"I hate and I love. Perhaps you ask why I do this? I do not know, but I feel it happen and I am torn apart."

— Catullus 85

Tsundere: A stock love interest who is usually stern, cold or hostile to the person they like, while occasionally letting slip the warm and loving feelings hidden inside due to being shy, nervous, insecure or simply unable to help acting badly in front of the person they like.

The Japanese term tsundere refers to an outwardly violent character who "runs hot and cold", alternating between two distinct moods: tsuntsun (aloof or irritable) and deredere (lovestruck).

Tsundere is a Japanese term for a character development process that depicts a person who is initially cold (and sometimes even hostile) before gradually showing a warmer, friendlier side over time. Originally found in Japanese bishōjo games, the word is now part of the otaku moe phenomenon, reaching into other media such as maid cafés, anime, manga, novels, and even mass media. The term was made popular in the visual novel Kimi ga Nozomu Eien.

Personality

tsundere is someone who pretends not to be interested in someone else, but keeps doing things for that person, and keeps saying they are not actually interested in that person. So, basically, a tsundere is a character who isn't honest with themself and their feelings or is too embarrassed to admit their love.

tsundere will often say things like:

  • betsu ni anata no tame X janai desu kara 別にあなたのためにXじゃないですから
    It's not like [I did] X because I like you or anything
  • betsu ni suki janai ndakara! 別に好きじゃないんだから!
    It's not like I like you or anything!
  • kanchigai shinaide! 勘違いしないで!
    Don't get the wrong idea!

Plus plenty of calling their love interest baka 馬鹿.

By the way, sunao 素直, "honest," would be what a tsundere is not, that is, sunao janai 素直じゃない, "not honest (about their feelings)."

Most of the time, a tsundere character has a holier than thou attitude. In the case of a tsundere girl, she could be from a rich family, an ojousama お嬢様, while the guy is a poor commoner-peasant. Other examples are her being the president of the school student council, and the guy is delinquent, or a bad student, or a dude who just transferred into a school that was an all-girls school last semester and now he is one of the few guys enrolled facing absurd alienation instead of everybody minding their own business and just studying.

Anyway, the tsundere and her romantic interest are usually given a reason in their backstory for her to reject the guy to maintain her appearances. And then some reason to love the guy for the sake of the plot. That's where the tsundere conflict comes from.

The Tsundere stock characterization is very popular with writers of Romantic Comedy because the conflicts between the two personality facets can be easily utilized to generate both drama and comedy. It also acts as a source of Wish Fulfillment: specifically, the idea that every independent, hardened and just plain jerkish love interest (male or female) has a squishy emotional center that will embrace you after you crack the outer shell.

The difference between a Tsundere and a Bodere is that Bodere characters are a more shy version of Tsunderes, who only would show their more aggresive personality when embarrassed by others. They are a combination of Tsundere and Dandere.

The difference between a Tsundere and a Hiyakasudere is that Hiyakasudere characters are less aggresive than Tsunderes, only wanting to tease others in general.

The difference between a Tsundere and a Himedere is that Himedere characters act similar to Tsunderes but additionally demand to be treated like queens and princesses.

The difference between a Tsundere and a Oujidere is that Oujidere characters act similar to Tsunderes but additionally demand to be treated like kings and princes. This is the male equivalent of Himedere.

The difference between a Tsundere and a Kamidere is that Kamidere characters act like an extreme version of Tsunderes and additionally demand to be treated like gods and goddesses.

Moe Factor

Because tsundere are tsundere for the sake of the show, they will continue acting tsundere even after they have confessed their love, started going out, or even gotten married and having children despite that making no sense whatsoever.

This happens because tsundere, and the other types of dere, are considered to be moe 萌え by some fans. Their popularity stems from their tsundere attribute, if they stop being tsundere, they stop being popular, so they can't change.

