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"Although she seems to lack emotion, this is largely a pretense."—The Talosians, Star Trek: The Original Series
One of the newer neologisms, a kuudere rounds out the dere family in a rather basic way. Allegorically speaking, a kuudere is like snow: it may be cold and harsh at first glance but it is also what keeps autumn's seeds warm and safe until spring.
Similarly, while she may appear apathetic and awfully pragmatic, it is but a frosty mask that protects her tender, delicate feelings deep underneath the facade, waiting for someone to melt the snow and allow them to spring. A subtrope of the Tsundere, the kuudere avoids combative and immature demeanor; rather, she employs more subtle tactics:
- The Silent Treatment: Sometimes this can be used as a blunt and open form of punishment. "I'm not speaking to you anymore." More commonly it's as simple as the recognition that silence is a conversational weapon. Responding to some foolishness with dead silence, perhaps with a slightly raised eyebrow, can be far more effective a putdown than some harsh insult. Occasionally this will be combined with tactic 2.
- Non-Verbal Cues: There are many ways to communicate disgust without words. These range from a haughty look, to sniffing at "boorish" behavior, to sighs about whatever new idiocy she's been called upon to endure. If confronted about it she'll probably reply: "I didn't say anything." (Unless she's giving you the Silent Treatment too- then you're likely to only get a stare.) Note that this can just as often convey approval, especially toward friends that have learned to "read" her.
- Cynicism: Casually blunt and dismissive, but rarely straightforward rudeness even when provoked. However, a conversation with her will always leave you with a faint feeling of being mocked. Witty comments that show how intelligent she is and how foolish you are, she loves those.
- Stoicism: She eschews more emotional ways of expression, coming across as emotionless, unfeeling, and overly logical. She might not seek out cutting comments, but she ignores the emotions of her companions, and tends to dismiss them as unimportant.
As these traits can also suggest maturity and tact, she may come off as older. To highlight this, the kuudere may be accompanied by a more energetic, clumsier (or more annoying) Morality Pet wanting to emulate this graceful mature character. Said duo forms a Boke and Tsukkomi Routine, with the Kuudere playing the Straight Man role.
We've been using the female pronoun, but a Kuudere can be male, and a male Kuudere is far more common than he is for other tsundere subtypes. A Kuudere can be used to develop a romantic Will They or Won't They? much like the tsundere. Platonic versions are common though, much more so than for other versions of the Tsundere.
Type 1 -- Always In Control: She comes off as "kuu-" (cool) because she controls her emotions. She maintains a calm, collected exterior regardless of how she feels. She doesn't conceal her feelings, and will directly and honestly tell you how she feels, but her expressions are subtle, with watery eyes being akin to bawling, and a small smile being akin to a giggle fit. Or all her feelings may be filtered through snark or dry wit. The appeal is her bluntness and directness, in contrast to shy reserve or boisterous rowdiness. If she's the Love Interest either the other partner will be the source of Will They or Won't They?, or they'll skip that and the focus will be on the drama that comes after they admit They Do. Often be The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask. When she becomes the mask, the "dere" part usually withers and falls off. Occasionally this is a trait of a more exaggerated character, the Emotionless Girl, (or so she claims). Our page picture, Raven, is an example of this variation.
Type 2 -- Once You Get To Know Her: She will show her dere side to those she cares for -- but strangers and those she does not trust or like will see the kuu side. In this case, each new acquaintance has to defrost an ice queen persona to get to know her -- but it's how everyone gets to know her. Her friends all consider her to be caring and in private moments with them you may just catch her laughing. (Although it will still be considered unusual). It's not that she spares them any of the wit or doesn't act "kuu-" with them sometimes. Her friends just understand it better than those that aren't close. She might have a painful past.
Type 3 -- She Has Moods: She alternates between her "kuu-" and "dere" persona depending on her mood. What controls her mood? Some may have clear triggers, and her companions might learn how to manipulate her to their advantage. Others might switch moods at what seems to be random moments- which can be very unnerving or confusing to those around her. Expect a joke about "that time of the month." In really bad cases might start to overlap with Yangire or Yandere. Some might contend that this version isn't "kuu-" (cool) enough to qualify as a Kuudere, and might place them in some other category.
