Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro Spotlights the Lesser-Known ‘Sadodere’ Type

Joining the spring 2021 anime lineup is Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro, one of many webcomics to receive an animated adaptation. Created by 774 (Nanashi) and getting its start on the art site Pixiv, Miss Nagatoro also highlights the lesser-known "sadodere" archetype, one of the many "-dere" personalities popular in anime and manga.

The story follows Nagatoro, a young high school student who discovers an upperclassman working on a manga. She takes an interest in Senpai, teasing and flirting with him as much as she can. Her actions make her a prime example of a sadodere, one who takes pleasure in physically and emotionally hurting the object of their affection. Let's look at the specific traits that make a sadodere, and how characters like Nagatoro differ from the other -dere types.

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Sadodere, -- a combination of "sadomasochist" and "deredere" or "lovey dovey" -- isn't to be confused with the well-known yandere, who harms other people to "protect" the person they love. A yandere will physically and emotionally harm people they view as competition for Senpai's attention, whereas a sadodere like Nagatoro will cause that harm to Senpai directly.

Himiko Toga from My Hero Academia is an example of a sadodere, as she likes to make her idol, Stain, bleed so she can become him. Yuno Gasai from Future Diary is a classic yandere, as she would have no problem killing Yukiteru's mother if she opposed their relationship.

Tsundere is another common trope that might be confused with sadodere. A tsundere can act violently towards their loved one, but usually when they're embarrassed or trying to hide their real feelings. The word "tsundere" comes from "deredere" combined with "tsuntsun," which means "to be grumpy or irritable." It was originally used for a character who started out cold and distant but would gradually open up about their feelings over time. However, the archetype has become somewhat diluted in that some characters will continue to act like a tsundere even after they have confessed or gotten married. Taiga Aisaka from Toradora is a prime example of a tsundere.

The sadodere doesn't outgrow this trait, so it remains a permanent part of their personality. Sadodere characters aren't depicted in anime as often as the other -dere types but even so, these personalities aren't limited to female characters -- many male characters also exhibit sadodere tendencies. Sungwoo from Killing Stalking is an extreme example of a male sadodere.

As a sadodere, Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro's titular character appears to be closer to Himiko Toga, but without the killing. She bullies and taunts Senpai because it makes her happy and gives her a sense of control over the relationship. A sadodere in its purest form, Nagatoro emotionally manipulates Senpai for the pure enjoyment of it, believing that's just how affection is shown.

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