In manga, anime, games, and other forms of fiction of the harem genre, the goal of the author is to include as many types of moe as possible to please the widest audience. So all girls follow one archetype. There's always the smart, quiet type, the genki 元気 type, and, of course, the infamous tsundere type. These tsundere characters are pretty much a most-anime-must-have-one kind of thing.

Tsundere vs. BST

The western slang BST, "belligerent sexual tension," is a bit similar to tsundere, but there's a difference between tsundere and BST.

First off, BST is a scenario. It happens when both parties like each other but either don't realize it or don't want to admit it, so, instead, they'll act like they aren't interested because the character is this or is that, and they'd never date them, hurl insults, violence, and so on.

tsundere is a type of character, not a scenario. Often, tsundere characters are accompanied by BST scenarios, however, there are also cases where one party is a belligerent tsundere and the other party is not belligerent at all. For example, the girl acts like "she would never like someone like him," but the guy is unfazed by her comments.

Acting Tsundere

Because tsundere characters having been done to death, sometimes the classic tsundere attitude gets parodied in manga that don't really have tsundere characters.

When this happens, a character that isn't really a tsundere will say stuff a tsundere would usually say. They'll act like a tsundere (screaming BAKA!, Stating they don't like the person, and telling them not to get the wrong idea, etc.), but they won't really be a tsundere. Because, you know, unless you're a tsundere all the time, you are not really a tsundere. You're just a tsundere for 2 minutes or even for a single panel only for the sake of a joke.

Terminology

Manga author Ken Akamatsu lists tsundere as one of the special cases in his definition of moe: "The person feeling it must be stronger: The object of 'moe' is weak and dependent (like a child) on the person, or is in a situation where she cannot oppose (like a maid)... (Tsundere only: There will be times where the stronger and weaker role is reversed)." The concept has received increasing attention in Japan, with a maid cafe named Nagomi in Akihabara started having "tsundere" events in 2006 and tsundere-themed products released (like Tomy Co.'s portable television set), and the concept increasingly reflected in recent anime, from an extended discussion of the meaning of the concept and its origin on the Internet in Lucky Star's Lucky Channel segment classifying the characters according to tsundere-ness. Another accepted definition of tsundere is a girl or a guy who has a combative attitude toward others but is also kind on the inside. They usually play out as having an attitude toward the main character, either a male or a female, and often criticizing them in one way or another, until they eventually warm up to them or fall in love with them as the series progresses, though they usually find it very hard to admit it or outright deny it in some cases.

Comiket organizer Koichi Ichikawa has described Lum Invader of Urusei Yatsura as being both the source of moe and the first tsundere; figurine sculptor Bome has also cited Lum as an inspiration for his designs. Manga critic Jason Thompson named Madoka Ayukawa of the 1980s series Kimagure Orange Road as the root of the tsundere archetype. Other anime and manga featuring tsundere include Love HinaNeon Genesis Evangelion, and Bakemonogatari, among many others. Some voice actors have garnered a reputation for voicing tsundere characters such as Rie Kugimiya who voices Louise in The Familiar of Zero and Nagi in Hayate the Combat Butler. In Excel Saga volume 15, author Rikdo Koshi defines tsundere as "hard on the outside, soft on the inside" and associates it with character Misaki Matsuya.

Tsundere as a concept is not strictly limited to women, and is not strictly limited to manga or anime. The character Germany from the series Hetalia: Axis Powers is portrayed as being tsundere, and is paired with a "lovable loser", Italy Veneziano. Tsundere role-play has become a common theme in maid cafés.

Meaning of the Word

Tsundere Word Origin

The tsun ツン in the Japanese word tsundere ツンデレ comes the word tsuntsun つんつん, which is a mimetic word for "irritable" or "grumpy," meaning someone is tsuntsun when they become hard to approach and to talk with.

Basically, when you're tsuntsun you just refuse to hear what others have to say. You'll go "hmph!" and turn away. The idea of tsundere characters is that they go "hmph!" and turn away, but eventually they turn back.