Obviously these variations aren't always used pure, and often are mixed together in different characters. Again using Raven as an example, while she fits the first variation best, she certainly has elements of the other two.
Compare Sugar & Ice Personality and Not So Stoic. Related to Beneath the Mask. Can in many cases be a Stoic Woobie. Can overlap with Tall, Dark and Bishoujo as her appearance is a perfect fit for a Kuudere's personality. Part of the dere family along with Tsundere (irritable/arrogant outside, sweet inside and vice-versa), Yandere (sweet outside, Ax Crazy inside), and Dandere (asocial outside, sweet inside). See also Rei Ayanami Expy.
Note: This is anime-only. Edit
- Angel from Angel Beats for sure. She seems like a straight Emotionless Girl in the beginning, but starts to show flickers of emotion and humanity starting in Episode 5, when the protagonist speaks to her and learns her real name. This is a weird case because she's the antagonist ...not. After the whole Naoi business she's a straight ally to Otonashi, and eventually, all the SSS.
- Switzerland from Axis Powers Hetalia. This gun-toting and cynical xenophobe with a Hair-Trigger Temper melts like butter when his little sister Liechtenstein is around.
- Sweden, who is pretty much a Huge Schoolgirl in the body of The Big Guy. Scares everyone with his Face of a Thug, but he's quite the playful guy on the inside, as his profile mentions.
- In Fanon, Norway is either this or Tsundere towards Denmark.
- Austria, too. Better seen in the strip right after the "Chibitalia" chapter, where much to Hungary's shock he takes up the rest of Chibitalia's daily chores for once.
- And in the Valentines strip, when Germany pointed out that he'd get lost if he went out to purchase a present for his ex-wife Hungary, he opted to make her a gift and ask someone else to give it to her. She was very much "aaaawwww" when she found out.
- Iceland was mentioned to be Hot-Blooded inside and keeping it cool outside. This was thought to be an Informed Ability... but he was shown in the latest Nordic strip being cool in the beginning and almost losing it at the end.
- In Fanon, Deadpan Snarker Hong Kong is usually rewritten as a kuudere. Makes sense considering the author's notes on him, which reveal him as a serious prankster.
- The same case with Belarus, when she's not with Russia ("Nii-san, let's get MARRIEDMARRIEDMARRIED") in fanon she's usually portrayed as this.
- Japan is most likely one too. He shows little emotion on his face, he remains relatively stoic even when angry, and he's pretty much the epitome of Inscrutable Oriental overall... but he genuinely cares for his friends and tries his best to get along with them even when they confuse or baffle him, and you get the feeling that his excessive politeness and seeming indifference at times are more a product of him not quite knowing how to deal with others with personalities vastly different from his own than him being condescending or disdainful toward them. Not to mention him maintaining close relationships with both America, in spite of his often patience-testing personality, and Greece, with whom he shares a love of cats.
- Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh, natch. So, so very compassionate and cute on the inside, but outside, she looks like a cold, tough Huge Schoolgirl. She manages to break out of her cold, reticent shell once she finally manages to pet a cat without getting hurt. A Shrinking Violet, but only because she laments never being cute as a child.
- She's something of a different case in that her "kuu" isn't some sort of façade she's putting up to fool everyone, but something she does completely by accident.
- Baccano has two, Chane and Ennis, both of whom have trouble coming to terms with human emotions, particularly compassion and affection.
- Bakemonogatari: Senjougahara Hitagi is...really too complicated to be neatly categorized by terms like Tsundere/Yandere/Kuudere, but there is a conversation early in the show where they bring up the question of whether she's a tsundere and Araragi puns that she's really more of a tundra instead.
