"Oh, Arnold, how I love you. And yet I hate you! And yet I love you. And yet I hate you! And yet I LOVE you."The Japanese term tsundere refers to a character who "runs hot and cold", alternating between two distinct moods: tsuntsun (aloof or irritable) and deredere (lovestruck). The term was originally used to describe characters who began with a harsh outgoing personality, but slowly revealed a soft and vulnerable interior over time. Over the years the character archetype has become flanderized, and is now generically associated with a character who flips between the two emotional states at the slightest provocation, and usually at a specific person rather than a general sociability problem. The tsuntsun can range from the "silent treatment" to "lovestruck kindergartener who pushes you into the sandbox." The reasons behind a Tsundere's behavior vary widely, but usually boil down to the conflict between their feelings of affection towards a love interest, and their reaction to having those feelings. The Tsundere stock characterization is very popular with writers of Romantic Comedy because the conflicts between the two personality facets can be easily utilized to generate both drama and comedy. It also acts as a source of Wish Fulfillment: specifically, the idea that every independent, hardened and just plain jerkish love interest (male or female) has a squishy emotional centre that will embrace you after you crack the outer shell. Tsundere can be divided into two main categories, depending on their default mood:
— Helga Pataki, Hey Arnold!
- Harsh (or Tsun): These Tsundere have tsuntsun as their default mood. It takes someone special to trigger their deredere side. The intensity of the tsuntsun can range from "I must glare and fight my way through life" (Louise of The Familiar of Zero) to grumpy pessimism (Kagami of Lucky☆Star). It's about which part of the tsundere personality is the public face and which the hidden. If the Tsundere is The Rival, she is more likely to be Harsh. Helping a rival out is usually accompanied by a line like "Don't get me wrong, I'm not doing this for you."
Harsh types can overlap with a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but usually not. The moods of a Tsundere tend to switch in reaction to the actions of select people or adverse scenarios; the deredere side usually only comes out when someone has acted in a way to trigger it. A Jerk with a Heart of Gold is jerkish in general regardless of whether the other person is mean or nice, and shows their Hidden Heart of Gold only when the situation warrants, regardless of how the other person had been acting. Male characters in particular should be considered for Jerk with a Heart of Gold status, as arguably because of Double Standards, men are generally that instead of tsundere, although the kuudere subtype is more equally split in gender. Oranyan is sometimes used to refer to a male tsundere character - incorrectly since it means the complete opposite.
- Sweet (or Dere): These Tsundere have deredere as their default mood. They are sweet, kind and generous, but just happen to have a hidden violent side as well. In this case, temper is almost always triggered by someone or something else, usually a Love Interest. Either they have Belligerent Sexual Tension, are an Accidental Pervert, or just have no idea how to handle feelings of love and attraction. May also overlap with Violently Protective Girlfriend if her Love Interest is threatened or in danger.
Sweet types should not be confused with a Yandere. If a Sweet Tsundere were really convinced that their Love Interest didn't want them, they would revert back to the deredere side and probably enter an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy phase, while Yanderes are Not Good with Rejection at all and have been known to get downright murderous under such circumstances.
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