"Yandere" is derived from the Japanese words yanderu, meaning insane or sick, and deredere, meaning affectionate or loving. Simply put, a yandere is someone who is lovesick; someone who has been driven to insanity by extreme obsession or love, thus resulting in abnormal behavior if not violence. Take the Tropes Love Makes You Crazy, Love Makes You Evil, Love Hungry, and Stalker with a Crush, turn them all Up to Eleven, and condense everything into a singular personified character archetype.
The word "yandere", a term that blossomed in moe fandom, refers to a character who is crazy about someone else... often literally and violently. 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 (technically an Uruk Example, as that was her cult city that neighbored Ur in Sumer).
Yanderes are usually identifiable by their blank eyes when they go crazy, blood being soaked on them for the majority of their screentime, carrying at least one signature weapon that they use to kill and/or attack others for the majority of their screentime, a mostly Moe appearance or at least an appearance that will deceive others, psychotic behavior, and a tendency to attack and/or kill people who would get in the way of their love. Many of them are Ax-Crazy. "Benign" cases don't even need to bring weapons or violence into the mix: just a well-established aura of menace and the feeling of dread if you step out of line is enough. When on the Good Guys' team, they are often the Token Evil Teammate (or at least the fourth type of the Anti-Hero).
The character almost always appears perfectly cute and harmless on the surface... but underneath they may be obsessive, controlling, and sometimes just plain insane. This is bad news for anyone unfortunate enough to be the object of a Yandere's obsession, as nothing will dissuade the Yandere from the notion that they are theirs and theirs alone. But even more pity should be saved for anyone who gets in the way, as this psycho-obsessive is amazingly unwilling to put up with any rivals to their often genuine affection. Most Yanderes have a history of mental instability, but some have always been just a little bit "off", perhaps the product of a Dark and Troubled Past and a good round or more of Break the Cutie. If a Yandere ever goes off the deep end, they are likely to go Ax-Crazy, taking up the psycho weapon of their choice and doing things to people straight out of a horror movie. Usually their target is whoever they perceive to be in the way, but if the person they love rejects them or leaves them, they may well decide that they would rather see the person dead than with another or themself because they're nothing without them, which may well lead to tragedy.
Interestingly, while Yanderes are usually villains by dint of their psycho and murderous nature, they can still be perceived as Moe if they manage to gain enough tragic audience sympathy. A sympathetic Yandere often has the person they love as a Living Emotional Crutch, and goes completely crazy and murderous at the thought of losing them, either romantically or otherwise. Worst case scenario, they'll go into a Never My Fault fueled Villainous Breakdown, at which point they lose the sympathy points.
Part of the dere family along with Tsundere (cranky outside, sweet inside), or sub-groups; Kuudere (cold outside, sweet inside), and Dandere (asocial outside, sweet inside). However, those are all sweet inside, while the Yandere is sweet outside, crazy inside. While a Sweet Tsundere may have some similarities with a Yandere (especially if jealousy is one of their vices), the Yandere will often patiently endure things that will send any Tsundere utterly bonkers, but the Yandere's jealous, possessive and obsessive nature won't let them accept the possibility that the person they love can be happy without them. Unlike most Tsunderes, including sweet Tsunderes, a Yandere is usually a Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak since she is girly and lovey dovey outside, but violent inside.
Such characters are mostly female, but male examples exist. Compare with the Violently Protective Girlfriend, who can become Ax-Crazy when the love interest is in danger, but is otherwise much more stable mentally. If the admirer is crazy, but tends to be the one who gets violently abused by their affection, then this is Mad Love.
When two Yanderes form a relationship, they are a Yandere Couple.
See also Clingy Jealous Girl, her Spear Counterpart Crazy Jealous Guy, Love Makes You Evil, Love Makes You Crazy, Stalker with a Crush, Stalker Shrine, Domestic Abuse, Violently Protective Girlfriend, Villainous Crush, Always Save the Girl, and If I Can't Have You.... Compare Stepford Smiler, Psycho Supporter, and I Have You Now, My Pretty. May God have mercy on you if you are caught in a Psychotic Love Triangle (a love triangle with two members being Yanderes). 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 obsession and mental instability to the mix). At the extreme, A Love to Dismember can occur. Due to their often violent nature, they are likely to be The Unfettered. The more savage examples are also very likely to be Faux Affably Evil. Don't confuse with Yandere Kanojo, a manga which surprisingly doesn't involve actual yandere (except for one case, in which the victim had it coming. It ends well, though). Also contrast Cute and Psycho a.k.a. Yangire, who is also sweet and crazy, but whose craziness isn't tied to love.
More details are available on the Analysis page, such as its history and its appeal.