People can be tsuntsun just for a while, one isn't necessarily always tsuntsun. It's like being happy or sad. Also, being tsuntsun is completely different from being tsundere. Someone who is tsuntsun is just grumpy, tsuntsun has nothing to do with romance cliches.

Anyway, that means tsundere ツンデレ is actually short for tsuntsun deredere. Yep, that's two abbreviations in one.

The term was originally used to describe characters who began with a harsh outgoing personality, but slowly revealed a soft and vulnerable interior over time, which made this a plot trope as much as it is a character trope. Over the years the character archetype has become flanderized, and is now generically associated with a character who flips between the two emotional states at the slightest provocation, and usually at a specific person rather than a general sociability problem. The former is usually referred as Classic Tsundere and the latter as Modern Tsundere. A tsundere, especially a classic one, is usually a Tomboy with a Girly Streak.

The tsuntsun can range from the cold "silent treatment" to the hotheaded "kindergartener who pushes you into the sandbox." The reasons behind a Tsundere's behavior vary widely, but usually boil down to the conflict between their feelings of affection towards a love interest, and their reaction to having those feelings.

Variations

Gundere / Gandere ガンデレ

A "gundere," or gandere ガンデレ, is someone who expresses their love with or towards "guns," or gan ガン in Japanese. This is usually in the form of firing said guns while blushing in excitement or something.

If that sounds too specific for you, it's because it is.

A gundere is a character who are like "type A and B" of a tsundere but they are even violent in the outside of themselves.

Personality

Gunderes are very much like tsunderes but more extreme as they always carry a gun with them and pull out their gun when they blush at their love interest. This violent nature is similar to that of a yandere. However, gunderes don't kill for love.

Meaning of the word

The word is a combination of gan (ガン) gan which means gun and deredere ( デレデレ) which means lovey-dovey.

Deretsun

A.K.A. Tsundere Type B.

Personality 

These characters are nice, polite and friendly with others, but behave coldly and rudely towards any individual person-a lover or friend.

Meaning of the word 

Deretsun (jp. デレツン) — from jp. dere-dere "loving, caring" and jp. tsun-tsun "angry, caustic" - this subtype can be called tsundere Vice Versa.

Tsunpure ツンプレ

tsunpure refers to a character who are overly honest with others, but rarely honest with themselves. They usually treat people harshly right before asking for a favor and have pure hearts.

Personality

Tsunpures are often sensitive and temperamental, but only end up saying what they truly feel when they explode. They may act harshly, only to confess their problems moments later. They are kind, easily fooled, and pure-hearted people.

Meaning of the word

The word is a compound of "tsun tsun" (ツンツン), meaning to turn away in disgust, and "pure" (プレ), supposedly just the English "pure".

Tsundra, Tsundora ツンドラ

A "tsundra," or tsundora ツンドラ, is a like a tsundere without dere and filled with mercilessness instead. Basically, while normal tsunderes often call the guy stupid and so on, they usually do it in a flustered way that hints they don't really mean that because they're secretly interested. A tsundra is different.

A tsundra will, mercilessly, make ice-cold comments about the guy in her complete, absolute and unmistakably brutal rejection of whatever it is. The main point here is that she sounds extremely serious and unfeeling about rejecting the guy so any sane person would get the hint and figure she actually means it.

Example: in episode 1 of Bakemonogatari 化物語, Senjougahara says someone like her is called a tsundereAraragi retorts, in thought, monologue-ing someone like her is called a tsundora instead.

Also, if you haven't realized it yet, the word tsundra, and tsundora ツンドラ, come from the word "Tundra," which regards to ice cold lands that give you few points in Sid Meier's Civilization.

Meaning of the word

"Tsun" (ツン) means "grumpy" and the full word "Tsundra" refers to the word "Tundra". Tundras are icy cold, much like how a tsundra acts.

Tsunshun ツンしゅん

tsunshun ツンしゅん character is a character that goes tsun ツン and then goes shun しゅん.

