Dandere. Noun. Wikipedia defines dandere as “a character that is portrayed as antisocial, but eventually changes to display their sweet, romantic, and loving soft side.” To put it in better terms, a dandere is someone who sometimes, the viewer might think is mute or just so horribly shy that social interaction is unbearable. Unbearable for them because they’re shy, but unbearable sometimes for you the viewer because of how awkward it is.
Check it out. Dandere is another Japanese loanword that we use in English. Again, this word is comprised of two different Japanese words. The “dan” part comes from “danmari” meaning silent or taciturn (they don’t talk), and the “dere” comes from “deredere” meaning to become lovey dovey. There is a slight difference from kuudere but it’s not major.
So wait…. Then what’s the difference between a kuudere and a dandere? A kuudere is cool and closed off for the sake of being cool. They are just closed off and have walls all around them. They are cool and/or cold for the sake of being cold. A dandere is someone who actually is committed to the role and is actually shy. A.K.A. this is not a forced role as is with the kuudere. A dandere most likely has a very awkward time expressing themselves.
It would literally take a blue moon for them to be happy enough and comfortable enough to express how they truly feel. Even then, it will be to the one person that they care for and not for everyone. This is the critical point of a dandere. A dandere is a very shy/awkward person who is bad at communication. However, for just the right person under the right conditions, they might be finally able to express their true warm feelings.
So… then how does one point out a dandere? What is the best way to identify one? Well dandere can be protagonists, but they can also be side characters. They don’t have to be constantly in the spotlight and while sweet, they can also just be, like I said above, socially awkward. Let’s take a look at a few shows that have clear examples of dandere characters!
1. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Episodes: 14
- Aired: April 2006 – July 2006
Okay so this is another major fan favorite! TMoHS follows a guy nicknamed Kyon and Haruhi as they for a group called the SOS brigade. They exist to seek out aliens and extraterrestrial life. Eventually three more members are introduced, an esper, a time traveler and a mute artificial intelligence human. Kyon is, begrudgingly dragged out on these missions to see the world and keep it safe from falling apart. The dandere here is none other than Nagato Yuki!
Sometimes Nagato is classified as a kuudere and I’m going to tell you why that is an incorrect classification. First, Nagato doesn’t really speak. It would be one thing if she was open with her friends. However, she barely speaks to anyone even in her down club! Next, Yuki seems to have issues sometimes speaking as when Kyon will talk to her, she doesn’t give him sassy or highhanded answers. She tells him exactly how it is. Finally, she has nothing to prove. It would be one thing if she came out and said something, but she never really does unless it is essentially crucial. This is what makes her a danere and not a kuudere.
Nagato does seem to have some feelings for Kyon though. This is not a spoiler, don’t worry. By watching you’ll see that of all members, Kyon is the one that she speaks to the most. This is what indicates her feelings. Nagato always has her head in a book. She doesn’t speak. She could be considere a bit socially awkward as well considering people will ask her questions and it seems as if they shoot right over her head. Nagato is a true dandere and I hope you like her! Check her out in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya English trailer
2. Kimi ni Todoke
- Episodes: 38
- Aired: October 2009 – March 2011
Anyone who reads my articles knows that I really have a soft place for this show. Kimi ni Todoke is about Sawako Kuronuma, nicknamed Sadako (like the girl from the horror movies). Sadako is just so horribly awkward that she can never say anything coherently and always comes across as a really creepy girl. Deep down she’s very friendly, but her shyness does her in every time.
One day though, the boy she idolizes, Kazehaya befriends her and suddenly doors are opened for her. She is now able to make friends and talk to different people every day. Is there more blossoming between the two? Check it out for more!
In my opening, I mentioned how a character being socially awkward also can be part of dandere because of their inability to communicate. Sawako is another great example of this. Her awkwardness does her in every time leaving most people either incredibly terrified that she is a witch, or ignoring her and laughing because they can’t make out what she is saying.
She stays stuck in the “dan” part always looking for a way out. Her “dere” side does not come out though until Kazehaya brings it out in her. This doesn’t happen though till way later in the series because even when she does start to come out of her shell, it doesn’t happen all at once. It is a gradual progression. Check out the show though because it rocks!
Kimi ni Todoke Official English Trailer
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: January 2010 – June 2010
Durarara!! opens up with Mikado Ryugamine who has moved to Ikebukuro for a new life and is meeting up with his childhood friend Masaomi Kida. When they meet up, they start exploring Ikebukuro talking about various things. Masaomi warms Mikado about the various dangers of Ikebukuro and how he needs to take care of himself.
Then eventually he has an encounter with the mysterious Black Rider. The story then progresses on to show many unique and diverse characters. It culminates by all their storylines coming together. And that’s all the general information I can give you!
The dandere star of this series is the well-endowed and again socially awkward (with good reason) Anri Sonohara. Anri goes to the same school as Mikado and Masanomi. She is the quite type and she is well liked by most of her classmates. Anri is closest to Kida and Mikado. She reacts awkwardly to her fame because well… it is awkward to be appreciated for her rather ample chest. Anri has a dark past which contributes to her silence and awkwardness. You’ll have to watch the show though to find out more!
Rikka Tanashi from Chuunibyou demo koi ga shitai!
Whew!!! This concludes the intro to dandere and the four part series related to –dere characters! Some good –dere characters that need to be noted as well are Hinata Hyuuga from Naruto, Sailor Mercury from Sailor Moon, Crona from Soul Eater, Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan, Wendy Marvell from Fairy Tale, Kuroneko from Oreimo, and Rikka Tanashi from Chuunibyou demo koi ga shitai! I hope that you will check out these shows and that you have enjoyed this article looking into the dandere side of things! Until next time!