5 Common Tsundere Archetypes

Nothing like a good tsundere.. right? Maybe?

One thing I’ve realized in my anime watching career is that I’ve come to understand that there are different types of tsundere, some that I like, and others that I don’t. I used to lump all tsunderes together, and say that I wasn’t a fan of them. Turns out I was just naive, as there are different types and levels of tsundere, some that I like, and others that I don’t.

I know that there are a million different “-dere” archetypes out there, but I’ll just focus on the tsundere in this post. I’m no expert though, so maybe you all have different opinions on this. I may even be overlapping a bit with other “-dere” types with what I write here.

Also, in this post I assume the tsundere is female, because that’s what I most commonly witness in anime. It’s just easier for me to write with this assumption, so that’s what I did. I know that there are male tsundere characters out there as well.

Konobi Usami Mizuki shrug

The Violent Tsundere

Easily embarrassed.
Reacts with violence.

This is the tsundere that made me dislike ALL tsunderes, and is arguably the most severe level of tsundere.

The violent tsundere is the one who won’t hesitate to kick the protagonist’s face in, just from him looking at her. But make no mistake, she still has a crush on him. She just gets so embarrassed at the smallest of interactions, and her initial response when embarrassed is to unleash some serious pain on the protagonist, or whoever happens to embarrass her really.

I’m going to be honest, the violent tsundere just doesn’t make any sense, for multiple reasons. First in regards to the tsundere herself:

Wouldn’t splitting the someone’s head open just ADD to the embarrassment? The reaction is generally so over the top that I feel like this is some sort of disconnect – drawing attention to yourself because you’re embarrassed.

My other concern is from the protagonist’s point of view. Realistically, what kind of guy would continue to associate with a girl who reacts to attention with attempting to murder him? I can only think of two answers – serious masochists, and your typical oblivious harem anime protagonist.

Either way, I’ve always disliked and continue to dislike the violent tsundere. Honestly, violent tsunderes would probably find themselves in jail in the real world. Kudos to any guy with the patience to put up with a constant beating I guess!

violent.jpg

The Verbal Tsundere

Easily embarrassed.
Reacts with words most of the time.

Now, there are different levels of the verbal tsundere, but in this case I’m referring to the type that would still get embarrassed over a pin drop, for some reason. The difference is that the verbal tsundere won’t kick your face in, so cheers for that. Instead, the verbal tsundere will throw any and all sorts of insults and threats your way.

Picture the following scene as an example.

Guy – “Hey, did you finish last night’s homewo-
Girl – *Gets embarrassed*
Girl – “
Kill yourself! Idiot.

Ok maybe that was a little extreme, but I bet there is a character out there that would jump straight to the death threats. The good thing though is that she manages to keep her reactions to words alone, most of the time. The occasional beating is probably still on the cards here and there, in the most embarrassing of situations.

Just like the violent tsundere, I have trouble appreciating the verbal tsundere. Mainly because their reactions would still be considered unwarranted given the situation. The logic of “How embarrassing, I should call him human trash” just doesn’t work for me.

Still, I can’t stress enough how much of a jump it is from the violent to the verbal tsundere. Much appreciated that the verbal tsunderes out there keep it to words alone, letting the guy take the “sticks and stones” approach to the situation. Definitely easier to put up with!

Konobi angry Usami Mizuki

The Protective Tsundere

Gets embarrassed on behalf of others.
Reacts with violence, words.

The protective tsundere is yet another archetype I have trouble enjoying. Essentially the protective tsundere has made it her personal mission to prevent her crush from doing anything embarrassing with any girl. Usually a childhood friend, but bonus points if the protective tsundere isn’t even that acquainted with the protagonist, but still takes on the protective role.

Here’s a situation for this one.
I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out which girl is the protective tsundere.

Guy (To Girl A) – “Hey, did you finish last night’s homework?”
Girl A – “I did. Do you want to see it?”
Girl A – *Moves closer to Guy*

Girl B – *Kicks guy’s face in*
Girl B – “Die, pervert!”
Girl B –
“Girl A, sorry for this pervert’s actions. Are you all right?”
Girl A – “Um.. that’s not..”

As you can see, the protective tsundere has made it her mission to knock some sense into the protagonist whenever he gets close to any girl, and not just her. Deep down, I believe that the protective tsundere just does this in order to keep the protagonist from getting close to other girls. Realistically, I can’t see how this would work, but in the anime world, I guess the logic checks out somehow.

That said, there are times where the protective tsundere will go after the girl as well. Usually if the girl is acting in a provocative manner – but even then, sometimes the guy is still the one who gets the beating / verbal assault.

protective tsundere.jpg

The Friendly Tsundere

Not quite as easily embarrassed.
Reacts based on the situation.

I like the friendly tsundere. Often this level of tsundere takes on the form of a regular friend, old friend, school friend, et cetera. The friendly tsundere is as the name implies – friendly, but still a tsundere.

In other words, she isn’t afraid of interaction with her crush, up to a certain point. An example would be the girl who is fairly knowledgeable when it comes to her crush, and she often will tease him with this knowledge. But if he teases her back, she may or may not attack / insult / get upset with him.

