Jeremy enjoys anime when not working as a chemist or building manager.
What is a Tsundere?
The word tsundere (pronounced tsoon-deh-reh) combines tsuntsun (agitable) and deredere (admiring), referring to characters who flip between these attitudes. The term can apply to either gender in any media, but often describes girls in anime.
Writers generally utilize tsunderes by having their irritable moments played for laughs, with their softer side saved for drama and often romance—which most stuck with us? These are the ten most notorious female tsundere in anime!
Ash's original traveling companion flips between kind and sassy in any given conversation. Like many of today's characters, it's justified by her frustrations with the protagonist's immaturity and carries hints of romantic subtext.
Nonetheless, while Misty bickers with Ash in most episodes, every so often she reveals hints of her care, like when she asks him to dance and gets jealous over other girls.
Anime: Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
Main character of her underrated series, Nadia is moral yet socially inept and prone to outbursts, leading to classic tsundere moments with her romance interest, Jean. Still, she's one of today's best-written characters, and her complex past explains many of her actions—just don't tick her off too much, Jean.
Sakura offers an interesting tsundere example because the dual elements of the term are reflected in her relationships with her fellow team 7 members. Towards Naruto, she's noticeably harsh and critical (tsun), while she constantly dotes (dere) on Sasuke.
Sadly, Sakura fails to keep up with the ever-growing strength of her companions, leading to her being called one of anime's most useless characters.
7. Kallen Kōzuki
Anime: Code Geass
Like Sakura, we see different facets of Kallen's personality from her interactions with different characters—or people she thinks are different. Towards protagonist Lelouch, she's belligerent and sometimes violent, but falls for his alter-ego Zero, not realizing they're the same person.
Thankfully, unlike Sakura, Kallen's combat abilities impress, with her easily being among the best Knightmare Frame pilots.
Anime: Dragon Ball Z
Both fans and actual in-universe characters like to joke that Goku's wife scares him far more than the planet-destroying villains he faces. ChiChi seems near constantly angered at her husband, despite the importance of his world-saving behavior. To be fair, he leaves her to provide for the family, is gone for years at a time to train, and drags their young son into his battles.
But despite her agitation, at heart ChiChi loves Goku and understands his Saiyan nature, faithfully remaining by his side and maintaining their house despite the quirks of the relationship.
Anime: Black Lagoon
Rebecca Lee is today's most nihilistic, aggressive woman, and not just towards her maybe-love interest Rock. Merciless, sarcastic, and undeniably violent, Revy leans towards tsun more than dere, but her troubled past gives new insight into her seemingly-apathetic character.
Despite literally trying to kill Rock more than once, Revy slowly but surely grows remnants of a conscience, making her rare sincere moments all the more precious.
Anime: One Piece
Thief and navigator among the Straw Hat Pirates, Nami's utilizes a staff and climate-related powers in combat, but she's more renowned for her unpredictable outbursts. When her crewmates joke around, Nami overreacts in amusingly aggressive fashion, grounding them back to reality.
Still, despite her temper, she mellows somewhat after the time-skip and occasionally shows her appreciation of the flirtatious Sanji.
3. Asuka Langley Soryu
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Despite debuting later than other cast members, Asuka quickly seizes NGE's main heroine role. Her budding feelings/conflicts with fellow pilot Shinji Ikari demonstrate humanity's despair and love for each other, a big theme of the show.
Intelligent and talented, Asuka acts arrogant and bratty towards the more-passive Shinji, but secretly wants him to take the initiative in their relationship. Her catchphrase towards him "What are you, stupid?" highlights her aggression, but maybe, just maybe, there's hope for the pair.
2. Rin Tohsaka
Anime: Fate/stay night
Master of Archer and mentor to Shirou regarding the Holy Grail War, Rin acts prim and proper at school, but quickly reveals her shrew-like demeanor. Nonetheless, in spite of her bossiness, she becomes a staunch ally and even romance in the Unlimited Bladeworks route.
1. Makise Kurisu
Anime: Stein's Gate
In both the visual novel and anime of Stein's Gate, Kurisu and protagonist Okabe are defined by their constant teasing of each other, every exchange a verbal battle of wits and taunts. Okabe administers several nicknames to "Christina", one literally being tsundere.
Yet it's a dynamic both parties enjoy, and Okabe recognizes and appreciates Kurisu for her genius mind and steadfast devotion; when reality itself unravels, Kurisu provides his best chance at fixing the timeline.
Tsundere in Other Media
Anime presents many tsundere thanks to is Japanese roots, but character in other media also fit the description. Examples include Helga Pataki in cartoon Hey Arnold!, Bastila Shan in video game Knights of the Old Republic, and Colette in Ratatouille.
Depending on context, the term can be either an insult or a compliment, and remember it can apply to men too. But for now, vote for your favorite tsundere and I'll see you at our next anime countdown!
© 2021 Jeremy Gill