The Reason Yandere-chan Lacks Emotions

I’ve made progress on Osana, but not enough progress to justify a whole video about the subject. It feels wrong to let two weeks pass without a video, so I’ve decided to make a video about a subject related to the game’s development.

Occasionally, I hear people say that they find Yandere-chan to be a boring character because of her lack of emotions. I felt a need to explain what led me to create that type of character, and that’s what made me decide to create this video. Over the course of this video, I also discussed related subjects, such as whether or not the other characters in the game will be simple or complex, and whether or not the statements in my videos are set in stone, or subject to change.

Spending so much time thinking about these subjects has made me wonder whether or not it would be appropriate to change Yandere-chan’s identity. It feels strange to suggest making significant changes to the protagonist after 3 years, but if the majority of the fanbase is disappointed in her, then it seems like the wise thing to do would be to change the type of character that she is.

In the above video, I proposed the idea of changing her identity from “a girl who can’t experience emotions” to “a girl who can’t experience happiness”. It’s tough to find the right words to describe exactly what I am imagining; I tried to phrase it a few different ways:

  • “A girl who has felt like something is missing for her entire life.”
  • “A lifelong sensation of having a craving that cannot be fulfilled.”
  • “Being unable to ever truly experience happiness.”
  • “A perpetual state of listlessness.”

It’s easy to summarize her current identity with one word: “emotionless”. But, unfortunately, there is no one word that adequately describes the new identity that I’m proposing for her. Terms like “something’s missing” and “perpetually craving” and “never happy” just don’t adequately describe it. I can communicate the concept pretty effectively with a speech in a video or with a bullet-point list, but not with a single phrase or word.

The condition that I’m proposing isn’t something that exists in real life, and it’s also possible that what I’m proposing is something that hasn’t ever been featured in fiction before, either. This would explain why there’s no pre-existing word for it, and no way to succinctly summarize it. It’s almost like we’d have to invent a new word just to describe the condition that I’m proposing.

The closest I can come to summarizing her condition is by calling her an “Empty Girl”. For her entire life, she’s felt hollow and incomplete – but she can’t even explain what’s missing, or what’s wrong. She craves something and yearns for something, but she can’t even explain what that “something” is. Then, on the day she meets Senpai, she finally feels “complete” and “whole” for the first time in her life. There’s no one word that accurately describes exactly how she feels before she meets Senpai, but “Empty” might do the trick for now.

You might be wondering, “Why go through the trouble of changing her identity into something that is difficult to define? Why not give her an identity that is easier to summarize?” Well, if it’s difficult to summarize or explain something because of a lack of comparisons, then it’s clearly something original. If I could summarize it in one word, then it would be something that’s already cliche. This is why I don’t want to take the easy way out and give her an identity that is easy to describe. Get it?

If you’re worried that it’s going to be jarring to adapt to a completely new Yandere-chan, I don’t think you should worry about it. What I’m proposing isn’t too different from her previous identity. In both cases:

  • She cannot experience life in the same way as other people.
  • She’s had an inexplicable, incurable condition her entire life.
  • She pretends to be normal around others in order to avoid negative attention.
  • She doesn’t realize what’s been missing from her life until she meets Senpai.

You might be wondering, “What’s the point of changing her identity, if so little is going to change?” The difference is that an “emotionless” character is like a machine; no personality, no desires, no reason to care about anything. This type of character is boring and uninteresting. But if she can feel emotions – but cannot ever experience satisfaction, fulfillment, or happiness – then she can have a personality, have desires, and care about things, which gives her waaaaay more potential as a character.

Crafting a believable serial killer requires more of an explanation than just “she lacks emotions” or “she felt empty and then found someone who made her feel whole”. I think that Yandere-chan’s nature can be attributed to the way that she was raised by her parents – specifically, her mother.

Yandere-chan’s mother (Ryoba) has gone through the same experience as her daughter – feeling “empty” for nearly two decades. So, she is the only person who could possibly relate to Yandere-chan or give her more information about her condition. Yandere-chan would seek answers from her mother, who would tell her, “One day you’ll meet someone who will make you feel complete,” These words would become a point of obsession for Yandere-chan. She would obsess over the idea of meeting her “prince charming” for over a decade, which explains how she could “fall in love” with a boy after just one meeting, and why she’d be willing to commit multiple homicides for his sake.

Yandere-chan’s father, having knowledge of his wife’s true nature, would do everything in his power to raise his daughter into someone who wouldn’t dare to spill a single drop of blood, which is why Yandere-chan would be willing to consider the possibility of eliminating her rivals in non-lethal ways…but, ultimately, it’s up to the player how Yandere-chan decides to solve her problems.

