. Every time I go to a social situation my heart pounds heavily but I push through. A few years later I have transformed myself into a complete extrovert.  I have successfully reprogrammed my brain to become more social.

is mashiro shiina autistic?


While it is never explicitly said, Mashiro exhibits many of the traits of the autism spectrum. She speaks in a monotone voice and her eyes seem kind of blank. In a way, she seems robotic, which is a description many of us suffer hearing about our personalities. While drawing manga, she is criticized for not capturing human emotion. In fact much of the show she seeks human experiences so she can better show it in her manga. Mashiro also has very poor executive function, seemingly unable to take care of herself. The protagonist Sorata takes it upon himself to help take care of her, including helping her dress, clean, groom, eat and more. While I personally can take care of myself, I do struggle with a lot of daily basic tasks. This is something I can relate to her a lot.

mashiro’s character growth

mahsiro grows

What I really loved about this anime is that Mashiro never gives up and her friends stand by her side. Mashiro continued to evolve and grow throughout the series, learning more how to live in this neurotypical world. While she still relies heavily on Sorata for her basics, she learns about how human emotion, creating manga, games and so much more. Expressing her emotions remains difficult but she improves as time goes on. I seriously recommend this anime to just about anyone, but even more so to those who are on the autism spectrum or in creative job fields. Expect a full review coming soon.

If you want to check out Pet Girl of Sakurasao, you can watch it streaming on Crunchyroll. Also, be sure to check out our other anime reviews of Hi Score Girl and Revue Starlight.