- Bleach: Kuchiki Byakuya is this towards Rukia, along with Aloof Big Brother. One can also make the case he's this way towards Ichigo and Renji (and by extension all of Squad Six), though it's more concern for their well-being than love.
- Karl-Heinz Schneider from Captain Tsubasa looks cool, professional and proud, but holy shit, he's deredere over his parents and his little sister.
- Also, Jun Misugi and maybe Munemasa Katagiri.
- Yue from Cardcaptor Sakura starts as The Stoic, then becomes this. Touya, both towards Sakura and Yukito, is this from the start.
- Felli Loss of Chrome Shelled Regios.
- Fiore from Chrono Crusade comes across this way because of her outward Emotionless Girl personality. She believes herself to be completely without emotions and can often be blunt (in a very polite sort of way), but when Joshua gets into a fight she later admits with tears in her eyes that she was "so worried", and she goes out of her way to make sure all of the Sinners eat their veggies.
- C.C. from Code Geass. First impression: cool, cynical, indifferent. Deep inner side: oh so dere.
- Little Miss Snarker Anya, too, once you realize why she tries to act aloof all the time.
- Albert aka 004 from Cyborg 009, in the 2001 series.
- Also, Lina the Psychic Assassin.
- Darker Than Black has Hei (Stoic and can be a Jerkass, but actually still traumatized from Heaven's War, and god help you if you mess with his Nakama) and Kirihara (Cool and professional at first glance, but almost Moe when she lightens up). Yin may also qualify.
- Ai Haibara from Detective Conan is one example, since she's a Defrosting Ice Queen with Deadpan Snarker tendencies. From a Kuudere angle, Ayumi could be considered her Morality Pet.
- Android 18 from Dragonball Z, very Kuu unless she's with Krillin and their daughter, in which she drops her kuu and shows her dere side.
- For all of her Yandereness, Lucy from Elfen Lied. She's cold and deeply cynical, but only because she's been hurt so badly every time she lets her guard down. She may slaughter humans without hesitation or remorse, but her capacity for love is still very real.
- Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail.
- Bridget L. Satelliser, from Freezing.
- Sousuke from Full Metal Panic bounces between being a male version of this and a genuine stoic.
- Type 1: Riza Hawkeye from Fullmetal Alchemist wasn't always as stoic as she is today. Roy Mustang can spark off quite spectacular reactions from her, and she has a cute puppy that she adores. She's also shown demonstrating kindness to the Elric brothers and Winry Rockbell, and there are indications that, Mustang aside, she really cares about the members of her military team.
- Sloth from the first anime qualifies as well, being apathetic and at times patronizing on the outside...but inside is a whole other story.
- Hikitsu the Genbu Warrior from the Fushigi Yuugi series is a classic Type 2. Anybody who first met him is scared off with his harsh and cold persona, but once you have his trust and officially befriended him, you'll be quite surprised of how nice of a guy he is.
- Osamu Sugo from Future GPX Cyber Formula is levelheaded and professional for most of the time, but goes deredere to certain characters, especially towards Hayato and Asuka.
- Franz Heinel and Phill Fritz are these when it comes to side characters.
- Chika Ogiue from Genshiken.
- Yuki Eiri from Gravitation is cold and aloof because of a troubled past, but gradually warms up to his love interest Shuichi, even breaking down in tears for the first time in six years in front of him. This is much more true for the anime, where he rarely (if ever) loses his cool, as opposed to the manga, where he seems to lose his temper with Shuichi more easily.
- Trowa Barton from Gundam Wing, specially with Catherine and Quatre.
- In Happy Yarou Wedding, Yuuhi had always been considered to be really cold-hearted by his girlfriends but he was really just afraid of letting people in. The more time he spends with Todou and Shouta, the more the dere side comes through.
- Tsukikage Yuri/Cure Moonlight from Heartcatch Pretty Cure, who initially acted cold and aloof around her fellow Cures, but showed a more compassionate side to her friend Momoka, her mother and on one occasion, a runaway child. She defrosts slightly after joining the team, but still keeps many of her kuudere aspects.