If an embarrassing topic comes up, she will react accordingly.

Basically the difference here is that the friendly tsundere isn’t a one-track tsundere that ALWAYS resorts to violence or nasty insults. She manages to have enough self-control that when she does snap, it feels much more warranted or justified. And that self-control is often thanks to her outward friendly nature.

You could also call this the “moderate tsundere”.
This form is also probably the most common.

makichan.png

The Silent Tsundere

Easily embarrassed.
Reacts by running away and/or silence.

Don’t be fooled by the silent tsundere, it’s definitely a thing. After all, sometimes it’s what you don’t say that is the most impactful, right?

In the case of the silent tsundere, this means running out of the room whenever she is embarrassed, sometimes yelling something like “Idiot!” as she goes. You may be thinking, “how is this a tsundere though?”.

Here’s an example.

Guy – “Hey, did you finish last night’s homewo-”
Girl – *Runs away*
Girl’s Friends – “What did you say to her, you freak?”

See where this is going? The silent tsundere always appears as the victim, because an embarrassed girl running out the room doesn’t exactly seem like an instigator. The fact is that she is overreacting, but the people around may not realize this.

Plus, the guy feels like he is getting the cold shoulder. The more advanced silent tsunderes won’t run, but instead maintain a perfectly calm composure while internally losing it – causing them to either ignore the guy or shut him down with a few choice words.

I don’t mind the silent tsundere, as they can generally lead to some funny situations and misunderstandings. That said, sometimes I feel like the silent tsundere can be a bit frustrating.

Konobi Usami demon eye
I don’t really have a good screencap for this one, so here’s Usami again.

Scarcity

Here’s a quick point I wanted to bring up – is it just me, or are tsunderes becoming more and more scarce in newer anime? It feels like any anime over 10 years old is pretty much guaranteed to have a tsundere character in there somewhere, but I’m not so sure with newer anime.

My theory for this is that the tsundere character archetype has evolved to something that is more subtle and nuanced, making it harder to discern. Not that I have any examples of this. Perhaps I’ve just become so used to tsunderes that I don’t notice them anymore – sort of like how fanservice goes right over my head these days. Or maybe it’s a combination of both of those, which actually seems most likely.

Anyways, that’s just a thought I had.
I’m no tsundere historian.

Well, that’s a lot of writing about tsunderes, and I feel like it only scratches the surface of possibilities. Tsunderes really can range from extremely violent to quite moderate / silent, and they can also change during the course of an anime.

What type of tsundere do you like, if any?

Until next time,
Thank for reading.

9 thoughts on “5 Common Tsundere Archetypes

  1. I do think that the Tsundere is fading out of popularity at the moment and, correct me if I am wrong. Didn’t it pretty much dominate the landscape in the last decade? I reckon that hold has finally started to ebb.

    Which is a shame, cause like all things, Tsunderes that are done well are fun to have. Rin Tohsaka is one great example, she 100% a Tsundere, but that isn’t the period end point of her personality. We need more of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s a bit sad to see the character type fade out of popularity. I feel like almost every anime had a tsundere in it, or at least some form of -dere, back in the day!
      Hopefully we see a comeback of sorts with quality tsundere like Rin in the future.

      Like

  2. The proliferation of harsh and heavily bipolar tsunderes that suddenly turn verbally abusive and/or violent at the drop of a hat can be traced back to Shakugan no Shana, which especially popularized that type of tsundere and led to later examples of the type being sometimes referred to as “Shana Clones.” Those tsunderes in particular really seem to have fallen out of favor in recent years, which I’m happy about because I was never a big fan of it either (Sagiri from Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs is the only new one I’ve run into in the last two years, and she was basically the worst part of the show for me).

    I think the general decline in tsunderes of all types is partly tied to the overall decline in the number of harems and visual novel romance adaptations being made, since that was a staple archetype of both genres. And the light novel market, which also went through its own tsundere phase in the mid-2000s (with series like Shana, Toradora, etc.) is of course currently dominated by isekai power fantasies, which don’t tend to use that type of character. It’s hard to make your almighty Gary Stu MC look like a world-conquering badass if his slave girl is launching him into orbit whenever he embarrasses her!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you watch Shana? Was it good? I remember looking at it a long time ago, but never gave it a try.

      That’s a good point, I always forget VNs are a thing. And honestly, I wouldn’t mind a tsundere in isekai haha.

      Like

      1. No, I haven’t. Out of Rie Kugimiya’s “Four Tsundere Wonders” roles (in Shana, Familiar of Zero, Toradora, and Hayate), the only show I’ve seen is Toradora, which is one of my all-time favorites. But Taiga is closer to a deconstruction of that type of character (and just a much more complex character in general) than your bog-standard violent tsundere, especially in the novels. The anime played up the slapstick angle a bit more.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I may just check it out sometime just out of curiosity. I’ve seen the other three, and yep they all have the “classic” tsundere, although I agree with your take on Taiga.
        I actually tried to rewatch Zero no Tsukaima at one point and couldn’t do it, just too irritating to watch a guy get knocked around while doing nothing wrong.

        Like

  3. Pingback: Must-read Monthly Monday (May 2019 ed.) – The Animanga Spellbook

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