So, this is totally going to be a regular thing… I suppose these posts are a complement to my Beginners Guide to Otome Games posts, particularly the one on Common Character Archetypes in Otome Games. There I give a very general rundown of the most common character archetypes that appear in otome games with a few examples of characters that fit each trope. But, I kinda wanted to do individual posts on each archetype and now here we are with the second post in this series. Last time around I covered my least favorite character archetype, the obsessive and possessive, Yandere. Which you can check out by clicking the link: ‘Crazy for You?: 5 Otome Game Yandere’.
This time around I wanted to shake things up and cover one of my favorite character archetypes, the delightfully hot and cold tsundere characters!!
The Basics: What is Tsundere?
Tsundere is a term derived from the terms tsun tsun (ツンツン), meaning to turn away in disgust, and dere dere (デレデレ) meaning to become ‘lovey dovey’. These characters tend to be cold and hostile towards the heroine at first, but gradually warms up to her, becoming much more affectionate as time passes. Tsundere characters are known to switch between their hot and cold personalities at the drop of a dime, most notably when embarrassed. However, when the heroine is able break down their walls, most tsunderes are sweethearts.
Part of the appeal of tsundere characters is slowly getting them to let their guard down and open up to the heroine. They are very similar to kuudere types, in that they can be a bit cold and aloof at first, and can come off as callous. Sometimes a tsundere will go too far and accidentally hurt their heroine’s feelings. However, when they realize how much their actions are hurting those around them, they are usually quick to apologize (even if their attempts are a bit clumsy/awkward). Most tsundere are inexperienced with love and have trouble fully expressing their newfound complicated emotions, which leads them to give off mixed messages. But when a tsundere does fall in love, they are very devoted to their heroine.
Takuto Hirukawa – Love Letter From Thief X
Takuto Hirukawa is a hacker and a thief from the Voltage Inc. game Love Letter From Thief X. He like the rest of the love interests in the game is a member of the Black Foxes, a group of Robin Hood like international art thieves. He’s is extremely confident in his abilities as a hacker, capable of cracking any security system in a matter of minutes. Takuto can be a bit harsh, and is quick to insult anyone that get’s within a foot of him, even his close friends are not immune to his foul mouth and his first interactions with the heroine are marked by cold indifference. He’s an expert shade thrower, telling mean spirited jokes usually directed towards the team’s boss, Atsumu. But, really Takuto is just lonely and insecure, since he’s never really had much experience with other people.
Takuto is the perfect example of a tsundere character done right! What really makes tsundere characters so exciting is their ability to grow and change as they become more confident in themselves and their relationship. I love how much he has grown as a character from his Main Story in Season 1 to his Wedding Sequel in Season 3. You can really see how much he has matured over the years as a direct result of his relationship with the MC. Once the heroine manages to get close to him he lets his guard down and becomes a devoted and loyal lover. He will stop at nothing to protect the heroine and his attempts to woo her are clumsy and a bit awkward, but he means well. He never truly gets rid of his foul mouth, but it doesn’t have the same bite when he’s a sputtering, blushing mess.
Takeru Sasazuka – Collar x Malice
Takeru Sasazuka is a hacker that originally worked for the Cyber Crimes Division, so he’s the intel guy of the group regularly hacking into the police database for updates on the X-Day cases. He is extremely confident in his abilities to the point of arrogance, and he makes sure everyone knows he’s the smartest person in the room. There is a thin line between kuudere and tsundere, and Takeru is one of those characters that could easily fall into either category depending on the situation. Takeru is downright hostile towards Ichika, bordering on asshole, giving her the nickname “dumb cat” and taking every opportunity to point out just how lacking she is when compared to the rest of Yanagi’s team.
His constant nitpicking and berating of Ichika can be a bit frustrating, but his love of sweets definitely softens his saltier personality. When he does start to fall for Ichika he becomes much more protective of her, and even tries to secretly help her out in his own heavy handed way. Takeru is slow to show his true feelings, but there were a few cute moments between him and Ichika that show he isn’t as cold-hearted as he pretends to be.
I am kicking myself for waiting so long to jump on the Collar x Malice hype train. This is by far my favorite localization release to date!
Kyosuke Mikoshiba – Storm Lover Kai
Kyosuke is a second year at St. Louis High and classmate of Yuna. He acts like everything is a huge annoyance, but he can’t ignore a person in need and is usually roped into helping Yuuta with Student Council activities. Kyosuke is a hard working and always takes everything he does seriously, earning him top marks on almost every exam. He’s a man of action often leaping to aid others without a second thought, though he has a hard time expressing himself. When he gets overwhelmed Kyosuke likes to put on his headphones and “tune out” the rest of the world. He’s often misunderstood because of his looks, since he does look like a bit of a delinquent, but he’s a well-meaning guy.
