Of all the character archetypes commonly found in anime—specifically the -dere archetypes—one of the most interesting ones is the yandere character. Not only does this character often lend extraordinary twists to the story, but they can also make a scene much darker.
Yandere characters are ones who possess an extreme love, infatuation, or liking towards someone. It sounds romantic, right? But there's more to it than simple attraction. For yandere characters, it's an obsession that drives them to act in ways that cross socially acceptable behavior.
Yandere characters may seem normal and cute on the surface, but they are deeply possessive and often express their feelings in ways that essentially say: "He's mine, not yours!"
Depending on the anime, a yandere character's obsession doesn't just end at protecting their target of affection. They may even go on a killing spree to prove their love and loyalty.
Here are our picks for the best yandere characters in anime, why they stand out, and what makes them so compelling.
15. Shuka Karino (Darwin's Game)
Most yandere are outright obsessed with their love interest, but not in the case of Shuka Karino. She only took a liking and obsession to Kaname Sudou after the latter defeated her.
This undefeated queen now obeys Kaname's every word, as it's her way of showing her feelings for him. She also wants no other man flirting with her—if they dare, she won't hesitate to literally cut them off with her sigil.
14. Boa Hancock (One Piece)
This badass yandere of One Piece is the captain of the Kuja Pirates, the leader of Amazon Lily, and one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea.
We saw Boa Hancock enter "yandere mode" when she indiscriminately attacked both pirate allies and marine enemies to make way for Luffy (her love interest) during the Marineford War.
How crazy in love is she? Well, in doing so, she proved where her true allegiance lies, even though she was affiliated with the world government. She doesn't care about either sides of the war, as long as she helps Luffy.
13. Mikasa Ackerman (Attack on Titan)
Mikasa Ackerman isn't just one of the best fighters in Attack on Titan, but also one of the most loved female characters in anime. Unfortunately for those who admire her, she only has eyes for Eren.
She's normally calm and composed to the point of apathy, but she went crazy wild after Bertholdt and Reiner kidnapped Eren. She's the kind of yandere who leaves no stone unturned for her love interest, which is kind of horrifying for those who'd abduct him.
12. Misa Amane (Death Note)
Misa Amane is a Death Note holder who poses as Light Yagami (also known as Kira). After Light kills her family's murderer, she dedicates herself to helping him and his cause as the Second Kira.
Her dedication to helping Light is so deep that she willingly accepts being used as a tool for Kira's master plans, putting herself in danger's way without second thought. She'll kill anyone who opposes them.
11. Shuu Tsukiyama (Tokyo Ghoul)
Contrary to what most people believe, yandere isn't limited to female characters! Shuu Tsukiyama from Tokyo Ghoul is one such example, as Shuu is obsessed with Kaneki and wants him to be his meal.
But he can't do it so easily since the Ghouls of Anteiku are guarding him, plus he's also making himself hungrier so that eating Kaneki will be more satisfying and enjoyable.
We saw him kill a minion to save Kaneki for himself, and even kidnapped a human whom he used to lure Kaneki back. Later on, he still possesses his obsession toward Kaneki but switches sides for good and eventually becomes a mayadere character.
10. Hisoka Morow (Hunter X Hunter)
Hisoka Morow is another example of a male yandere character in anime. He harbors a deep interest in the main character Gon, to the point that he wants him to become stronger before he preys on him.
This interest became quite thrilling when he later states that he wants Gon to live and plans to kill Illumi (who wants to stop Killua from using Alluka) during the 13th Hunter Chairman Election Arc.
9. Altair (Re:Creators)
Altair, known as the Military Uniform Princess, is the main antagonist of the Re:Creators anime series. She was a loyal creation of Setsuna Shimazaki, who planned to destroy the world when she found out that her creator was abandoned by the world.
Her case of being a yandere character is a bit different from the usual yandere characters, in that she's already lost the one whom she loves. Instead, she's fueled by revenge for the sake of her passed-away love interest, erupting with all the rage pent up in her.
