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"F-Fall for me? This is hardly the time for that kind of thing! But if you want to keep going, I guess I could force myself to listen..."
Rin Tohsaka, from Fate/stay night.

Not to be confused with "Hinedere", "Himedere", "Oujidere", "Kamidere", "Bokodere" or "Kitikudere".

Tsundere is a stock love interest who is usually stern, cold, and sometimes hostile to the person they like and others. They will occasionally let slip their warm and loving feelings hidden inside. They hide their feelings due to being shy, nervous, insecure, or simply unable to help acting badly in front of their crush.

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

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

A tsundere is a character who pretends not to be interested in someone else, but keeps doing things for that person. They even keep saying they are not actually interested in their love interest. They are characters who aren't honest with themselves and their feelings, or are too embarrassed to admit they love someone.

A 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 them call their love interest "baka" (馬鹿), meaning "idiot".

The word "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 include:

Her being the president of the school student council, and the guy a delinquent.

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.

The tsundere and their romantic interest are usually given a reason in their backstory for the tsundere to reject their love interest so that they might maintain appearance. And then some reason to love this person 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 jerky love interest (male or female) has a squishy emotional center that will embrace you after you crack their outer shell.

The difference between a tsundere and a bokodere is that the bokodere characters are a more shy versions of tsundere, who would only show their more aggressive personality when embarrassed by others. They are a combination of tsundere and dandere.

The difference between a tsundere and a hinedere is that hinedere characters are less short-tempered and more arrogant than tsundere. They only want to be the best at everything.

The difference between a tsundere and a himedere is that himedere characters act sort of similar to a tsundere, but demand to be treated like queens and princesses.

The difference between a tsundere and a oujidere is that oujidere characters act sort of similar to a tsundere, but demand to be treated like kings and princes. This is the male equivalent of himedere.

Meaning

Tsundere Word Origin

The "tsun" (ツン) in the Japanese word "tsundere" (ツンデレ) comes from the word "tsuntsun" (つんつん), which is a mimetic word for "irritable" or "grumpy". This means that they are someone who is tsuntsun when they become hard to approach and to talk with.

When you're tsuntsun you just refuse to hear what others have to say. You say "hmph!" and turn away. In comparison, tsundere characters say "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 clichés.

That means "tsundere" (ツンデレ) is actually short for "tsuntsun deredere" as two abbreviations in one word.

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. This made it a plot trope as much as it is a character trope. Over the years, the character archetype has become oversimplified, and is now generically associated with a character who flips between the two emotional states at the slightest provocation, usually at a specific person rather than a general sociability problem. The former is usually referred to as "Classic Tsundere" and the latter as "Modern Tsundere". A tsundere, especially a classic and female one, is usually a Tomboy with a Girly Streak.

The tsuntsun can range from the cold "silent treatment" to the hotheaded "kindergartner 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.

Moe Factor

Tsundere characters are often times a tsundere for the sake of the show. They continue acting tsundere even after they have confessed their love, or started going out, or even gotten married and having children. Often times, this makes no sense whatsoever. In real life, sometimes people get caught behaving the same way, even if it is counterproductive. So that may explain why tsundere characters remain tsundere throughout the show.

The freezing of the character so that they are always tsundere happens because they are among the other types of "dere that 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 characters follow one archetype. There's always the smart, quiet type, the "genki" (元気) type, and, of course, the infamous tsundere type. Including at least one tsundere character is viewed as being almost a requirement when creating anime.

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. Instead of confessing their feelings, they'll act like they aren't interested, because the character is one way or another, and they'd never date them, they hurl insults, violence, and so on.

Instead, tsundere is a type of character, not a scenario like in the case of BST. Often, tsundere characters are accompanied by the 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 tsundere character acts like "they would never like someone like them." but the other part is unfazed by these comments.

Acting Tsundere

Because tsundere characters have 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 unless a character is not a tsundere all the time, they can't be really a tsundere. They will only be a tsundere for 2 minutes or even for a single panel only for the sake of the 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 the person in charge (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). The concept has increasingly been reflected in recent anime, with 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[1]; 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 characters include Love Hina, Neon 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 (who might be better considered tsuntsun [1]), 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.

  1. Lum behaved both as a Tsundere at times and Yandere at times because her "husband" (Technically, Lum decided they were married. They never actually got married by the state or in a church.), Ataru, was unfaithful. Had he been faithful she would have expressed her native Dere type, which is probably Deredere.

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 similar reactions.

This is basically the same as tsundere but with some kind of firearm in their possession, which they will use when reacting in their tsundere mode.

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

Personality

Gundere is very much like tsundere 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, a gundere doesn't kill for love and this is only a reaction they carry out, sometimes unconsciously, to protect and hide their emotions.

Meaning

The word is a combination of "gan" (ガン) 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 some individual person, a lover or friend.

Meaning

Deretsun (デレツン) is a combination of "deredere" meaning "loving" and "caring", and "tsuntsun" meaning "angry" and "caustic". This subtype can be called tsundere and Vice Versa.

Tsunpure ツンプレ


A "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

Tsunpure characters 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

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 a normal tsundere often calls the other person 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 other in their complete, absolute and unmistakably brutal rejection of whatever it is. The main point here is that they sound extremely serious and unfeeling about rejecting the other, therefore any sane person would get the hint and figure they actually mean it.

Example: in episode 1 of Bakemonogatari (化物語), Senjougahara says someone like her is called a tsundere, Araragi retorts, in thought, monologue-ing someone like her is called a tsundora instead.[2]

The word tsundra, and tsundora (ツンドラ), come from the word "tundra," which regards to ice cold lands that give few points in Sid Meier's Civilization.

Meaning

"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

A "Tsunshun" (ツンしゅん( character is a character that goes "tsun" (ツン) and then goes "shun" (しゅん).

