This article contains spoilers for Shuffle! and School Days.
People call me crazy when I talk about yandere girls. I’ve gotten quite used to having to explain why they appeal to me so much.
They really are amazing.
Yanderes are characterized not only by their instability, insanity, and violent tendencies, but also by their obsession, undying loyalty, and boundless love for the target of their affections. Yandere girls are practically made of pure love. They ooze devotion. Everything a yandere girl does, she does for the love of her life, even if he might not notice her, or want her to, or even care about her.
Yandere girls are often excellent homemakers as well. The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, after all. Not to mention, once her and her dream guy start living together, it’ll be her responsibility to keep the house clean, do the laundry, and be waiting for him as he returns home from work, ready to ask him, “Would you like your dinner first? Or your bath first? Or me first?”
Yandere love is true love. It’s unconditional love. It might not be rational, but then again, love isn’t rational. A yandere girl loves the guy in her sights without expecting anything in return. His love is its own reward. She exists to make him happy and will go to any length to do so. His happiness is her happiness, and all she wants is for the both of them to be happy together, forever.
By any means necessary.
People focus on the violence and the insanity, but yanderes only use violence as a last resort. And even then, it’s only used in defense of her man or their relationship. If you think about it, yandere girls are stronger than they let on. They won’t let anything get in the way of their “happily ever after,” going to any length to protect the happy ending they have in their heads. Where most girls would give up and accept heartbreak, yanderes will go even further.
Just like the Yamato Nadeshiko, the yandere is not a doormat. She’s devoted to her lover and might come off as submissive, but she will not let anything come between them and ruin their relationship, even when the only solution is murder.
It’s not just that she’s crazy, it’s that she’s crazy in love.
Take Kaede Fuyou from the anime adaptation of Shuffle!. From the very beginning of the series, she’s seen caring for Rin, the series’ protagonist. She cooks for him, cleans his room, and does his laundry, and she does all this throughout the series, even as several other girls come into the picture, all with feelings for Rin.
When it becomes apparent that Rin has become very close with Asa Shigure and starts to spend more time away from home, Kaede starts to break down. She still cooks for him, but he’s not home to eat her meals. He rushes out the door in the morning to see Asa, forgoing Kaede’s painstakingly cooked breakfast. He ignores her suggestion of an outing to go shopping because his mind is on Asa.
Nonetheless, Kaede soldiers on, because that’s all she knows. All she can do is care for Rin and hope he comes around, even though she knows he’s chosen Asa, and even though continuing to do so is tearing her psyche apart.
She eventually snaps and lashes out at Asa, though she immediately regrets doing so, as it hurts Rin in the process. After subsequent attempts to win Rin over fail, however, she holes up in her room and eventually disappears, never to be heard from for the rest of the series.
Can you really blame her? After spending so much time taking care of Rin and making sure he was happy, her reward is to be rebuffed and pushed aside while he runs off with some other girl. And though she continues to dote on him as if the two of them are lovers, he continues to ignore her and spend more and more time with Asa.
Though it breaks Kaede to know Rin is spending so much time with another girl, all she can do is continue being devoted to him. And less would be hurting him, in her eyes. It positively ruins her, and when he has the nerve to bring Asa into the house he and Kaede share, she can’t take anymore and lashes out. Knowing he was out with another girl was damaging enough, but seeing her, knowing she exists and being imposed upon by her existence, was the last straw.
By lashing out at Asa when she arrived, Kaede was sending a clear message: “This is the house Rin and I share. He may have chosen you, but in here, he and I are together. I won’t let you ruin that.”
Kaede never got violent, but her instability was palpable. From stirring a ladle around in an empty pot to showing up naked in Rin’s bed, she drove herself crazy trying to win him over.
Kotonoha Katsura of School Days fame is another excellent example of the quintessential yandere. Though she’s otherwise shy and quiet, she’s very resolute in her love for Makoto. He can do no wrong in her eyes. She makes a point of accustoming herself to his perverted tendencies, because she loves him and wants to be with him.
Her hobbies include knitting and sewing. She’s learning how to cook. Kotonoha practically radiates the kind of grace and femininity that characterize a desirable housewife, and she’s all Makoto’s.
When it starts to become apparent that Makoto might not be entirely faithful to her, she blames the girls he’s with. Makoto would, of course, never cheat on her on his own volition. They’ve obviously seduced him.
That isn’t her only plan of attack, however. Remember, a yandere girl exists to make the object of her desires happy. In Kotonoha’s mind, if Makoto’s having sex with other girls, that means she isn’t fulfilling all of his needs. In response, she becomes sexually aggressive, offering to let him grope her at her house, all alone, or proposing the two of them spend some quality time on her family’s yacht, just the two of them (More on that later.).
But as it becomes more and more apparent that Makoto has no interest in her as long as he can get what he needs from other girls with no commitment, Kotonoha slowly loses it. He’s harangued by one girl into telling her that they should stop seeing each other, and the girl surreptitiously blocks her number.
She sends Makoto’s phone text after text, even though her number’s been blocked. She has one-sided phone calls with him on her blocked phone. She pretends to talk to him on her cellphone long after the battery runs out. Eventually, she just sits in the park, letting snow pile up on her, talking to herself about how she wants to be a suitable girlfriend for Makoto and how much she loves him.
Makoto finds her in this state, realizes what he’d done to her, and snaps her out of her trance. The two start anew as a couple, but when Makoto is killed in a jealous rage by Sekai, one of the girls he had cheated on Kotonoha with (And left pregnant, according to her), she loses the shine and color from her eyes once more.
Off comes Makoto’s head and into a duffel bag it goes.
A text to Sekai from Makoto’s phone draws a very suspicious Sekai out onto the roof of the school.
A very calm Kotonoha converses with Sekai, culminating in an offer to look inside the bag left on the bench.
Sekai looks in the bag.
Horrified, she turns back to Kotonoha who, brandishing a bloodstained saw, offers to check if Sekai is really pregnant.
A slice to the neck silences Sekai.
And for good measure, Kotonoha saws Sekai open, just to check if someone had been accusing her precious Makoto of things he didn’t do.
Of course, Makoto can do no wrong. He didn’t cheat on her, not on purpose at least. He didn’t get anyone pregnant. He hasn’t even left her. He’s still right there, in the bag. And now the two of them can spend as much time as they want on her family’s yacht.
Kotonoha didn’t want to kill Sekai. Sekai was her friend. But she tried to ruin Kotonoha and Makoto’s relationship. She tried to steal Makoto. She lied to everyone about being pregnant by him. If it wasn’t for her, Makoto and Kotonoha could be happy together. It was all Sekai’s fault. She had to be killed. It was the only way Kotonoha could make sure she could live happily ever after with Makoto.
Yandere girls love fully and unconditionally. They put all of themselves into making the object of their love happy. They accept their special someone for all that he is. They will fight and kill for love. They love without being bound by reason or rationality, because love itself is often unreasonable and irrational.
A yandere girl is crazy about you, but she’s also crazy about you. That’s the appeal.
Kept assured that the one she loves also loves her and is happy with her, she doesn’t even need to resort to stalking him or killing her rivals. She doesn’t want to be weird, creepy, and violent, but she will if it means keeping the one she loves.
Yandere love is love unfiltered, love in its rawest, purest form. Yandere love is love devoid of pretense Love is irrational. Love is crazy. Love causes us to do things we normally wouldn’t. Yandere girls love unapologetically, unrestrained. We should all hope to one day be loved by someone who loves like a yandere.