Have you ever wanted to tell someone your feelings, but had a hard time telling them your feelings? Only to deny it vehemently when someone presses you for an answer. Congratulations, you are a tsundere, a very popular anime personality archetype. Tsundere is a combination of Japanese words "tsuntsun" (irritable) and "deredere" (lovestruck). A character with this personality type normally starts off harsh, but as the story goes along they become nicer and more affectionate. This personality type can apply to both male and females, with prominent examples coming from them. I will explore the different ways that tsundere develops in an anime and why this personality type tends to be popular.
There are mainly two variations of this personality type, with each variation focusing on which part of tsundere dominates. There is a variation that is more tsuntsun, which has character who is aggressive or mean, but they have glimpses of kindness and happiness. Eventually they defrost and become nicer as the storyline develops. This personality archetype is used quite a bit when it comes to developing a rival character of the main character. The second variation is more deredere, which has a character who is generally very affectionate, but they show signs of agression when someone of something triggers it. This personality archetype is used for a character who is generally affectionate, but being teased or being questioned make them vehemently deny the affection.
Why is this character archetype so popular? The answer is actually quite complex. In the anime world, tsundere characters get a lot of attention and are quite popular. I believe that one of the reason why they are so popular is the idea of seeing great character change and development over the course of a series. In general, when a person watches a series, they want to see characters develop and improve over time. The ultimate example of improvement is having a character who is initially icy to someone that he/she loves to change to someone who is affectionate near the end of the series. This sort of dynamic character change creates a sense of accomplishment on the part of the reader because they have a vested interest in seeing a character change and improve over the course of a series. A tsundere character is also interesting. If a character was already affectionate from the start, there would not be any romantic tension for character development. A character that goes from affectionate and kind to affectionate and kind at the end is static and it is boring. Tsundere characters in general have a level of unpredictability that makes things interesting.
Not everyone likes tsundere characters, Richard Phon said "I dislike women who can't admit their feelings." He is projecting what he views in reality into anime. What he says does have truth when it is placed in the realm of reality. People who are tsundere to people, things, objects, etc. in real life can be quite annoying. When it comes to anime characters, I think that they are more likable because they are not in the realm of reality. I believe that tsundere characters make an interesting archetype that does spicen up character interaction.
Notable Female Tsundere Characters:
|May Wong (Kaleido Star)|
|Megumi (Cheeky Angel)|
|Everything Rie Kugimiya has ever done|
|Misaka Mikoto (Railgun, Index)|
|Sailor Mars (in Sailor Moon)|
|Kuroneko & Kirino (Ore no Imoto)|
Notable Male Tsundere:
|Ranma (Ranma 1/2)|
|Lelouch (Code Geass)|
|Germany (Axis Powers Hetalia)|
|Li Shaoran (Cardcaptor Sakura)|