Thursday, February 13, 2014

DaWaRou Posts: My Top 20 Favorite Tsundere Characters

Hey everyone! After an especially long hiatus, I think I'm ready to do these blogs on a....more or less weekly basis like I used to be able to! This is actually my first blog post that I've done since I started working so it's kind of exciting! So get your reading eyes on and let's jam cause I'm John Cortez and this is my 27th post for...The Broken Infinite.

I know that I've talked about Tsundere characters in the past. They're those characters that a lot of fans love, hate and love to hate and hate to love. They're hostile, bitterly angry and frustrating to watch as they deal with emotions that they're either not used to dealing with or just trying to deny what they're feeling for the person that they're obviously going to get with...most times. But there's a very specific charm to them...even if I'm not entirely sure what it is. I actually like Tsundere characters. Their antics are usually played for laughs so they're good for comedy if nothing else and sometimes they're more than just one note characters! Sometimes they go through that wonderful thing called character development where they actually begin to change! And so to celebrate the Tsundere characters which I love so dearly, I'm writing a post all about the ones I particularly love! Please note that this list is NOT in order. There are simply 20 Tsundere characters on here that I happen to like a lot and it's hard for me to do these top whatever lists in the first place but I needed something easy to talk about to get myself back in the blogging biz so this is it! My "Top 20" Tsundere no real order!

We're starting off nostalgic here with Digimon Adventure/Digimon Adventure 02's Ishida Yamato or just Matt if you watched the English Dub. I love Matt! He's easy on the eyes...when he's older first of all so points for being Bishonen and check out that cool hairdo he had as a kid! But we're not here to talk about the merits of Matt's good looks and awesome hair, we're here to discuss his character. As a Tsundere, Matt is firmly a Type A Tsundere. He's not exactly cranky or perpetually angry but he is rather aloof and detached from the group at the start of the series. When the other kids, especially Tai did something that he thought was wrong, he was very quick to jump down their throats about it and his softer side only arises when his little brother T.K. is involved. He often goes all out to save and protect T.K. so I'm very glad to say that he's not a very romantically inclined Tsundere character that you see so much of in anime and manga. Also, Matt's Tsundere behavior leads to one of the best, if not THE BEST confrontation between child characters in a children's anime where he and Tai come to blows with each other not once but TWICE! I love violence in kids cartoons and Matt practical one, could often be capable of cruel actions against the enemy when the situation called for it.

Taking off the nostalgia goggles for a bit now we get to those pesky RomCom Anime Tsundere characters and I really cant think of a better way to start it off than with Zero no Tsukaima's Louise Valliere. A lot of people DON'T like Louise and it's easy to see why. She's overly violent, heavily emotional and treats her poor human familiar Saito worse than an abused animal. But from a character standpoint, all of her actions make complete and total sense. Louise is a noble and a Mage and her failure to use any of the four elements of Magic has resulted in her being branded the local failure by not only her classmates but her family as well. She then boasts proudly about being able to summon a grand and spectacular Familiar but she ends up with modern Japanese School boy Saito Hiraga, further damaging her already wounded pride. To add even more insult to injury, her familiar has free know...being Human and everything and insists on trying to run away from her causing her to call upon one of the other students for help in getting him back. While Saito does relent to being her Familiar, being Human, Louise has him doing menial labor and Saito being Saito has not only a wandering eye when it comes to other...better endowed girls but a smart mouth to boot. In essence, while not all of us would react by grabbing the nearest studded whip or riding crop and then proceeding to beat our disobedient Human familiar to a bloody pulp, it makes perfect sense to Louise. All that said though, she is a Tsundere which means that she does have a much gentler side to her. She very quickly falls in love with Saito for his bravery and courage and his unwillingness to just let her die at the hands of whatever danger befalls her. She's much sweeter than she lets on really there's just so much Tsun covering the dere but the dere is there!

