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Yandere (ヤンデレ), derived from the Japanese words yanderu (to be sick) and dererere (to love), describes a character archetype with an unhealthy love-related obsession that often results in violent outbreaks triggered by unrequited love or disappointment. Another similar type of character would be Yangire, who turns violent regardless of love.
Due to the controversial nature of Yandere as a trope in anime, often criticized of fetishizing or demonizing the mentally ill as well as romanticizing abuse, this aesthetic had to become distinct from the more wholesome Lovecore on a level beyond their aesthetic differences. Many mentally ill people choose to indulge in Yandere to find like-minded others and reclaim the concept as a form of coping mechanism.
In general, Yandere is a character that is often depicted in a state of paraphilia (sexual perversion), manic depression or co-dependence. The term is generally only used in reference to fiction, and does not hold any actual background in psychatric diagnosis. The "crazy" state of a Yandere is also referred to as "darkening" (闇化) and "blackening" (黒化) in Japanese due to the shadow cast on the face of the character. Fans like the extra ordinary degree of affection that a Yandere shows towards their darling.
However, the definition of Yandere is fluid and often has different meanings depending on the context. For example, on the Japanese website New Akiba, it is described as "a moe-type heroine that is suffering from mental illness", and in "Keitai Watch" it's described as "a character who is mentally ill". It is sometimes pointed out that the attributes of a Yandere character are reminiscent of borderline personality disorder.
It is assumed that the term "Yandere" first started to spread among the mainstream media in 2005 because of the release of the visual novel "School Days" and the TV broadcast of the anime "Shuffle!". Shortly after that, Yandere has become a popular character archetype in various media. However, even before the term was coined, there were already multiple characters, whose attributes would fit under Yandere. According to the Japanese website "Yandere Encyclopedia", the first instance of a Yandere character would be the "loli" character Minatsu Tsukishima of the visual novel "Kurutta Kajitsu" from 1991. In order to monopolize the mc, who is also her teacher, she starts killing all the women in his life one after another in gruesome ways in an attempt to make him commit suicide just, so she can stay with his corpse forever. The term "Yandere" itself was first coined by NekoNeko Soft to describe the side character Sasai Yuuna, who appears in Chapter 3 of their visual novel "Gin'iro".
Mathers Numakichi, the representative of the company Overflow which produced School Days, describes the Yandere boom as "a manifestation of wanting to seek more steadfastness and favor towards oneself". When asked regarding one of the heroines, Katsura Kotonoha, being labeled as Yandere, he answered, "I wasn't aiming for a Yandere character, so it was more of a lucky coincidence rather than something I 'created' on purpose". He also pointed out that the visual elements of the character were kind of mixed, and stated that "Both tsundere and yandere were a reflection of that time, people wanted to bring a person's inside to the outside".
In the late 2000s, the term "Yandere" also spread among the overseas anime community, and even western games started to incorporate this character archetype.
Common motifs are anime and manga screencap edits of yandere characters, such as Gasai Yuno, pastel text message edits, knives, blood, gore and fetish gear. There is an overlap with the Japanese art movement, ero-guro, often shortened to "guro", which is associated with the Gurokawa aesthetic.
- Satou (Happy Sugar Life)
- Yamagishi Yukako (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable)
- Griffith (Berserk)
- Fuyou Kaede (Shuffle)
- Himeji Mizuki (Baka To Test)
- Gasai Yuno (Mirai Nikki)
- Sonozaki Shinon (Higurashi: When They Cry)
- Lucy (Elven Lied)
- Shimizu Megumi (Shiki)
- Nishikinomiya Anna (Shimoneta)
- Tsukiyama Shuu (Tokyo Ghoul)
- Hiyama Akane (Love Tyrant)
- Amane Misa (Death Note)
- Katsura Kotonoha (School Days)
- Lamperogue Rolo (Code Geass)
- Ayano Aishi (Yandere Simulator)
- Himiko Toga (My Hero Academia)
- Monika Koide-Nicolaides (Doki Doki Literature Club!)
- YandereCore 🔪❤️ Spotify playlist by Masked Angel
- Yanderecore Spotify playlist by kristinenb98
- YandereCore Spotify playlist by moonlitdustball
- ⚠️YANDERECORE⚠️ Spotify playlist by NagitoKomaeda
- YANDERECORE (BrAiNfUcK V2) Spotify playlist by VORPAL2K
- D̶̼̾̆͝ę̴͔͕͎̫̩̐ͅͅạ̴̖͈͚͎̭̳͉̝̺̊̂d̶̛͔̺̻̼͆̐̈́̒͑ ̷̨̧̘̙̰̼̬̏̒̈̎̓ͅX̷̧̡̛̞̯̣͓͍͇̻̐̀̓͊̿D̷̨̡̺̭̻͉̄ Spotify playlist by nugget_030
- Yandere by Jazmin bean on YouTube
- Jazmin Bean playlist (yandere-ish music) on YouTube