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WHAT IS A TSUNDERE WAIFU?

“Ba-baka! It’s not like I like you or anything!”

Sound familiar? If you’ve recently immersed yourself in the realm of anime, it’s likely you’ve encountered these precise words—or something similar—spoken by an adorable waifu or husbando in a series. If this resonates with you on a profound level, rest assured: you’re not the only one.

You find yourself drawn to a tsundere, and it could be beneficial to thoroughly explore one of the most popular character archetypes in order to gain a better understanding of your current situation.

HOT AND COLD

Tsundere, a blend of two distinct attributes, namely „tsun tsun“ and „dere dere,“ is a character archetype that warrants a closer exploration. „Tsun tsun“ refers to the act of turning away in disgust or anger, while „dere dere“ signifies a display of affection. Essentially, being a tsundere entails exhibiting contrasting hot and cold behavior, which may make sense to the character but not necessarily to the viewers.

The term can function as both a noun and an adjective. A person can be referred to as a tsundere or described as having tsundere qualities. Generally, it is used as a meta-descriptor for fictional characters, rather than something a character would explicitly state about another character. If such a description is used, it is often for comedic or self-aware purposes.

Tsundere characters, due to their history, upbringing, or personality, are individuals who viewers can perceive as caring deeply about the object of their affection/disgust. However, they go to great lengths to conceal these feelings by pretending to be rude, indifferent, or even borderline abusive.

They may exhibit subtle signs, such as blushing, stealing glances, and a racing heart, only to swiftly suppress these emotions at a moment’s notice.

Their reluctance to reveal their true feelings to their crush or anyone else, keeping them hidden within themselves, can stem from a desire to maintain secrecy. Many such characters also engage in denial, despite their feelings being evident to any observant onlooker.

ORIGIN OF TSUNDERE

Although the term „tsundere“ has been widely used in the anime fandom for many years, its origin reportedly dates back to discussions among players on an online forum.

Junichi Togashi, a researcher from the Department of Japanese Literature at Daito Bunka University, traced the term’s roots in a paper, with thanks to Tofugu, to a comment made about the adult visual novel Rumbling Hearts. In August 2002, a user expressed their admiration for the character Ayu Daikuuji, describing how enjoyable it was to interact with her by stating that „tsun tsun dere dere is good.“

Months later, the term was abbreviated to „tsundere“ during discussions about the character Haruhi Sakuma in another visual novel called Cosmos no Sora Ni. It quickly gained popularity as a buzzword within the online dating sim community.

EXAMPLES OF TSUNDERE

Whether we embrace it or not, tsunderes have become one of the most prevalent character archetypes, particularly in romantic comedies. In a classic „will-they-won’t-they“ scenario, tsunderes serve as ideal characters to prolong the progression of a series, introducing conflicts that generate drama and tension.

While there exists a range of tsunderes with varying degrees of „hot“ and „cold“ behavior, they typically maintain normal relationships with others and only exhibit this personality when interacting with their love interest. Most tsunderes undergo a transformation over time, gradually embracing their „dere“ side without any embarrassment or awkwardness.

Although this personality type is more commonly associated with women, there are plenty of male characters in anime (and wider fiction) who also embody these traits, showcasing their unique blend of masculinity.

The tsun to dere scale is broad enough that numerous characters feel distinct rather than merely following a trope. Some of the most famous tsunderes include:

  1. Kaguya Shinomiya – Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
  2. Asuka Langley Soryu – Neon Genesis Evangelion
  3. Rin Tohsaka – Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
  4. Taiga Aisaka – Toradora!
  5. Nino Nakano – The Quintessential Quintuplets
  6. Inuyasha – Inuyasha
  7. Kyo Sohma – Fruits Basket
  8. Misaki Ayuzawa – Maid-Sama
  9. Kagura – Gintama
  10. Chitoge Kirisaki – Nisekoi
  11. Misaki Ayuzawa – Maid Sama!

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