I don’t want to make any decisions that would anger the majority of the fanbase, so I’d like to ask you to vote on a few polls for me. Please note that the outcome of these polls won’t guarantee my next course of action, so if an option that you dislike is “winning”, don’t freak out about it.

Do you disapprove of Yandere-chan’s current identity as an “emotionless” character?

Which of these two identities would you prefer for Yandere-chan?

In your opinion, is it too late to change Yandere-chan’s identity?

I’ll look forward to reading your feedback!

Thank you for following the development of Yandere Simulator!

252 thoughts on “The Reason Yandere-chan Lacks Emotions

  1. It’s weird how sensitive Yandere Dev is to criticism, and how indignant he seems to be that people even have complaints at all. To base the personality of your main character entirely around a desire to minimize complaints is pretty over the top. There isn’t a single popular video game in existence that doesn’t have some people who dislike it, or dislike certain aspects of it. It’s impossible to please everyone, and it’s telling of the kind of person Yandere Dev is that he’s so bothered by that. He honestly doesn’t seem to be cut out for game development (especially indie game development) if he’s so bad at handling anything but glowing praise.

    • I don’t think he’s trying to avoid criticism, rather he wants to avoid people focusing on things they don’t like about the story/characters and ignoring the gameplay entirely.

    • He did explain it better in an older post of his. He would post his game ideas on 4chan, iirc, and then instead of giving suggestions, talking about gameplay, or really saying anything useful for the development of the game, the threads were about how they didn’t like the placeholder story. I don’t think it’s sensitiveness to criticism (although YanDev does look like he has some), as much as it was being upset about the complete silence regarding the stuff he wanted and needed opinions/suggestions on. Making a character without personality happened because he wanted to prevent derailing of the conversation, not because he didn’t want any criticism at all.

  2. I really like Ayano being emotionless. Sure I think the idea of her having basic emotions is interesting, but I’ve really grown to like the idea of an empty shell as a character. Like Yandere Dev said, it made it up to the player to decide her true personality. Her being without happiness, anger, and sadness, gave her a uniqueness too. But I do think the new idea for her would be cool. I’d love a compromise between the two options.

    For example, Ayano has never felt any type of emotion. She knows she’s different and feels an emptiness in her that’s so strong it almost feels physical.

    Her mom would always tell her that one day she’d meet someone who would enable her to feel what she’s been missing and she should never let him go (no matter the cost). Her father would try to do everything he could to stop his daughter from becoming a yandere. He’d try to teach her emotions (or at least how to fake them) and tell her that any violence is bad.

    Ayano would still feel empty but when she thought of her future senpai (what he’d be like, who he was, and would he like her) the missing feeling in her would lessen. She’d be able to experience an obsession over him and a craving of feeling whole. When Ayano finally meets him the emptiness and want finally disappears completely. She feels a rush of emotion that she’s never had before.

    Yan Chan needs this, to the point where she will kill. But now (even when she isn’t near him) she feels simple emotion. She might feel guilt when killing, or happiness when befriending.

    That’s my thoughts. I really hope Yandere Dev doesn’t completely get rid of his first idea. But it looks like the second personality for Yan Chan is winning by a landslide in the polls. Oh well. He did say it wasn’t set in stone. So hopefully there will at least be a compromise of some sort.

  3. i guess people have never heard of legit apathy lolol
    also, in all the poal results i’ve ever seen, it seems people are only telling you what you want to hear (being “nice,” and insisting that this or that new thing is better over what you’ve already implemented)
    idk, i feel like people are asking for an entirely different game sometimes

  4. I personally like the new idea (now that i have read the blog). It gives you a better understanding of her. (I can see someone like this). but still, leave us room to define her personality.

  5. Saudade is of Portuguese origin and it specifically translates into “the love that remains” which is talking about extreme loneliness and a hunger for feeling complete when the only way to feel complete is when someone you are emotionally attached to is around. it evokes a sense of loneliness and incompleteness. I just thought that might help with the whole thing of there not being a word to accurately describe how Yandere-chan may feel.

    • As a Brazilian, I can tell you it does not translates to “the love that remains”. Whoever told you, is wrong.
      The formal description is “The feeling caused by the distance or absence of someone or something.” Resembling a more deep and emotional sense of “missing”.
      HOWEVER. That’s not how people use it at all. You can see your graduation friend, who you likely forgot for years, and say “Senti saudade” (I felt saudade). And it will work perfectly. Actually, it is super appropriate and common. People say it all the time, even to people they don’t really care about anymore.