Ahh, the Fanservice Tsundere character! The character who often complains about people gawking at her scantily clad body in the revealing outfit that she herself put on. That's not Yoko. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's bodacious bikini clad sniper is probably the best Fanservice character I've seen in YEARS! Yoko's Tsundere personality only presents itself in the early half of the series with Kamina, to whom she's romantically attracted. Once spoilers happen, Yoko almost completely losses this aspect of her personality but it reappears once again once Nia is introduced. The fund thing about Yoko is just how much fun she is. She can be a typical girl, feminine and weak but she's rarely the latter and when she is it's refreshing to see that she's ALLOWED to be weak. She can be a total badass. Yoko immediately picks up the slack once shit happens and she never once wavers in the decisions that she makes. She's also allowed to be jealous. Once Nia appears and wins over the entire crew, Yoko is the only one to completely mistrust her. Normally jealousy is played negatively but here, it's just natural. And finally, Yoko is also allowed to not have a life confined to just being a fighter. Yoko has the ability to be anything that she wants to be and she takes full advantage of that.
Shonen style Tsundere characters have never quite been so emotionally detached, distant and sadistic as Shaman King's Anna Kyoyama. Well...they probably have but I haven't seen any others. Anna is completely no-nonsense. She aspires to become the Shaman Queen and despite her own formidable powers as an itako (a traditional Japanese shaman) she prefers to take a very present backseat, allowing her fiance and our protagonist Yoh Asakura do all the footwork for her. She's basically his trainer and she makes DAMN SURE that Yoh is ready for whatever comes his way because she refuses to marry a weakling. In her initial appearances, one wonders if she really does love Yoh at all and is simply a vain and arrogant childhood fiance mooching off her groom-to-be but in a chapter where Yoh allows an angry and vengeful spirit to take control of his body and the spirit admits his plan is to kill Yoh with his own body, Anna breaks down into tears for the very first time. The fun thing about Anna though is how tough she is. While she clearly see's differences in people's personalities she completely expects them to be at their best at all times and holds everyone to particularly high standards. When threatened, Anna never bends and never folds, insisting that everything go her way or no way at all if she can help it because even she realizes that her power has limits. She's fun to watch and one of the reasons why I can't stop recommending Shaman King to other people!

Another nostalgic one here. I'm pretty sure that most of us who grew up in the 90's remember Keiko Yukimura from YuYu Hakusho which was and still is one of the greatest shonen anime ever made. Keiko's got spunk and like Anna, she doesn't take any shit from her love interest, our protagonist Yusuke Urameshi. While she isn't oozing with depth and falls into the pretty standard category of the "Love Interest" character, Keiko still manages to hold her own among the other characters. She's one of the driving forces in Yusuke's life, always providing him with a reason to keep fighting regardless of how fed up he is with his whole gig as Spirit Detective. What's more, Keiko gets a really great moment early on in the series where she tells Yusuke, possessing his "best friend" at the time, that in a hundred years she'd never forget him as there are ways that he speaks and moves that are just cemented in her memory. She's determined to wait for him to return to life and even provides the life energy he needs to return. Were Keiko one of the combatants of the series, I'm positive that she'd give up everything for Yusuke in the same way that he does for her time and time again. On the note of Keiko's Tsundere characteristics, she's predominantly only Tsundere with Yusuke but funnily enough, Botan's attempts to hide the truth about Yusuke's supernatural activities also bring out Keiko's TsunTsun side.

Of all the girls in Ranma 1/2, Ukyo Kuonji is by far my favorite. She seems to have the most down-to-earth personality among the four of them and while she's just as much of a Tsundere as Akane Tendo, she probably has the most "history" with Ranma which causes him to she her in a completely different light than any of his other prospective suitors. Ranma never knew that Ukyo was a girl when he first met her so when he clears up the misunderstanding with her when she tracks him down after all the years, Ukyo agrees to wipe the slate clean and return to the game of love as Ranma's new "cute fiance". Ukyo is also the first of Ranma's fiance's to wholeheartedly confess her love to him and besides Akane, who he lives with, his relationship with Ukyo is without a doubt the most positive relationship he has in the entire series, but it's not without it's flaws. Ukyo gave up on her womanhood after Ranma and his father ran off on her and dedicated her life to cooking and martial arts and when they rekindle their friendship, Ukyo immediately begins acting as if nothing has happened and they can move on the the next phase of their An entire episode of the anime was devoted to Ukyo trying to shake off Ranma's image of her being just one of the guys and trying to be more womanly which throws the whole city into chaos. While Ranma is aware of her feelings for him, he simply refuses to let those feelings get in the way of his and is determined to keep their friendship as it is.

