ANIME THEORY: Psychology of a Yandere

In a previous ANIME THEORY, I covered the psychology of the most common moe archetype, the tsundere. In this post, let me take a bit of your time to explain about one of the lesser found archetypes: the yandere. Or as you may know, the psycho bitch. In this THEORY, I explore the psychology of a yandere. What makes a yandere attractive? What pathological disorders does a yandere suffer from? How does a yandere view their relationship? And why do some people I know act as if they are proud to be a yandere? What Makes a Yandere The word “yandere” comes from the word “yanderu” which literally means “sick” and “deredere” which means “cute, infatuated, and love-struck”. Put those two words together and you have yandere, which is defined by Wiktionary as:

a fictional character who fits the archetype of being genuinely romantic, loving, kind, merciful, sparing, sweet and gentle, but is at the same time brutal, psychotic or deranged in behaviour. The psychotic tendency can be both sudden and ever-present. Often used for both comedic and dramatic displays of character.

Or you might fancy what TVTropes has to say:

The word “yandere” … refers to a character who is crazy about someone else… often literally and violently

Commonly, the yandere is displayed as a psychotic girl who loves her boyfriend just a bit too much to the point where she can murder any girl who attempts to approach the boy. I should also say that, like the tsundere, the term yandere applies unisexually. There are, too, yandere boys though quite rare. Yanderes share common traits. One, they tend to have a preferred weapon hidden somewhere in hyperspace which they use to cut down anyone who approaches the male lead. Second, they have that blank, psychotic stare whenever the male lead is approached by someone romantically. Third, they can become suddenly enraged once certain conditions have been met… or just any time. To know your yandere, here’s a textbook example of a yandere: Yuno Gasai from Future Diary.

Bewwwbbsss
Bewwwbbsss

She seems stable and sweet on the outside, no? And with those tits and that pink hair, I’d bang her. But when she enters yandere mode, she becomes like this:

Well shit, not that cute now. Unless you're into yandere.
Well shit, not that cute now. Unless you’re into yandere.

Yeesh, not that attractive now, is she? Pathology of a Yandere Ok, now we know what makes a yandere. Next on my list is to explain the possible reasons why yanderes are such psychopaths. It all comes back to the word “yanderu” meaning “sick”. And yes, a yandere is indeed sick. Psychologically, that is. There are many causes for a yandere’s behaviour, most of them include personality disorders. So, let’s take a famous yandere as a case study. Please step up, Miss Yuno Gasai. Now, I’m not a psychologist, although I wanted to be one back in middle school, so don’t take my word for it. Now, Miss Yuno here shows symptoms of various personality disorders. Let’s start with the most conspicuous one: antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). The National Library of Medicine defines ASPD as “a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behaviour is often criminal.” Experts still can’t figure out how ASPD happens, but they strongly believe that it is linked to childhood experiences, such as child abuse. Remember how, as a child, Yuno was forced to live in a cage by her abusive parents? They also list symptoms of ASPD, such as:

  • Be able to act witty and charming
  • Be good at flattery and manipulating other people’s emotions
  • Break the law repeatedly
  • Disregard the safety of self and others
  • Lie, steal, and fight often
  • Not show guilt or remorse
  • Often be angry or arrogant

Seems like Miss Yuno fits the bill for ASPD, huh? Let’s review what she did in Future Diary. She killed a lot of people with various weapons, manipulated Yukiteru during the survival game, and yes, she never shows guilt whenever she kills someone. Now, ASPD explains Yuno’s sudden outbursts of rage since it’s closely linked to sadistic personality disorder, more specifically, the explosive sadist subtype based on Theodore Millon’s classification. An explosive sadist is unpredictable and can burst into a rage at any given time. But what of Yuno’s affections to Yukiteru? Why does she depend on Yukiteru so much? Despite being revealed in the later episodes of Future Diary that Yukiteru was the key to Yuno’s diabolical scheme, what exactly made Yukiteru special to Yuno?

The answer may lie in her second possible personality disorder. Miss Yuno here may be suffering from co-dependent personality disorder (CPD) or borderline personality disorder (BPD), which may explain her unhealthy attraction to Yukiteru. I can’t quite tell, but I strongly feel that it’s the latter, since the two are closely related. You see, Yuno may have not experienced the best of childhoods. She had abusive and distant parents, was frequently locked up in a cage and starved to the point of eating tatami, and never felt loved. Yeouch. Anyway, Yuno sees Yukiteru as her emotional support when he told her that he would marry her when they grow up, leading to an unhealthy escalation of affection towards Yukiteru. In fact, she can enter Yandere Mode whenever she feels Yukiteru would leave her, like what happened in that episode when Yukiteru decided to formally announce their relationship so that his friends could be spared from Yuno’s rage. In a sense, Yuno is quite submissive, because she does everything for Yukiteru’s sake. And finally, when they have sex, Yuno because more stable than she has ever been in the series. But if you don’t want to take my word for Yuno’s mental profile, try Metanorn’s diagnosis on Yuno’s mental health.

