How presumptuous of me.
This article does contain is my vague attempt at relevant inspirational content while studying for Economics.
Now is the time where I scare you off.
It is a perfect avatar for me because I make that face 99% of the time while browsing Giant In The Playground. Shudder.
Anime fans have a lot of weird character archetypes we’ve developed over the years to classify our favorite characters. Most of these archetypes are a result of stock character personalities constantly recycled in anime. Being an anime fan who DMs for anime fans, I too constantly recycle these archetypes in my games so we can all have a laugh at them when somebody figures them out (which is usually within the first few minutes of interaction). Imagine if you were to use them on people who aren’t anime fans? Why, you’d get hilarity and chaos that’s what. Or something else, I don’t know.
One thing to keep in mind is that, much like terms like New School and Old School here in RPGLand, in the warring kingdoms of Animuland, these terms are constantly debated, applied wrong, redefined and amended to the point that they blur. Here I offer what I think are the basics for these character archetypes. Another thing is that, most of these apply the most, and were originally intended for, female characters. For the sake of the article I’m expanding them beyond the realms they are usually found in.
For a bonus, try actually playing one of these archetypes sometime rather than just sticking them on some NPC in your campaign. Now that would be wild. I know because I’ve been playing tsunderes since Shakugan No Shana first aired.
Oh Tsundere, what a classic archetype. This one has a lot of history which I will not go into because honestly you don’t care. Why are you still reading. A Tsundere is a character who is at first relunctant, defensive and even violent in interactions with other characters, but shows moments of weakness and vulnerability when kindness and compassion are shown to it (or even just at random). Eventually, such moments will eventually get the tsundere character to hold off for longer periods of time before putting up shields (or pulling out weapons). Even more eventually, the character may come to genuinely admire or even love the other character (or characters) in question and become more open and normal.
Then you pull a character reset. Because a tsundere without any tsun is pointless.
The point here is how over-the-top it tends to be. Verbal abuse will generally ensue nigh-immediately to anyone that comes into contact with this character. Non-lethal slapstick will ensue soon after. The key is to show the first moment of weakness somewhat early so players know what they are dealing with (or at least that the person is not an unreasonable savage and only needs a little of the right prodding to be communicated with).
Tsundere make extremely funny “helper NPCs” or hirelings. A Tsundere villain would probably also be hilarious, especially if the hero decides to use The Power of Love to win the day rather than just picking up a sword and slicing throats.
The typical tsundere catchphrase is “Stupid [Thing]…it’s not like I’m [doing something] because I like you or anything! I just [really stupid excuse].”
If you’re still reading, you may actually be interested in learning more about this! Here’s the TVTropes page.
But don’t look at it yet or you’ll never return.
A yandere is a character that is outwardly, seemingly, the sweetest, kindest, most compassionate person in the universe, so altruistic, doting, loving, or all of the above, that it seems almost too good to be true. And it is too good to be true, because the Yandere is only waiting for something to trigger its stress explosion before revealing a dark, dark side. Though it began primarily as a romantic trope (a psychotic jealous lover) it has since been expanded to include any character that starts off sweet but has moments of insanity. Yandere characters have a trigger – something that happens that reminds them that yes, they are crazy, and yes, intestines do feel smooth when you remove them from someone’s body.
Yanderes are genuinely nice though, when they are. They aren’t faking it. However, they’re stuck in polar extremes. Either they’re amazingly thoughtful and nice to an almost false point (though it is not false) or they are insane and grizzly in ways no normal, centered human being could ever possibly be. However, this isn’t involuntary either. When the anger is triggered, the person is in full (dis)control and thinking that yes, murder is a perfectly rational choice at the moment. It isn’t a case of possession or multiple unrelated personalities – this person is just insane right now and is capable of rationally justifying violence to itself. This is bipolar disorder on ‘roids, and the roid rage is comin’.
This makes a trite motivation for a villain – equatable to “I had a bad childhood!” most of the time as the reason for the crazy – but if the PCs have a home base and know their villagers well, having one that is a yandere can lead to some fun on them off-days when they’re spending a year making a sword (if you’re playing 3.5 D&D for example) or just hanging out. For fun, give the yandere side a statistical boost that puts it on the level of the PCs when triggered. Seeing a “random 1 hp villageperson” suddenly become a Level 15 Solo Brute would be astonishing. Hit points are circumstantial anyway.
Here’s the TVTropes page.
A kuudere is a character that outwardly shows no emotion. Blank expressions (or perhaps just dismissive ones), few words (most of them probably devoid of emotion, or full of the wrong kind of emotion) and seemingly nary a care about other people. This person may be intimidating or unapproachable in some other way. In reality, the character has a kind inner side that it is hiding for one reason or another. If not kind, it is at least presentable rather than blank. Or at least not crazy. This makes a good personality for a villain’s right-hand kind of character, and depending on the circumstances can make for a tragic villain, but really only if the PCs have some way of looking at the character’s past.
I once had a big bad evil critter where the entire point of the campaign was to retrace the steps it took during its own epic quest to save the world. The PCs were epic level (this was 3.5) and they could’ve fought the big beast whenever they wanted to. But they had a choice of going to these locations and as they discovered more about the person it used to be, they began to sympathize with the monster and with the person the monster used to be (I use monster very loosely – it was still very much humanoid in appearance and mannerisms). This gave them an edge in the final battle, where I allowed each character a Diplomacy check, with bonuses from each adventure, that dealt the check’s result as unhealable damage to the bad guy.
That was pretty awesome and I should do it again.
The TVTropes page for this one is pretty sorry compared to the other two, so I won’t be linking it. This is the least developed of the three terms.
There’s also Darudere and Dorodere, but they’re more obscure. The fact that I know them at all shows how much time I spend on this kind of thing.
Until next time, I got nothing. Back to reading about the Organization of firms and Perfect Competition.