Some words you may often hear when talking about girls in anime are tsundere ツンデレ, kuudere クーデレ and yandere ヤンデレ. Besides being used only when talking about girls and being mostly words made-up by fans, they also got this dere デレ there at the end, so, clearly, they’re related somehow. But what do they mean exactly?
What is Dere デレ?
First of all, these words are associated with different types of girl characters personalities and their specific romantic behavior. Their very cliched behavior. Behavior anime fans are so sick and tired of seeing they actually made these words just to label it, and then the industry went and started using these words in the animes themselves to appeal the most hardcore fans.
The dere デレ parts says it all. It comes from the noun deredere デレデレ, which means “having a crush on someone” or “being in love with someone.” Usually this shows in anime as a character blushing awkwardly while just looking at an other character.
The word deredere is a noun so it’s more about how someone looks like they’re in love than the actual act of being in love. To use it as a verb you’d use the word dereteru デレてる, which would mean, for example, “to have a crush on someone.”
A tsundere is a girl that pretends not to be interested in a guy, but keeps doing things for that guy, and keeps saying she is not actually interested in that guy. So, basically, she just isn’t honest with herself and her feelings or is too embarrassed to admit her love.
A tsundere will often say things like:
betsu ni anata no tame X janai desu kara 別にあなたのためにXじゃないですから It’s not like [I did] X because I like you or anything
betsu ni suki janai ndakara! 別に好きじゃないんだから！ It’s not like I like you or anything!
kanchigai shinaide! 勘違いしないで！ Don’t get the wrong idea!
Plus plenty of calling the guybaka 馬鹿.
By the way, sunao 素直, “honest,” would be what a tsundere is not, that is, sunao janai 素直じゃない, “not honest (about her feelings).”
Most of the time, a tsundere character has a holier than thou attitude. She’s maybe from a rich family, an ojousama お嬢様, and the guy is a poor commoner-peasant, or she’s the president of the school student council, and the guy is delinquent, or a bad student, or a dude who just transferred into a school that was an all-girls school last semester and now he is one of the few guys enrolled facing absurd alienation instead of everybody minding their own business and just studying.
Anyway, the tsundere and her romantic interest are usually given a reason in their backstory for her to reject the guy to maintain her appearances. And then some reason to love the guy for the sake of the plot. That’s where the tsundere conflict comes from.
Because tsundere are tsundere for the sake of the show, they will continue acting tsundere even after they have confessed their love, started going out, or even gotten married and having children despite that making no sense whatsoever.
This happens because tsundere, and the other types of dere, are considered to be moe 萌え by some fans. Their popularity stems from their tsundere attribute, if they stop being tsundere, they stop being popular, so they can’t change.
In manga, anime, games, and other forms of fiction of the harem genre, the goal of the author is to include as many types of moe as possible to please the widest audience. So all girls follow one archetype. There’s always the smart, quiet type, the genki 元気 type, and, of course, the infamous tsundere type. These tsundere characters are pretty much a most-anime-must-have-one kind of thing.
Tsundere vs. BST
The western slang BST, “belligerent sexual tension,” is a bit similar to tsundere, but there’s a difference between tsundere and BST.
First off, BST is a scenario. It happens when both parties like each other but either don’t realize it or don’t want to admit it, so, instead, they’ll act like they aren’t interested because the character is this or is that, and they’d never date them, hurl insults, violence, and so on.
Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière, also known as Zero. From the anime and mangaZero no Tsukaima ゼロの使い魔 ( The Familiar of Zero)
Tsundere Word Origin
The tsun ツン in the Japanese word tsundere ツンデレ comes the word tsuntsun つんつん, which is a mimetic word for “irritable” or “grumpy,” meaning someone is tsuntsun when they become hard to approach and to talk with.
Basically, when you’re tsuntsun you just refuse to hear what others have to say. You’ll go “hmph!” and turn away. The idea of tsundere characters is that they go “hmph!” and turn away, but eventually they turn back.
