Anime Cliches 2 : Modern Tsundere

Type:Character Cliché

What Made it Popular:Neon Genesis Evangelion, the titular character, Asuka Langley Sohryu

Cliche Level:Extremely High

Where encounter it:  They are very frequent starting from the 2000, with each seasons having several tsundere characters, but you can find it even in the period of 1995-2000, although not as overused

Description:I must first mention that tsunderes can be divided into 2 primary categories. One of them is the Classic Tsundere the other is Modern Tsundere. Most people don’t even know about the existence of classic tsundere since their appearance in anime is much sparse compared to their modern counterparts,they are most of the time refined and intelligent ladies who are not true to their feelings and taunt other characters with their superior intellect and sarcastic remarks, almost never resort to physical violence, such barbaric acts are out of the question for them. Unlike the modern tsundere that you see most of the time in anime ,who are complete bitches with limited intelligence that are so mentally challenged that they have to beat the crap out of their love interest 24/7 since that is the only way these lobotomies are apparently capable of expressing their feelings. They also tend to say such cliché and overused lines like: “D-don’t misunderstand,I-it’s not like that baka, baka” and so on.

Examples of Classic Tsundere: Tohno Akiha, Rin Tohsaka ( Not as applicable to the new UBW adaptation)

Examples of Modern Tsundere: Asuka, Taiga, Shana etc.

Why are they bad:Modern tsunderes are probably the most frequent female character archetype in anime, they are so numerous that if you were to pick 10 random anime, you are likely to find at least 1 or 3 tsundere characters in them. Pretty much everyone who has watched a certain amount of anime  are sick of tsunderes by now, to the point that even the term tsundere is often used as a negative connotation.It was originally fine with Asuka to be honest, as she was a good character who had a thoroughly evaluated psychological reason for her behavior. But most of the later incarnations of tsundere  characters drove the characteristics of Asuka to stupid levels that made most of them unrealistic which is bad considering a large amount of them appear in shows that try to be serious. Not to mention that none of the later incarnations ever managed to be as good or as detailed as Asuka was as a character, they often came off as shallow or superficial when they tried to the same psychological trauma or event back story. While others pander to the slapstick joke lovers with them constantly beating up the love interest and the masochistic males those are pretty much the only kinds of people that aren’t bored of them now.



One comment on “Anime Cliches 2 : Modern Tsundere

  1. This sums up pretty well how I feel about this one cliché. To be honest, from my perspective, if a given anime female can be labeled as any sort of “Dere”, that’s by itself a medium to large decrement for her character, depending on what Dere she is, because each kind of Dere is quite specific and therefore predictable, often shallow and one-dimensional. Due to their prominence, you are bound to see almost identical fictional girls uttering almost identical lines across different anime of various genres (and even possibly having the same voice!).

    But then, people have a strange attraction towards these characters, mainly the one described in the article, going as far as celebrating when they jump into a new anime and identify one of the characters as a Dere. Although the “new cool” nowadays is that wacky “self-awareness” made popular by Shaft’s Monogatari; you know, deliberately putting a Tsundere on your show and either making herself or another character say out loud that she’s a Tsundere as if that made things any better (it does in a lot of people’s minds, though).

    It is pretty hard to make a believable and decent background for characters of this kind, in the same way that people who act Tsundere-ish in real life are hard to understand. Asuka from Evangelion was a pretty nice character, but the later incarnations didn’t really get her depth and decided that what made her a good character was her most superficial traits. Like you said they exaggerate the “Tsun-Dere” dynamic and often just handwave that she might be like this ’cause she has problems with her family or something, and that’s if they give her any background at all.

    Again, what confuses me the most is how this cliché is so popular among anime fans. Because if I met in real life a girl that acted just like Taiga or Louise I’d find her straight up petty and annoying. But now that I think about it, a lot of people do like the idea of a relationship in which the two parts “hate each other” and engage on a slap-kiss routine, although this doesn’t sounds like it would work realistically. Also, Double Standards: it’s funny and cute because it’s a girl kicking a boy’s ass for totally trivial reasons. Flip the genders and the general public probably won’t like your work very much…


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