That is, like a tsundere, she will act grumpy and reject or act uninterested about something. But where a tsundere would go "I'm doing it but it's not like I like you or anything" and try to accept what the guy has to say while trying to keep her "I'm not interested" mask, a tsunshun will not try to find a way to make things work. She will say "no" and then get depressed because she couldn't say "yes."

Example: "No, I'm not going to the festival" words out of her mouth = "Why didn't I say yes and went to the festival! Why!" words inside her mind a few minutes later.

It doesn't need to be a straight "no." It can be any tsun or anti-social thing. A tsunshun will reject others and act like she's above them and then blame herself for doing this kind of stuff and not being sincere.

Tsuntere ツンテレ

Tsuntere (ツ ン テ レ) from tsun-tsun "angry, prickly" and tereru "shy" is a subtype of shy tsunderes, in which the tsun side is more pronounced.

These characters are not as cold as normal tsunderes and are much more likely to betray their feelings. They are less aggressive and in the manifestation of the tsun side, they limit themselves to just use offensive words.

Tsun'aho ツンアホ

tsun'aho ツンアホ is a character that's been so tsuntsun all the time they became an aho アホ, in other words, a tsun'aho is a character that has tried so hard to look uninterested and not be honest with their feelings they became an idiot.

It may also refer to a character who was an idiot from the start, tsuntsun on the outside, aho in the inside.

Anyway, this term mostly refers to a girl who, when introduced, she sounds like she has two neurons to rub together, but then she meets a guy whom she likes, but don't want to admit she likes, so she starts saying stupid nonsense all the time to pretend she doesn't like him. Because she says and does so much stupid stuff to hide her super secret feelings everybody knows about, you start thinking she's just an actual idiot.

Tsungire ツンギレ

tsungire ツンギレ character is a tsundere devoid of love and filled with rage.

This means an annoyed character that won't say "w-w-why would I do that for you? baka something-kun!" and will instead say "Why would I do that for you? Fuck off, you imbecile. Talk to me again and I'll make you regret being born into your pathetic life."

Because of this, tsungire characters are pretty much unapproachable. And if you're smart and value your life, you wouldn't approach them not even with a ten foot pole.

tsungire character doesn't need to be in love with any character or even interested romantically. They are pretty much just "snapping" whenever someone bothers them with something.

What is Gire ギレ?

The suffix gire ギレ is sometimes added to these personality words instead of dere デレ. Its meaning in words such as tsungire and yangire is that of "snapping" or "being mad" instead of dere's "being in love."

The word gire comes from the verb kireru キレる, which means "to snap" or "to be mad (at someone or something)." Basically to be full of it. To lose your patience. To be done with. To have had the last drop. To burst with anger. To get the last string holding your anger down cut. That's what kireru means.

The gire versions of personalities often have nothing to do with love or romance at all. People often attribute ~gire as more violent versions of ~dere, but these two words aren't actually related. A character deemed ~gire doesn't even need to be in a romance or anything. They just lean towards aggressive, abusive or violent behavior.

The part of the word kireru that becomes the suffix is kire, but it becomes gire instead because of a process called rendaku that changes the pronunciation of suffixes.

TsunTsun and DereDere

Tsundere can be divided into two main categories, depending on their default mood:

Harsh (or Tsun): These Tsundere have tsuntsun as their default mood. It takes someone special to trigger their deredere side. The intensity of the tsuntsun can range from simple grumpy pessimism to "I must glare and fight my way through life". It's about which part of the tsundere personality is the public face and which the hidden. If the Tsundere is a rival, she is more likely to be Harsh. Helping a rival out is usually accompanied by a line like "Don't get me wrong, I'm not doing this for you." 

Harsh types can overlap with a jerk with a heart of gold, but usually not. The moods of a Tsundere tend to switch in reaction to the actions of select people or adverse scenarios; the deredere side usually only comes out when someone has acted in a way to trigger it. A jerk with a heart of gold is jerkish in general regardless of whether the other person is mean or nice, and shows their hidden heart of gold only when the situation warrants, regardless of how the other person had been acting. Male characters in particular should be considered for jerk with a heart of gold status, as arguably because of Double Standards, men are generally that instead of tsundere, although the kuudere subtype is more equally split in gender. Oranyan is sometimes used to refer to a male tsundere character—incorrectly since it means the complete opposite.

