Welcome to Anime Rants! This my second post about yandere anime girls. To start with, let’s make sure the definition of yandere is clear. Then we dive into the question of what kind of love these unstable characters may feel. Two example cases from anime will be examined. Finally, I’ll present my conclusions. Let’s get rolling.
Note: Spoiler Warning for Elfen Lied and Deadman Wonderland
What’s a Yandere? Generally, they are characters who seem sweet and gentle, but also have a frightening amount of obsessive love for someone. Sometimes, this is shown through violence. Other times, the yandere may not do what’s best for his/her lover, going against their wishes. The term yandere is a portmanteau. Yanderu is a Japanese word for insane, as in mentally twisted. Deredere is a Japanese word for love-struck. So the yan-dere is loving but unhinged.
Some people are strict about who qualifies as a yandere. I use the term more loosely. If I continue to write more posts like this, there may be characters that not everyone considers yandere. However, for this post, I’m fairly certain these characters are the specified type. The subject of this article is what kind of love a yandere can feel. Regardless of whether it’s what you call “true love,” the characters’ relationships with their crushes will be discussed. So let’s look at our examples for today.
Case 1: Lucy
Lucy from Elfen Lied isn’t a human, but the queen of the superhuman, horned creatures called Diclonius. All of these creatures have the instinctive desire to kill humans and take over as the dominant species. However, there are a select few who grow attached to humans and can be trained to resist attacking humans. In Lucy’s case, she was treated badly by humans in her younger years, which made her even more hateful than others toward humans. Plus, as the “Queen Bee” of the Diclonius, her instincts to kill are stronger to begin with.
There was one human boy, though, of whom Lucy felt very fond. His name was Kohta. He was the only one nice to her when she was still young and pretending to be human. He hung out with her, showed her music, and took her to the zoo. But Kohta had to leave at the end of the summer. He also lied to Lucy about a small issue that made her jealous. To keep Kohta close to her, and probably to punish him as well, Lucy killed his father and sister who had come to pick him up. It was all for nothing, since Kohta rejected her.
Years later, after escaping the facility that had kept her trapped, Lucy went back to look for Kohta. He doesn’t remember her because he was too traumatized. Lucy spends time with the young man and still likes him. At one point, she suddenly tries to kill herself by slicing her neck with scissors, but Kohta stops her. Eventually, he remembers his locked-away memories. That’s when Lucy tells him that she came back for the sake of sincerely apologizing and trying to make amends. The people from the facility track down Lucy and she is prepared to die fighting. (Though the ending hints that Lucy survives and returns to Kohta’s home.)
Now, Lucy is a complex case because she has more than one personality. There are three. But it might be a little too much for one post to examine which personalities love or dislike Kohta. So today we’re focusing only on the Lucy personality rather than Kaede or Nyu. Anyway, what kind of feelings does Lucy have for her crush? We’ll go over my conclusions after case 2.
Case 2: Shiro
Shiro is a mysterious girl from the anime Deadman Wonderland. I’m not quite as familiar with her story and its details compared to Lucy. Still, I really wanted to write about her. Deadman Wonderland is a cruel and inhumane prison where murder and torture happen all the time. And that’s just part of it. Under the surface, the facility is a fighting ring for those with supernatural blood manipulation powers. They fight and kill each other for the amusement of those in control.
Shiro is gifted with immense blood powers for fighting and destruction. She’s also very physically fit and quick. When she’s her normal self, Shiro is an adorable, energetic child with some mental abnormalities. (For example, she’s not afraid of fighting or killing, and treats most deaths like no big deal.) Despite that, she’s kind and innocent. But there’s another side to Shiro. She’s forced to be the servant of the master of Deadman Wonderland and blood manipulation powers. She does as he wishes, including killing people.
This version of Shiro is much quieter, more grim, and sadistic. I believe she developed an alternate self to cope with her abnormal upbringing and her life spent mostly trapped inside the horrendous Deadman Wonderland. Speaking of her upbringing, we know Shiro spent a lot of time as a small child in some kind of series of experiments. A friend of hers was there, too — a boy named Ganta. As a teenager, Shiro temporarily escaped Deadman Wonderland, slaughtered all of Ganta’s classmates, and implanted Ganta with blood manipulation powers. The boy was framed for mass murder and sentenced to life in the Deadman Wonderland prison.
Shiro did all this so she could be reunited with Ganta. Through the series, she spends time with him, saves his life several times, and expresses that she likes him. Ganta, meanwhile, is unaware that Shiro is the one who killed all his classmates. One thing is for certain: Shiro cares about Ganta’s life. She destroys a computer chip with a hidden bomb in it to save him. But as far as anyone else knew, that chip contained valuable information about escaping the prison. So Shiro is despised because of this. Still, Ganta makes up with her later.
It’s important to note that Shiro probably isn’t all there. At least when she is her girlish self, she is more like an eight-year-old in terms of mental and emotional development. She was also raised without being taught the value of life. With that in mind, let’s go on to the conclusions.
Compared to last time with Yuno and Satou, we have even crazier characters here. Lucy and Shiro have issues in common such as multiple personalities and lack of regard for life in general. Whether it’s due to being a different species, like Lucy, or being too exposed to death from a young age, these girls’ minds are twisted. Given that, what sort of love or love-like emotions are they capable of? We’ll start with Lucy.
Lucy’s feelings toward Kohta when she was younger were mostly possessive love, but with some genuine young romantic love. This explains her attachment to and jealousy over Kohta. She killed his family because of that jealousy and also due to the nature of her species driving her to kill. As a young adult, Lucy feels remorse more than anything with regards to Kohta. After all, she almost kills herself before she can tell Kohta the truth. But again, there is also some romantic love. This is evidenced by her fondness for him and the way she kisses him.
The love she feels along with the regret are strikingly powerful. Since Lucy is the queen of the Diclonius, her instinctive desire to kill humans is stronger than in most of her kind. If she overcame that, and is able to love one human, she is strong indeed. There is great potential for her to grow fond of other humans and acknowledge their value. Lucy went to such lengths just to offer her apology to Kohta, and was then prepared to die in the final battle of the series. Though she ended up surviving, her resolve was firm. There’s no question that she loves Kohta.
Shiro is also jealous with possessive love, wanting Ganta all to herself. That insane jealousy was part of why she killed his classmates. But there were other factors, too, such as her lack of regard for the lives of anyone who doesn’t strike her fancy. Most likely, Shiro has very little if any ability to feel natural empathy. In addition, she has Dissociative Identity Disorder, making her mental health even worse. Ultimately, there is no truly altruistic love to be found here.
Now, Shiro does have interest in Ganta, and it’s an unusually strong crush. She wanted to be reunited with Ganta all along. She disobeyed orders and escaped the facility to bring him to her. She cares immensely about Ganta’s life, and risks her own by stealing and destroying the bomb meant to kill him. But despite the strength of her feelings, it is still the immature love of a child. As I mentioned, Shiro talks and behaves like someone much younger. I’m pretty sure she thinks on this level, as well. A child’s love is selfish, limited, and overly simple. Again, Shiro is not yet capable of loving someone selflessly. I hold out hope that she can improve.
In summary, yanderes like Lucy and Shiro can feel certain forms of love and interest, rather than being completely heartless and selfish at all times. In the case of Shiro, it’s more difficult to argue this point. With Lucy, however, her obvious guilt and regret over her actions make it clear that she harbors sincerely loving feelings for Kohta. This is where I will close for today, but I may write another yandere post next week. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll visit again!