Identifying common anime characters: ‘Dere’

This article will contain spoilers surrounding the nature of certain characters.

Recently I’ve been watching the anime The Fruit of Grisaia. In the first episode of the show a girl introduces herself to the main character and tsundere, and it got me thinking. If you went onto CrunchyRoll for the first time last night and decided The Fruit of Grisaia looked like a good first anime for you (hint: I’m guessing you wouldn’t), would you not be completely clueless as to what a tsundere was?

You might, like me, have a little bit more experience and begin to notice that certain character types come up again and again. So, allow me to shed light on some of the ‘dere’ character types and point out some examples from popular and ongoing shows.

In Japanese, ‘dere’ comes from the word ‘deredere’ which essentially means lovestruck (the internet takes credit for that, my Japanese is non-existent!). So all of the characters in this article would be involved in love/romance in some way.

Perhaps the most common type of ‘dere’ character is the one I’ve already mentioned: the Tsundere. On the outside these are characters that are cold, hard and rather lacking in positive emotions, particularly towards their love interest. At certain points or after a significant event however, these characters will come out of their hard shells to show a kinder, more sensitive side.

Rin Toosaka is a central character in much of the Fate series.
Rin Toosaka is a central character in much of the Fate series.

If you’re looking for a well established tsundere character, a good place to start would be Rin Toosaka from the Fate series. As for shows that are currently airing, I’d suggest watching Owari no Seraph to see Mitsuba Sanguu – though she only appears from episode 7 – she is the absolute picture of the tsundere type.

Can you guess which one is Mitsuba?
Can you guess which one is Mitsuba?

A far less well known ‘dere’ type is the Kuudere. These are characters that are exceptionally well composed and will often go through the majority of anime being the rock everyone else relies on or the dependable member of a larger team. They tend not to show much emotion on the surface but beneath their strong outer layer, they usually have a certain something that brings their true feelings out to show.

The ever dependable Hawkeye.
The ever dependable Hawkeye.

Think Riza Hawkeye in Full Metal Alchemist as the person that Mustang is able to rely on throughout the whole of the show without showing so much as an itchy eye, but at the end when things get serious, she shows off her real emotions. An example of a Kuudere character in a show currently airing might be Sherry from Plastic Memories. Though she holds a fairly small role in the show, it is clear that she is very serious and productive but is not immune from emotion throughout the show.

This look hasn't changed often throughout the show.
This look hasn’t changed often throughout the show.

Another ‘dere’ type that is often mistaken for Kuudere is Dandere. These, like Kuudere characters, tend to be quiet and keep themselves to themselves, however, Dandere characters do so not because they are acting cool or are attempting to be professional but are socially awkward. This makes them seem distant and unwilling to join the main group of characters, however, after they are given some time, generally around the main character they tend to come out of their shell.

Definition of socially awkward.
Definition of socially awkward.

There are some examples of Danderes from very popular shows. In Clannad we have Ryou Fujibayashi, who as we learn is a sweet girl who, like the others, has a thing for Tomoya, but is unable to express this through a lack of social skills. In Angel Beats, Kanade Tachibana (or Angel), makes for the perfect Dandere: a girl who is excluded from the group by an inability to express herself socially, keeping herself to herself until she is befriended by the main character Otonashi.

She's about to stab someone, but don't worry, she's not inherently violent.
She’s about to stab someone, but don’t worry, she’s not inherently violent.

The final ‘dere’ character type I’m going to talk about it my personal favourite, Yandere. Yandere’s are slightly different from the others in this list if only because the ‘dere’ is actually on the outside and the Yan is on the inside. The ‘Yan’ part of the term comes from the word for sickness – quite apt given that when the second part of a yandere’s character makes an appearance it is the most noticeable change of all the ‘dere’ characters. On the outside these are characters that are loving and would do anything for the one they love. However, push them even slightly too far or do something they don’t like and they will go berserk becoming violent and aggressive, not always to the benefit of the one they care about.

She goes crazy.
She goes crazy.

Prominent examples include Kaede from Shuffle!: For the majority of the show Kaede allows all of the other girls to do whatever they like until Rin decides he doesn’t want to live with Kaede anymore after he chooses someone else- causing Kaede to turn violent. The best and my obvious example of a Yandere though is, of course, Yuno Gasai from Mirai Nikki.

Yuno is a character type all by herself.

There are several other ‘dere’ types of characters out there such as Deredere, Himedere and Coodere. However, given that my knowledge of characters exhibiting these traits is pretty limited, I’ll leave it to the rest of the internet.


3 thoughts on “Identifying common anime characters: ‘Dere’”

  1. Heh, I was just waiting for the Yuno bomb! Indeed Yandere characters are certainly marked by a penchant for instability, but I think the primary characteristic that distinguishes them is possessiveness toward their love-interest.


  2. That’s a fair point, actually. Violence and instabilty are common traits but, as you say, it all stems from an ingrained possessiveness. I think they’re most interesting type to analyse for sure.


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