If you still don't get it well, why don't we have a self-demonstrating version for you to understand better, dear? Tee-hee!
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 and/or Black Comedy as it is for drama or horror. Almost all the examples listed below are spoilers, so read at your own risk!
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Films Live-Action
- Live-Action TV
- Myths & Religion
- Video Games
- Visual Novels
- Western Animation
- These commercials from Virgin Mobile actually advertise from a Yandere's point of view. She's seen sitting in a tree outside his house on a stormy night and talking about how they just had the best first date ever and she can use her phone to check on whether he's mentioned her yet and if his exes are hotter than her and that she can "check his Four Square profile for patterns." "And it's only $25 a month! That's crazy right!?" (horror lightning) Then there's a sequel to this ad featuring the same girl in another guy's closet.
- What makes it worse is that if you watch Supernatural you'll realize that the actress playing her also plays Lillith, the psychotic demon who is also Yandere for Lucifer.
- Ouyang Xueli from Cupid's Chocolates is a terrifying one that was main character Jiang Haoyi's Childhood Friend before she turned into a Jerkass Tsundere obsessed with beating Haoyi at anything that could be a competition after being convinced by her mother that it was the best way to gain Haoyi's heart, only for this to backfire when he only distanced himself from her. Her Establishing Character Moment is to blast the door to Haoyi's classroom, throw several blades that nearly hit him and then give him a deep-tongue Forced Kiss while telling Xia Zitong (who had just asked him out on a date) that he's taken, while Haoyi begs for help before she tries to rape him. Her obsession began when, after an attempt to do Operation: Jealousy on him became a humiliating failure (as the involved guy not only dumped her in public, but did so because he was marrying another girl), she decided Haoyi was the only good thing in her life and desperately do everything in her hand to prevent him from leaving her.
- Similar to Tsundere CDs is the Yandere no Onna no Ko series, which puts the listener in the role of the brother of a Clingy Jealous Girl. And by "Clingy Jealous Girl" we mean "girl who goes well off the hook because her brother has been spending time with women besides her."
- In the vein of the Yandere no Onna no Ko dramas, listed above, there are also Yandere Heaven dramas, which set the (presumably female) listener in various situations (friend, assistant in a hospital, sister, etc) with two male yanderes vying for your/her affection. An English translation is here.
- Gypsy Tales: In "The Gypsy Woman and the Devil", the devil grows possessive of Vunida once she refuses to marry him. He refuses to let her go to see her starving children and, when she escapes his palace, turns her into a cherry tree so "[they] will eat of [her] flesh and drink of [her] blood."
- In "The Elf Maiden", a fisherman gets his friend marooned on a desert island when he realizes his love interest is falling for said friend.
- In The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina the Mole King goes Ax-Crazy when Thumbelina rejects him and chooses Tom instead.
- The Other Mother in the film adaptation of Coraline. So much...
The Other Mother: DON'T LEAVE ME! DON'T LEAVE MEEEE! I'LL DIE, I'LL DIE WITHOUT YOOOOUUU!
- In Megamind, Hal turns into one for Roxanne. He harbored strong possessive feelings for her before he gained his powers. Once he got them, he felt like he finally had a chance with her and showed off his powers to her. Unfortunately, she didn't return his feelings, despite his belief that he should have her since he's a superhero. This leads to him taking his anger out on the city and almost killing her by throwing a bus at her.
- Survival of the Fittest:
- Zachariah Johnston from TV1. He started out as an dorky kid with autism who happened to have a crush on Mae St. Clair. However, he becomes jealous of Shawn Morrison (the other part of the Love Triangle), and has flat out attacked other characters who he thinks will hurt her or steal her away, most notably Harold Smythe.
- Robin Pounds from Program v2 becomes incensed when Shawn Bowe-Crooke abandons her, and tracks him down specifically to destroy him and everything he loves.
- Kaorin from Yukari Is Free, because Sakaki's with Kagura and not her.
- NoPixel: Four Tee is an aromantic variation by way of having been isolated for most of her life and not having an understanding of how love and romance function. She "loves" everyone on her friends list and is so seemingly whimsical to be disarming and endearing even to folks she's not friends with. However, she's also extraordinarily bonkers, is obsessed with her friends to stalkerish extremes, will not hesitate to go full-tilt psycho to anyone who harms or slights her friends, and has murdered friends for "leaving" her.
- An amusing case when it comes to the Vocaloid 2 engine software Prima:
Prima was given a yandere type personality by the Western fandom due to the fact that when people tried to illegally download vocaloids, such as Miku and Len/Rin Kagamine, they had to download Prima to get the program in English. However illegal downloads of Prima don't have proper confirmations codes. Causing not only Prima to stop working but other Vocaloid programs as well. Basically if the user couldn't keep her then they couldn't keep any vocaloids.
