“Tsundere” Meaning, Uses, and Everything to Know

"Tsundere" Meaning, Uses, and Everything to Know - EDOPEN Japan

Are you an anime lover who is fascinated to understand the term “tsundere” well? Baffled by “tsundere” characters, but can’t stay away from them? Getting curious yet confused at the same time. Although when we discuss the current anime hits, countless terms and characters must have filled your head. However, tsundere characters are indeed very unique and we must discuss them to the core this time.

Well, for those of you who want to understand more about the character “tsundere” and various important things about it, then we are here to help you. You will find everything you need about “tsundere” and its uses below.

In addition, do you also want to learn other Japanese terms in Anime hits or in everyday life? Or even further, do you want to take Japanese seriously and find the best place to learn it? Then, we are here to give you the best. Hopefully, everything you’re looking for about “tsundere”, anime as well as various important things about learning Japanese, you can find here! Now, let’s get started!

1. Tsundere Meaning and Origin

Tsundere or in Japanese “ツンデレ” is one of the adjective terms in Japanese that describes the character of a person’s personality that changes from being very cold, rough, and even very hard suddenly change to warm, soft, and even friendly over time with the people they love.

An Overview of Tsundere Meaning

Terminologically, the term “tsundere” is derived from 2 actual terms. They are tsun tsun (ツンツン) which means so harsh, angry, rude, and haughty, and “dere dere” (デレデレ) which means full of love, tenderness, and affection. The term was first popular and came out in Japanese bishōjo games. This “tsundere” is a very popular character in anime because the sweet, cute, and curious effect is so attractive to anime lovers.

Moreover, this “tsundere” is usually a conflicted person who loves in secret. However, at a certain moment with just a little emotional provocation and social problems happening, this character cannot show his true emotions. Therefore, this “tsundere” behavior is very unpredictable and has a powerful effect in intriguing the people who watch it.

The Origin of Tsundere

Looking further into the origin of Tsundere, this term has a surprisingly long and little bit debatable history.

As stated previously, the term “tsundere” has been around and very popular since 2005. Although many say that it actually started being used in 2002, 3 years before the term took off.

Then, some anime and manga fans don’t really care who and when exactly the character with this unique term appeared. Hence, fans will argue and dislike the designation of a certain character being the earliest character to use or be an ambassador of this “tsundere character”. On the other hand, the character also originally appeared in an anime series that was not even recognized.

The Classic Tsundere and Modern Tsundere

Plus, according to various sources, tsundere, which was originally a Japanese character concept, may actually have been known longer by native Japanese speakers. And of course, the tsundere character known since 2002 by anime fans around the world is a younger character than the tsundere known by native Japanese. And the old “tsundere character” is said to have even been popular 70 years ago, but with a slightly different concept to the current “tsundere character”. Therefore, if you look up the history of the term “tsundere” in English and Japanese, the definitions and related info may be slightly different and the information may differ.

However, the various sources, mostly agree and write the same thing. The term tsundere became popular in the early 2000s with the release of the novel Kimi ga Nozomu Eien in 2001. This novel was then turned into an anime that aired totaling 14 episodes from October 2001 to January 2002.

Then, according to veteran comic Koichi Ichikawa, Lum Invader in the Urusei Yatsura manga (1978-1987) was the first “tsundere” character. Lum’s character who was cold on the outside but kind and loving on the inside earned the title of “tsundere”. Many fans, on the other hand, disagree with this labeling and support other characters who appeared earlier than Lum’s character. And it’s all still a debatable issue to this day.

Thus, many also differentiate the term “tsundere”, which is popular in these different eras, into “classic tsundere” and “modern tsundere”.

2. The Personality of Tsundere

Broadly speaking, the dominant personality that appears from the outside of this character is “tsun tsun” who is very angry, loud, cynical, immature, arrogant, outspoken, and makes people around him/her very uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, “dere dere” is a personality that appears only in front of his loved ones and this personality is rarely displayed in front of the public. This “dere dere” personality is the complete opposite of “tsun tsun”. Then, This “dere dere” personality is very sweet, caring, gentle, kind, sensitive, shy, and very comfortable for anyone nearby, but this “dere dere” because of its overprotectiveness and extraordinary love for its partner can be rather annoying and possessive.

This tsundere personality occurs because of the attraction and love that actually confuses the owner of this character. They are forced to be harsh and rude in front of the person they like because they feel shy, nervous, uncomfortable, and even prestigious to show their innermost side.

It’s curious and confusing. Because of this, “tsundere” characters have become very popular and adorable.