- Mion Sonozaki from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
- And Mr. Furniture Kanon from Umineko no Naku Koro ni.
- Witch of Resurrection Ange Ushiromiya.
- And Mr. Furniture Kanon from Umineko no Naku Koro ni.
- Kan'u Unchou from Ikki Tousen. For the most part, she is The Stoic, indifferent Badass Action Girl. But put Ryuubi nearby... then she goes Les Yay deredere to the max. In Great Guardians, it even bordered on Psycho Lesbian or a while thanks to a MacGuffin.
- Takumi Fujiwara from Initial D.
- Shizuku of Kämpfer is a fairly aggressive example -- kissing her love interest as early as episode 5, and taking him on a date in episode 8.
- Karakuri Circus: Shirogane comes off as somewhat haughty and cold, but later her inherent sweetness shows through.
- Yasuna from Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl.
- Futami Eriko from KimiKiss.
- Akito Hayama from Kodomo no Omocha is definitely a male version of this trope.
- Seraphim from Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? is one.
- The Legend of the Legendary Heroes: Eris Ferisis -- stoic still highly blunt and abusive.
- Minami Iwasaki from Lucky Star is a bit of a kuudere, complete with a Morality Pet in tow, though her screen time primarily focuses around her friendships thus showing more of her deredere side than anything else.
- During his rant over tsundere and how the term has changed over the years, Minoru wonders about calling Kagami a kuudere instead.
- Dark Magical Girl Fate, particularly during season 1 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Later seasons has her "dere" part coming out more, with the "cool" part being reserved for combat.
- Quite a few Dark Magical Girls could probably qualify for this trope.
- Lady of War and Fate's Worthy Opponent Signum from the second season onwards qualifies, too. After centuries in service of selfish, destructive owners of the Book of Darkness, she developed a perfect Stoic personality... then along comes Hayate, who wastes no time adopting the Wolkenritter and letting them know the warmth of a family for the first time. Of course, her facade melts away. Then comes the third season and her Unison with Agito, who is a literal fire elemental... And I mean, just listen to her theme song, performed by Kaori Shimizu.
- Yue from Magical X Miracle was an unapologetic Type 1, though he goes through times when it looks like he's starting to soften up into a Type 2. Complete with a Kuudere Morality Pet in Lecto, who, after three years of working for Yue, now seems to be a Kuudere in his own right.
- Yue Ayase from Mahou Sensei Negima. While usually the voice of reason, being part of a Love Triangle with her best friend causes her to break down and reveal a very dere side.
- Chisame is another great example; she's a cynical Meta Girl, frustrated with all the weirdness around her, but when it gets right down to it, she cares for everyone around her a lot. It's most evident in the immediate aftermath of Rakan's death, which is the only time in the entire manga that she completely loses it, and breaks down in tears. Interestingly enough, her character notes state that Ken Akamatsu had the Tsundere archetype in mind when he created her.
- Setsuna is also an example; she strives to maintain her cold, levelheaded swordswoman persona, but what she really wants more than anything is to overcome her weaknesses so that she will be capable of protecting Konoka. Notably, Konoka doesn't really care for the whole "emotionless, intellectual warrior" thing, and actively tries bring out Setsuna's more dere side. It works.
- Princess Arika is another example, driven by The Chains of Commanding. We see flashes of Tsundere when Nagi provokes her. When Nagi finally confesses his love, she becomes all blushy and tongue-tied.
- Loco from MAR acts this way constantly due to her excessive loneliness because she's older than she looks.
- Shikamaru Nara from Naruto.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei Ayanami is a mix of this and an Ice Queen to defrost. In the beginning, she could be mistaken for an Emotionless Girl. She later warms up to Shinji, especially in the manga, and dear God can she be dere over him. Heck, her affection for him grows to the point that even when she becomes The End of the World as We Know It (this after having died and forgotten her experiences with him), she still cares for him, given that it was his anguish over Asuka's gruesome death that prompted her to finally betray Gendo and put Instrumentality in Shinji's hands... Rebuild of Evangelion only takes this trope further.