People can be tsuntsun just for a while, one isn’t necessarily always tsuntsun. It’s like being happy or sad. Also, being tsuntsun is completely different from being tsundere. Someone who is tsuntsun is just grumpy, tsuntsun has nothing to do with romance cliches.
Anyway, that means tsundere ツンデレ is actually short for tsuntsun deredere. Yep, that’s two abbreviations in one.
Every ~dere word talks about character traits, and only that. It doesn’t specify gender. There’s nothing in the word tsundere that says a tsundere must be a girl. So it’s possible to have characters that are male tsundere s as well.
Do note that even thought it is possible, that doesn’t mean it happens. Most tsundere characters are still female.
Furthermore, a serious male tsundere, as in, romantically serious, is probably only going to show up in a manga or anime made for female audiences, “girls,” shoujo 少女, as a series made for “boys,” shounen 少年, probably would only have it for the comedic effect.
Because tsundere characters having been done to death, sometimes the classic tsundere attitude gets parodied in manga that don’t really have tsundere characters.
When this happens, a character that isn’t really a tsundere will say stuff a tsundere would usually say. They’ll act like a tsundere, but they won’t really be a tsundere. Because, you know, unless you’re a tsundere all the time, you are not really a tsundere. You’re just a tsundere for 2 minutes or even for a single panel only for the sake of a joke.
Yandere girls are what one would call crazy girls. No, I don’t mean like dorky or stunt-loving girls, I mean the batshit psychotic jealous bitch that you’ll murder your entire family and your dog just to stay with you.
A yandere sees everyone surrounding the guy as if they’re going after the guy, be it male or female, and she will actually attack people to get what she wants, in some cases gorily so, in other cases just name-calling or hiding their possessions somewhere or whatever.
Many yandere are introduced as looking normal and cute. Lovable. Extremely sympathetic. But that’s often because they’re only shown interacting with their love interest. Once a third characters gets into the equation she starts showing her true colors. That is, an yandere character starts crazy, she doesn’t go crazy, she was crazy from the beginning but nobody knew.
Note that the above isn’t necessarily true. Some yandere are undeniably nuts from the start. Why a yandere has become insane can vary: she might be a broken victim of some horrible event, or she might simply have a natural inclination to become a serial killer. In any case, as long as she has a mentally sick kind of love she’s a yandere.
(the most common type of yandere is violent and jealous, but there are other types of yandere written further below)
Gasai Yuno 我妻 由乃, also known as “holy shit she’s got an axe!” From the manga and animeMirai Nikki 未来日記 ( Future Diary)
Yandere Word Meaning
The yan in the word yandere ヤンデレ comes from the verb yanderu 病んでる which means “to be sick (mentally).” This is slightly different from the verb yamu 病む which means “to be sick (generally),” despite yanderu 病んでる being also considered a contraction of the verb yamu in the te-iru form yandeiru 病んでいる.
A somewhat related word is the word koiyamai 恋病, meaning “lovesick” and written with the kanji for love ( koi 恋) and sickness ( yamai 病)
By the way, if you ever wanted to become a psychopathic, cold-blooded, murderous highschool girl in a Japanese-style school, then rejoice! There is now a game for that.
The last well-known one, the kuudere girls, are those girls that look expressionless, wont react to whatever the guy says, doesn’t get jokes, is usually of white or blue hair and most likely regarded as some sort of genius of high IQ or whatever.
The point of kuudere is that, though they’re introduced as something like moving ice statues, as they develop their relationship for the guy they start opening up and even actually showing expressions like smiling lightly and stuff.
In some cases, a kuudere will completely melt or break their ice armor, start crying or screaming “I love you,” etc. This is when a kuudere goes from kuu mode to dere mode. It’s one of the possible developments when you have a kuudere archetype.
