A few months back I wrote a Beginners Guide to Otome Games post on character archetypes (here’s a link to the thing: A Beginners Guide to Otome Games: Part 3 – Common Character Archetypes), where I broke down some of the most common character archetypes in otome games. I gave a basic overview of each archetype and provided a few examples of characters from games that fit the trope, but I always wanted to go back and write a list spotlighting characters from the various archetypes. First up to bat are the yandere chararacters… yay?
Yandere is a Japanese term used to describe a person who is initially very loving and gentle towards the person they love, only for their affection to suddenly become obssessive and destructive. Their behavior becomes unhinged, bordering on deranged leading to these characters becoming violent and possessive. The term yandere is derived from the Japanese words yanderu (病んでる), meaning insane or sick, and dere dere (デレデレ), meaning affectionate or loving; so a yandere character is someone that is literally “lovesick”.
These characters are a bit controversial due to their dangerously obsessive behaviors, which lead to them harming themselves and others in pursuit of love. While their actions stem from an overwhelming sense of love and devotion, these characters are prone to jealousy and will do everything in their power to ensure that nothing comes between them and their love. Yandere can be very forceful in their affections and may resort to entrapping the object of their affection in a misguided attempt to protect them. Some yandere have been known to lock their lovers in cages and in extreme cases may be mentally or physically abusive.
Yandere are pretty popular in otome games, and there’s usually at least one character in each game that exhibits some obsessive tendencies (though this is usually reserved for bad endings). But, if yandere are your shtick, here’s a list of some yandere characters that would be more than happy to show you to your own personal uguu love cage…
What kind of yandere list would this be if I didn’t include Toma from Amnesia? Toma was my first introduction to yandere characters in otome games, and lets just say I was not prepared for his dog cage of love. Toma is the childhood best friend of the heroine from Amnesia and he starts off as this sweet, protective big brother type, who literally drops everything to rush to her side when she’s in need. But, things take a sinister twist, when Toma uses the Heroine’s amnesia to manipulate her into thinking he’s actually her boyfriend (he isn’t btw) and then when Ikki’s crazed fangirls start harassing her he steals her phone and computer battery so she won’t have to look at their hateful messages. And when that doesn’t work he whisks her off to his house where he presumes to drug her and lock her in a dog cage filled with cute plushies and toys…
Things only get worse in his bad end, where the MC is unable to regain her memories and regresses into a living doll that Toma keeps chained up in an even larger gilded cage. It’s even implied that he forces himself on her as well… and don’t get me started on the good ending where he realizes that the Heroine loved him all along and apologizes for his creepy behavior… and they live happily ever after.
Ah, Lawrence… I said this in my Dangerous Fellows review, but Lawrence is an honest to god psychopath! Dangerous Fellows takes place in South Korea not long after a zombie outbreak occurs turning much of the population into flesh eating monsters. Nothing says romance like surviving a zombie horde…amiright? So, you seek refuge with a group of other survivors hiding out in a nearby school. Lawrence is the de facto leader of the group and the voice of reason during many of their petty squabbles. He’s kind to the MC and openly welcomes her into the group despite some reservations from the rest of the survivors. Not long after you arrive, weird stuff starts happening, food goes missing, people’s stuff gets stolen/vandalized and members of the group start mysteriously disappearing. The MC is initially blamed for these incidents but, then it’s revealed that LAWRENCE is behind everything!
Two years before the events of the game, Lawrence met the MC while waiting out the rain at a bus stop. She lent him her umbrella and that was enough to make him fall head over heels in love. So when they’re reunited after the zombie outbreak he’s not gonna just let her slip through his fingers again. So, he systematically starts taking out all the other members of their survivor group, by luring zombies into the school, so that he and the MC can be alone together. Oh, but wait, there’s more. Before the MC arrived, Lawrence manipulated a horde of zombies into overrunning the school so that he could get rid of the previous leaders of the group in order to take control for himself… a total class act!
Nameless has its fair share of characters with yandere qualities, especially if you play through the Bad Endings. However, there is one guy that really stands out from the rest as the Grand High Yandere of the game and that’s Tei. He’s kind of like the Ukyo of Nameless, nearly every bad ending in the game involves him in some capacity and trust me he’s not there to save you… Like most yandere characters, Tei is a sweetheart at first, he cooks and cleans, and seems genuinely invested in Eri’s happiness. He’s a big brother type who is always upbeat and friendly, earning him the nickname ‘Prince Sunshine’ at school. He takes care of the other guys and Eri and is dubbed “mama hen” of the group, but boy does he have one helluva dark side.
