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Tsundere (ツンデレ?, pronounced [tsɯndeɽe]) is a Japanese character development process that describes a person who is initially cold and even hostile towards another person before gradually showing their warm side over time. The word is derived from the terms tsun tsun (ツンツン?), meaning to turn away in disgust, and dere dere (デレデレ?) meaning to become 'lovey dovey'. Originally found in Japanese bishōjo games, the word is now part of the otaku moe phenomenon, reaching into other media such as maid cafes, anime, manga, novels, and even mass media. The term was made popular in the visual novel Kimi ga Nozomu Eien.
Manga author Ken Akamatsu lists tsundere as one of the special cases in his definition of moe: "The person feeling it must be stronger: The object of 'moe' is weak and dependent (like a child) on the person, or is in a situation where she cannot oppose (like a maid)... (*Tsundere only: There will be times where the stronger and weaker role is reversed)." The concept has received increasing attention in Japan, with a tsundere cafe opened in Akihabara[note 1] and tsundere-themed products released (like Tomy Co.'s portable television set),[note 2] and the concept increasingly reflected in recent anime, from an extended discussion of the meaning of the concept and its origin on the Internet in Lucky Star's Lucky Channel segment classifying the characters according to tsundere-ness. Another accepted definition of tsundere is a girl or a guy who has a combative attitude toward others but is also kind on the inside. She usually plays out as having an attitude toward the main character, usually a male, and often criticizing him in one way or another, but as the series progresses she eventually warms up to him or falls in love with him, though usually finds it very hard to admit it or outright denies it in some cases.
Comiket organizer Koichi Ichikawa has described Lum Invader of Urusei Yatsura as being both the source of moe and the first tsundere; figurine sculptor Bome has also cited Lum as an inspiration for his designs. Other anime and manga featuring tsundere include Love Hina, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Bakemonogatari, among many others. Some voice actors, such as Rie Kugimiya, specialize in portraying tsundere, as with the character Taiga Aisaka in Toradora!. In Excel Saga volume 15, Rikdo Koshi defines tsundere as "hard on the outside, soft on the inside" and associates it with character Misaki Matsuya.
Tsundere as a concept is not strictly limited to women, and is not strictly limited to manga or anime. The character Germany from the series Hetalia: Axis Powers is portrayed as being tsundere, and is paired with a "lovable loser", Italy Veneziano. These characters represent their respective countries; thus the implication is that Germany, the country, is tsundere. Tsundere role-play has become a common theme in maid cafés.
- "In Tokyo's Akihabara district there is already reportedly a 'tsundere cafe', and the word 'tsunderera', better rendered in English as 'Tsunderella' due to being highly evocative of Cinderella, was nominated for a prize in the 2006 fashionable word awards, indicating that 'tsundere' culture may become more prominent in the future." February 2, 2007, "Toymaker introduces portable TV with harsh audio guidance that gradually gets kinder" in the Mainichi Times.
- "Toy manufacturer Tomy Co. has come up with the world's first 'tsundere' portable television set, which gives audio guidance with a harsh voice that gradually becomes kinder as the user gets used to the set... 'Tsundere' is a word for a type of feminine personality that is initially uptight and cold, and then kind and loving. It is well known among Japan's otaku community, and ranks in popularity with the word 'moe', which signifies an enthusiasm or fetish for something, especially in connection with anime." February 2, 2007, Mainichi
- Galbraith, Patrick W. (2009). The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan. Kodansha International. pp. 226–227. ISBN 978-4-7700-3101-3.
- Koshi, Rikdo (December 2006). Excel Saga, Volume 15. Viz Media. p. 2, translator's notes (Carl Gustav Horn). ISBN 978-1421508467.
This is an attempt to translate the concept of tsundere (this illustration and the tsundere? slogan appeared on the back of the slipcover on the original Japanese Vol. 15...); a character description sometimes used in dating-sim games. Note that it has been demonstrated previously in Excel Saga that Matsuya has to be virtually be on the brink of death in order to display softness.
- Galbraith, Patrick W. (October 31, 2009). "Moe: Exploring Virtual Potential in Post-Millennial Japan". Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
- "Wednesday Notes... Akamatsu-sensei Talks "Moe"". Matthew's Anime Blog. Anime blogger. July 20, 2005. Archived from the original on March 2, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- Galbraith, Patrick W. (2009). The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan. Kodansha International. p. 44. ISBN 978-4-7700-3101-3.
Lum-chan is the source of moe, the queen. She's the first tsundere character.
- Ruh, Brian (December 14, 2010). "Brain Diving: Otaku, Where Art Thou?". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
- Eisenbeis, Richard (2013-08-20). "How to Identify Popular Japanese Character Types". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
- Isin, Nisio (November 1, 2006). "Hitagi Crab". Bakemonogatari (in Japanese) 1. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-283602-9.
They call my character 'tsundere', don't they?
- 声優アワード：「ツンデレの女王」釘宮理恵さんが主演女優賞に 神谷浩史さん二冠達成 [Seiyu Award: "Tsundere Queen" Rei Kugimiya Gets Starring Actress Award, Hiroshi Kamiya Also Awarded] (in Japanese). Mainichi Shimbun. March 7, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- ツンデレカルタ：「私の気持ちも知らないで...」"女王"釘宮理恵が読み手 緊急発売へ [Tsundere Card Game: 'Please Don't Understand My Feelings' "Queen" Rie Kugimiya as the Reader to be Sold Soon] (in Japanese). Mainichi Shimbun. December 10, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- Martin, Theron (January 15, 2010). "Rie Kugimiya's Fans Wait 25+ Days Outdoors in Taiwan". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
Kugimiya is famous for her tsundere (initially aloof and abrasive, but later kind-hearted) characters such as the title character in Shakugan no Shana, Louise (Zero no Tsukaima), Taiga (Tiger x Dragon), and Nagi (Hayate the Combat Butler).
- Mertin, Theron (September 24, 2010). "Toradora! Volume 1 Premium Edition - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
Though no English dub is present, the Japanese dub does pack some other star power and quality performances, including Rie Kugimiya reasserting her position as the Queen of Tsundere with her performance as Taiga.
- Togashi, J. (2009). ツンデレ属性と言語表現の関係―ツンデレ表現ケーススタディ― [Tsundere expression case study - of a tsundere attribute and the verbalization concerned] (PDF) (in Japanese). Daito Bunka University.