Tsundere (ツンデレ) is a term in anime and manga otaku moe culture. It is a character trait given to those who express alternating feelings of hatred and love for a particular character, often one who is their secret love interest or crush. The usage of tsundere has expanded beyond its literal definition, however, and it now generally describes any character that has alternating hot-cold feelings for another person or group of people, whether those be of platonic, romantic or familial relationships. Typical of the tsundere character is that they will stutter or stammer and often blush in embarrassment when they are challenged on their feelings or when a particular act of kindness is pointed out.
The word "tsundere" is a portmanteau of the Japanese terms "tsun tsun" (turning away in disgust) and "dere dere" (lovey-dovey feelings).
The term was originally found in Bishōjo dating sims and was made popular through the PC adaptation of the visual novel adventure game Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. Since then, it has become a popular term within anime culture to define a wide array of characters that display traits, attitudes, behaviors or actions that exemplify or are similar to the tsundere archetype.
As a Meme
On 4chan's /a/ (anime) board, tsundere is an oft-used term to describe the users and even the board itself, as some popular animes, such as Lucky Star, are publicly shunned despite the fact that most users have watched the show. In its memetic usage, tsundere threads may appear, demanding that the following posters take up tsundere mannerisms. Tsundere behavior on forum boards and in internet communities is prevalent even outside of such threads, although most examples are found to be sarcastic or in jest, rather than being of a genuine tsundere character.
The term is also frequently referenced in more traditional memes, such as a post from Redditor DIOgenes_123 on February 10th, 2019, to the /r/Animemes subreddit (seen below), which received over 20,000 upvotes and 178 comments in six months.
The opposite of a tsundere, a "yandere" is a person who is madly in love with another and will attach themselves in an often psychopathic way to their love interest. Often the love is not returned, and the yandere will turn to extreme measures to try and win the heart of their target, going as far as murder in the most severe cases.
Japanese voice actress Rie Kugimiya is famous for her multiple roles over time in tsundere character types, in particular, she showed up in Hayate no Gotoku!, Shakugan no Shana, Zero no Tsukaima and Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka between 2005 and 2009. She has played the role of tsundere so frequently in her career that her fans have titled her the "Queen of Tsundere." She has also lent her voice to the character Ashley Banks in the Japanese dub of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Beth from the Total Drama series.
Tsundere Maiden Cafés
Cosplay cafés are a common sight in Japan where the entire staff dresses in a particular fashion for the added environment of guests. However, a new trend in these cafés includes not only the appearance but also the attitude of the servers. In these "tsundere maid cafes" the staff will treat the customer harshly and in a rude manner, alternating between that and bashful kindness.
Various Examples From Anime
Taiga – Toradora
Known as the "Palmtop Tiger" for her snappish ways, Taiga refuses to let any boy get close to her and often turns down relationships when others open up their hearts to her. She ends up regretting this later for a boy named Yūsaku Kitamura, who she actually does like.
Kagami – Lucky Star
Constantly attempting to hide the fact that she has a deep sense of attachment to her friends, Kagami will often poke fun at others, especially Konata, and can sometimes appear to be a bully.
Louise – Zero no Tsukaima
Ashamed of Saito, her familiar, Louise initially treats him with extreme disdain, acting as if he were less than a dog. She eventually develops feelings for Saito and begins to jealously guard him against other people.
Shana – Shakugan no Shana
Initially, Shana treats Yuji as a physical object, rather than a person because of his status as a Mystes. Eventually, she opens up to him, developing jealousy and a desire to spend time around him.
Misato – Nichijou
Misato attempts to hide her secret crush on Koujirou Sasahara by attacking him with an arsenal of weaponry which she is capable of summoning out of nowhere. Misato often follows Sasahara, picking up his trash, ironing his handkerchiefs, and scolding him for throwing away things in the street.