Ah...yes. Akamatsu Ken-sensei's works. I've been looking forward to this one. Chisame Hasegawa from Negima! Magister Negi Magi may just be the epitome of this character archetype without it completely defining who she is like it does with other characters. ChisameNegima will attest to, Chisame life becomes anything but normal once she gets involved with her child teacher and local wizard, Negi Springfield and when I say involved I don't mean romantically or sexually. In fact, Chisame is the first to realize the very real danger that Negi will be in once he becomes older as he's already charming multiple females in her class at only 10 years old. During the magic world arc of the series, Chisame takes the place of Asuna as the maternal/adviser role to Negi and he comes to consider her an invaluable member of his team. Chisame is more or less Tsundere with everyone. She puts on the guise of one who hates everything but she really loves the life she's living full of friends and fantasy and she wouldn't have it any other way.

I think that the Tsundere character type works really well with characters from wealthy backgrounds. The lives they live kind of give them those rough edges that we've come to associate with Tsundere least in my opinion. But in this case Eri Sawachika from School Rumble is a very refreshing Type B Tsundere. She's wealthy, but it doesn't completely define her character and while it comes up often, it's not something we're beat over the head with. She's friendly, but she has her limits especially when it comes to our protagonist and her love interest Harima. But this has an adverse affects on the friendships she forms with some of the other characters as anyone else's perceived interest in Harima can turn her stone cold. What's more, Eri's partially defined, at least to others that don't know her, by her looks and has a bit of a complex about it so that's also a refreshing character trait. I especially love her relationship with Harima as he's kind of always there to save her when she needs him to. At one point she's about to be married off to someone and she manages to convince Harima to propose to her to break of the engagement. On the downside, the ending to School Rumble is rather vague as to whether or not Eri and Harima get together which if you ship them can drive you up the wall.

At last we get to the leading lady in the twin tails from Negima! Asuna Kagurazaka is initially defined by her very Tsundere personality and strange immunity to Magic at the start of Negima!. But even though this part of her character is never fully lost, she does move a bit past it becoming the second-in-command of Negi's team and the MVP in any combat situation. She's involved in every major battle of the series and is always Negi's go-to partner when he's in a jam. I espcially like Asuna because she's very unwilling to overlook the fact that Negi is simply a child and tends to treat him more like the adult he acts like rather than the child he appears to be. Even though she takes on more of the role of the older sister to him, Asuna usually defers to Negi in moments of a crisis as he's the Wizard and should, in theory, know how to get out of the situation they've landed themselves in. In addition, Asuna's character is intricately tied to Negi's as revealed much later on in the last major arc of the series. I also highly enjoy Asuna's relationships outside of the one that she has with Negi. She becomes best friends with Konoka's bodyguard Setsuna and ends up learning kendo from her for the sole purpose of protecting Negi, she's best friends with both Konoka and Ayaka even if she won't admit it and she takes on a more supportive role for the Negi/Nodoka relationship later on. I also like the fact that while Asuna chastises Negi for being childish, she's very prone to immature outbursts, but as a Tsundere this is to be expected.