Like a tsundere, they 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 other person has to say while trying to keep their "I'm not interested" mask, a tsunshun will not try to find a way to make things work. They will say "no" and then get depressed because they couldn't say "yes."

Example: They say, "No, I'm not going to the festival." while later thinking, "Why didn't I say yes and go to the festival?! Why?!".

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 they're above them. Later on, they blame themselves for doing this kind of stuff and not being sincere.

Tsuntere ツンテレ

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

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

Tsun'aho ツンアホ

A "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 that they became an idiot.

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

This term mostly refers to a person who, when introduced, sounds like they have two neurons to rub together, but then they meet a character whom they like, but don't want to admit they like, so they start saying stupid nonsense all the time to pretend they don't like them. Because they say and do so much stupid stuff to hide their secret feelings everybody knows about, people will start to thinking they're just an actual idiot.

Tsungire ツンギレ


A "Tsungire" (ツンギレ) character is a tsundere devoid of love and filled with rage instead.

This means a 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? **** 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. If you're smart and value your life, you wouldn't approach them, not even with a ten foot pole.

A 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 types "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]." To be at the end of your rope. To lose your patience. To be done with it [irritation source]. To have had the last drop. To explode with anger. To get the last string holding your temper is check 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 love or feel romantically towards somone. They just lean towards aggressive, abusive, and 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 types 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 is the hidden. If the tsundere is a rival, they are 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. In particular, male characters should be considered for jerk with a heart of gold status. This is probably because of Double Standards. Men are generally viewed as jerks with a hearts' of gold 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. 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 Armored Closet Gay character may act like a tsundere to mask their feelings for the object of their same-sex affection. Tsundere characters may also overlap with Violently Protective Girlfriend/Boyfriend if their 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 yandere characters 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 their heart won over by their love interest is to have them shift from harsh to sweet. If their motivations are inquired, they 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 (A character trope about someone who's violent and abusive to point that the audience can't stand the person).

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 tsundere with playing hard to get, where a love interest deliberately chooses not to reciprocate their pursuer's interest until they're quite certain that the love interest is truly interested in only them.

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 interests.

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

Analysis

Tsuntsun strategies vary greatly...

  1. The Cold Shoulder: In employing this tactic, the tsundere resolves to not give the other person in question the time of day. If the tsundere does talk to them, responses will be monosyllabic. Pointedly ignoring them in conversation and disdainful looks round out the cold shoulder that they 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 they got a Paper Fan or a Hyperspace Mallet; the more dangerous 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 other's point of pride will not hesitate to insult them on that account, and when this tactic is employed nothing the other person can do will be good enough to impress the tsundere. If they have Belligerent Sexual Tension, volleying Insults often occur. This kind of tsundere might be vulnerable to a "Shut Up" Kiss. If they ever treat the injuries of the other, they will berate the hurt one for acquiring them, or jeer at them for pained reactions — often while roughly binding their wounds.
  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 that they and the love interest are placed in.

...as do deredere strategies:

  1. The Un-giver: Giving Valentine's Chocolate to their 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 the crush with their chores. Cooking for them is a favorite tactic — even if they won't admit to it.
  3. The Trainer: Beating the person in a session of Training from Hell or helping them 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 they fall sick or have an accident. Double points if the tsundere falls asleep next to them. After Action Patchup also affords a chance to show their tender side by nursing their love interest, though it may be peppered with tsun taunts about acquiring the injuries in the first place.
  6. The Advisor: Listening to their non-romantic woes once in a while and helping them out with them. This is especially common in the case of 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/Boy"-class tsundere who can't or won't be honest about their feelings, is quick to judge their love interest (or the main character in a harem comedy), poorly, and usually pelts them with violence at the slightest provocation, real or imagined. Bonus points if the tsundere calls the love interest an idiot for not understanding their feelings outside their earshot or too quietly for them to hear.
  • The Discipline-class Tsundere: Usually a fellow student assigned some role of authority, hall monitor, school president, etc. who is rather strict in enforcing the rules. The tsundere is quick to blame the love interest for breaches of etiquette and tries to punish him/her for it. This usually surprises the love interest in that they're getting singled out for attention over others. The possibility of a romantic interest seldom comes to mind as the reason for the tsundere's behavior -- at least until the crush gets wind of further evidence.
  • The Tragic Past-class Tsundere: This poor tsundere has a Dark and Troubled Past that makes understanding their feelings, let alone expressing them, highly problematic for everyone, including themselves. As such, approaching this character is rather delicate, and if they approach 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, they are an independent, strong-willed character, determined to do everything well. On the other, they have major endearing traits such as awkwardness with relationships (particularly romantic relationships), or tomboyish tendencies in the case of the girls, which they perceive as "weakness." However, where another person would become upset with themselves about these "weaknesses", a tsundere just blushes and covers them up with aggressive attitude. Tsundere women are less likely to be very feminine, since their less-than-doting personality facet is their major appeal. For the more tsuntsun type, it's assumed that they only act unkindly to hide their good heart or deal with their romantic feelings. For the more deredere type, their hidden tsuntsun side shows that they're more than just the sweet woman/man.

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

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

"This may look like it was written by me. 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

Dere Types
Dandere Deredere Himedere Kuudere Tsundere Yandere
Bakadere Bocchandere Bokodere Byoukidere Darudere Dorodere Erodere Goudere Hajidere Hinedere Hiyakasudere Kamidere Kanedere Kekkondere Kichidere Kitikudere Mayadere Megadere Nemuidere Nyandere Onidere Oujidere Oujodere Sadodere Shundere Undere Usodere Utsudere Yottadere
List of Variations Popular Dere Combinations Unofficial Dere Types
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