Ayanami Rei 綾波レイ, also known as another reason for EVA not to make sense. From the anime Shinseiki Evangelion 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン (Neon Genesis Evangelion).
Kuudere Word Meaning
The kuu in kuudere クール comes from the word kuuru クール, which is the katakanization of the English word “cool,.”
In Japanese, kuuru can mean a lot of things. It can means someone looks chill, calm or even cold, or exterminator-like badass whenever something happens, or even impressive, like it does in English.
In the case of kuuderes, the kuuru would be the the composed, calm type. The type that doesn’t show emotions and stays cool no matter what.
If you want to see kuuru クール used in other ways, go watch Sakamoto Desu Ga? 坂本ですが？Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto), an anime about the cool, cooler, coolest character of them all. Which is not a kuudere by any means.
Sometimes you may see kūdere instead of kuudere. This is just the same word written with different romaji, Neither are wrong.
The word dandere ダンデレ usually refers to characters who are basically mute, that stay silent.
The difference between kuudere and dandere is that a dandere character may be nervous inside (not cool) but even so will prefer to stay silent, and a kuudere character can speak while still keeping their cool.
Dandere word meaning
The dan of dandere comes from the word danmari 黙り, meaning “silence” or “staying quiet.”
The word danmari comes from the verb damaru 黙る which means “to stay quiet.”
And, finally, this word I think you might have heard in anime before, the word damaru can be turned in an imperative by adding nasai to it. Like this:
damari nasai! 黙りなさい！ Silence! Stay quiet! Shut up!
In some dictionaries dandere is also defined as the combination of dandyi ダンヂィ, “dandy,” plus dere. However, we can pretty much ignore this meaning, because that isn’t the meaning used in the west, and dandere is rarely used in Japan, so nobody ever means that when they say dandere.
Tsundra, Tsundora ツンドラ
A “tsundra,” or tsundora ツンドラ, is a like a tsundere without dere and filled with mercilessness instead. Basically, while normal tsundere s often call the guy stupid and so on, they usually do it in a flustered way that hints they don’t really mean that because they’re secretly interested. A tsundra is different.
Example: in episode 1 of Bakemonogatari 化物語, Senjougahara says someone like her is called a tsundere, Araragi retorts, in thought, monologue-ing someone like her is called a tsundora instead.
Also, if you haven’t realized it yet, the word tsundra, and tsundora ツンドラ, come from the word “Tundra,” which regards to ice cold lands that give you few points in Sid Meier’s Civilization.
A tsun’aho ツンアホ is a character that’s been so tsuntsun all the time they became an aho アホ, in other words, a tsun’aho is a character that has tried so hard to look uninterested and not be honest with their feelings they became an idiot.
It may also refer to a character who was an idiot from the start, tsuntsun on the outside, aho in the inside.
Anyway, this term mostly refers to a girl who, when introduced, she sounds like she has two neurons to rub together, but then she meets a guy whom she likes, but don’t want to admit she likes, so she starts saying stupid nonsense all the time to pretend she doesn’t like him. Because she says and does so much stupid stuff to hide her super secret feelings everybody knows about, you start thinking she’s just an actual idiot.
Gundere / Gandere ガンデレ
A “gundere,” or gandere ガンデレ, is a girl that expresses her love with or towards “guns,” or gan ガン in Japanese. This is usually in the form of firing said guns while blushing in excitement or something.
If that sounds too specific for you, it’s because it is.
A darudere ダルデレ is a girl that is darui ダルい, “sluggish,” and always says this and that is too much of a pain in the ass to do. If left alone, they’ll just sit on their chair without doing anything at all. The dere part comes when she’s asked to do something by her love interest. Then she says “ugh, I don’t want to, but fine, I’ll go. I just need to go with you, right? Then you’ll stop bothering me?”
That is, despite her massive complaints about having to do anything, she will lift it a finger if it’s for someone she likes.