By far one of my favorite Tsundere characters is Akane Tendo from Ranma 1/2, largely because I believe her actions towards Ranma himself are usually pretty justified. Akane grew up without a mother figure to teach her how to be more feminine, with the exception of her big sister Kasumi who took on the maternal role in the household. She's known largely for her beauty and especially her martial arts ability so the upperclassmen at her school have come to the conclusion that any who want to date her need to best her combat which blow her chances at entering into a normal relationship without serious harm coming to her boyfriend as I'm pretty sure that if she just picked some regular boy from her class, he'd be beaten black and blue in no time at all. Next thing Akane knows, the ball is dropped on her that she or her sisters will be married off to a man they've never met and when that man is revealed to turn into a girl when splashed with cold water, Akane's sisters then just pawn her off onto Ranma under the "justification" that since Akane hates men and Ranma is half girl, they should be able to get along great. Adding futher insult to injury is the fact that Ranma's female form is far more attractive than Akane's natural beauty and he's got women beating down the doors of her dojo claiming to be engaged to him. Add Ranma's callous and blunt personality to the mix and Akane's very short temper and you've got quite the justified Tsundere. But explanation aside, Ranma and Akane do end up falling in love with each other and she mellows out considerably in the manga.

I FUCKING LOVE To-LOVE-る!!!!  I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! And I love it SOOOOOOOOOO much for it's characters, this one in particular. Yui Kotegawa is the head of her school's disciplinary committee and has no time for "harenchi" or shameless behavior. Someone really should've told her that she's a character in Fanservice Incarnate. Yui's interactions with protagonist Rito Yuuki are hostile at best to start off with. She initially believes him to be a threat to the school's public morals and that he and Lala are just a bunch of shameless perverts...namely him. But over the course of the series Yui begins to warm up to Rito and considers him a friend before finally coming to the conclusion that she's in love with him. She has a really great chapter in the sequel series To-LOVE-る ダクネス, where she finally relents that boys will be boys and she can't help it if Rito does perverted things but she does make it clear that she doesn't mind and above all WANTS Rito to only do shameless things TO HER! Yui starts off as an extremely uptight character but eventually mellows out into a very likable love struck girl who's fully ready to devote herself completely to Rito.

Here's another one that everyone loves to hate. While I can't defend Naru nearly as well as Akane, it's not like she's a wholly unlikable bitch. Naru is basically the template from which all other Tsundere characters are practically molded. In Naru's defense, at least she's a WELL DEVELOPED Tsundere character, switching between Tsun and Dere far more consistently than many other characters of her type. While she see's that Keitaro is a loser, she accepts him for who he is. And the love that she feels for him confuses him. An entire two volumes are devoted to Naru sorting out her feelings for Keitaro. Yeah, she's got an entire 14 volumes to do that but hey at least it gets addressed. She also ends up dating and finally marrying Keitaro which is a lot more than I can say for other harem characters.

I love male Tsundere characters when they're obsessive and pretty much gay. Hayato Gokudera from Katekyo Hitman Reborn might just be the poster boy for the trope Bodyguard Crush. He's constantly fawning over protagonist Tsuna and loudly declaring that only he can be Tsuna's right hand man. Hayato is extremely Tsuntsun with EVERYONE in the entire cast with the sole exception being Tsuna who feels the full force of Hayato's Deredere side. Granted, this is one of the few times that the personality shift is noticed by just about everyone in the cast. This is also one of the few cases where the Tsundere isn't romantically interested in the protagonist, but don't tell the fangirls that. It'll break their hearts. And finally Hayato's personality gets him in trouble with another of Tsuna's fans and the primary target of his Tsuntsun side, Takeshi Yamamamoto the normally easy going baseball nut turned deadly mafia samurai. Takeshi points out that Hayato's constant pushing away of everyone makes him completely unfit to be Tsuna's right hand man as the right hand needs to be able to delegate when the boss is unable to and should therefore have positive relations with the other members. While Hayato's personality remains mostly the same after this conversation, his actions towards the other members of Tsuna's family are much less rooted in malice and hatred as they once were and he finally begins to see them as allies.

This is not the first time that ChiChi has ended up on one of my lists. This hot mama from DragonBall is another nostalgic one and I really like ChiChi. I said in my "Top Anime Moms" post that I was fully on board with ChiChi's decisions to not allow Gohan to partake in life or death battles, greatest power in the universe be damned! But more to the point, ChiChi is Tsuntsun with EVERYONE if her family is involved in any way. This is made apparent when Goku dies and Krillin is tasked with informing ChiChi that her husband is dead and her only son has been taken by Piccolo. She FLIPS! It seems that growing up has turned her into mainly a Type A Tsundere when as a child she was more of a Type B as she was very sweet on Goku and tended to overreact to any danger with TsunTsun anger. What's more, ChiChi may be far overshadowed by the awesomeness of all the males in her universe, but being a housewife has not at all diminished her Martial arts ability. This woman made it to the semi finals of the World Martial Arts Fighting Tournament and fought against Goku himself!

