Dere To Believe Part 2: Yandere

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:

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That cellphone is magic.

Possibly tied for first with Kotonoha Katsura:

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Something about a boat?

And then there’s this bitch:

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Anna Nishikiyomiya- Shimoneta

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.

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She gets a little better…

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):

  • Stalking
  • 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:

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Article found here.

I found this on the Facebook page Eccentric Weeaboo where the poster cleverly shares the events with the caption “Real Life Yandere You Say”?

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Also, fuck this person for calling her a girl. She’s 21.

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:

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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.

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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:

  1. They have a backstory with enough audience sympathy to make their actions seem “not as bad” or justifiable/understandable based on their plight.
  2. 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:

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.


If you liked reading this buy me a ko-fi sometime!

“Dere” to Believe: An honest look at popular anime personalities

Anime tropes are popular, no bones about it. You’ll often hear your local weeaboo tossing about terms they’ve learned from their favorite series one way or another. These tropes don’t just appear in anime but are standard for fiction writers around  the globe. That said, who wants to take a look at popular personality tropes and watch me deconstruct them haphazardly?

No?

I’m so glad you asked!

These tropes are usually represented by female characters, although they are perfectly fine for any and all characters regardless of gender or presentation. For the sake of simplicity we are going to use the pronouns she/her/they if that’s alright with you guys.

shuffles papers and notecards

There are four common “dere” personalities

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Clearly not my personal work. Give credit where it’s due.

 

As you can see; the suffix ‘deredere’(でれでれ) simply means to be loving or sweet towards someone. The prefixes just so happen to describe what kind of love that person encompasses. While on the surface as a flat archetype these descriptors are just regular categories to drop your characters into—which is harmless. They’re just characters.

 

But what happens when you translate them to real life?

I’m under the impression that people have trouble dividing fantasy and reality because I hear people talking about their favorite personality types (particularly when referring to their favorite characters) and how they’d just LOVEto be with a kuudere. I can’t help but wonder if they’ve really thought it through because these character traits are…concerning to say the least.

 

Tsundere

(harsh on the outside, sweet on the inside)

The Good

At first glance a hot/cold character seems like an almost ideal type. Harsh until you get to know them—not a bad thing, especially if you start off on the wrong foot. I very well could give this a pass and chalk it up to getting to know someone better over time.

 

The Bad

Ever notice how tsundere characters tend to get violent with the objects of their affections? Whether it’s full blown arguments or megaton moe punches, the poor person gets their noggins knocked. Then there’s the verbal lashings that border on abuse. I’m usually able to give passes on affectionate nicknames or occasional name-calling but the way Asuka treats Shinji is really unsettling. Since she spends the entire series unable to spit out her feelings and Shinji can’t read minds—it leads to a lot of confusion (the end of Evangelion notwithstanding).

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The view is captivating.

 

The Ugly

Well, as we all know (or should know), tsundere tropes are usually exaggerated and played (mostly) for laughs because *we all know that kind of erratic behavior is actually abusive and you won’t find love that way*. Right everyone? Of course nobody would ever think such hot and cold behavior would actually be attributed to feelings of love and affection (Italics for sarcasm and emphasis).

I’ve got some bad news for you all…People really think this works!

In real life I see this pop up in a lot of relationships where the idea of being hot/cold is seen as a good thing and is an appropriate way to show you’re interested in someone. Katy Perry songs aside, this hot/cold dynamic sends mixed signals and it’s a GREAT way to cause problems early on and ruin your chances later.

The truth is: tsundere characters treat their love interests like crap and are sending mixed signals that can in no way be interpreted as romantic interest. I’ve got nothing.

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