Why Are People Attracted to Yanderes?

Why would you be attracted to a psychotic freak? You tell me, bro. Anyway, there are a number of reasons as to why people may be attracted to yanderes, and the five theories of attraction I’ve discussed in a previous ANIME THEORY just won’t do. No, attractions to yandere more often happen due to weird fetishes, especially those related to BDSM fetishes.

First possibility: the yandere is viewed as a submissive and the male a dominant. The yandere does everything for the sake of the male and the male finds this attractive. In this case, they both need to consult a shrink immediately. The feeling of being powerful and dominating a faithful beast who will kill at your demand is quite pleasing to some folk. And to appreciate her feelings, regular sex is a must.

Second possibility: the yandere is viewed as a dominant and the male submissive. The yandere holds control on all of the male’s activities. This might include, but not limited to, stalking him everywhere, killing any girl who touches him, and tying him down and “marking” him via sexual intercourse or physical abuse. There are some people who enjoy this folks, seriously.

Third possibility: they’re meant to be attractive to the audience by having a sad background story. And we, the audience, will feel strongly for the yandere as she copes with her lunacy throughout the series.

Conclusion

So there you have it folks, a theory on why yanderes are attractive. But seriously, only a deranged lunatic would be attracted to a deranged lunatic. Yanderes are cool and all, but only in fiction and make awesome characters in a psychological thriller anime. A real-life yandere is someone you do not want to hang around with. To close this post, let me remind you readers of one thing: you don’t want to be proud to be a self-proclaimed yandere like the chuunibyou weeb you may be. Be grateful that you are sane and healthy, because real personality disorders are extremely painful. I shit you not; one of my friends suffer from borderline personality disorder. The good thing is that she has enough mental and emotional support to keep her going.

Anyway, insert my catchphrase here… It’s just a theory, though. An ANIME THEORY! Anyone want to order an Ahotaku T-shirt?

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24 thoughts on “ANIME THEORY: Psychology of a Yandere”

  1. A very interesting post, thank you for sharing this!
    Two thoughts though; I would tend to agree with Overcooled’s conclusion; Yuno doesn’t have a personality disorder, but a severe conduct disorder. The difference may seem small but when you analyse the thoughts behind the actions, they are worlds apart.
    Also; you wrote that a person with ASPD “/Doesn’t/ show guilt or remorse”. I could be completely off, but I want to remember that this is a common misconception. Unfortunately it is incorrectly written in many reference books. A person with ASPD may be able to masterly imitate guilt or remorse (displaying it), but depending on how severe their condition is, they may be completely incapable of feeling that range of emotion. Instead they may pretend to feel them in order to manipulate others and avoid consequences for their actions.

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  2. Thanks for telling me how u guys or nornal people think about us. Now I will be able to manipulate people more efficiently. And remember my friend if you get in our way we will hunt you and make sure your life becomes worse than you can imagine

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  3. First of all, yanderes are people too and you really shouldn’t call them maniacs (even if they are) like you said they might have a mental illness and it is not there fault. And why do you copy Mattpatt from Game Theory, Film Theory? Couldn’t think of anything youself smartass? Well just leave us yanderes alone and hope you don’t run into one of us one day. Goodbye~ </3

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  4. I would agree. However, I got in a bad situation, I started to date a girl, and she started to show yandere traits. I think she is one, and although I love her, i’m scared…

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    1. Don’t worry she won’t hurt you..just don’t do things she might not like..for example being sweet with another girl..that’s a no no for us don’t spend too much time with other things cause if you did that she might think that you don’t like her or she’s not enough for you ( she MIGHT kill you ) just don’t be a dumb dumb and think before you move..you know her well than anyone do..just don’t fight her off…make her feel like she’s the only girl in the world..if you have a ‘girl friend(s)’ don’t let her flirt with you if you want her to stay alive 🙂

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    1. Anime Man made his video in 2015. I wrote this in 2014. Tell me, without the aid of a time machine, how I would be able to “copy off” him? The more likely explanation is him ripping me off.

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  5. I’m a yandere, and tell you the truth this article kind of hurts, more then I’d like to admit. Have a bit of a heart, show some compassion. That’s the base of a yandere. I care, maybe too much at times, but in the end It’s me trying to show the ones I trust and hold close that I appreciate them. My love is deep and unwavering. I may fall fast, I may fall hard, and when heart break comes It is never easy. But my love is strength. I will be there for friends and family just like I know they will be there for me. I have been searching for a reason why every one hates me and my yandere title trying to find the silver lining. I found it while typing this to you. Quality is better quantity and in this day and age it goes under appreciated.