He is a token tsundere—hot tempered and brash—but he is such a sweetheart—quick to blush when embarrassed. He saves a cat that gets stuck in a tree and later, is seen playing with the kitty in the schoolyard and even spends a good bit of time looking for someone willing to adopt the cat. Kyosuke is the youngest in his family and is often put upon by his older sisters, who delight in teasing him every chance they get. Because none of his sisters can cook, Kyosuke has taken on a househusband role in the family cooking and cleaning for the household and he’s actually really good at it too. He even makes Yuna a homemade bento box and he is a cute blushing mess when he gives it to her.
I am a sucker for high school romance stories, no matter how cheesy and cliché they are, I always find myself captivated by the innocence of the stories…
Ulrik Ferrie – Steam Prison
Ulrik is one of the men Cryus meets when she is sent to the Depths. He serves as an informant for Eltcreed, who treats him like a younger brother. He is aloof, and can usually be found complaining, mostly about Eltcreed’s eccentric behavior. Ulrik is not very trusting of others, but he respects Eltcreed and admits that he is probably his only true friend. He harbors a deep hatred for the Heights and unlike Eltcreed is openly hostile towards Cyrus at the start of the game. But, he reluctantly takes helps her get acclimated to life in the Depths and even tries to teach Cyrus how to use a gun—the weapon of choice in the Depths—even though she’s awful at it.
Ulrik is prickly, sarcastic, and very easily flustered, a fact that Eltcreed loves to tease him about. Despite growing up in the Depths where love isn’t regulated, Ulrik doesn’t have much experience with relationships and he resorts to intense blushing and bashful muttering whenever Cyrus does something unintentionally cute. He can be a bit childish, sniping at people to hide his embarrassment and he is often confused when Cyrus shows him affection. He’s awkward when it comes to revealing his feelings, but when he does fall in love he will do whatever it takes to make his partner happy.
Steam Prison is the newest otome game localization from MangaGamer, following their release of Poni-Patchet’s OZMAFIA…
Rod – Cinderella Phenomenon
Rod is a bit of an oddity on this list, since unlike the other tsundere characters on this list who are very vocal, Rod spends the majority of Cinderella Phenomenon mute. Rod is Lucette’s stepbrother and the son of Ophelia and King Genaro, and the brother of Emelaigne. Like most of the love interests in Cinderella Phenomenon, Rod is afflicted with a Fairytale curse—the Mermaid’s Curse, which stole his voice, so he is forced to use a stuffed rabbit plushie named Sebby to communicate with others. Because, Lucette has been downright cruel to her entire family, she and Rod don’t get along at all, and he is openly cold towards her (a sentiment that she returns). Since he is afflicted by a Fairytale curse, he is the only member of the royal family that still remembers that Lucette is the Crown Princess after she is afflicted with her own curse.
Rod reluctantly helps Lucette attempt to break her own curse, because she is someone his sister cares deeply about, but he isn’t above pointing out each and every one of Lucette’s flaws. It’s slow going for the two of them romantically, since Rod and Lucette are so similar and it’s nice to see them slowly open up to one another as they learn more about each other over the course of the story.
Cinderella Phenomenon is a fantasy English language visual novel from indie game developers, Dicesuki…
So This is Love…
What I Love About Tsundere
- Watching them slowly open up to their love interest, after breaking down their walls/insecurities
- They’re extremely loyal and devoted to their love interests
- Their cute blushing and awkward attempts at romance are just so adorable
- They have some of the best character arcs and their growth is an integral part of the story’s progression
What I Hate About Tsundere
- They can go a bit too far with their insults, coming off as complete jerks
- Their emotional whiplash can be frustrating…
I am a diehard tsundere fan, there is just something satisfying about wearing down a particularly stubborn one down and reaping the rewards of a devoted and sweet love interest. And they are just so cute when they blush!! You just can’t help but want to tease them since they’re so easily flustered and watching them struggle with their feelings is just too cute to pass up… You know, I’m starting to think I have some latent S tendancies… Either way, there’s a challenge that comes with wooing a tsundere that adds an extra dash of spice to any otome game.
This is where I turn things over to you dear readers. Are you a fan of tsundere characters? What are some of your favorite tsundere characters and what is it that you like about them? Let me know your thoughts!