Part of the fun of watching anime is enjoying all the wacky memes that are created, from the venerable girl-with-toast-in-mouth-rushing-off-to-school joke to the bizarre anime face called “gununu.” Another popular category in anime is tsundere (TSOON-deh-reh), which describes girls who are tsun tsun (angry, hostile) one moment then dere dere (sweet, lovey-dovey) the next. While the official start of the genre as a named meme is the angry waitress Ayu Daikuuji from the game and anime “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien,” the beginning of the genre is harder to pin down. Is the first tsundere Lum from Urusei Yatsura, or perhaps Rei from Sailor Moon, or (at the risk of taking this too far), Lucy from Peanuts? My own vote for Tsundere Prime would be Asuka from Evangelion, who wowed fans with her fiery spirit and delicate complexity of character, especially in the new Evangelion 2.0 movie, with its subtle imagery of the girl with bandages on her hands from trying to learn how to cook for Shinji. Why some anime fans find their “Tsunderella” in this particular character archetype is hard to pin down, but for me it has to do with the internal conflict in the character and the crescendo-like dere dere payoff at the end. The newest development in the world of tsundere is stand alone and PSP-based car navigation systems that feature anime voice actresses saying things like, “Even a fool like you can obey the traffic rules, right? I’m not going for a drive with you because I like you or anything. Turn right in 700 meters!” (Incidentally, if you’re a fan of tsundere girls we’ve got an awesome Rei Kugimya T-shirt in stock in San Diego featuring a tribute to the best tsundere voice actress of all time).
I love the internal conflict in my wife, er, I mean in tsundere characters.