    Call me sick if you will, it only means my love is not for you.

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      1. It’s only my own opinion and I won’t speak for any one else. Having said that, what is wrong with romanticizing mental sickness? Extreme cases should get professional help and many are just nutrition and hormone imbalances. I’m still a human, you’re still a human. I just happen to have a chemical imbalance.
        Not to sound rude, because I would like to carry out a conversation, but you said you had a friend with BPD. Do you still hang around and have fun with her? Is she not an at heart romantic? Have you never felt related to a yandere character? If I can’t understand the full force of distaste towards yanderes what am I missing? Why can’t it be romantic? All of these are actual questions. Please enlighten me with your thoughts.

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    1. Sick. If you are a full blown , get some help like i did so you can lock away the negative traits of a Yandere. (Although , I did have to be forced to go through said help when I was younger , so if you truly are a full blown Yandere, I’m not too sure if you would be willing to go through it without being forced into it for several years straight first.. long enough to be forced to change your viewpoint , actually… )

      Full blowns don’t function well in society.

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  6. Holy fucking shit what is wrong with the people in the comments. Quit romanticizing mental illnesses you fucking creeps. If you can’t tell what’s wrong with doing so, there is something deeply wrong with your morals.

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  7. I hate when people think that a yandere is a sweet girl who is actually an jealous murderer. Just stop. Yanderes have a distorted sense of love and can do some really crazy things – like kill someone – but that doesn’t mean that they will do it. It is just an option for the most crazy ones.

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  8. OK,first of all yandere’s are still human, second of all, they did not what to be the way they are, third ,maniac,, really would u be happy if anyone called u that for something that wasn’t ur fault, I don’t think so, I am not a yandere, but still come on!.
    I am not saying you shouldn’t write, but be more nicer don’t write any thing you don’t. any one to write about u!.

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  9. Rawr! Well I just wanted to say we are all weird but that’s awesome anyways why can’t we just get along … Like honestly who cares if you’re this or that it doesn’t really matter as long as no one gets hurt. Anyways I enjoyed reading this haha made wasting time a bit more fun and I thought it was funny when you said you would bang her 😂 thank you for sharing it stranger I appreciate it now everyone go have some ice cream and be happy 🍦😜:p<3

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  10. I’m actually reading this to research the reason behind one’s yandere-ness so that I can write a yandere character based on reasonable… reason without making it too unrealistic. Can someone who relate themselves to be a yandere please answer my questions? I know in animes, yandere people tend to have a dark and traumatic past, but is that the only reason for the yandere trait to appear? Or like this article mention, must it be along with those mentioned psychological disorders? If yes, what other disorders would you think would be related to the yandere traits? If no, what do you think would explain the mentality?
    Also, is it possible to be yandere towards people who you just met? Or does it need time for you to realize your love for them for the trait to surface?
    Thank you very much, I really would like some valid response.

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  11. I… find Yandere attractive , and would have loved to have one as a girlfriend, if it wasn’t for the fact that I already have a girlfriend that I love and adore(so long a said Yandere was one of the ones that would be understanding of my online freindships and of my family… and of my gaming habits) but.. they do have mental issues that they seriously need help with. This is coming from someone who almost became a full blown male Yandere , and probably would have if it wasn’t for the professional help I got when I was a child. Help that involved years of being in residential treatment facilities.

    No seriously , I was one fucked up in the head kid pre residential , that was way too fond of a female childhood friend of his, and if it wasn’t for her moving out of town.. (and thus triggering my downward spiral that got me sent into residential treatment for the majority of my childhood , only ending a year or so after I turned 18) , I probably would have become a full blown Yandere , and Obsessed with her.

    Even after all my treatment , I still show tendencies at times, and still have.. thoughts.. about killing people who get in the way of my love for someone. I’m just able to keep the negative tendencies of a Yandere under lock and key for the most part, which is part of what sets me apart from a full blown , bat shit crazy Yandere.

    On the other hand , I really like the loyalty and devotion full blowns have. Probably what makes a part of me wish I had a full blown as a girlfriend , actually… But I fully understand that for most people , a relationship with a full blown Yandere probably wouldn’t end well. Me on the other hand.. well, if I wasn’t in a relationship with someone already.. and in love with my girlfriend (gods the thoughts I sometimes have in regards to her and those around her make me shudder. I am so glad I got help when I was younger ), I would have loved to have a Yandere girlfriend.

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