What is a tsundere?

A tsundere is a character, most often female and in anime, who switches from being tough and cold towards a love interest into being soft and sweet.

Examples of tsundere


Examples of tsundere
“why are the tsunderes tsundere-ing each other in this show?”
Kurogane Shiroikaze @kurogane_s Twitter (October 22, 2015)
“Fuck you guys then. I'll just stay tsundere from now on. It's not like I care about you guys or anything.”
Lilim Shoryuken (December 24, 2013)
“Does Taiga show tsundere characteristics? Sometimes. But not all the time.”
ThisWasATriumph Crunchyroll (September 8, 2014)

Where does tsundere come from?

Tsundere is a portmanteau of two Japanese words: tsuntsun, which means “aloof, standoffish,” and deredere, which means “lovestruck.” So, a tsundere switches between acting disgusted with someone and acting infatuated.

Tsundere is a very popular anime archetype. It’s still predominantly used in the context of Japanese media, where it became popular in the early 2000s. However, non-anime characters sometimes get the tsundere label if they display this personality type.

The meaning of tsundere has shifted over time. In the strictest sense, it refers only to a character who starts out aloof and cold but slowly warms towards the love interest. Tsundere has also broadened over time to include more than one type; now it encompasses characters who have trouble expressing their affection and react with embarrassment or anger when they like someone.

Who uses tsundere?

Tsundere, which starting taking off in English in 2007, can be a noun, a verb or an adjective. You can be a tsundere, act in a tsundere kind of way, or even be tsundere-ing at someone. In Japanese, the plural of tsundere is tsundere, but sometimes the regular English plural tsunderes is used by English speakers.

Tsundere are sometimes divided into two types, called type A and type B. Type A tsundere default to tsuntsun behavior. In other words, they’re harsh and short-tempered to most people. They warm up only when you get to know them. This is the original tsundere archetype. Type B, on the other hand, is usually deredere. They are kind and gentle to most people, but when their love interest upsets them, they show a short-tempered tsuntsun side.

The word tsundere is most often used to refer to female characters. A male character who acts like a tsundere might sometimes be called a “male tsundere” to differentiate him from the more common, female tsundere.

Tsundere has generated a number of spinoff words that use the -dere suffix to contrast loving behavior with something else. A yandere is a character whose alternate mode is violent and possessive, beginning as sweet but later turning nasty. A dandere is a quiet, shy character who slowly warms up to the protagonist and becomes more social. A kuudere is a cool, stoic, composed character who never seems to show emotion, but reveals a softer side as a relationship develops.

Jokes about tsundere often feature phrases like “It’s not like I like you or anything!” often accompanied by blushing or stuttering, playing on the tsundere’s show of indifference to mask affection.

In the mid-2000s in Japan, a number of tsundere cafes sprung up, in which female servers treat male customers rudely—until they are leaving, when they start being affectionate.

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