3. Tsundere Character in Anime

Along with the rapid development of characters in Anime, tsundere characters are becoming wider and wider. Especially when we really follow the journey of this tsundere character’s story from being really rude to being very warm and even sacrificing for those he loves, it becomes very touching and definitely a sweet memory in our hearts, his fans.

At least there are currently more than 10 anime characters who are categorized as the best and most popular tsundere characters of their time. And this time we will mention the 5 characters, please feel free to mention other characters that you think we should consider as well! Who are these tsundere characters? 90% of them are female characters. Please tell us your favorite character!

Asuka Langley Soryu (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

This 14-year-old fictional character is one-quarter Japanese, Asuka Langley Sohryu was raised in Germany with native American citizenship. Her father Mr. Langley is American and her mother Kyoko Zeppelin Sohryu is German-Japanese. She is fluent in Japanese but has difficulty writing and reading Kanji. In the Neon Genesis Evangelion series, she is one of the main characters and her tsundere personality is very much attached to her. One of her most famous catchphrases is that she always says “anta baka?!” which means “what are you… stupid?!” to her co-actors.

Rin Tohsaka (Fate series)

Being one of the main characters in the Fate series, Rin Tohsaka also has a very strong tsundere character in her. Rin’s sometimes quiet, calm, and outwardly loving figure can sometimes turn out to be very rash, rude, loud and so annoying. Especially when she has to deal with Shirou, Rin is mostly unable to control her inner turmoil. Moments like this are very infuriating for Fate series lovers and make Rin always remembered as a charming tsundere character.

Mikoto Misaka (Toaru Series)

Misaka Mikoto, also known as Biri-Biri, is considered a very nice woman because of her friendliness and easy-going attitude. However, in reality, she is also very angry, sensitive, arrogant, loud, and childish if she gets insulted by her crush, Touma. This makes him very well known as a 100% Tsundere character in the Toaru series. Apart from that, Misaka is also very fair, intelligent, and talented. This also never ceases to make tsundere fans crazy about her.

Kyo Sohma (Fruits Basket)

One of the deuteragonists in the Fruits Basket series is known for being charismatic, yet awkward and irritable. This is due to how difficult it is to be a Kyo who has to survive after the death of his mother and being rejected by his biological father. But over time, when he falls in love with Tohru – his co-star – he slowly gets better as he finds new courage to live his difficult life.

In the next Fruit Baskets series, he marries Tohru and becomes a great father to three children with his eldest son Hajime Sohma who is also the main character in the series. The moments of Kyo and Tohru’s journey are mesmerizing and absolutely adorable. And Kyo’s transformations have made him one of the most famous male tsundere characters.

Erina Nakiri (Food Wars!)

Erina Nakiri, a charming girl with purplish-pink eyes and long blonde hair is notoriously self-centered, has extremely high standards, and is even nicknamed “God Tongue” for her brutal demands and expectations that are said to destroy a chef’s career. In fact, everyone who applies to be a Tōtsuki chef is terrified just by hearing her name. Erina’s character sadly turns out to be the result of her father Azami’s harsh training in her childhood.

However, in the course of her journey, living in the Polar Star dormitory and meeting the residents there, Erina changed and became very protective of her friends. Hence, she also became one of the charming Tsundere icons in the eyes of Food Wars fans!

4. Why are People So Crazy for Tsundere?

Why are so many anime fans out there getting hooked on this tsundere character? There are at least 3 answers that dominate various sites that discuss anime and manga in a deep way. These 3 reasons are as follows:

1. Curious Effect Due to Character Development

The excitement as well as curiosity about the tsundere character’s change from being extremely rude to being very lovey-dovey to his crush is a very strong attraction for anime lovers.

2. The dominant and full-of-power character

All tsundere characters usually have a dominant character with a lot of advantages. Let’s say they are a good-hearted hero, the number 1 student, beautiful and unbelievably sexy, their words and life are full of struggle, very wise, and so on. These things make them very easy to like.

Add to that the tsundere factor which, although seen as vile to some, is also a good side to them. Tsundere characters have an important influence and role whether it’s being the main character or supporting the main character. This is certainly a highlight and will have a tremendous effect on the audience.

3. A True Portrait of Fan’s Past

Many fans find these curious tsundere characters valuable, very close to the real characters of teenagers in general. In fact, fans often relate the tsundere character’s journey to their own youthful experiences. The characters are still in the process of maturing and so on, allowing them to reminisce about their younger days.

And these tsundere characters are synonymous with “hiding their true feelings” from the person they like. This is something that happens very often in the lives of Japanese teenagers due to their shy and considerate nature. Hence, this character is able to give fans a distinctive stroke and closeness. No wonder, this character is widely loved and discussed on various anime and manga fan sites.