The Assistant Master of the Kamiya Kasshin Style, Kaoru Kamiya from Rurouni Kenshin is next! Kaoru is really less of a Tsundere and more of a Yamato Nadeshiko in training. She's more than capable of her Tsuntsun outbursts and expresses them often at the start of the series but she's more or less intended to be a girl in that transition stage of becoming a woman. Kaoru serves as the anchor for series protagonist Kenshin. So long as she's alive, Kenshin has something to keep him from wandering away again and a chance to settle down, not completely but enough to call some place home. She's the favorite target for anyone wanting to get under Kenshin's skin but Kaoru's no damsel in distress and if she's capable of it, she'll get out of a situation all by herself without help from anyone. Moreover, I like the fact that Kaoru is really a backseat character, even among the main cast. She's tough, sure, but that doesn't mean that she needs to be at the forefront of the battlefield at all times. Hell, her 10 year old apprentice gets into more life or death battles than she does. But all in all, Kaoru is an ideal Tsundere. Supportive, strong and always there when Kenshin needs a little extra motivation.

In my experience, it's very rare to see a female as the lead character of a shonen series. Not super rare but rare enough and rarely done well. While the titular Soul Eater may make up one half of the duo, Maka Albarn is more or less the series protagonist. Then again there are like 5 other series protagonists so...whatever. Maka! First of all, Maka is far from being the overly sexy female lead like Yoko or even InuYasha protagonist Kagome Higurashi. The series makes it very clear that Maka is still just an underdeveloped girl, though that has it's own perverted cult of worshipers. She's flat as a board, brainy and not at all the ideal beauty like some of the other female characters that appear are. She's socially awkward and like the ideal Tsundere, she doesn't take too kindly to her partner's wandering eyes. But moreover as to why I love Maka is because she's BADASS! How often is it that you see a girl her size wielding a weapon like a giant fucking scythe?! And she wields it so effortlessly too as if she's always been doing it. Mind you that scythes are not at all ideal weapons for combat. The large blade makes it weighted on one side making it extremely awkward to wield but if there was a way to fight with a scythe, Maka's probably the one to lean from. And like other series, like Gurren Lagann the series remembers that Maka's a girl not for sexual purposes but for emotional ones. Shes' allowed to be vulnerable, her relationship with her father is estranged to say the least and she's rather insecure about her abilities as a Meister. And yet day after day she continues towards her goal of making Soul into a Death Scythe and ACTUALLY succeeds in doing so. More importantly, Maka's Tsundere personality is rather downplayed which is always nice.

Ohh, this one is one of my favorites! Cardcaptor Sakura is probably my number 1 favorite anime series thanks in no small part to it's cute and likable protagonist, the titular Sakura. But Li Syaoran is another reason why I love it. That's probably because when he was first introduced, I despised him utterly but as the series went on I grew to love him immensely. Li comes from a very magical family, one directly related to Clow Reed the maker of the Clow Cards Sakura has been tasked with capturing. Li enters the picture in episode 8 to relieve Sakura of her duties and he's always there commenting on how little she knows about Magic and criticizing her performance due to his immense knowledge about the cards, Magic and their powers. Eventually, Li and Sakura become something along the lines of allies before becoming friends and that's when his Tsundere personality starts to come into play. But it's not till the last season of the series where a new potential love interest for Sakura is introduced. Li is easily flustered when it comes to girls and Sakura in particular since he realizes that he's in love with her. The two make the most adorable couple ever...likely due to their young age and it's wonderful to watch Li go through the motions of experiencing what it's like to fall in love with someone.

