Here we go again with another segment on anime personalities and why they do not translate to real life. Today’s model personality (and an EXTREMELY popular one at that) is the yandere and what makes them so damn appealing. Grab your knives and turn off your cellphones because she’s likely tracked your location and she is on her way to your house.
What is a Yandere?
Yandere (ヤンデレ) is derived from the Japanese word yanderu (病んでる) which means “insane” or “sick” and deredere (デレデレ) which means affectionate. Put those two words together and you have someone who literally sick/insane with “love” for another person and laundry list of problems that are only beginning and will, in fact, get so much worse.
The Yandere is (usually) a female character who is in love with someone who is often the main character. Since this is often a female trope I will use the pronouns she/her throughout this post. Her love is characterized by her willingness to do anything to prove her love to the object of her affection. And by anything we mean ANYTHING. Stalking, kidnapping, (attempted) murder are not stricken from the list. If she wants you, she will have you at ANY COST. She may or may not have a body count (dead or alive), several social media accounts, and maybe a burner phone along with diaries or a stalker shrine. And more often than not, she has a very cute appearance.
On the surface, most Yanderes are fairly well put together, likable, and unassuming and usually friendly people…that is until they develop a love interest. In anime they take the forms of characters such as the notorious Yuno Gasai:
Possibly tied for first with Kotonoha Katsura:
And then there’s this bitch:
You have to watch the anime to get the full scope of why she’s terrifying. She’s played for laughs.
Through my personal observations and some help from Captain Obvious I’ve noticed that in spite of the very terrible things these characters do (Yuno drugs and kidnaps Yuki, Kotonoha kills her rival and her love interest), they still have an even more dedicated fanbase. Even though these characters are in dire need of therapy and commitment to an institution, the predominantly male fanbase goes fucking nuts over them.
Who is a Yandere?
Technically anyone can be a yandere if they get desperate enough. Get rejected “one too many times”? Can’t get someone off your mind and refuse to deal with it in a healthy way? Got entitlement issues? You’re a Yandere in the making and you might want to seek help?
Why is a Yandere?
Why are they like this? In anime they’re usually given a tragic backstory that gains audience sympathy. You don’t agree with her actions but you’ve developed an understanding. Double those points if you can see yourself doing similar things if you were in their situation. Sometimes they’re used for comedic effect like Juvia from Fairy Tail.
Sometimes they’re the Token Evil Teammate who is only around to protect their love interest from anyone who is a rival—which is pretty much everyone who is NOT them. They are prone to wildly inappropriate behavior which includes (but is not limited to):
- Taking pictures of said person without their knowledge.
- Kidnapping or paying someone to kidnap their love interest
- Attempting to isolate their LI, usually done by spreading rumors or emotionally/financially abusing them
- Sexually harassing/assaulting them
- Stealing items that belong to said person
- Continuing unwanted contact (creating multiple social media accounts to continue interactions)
And this largely gets swept under the rug because they are attractive. Case and point:
I found this on the Facebook page Eccentric Weeaboo where the poster cleverly shares the events with the caption “Real Life Yandere You Say”?
The story according to Tokyo Reporter is a woman stabbed the man twice and was prepared to kill herself when the police caught her. I will not link the aftermath photo to avoid the squeamish aspects. I will also not be linking the comments that state the various levels of admiration and the *ahem* things they’d like to have this woman do to them and vice versa. I will however share this post because it encompasses my collective confusion at some of ya’ll:
How are Yanderes?
The collection of “what the fuck-ness” that is my brain continues to baffle me while reading the comments on these posts. I’m not entirely sure why men are this way towards cute female characters that would in fact kill them to keep them. In the case of this woman, I would dare say that Japense fetishization plays HEAVILY in the roll of wishing to have a yandere gf, but that’s a post for another day and ya’ll ain’t ready for this.
As long as the person in question is attractive, all sorts of behaviors can be excused due to pretty bias. It’s a psychological thing where you associate beauty with goodness and your cognitive dissonance erases anything resembling common sense because you’re stupid. That’s it. Stupidity. Your stupid horny ass is going to get you killed.
While being a dumbass sucks, it’s kind of understandable. After all, a yandere’s obsession can often be seen as love to some people. And honestly, the appeal of someone being willing to do anything to protect you and keep your happiness in the forefront of their minds sounds like an ideal loving relationship–at first. Unhealthy relationship expectations, inexperience, and low self esteem are pitfalls that make people vulnerable to these kinds of people. And then there are people who actively pursue this sort of thing.
I’m not here to tell you where to stick your dick, but I’m also suggesting that you don’t bed crazy or actively pursue it. The Yandere personality translated to real life is terrifying with tragic results. A quick Google search will turn up no shortage of articles on “spurned lovers” who “snapped” and killed the objects of their obsession and caused TONS of collateral damage as a result. I also understand that not everyone is like this. The comments sections of articles of beautiful women committing crimes is full of people who understand the despicableness of their actions and hold them accountable.
When are Yanderes?
When are Yanderes acceptable? By acceptable I mean “when are yandere’s seen as love-interests and when are they creepy?” There are two rules that are consistently followed:
- They have a backstory with enough audience sympathy to make their actions seem “not as bad” or justifiable/understandable based on their plight.
- They are attractive, almost to a fault. The ones I’ve seen in media are often quiet and unassuming, often nice or polite. They are pretty, nice to look at, and have nice voices.
In real life this sometimes translates and sometimes doesn’t. Female stalking (a stock yandere behavior) is often seen as a sign of mental illness and is usually unacceptable. This is explored in the video “Stalking for Love” by Pop Culture Detective.
There are several videos that explore this and similar concepts that get portrayed in media as positive when they actually shouldn’t and also happen to be textbook yandere behaviors:
- Stalking is Love (above video)
- Abduction is Love
- Sexual Assault of Men Played for Laughs
- Predatory Romance
Yanderes in real life are obsessive, controlling, and abusive individuals. Making multiple social media accounts to “check up on” or stay in contact with people who do not want to be in contact with you is not healthy. Threatening to hurt yourself or others is also wrong. The best thing you can do for yourself when you’re rejected is to back off and move on with your life. Some therapy wouldn’t hurt either.
Are YOU the Yandere?
Maybe you’ve noticed while reading this that some of your behaviors fall along these lines. What do you do when you’ve been obsessively stalking someone? What do you do when you’re three accounts deep and people have receipts? You’ve recognized your behavior and you want to stop it.
First of all, I’m not your psychologist or your therapist so I can’t actually give you the best advice you need to change and rectify your behaviors. I’m also not studying psychology or anything in that field so I’m not an expert on these things. The only thing I can do is point you in the right direction. So here are a few bits of food for thought:
- Schedule an appointment with a doctor/psychologist/therapist as soon as possible. If you’re unable to schedule with a professional, the next best thing is to join a support group for people with obsessive behaviors.
- Delete your extra social media accounts. You don’t need them.
- Look for and practice healthy behaviors that will help your mental health.
Seeking help is your first step to recovery and developing a health sense of self and relationships.
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