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SMAC! Web Magazine

LOST (and FOUND) in TRANSLATION #014 – “YANDERE”

In Lost (and found) in Translation #2, we looked at tsundere, a hot-and-cold personality type where the character alternates between a difficult, aggressive attitude and a more loving one. Perhaps due to the popularity of tsundere, several other “-dere” subtypes (characters that alternate between love and some other characteristic) have popped up over the years. This time round, I’d like to introduce a “-dere” subtype that has a strong following (to the point of a simulator game being made!) despite not being very well known outside of the anime/manga community.

Today’s word: ヤンデレ (yan-dere)

Like tsundere, the “dere” in yandere refers to a lovey-dovey attitude. The “yan” part is short for 病んでいる (yanderu) which means “to be ill”. But this doesn’t refer to a physical illness, it more refers to a kind of mental instability.

LFT_014 Yandere

Strictly speaking, yandere refers to a kind of character who suffers some kind of severe betrayal or tragedy in love, and as a result, has a mental breakdown, to the point where they can no longer distinguish right from wrong. In School Days, the visual novel which made yandere famous, the yandere character becomes so mentally deranged that she actually ends up murdering the target of her affections (so they can be together forever!) As such, yandere are also usually associated with violent and bloody ends.

These days however, the definition has expanded a little, and any female character who has a mixture of “crush” and “crazy” is usually referred to as a yandare (even if the crazy and the crush are relatively unrelated). Characters like an obsessive female stalker, a manipulative overly attached girlfriend, or a girl who murders her love rivals would all fit the mold. Bonus points if there’s a horror movie ending!

These women would be terrifying in real life, but as manga characters, they have a certain “moe” value for their single-minded devotion to love. And people who have experienced negative events in their love life would probably also be able to relate to them.

Personally, I don’t like the bloody, gory scenes that they’re associated with, but I think the obsessive, unhealthy love that they display is definitely a fascinating aspect of human nature!

 

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Penmaru