- For a straighter example the UTAU, Sukone Tei, is a yandere in her profile and is always shown to be going after the Vocaloid, Len, whether he wants it or not.
- Another straight Vocaloid example is MAYU, who has an actual yandere theme rather than just a fandom-based one.
- Lilith is a rare sympathetic example. She was normal and sane, but was mentally tortured by her absolute horrifying monster of a "husband" Desus so badly that she shattered into a mental, slightly Ax-Crazy wreck who was a sad little puppet for Desus. By the period the game takes place in, she's recovered - somewhat, and this is after going feral and living in pure chaos for the better part of 2,000 years - although she tends to understandably explode into a frothing rage whenever she sees something related to Desus - which is unfortunate for Desus' reincarnation, Swan, who, while not a hero exactly, is still a lot better person than Desus ever was.
- Adorjan is a Yozi who's gone seriously yandere. One of the more powerful Charms she offers to her chosen does ridiculous amounts of damage, but has the side effects of a) doing some of that damage to yourself, and b) getting Adorjan "interested" in you if you ever use it on her. As the Quotes page says, her hatred is safer.
- Also from the Yozi pile is Kimbery, who's a cross between this and every overbearing mother ever. She loves her "children" with all her heart and ladles them with all sorts of gifts... at least, until she thinks that they'll betray her, at which points she drowns them in poison and acid, both literally and metaphorically.
- Legend of the Five Rings allows you to give your character a yandere stalker via the Bad Fortune: Secret Love disadvantage, netting you a few extra Experience Points at the cost of having some unknown Non-Player Character out there in the world who will stop at nothing to have your character all to him- or herself.Like almost all Disadvantages in this particular RPG, it is basically a blank check for the GM to screw you over. Popular Secret Loves include your daimyo or the daimyo's spouse, Scorpion Clan members and insane(r) oni. In modern versions this include Spider Clan members, Tainted individuals or maho-tsukai.
- Kyoso no Oni, one of the four Oni Lords, is pretty much the patron saint of Yandere and scorned lovers in Rokugan.
- The Deceivers from the Third Edition of Nobilis love everything and think that the best way to express that love is to strip things of the toxic lies that enshroud them and hide their true nature. Lies most people call "existence."
- New World of Darkness:
- The Galateids from Promethean: The Created tend to have this as their Torment. Seeing as they embody the sanguine humor, their periods of Torment tend to involve giving into murderous obsession over others; the book lists the example of abducting an unrequited lover's girlfriend, holding her at knifepoint, and demanding the lover choose between the two.
- Princesses of Mirrors from Princess: The Hopeful have the downside of getting insane whenever they abuse their magic. One of the possible insanities they can develop is to become a Yandere, the trope being even referred by name. Since their Charms include powers helping seduction and the ability to literally peel someone's beauty off their face, this is not a good thing.
- In Warhammer 40,000, the Chaos god Nurgle fell in love with Isha, the Eldar goddess of life. After Nurgle rescued Isha from Slaanesh, he expressed his love for her by imprisoning her in a cage and killing any warriors who attempted to rescue her. Now he uses her as a test subject for his plagues.
- The entire point of How to Deal with a Yandere, a step-by-step comedy series in walfas that has to Joey how to deal with his yandere girlfriend, Lily.
- A gay example in Miller from the third volume of Yotam Perel's Nameless series, who falls for Chocolate Man.
"I will murder him with my knives for you."
- Doki from There she is!! starts as a fairly minor example of this: She does chase Nabi around the city and can't take "No" for an answer, but otherwise doesn't seem to be all that crazy or violent. Her love craziness reaches its apex midway to Step 3, until she becomes saner, but only after Nabi agrees to become her boyfriend. While it could be seen this way, keep in mind, "There She Is" is all about showing Nabi and Doki's relationship in a condensed form. It can also be interpreted that Doki's trying to chain away Nabi's social qualms with their relationship, as can be seen in the later steps.
- RWBY: Adam Taurus can be seen as one, due to his obsession of Blake Belladonna, who left him.
- RWBY Chibi:
- Nora's obsession with Ren results in her trying to cook Ren into a "love potion" or trying to heal a broken leg with The Power of Love with a bedside manner that is straight out of Misery.
- Ruby is so obsessed with making Weiss her best friend that she hypnotizes Weiss into becoming her BFF, and even hypnotizes Blake into being her back-up BFF.
