The Meaning of Tsundere: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of tsundere? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word tsundere, including its definition, etymology, usage, examples, and more!

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What does the word tsundere mean?

According to Dictionary, Definitions and Fandom, the word tsundere is a Japanese word that refers to a character who is outwardly violent, cold or hostile but gradually shows a warmer side over time. This type of character was originally used in Japanese bishōjo games, but is now part of the otaku moe phenomenon and found in maid cafe, anime, manga, visual novels, and more mass media. Tsundere is written as the Japanese ツンデレ in Japanese hiragana. Someone who is a part of the tsundere archetype goes through the character development process. Often, females turn from being a jerk or rude to showing a warmer, friendlier side to a love interest. The female character might be embarrassed by this lovey dovey behavior. Sometimes a male character or main character of another gender can be tsundere, but it is less common. The pronunciation of tsundere is tsɯndeɾe.

Someone who is tsundere can be described as sunao janai 素直じゃない,  which means “not honest (about their feelings).”  Lum Invader of Urusei Yatsura is the originator of the first tsundere, per Comiket organizer Koichi Ichikawa. The term began in the visual novel Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. In 2006, tsundere became popular in Japan when a maid cafe named Nagomi in Akihabara started having “Tsundere” events. Tsundere’s behavior can be described as “type A and type B” in which  a person switches back and forth between very different personalities – a warm side, and a cold exterior. It takes a long time in the Japanese character development process for one to completely transition away from being tsundere.

The Japanese term tsundere comes from the terms tsun tsun/tsuntsun, or ツンツン in hiragana, which means to turn away in disgust or anger. This is combined with the word dere dere/deredere, デレデレ in hiragana, meaning to become affectionate. There are a couple of variations on the word tsundere – yan, kuu, gun, and dan. One is gundere/gandere ガンデレ, which is someone who expresses their love toward guns. There is also Yandere, who is someone who has a violent nature after being initially loving and caring. Yandere characters are the opposite, or antonym, of tsundere. There is Kuudere, who is a love interest who shows little emotion but hide their feelings deep down and Dandere, who is a love interest that is quiet, asocial, and afraid of speaking.

What are examples of tsundere?

There are many different examples of tsundere characters in anime and manga series. Below is a list of the top 30 tsundere characters in anime from Anime Impulse.

  •  Kaname Chidori – Full Metal Panic
  •  Shana – Shakugan no Shana
  •  Yui Kotegawa – To Love-Ru
  •  Chiaki Shinichi – Nodame Cantabile
  •  Nagi Sanzenin – Hayate the Combat Butler
  •  Kagami Hiiragi – Lucky Star
  •  Kirino Kousaka – My Little Sister Can’t Be Cute
  •  Chitoge Kirisaki – Nisekoi (Nisekoi: False Love)
  •  Sena Kashiwazaki – Haganai
  •  Alto Saotome – Macross F (Macross Frontier)
  •  Eri Sawachika – School Rumble
  •  Louise Valliere – The Familiar of Zero (voiced by voice actresses Rie Kugimiya, the Queen of Tsundere)
  •  Chika Ogiue – Genshiken OVA
  •  Kallen Stadtfeld – Code Geas: Hangyaku no Lelouch (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)
  •  Kagura – Gintama
  •  Naru Narusegawa – Love Hina
  •  Hinata Hyuuga – Naruto
  •  Vegeta – Dragonball Z
  •  Haruhi Suzumiya – Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu
  •  Tsugumi Aoba – Kannagi
  •  Aisaka Taiga – Toradora
  •  Makise Kurisu – Steins;Gate
  •  Taiga Aisaka – Toradora!
  •  Inuyasha – Inuyasha
  •  Germany – Hetalia Axis Powers
  •  Kyo Sohma – Fruits Basket
  •  Hitagi Senjougahara – Bakemonogatari
  •  Mikoto Misaka – A Certain Magical Index
  •  Tohsaka Rin – Fate / Stay Night
  •  Asuka Langley – Neon Genesis Evangelion
  •  Maki Nishikino – Love Live!
  •  Aoba Tsukishima – Cross Game

There are also a number of western cartoon characters that are considered tsundere. This may help give you a better context on these characters if you do not watch anime or read manga. This list is provided by Fandom.

