Anime culture harbors a plethora of tropes. Harems, isekai, and the well-known dere charters. Tsundere, kuudere, himederes, honestly there is a pick for everyone. There is one however that I used to like but as I’ve gotten older I cannot figure out why. The Yandere.
For those who don’t know, a yandere is a very dangerous animal, an alpha predator that will do anything for what they want. And what it is they want is the poor sap that caught one’s dick. The literal meaning of the word goes like this. Yandere is derived from the Japanese words yanderu, meaning insane or sick, and deredere, meaning affectionate or loving
So simply put it’s a psycho with a little too much ‘love’ in their chest. Now some notable girls come along with this tag. Gasai Yuno from Mirai Nikki would be the most famous that comes to mind. But the appeal to Yuno for me was the fact she wasn’t just crazy, she was useful. Yuno was in a world where being an obsessed blade-wielding girlfriend was fine, Yuki needed her like really, he woulda died right away.
Some others that come to mind are Lucy from Elfen Lied, but given the trauma and all the shit she went through, can’t say I’m surprised. Or Mion from Higurashi, which I get she had some trauma there as well. But even with all of these girls for the most part I was fine with them. Vibing their crazy waves, even finding in some of them kinda cute.
Then I started reading a book that honestly scared the shit out of me. A story that shows the real danger of the yandere, a book that made me scared to even talk to girls ever again. A book titled Ijousha No Ai.
For those who don’t know in short, it follows this dude named Kazumi, Ichinose. A guy living his best elementary school life with his childhood friend and crush Niimi Fumika. Everything seems to be going well until our brother made a critical error, he was nice to a girl, a girl with the lovely name Midou Saki.
This leads Midou to confess to our boy, leading to him politely declining, but yanderes have a hard time taking no for an answer. Confirming that his crush was indeed Niimi, she asks if she didn’t exist would Kazumi love her? It is at this moment he should have decked her, grabbed Niimi, and fled the country, but he didn’t, he blows it off. We know how this goes, don’t we?
Taking a box cutter to the girl Kazumi walks in on Midou among the gore and dead body, her thrilled that they can finally be together moments before she is hauled off by the police. A time lap occurs and Kazumi is in high school and ready to mingle, oh I should mention Midou was released and once again keeping tabs on our boy.
What follows is honestly a horrific tale of torture, blackmail, and just pure terrorizing as Midou pulls no punches to win him back. While reading this the thought occurred to me, what is the appeal of this? The ones I mentioned above had reasons, had plot points of why they are like they are and what their purpose is in the story.
But fucking Midou isn’t cute, like ever. Her whole bit is horrific and the things she does even to Kazumi are stomach twisting. Another one that comes to mind is Shirasaki-san from Ijimeru Yabai Yatsu. A story about a girl who gets bullied in class only to find out she was the one terrorizing her bully in their personal life.
It is in both of these stories I truly realized I do not understand the appeal of yandere at all. Tsundere’s have their charms, himedere are annoying but some people just want to be peasant trash and simp. But the idea of feeling some sort of gratification knowing someone is stalking you, hurting you and loved ones ruthlessly without care is so strange to me.
I get that one can like yandere stories and not consider it a win to have one themselves but the joy even within those stories aren’t very high. I haven’t had fun reading Ijousha No Ai, I am on chapter 60 but I think the curiosity of how much more fucked up it can get keeps me turning the page. And in that respect, it does not disappoint.
I am going to have to write an anti-yandere guide or something, start living by different rules to avoid this situation. Shits wild.
Anyway, I am going to continue reading this and broaden my pallet of yandere knowledge so I can figure this out. Wish me luck.