Sweet (or Dere): These Tsundere have deredere as their default mood. They are sweet, kind and generous, but just happen to have a hidden violent side as well. Don't confuse the sweet tsundere with a bitch in sheep's clothing because in this case, they have a temper almost always triggered by someone or something else, usually a Love Interest. Either they have Belligerent Sexual Tension, are an Accidental Pervert, or just have no idea how to handle feelings of love and attraction. In some cases, an Armoured Closet Gay character may act like a Tsundere to mask their feelings for the object of their same-sex affection. May also overlap with Violently Protective Girlfriend if her Love Interest is threatened or in danger. 

Sweet types should also not be confused with a Yandere. If a Sweet Tsundere were really convinced that their Love Interest didn't want them, they would revert back to the deredere side and probably enter an "I Want My Beloved to Be Happy" phase, while Yanderes are not good with rejection at all and have been known to get downright murderous under such circumstances.

This site has an explanation on the appeal of the Tsundere character.

A common way of showing that a Tsundere has mellowed or has had her heart won over by the Love Interest is to have her shift from Harsh to Sweet. If her motivations are inquired, she will often engage in a Suspiciously Specific Denial, complete with a luminescent blush and total evasion of eye contact (cue the squeaks of Moe).

When paired with a jerk with a heart of gold, together they produce Belligerent Sexual Tension. If done poorly, the result is an unintentionally unsympathetic Jerk Sue.

Please do not confuse this dere type with a Mood-Swinger, who flips between all the emotional states (not just tsuntsun and deredere) and is more of an inherent mental problem encompassing more than just their romantic life. Also don't confuse with playing hard to get, where a love interest deliberately chooses not to reciprocate her pursuer's interest until she's sure he's hooked.

Psychologically, tsundere-like behavior could be an example of "splitting", a maladaptive coping mechanism wherein a person alternately idealizes and undervalues others, including potential romantic partners.

This dere type is older than dirt, dating back to at least ancient Mesopotamia.

Analysis

Tsuntsun strategies vary greatly...

  1. The Cold Shoulder: In employing this tactic, the Tsundere resolves to not give the guy in question the time of day. If she does talk to him, responses will be monosyllabic. Pointedly ignoring him in conversation and disdainful looks round out the total freeze that she will lay on the hapless fellow.
  2. The Violent Approach: Things get physical, and not in the good way. The Tsundere, in a bad mood by this point, will punctuate verbal abuse with plenty of good old fashioned violence. Kicks, punches, slaps, and other painful forms of beatdown will follow. Heaven help you if she's got a Paper Fan or a Hyperspace Mallet; the most swashbuckling ones may even wield a whip.
  3. The Taunt: Not as common a tactic, but effective in its own right, is for the Tsundere to constantly belittle the love interest with insults and putdowns. Favorite expressions include "Baka!", and "Urusai!" ("Shut up!"). A Tsundere who knows the guy's point of pride will not hesitate to insult him on that account, and when this tactic is employed nothing the guy can do will be good enough to impress her. If they have Belligerent Sexual Tension, Volleying Insults often occur. This kind of Tsundere might be vulnerable to a "Shut Up" Kiss. If she ever treats his injuries, she berates him for acquiring them, or jeers at him for pained reactions — often to not-gentle treatment.
  4. Tyrannical Rule: While the above three forms of hostile behavior can be the result of anything, from No Social Skills, to awkwardly expressed emotions, sometimes it's made clear that they are just a bossy type of person, who likes to dominate their partner, like a slave-owner. A common trait among Shana Clones.
  5. All Of The Above: The Tsundere's reactions will heavily depend on the situation she and the guy are placed in.