8. Elena Aoki (Gleipnir)
How far would a person really go just to be with someone whom they love? For Elena Aoki in Gleipnir, there are no limits—she simply turns that person into an outfit to wear, literally becoming one.
Elena doesn't want any other girl inside Shuichi, and she goes berserk upon hearing that there's a girl's voice inside of him. She ends up ripping Shuichi's head off, exposing her sister Claire inside.
7. Rika Orimoto (Jujutsu Kaisen 0)
Rika Orimoto was just an ordinary girl, but after dying, she became a monstrous abomination that accompanies Yuta Okkotsu—and becomes so obsessed with him that Yuta feels terrified and cursed by her presence.
She won't let anyone hurt him or even let anyone get close to him. Since she's no ordinary yandere, it's obvious that there's no one who can stop her or her feelings for him.
So, what makes her one of the best yandere? That she becomes Yuta's power, and their love defeats a very powerful enemy together.
6. Himiko Toga (My Hero Academia)
Himiko Toga is a totally psycho character. She has a twisted view of love and relationships, which inevitably makes her feelings towards others a complete nightmare for them.
She's obsessed with Izuku Midoriya, especially when he's bloodied and hurt. Yup, she's a bloodthirsty yandere who's turned on whenever she sees him severely injured.
Later on in the story, Himiko also develops an interest in Ochaco Uraraka, and just like how she feels for Midoriya, she wants to be friends with Uraraka in a very twisted way.
5. Esdeath (Akame ga Kill!)
Esdeath is a cold yet powerful villain in the Akame ga Kill! anime series. She's brutal, sadistic, and cunning, which makes her one of the worst enemies one could ever face.
However, she also knows what love is—but her understanding of love is much deeper and darker than most, to the point that it becomes a dangerous obsession.
Her feelings towards Tatsumi eventually changed her personality (but not her battle instincts or combat prowess), and even at death's hands, she still wanted to be with Tatsumi up until the very end.
4. Satou Matsuzaka (Happy Sugar Life)
Happy Sugar Life is a psychological horror anime series, which is perfect for a yandere character who's wrapped up in an unconventional romance plot that'll blow your mind.
In this case, Satou Matsuzaka only cares for Shio Koube and will do anything just to be with her.
As a yandere character, Satou appears normal in front of many people, but whenever her relationship with Shio is threatened (even just a little bit), she'll exhibit her murderous side without restraint.
3. Yuno Gasai (The Future Diary)
The Future Diary involves a survival game that takes place in the real world. The main male character Yukiteru Amano manages to stay alive mostly because of the badass Yuno Gasai by his side.
Yuno, being the ultimate personification of the yandere character archetype, is always willing to go on a killing spree rampage just to ensure their survival together.
And as with most typical yandere characters, she appears normal and lovable at first, but whenever Yuki is concerned, threatened, or in dire need, she never hesitates to kill anyone.
2. Haruna Niekawa (Durarara!!)
Many yandere characters are pretty insane because of their obsessive love, but in the case of Haruna Niekawa in Durarara!!, there's something far darker and more sinister that fuels her desire.
Haruna is the wielder of the demonic blade Saika, which she thought she had full control of. Unfortunately, it's the other way around—it's Saika that has unfortunately driven her mad.
Saika's influence riles up her madness and obsession ever more, making her stop at nothing just to be with the one she desires.
1. Akane Hiyama (Love Tyrant)
She's cute, she's great, she's even sweet and a model student in her class. However, she has a very sadistic side when it comes to Seiji Aino.
Akane Hiyama is obsessed with Seiji and wants no other woman near him. Or else? She'll stab him again and again.
Luckily for Seiji, he won't actually die because he's now immortal—but that doesn't mean he can't still feel the pain of every stab.
What makes their relationship even more complicated is the "Kiss Note" with both of their names on it, plus a few more names. This results in Akane constantly showcasing her yandere side.