The otaku vocabulary can be a wonderfully mysterious landscape. The jargon associated with anime and manga can be challenging to learn. Most often this is because even though we listen or read in English the vocabulary is in Japanese. I want to share pieces of this lingo so that you can understand and enjoy more.
First up on my otaku vocabulary worksheet are the types of -deres. “Deredere” is a Japanese onomatopoeia for being love-struck. By combining different prefixes with the -dere ending we get new ways to describe the way characters display their love and affection in anime and manga. The tsun-, yan-, kuu-, dan-, etc. are the outer coating of the character with the -dere (the loving part) being the sweet interior. These descriptors are common in throughout the fandom and by seeing some examples with the explanation you will be able to identify how these tropes as you watch.
Otaku Vocabulary – Tsundere
Tsuntsun means aloof or high and mighty. Tsunderes hide what they feel on the inside by being stuck up. They are arrogant and use frequent put-downs. But as one peels off the tough exterior layers they’ll find a blushing, loving person underneath. Often that isn’t enough, the tsundere will remain haughty in public but reveal the -dere side in private. If you hear the phrase “it’s not like I like you or anything”, then you’ve encountered a tsundere.
Otaku Vocabulary – Yandere
Yanderu means sick (in this case sick in the head). The phrase “crazy in love” sounds like a sweet sentiment but it is absolutely terrifying in a yandere. You may not be able to identify a yandere at first sight. The other -dere types hide their love, but the yandere hides their crazy. Often the crazy manifests itself through the fear that someone will take the yandere’s love interest away. Basically, if you’ve found yourself in a tied-to-the-bed/ankles broken Misery-esque situation, you’ve probably found yourself with a yandere.
Otaku Vocabulary – Kuudere
The kuu in kuudere comes from the Japanese pronunciation of “cool”. So kuuderes are cool and composed on the outside. I like to think of kuuderes as people with a sense of professional detachment. They must protect their vulnerable feelings but be there to support those they care for. Kuuderes are probably more aware of their -dere affections than the others on this list. The must protect meme is perfect for our kuudere loves.
Otaku Vocabulary – Dandere
Danmari means silence. If you aren’t listening/watching close enough, then you’ll miss the whispers, downward glances at their feet, and demure blushes of the danderes. They are at the pinnacle of shyness. However, it isn’t because they are antisocial or prefer solitude. Dandere are fearful that what they say or do (especially around their love interest) will chase people away. It takes the right person to get the dandere to show their -dere feelings.
Otaku Vocabulary – Deredere
Deredere characters are lovestruck with no affectations or hang-ups. Honestly, if I was going to put one of these -dere types in front of a friend on a blind date, I’d go with the deredere. They can communicate their feelings without complications. Derederes can be cheerful, supportive, doting, and steadfast. They will work hard to bring smiles to the faces of their loved ones. You must appreciate the warm sincerity they display.
Otaku Vocabulary – Other -deres
The -dere types do not end with just these five categories. There’s also the himedere (which are girls that want to be treated like a princess) and ouidere (which are boys that want to be treated like a prince/princess). We’ve got the kamidere (who want to be worshipped like a god) and mayadere (who are antagonists but fall for the main character and soften up). There’s also the sadodere (who toy with those they have feelings for in a sadomasochist way).
So, there you have it – our first lesson in the otaku vocabulary! Which is your favorite type of -dere? What other terms would you like to be explained in a future article? Leave me a comment here or reach out to me on social media (Instagram – Twitter).
Featured Image: Wavegrower