A girl that starts acting like a cat when dere (grows fang, cat-ears, even if not really, but just drawn so)
A girl that acts composed, but when she sees a cat she becomes dere.
A tsundere with nekomimi 猫耳, “cat ears.”
An actual cat (or anthro catgirl) that’s dere for her owner.
What is Gire ギレ?
The suffix gire ギレ is sometimes added to these personality words instead of dere デレ. Its meaning in words such as tsungire and yangire is that of “snapping” or “being mad” instead of dere‘s “being in love.”
The word gire comes from the verb kireru キレる, which means “to snap” or “to be mad (at someone or something).” Basically to be full of it. To lose your patience. To be done with. To have had the last drop. To burst with anger. To get the last string holding your anger down cut. That’s what kireru means.
The gire versions of personalities often have nothing to do with love or romance at all. People often attribute ~gire as more violent versions of ~dere, but these two words aren’t actually related. A character deemed ~gire doesn’t even need to be in a romance or anything. They just lean towards aggressive, abusive or violent behavior.
The part of the word kireru that becomes the suffix is kire, but it becomes gire instead because of a process called rendaku that changes the pronunciation of suffixes.
A tsungire ツンギレ character is a tsundere devoid of love and filled with rage.
This means an annoyed character that won’t say “w-w-why would I do that for you? baka something-kun!” and will instead say “why would I do that for you? Fuck off, you imbecile. Talk to me again and I’ll make you regret being born into your pathetic life.”
Because of this, tsungire characters are pretty much unapproachable. And if you’re smart and value your life, you wouldn’t approach them not even with a ten foot pole.
A tsungire character doesn’t need to be in love with any character or even interested romantically. She’s pretty much just “snapping” whenever someone bothers her with something.
A yangire ヤンギレ character is an yandere devoid of love and filled with rage. Which is some pretty bad combination considering the yan of yandere means “mentally sick.” So now you have someone who is mentally sick and that has snapped.
A common type of yangire character is the one that has gone through some sort of trauma and then snaps and goes on a killing spree after getting triggered. Generally speaking, yangire characters have no faith left for the world so they don’t care much about killing or getting killed. They just want to watch the world burn.
As one would expect, a yangire character doesn’t chúng tôi a romantic interest. A yandere would have one, and would go around killing everyone around her lover in a very jelly genocide, but a yangire is a strong independent character who needs no romantic interest in order to start a massacre.
Anyway, yangire characters are pretty much crazy and crazy violent. All you need to know is that they are crazier than yandere characters and that ought to say a lot.
Types of Yandere
“I love you, so… can you give me your fingernails? I want them so I can always have a part of you with me!”
Undeniably the worst type of yandere, she will murder you, and not by accident, not by jealousy, not by revenge. She will murder you because she loves you. And then she’ll keep your rotting corpse on bed or preserved inside a glass because there’s no way she’d throw you away.
In a sense sane people are better off not even trying to understand, the bizarre-seeking type of yandere is purely insane, mad way beyond explanation.
The word kyouki, used in the type’s name, is normally associated with disturbing imagery involving gore, blood and worse stuff. It’s also related to “grotesque” art, guro グロ, which’s dubbed “pornography involving gore” despite the fact nobody in their sane mind can figure out how the fuck can someone even “fap to this.”
Likewise, nobody in their sane mind can relate to the grotesque love of bizarre-seeking yandere. Ranging from murder, mutilation, and maybe something ever worse us mere mortals can’t even begin to imagine, their bizarre displays of love can only be summed up by: “what the actual fuck?”
The types of yandere above were based on the following articles in Japanese:
Yandere no Shurui ni Tsuite ヤンデレの種類について About the types of yandere.
Yandere Joshi no Shurui to Kowai Serifu-Shuu ヤンデレ女子の種類と怖いセリフ集 Types of yandere girls and collection of scary lines [of dialogue].
Yandere Taipu ヤンデレタイプ Types of yandere.
And the following Pixiv illustrations:
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