Among the -dere character types, dandere is the most endearing and inspires protective feelings in fans, just like Shoko Komi or Hinata Hyuga.
The world of Japanese animation is home to thousands of diverse characters across many genres, and with all this material to work with, it’s vital for fans to use special terms to categorize different types of characters. The “stupid but lovely” type may be referred to as himbo, while some nice, mature girls are considered the classic “big sister” type, even if they don’t have any siblings.
Then there are the -dere types, with “dere” meaning affection, and this suffix can be used in terms such as tsundere, kuudere, yandere and certainly dandere. What does it mean for an anime character to be a dandere, and who are some notable examples of this beloved character type? Most anime series contain at least one dandere, after all.
Danderes are shy, quiet and like to blend in
The main attribute of a dandere character is that they are quiet and reserved, and are generally very shy. Such characters speak very little of their own volition and can easily go an entire day without having a real conversation with anyone around them. They might even avoid other people, such as rushing out of class the moment the bell rings.
Unlike kuudere characters, who simply don’t want to argue, a dandere is actually afraid to speak, which is a crucial difference between the two. Danderes are happiest if they can blend in with a crowd of people so that no one pays them particular attention. Shiori Shinomiya from The world only God knows is an example – a typical “shy librarian” who only feels understood by books.
Danderes gets anxious when talking one-on-one with someone
Danderes are primarily defined by their shyness and minimal communication, and this can manifest in many ways. Not only do dander prefer to blend in with the crowd, but they can also experience acute anxiety if they find themselves in a one-on-one conversation. Typically, this is an exchange initiated by the other party, and the dandere must either find a way to reciprocate or somehow escape the situation.
Dandere anxiety can express itself in a variety of ways, ranging from avoiding eye contact to shaking or stuttering, or even just running away. Shoko Komi’s Komi can’t communicate is an example of an anxious dandere who quickly breaks down if someone expects him to have a conversation with him, be it a classmate, teacher, or coffee barista. Komi is working slowly on it and making good progress.
Danderes is afraid to say something stupid
Danderes are often naturally shy and modest, which is why they generally avoid conversations and open up to others. That, and their social anxiety means they much prefer not to chat with anyone in their daily lives. Danderes are also afraid of making a social faux pas or saying something stupid, and they expect everyone to laugh or laugh at them.
For a dandere, every conversation is an impending disaster, and the dandere cannot get anything out of his mouth. So the danderes play it safe and keep quiet – that way nothing bad can happen. Characters such as Shoko Komi and Miku Nakano from The Quintessential Quintuplets are picky with their words and often worry that they have said or done something ridiculous (although they are usually wrong about it).
Danderes are often insecure or have low self-esteem
Some danderes have very little self-confidence. Maybe they made a big mistake in the past, or they internalized significant verbal or emotional abuse and are now acting on it. In other cases, the dandere is not up to par in terms of combat prowess, school grades, athletic ability, or skill at work, so that he loses confidence in himself and folds back on itself.
Whether or not the dandere falls short of expectations is another matter, for in a dandere’s own eyes they are not worthy and they will cling tightly to this narrative. Hinata Hyuga in naruto is a notable example – an unassertive ninja who didn’t believe in her own strength until Naruto Uzumaki gave her a pep talk to get her out of it. Slowly but surely, Hinata learned to love herself.
Danderes reacts poorly to criticism and bullying
Cruel words can haunt a dandere character not only in the past, but also in the present. Due to their poor social skills and lack of confidence, danderes are vulnerable to teasing, harassment, criticism, and bullying, and they crumble if someone verbally attacks them for any reason. Even mild, good-natured teasing or nagging is devastating to a dandere, who cannot tell the difference between this and true nagging.
To a dandere, any criticism directed at them is justified, and their insecurities tell them so. An example is the shy student chef Megumi Tadokoro – a gifted but gentle girl from the Food wars! anime that quickly crumbles if someone tries to bully it. Fortunately, however, she later recovered.
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