Turning tsundere made me understand them.
Edit: I wrote this like a year ago, and it was supposed to go along with my OreImo review at the time. That review is long gone now, but I figured I could still make something out of my tsundere notes.
I’ve never been into tsundere characters. I’ve never understood the appeal of them. I know people, both online and in real life who adore them. But after watching OreImo, I just couldn’t relate. There’s nothing cute about this violent little girl with a bad mouth.
My history with tsundere characters is simple. My first one was probably Kyou from Clannad, and it took me years before I could understand, and even like her. Once, a long, long time ago, I tried watching an episode of Toradora, but didn’t get past the first five minutes. Watching the girl beat the guy to a pulp wasn’t much entertainment to me. It was only after I saw Steins;Gate, and realised there are different kinds of tsundere, that I finally, came to accept them. Characters like Kurisu and Chitoge became my precious waifus, and I realised they’re not so bad.
Then I decided to watch OreImo, and had to re-evaluate my standpoints. Why are tsundere characters so attractive again?
It was only when I became tsundere myself that it dawned upon me.
Yes, it’s true. I went on a trip with my family, and it might as well have been a trip through hell. I guess I was just in a terrible mood at the time, but as I treated my family members the same way I’d just seen Kirino do to her brother (minus the violence, naturally), I grew to learn more about the archetype.
The conclusion I came to, was why tsundere characters are regarded as cute. When female characters are so (passive) aggressive, it feels like an accomplishment to finally reach their sensitive side. They’re angry most of the time, and you’d never think of them as anything but annoying, when they do show their cute side, it simply takes us aback. We forgive them their flaws, and submit to their newfound attribute.
Another note I took, was how special one must feel, to be the person they’re finally accepting. Whether we’re talking about Type A or Type B, I’m sure it feels like an achievement to have them finally be nice to you. It shows how special you are to her.
Thirdly, hanging out with a tsundere is a bit of a challenge, isn’t it? I could see the mentality of “I can see through your act”-kind of thought process develop in the opposite male character of the tsundere. Perhaps he’s trying to prove something; if he persists, he will in the end be “right.” Or perhaps he’s genuinely just a nice guy who’s trying to look out for the tsundere?
Another question that bugged me, especially after becoming tsundere myself, was why do these characters behave like they do. Why do they feel the need to punch guys in the face, and act like they don’t care about anything? Like nothing matters to them? Again, the answer was starting me in the face.
Tsundereism is simply a form of defence mechanism. It’s a way to make sure you won’t get hurt. By pretending like you don’t care, you might even be able to persuade yourself of that truth, thereby becoming invincible to all the painful and bothersome stuff life throws at you.
Is it the right way to handle things? Probably not, and I suppose that’s why most tsundere girls eventually turn soft. But I wasn’t trying to justify what’s right or wrong, I was simply trying to understand the fascination for this particular character trope. And I guess I have.
So, my dear readers, please tell me about your stand on tsundere girls. Kawai/kawaikunai? Or maybe, I was completely off on my tsundere analysis? Let me know in the comments!