Over the course of its long history, the anime industry has created a vast number of tropes and archetypes, particularly in the area of characterisation. Fans of a certain personality who are particularly fond of this classification benefit. For instance, the idea of a murderous maniac fawning over a fan of the yandere stereotype makes them uneasy.
Kamidere is an uncommon archetype. Longtime anime fans may already have an idea of the kind of characters that belong under this category even if the name itself may not be very well known. After all, "kami" is a phrase that is used frequently. Consequently, here is all the information that fans need to know about the kamidere.
The Characteristics of a Kamidere in Anime
The word kamidere is derived from the words "kami", the Japanese term for god, and "dere-dere", which means lovey-dovey. In this case, however, the suffix -dere refers to the characters' love for power and dominance. In simpler terms, those who fall into this archetype have a severe god complex. They deem themselves superior to other characters and tend to be arrogant and prideful. The kamidere believes they are both special and always right. Unlike the other -dere archetypes, however, the kamidere doesn't refer to one specific gender.
A similar archetype to this is the chuunibyou, or the "second-year syndrome". Characters who fall into this archetype have grand delusions, thinking they are the story's main character. But unlike the chuunibyou, the kamidere often has the talent to back up their arrogance.
There are two possible subtypes of a kamidere. One exhibits the aforementioned stereotypes, but they also respect other characters. However, the other type is purely arrogant and prideful. These characters are often conscious of not actually being divine, but they believe they have what it takes to get there. As such, they go to great lengths to prove it, often turning them into the villain of the story.
Kamidere's most well-known anime characters
A prime example of a kamidere is Death Note's Light Yagami. Even before getting his hands on the deadly notebook, Light already possesses great intellect and cunning wit. He is also fairly arrogant, believing others are inferior to him. After acquiring the Death Note, Light's true personality emerges further. He believes the power the Death Note bestows upon him turns him into a god, designated to create a world free from evil. And he is willing to do anything to realize that vision.
Another great kamidere example is Code Geass' Lelouch Lamperouge. Similar to Light, Lelouch is a highly intelligent character, a major reason why he is able to lead a revolution. Lelouch deems himself to be the only individual who can reign in a new future. Unlike Light, however, Lelouch isn't too detached from humanity. He respects human lives, especially those close to him. However, that doesn't stop him from using them as a tool to realize his ambition.
The kamidere is really another term for a god complex. Characters who fall into this archetype view themselves as some sort of deity or, at the very least, close to being one. Light Yagami and Lelouch Lamperouge are just two examples of the kamidere. Others include Haruhi Suzumiya, God Enel (One Piece) and Eren Yeager (Attack on Titan). Since the kamidere also makes a good antagonist or antihero protagonist, more of these characters are bound to appear in future anime stories.