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.


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.


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?


28 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.


  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


  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


  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…


    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 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 🙂


    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.


  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.


      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.


    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.


    2. I don’t understand, why do you call yourself sick when you don’t want others to do that?
      You have to love yourself in order for for others to do the same
      And if you do accept the way you are then why do you even care bout what others think?
      As long you don’t hurt others just cuz you think they are dangerous to your loved ones; it’s okay to be a little crazy if it’s for someone you love…
      People call stuff as weird or scary just cuz they don’t understand them
      It’s just how the world is no point stressing yourself out just cuz of some people
      And believe me, you will find someone who will love you just the way you are and maybe you already found them, there are people who do accept you then why do you even think about those who don’t
      And remember you are not sick you are awesome in a unique way😊😊😊


  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.


  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.


  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!.


  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


  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.


    1. No, they do not need to have a traumatic past. However, it is a common trait amongst yandere. Personally, I’m not quite a yandere, but I do relate to many characteristics of the yandere personality. For instance, when my boyfriend is talking about other men that he’s physically attracted to I become very cold. I won’t hurt him, nor will I go to extremes to hunt down the people he’s looking at because, hey, everyone’s allowed to look at other people, but I will definitely think about doing various illegal things to those people. Our relationship also breaks yandere norms in the sense that we’re both yandere, we both share nothing but hatred to those that would get in the way of our relationship. Thankfully, I have a glare that can end any argument. It also does not require a mental disorder to surface, unless you consider extreme loyalty and love an illness. If it is related to an illness however, I believe that it would be related to several disorders of personality. For instance, say the yandere is bipolar. In their manic stages they could think that they’re God, go on a killing spree due to hyped anger, etc.. In their depressive phases they could be self-doubting and critical of others, possibly going to the point of extreme paranoia which borders on anxiety. I personally can’t be yandere for someone I’ve just met. My last crush took me about a year and a half for the yandere traits to appear. He started dating (for the second time) this one girl and I completely freaked her out by detailing all the ways I could torture, kill ,etc. her (without being caught.). I’m not certain on the validity of any of those methods though. I even went to the point of vowing myself that I’d kill her if she started dating him a third time. However, my yandere “switch” as I’ll call it is very volatile. After my last crush began to try to associate with the “cool kids” I began to distance myself from him. I think I did this because I realized a flaw in his perfection. Once he did that, I literally did not care about him any more. He even started dating another girl and I don’t mind either of them and we get along fairly well. My feelings for my boyfriend now took even longer to develop, not any fault of his, it just took me longer to realize how I felt about him. I realized it when we were out of the country on a class trip and he had a breakdown (bullying related) and I nearly eviscerated the girl that was the main source of the problem. I think the main characteristic for a person to become yandere is trust. I know I personally have trust issues. I do not let anyone get close to me, I think it’s due to a previous failed relationship. I said something dumb without thinking so it blew up in my face. I think that’s when my yandere-ness began to develop. Previously to that incident, I was a rather apathetic, book oriented person. This is probably why so many yandere have a history of traumatic events. Traumatic events destroy trust. If we put this into the perspective of writing a book (as I seem to be doing now), I would not have the character have a traumatic past. The yandere in the novel I’m writing, his mother died before he could know her and his dad disappeared shortly after, so he doesn’t have much memory of him either. However, due to the fact that his parents have left him, he’s afraid that others will eventually leave him too. This has caused him to develop a strong (platonic!!!!) yandere personality towards his older brother. He is also a twin. I wrote the other twin as a more balanced person with a tendency to analyze and not react to a situation, while the yandere twin is very reactive to situations. For example, he literally froze and attempted to kill my main character’s boyfriend because of the sole fact that they were “soulmates” would take away the main character’s attention. Oh yeah, it’s a fantasy novel with werewolves and things in it so there’s that too, instead of dying the main character’s boyfriend became a werewolf. As far as yandere go, I don’t think most go to the extreme lengths that the crazy ones go to. Especially if you’re trying to make the yandere into a protagonist, or at least a “good guy”, don’t play up the extremes of their yandere-ness, give them redeeming qualities aside from their craziness. For instance, the yandere twin is a hopeless romantic. This is not yet developed in the novel (because it’s not about him, the sequel will go further into this), but if he seems a couple (that does not contain his brother, soulmate later) he will ship it hardcore, even if he knows it won’t work out. He will buy random presents for his brothers, soulmate, or anyone else he finds dear. He is also humble, he owns up to his mistakes and is quick to apologize. He’s also warm and friendly through and through, unless you’re just a passing stranger. If he has to see you at least semi-frequently he will be jovial towards you. Sorry for writing so much, but I hope this helped.


  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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