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How to speak anime: Yandere

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Anime and manga have a multitude of terms that are used to easily define something or classify a character. When a particular set of attributes recurs it is easier to give it a label than to attempt a long winded description to explain it. Anyone anime, manga fan is liable to hear some unfamiliar terms. This is the first in a series of articles to explain some terminology.

Yandere is one of the more popular terms used to describe a particular character. This term refers to one that exhibits very docile characteristics in one instance but, given a trigger, drastically changes to psychopathic behavior. Yandere characters may gradually develop from peaceful to possessively violent or their default personality may hold latent brutality.

Most commonly, the trigger for a yandere character is a romantic interest. While initially warm and friendly (or appearing to be), the yandere character develops an obsessive and or possessive attachment to their romantic interest. When events do not develop along the yandere characters expectation or the status quo is upset, blood can be expected to flow.

Case Study: Kotonoha Katsura (Spoiler Alert)

Those familiar with ‘School Days’ can easily picture Kotonoha Katsura as the epitome of the yandere character. Kotonoha is a gentle, shy, and innocent girl. After a little awkwardness, Kotonoha finds herself a boyfriend in Makoto Ito. Initially both parties are pleased but Ito still feels the relationship is awkward. His uncomfortable feelings become the catalyst for a good amount of philandering, most notably with Sekai Saionji.

Since Ito never properly broke off the relationship with Kotonoha, her feeling of attachment persists and even grows despite ample gossip of Makoto’s infidelity. By the end, Ito decides to reunite with Kotonoha only to reaffirm her attachment. Feeling scorn, Sekai murders Makoto in a very emotional and very messy fashion.

In the aftermath of Makoto’s murder, Kotonoha cunningly lures Sekai to a meeting place. During the meeting Kotonoha exhibits key yandere signs. She seems emotionally numb; her eyes have lost their luster, and her tone of voice is down right eerie. If that wasn’t enough, she brings Makoto’s head with her. Ultimately, she exacts revenge on Sekai for getting between her and Makoto. In contrast to Makoto’s death, Sekai’s demise was performed in a very matter of fact way. Kotonoha shows no signs of remorse and feels free to continue a deranged relationship with Makoto.


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