Are you sick of girls who are hot and cold, who give you a headache (and heartache), but still find yourself going back for more sado-maso action each time? Then you could be in love with a tsundere personality! Tsundere is a combination of the terms tsuntsun ツンツン and deredere デレデレ, which mean “behaving in a cold, hostile manner” and “expressing romantic interest in a gentle manner” respectively.
Tsundere characters, in particular pretty teenage girls known as bishoujo 美少女, have captured the hearts of otaku. Countless cries of “Moe!”, the unique noise made by an otaku while gushing and swooning, have been elicited from these passionate and borderline obsessive hobbyists. For those who are not anime or manga freaks (this is meant in a good way!), Helga from the cartoon “Hey Arnold!” is the bona fide western Tsundere type.
Being coy one moment and aloof the next, they surreptitiously manipulate the feelings of the other (willing) party while dangling the carrot of a chance seeing their warm side in the future. The mere potential aspect of being able to “peel the layers of the onion” and get a glimpse of the true (usually kind and beautiful) heart that lies beneath that cool facade seems to have tremendous appeal. Tsunderes are known to hide their true emotions behind a mask of stoicism, with just a hint of irritability. They are hence usually not inclined towards outward expression of love, and may even deny it, oftentimes too vehemently.
In addition, they are sometimes typecast as characters that are uncaring on the surface but are actually soft on the inside, and who only warm up to others with time. The Japanese term for this behavior of being initially shy and aloof, and then slowly getting closer and more intimate, is known as hitomishiri 人見知り. All these add to their bi-polar appeal; who doesn’t like a badass with a heart of gold right?!
There are maid cafes in the nerd town of Osaka, Nipponbashi, that run the tsundere theme and though seemingly odd, they have proven to be quite popular. Head down to get a live enactment of a teenage angst pop culture drama!