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.
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:
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.
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?