- The alternate ending for Scribble Netty's animation of Flowers For My Valentine: A PewDieCry Fanfic has Marzia barging in on the two of them embracing each other, enraged, before pulling out a chainsaw. The screen then cuts to black as Felix and Cry scream out in agony while the chainsaw whirs.
- In Alien Abduction Role Play, Acktreal Domma is an alien whose job it is to handle unknown species collected from other planets. She normally approaches her job in a very business-like manner, not making things harder or more for herself or for her subject than it needs to be. So it says a lot when she starts threatening to eat her human subject, but then admits to having feelings for them. She thinks that her desire to eat the human has been replaced by romantic feelings, but later on as she spends more time with them, the two get mixed up in her head, and she has at least two feral episodes wherein she tries to eat the human and her crewmates.
- Ascension Academy features Esmae, a spirit with a poor understanding of social conventions, lacking in empathy almost entirely, and with an unnatural draw and connection to Chipz. All of this mixed together created a potentially dangerous Yandere. During the First Year, Esmae was convinced to stab Chipz in the heart by Victor, claiming it would 'make him love her forever'. Thankfully Chipz is a vampire and survived the incident, though this effectively squashed her chances of actually getting with him as it destroyed his trust in her. Later in the Second Year after Chipz and Vevina became very close following a confession from Vevina, Esmae kidnapped Chipz, held him as sword point, and forced him to promise to stay in her room for the night. Because she is a spirit, it is dangerous to break a promise made to her, so he was forced to do so. Thankfully she slowly lost interest in Chipz over the course of the Second Year as it became apparent he had no romantic interest in her.
- Cracked noted in this article that the behavior of a woman who might follow Cosmo's suggestions on intimate relationships could very well end up acting like this. The suggestions are downright possessive, obsessive, and overall psychotic. Everything from feeding a boyfriend laxative to crushing his testicles... all over perceived and potentially groundless possibilities of infidelity. At no point did any of the suggestions involve leaving the boyfriend; it was all about punishing them.
- The character of Rift from New Vindicators seems like your usual young teacher/superhero until her obsession with Michuru comes out. Then people start dying.
- Shadow Unit: Betty Johnson, the gamma of "Always Crashing in the Same Car." The crazy seems to have started because while she was pregnant, she walked in on her husband raping and killing a woman and subsequently miscarried. The first manifestation of her gamma powers was mind-controlling her husband into killing himself; every year since, she finds a man with the same name and mind-controls him into believing he's her husband. Then she commands him to kill himself on the anniversary of her first husband's death. Most of the episode is from her perspective, through letters she wrote to Reyes; she not only seems to believe that all the Tom Johnsons she married were actually the same man, but she insists to the end, even after being arrested and sent to Idlewood, that "our love is forever".
- The Creepypasta Cloak and Dagger, in which a girl (probably) steps out in front of her crush's girlfriend's car, killing her when she swerves out of the road.
- SCP Foundation:
- Taken to extremes with SCP-1805, a sex doll which comes alive when a man has sex with her and which considers the man to be her "husband". On the one hand, she's so devoted to her "husband" that she'll willingly let him mutilate and dismember her. On the other hand, she's so jealous that the man spending too much time with his own children will make her go Axe-Crazy. And to put a final, weird twist to it, she instantly loses all interest in her "husband" the moment he dies, since marriage is, after all, "til death do us part".
- There's also SCP-1269, a mailbox which sits in front of a house in Massachusetts, USA. If a woman aged 23 or older moves into the house for SCP-1269, mysterious unaddressed letters, which are directed at the woman and highly romantic in nature, manifest inside the mailbox every four days. If you attempt to remove 1269 and replace it with a normal mailbox, both disappear, with 1269 appearing back in it's usual spot and the other mailbox appearing in a dumpster 25km away with an extremely hostile and possessive letter inside it. SCP-1269 was recently kicked up to Euclid status when a male D-Class moved into the house with the female D-Class resident only to go missing some weeks later, his battered and mutilated corpse was found in the dumpster. Examples of letters found:
1) The color of your eyes reminds me of the depth and expanse of the night sky, a vast dazzling macrocosm of soft velvet and glimmering pinpricks of light.
