What a Bakadere Anime Character Is and Why They’re Popular

The realm of Japanese anime is home to many thousands of unique characters, and for convenience’s sake, anime fans can use a variety of categories and benign labels to sort these characters into groups. This can help anime fans draw comparisons between characters with similar personalities or behavior traits, and that includes a handful of -dere types.

The -dere types describe how a character behaves in terms of their relationship to other characters, most of all romance, hence the Japanese term -dere, “or lovey-dovey,” as the suffix. The most common types include the likes of tsundere, kuudere and even himedere, but one of the most amusing and endearing of them all is the bakadere type.

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The Basics of a Bakadere Anime Character

A bakadere anime character is almost exactly what it sounds like in the eyes of anime fans who know basic Japanese slang. the word baka, among others, can describe a foolish or dim-witted person, and sure enough, the bakadere archetype describes a character who expresses their affection in a foolish or juvenile way. That may sound harsh, but like most other -dere types, the bakadere is usually presented in a positive light, not a critical one — a bakadere character may be lovable because of their foolish behavior, not in spite of it. Anime characters often call each other baka as an insult or criticism, but when the fandom labels those characters as a bakadere, it’s a term of endearment.

A bakadere anime character is generally a simple-minded but well-meaning person who has a straightforward, even reckless thought process, expressing their love in poorly thought out but well-meaning ways, including mishaps with their words and actions. Such characters rarely impress their love interests or friends, but they may amuse anime fans to no end and even become famous for their bakadere ways. Sometimes, an anime’s entire premise is rooted in the protagonist’s bakadere ways, with My Next Life as a Villainess and Aho-Girl being two notable examples.

Bakaderes might even act juvenile or childish around their lover, or indeed, act that way by default, meaning the other characters assume a stern big brother or big sister role for them. Sometimes, a bakadere needs their friends, classmates or family members to look after them and help keep them out of trouble, since bakaderes have a habit of making messes, physically or otherwise.

The bakadere archetype is closely connected to two other -dere types, those being the wholesome deredere and dojikko types. Not all bakaderes are derederes or vice versa, but they are quite similar, having overlap with their positive, friendly and innocent personalities. The difference is that the bakadere is consistently goofy, juvenile or foolish, while a deredere could be anything from a bakadere-lite to a very mature, composed person with a strong sense of responsibility. Meanwhile, a dojikko is endearing because they are hopelessly clumsy, often falling over, dropping things or making messes, nearly always for comic effect. A bakadere could easily have dojikko traits, though it’s also possible for a dojikko to have few bakadere traits and more in common with the shy dandere type instead, or even the tsundere in some cases.

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The Appeal of a Bakadere Anime Character

The bakadere archetype has immense appeal for anime fans for obvious and subtle reasons alike. One of the best draws of the bakadere archetype is the sheer humor of these characters since, unlike tsundere or kuudere characters, bakaderes are defined by their comedy as much as their amorous feelings. In fact, some bakadere characters are mainly known for their comedic antics and might not even have a serious or main love story at all.

Thus, the bakadere archetype has the same appeal as any humorously foolish character in fiction, going wild as an unpredictable, creative character who always says or does the wrong thing. That, combined with a wholesome and innocent love story, can make a bakadere immensely appealing for any anime fan who needs something fun to watch. Some fans might even feel better about themselves watching a foolish bakadere gambol around — another common draw for any comic relief character.

In addition, a bakadere anime character may resemble a form of personal escapism. Some iyashikei or comedy anime might use their entire plot or setting to help an anime fan get away from the harsh realities of real life, but in other cases, one character will suffice. All drama, heartache and frustration will melt away when the fan meets a fun-loving bakadere who fumbles with true love, and it can help keep the whole concept of romance grounded.

Not all lovestruck characters are dramatic josei heroines or tragic lovers in a Shakespearean play — love can be innocent and fun too, and bakaderes prove it every chance they get. Love, friendship and life in general are nothing without humor, and it’s refreshing to watch an innocent, carefree bakadere waltz clumsily but happily through these real-life events. It can help remind anime fans to relax, chill out and not overthink things in life, and when done correctly, this can lead to true happiness. Perhaps in their own humble, juvenile way, bakaderes are the wisest -dere type of all.

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