In another article on this site I say that anime is not a genre, but a medium. However, I go on to explain that as a medium it does have quite a few genre-like tropes and features. One of these is a set of character archetypes that are pretty visible in anime, especially shounen and shoujo anime with strong romantic plot elements.

Anime viewers have noticed these broad archetypes too and have given them a number of handy names. Of course, not every character fits neatly into these archetypes, but they are pretty useful to know for various reasons – not the least of which is for searching for anime characters that appeal to your proclivities.

When people talk about the “dere” types (which is the suffix most of them use) it’s mostly female characters that are used as examples, but male characters can also fall into these categories!

What The Heck is “Dere”?

“Dere” refers to the term “deredere”, which is a noun that describes the bashful look someone who is in love has. It has been stuck to the end of other words to indicate characters that are usually the object of affection with certain stereotypical personalities.



A tsundere character has feelings for the protagonist but won’t admit it to herself, much less to the guy! Yet, she’ll do stuff for him that shows she cares. Often Tsundere characters are actually pretty mean to the object of their affection, as a sort of defense mechanism, I suppose.

They often believe themselves above the protagonist in some way. Money or grades – you know, stuff like that. They’ll famously say things like “It’s not like this means anything” or “It’s not like I like you!”

“Tsun” apparently comes from “tsuntsun”, which means grumpy. So tsundere means something like “grumpy-love”. Tsundere is an incredibly common type, which means by now it gets mercilessly parodied. That doesn’t mean there aren’t really good tsundere characters. The big problem is that classic tsundere characters just stay that way, no matter what. Characters like Taiga Aisaka from Toradora!, however, start out as Tsundere, but shed it as they develop.



From a purely entertainment perspective I guess “Yandere” characters are probably my favorite, although I’d never want to meet one in real life! Yandere girls are psychopathic; straight-up insane. They usually have a sweet mask they put on for the rest of the world in order to fit in, but if they decide you should be out of the picture then it’s curtains, my friend! Sometimes they don’t bother to hide their animosity from others. They just seem sweet when with their crush.

Don’t think just because the Yandere girl is obsessed with you that you’re safe! Some Yandere characters are so jealous that they’d rather have you dead than in the arms of another. Your parents, friends, and pets are also fair game.

The absolute queen of the Yandere is Gasai Yuno from Mirai Nikki – the Future Diary.



While I really like Yandere characters and stories for their sheer ridiculousness, in terms of preference Kuudere is where it’s at. It might have something to do with the fact that my number one anime crush Rei Ayanami falls into this category.

“Kuu” actually comes from the English word “cool”. These characters are outwardly emotionless. They can be pretty serious characters and come across as pretty mature even when they are quite young. Just because Kuudere characters appear emotionless doesn’t mean that they are. Often they just don’t want to show emotion for some reason, but if the protagonist pushes the right buttons they get right to the gooey center.



Dandere characters are the quiet types. They don’t like being social and will often fade into the background or simply not speak their minds. If the stakes are right or if it has to do with the one they love, they can overcome this affliction. But they are never energetic or social in any way approaching “normal” levels.

Hinata from Naruto is an example of a character like this. They often make up a component of so-called harem anime.

Other Types

I decided to highlight only the four major types, but the rabbit hole of character archetypes and subtypes goes very deep indeed.

There are a whole bunch of Yandere subtypes. The main one tends to be the psycho murderer stereotype, but other kinds of mental disorder are also possible. There are pure obsessive types, stalkers, and much more. Tsunshun characters are anti-social and then are angry at themselves for saying no to an invitation by their object of affection. “Darudere” characters are super lazy. It goes on and on.

I know, some of this might be clear as mud, but if you watch a few shows along these lines you’ll soon pick up on the archetypes.

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