...as do deredere strategies:

  1. The Un-giver: Giving Valentine's Chocolate to her love interest, usually with an excuse ("I felt sorry for you"), as well as other gifts that might have romantic undertones.
  2. The Helper: Helping him with his chores. Cooking for him is a favorite tactic — even if she won't admit to it.
  3. The Trainer: Beating him in a session of Training from Hell or helping him out to beat an enemy in combat.
  4. The Defender: Protecting a love interest or friend from a stronger enemy, often claiming "I Was Just Passing Through!".
  5. The Nurse: Sitting by the love interest's bedside if he falls sick or has an accident, double points if she falls asleep next to him. After Action Patchup also affords a chance to show her tender side by nursing, though it may be peppered with tsun taunts about acquiring the injuries in the first place.
  6. The Advisor: Listening to his non-romantic woes once in a while and helping him out with them, especially if the guy is Book Dumb and the Tsundere helps him with schoolwork.

In addition, there appear to be three major specific "Classes", which while more common with Harsh may sometimes fit with Sweet.

  • The "Wolf-Girl"-class Tsundere who can't or won't be honest about her feelings, is quick to judge her love interest (or the main character in a harem comedy) poorly, and usually pelts him with violence at the slightest provocation, real or imagined. Bonus points if she calls him an idiot for not understanding her feelings outside his earshot.
  • The Discipline-class Tsundere: Usually a fellow student assigned some role of authority, hall monitor, school president, etc. who is rather strict in rules enforcement. She is quick to blame the love interest for breaches of etiquette and tries to punish him for it. This usually surprises him in that he's getting singled out for attention over others. Romantic interest seldom comes to mind as the reason (at least until he gets wind of further evidence).
  • The Tragic Past-class Tsundere: This poor girl has a Dark and Troubled Past that makes understanding her feelings, let alone expressing them, highly problematic for everyone, including herself. As such, approaching her is rather delicate, and if she approaches someone else, expect many misunderstandings good or bad. While violence towards the Love Interest is not required, it often occurs.

The deredere moments vary from one Tsundere to another. With more tsuntsun types of Tsundere, they tend to be more spontaneous, whereas more deredere types of Tsundere usually plan out the deredere moments only for everything to go wrong.

A Tsundere's attractiveness is two-fold: on the one hand, she is an independent, strong-willed girl, determined to do everything well. On the other, she has major endearing traits such as awkwardness with relationships (particularly romantic relationships) or tomboyish tendencies, which she perceives as "weakness." However, where another girl would start wangsting about these, a Tsundere just blushes and covers them up with aggressive attitude. Furthermore, she's much less likely to suffer from Chickification, since her less-than-doting personality facet is her major appeal. For the more tsuntsun type, it's assumed that she only acts mean to hide her good heart or deal with romantic attraction. For the more deredere type, her hidden tsuntsun side shows that she's more than just the sweet girl.

Most Tsundere deny their behavior, although a few glory in it. The more deredere types of Tsundere in particular often aspire to become a Yamato Nadeshiko, perhaps following the example of an older sister or her mother. When she fails in these attempts (usually directed at her Love Interest) expect her to either release her tsuntsun half on a convenient target (again, usually her Love Interest), or to show off her deredere half by breaking down and crying (often in the Love Interest's arms). The loss of her Love Interest is a common method for changing a Tsundere into a Yamato Nadeshiko. If her Tsundere personality re-emerges, it's probably a sign that she's learned to love again.

Voice actresses who often portray Tsundere roles include Rie Kugimiya, Ayana Taketatsu, Kate Higgins and Satsuki Yukino. For the male actor, it's Noriaki Sugiyama.

Now comes with a Self-Demonstrating page, n-not that I especially made it for you o-or anything, you lazy oaf!

Characters with this Personality

See Tsundere/Anime Characters to see characters from anime media

See Tsundere/Western Characters to see characters from western media

Gallery

Main Article: Tsundere/Gallery

See more images in the Tsundere/Gallery.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.