Anime Archetypes: What is A Kamidere?
Champions of satisfying their self-fulfilling prophecy, they proclaim their power to the heavens. They are the Kamidere, the epitomes of the God-complex. These dominating personalities can range from “moe” to mentally unstable (or an odd combination of both). Kamideres are open to versatile roles. They can be villains or comedic relief as long as they are in a position of authority.
This article will discuss the personality traits and structure of a Kamidere, then “what if…” prompts to encourage the creation of a more complex character.
Common Alignment: Lawful Evil
Light Yagami Playing God [Death Note Spoilers]
“Kami” means “God” in Japanese; “dere” means lovey-dovey. Narcissitic behavior is the Kamidere’s forte. Their charisma is a poisonous mixture of charm and intimidation and they use this gift frequently to get what they want. Kamideres want to be worshiped and exercise the “holier than thou” mentality without regret. Their persona is not to be confused with the Himedere, who desire to be treated as a princess, queen, or other member of royalty. Although they both claim to be in a position of authority, the Kamidere announces that they are supernaturally gifted with a quality that makes them superior and depending on the author, that may be true.
Strengths: Gallant, Decisive, Strategic, Focused, and Charismatic
Weaknesses: Over-confident, Can’t handle criticism, Paranoid, Disingenuous, and Judgmental
Seven Elements a Kamidere Must Have
- Backstory or Motive: Describing the history of the Kamidere isn’t always necessary, but what’s definitely important is developing their motive. Something happened in their lives that allowed them to get a taste of power and that is where they start spiraling. Kamideres aren’t born as narcissists, but there must be an element of confidence that gets twisted by arrogance once that impactful moment happens in their lives. Keep in mind: Motive for the Kamidere is created by their hunger for power after a small taste.
- The Superior Ability: The superior ability can be something they were born with or blessed with. Kamideres come to possess or develop an ability that is so honed and focused that it seems inhuman. The shock of supporting characters feeds the Kamidere’s ego, thus encouraging them to flaunt their talent. Keep in mind: When other characters are in awe of the Kamidere’s ability, it is translated as a form of worship. So, the Kamidere’s ability must be something unheard of to their audience.
- Climbing to the Top: Once their motive and ability are established, Kamidere strive for more power and attention. Strategically, they work their way up to a status of being untouchable. Those that oppose them will do their best to tear the Kamidere’s ego apart, but that’s least likely to happen when the Kamidere is usually one step ahead. Many Kamidere start living their life as a game of chess. Keep in Mind: Kamidere have no problem using fellow characters as pawns at their disposal, as long as they are protected.
- Securing the Position: Once they get to where they want to be, Kamidere make sure their position is secure not only by making sure those below them stay in their place, but also by keeping their greatest and most trustworthy assets closest to them. Usually Kamidere have a cabinet of reliable agents that aren’t your average henchmen. Henchmen can be seen as the bishops, rooks, and knights on the Kamidere’s chessboard. Keep in mind: Kamidere keep their strongest pieces close and send them out to put others in their place. In addition, they have back up plans to ensure that they are never overthrown by anyone, not even their allies.
- Exacting Judgments: When the Kamidere are put in a position where they can punish others, it’s a fantastic way to display their power. The other characters should be intimidated, upset, or ignorant of the Kamidere’s true power unless you have a character, most likely a hero, that isn’t so easily shaken. Some rulers may want to trick those below them that they are loving but stern gods, whereas others see fear as their best asset. Keep in mind: A Kamidere’s punishment always has an ulterior motive. They pretend to be just when they are truly selfish. They are the complete opposite of true leaders.
- Major Weakness of Vulnerability: Throughout the story, there should be hints of the Kamidere’s weak points. It may be a person they care for, an event that happened in the past; anything that would show the Kamidere has or once had a side to them that was open, vulnerable, and perhaps weak. There may even be some, like Light Yagami, that were stopped by being outsmarted. Keep in mind: The Kamidere’s antagonist must be an inquisitive opponent that keeps the Kamidere alert.
- Pride Comes Before The Fall: If you decide to bring you Kamidere to an absolutely terrible demise, you must make sure that the Kamidere is fiercely determined to claim their position as “God” no matter what has been revealed to them. A Kamidere’s breaking point is usually messy and kind of repulsive to other characters, especially their worshipers. In fact, the loss of worshipers and praise is where reality hits for the Kamidere. Keep in mind: When the Kamidere falls, they go down screaming.
…The Kamidere was at first a Dandere? – Going from one extreme to the other isn’t common for a Dandere personality, but it’s not impossible. What kind of events would you allow your Dandere to go through before they think they’re God?
…Wasn’t the antagonist for once? – It’s so common for a Kamidere to be evil. Sure, they can be selfish and cruel, but perhaps there’s still a strong sense of ‘dere’ under that godly persona. In fact, they may be a good example of not abusing their authority and not taking their power for granted.
… Was an Anti-Hero? – Kamidere’s could make excellent companions or anti-heroes, since they are characters that are on their own side, not necessarily on the good side or bad side. Could a self-serving Kamidere get caught up in a battle between good versus evil and remain neutral?