2) The wind was blowing and I thought it whispered your name sadly because that is what my heart is doing please write back
3) FUCK YOU YOU PILE OF PLASTIC AND WOOD SHE IS MY EVERYTHING YOU ARE NOTHING TO HER IT WAS A FLING AND I KNOW IT I'M DOING HER A FAVOR
4) YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A TOOL FOR HER USE BUT I AM MORE I AM HER EVERYTHING AS SHE IS MINE SHE USED YOU SHE USED YOU SHE USED YOU AND NOW YOU'RE WHERE YOU BELONG
5) WHAT IS A MAN BUT A PILE OF SHIT THAT GETS IN THE WAY OF MY LOVE HOW CAN SHE EVER LOVE YOU WHEN YOU'RE SO EASILY BROKEN SHE NEVER EVEN LET YOU TOUCH HER I SAW THE WAY SHE LOOKED AT YOU WITH HATRED AND NOW SHE WILL LOVE ME FOREVER
- A less prominent example is told through an experiment log in the SCP-404 document, where a Class-D had a sexual relationship with a girl throughout their teen years, until she moved onto another guy, so he cut the breaks on his car and slit his throat when he crawled out of the wreck, and got arrested for it. The girl was the Class-D's sister by the way.
- SCP-962 is a giant steel tower that wants to help the "great ones" (humans) by mutilating, enslaving, and/or killing every non-human organism in the area around it. It also sends us "high quality" poetry.
- "I'm sorry to god for what i have done. I love my family so I kill all my family. It's the only thing I can do to stay together with them F O R E V E R!"
- Annabelle Wynters from Under the Van Gogh, though perhaps as a direct cause of Love Makes You Evil, Love Makes You Crazy, and some Manipulative Bastardry.
- Shannon in the TV Tropes webseries Echo Chamber obsesses over Tom, stalks him, and threatens girls he is seen with. She scares Tom enough that he agreed to propose to her, because he was worried she would severely hurt him if he didn't.
- Ashley and Vanessa in The Fabulous Life of Bratz. Doesn't help that they're going after the same guy either.
- Its Just Some Random Guy: Random Gal, his girlfriend and production designer.. Just... watch.
- BriTANicK shows us how it's done with "The Kiss."
- The Nostalgia Chick is somewhere between Stalker with a Crush and this towards Todd in the Shadows. She's tried to make him "her damsel" before, and in To Boldly Flee, she says she'd be willing to murder people for him. After being friendly with her for most of their crossover review, she tries to stab Obscurus Lupa after she finds out she's the one who Todd in the Shadows has a crush on.
- Hyper Fangirl is this for The Nostalgia Critic. She develops an intense obsession for him and goes through extreme lengths to make him love her. At one point, she forces him to go on a date with her and she tries to manipulate him through his interests in entertainment. It almost works, but the Critic realizes what she's doing and he calls her out on it.
- With just a few simple tips, you too can have a boyfriend! Remember to be persistent!
- Dave from the Dating Dave web series runs into Dymphna in a bar and she seems nice and sweet... until the next day when she's apparently already got a wedding dress sorted and is planning the bridal shower. And when he says no, she leads her friends into an angry mob to chase him down the street.
- Hardly Working: In the surprisingly chilling video "My Bloody Valentine" from this comedy series, Pat sends Sarah increasingly threatening notes demanding that she be his, murders every other guy in the office who showed an interest in her, then stabs her in the stomach.
- The Overly Attached Girlfriend Meme, played by the YouTuber Laina. She was merely menacing in her videos... But when she makes cameo in others YouTubers videos, she becomes outright crazy, such as when Jimmy tries to break up with her. And then, she misunderstood Shane Dawson and believed that he was having an orgy without her... That didn't end well. Though hilariously subverted in another crossover video with Jimmy, where she's just the Normally Attached Girlfriend — not psychotic, just passive-aggressive.
- Many A True Nerd has Jon's playthrough of Stellaris: Apocalypse, in which his Tenets of Tabby, a religious, supposedly-friendly empire, becomes obsessed with another Spiritualist-Xenophile civilization called the Raxar. Jon tries to "take them to prom" by forming a federation with them, but unfortunately, his constant warmongering drives the Raxar into defensive alliances with Jon's other neighbors, leading Jon to attack and destroy those neighbors in order to make the Raxar "single" again so they'd have no choice but to ally with him. When it becomes clear that him and the Raxar are never going to happen, Jon builds a Colossus, moves it over the Raxar homeworld, and declares that it's "prom night."
- Markiplier acts like this in "Best Friends Forever" for Cinnamon Toast Ken. He tries so desperately to get in his house and makes claims about how close they are. Naturally, Ken is a little freaked out by this and does his best to keep Mark out. ... It doesn't work.
- Yandere High School has a few.
- Sam tries to court Sookie, but she turns down his advances because of her sexual orientation. Trying to gain a chance with her, he dresses up as a girl and attempts to poison her girlfriend.
- Yuki is revealed to be one for Taurtis. She killed Gareth's wife and Salex out of jealousy, stalked him and almost became his girlfriend. She later turns her attention to Sam who is forced to go out with her because her father told him to.
I'll make you stay...