Tei harbors a lot of self loathing brought on by events from his past and despite being in love with Eri, he believes he isn’t worthy of her and vacillates between pushing her away and trying to break her. What sets Tei apart from the usual yandere, is that he is at least aware that he has a problem and is willing to step aside and let Eri be with someone “better for her”… but, if they don’t make her happy, he straight up murders them and takes her for his own. But, trust this isn’t just reserved to the bad ends, it’s also revealed that a lot of the darker elements in some of the other routes are his doing. He also has a tendency to be abusive towards Eri to the point of causing physical harm and then there’s the tea incident… what’s with yandere and drugging people’s food?!
Dot Kareshi is a series of short, loosely connected otome games from Rejet (the folks behind Diabolik Lovers). The dialogue can be a bit fanservice-y and the characters get a little too handsy with the MC for my taste, but, they’re short, lighthearted fare. Or so I thought… and then there was the third game, Dot Kareshi III: Yami no Hanayome, where we’re introduced to Villager, a friendly NPC who helps the MC along on her journey. After playing this game I will never look at NPCs the same way again! In games NPCs are little more than window dressing, you can interact with them, but aside from a few cached phrases and actions they don’t really do all that much. They can’t join your party, they don’t have any special abilities or powers, they’re practically useless. So, when I saw that an NPC was one of the love interests in the final Dot Kareshi game I was more than a little confused, all of the other love interests were JRPG stock characters (knights, mages, priests… etc).
Villager is just an NPC you can find in town, handing out herbs to travelers, you don’t really notice him all that much and he’s largely forgettable even when you do interact with him. The player notices that all the male villager NPCs have the same design in each town you visit, but you assume it’s just a design flaw in the game. WRONG! It’s the same Villager, he’s been following you throughout your journey (since the first game in the series) just for the chance to hear your voice and see you again. His desires for you awakens god like powers which he uses to manipulate the world of the game in order to trap you in a pocket dimension where the two of you can finally be together… talk about dedication!
I couldn’t think of a better way to close out this list than with Isora from 7’scarlet, because he really and truly makes what Toma did in Amnesia look like child’s play (and trust me that’s not an easy thing to do). So, Isora is introduced to us as the chef of the Fuurinkan Hotel and is the youngest obtainable love interest. He’s a little flirty and playful, your typical younger guy desperate for the attentions of a pretty girl. I probably would have written him off as the cheerful upbeat genki guy if not for his completely warranted hatred of Yuzuki and the rest of the Murakumo, it gave him depth… a purpose…
And then the game had to go and ruin it. Everything was fine and dandy until Ichiko is attacked by the mysterious serial killer terrorizing Okunezato, Isora manages to save her just in time. But, rather than taking her to a hospital or even back to the hotel where she’ll be safe, he kidnaps her and takes her to a hidden underground bunker fitted with all the comforts of home… save windows… He keeps her locked up in there for an unknown amount of time, visiting her three times a day to provide her with food and clean clothes. He doesn’t explain anything about the outside world to her and it’s unclear if anyone even knows she’s down there. When Ichiko starts getting suspicious of his intentions he starts to get defensive… but, even that pales in comparison to what happens when he gets mad. Isora turns into a violent rage monster. There’s a scene where he smashes a guys head against a wall until it’s little more than a bloody mess. Now granted the guy did try and kill Ichiko, so that was kind of justified, but it’s no less traumatic to see… he then turns around and confesses to Ichiko like he didn’t just almost kill a man… Thankfully he never crosses any lines with Ichiko, but still knowing he’s just one wrong move away from snapping is downright terrifying.
It’s no secret that of all the character archetypes, yandere is the group I like least. Whips and chains just don’t excite me and cages… are a hard pass. But, I will admit I can kind of see the appeal of having someone who loves you so much that they’ll do anything to possess you… There’s no love like the obsessive affections of a yandere, it’s only when they resort to violence and kidnapping that I draw the line. But, yandere characters are a staple in the character archetype starter pack, so for better or worse they’re here to stay.
This is where I turn things over to you dear readers. Are you a fan of yandere characters? What are some of your favorite yandere characters and what is it that you like about them? Let me know your thoughts!
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