The anime world has all sorts of ways to categorize its many characters, often with the -dere character types. Depending on which word -dere is attached to, the suffix can describe all kinds of people, from aggressive, lovesick yandere characters to seemingly emotionless kuudere characters. But of course, tsundere characters are among the most popular of all.
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A tsundere character seems aloof, chilly, or even hostile at first, keeping people at arm’s length one way or another. However, such a character does have their warm and caring side, and will eventually show it to the right person under the right circumstances. It’s almost like watching a hedgehog uncurl, or a clam opening up to show the pearl inside. While such characters are often girls, there are some beloved male tsunderes, too.
10 Gray Fullbuster Finally Returned Juvia Lockser’s Amorous Feelings (Fairy Tail)
Most characters in this action-fantasy series are rather forthright about their feelings, usually their sense of friendship and loyalty. Many of these characters wear their hearts on their sleeves, such as the lovesick Juvia Lockser. However, her paramour, Gray Fullbuster, took his time showing any love in return.
For a long time, Juvia’s crush seemed one-sided, and Gray found Juvia annoying more than anything. Eventually, though, Gray proved just how much he really loved her, risking his very life for her sake. And he was heartbroken when Juvia nearly lost her own life to save his.
9 Uryu Ishida Cares Deeply About Orihime Inoue But Won’t Admit It Easily (Bleach)
Ichigo’s good friend, Uryu Ishida, is stern and serious on the outside, being an ace student and one of the last human Quincy in the entire world. At first, Uryu was all business, but it soon became clear during the Soul Society arc that he has very special feelings for his and Ichigo’s mutual friend, Orihime Inoue.
Uryu will go to great lengths to protect her, and he flew into a semi-composed rage when he saw Ichigo fall to Ulquiorra Schiffer and threaten Orihime next. Uryu won’t easily admit these feelings, but he certainly has them.
8 InuYasha Would Do Anything To Keep Kagome Safe (InuYasha)
At first, InuYasha, the half-demon, and Kagome, the time-based isekai heroine, were constantly at each other’s throats. Their friends kept commenting on how the two of them rile each other up, and InuYasha’s blunt and aggressive ways drove Kagome away more than once (usually back to her own time).
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Underneath it all, however, InuYasha is a lover, not just a fighter, and he once had amorous feelings for Kikyo the shrine maiden. Now he feels that way about his isekai friend, and seeing her hurt or in danger will fuel InuYasha’s rage in battle. He would slaughter every demon to protect his friend Kagome, but he won’t make a heartfelt speech about it.
7 Germany Loves His Friends, Despite His No-Nonsense Exterior (Hetalia Axis Powers)
In this popular show, the belligerents of World War II are personified as attractive men in authentic military uniforms or civilian clothing, acting according to the nations they represent. The United States’ character, America, is boastful but means well, and Britain is a bit moody. Then there’s Germany.
This blond fellow is all business on the outside, and he seems a bit unapproachable at first. He does have close ties with Italy, though, and he might even have amorous feelings for his Mediterranean friend under that hard exterior of his.
6 Hirotaka Nifuji Only Shows His Love Through Texting & Rare Confessions (Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku)
One of the four main characters in this series is Hirotaka Nifuji, who loves video games, cigarettes, and bars more than anything. Most people know him as a polite but aloof and distant person, and he rarely shows any emotions in person. Thus, he contrasts strongly with his flamboyant girlfriend, Narumi Momose.
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Hirotaka is much more willing to show his friendly side when texting his friends, though, complete with “LOL” and emojis, and he does the same while playing online games with them. He loves Narumi, but also worries that he’s not good enough for her, being too heavily invested in games. Narumi doesn’t share his concerns, though.
5 Senku Ishigami Won’t Admit That He Misses His Foster Father (Dr. Stone)
For the most part, the boy genius Senku Ishigami doesn’t fit any of the -dere types, but when it comes to his foster father, Byakuya Ishigami, he does have a tsundere streak. Senku does love his foster father as family, but he won’t tell that to anyone, not even Kohaku or Chrome.
Senku prefers a rational, logical lifestyle, and has little patience for drama or emotions. He’ll make an exception for his long-dead foster father, and he was driven to tears (privately) when he found Byakuya’s grave marker. Senku is deeply touched that Byakuya reached out to him across 3,700 years to help him.
4 Edward Elric Blows Up When Anyone Mentions His Feelings For Winry (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Edward Elric is known for his hot temper and pride, but he is hardly a cruel person. Instead, he has a guilty conscience about trying to revive his and Alphonse’s deceased mother, and he gets defensive about his true feelings under most circumstances. All this makes Edward rather prickly and difficult to approach.
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Edward definitely feels something for his childhood friend Winry Rockbell, but anytime that subject comes up, he overreacts and tries to change the subject or deny his true feelings. By the story’s end, though, Ed is ready to profess his love and marries Winry as he always intended to.
3 Guts Is Casca’s Gruff But Tender Hero (Berserk)
At first, this dark and violent series seems like an odd place for a tsundere character, but in most ways that count, the mercenary warrior Guts fits the bill. Due to childhood trauma, he keeps other people at arm’s length physically and mentally. For a time, he and his fellow mercenary, the tough but lovely Casca, were at odds.
Not for long, though. Guts learned more about Casca’s rough backstory, and he and Casca realized that they had something special between them (especially since Griffith won’t return Casca’s feelings). Guts is reluctant to admit these feelings to anyone else, but he will fight the entire God Hand alone if it means saving his lover.
2 Kyo Sohma Can’t Deny The Effect Tohru Honda Has On Him (Fruits Basket)
The world of shojo anime has no shortage of fascinating and compelling male love interests for the heroines, such as the princely Takumi Usui. Then there’s Kyo Sohma, who at first seems like Tohru Honda’s opposite. He is confrontational, self-absorbed, and short-tempered, among other things.
But this didn’t drive Tohru away. In fact, Tohru found herself drawn to Kyo as a friend, and then as a lover. Kyo’s wounded heart won’t easily open up, but eventually, he found the resolve and courage to embrace his new lover, and they bravely defied Akito and the Sohma curse to be together for all time.
1 Vegeta Went From Brutal Warrior To Family Man (Dragon Ball Franchise)
Prince Vegeta of the Saiyans is one of shonen anime’s most recognizable and beloved characters. He is also the archetypical shonen rival, but that’s not all that defines him. At first, Vegeta lived only to prove his might and become a great warrior, but that is a hollow and vain existence.
Vegeta found love in Bulma, a brilliant and brave woman who brought out the best in him. They had a son together, the time-traveling Trunks, and Vegeta found true happiness and balance as a heroic fighter and a lover. What’s the point in war if there is nothing precious to protect?
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About The Author
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Louis Kemner has been a fan of Japanese animation since 1997, when he discovered Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z in elementary school. Now he’s a bigger anime/manga fan than ever, and is ready to share what he knows with readers worldwide. He graduated high school in 2009 and received his Bachelor’s in creative writing from UMKC in 2013, then put his skills to work in 2019 with CBR.com. He’s always looking for a wonderful new anime to watch or manga series to read. You can reach him at [email protected]
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