  •  Jem – Stormer
  •  Mixels – Slumbo, Nurp
  •  Monster High – Clawdeen Wolf, Cleo De Nile
  •  Archer – Lana Kane
  •  Boboiboy Galaxy – Boboiboy Halilintar
  •  Regular Show – Rigby (with Eileen)
  •  Peanuts – Lucy
  •  Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir – Chloe Bourgeois, Ladybug, Nora Cesaire
  •  Unikitty! – Hawkodile
  •  Hey Arnold! – Helga G. Pataki, Grandma Gertie, Rhonda Wellington Lloyd
  •  The Owl House – Amity Blight
  •  Young Justice – Artemis Crock
  •  Spongebob Squarepants – Squidward Tentacles, King Neptune, Blue Jellyfish (Squirrel Jelly)
  •  Bakugan: Battle Planet / Armored Alliance – Magnus Black
  •  Go Jetters – Xuli
  •  Recess – Ashley Spinelli
  •  Kaeloo – Mr. Cat
  •  Mr. Men – Mr. Grumpy
  •  Ready Jet Go – Mitchell
  •  F Is for Family – Frank Murphy
  •  Avatar: The Last Airbender – Toph Beifong, Zuko
  •  Futurama – Turanga Leela
  •  The Powerpuff Girls – Buttercup
  •  The Venture Bros. – Triana Orpheus
  •  Supernoobs – Zenblock
  •  Time Squad – Beauregard “Buck” Tuddrussel, Larry 3000
  •  Sym-Bionic Titan – Lance
  •  Arthur – Francine Frensky, Tommy Tibble, Timmy Tibble, Arthur Read
  •  Pucca – Garu
  •  Inanimate Insanity – Knife
  •  Phineas and Ferb – Candace Flynn
  •  6teen – Nikki Wong
  •  The Fixies – Simka
  •  Infinity Train – Tulip Olsen
  •  W.I.T.C.H. – Cornelia Hale
  •  Gravity Falls – Pacifica Northwest
  •  Dudão – Rebeca
  •  Justice League – Hawkgirl
  •  Total Drama – Courtney, Gwen, Heather
  •  The Loud House – Ronnie Anne Santiago, Lori Loud
  •  The Life and Times of Juniper Lee – Dennis Lee
  •  Ben 10 – Ben Tennyson, Gwen Tennyson
  •  The Fairly OddParents – Trixie Tang
  •  Winx Club – Musa, Riven
  •  Johnny Test – Sissy Blakely
  •  Transformers: Prime – Ratchet
  •  Trollz – Ruby Trollman
  •  The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants – Erica Wang
  •  Running Man Animation – Miyo
  •  Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi – Yumi Yoshimura
  •  CatDog – Cat
  •  Kick Buttowski – Kendall Perkins
  •  South Park – Kyle Broflovski [1]
  •  Steven Universe – Peridot, Lapis Lazuli
  •  Whatever Happened to…Robot Jones? – Shannon Westerburg
  •  Runaways – Nico Minoru
  •  Kappa Mikey – Lily
  •  Craig Of The Creek – Wildernessa
  •  Yin Yang Yo! – Yang
  •  The Simpsons – Comic Book Guy
  •  Green Eggs And Ham – Guy-Am-I
  •  Codename: Kids Next Door – Wallabee “Wally” Beatles
  •  Pinky and The Brain – The Brain
  •  She-Ra and the Princesses of Power – Catra, Mermista
  •  Learningblocks – Giovanni Tusela, Nathan Jules
  •  Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race – Emma
  •  The Magic School Bus – Wanda Li
  •  Casper’s Scare School – Thatch
  •  The Amazing World of Gumball – Anais Watterson, Nicole Watterson
  •  Mysticons – Zarya Moonwolf
  •  RWBY – Emerald Sustrai, Weiss Schnee
  •  The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron – Cindy Vortex
  •  Daria – Andrea Haley
  •  Garfield – Garfield

Overall, the word tsundere refers to a Japanese anime and manga stereotype. A tsundere character is tough on the outside, but soft and sweet under their hard exterior.

Sources:

  1. Top 30 Anime Tsundere Characters | ANIME Impulse ™ 
  2. Tsundere | The Dere Types Wiki | Fandom
  3. Tsundere | Dictionary  
  4. What does tsundere mean? | Definitions 
  5. Tsundere/Western Characters | The Dere Types Wiki | Fandom