Even if you run, I will find you
What's that, love? You don't know what a yandere is? Why, I'll happily explain it all for you, precious!
The word "yandere", a term that blossomed in Moe fandom, refers to a character who is crazy about someone else. Literally. Despite the anime-inspired name, this type of character is much, much older than that, as one of the earliest examples is the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar (Inanna).
A colloquial American term that includes the type would be "psycho hose beast".
The character almost always appears perfectly cute and harmless on the surface... but underneath they may be obsessive, controlling, and sometimes just plain insane. Woe to anyone who happens to be the object of their often genuine affection. Even more pity should be saved for anyone who gets in the way -- the psycho-obsessive is amazingly unwilling to put up with any rivals (but the rivals had it coming). There could be a long mental instability; the girl's always been just a little bit off. Could be the product of Break the Cutie. Often eventually goes off the deep end and becomes an Ax Crazy Girl with Psycho Weapon, and that's just fun. May also be Not Good with Rejection. As a result they are potentially scary.
They come in two flavors:
- Possessive: This type of Yandere is so in love with their crush that (s)he's willing to kill their beloved to prevent other love interests from taking him away from him/her. Severed head in a bag? Fair game.
- Obsessive: This type of Yandere is willing to kill off their competition so (s)he can be closer to their loved one.
Such characters are mostly female, but male examples exist.
Compare with the Violently Protective Girlfriend who can become Axe Crazy when the love interest is in danger but is otherwise much more stable mentally. Yuri examples overlap with Psycho Lesbian. See also Living Emotional Crutch for a reason why she goes from affectionate to murderous.
More details are available on the Analysis page, such as its history and its appeal.
Part of the dere family along with Tsundere (unapproachable outside, sweet inside), or sub groups; Kuudere (cold outside, sweet inside), and Dandere (asocial outside, sweet inside). But those are all sweet inside, while the Yandere is sweet outside, crazy inside. Also compare Cute and Psycho, who is also sweet and crazy, but whose craziness isn't tied to love.
See also Clingy Jealous Girl, her Spear Counterpart Crazy Jealous Guy, Love Makes You Evil, Love Makes You Crazy, Stalker with a Crush, Domestic Abuser, Violently Protective Girlfriend and If I Can't Have You. Compare Stepford Smiler and Psycho Supporter. Contrast with Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, in which a character is consciously using the illusion of purity and niceness to cover up a sadistic true nature (Though a BISC can become a Yandere if we add mental instability to the mix). At the extreme, A Love to Dismember can occur. Don't confuse with Yandere Kanojo, a manga which surprisingly doesn't involve actual yandere.
An often wrongly-associated term is the "Yangire", which is when the assailant snaps due to something other than love or affection - possibly jealousy, irritation, or something similar. This term seems to be a Western invention, sometimes used to describe female Japanese sociopaths in fiction who do not fit the Yandere Trope.
It should be noted that while many below listed examples are drama and horror ones, this trope is not exclusively Played for Drama. It might just as well be Played for Laughs through Comedic Sociopathy as it is for drama or horror.
Almost all the examples listed below are spoilers, so read at your own risk.
- Anime and Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Myth and Legend
- New Media
- Other Media
- Professional Wrestling
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Western Animation
Wait, you're leaving? No, don't leave! I thought I was the perfect read! I saved my best editing for you! You have to stay...!