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The Fandom Debate – Episode 4: The Most Well-Balanced Tsundere

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Fandom Debate Episode 4Anime fandom is full of lists.

The most popular, the hottest, the best dressed, the best food girl.

Reading those lists is good, but who decided who is on the shortlist? And surely there is always somebody who you thought deserved to be entered, but was ignored at the cost of a really popular character who doesn’t really fit.

How best to solve the problem than with a civilised argument. Or even a debate.

Before we get to this week’s subject here are the top four from last week’s poll. For the full results, see the voting thread.

Episode Three – The Most Unusual Friendships

1. Taiga Aisaka, Minori Kushieda, Ami Kawashima (Toradora!)

2. Mio / Ritsu (K-On!)
3. Alicia / Akira / Athena (Aria the Animation)

4. Elsie / Haqua (The World God Only Knows)

Episode Four – The Most Well Balanced Tsundere

Within anime there are several tropes and character archetypes that are so overused it’s not worth calling them out about it any more. Often the real interest is how different characters can vary. Characters who are tsundere are one of the more interesting trends that have grown in recent years, with lots of flexibility due to the dual-nature of the character, and tsundere itself has spawned many offshoot archetypes, such as yandere, kuudere, and tsunshun. The combination of tsun-tsun and dere-dere is a balance that was just destined to work, but sometimes it just doesn’t.

A well balanced tsundere personality can truly make a character shine, whilst an imbalanced tsundere can really feel out of place or unnatural. Too much harsh tsun, and the character just comes across as hateful, whilst too much dere, and not enough tsun can make the character feel bland to the point of no longer either being tsundere, and even risk moving towards yandere, which is the complete opposite side of the coin. As an example of what we would consider to be a particularly imbalanced tsundere, we present Kirino, from Oreimo. She is undoubtedly a tsundere, however the amount of dere she shows her brother is so small it is almost meaningless.

A perfect balance is something that is hard to agree on, but that is what makes the topic such a good one to discuss!

Try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but when they’re unavoidable, be sure to tag them as spoilers.

Below are the fifteen characters that I’m seeding in to the debate this week, with a little bit of an opening statement about each, and why they are well balanced. As ever, feel free to add your own, or disagree.

Remember, be civil. Disagreeing is fine, but try to include more than just that. Likewise, if someone disagrees, don’t be offended. Come back with a counter-argument!

Hinagiku Katsura (Hayate the Combat Butler!)
There are quite a few possible characters in Hayate that are tsundere. Most people’s first thoughts when they think of the show isn’t Hina, but instead Nagi – who is voiced by the tsundere queen herself Rie Kugimiya, however Nagi is a bit too tsun to be well balanced. Hinagiku keeps a good amount of dere to her personality, 

Mikoto Misaka (A Certain Magical Index)
The Railgun is a painful tsundere to know, as when she gets feisty, you get a shock, but when she gets in to her flustered dere the shocks are worth it. She’s on the high side of tsun, but just about well balanced.

Taiga Aisaka (Toradora!)
The only Rie Kugimiya character on the seeded list, possibly the most well balanced tsundere she’s voiced? The target of her affection may change throughout the series, but the adorable dere side remains the same, along with her harsh tsun side.

Touko Ryuumonbuchi (Saki)
Touko is so tsundere she even has a tsundere antenna! She’s quick to talk back, but she quickly stops in her charge and goes dere. She’s a much more instant payback than some of the other characters.

Motoko Aoyama (Love Hina)
You always want to be careful around a tsundere with a sword, and it is a common weapon amongst the trope, but despite her fierce and deadly tsun, she does go dere quite often, often resulting in further pain for poor Keitaro.

Seishiro Tsumugi (Nisekoi)
Both a reverse trap and a tsundere? The tsun is much more believable for Tsugumi as she has been brought up as a boy, and to suddenly find herself attracted to another boy is unfathomable, but when she goes all cute, she’s probably the cutest character in the show.

Natsume (Hidamari Sketch)
Natsume is moe. Sadly this isn’t a contest about moe, but rather a contest about well-balanced tsunderes. Initially, Natsume has almost no dere to her, but as we get to know her, and start seeing things from her point of view, we see that she has always been tsundere for Sae, just we’ve not seen the dere.

Rin Tohsaka (Fate/Stay Night)
Grade S. She’s called that for a reason, and despite it referring to her legwear rather than her personality, the fact she’s a tsundere is what promotes her from a grade A. That tsundere personality towards both Archer and Shirou is what makes Rin so much of a draw.

Haqua du Lot Herminium (The World God Only Knows)
There are a lot of tsunderes in The World God Only Knows, that’s kind of the point of the show, that he gets the often stand-offish girls to fall for him, something that he never really had to do for Haqua. She saw him in action and fell for him, but as she’s a noble demon, and he’s just a lowly human.

Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
There was a bit of disagreement on whether or not Haruhi should be considered well-balanced enough to be included on this list, and at the beginning I’d agree. She’s right up there with Kirino in terms of imbalance, but by the end of the series she is a well-balanced tsundere. Too long to wait? Possibly.

Azusa Azuki (The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat)
There are some interesting characters to look at in Henneko, and our initial thought was less Azusa, and more about other characters, but as she is introduced as a tsundere, Azusa remains such, but has a very rewarding and frequent dere to complement it.

Takao (Arpeggio of the Blue Steel)
It’s not as if she wanted to be a battleship for you… In terms of deadly tsuns, Takao kind of wins the war all by herself, but in terms of a tsundere battleship she’s surprisingly well balanced, and probably the best we’ll get until the Kancolle anime next year.

Kyouko Sakura (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
For all it’s apparent revolutionary plot, Madoka provides us with some very standard character types. Kyouko is the tsundere character, and she’s surprisingly well balanced. She hates everybody, but is willing to put her life on the line to save them. Quite a risky tsundere

Nanase Kotobuki (Book Girl)
Not a very well known anime, as it’s an unlicensed movie that never got a series. Most people would know it from the light novels. Nanase is the stereotypical tsundere who pretty much follows the guideline for the trope almost to the letter. Despite appearing quite harsh to Konoha, she is actually just shy, and she finally plucks up the courage to let him know how she feels.

Claude Claudel (Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth)
Tsunderes aren’t just girls! Claude is tsundere in most aspects of his life. He doesn’t want to admit how much fun he has, and so is angry to others to compensate.

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