Skip navigation

[I will be going on a brief vacation this weekend. Stop checking for updates after Thursday, but please start checking for updates again when the next week starts. I will come home eventually.]

Gather round, friends, so that I might tell you a tale. A long time ago, there existed a mysterious and magical creature. She was known.. as the Tsundere. Yes, friends, a girl who lashed out angrily at those she loved because she didn’t know how better to express her affections. It was a magical sort of thing, the Tsundere. It warmed the heart to look upon. The love was somehow kept purer inside its shell of physical and emotional abuse.

Alas, the Tsundere is all but extinct. In its place, my friends, we find the Tsuntsun. A creature with no dere worth finding, the Tsuntsun is a ball of hatred and abuse. The Tsuntsun is magical in its own way, though. It has the mysterious power to be likable by characters within the show, despite giving nothing but pain and misery. The other characters will put up witha Tsuntsun’s bullshit and even fall in love with it, despite it never offering any sort of incentive to do so! Indeed, a Tsuntsun will punish affection! You care about my well being?! *BOOM! KICK TO THE NUTS!*

I’m tired of the obligatory Tsundere character being thrown into an anime. More often than not, it turns out it is actually a Tsuntsun in disguise. The Dere is an extremely important part! The dere is what makes them something other than a mean-spirited bitch. We tolerate the Tsun because it enhances our perception of the dere. The character becomes their own foil. We aren’t here for the Tsun! The Tsun is only part of it!

Hell, two of my favorite Tsunderes AREN’T EVEN ANIME CHARACTERS. That speaks for the quality of Tsundere as a universal concept, not just a Japanese concept… but it also says something about the quality of recent Tsundere characters. No Tsundere comes to mind that can top the Tsundere power of Helga Pataki or Viconia DeVir. These were western characters designed by guys who probably hadn’t even HEARD the word Tsundere, yet they captured the spirit so well!

The dere part was absolutely essential to both of these characters. They had dere moments, moments of weakness where the Tsun front fell away and revealed the dere core. Now remember, this is absolutely essential here, the Tsun has to be a front and it has to fall away. The Tsun isn’t an armored shell, it is a curtain. With the modern Tsuntsun, we are shown glimpses of Dere-like activity within an overall tsun context. Taiga can be nice inbetween beatings. I tried to get my mother to watch Toradora, but she couldn’t. She didn’t understand why the little girl kept being so mean to the nice boy. She was overly mean to him for no discernible reason.

“Oh, but that’s just because she has feelings for him!”

But wait… what about the beginning of the series, when she didn’t know him from Adam’s Housecat?

“She had feelings that other guy and she was projecting that awkwardness onto him because he was related?”

How about shes just a mean bitch who is cold and hurtful to everyone in the world except her best friend and her crush? That doesn’t make her a tsundere… that makes her a mean bitch! It isn’t that Tsunderes lack human affection, it is that they DON’T KNOW HOW TO EXPRESS IT!

Now, Helga Pataki, on the other hand, is a strong-willed and popular kid in school. She is often in a leader position and comes off as “cool” and “strong” to the other kids… but she teases Arnold. Note, she teases ARNOLD. I don’t recall Helga being a mean bitch to the average person on the street. Ah, but then she has the dere moments. She will steal away, whip out her little Arnold locket and gush out the dere. She can’t say it to his face, it would kill her! But boy can she gush to that locket. Ah, and here comes the mouth-breather with the glasses! A witness. Tsun kicks in. She doesn’t have anything in particular against this mouth-breather, but she punches him. He knows her true heart when even the one she loves doesn’t and that is too embarrassing for a Tsundere to allow to pass without physical violence. I mean, she isn’t trying to kill him with a wooden sword while he sleeps or anything. One quick punch.

Viconia DeVir is a beautiful bundle of intimacy issues! You rejoin her in Baldur’s Gate II tied to a stake and about to be burned alive for being a dark-elf. Even good characters in your party beg you to save her! (Minsc and Boo can not let the pretty elf be burned by a mob!) You can romance her if you are a male human, elf or half-elf… but the romance mostly starts off with her talking about all the bad things shes done. She is testing the waters, seeing if you are going to push her away. Then, she sleeps with you. The next morning she gives you the cold shoulder when you offer affection. She tells you that everything she told you before was a lie and that she actually just slept with everyone in order to get her way. She practically begs you to reject her, but it’s all a ruse. She is just afraid of acceptance. If you don’t turn her away there, eventually she caves. She even says “I raise my white flag… you win.” It is almost a defeat for her, to have someone know that she has these vulnerable feelings.

So, if we were to analyze Viconia’s behavior, we would note that it follows a pattern! Tsun. Dere. Tsun. Dere. Interesting! Now, if we compare that to a 26 episode series with a Tsundere main character….

Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Dere. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Dere. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Dere. Tsun. Tsun. Tsun. Dere. Dere. Dere. Tsun.

What. The. Crap.

Advertisements

10 Comments

  1. Oh, Jordan is going to have a fit when he sees this one.

  2. I can’t really speak for anime, given the cultural disconnect that would inevitably be involved, but something tells me this goes somewhat in line with the current trend in American media (read: video games) that women that are devoid of positive emotion are somehow less “strong” than others.

    Somehow I see a counter argument being that popular male characters have the same situation, being walking testosterone factories of war and hate, but the same problem remains in that situation as well: You just have a hateful character with no redeeming qualities.