  6. I really like Yandere-chan being emotionless until she meets Senpai. It has a monstrous quality to it that simply having a craving lacks. In order for her to be at all functional with that condition, she’d have to have a very alien thought process, compared to most humans, likely something that’s very goal oriented. More like an AI than a person. It also does a very good job of explaining why she’s perfectly fine doing literally anything to her rivals. After all, she has literally no emotions regarding them, she only cares about the end result. Caring about their fate would be like a normal person caring about what happens to a single sheet of paper.

    That said, I also think making her backstory deeper is a good idea. Most of the things you described for the empty condition could also a apply to the emotionless one, but the emotionless one also opens up new space to explore how she thinks when she’s not around Senpai and if how she views her own actions changes when she’s in his presence.

  7. Oh my god, the controversy here. By the way people, YandereDeb didn’t want complaints A LONG TIME AGO. NOT TODAY. So if you hate him still or whatever, don’t say so in the comments. Just GOOOOOOO.

    I like the option of a person unable to feel happiness instead of just some empty shell. Dunno.

  8. I believe the first step would be for Yandere Dev to decide on whether he wants the character to be *realistic* or not. The first idea is exciting in the sense that it is easily modified- since Yan-chan doesn’t have any emotions, the player is left to build her character, and that seems incredibly fun. Still, the idea that someone is able to *not feel any emotions whatsoever* is simply not realistic. The second idea, however, is a lot more believable; it feels like a situation that might, to some extent, be encountered in the real world, and that is also entertaining. In spite of that, I think the beauty fiction is found in that it is simply fiction; it’s fake, it doesn’t have to be realistic, and that is fun. I believe both ideas will lead to equally good results in their own way, and that, us, as spectators and future players, should leave it up to the developer, Yandere Dev, to decide on his creation’s future.

  9. I do think that there should be some sort of balance between being totally dead inside and ‘just missing something.’ I think a good compromise would be her being able to experience emotions, but lack the key component necessary to feel strong emotions: empathy. She would still be able to experience emotions, just on a very shallow level. Things like likes, dislikes, annoyance, approval, curiosity, amusement, etc. would come easily enough to her; it’s just the ones that require a strong attachment to something that would be foreign to her. Things like hatred, anguish, envy, love, joy, grief, etc. You only feel those type of emotions because you form an attachment to something other than yourself, like a friend, a lover, or a family member. And Yan-chan just doesn’t feel that strongly about the people around her. Maybe her problem wouldn’t necessarily be an inability to feel, but rather an inability to form the meaningful attachments necessary to inspire strong emotions.

  10. Sounds like depression? A hereditary, life long illness that impacts ones ability to feel satisfaction or happiness, and causes feelings of listlessness (among other things) and some describe it as feeling numb. Many people with depression act like they’re fine or normal around other people due to stigmas around mental illness.
    Perhaps when she’s with Senpai it increases her serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin levels and makes her feel more alive than she had ever felt previously and when he’s gone her serotonin levels crash…
    Not unlike an addiction.
    Granted, minimal research should be done to execute this properly with out offending people too much.

  11. If you want one word that steers clear of a serious, real life mental health issue

    How about Ennui?

    a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.
    synonyms:boredom, tedium, listlessness, lethargy, lassitude, languor, weariness, enervation; malaise, dissatisfaction, melancholy, depression, world-weariness, Weltschmerz
    “an ennui bred of long familiarity”

  12. I like the Kizana concept pitched here. I think likable Kizana makes you understand why Senpai would accept her confession.
    I feel as if the rivals are almost like the characters of a dating sim: each a different kind of likable. We actually have quite a lot of basic dating sim tropes as our rivals.
    I find “good” Kizana, the one who encourages Kokona instead of bullying her, a character it seems more likely Senpai would accept, a step away from a sort of one-dimensional cutout and a more living, feeling, person who gives the game more color, and a person the player should feel guilty for murdering.

  13. I think a really good name for Yanderes condition could be a “Tantalus Complex” since in the Greek Myth Tantalus was punished for murder to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp, and the water always receding before he could take a drink and so he could never be sated. Since Yandere chan has similar symptoms I think this is a good idea to describe her constant deprivation and emptiness.

  14. The only thing I think you need to consider when it comes to characters is *these characters have to emotionally sway Senpai somehow*.

    To this degree, it’s hard to establish a personality for Yandere-chan *because* of her flexability. IF ANYTHING she should show her *unending devotion* to Senpai whenever she can. Preferably she can cheer up Senpai when he has to refuse a rival or as a rival “disappears”, cementing her as the “happy option he can’t seem to notice until the end of the game”.
    Along with that, ALL THE RIVALS MUST BE LIKABLE. Why would Senpai be *at all interested* in an egotistical prick of a drill-haired girl? This turns the option of her being “the one who can see the beauty in others” into the much much MUCH more preferable option. Maybe Senpai likes how she brings out the best in others. Maybe Senpai likes how *strong* the gang rival is. Maybe Senpai simply *lusts* after the first/last rival (depending on how you want Senpai to progress as a character).

    You don’t need to set Yandere’s personality, but you *need* to make them *real*.
    *WE* will be Yandere-chan, and you can’t tell us what kind of character we are.
    But the rivals, and Senpai… we don’t control them, so *YOU* have to make them believable and atleast somewhat interesting.

    Along that line, you can still build rivals around elimination methods, but the non-lethal method should be the *primary reason* for the inclusion of the character. You want that 2-D sex symbol? Sure, just try to prioritize the “Matchmaking” elimination method as the means for getting Senpai to stop lusting after her. You want the homemaker in the game? Try to prioritize sabotaging her Bento before Senpai gets them. Non-lethal should be the hardest route, because violence is so so much easier, but if you aren’t creating characters with the non-violent and character related route *primarily* they’re going to be forgettable and simply padding.

      • Honestly, Yandev as a fan and as a writer who experienced negative feedback, I think you shouldn’t let too much negativity affect how you want to portray things. It good to take constructive criticism and make some improvement, but don’t let completely say you from your desire, as a developer I know you want to try to make at least 90% or the majority of your fans happy, but it’s okay to be a little selfish too.

        However some of the fanbase disappoint me, they want everything their way when they’re not the ones putting their soul into this game, they complain and don’t encourage you and make seem like you’re terrible or don’t care about us. Honestly, I like both versions of Yan-chan. But I would like her to have some personality, she is a high a school girl, Maybe the idea that she ‘hunger’ for something but not sure what it is would give her the feeling of that she is human instead of an empty, emotionless killer. Maybe should even confide in her mother since she’d be the one to understand since Yan-chan’s person would make it hard for her to make any at first. But I just feel that you should do what you what you feel is right, we will support you and give our opinions but don’t let that be 100% of your development because it would feel less of your game and more like ‘ours’ which as a writer, I would want to please my fans but I don’t want them to dictate my writing style. I know writing and game development are two different things, but it’s still same of doing something where you want others to enjoy and have fun doing it.

        I’ll always support you even if I wouldn’t like some ideas, I’m not going to complain since I’m not the one putting work into it and so far I like the game and wouldn’t mind changes here and there.

  15. I’m surprised so may people wanted the ’empty’ route instead of completely emotionless. I do like that decision though, I think it would be a good idea to revise the backstory.

  16. You guys need to remember that this is his game, so you shouldn’t keep bothering Yandere Dev with complaints or suggestions. He can design it how he wants but you also need to remember that if too many people are trapping him in a box full of complaints about his game, it might kinda break down is confidence and just make the game really simple so people would enjoy it more. If it was too simple, many people would start to dislike it, so its a good thing that he is adding more details and stuff to the game so it itsn’t simplistic and boring. This might be his first game, i’m not totally sure, but if it is, it would make sense if he was sensitive to people making so many complaints. It’s also very far from being completed, so he still has to make several changes. So please, stop bothering Yandere Dev with more complaints and suggestions, because it’s his game. Think about if you were in his shoes and you were working day and night to finish the game while receiving complaints and suggestions because it will give you struggles. I like his ideas because it’s unique, its cool, and detailed. So great idea with the Empty Yandere-Chan, Yandere Dev!

  17. To be honest, I didn’t see this whole thing as necessary. =/ I understand you want feedback, and that’s 100% OKAY. But I am worried about that you’re letting people frankly “pick” how they want the game to be made.
    You created the concept of this game. You need to be the final say in anything you do with your creation. If you lose that, you lose control of your idea. Feedback is great, but only to a certain point. It’s good to question what you are doing, but if you do it too often, you’ll just end up stuck between trying to please the fanbase and trying to satisfy what you want to do.
    I think you should just focus continuing the great work, ask for feedback when you want it, but make sure you are creating the game YOU want to create.

    PS–I never viewed Yan-chan as emotionless or anything. I felt like Yan-chan and her mother were just sociopaths this whole time…so…O_O yeah.

  18. what could happen is yandere chan started life as a normal happy girl but she then saw something completely traumatic {maybe involving her parent’s past?} and then began to feel unsafe and scared constantly causing her to distant herself from people, developing abit of a kuu-dere personality until she met senpai who made her feel like when she was young {happy, bright ect.} but that’s just a guess xD

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