by Lindsay Wong
When watching anime, you may have heard of character traits ending in “-dere” – like “tsundere” – which are archetypes used to describe different characters. There are many different character traits to account for the wide range of characters in each show. These character traits can also be applied outside of an anime context to characterise K-drama characters as well. Here are some traits:
Yandere characters are genuinely kind, loving or gentle. However, they are obsessed with their love interest and can go to extreme measures to get their attention. Sometimes they may even act violent towards their love interests. Essentially, they will do anything to be with the person they love.
Some examples are Yoo Jung from ‘Cheese in the Trap’ and Lee Bona from ‘The Heirs’. Jung’s yandere behavior becomes more evident as the story progresses and it’s clear that he genuinely likes his love interest and is not just using her for his own personal schemes. Bona gets jealous easier and is very possessive and controlling towards him.
Tsundere characters are for some reason the most popular and attractive of the character traits because of their character development. These characters are initially cold and can be hostile, but they gradually become warmer and friendlier over time.
Some tsundere characters want to be affectionate and loving towards their love interest but find it hard to reveal their true feelings. Their character development is always seen as a feat and it is heartwarming to see how tsundere characters change throughout the course of the show.
Such characters include the fourth prince from ‘Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo’, Do Kyungseok from ‘My ID is Gangnam Beauty’ and the original tsundere character in K-dramas, Gu Junpyo from ‘Boys Over Flowers’.
The premise of kuudere characters is similar to tsundere characters, but they do not go through the character development process. Kuudere characters are always calm and collected on the outside and may sometimes seem cold and distant. They never panic and are always subdued, showing little emotion. However, on the inside, they are genuinely caring, especially when it comes to their loved ones.
An example is Bae Tami from ‘Search WWW’. She is a natural-born leader – another characteristic of kuuderes – and always knows what to do in any situation. Another example is Song Eunjae from ‘Hospital Ship’, who always responded to everyone else on the ship with blunt words and seemed emotionless.
Oujidere / Himedere
Oujidere characters wish to be treated like a prince (“ouji” means prince) by their love interest, even though they are not actually royalty. The female version is himedere. They often act like spoiled brats and stuck-ups as they want to be treated like royalty.
Lee Youngjoon in ‘What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim’ can be interpreted as an oujidere character because he is vainglorious and always wants to be treated like a king, especially by his secretary Kim Miso. Min Sooa from ‘Welcome to Waikiki’ is a himedere character because she only dates guys who can support her financially and acts like a spoiled brat overall.
Dandere characters are the strong and silent type who are quiet, shy and closed off to the rest of the world. However, with their love interests, they tend to break out of their shell and become more proactive.
Examples of dandere characters include the male protagonists from ‘Extraordinary You’ and ‘When the Weather is Fine’. They are naturally very quiet and shy but are more active and responsive towards their love interests.
Deredere characters are the most affectionate and lovey-dovey type on the spectrum. These characters are kind and carrying to everyone and makes sure their love interest knows how loving they are.
Kang Hogu in ‘Hogu’s Love’ is a kind and selfless deredere character who will do anything to make sure his love interest is cared for. Kim Hyejin from ‘She Was Pretty’ is another example – she is very positive and talkative, and always declares her love for her love interest. Even if people mistreat her, she is still nice and helpful to them.