    Perhaps it’s penance for years of somehow forgetting that women had actual feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and so forth, but I feel we’ve swung too far in that regard.

    • Women don’t have “feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and so forth” unless they involve the kitchen… At least that’s what I tell your mom whe- well you know the rest… Can I borrow a nickel, I’ve got some spare time and she could use the money…

      Mindless violence is just mindless… No fun…

      But saying a woman is stronger because she love’s isn’t a stretch… She’s more open to flinging herself into all sorts of danger, and if she lives she’ll be stronger for it… But hate is the opposite type of inspiration… It’ll drive you to do the same… I think the real problem is women who don’t show strong emotions one way or another, and that is weakness…
      Peace is a lie; there is only passion.
      Through passion; I gain strength.
      Through strength; I gain power.
      Through power; I gain victory.
      Through victory; My chains are broken.
      The Force shall set me free.

      So I would agree with you that it is wrong to say that only positively passionate women are strong, but also say that apathetic women are weak. So I don’t know if that is the trend or not, but maybe re-evaluation would be necessary if we find that the women in question are not passionate about anything.

      But of course this extends to men as well…

      But this still means that those who mindlessly throw themselves in front of wars to be consumed by the hate and fury are still mindless violence machines that don’t follow the true path of a well rounded character. Your hate can be physical, but structure is needed to insure survival of the ideals. You must be cunning, swift, powerful, and intelligent to do well in strife. A well rounded character has a goal, strong suits, weaknesses, and passion. If we see mary-sue characters that blow shit up good without real reason, then what is the point to the violence? What is being said or done? What ideal are we promoting and how will it remain?

      So yeah, I dunno, I’ve seen weak characters like this…

  3. I still maintain that Asuka is a good example of a tsundere. She picks on no one but Shinji to try to get him to act. To which he responds by hiding in his shell. To which she responds with picking on him more. . .

    • To which he responds by strangling her!

  4. Hey… hey… She was mean spirited, yeah, but you’re taking it all at face value. This shit is deeper than that. She is emotionally immature and doesn’t know how to express herself in most ways. Also, she has a bad relationship with her father and her new stepmother. The only man in her life has lied to her about being on time for things and appearing when he should, this created the hard shell of “bitch-ness” that we see. This was perpetuated through her life and now when she starts having these strong emotional feelings for other men, she treats them with distance and disdain because all she has ever known is someone that distanced her. Now, the first night that Ryuuji “finds out” about Taiga’s feelings for what’s his face, she reacts in a secretive and violent manner because she can’t have anyone know about her feelings because she isn’t suppose to be weak like that. It all stems from her poor relationship with her father. As the story continues, we see that the two continue to work together, eat together, talk and such to get their respective significant others. This is the juvenile type of affection that first crushes usually are and is the starting point for emotional growth. Mostly superficial, child-like. After the time they spend together, they begin to have feelings for each other, which is finally expressed in the last few episodes in a semi-childish way which then matures right at then end (Seriously, running off and living together? Get real…). Now you are saying that the in between the obvious Tsun parts, there are no Dere, but I don’t believe this to be true. There are many instances when she expresses her emotion more towards the Dere side, though you still see her acting as a Tsun. You’ve drawn the line too far for this emotional deep/damaged girl and thus aren’t seeing the real parts. “Oh no, she didn’t throw her arms around him and suck face after the first 5 episodes, and then back off like a cold hearted bitch again? Well, she’s just a bitch.” She’s trying to emotionally mature herself to the point of accepting the love and public emotion of another and this process can be quite long, especially given her past experiences. She DOES have those extreme Dere moments though, expressed where the should be: at the end. This is a story about a boy and girl growing the fuck up and dealing with how they feel. Both have hardships to overcome, both need a maturing relationship. I’m sorry that she didn’t psychotically switch her hot/cold switch every 2 episodes. I find those characters annoying… HOT/cold/HOT/cold/HOT/warm/cool/ICE/BLAZING SUNS/ABSOLUTE ZERO… What does this even say about the character? That she can’t make up her mind, but acts in a more dramatic, extreme way.

    Taiga loves that guy, and if you hurt him, if you say something bad about him, if you smart off about shit that’s not your business, she’ll fuck you up sideways, frontways, backways and seven ways from Sunday.

    You demand too much from your Schizophrenic Tsundere archetypes. There is dere, you just have to look past the small tsuns… It’s hiding, right behind her blushing cheeks and scowling features. You might call that sadomasochism, but I think you would be wrong. Ryuuji’s not enjoying the hate, but he can just see how she really feels and doesn’t afraid of anything. You give too little credit to the slow build of emotional maturity that ends in the huge Dere climax. She’s violent and brash, but she still has her soft side…

    I’m done ranting… mostly…

    • When I say “This is the juvenile type of affection that first crushes usually are and is the starting point for emotional growth.” I am talking about the crushes they have on the pink haired bitch and what’s his face, not each other… I don’t learn there names because they are worthless to me…

      • I rooted for Ami right up until the ending credits of the last episode.

        I’m liking the Tsundere main character for Kaicho wa Maid-Sama. mmmm Tsundere Maid…

        • Jordan
        • Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:58 pm
        • Permalink

        I don’t think Ami was a good choice, she’d just use him to get something for her, but he doesn’t get anything from the relationship…

      • *shrug* About as much as he gets from the little violent one… truth be told, all 3 of them were pretty poor choices. The best option wasn’t an option sadly… the student council president.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: