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What is a Dandere?

Dandere is a Japanese character archetype found in fiction and media. A typical dandere character is quiet and withdrawn from social interactions. There are instances where the dandere talks normally when needed. Their timidness is interpreted as being aloof by others. Meanwhile, the dandere would eventually speak once they warm up with their love interest. The love interest must first reciprocate the dandere’s actions. The dandere, meanwhile, would exhibit adorable mannerisms. They may avoid eye contact from their love interest, stutter when talking, jitter when holding hands, or blush if they are called by their first name. In short, dandere are just introverts who are afraid to interact with other people.

Dandere is usually confused with kuudere. This assumption occurs because both of them are cold and distant. Both of them are reserved and have few words to say. The difference lies in how they respond with their love interest. A kuudere  (クーデレ)  remains cool upon interaction while a dandere becomes too nervous inside and out.

Unlike other Japanese character archetypes, dandere is rarely used by the Japanese. It is more prominent in western fanbases.

Some examples of fictional dandere characters are Murasakibara Atsushi from Kuroko no Basuke, Hyuuga Hinata from Naruto, Japan from Hetalia: Axis Powers, Akiyama Mio from K-On! series, Asahina Mikuru from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, Furukawa Nagisa from Clannad, Kuronuma Sawako from Kimi ni Todoke, and Nagato Yuki from Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu.

 

Etymology

Dandere (ダンデレ) is made up of two Japanese words: danmari  (黙り) or to remain quiet or calm, and dere-dere (デレデレ) or romantic infatuation. Dandere is again disassociated with another unrelated meaning “dandy.” It is also a portmanteau of the words dandy (ダンディ) and dere (デレ).

 

A Brief History

The dandere is one of the main characters, side characters, or stock love interests in fiction. They can be found in genres like shounen, romance-comedy, slice-of-life, or harem media.

Ayanami Rei is a fictional character that encompasses both the qualities of dandere and kuudere. She first appeared in the series Evangelion in October 1995. Rei is a skilled but enigmatic pilot who rarely interacts with anybody. As the story progresses, she eventually gets involved with Ikari Shinji and with the NERV crew. Her feelings are less romantic or left ambiguous, though.

Furukawa Nagisa is one of the iconic dandere characters in Japanese popular culture. She first appeared in the Japanese visual novel Clannad on April 28, 2004. Nagisa is one of the female protagonists that the players can have a relationship. The goal of her story route is to revive the theater club and help her overcome her stage fright.

Akiyama Mio is one of the main characters in K-On!. K-On! first began as a four-koma manga in 2007 and adapted into an anime series in 2009. Mio is the bassist of the school band Houkago Tea Time, and she is generally mild-mannered. She may be cold at first glance but becomes emotional with her friends.

 

Modern Usage

Shyness is a normal human emotion. There are many personal reasons why some people have reservations about showing their true colors. Some are afraid to commit mistakes on socialization. Others are incapable of standing on their own. There are instances that trauma in the past has affected their social skills. But seeing an introverted person overcome their shyness makes them likable.

Fans have a fondness for dandere because they are generally sweet and cute once they open up. They are one of the less violent character archetypes. Their distant disposition often masks their gentler side. It would be a surprise for fans to see the other “moe” side of the lonely dandere.

 

References:

Dere Types: Tsundere, Yandere, Kuudere, Dandere + Others, Japanese with Anime, https://www.japanesewithanime.com/2016/07/tsundere-kuudere-yandere-meaning.html, 21 July 2016, Retrieved 28 December 2020.

OnnaKawaii, Top 15 Dandere Characters in Anime: What is a Dandere?, MyAnimeList.net, https://myanimelist.net/featured/1080/Top_15_Dandere_Characters_in_Anime__What_is_a_Dandere_, 9 December 2015, Retrieved 28 December 2020.

Lefler, Rachael, What Is a Dandere? Why Adorable Shyness Captivates, ReelRundown, https://reelrundown.com/animation/What-is-a-Dandere-Character-Type-Overview, 13 April 2018, Retrieved 28 December 2020.

 

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