- Justin “EcchiMaster” Emig
- Thesis on Tsunderes and Their Evolution in Anime
- Within anime, there is a reoccurring trope character known as a “tsundere”. From an etymological stand point, this name is a portmanteau of the terms “tsuntsun” (meaning “to turn away in disgust”) and “deredere” (meaning to be “lovey dovey”). The amount of tsunderes in anime has been greatly rising due to the appeal it has an many male viewers. This influx has forced many writers to reach outside the box and even evolve the tsundere trope into new sub-tropes. This paper will cover these sub-tropes and give some insight into their individual moe.
- Tsunderes are essentially the “bread-and-butter” of female character archetypes. They are usually written to be abrasive, mean, and abusive to the main character, but are also hardworking, ambitious, and in some form of martial art or other sport. Thanks to a short segment in Lucky Star1, the tsundere can be broken down into Type A and Type B.
- Type A:
- The Type A tsundere is the most common type, and is usually a staple character in a harem genre anime. These characters are the embodiment of their portmanteau, as they start off the series with a severe hate of the main character or love interest (tsun), but soon fall in love (dere) and have trouble keeping their abrasive facade.
- The charm of this character isn't so much based on the fact she's mean and then becomes nice, so much as it is her character growth. The viewers get to see her fall in love with the main character, and the scene in which she does is usually a key moment, bringing a much more emotional pull toward her. This moment could either be a scene in which she is rescued by the protagonist (which carries more weight by the tsundere herself, as tsundere's are usually independent and despise relying on a man's strength for help.
- An example of such a character would be Aisaka Taiga2 of ToraDora!.
- Type B:
- Type B tsunderes follow the traditional tsundere rules of having a rough exterior personality, but differ in that the personality just masks their kind heart. This essentially adds a layer to the character because while they might be harsh on the outside, they are naturally a kind and caring person.
- This type could be broken down into two smaller types, but it would be splitting hairs at this point. One would be Type B at face value, with no romantic attachment to the abused. This would lead viewers to liking such a character just for their kindness and their gaffs as they try to express their kindness in mistaken fits of meanness. The other theoretical type would be Type AB, which is one that combines both types. A Type AB tsundere is one that uses their harsh attitude to hide their true feelings for another person. Essentially they are mean to force away any thoughts or notions that the other person could like them. The charm in this is caused by the characters indecisiveness in love, creating a very moe feel.
- An example of Type B would be Ririchiyo3 of Inu x Boku SS while a Type AB would be Shinonono Houki4 of Infinite Stratos.
- Evolutions of the Tsundere Trope
- While the Tsundere seems to be the end all as far as cute personalities, some writers and mangaka have built upon the trope, adding new dimensions to what is quickly becoming a stale archetype.
- Quite possibly the fastest growing in popularity, the Yandere trope is relatively new to the anime scene. The term yandere is an amalgamation of the Japanese words “yanderu” meaning “to be sick”, and the previously defined “deredere”. Yanderes are often characterized by some emotional or psychological scaring (this is where “yanderu” takes place) and often times are very mentally disturbed. Their fear of being emotionally hurt again drives them to be as loyal as they can to their love interest. They tend to become possessive as well, though, making sure their significant other does not stray and cause them psychological harm.
- Yanderes have taken off after the recent release of the Mirai Nikki anime and have since been featured in other anime5 and manga. The yandere is the typical “crazy girlfriend”5. They are the ones that threaten to hunt down any girl you even so much as glance at. While this might be scary for some, the undying loyalty and protection are a positive for others. This appeal of loyalty is what causes such popularity seeing as most people appreciate unfailing love from their significant others
- A notable yandere would be Gasai Yuno6 from Mirai Nikki.
- Dandere characters are soft-spoken, shy, and generally anti-social. They are often found reading a book or by themselves, leading them to excel in their studies. These increased grades usually lands them a spot as Class Representative, making for some very sweet-hearted humor as they attempt to talk to the class, but fail miserably in doing so. While they are independent from others, they still yearn for interaction. Despite having low sociability, they can stand up for themselves when pushed to their limit7.
- It should be noted that the etymology of dandere is inconclusive. From my research, the terms for anti-social (hikikomori) or shy (hazukashii) have no other derivatives that include “dan”. Therefore I propose changes such as “hikidere” or “hazudere”.
- Sweet girls that are small and demure. It's not hard to understand why they garner the attention of moe enthusiasts. Their lack of social skills lead them to be very awkward around others, especially those with whom they are romantically attached to, as they have trouble expressing their feelings.
- Notable danderes include Shiori Shiomiya8 from The World God Only Knows.
- The term “kuudere” is derived from the Japanese word for “kuu” (meaning “cool” or “cold”). Kuuderes are often written to be very distant to the main character or love interest, often acting disinterested despite their romantic feelings. Common dialogue traits have them insult the protagonist or flat out ignore him. Most of these characters excel in an area, whether it be sports or school. They are also often drawn as well endowed, but despise being the object of men's intentions.
- The “ice queens” of the anime world. Often times other female characters will comment on how they have a “heart of ice” or that they don't get along with others. These kinds of characters are more of a long term investment for writers making a main character romantically invest in them. The relationship would take quite a while to unfreeze the heart of the kuudere. On the other hand, using a kuudere for comedy in a harem works quite well, due to the constant verbal abuse.
- Notable kuuderes include Seraphim9 from Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka?
- A new term to classify girls that act noble before becoming deredere. Ojou comes from “Ojou-sama” which is a term used to refer to ladies of a higher class. These girls often act higher than others, especially the main character. Typically have fancy speech and laugh “elegantly”. They also have no modesty when it comes to their family, often times saying how much of an “honor” it should be to have such a high-class lady talk to the protagonist.
- This is a rather uncommon trope, placed somewhere near Type AB tsundere in terms of actions. Usually sees herself too high above others to make any friends, let alone find a boyfriend, yet she crumbles when the main character puts her in her place and treats her as an equal. This is appealing for fans as it simulates standing up for themselves, and then quickly earning the love of another.
- Note: Another term for ojoudere could also be “kamidere” (kami meaning god) in which a character sees themselves as a benevolent god above their peers, similar to how an Ojou-sama sees theirs. An example of a kamidere would be Mio Isurugi10 from MM!
- Notable Ojoudere would be Cecilia Alcott11 from Infinite Stratos.
- Throughout the recent years of anime, several tropes have become a major part of character creation. The use of characters known as tsunderes has brought about a new kind of fanservice deeply rooted into how viewers draw relationships to their favorite characters. Due to overuse of such a cliché writers have begun to evolve tsunderes into characters with the same baseline formula, except with a little more flair. Every season it feels like we witness the birth of a new tsundere derivative that keeps the masses interested until it's finally played out. If these talented authors continue to push the bounds of this archetype, we will be entertained for several more years to come.
- 1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JoyuY1i9ys
- 2. http://myanimelist.net/character/12064/Taiga_Aisaka
- 3. http://myanimelist.net/character/47005/Ririchiyo_Shirakiin
- 4. http://myanimelist.net/character/35660/Houki_Shinonono
- 5. http://i0.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/010/496/asdf.jpg
- 6. http://myanimelist.net/character/4963/Yuno_Gasai
- 7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjafuChw3bI
- 8. http://myanimelist.net/character/15449/Shiori_Shiomiya
- 9. http://myanimelist.net/character/38537/Seraphim
- 10. http://myanimelist.net/character/32938/Mio_Isurugi
- 11. http://myanimelist.net/character/36111/Cecilia_Alcott
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