This one's a tie...because the characters are virtually identical though one has far more characterization than the other. These lovely ladies from Detective Conan are Ran Mouri and Kazuha Tomoya. They're the most Tsundere characters of the series though in most cases the Tsuntsun is left to Kazuha while Ran's mostly Deredere. Both are experts in their preferred martial art, karate for Ran and Aikido for Kazuha and both are madly crushing on teen detectives that they've known since childhood. The sad thing is that both of these characters are rarely utilized to their full potential. Ran, in the first episode alone, is shown capable of punching a hole in SOLID CONCRETE with her bare hands and not thinking very much of it. Kazuha also, in her first appearance takes out a criminal. I want to see these characters utilized more! MORE I SAY!

I LOVE ASUKA LANGLEY SORYU! She's basically my sole reason for putting up with Neon Genesis Evangelion. Asuka might be the best Tsundere in the history of Tsunderes. Why?! BECAUSE I SAY SO DAMMIT! Asuka's the famed Second Child, created in a test tube for piloting the Evangelion. She's got a college degree at the ripe old age of 14, speaks 3 languages fluently and revels in combating the Angels as well as the praise she gets after a job well done. She's bratty, egotistical, abrasive, self centered and extremely full of herself and her abilities as well as harboring a crush for everyone's least favorite protagonist Shinji Ikari. Asuka is very attracted to Shinji but it's hard to see why given the context of the series and the differences in their personalities. The main problem between them however is their extreme differences in personality. Asuka is loud and forceful while Shinji is quiet and submissive. Asuka loves him for exactly who and what he is but the forcefulness of her actions only push Shinji further and further away from her and her flirtations with him simply make him feel awkward and her feeling rejected. Also as Shinji's relationship with Rei deepens, so too does Asuka's hatred for the latter and her metal state begins to deteriorate rather rapidly. Mind Rape doesn't help this at all one bit. But I love Asuka. I love how she simply gets away with saying horrible and nasty things to others, as well as the way she seems to take delight in tormenting Shinji both physically and emotionally, which in and of itself isn't all that hard to do. But most of all, I LOVE how its' all played rather darkly. Asuka has crippling self esteem issues and reacts angrily towards others partly out of a fear of intimacy and partly because she's angry at the world. Her hatred of Rei stems from the fact that she perceives Rei as a compliant emotionless doll, Asuka's own personal hatred of dolls and the fact that Rei gets along so well with Shinji. Needless to say, this being Evangelion and all, Asuka's character development is played as tragically as her back story and proves that not every Tsundere is played for laughs.

And we finally come to the last one on the list. The selfless Knight from Princess Tutu (aka THE GREATEST ANIME EVER GO WATCH IT GO WATCH IT GO WATCH IT) Fakir may very well be one of the best developed male Tsundere characters ever devised and his series is only 26 episodes long. Fakir is in a very unique position in the series. He knows that Mytho is the Prince from the storybook and is doing everything in his power to keep Mytho away from his emotions but at the same time, he deeply cares for Mytho and wants nothing but the best for him. This tends to come across as Fakir being Mytho's angry violently possessive boyfriend to most of the viewers and him being a massive dick to everyone in universe...though both serve to up his sex appeal. His relationships with BOTH of the girls are initially thorny at best. He views Rue as a distraction for Mytho and Duck as merely a nuisance. And then once he learns of Princess Tutu herself he sees her as the true enemy as she's the only one capable of restoring Mytho's heart. Once Duck is revealed to be Princess Tutu and Rue's part in the plot is expanded upon, Fakir's very Tsuntsun nature was present but he was able to put it aside to work with Duck to save Mytho. Fakir never loses his Tsuntsun side but his deredere side is allowed to shine though much more often in the second half of the series. He struggles not only with himself and his personal fears but the growing feelings he has for Duck and trying to save Mytho. All in all Fakir journey of self discovery should not be missed.

And that's my list! If your favorite Tsundere like Taiga or Kagami didn't end up on the list that's too bad cause its' my list so go make your own. Please look forward to more posts from me in the future! IT'S GREAT TO BE BACK, DAWAROU~!

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