5. Other Famous “Dere” Phrases and Meanings

There are more than 20 types of “dere” other than tsundere characters that exist and are known by fans in anime. And in this article, we will discuss 5 types of “dere” that often become trending topics on various SNS and anime fan sites. What are they? Check out our review as follows:

(1) Yandere

Yandere can be referred to as a state of lovesickness. A person who loses rationality due to extreme love and behaves excessively towards their loved ones. This character can even use violence as a form of venting their emotions.

This yandere character is also one of the trending dere types because of their brutality and makes many fans unable to understand their actions so they discuss and question each other. What if they met this yandere character in real life?

The anxiety and negative effects carried out by this yandere character are also discussed because not a few anime fans in real life have unpleasant experiences when having a partner with this character even if only a few percent of the yandere deep character.

(2) Dandere

Dandere is a depiction of a character who is very shy, quiet and anti-social. They are very hard to find and hear because they don’t have the courage to speak up. They are too cautious and afraid of the risks and problems caused by their expressions.

In most scenes, this character will be very quiet and very flat. However, if they are dealing with a loved one and it is safe enough for them to reveal their true heart, they will become very talkative and explain that they are actually avoiding it because they are embarrassed.

This type of dandere character is much-loved because it is sweet and also intriguing as it seems to have minimal reactions and is expressionless.

(3) Kuudere

Kuudere is widely referred to as an ice sculpture that is very expressionless, tough but considered to have a high IQ. These characters will never raise their tone as they are very calm. They look so stoic and unaffected by the world around them.

The kuudere character is completely expressionless. They never look very happy, nor are they surprised nor do they ever look sad or angry. However, the other side of this character is that even though they look very serious, kuudere can also throw jokes even though they sometimes feel very rude.

Under certain conditions, the kuudere character is also close to the dandere character. Both also have a special place in the eyes of anime and manga fans.

(4) Nyandere

The term is a combination of the word “nyan” which is Japanese onomatopoeia for cat sounds and “dere dere” which means dear. A nyandere character in an anime series will usually add the word “nyan” to every word or sentence. It makes them seem adorable like a cute cat. Especially when they express their love and affection.

This character has its own uniqueness in each anime series with a very dominant cat image in themselves. These characters are known to be very jolly, funny, cheerful and really act like real cats. In some anime, these characters are depicted as having cat-like ears and tails. It’s really adorable isn’t it.

(5) Himedere or Oujidere

Himedere is a character that refers to someone who wants to be treated by someone they love like a princess or queen even though they are not a member of the kingdom. This character usually does have the full package of personality like a royal princess. And they often want to actually be treated at least like royalty. Most himedere are women. This character is equivalent to the oujidere character.

This character often asks others to do any job even if it’s actually their duty. They are very self-centered and don’t care about others and want perfection.

Because of the portrayal of this character who is extremely beautiful, smart, admirable, yet somewhat arrogant, many fans are curious about this character. They think it’s a challenge to conquer a female character like this. What do you think? Would you fight for a woman with this kind of character to be your life partner?

Conclusion

That was the discussion about tsundere, its meaning, history, and various important things you have to know about tsundere. What do you think? Do you have another opinion? Please share in the comment section about this phenomenal character.

1. Tsundere Meaning and OriginThe term “tsundere” is derived from 2 actual terms “tsun tsun” (ツンツン) which means so harsh, angry, rude, and haughty, and “dere dere” (デレデレ) which means full of love, tenderness, and affection.
2. The Personality of TsundereThe dominant personality that appears from the outside of this character is “tsun tsun” which makes people around him/her very uncomfortable.
3. Tsundere Character in AnimeAsuka Langley Soryu (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Rin Tohsaka (Fate series), Mikoto Misaka (Toaru Series), Kyo Sohma (Fruits Basket), and Erina Nakiri (Food Wars!)
4. Why are People So Crazy for Tsundere?Because of the curious effect due to character development, the dominant and full-of-power character as well as a kind of related connection of fan’s true experience in the past.
5. Other Famous “Dere” Phrases and MeaningsThere are more than 20 types of “dere” other than tsundere characters that exist and are known by fans in Anime.  Find out more above!

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ABOUTこの記事をかいた人

Hi, I’m Eka. I’m one of the awardees of the 2016 MEXT College to College Recommendation Scholarship. I completed the one-year JASSO-Tokyo Japanese course (2016-2017) and won second place in the Japanese speech competition held internally at JASSO at that time. After that, I continued my education at NIT. Akashi College and earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree after 2 years of study. I love teaching children English and Japanese, writing blogs, designing graphics, and creating digital content. I hope you enjoy the knowledge I share here based on the experience I gained in Japan for over 5 years. Thanks!