So, I know that I posted about Future Diary already, but I’ve been thinking about it a bit more as things often work once they begin to turn into brain stew. Going to keep this spoiler lite again as best I can, in fact, this post really isn’t about the show itself but one of the basic themes (which is actually pretty common in anime anymore) to the show, but in either case, you have been warned.
Today, we’re talking about Yandere. What it is, and why I think it has carved its bloody niche in culture.
Yandere, if you’re not familiar with the term, is a Japanese slang term for “love crazy”, and I don’t just mean that like the American term “star struck” or “love struck”, I mean it like puppy love having a rough encounter with Jason Voorhees. A yandere is typically adorably starstruck in love, more often than not, some form of stalker, but with one hell of a secret: they’re so crazy in love that their moral compass points strait to “and no obstacles remain between me and my love”. Speaking of which, anyone with any emotional attachment to their love may well qualify as an obstacle, and they will do everything in their power to remove said obstacles, from violently dismembering them to poisoning their food with an expert precision that implies serious training, to…well, pretty much anything else that might kill the theoretic rival.
So, Yuno is a crazy Yandere willing and able to mow down anything that gets between Yuki and Yuno from eternal bliss. She, like most Yandere is scary creepy obsessive and possessive, and yet for some strange reason, I find this rather compelling, there’s a part of me that wants a Yuno of my own. Maybe it’s just because my SOs so far have tended to be actually fairly emotionally distant with me in the end, looking at it more as a solution to a situation than an individual to be loved (or at least that’s how personal history remembers it) but the idea of someone being so crazy in love that they would literally (and gleefully!) kill just to keep you close is a powerful thought. Yeah, it comes fraught with danger, as a single misstep could spell doom for a close personal friend, or the suicide of the yandere, depending on which archetype we’re dealing with, but it also brings with it the adoration you’d otherwise only ever find in a puppy.
Given the popularity of the character type, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way about this either. Japan is often very weird, sure, I mean it’s the same island that made Card Captor Sakura, La Blue Girl and Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. But honestly, I think that’s pretty unfair to Japan. Americans call it weird, but as anime becomes more and more popular, I’m increasingly convinced that it really isn’t weird so much as it is more honest with itself, though that might be more of a rant for another day.
Anyway, given the popularity, someone likes this concept. Now, I couldn’t tell you for sure if it is because of a heart’s urge to be wanted to badly that the person literally goes crazy for you, or if it is because the archetype always makes for some very twisted drama, or something in between, but I’m going to project a bit and say that at least in part it’s that former bit. After all, everyone wants someone to love, and someone to love them. We have so many songs about it, and so many stories about it (some of which float by purely because of the concept of romance) that I don’t think anyone could argue otherwise. And it makes sense in a way, after all: if they’re willing to kill for you, then obviously you mean a lot more to them than the corpse did, the fact that you’re still breathing and they’re not notwithstanding. That sort of love is a powerful thing. After all, psychologically and morally, for most people, human life is a rather big thing. Having someone willing to throw that away (even if it isn’t THEIR life) for you at the drop of a hat is a very potent symbol. Sure, you have to walk on eggshells, for fear of hurting one of your other friends, but you can also trust that as long as you are faithful, there is no chance that they will cease to be.
I think that’s the big thing that draws at least me to the concept too, that little itch of an idea that a Yandere might be a monster in a cute disguise, but at least the yandere isn’t going to stab YOU in the back unless you really did do something to deserve it (most of the time). That’s a hell of an emotional support, at least conceptually. Now, in practice, it becomes a whole different ball of wax, I’m sure, as any eggshell walking practice becomes, but attraction rarely has anything to do with the concept of practice itself, if you ask me. There’s also the part where your typical yandere character is CUTE, at least while she’s in the dere (lovestruck) part of the yandere. They get a bit terrifying while trying to kill someone of course. And cute never hurt anyone’s chances of others liking them.
Of course, personally, I think an awful lot of it from my perspective has to do with the clingyness of it. My SOs so far haven’t been nearly as touchy-feely as I can tend to be, and that can be a real downer when you get down to it. My most recent SO has grown so cold that we barely touch when I do visit, even though normally I live a quarter of a continent away. That hurts, and thanks to an amazing thing called polar opposing insecurity compensation, the natural reaction is of course to try and grab the thing farthest possible from the current situation. Obviously, not the best of options (think about it like flying to the North Pole because it is too hot in the Sahara), but our brains are hilariously stupid when it comes to reacting to pain and fear. Still, something interesting to think about, at least in my mind.
The Ranting Loon