- Even at the start, when she is cold to Shinji, she is very dere to Gendo. She lights up when he speaks to her, and smiles sweetly when she looks at his glasses.
- Gendo himself, who raised Rei and likely inspired most of her mannerisms, is a male example of this trope.
- Mirielle of Noir is for most of the series a Badass Action Girl assassin who only occasionally lets her soft side show, but late in the show when she finds Kirika's heartfelt note, she starts crying along with the audience.
- Nora has two of the male variety: Kid with the Leash Kazuma and bluenette Bishounen General Rivan.
- Nico Robin from One Piece. However, she's usually calmly cheerful as opposed to showing no emotion at all.
- There's also Boa Hancock, who gives a cold Jerkass Facade to her people and acts cruelly to her enemies, but becomes as soft as a marshmallow whenever Luffy's around.
- Asuka, the main character of Otomen, who tries his best to act like the pinnacle of stoic manliness, but in reality is enamoured with all things girly and adorable.
- Dr. Atsuko Chiba in Paprika.
- Trip/Shooti from Pokémon Best Wishes is a huge type 3 Kuudere. Seems to be a Jerkass until you realize that he does have a heart in recent episodes where he helps Ash move the Venipede to a safer location. The minute Ash tries to congratulate him, Trip instantly avoids eye contact. Later appearances tone down his Jerkass attitude before it's completely a Jerkass Facade that is more annoyed at Ash than anything else. Recent appearances have him ignore Ash when he could clearly see Ash through his camera. Cue Ash's expression of shock of being ignored.
- The anime rendition of Ryoma Echizen in The Prince of Tennis. His kuudere side shows up in relation to his cat, though.
- Also, Renji Yanagi's anime rendition.
- Sadaharu Inui comes off as a kuudere in the Dating Sims. And how.
- Don't forget Tezuka. He had kept a cool, neutral face throughout the whole series, but when Seigaku won the Nationals, he is revealed to have a very nice smile. You know it's a big deal when Inui thought it was necessary to actually catch it on film.
- Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a big example of a Type 2 Kuudere. When we first meet her, she acts quite cold, and is very cynical in regards to being a Magical Girl. But as the series goes on and the Awful Truths about actually being a magical girl come out and we get more emotional reactions from her, it becomes quite clear that she's in this to protect Madoka. And then comes episode 10, where we find out just why Homura is this way. Dear God, Homura...
- There is evidence that Nabiki from Ranma One Half may be one. All or most of the characters are pretty one dimensional, but there is one time when Kasumi comments that Nabiki wasn't nearly as cold before their mother died.
- Fanon commonly has it that she is very dere, but her kuu was developed to perfection so that she could make business transactions (and consequentially money for her family).
- A literal Ice Princess, Mizore from Rosario to Vampire. Very stoic and emotionless unless the situation demands it. If she becomes emotional, she either considers you a close friend or you're about to get your ass handed to you. (Outside of the Flower Offering arc, where it came in the form of an emotional breakdown.)
- Shinku from Rozen Maiden towards Jun (She treats him coldly and like a servant), with overlaps with Tsundere she constantly abuses him verbally and physically and shows, in both animé and manga, that she cares deeply about Jun.
- Another Setsuna that qualifies as a Kuudere: Setsuna Meiou aka Sailor Pluto from Sailor Moon. She gets mistaken for an Emotionless Girl at first; turns out she's just sad and lonely, having to guard the time gate while watching her life go by. It makes sense that she is guarded, because she is a Sailor Soldier first (installed at the gate as a very young child) and has to come up with a civilian identity later.
- Also, Michiru Kaiou aka Sailor Neptune. Very calm, cool and collected, as well as extremely dedicated to her Senshi mission... but she can also be very gentle to those she loves (if in a very princess-like way, befitting an Ojou like her), and specially her girlfriend Haruka.
- Male example: Aquarius Camus from Saint Seiya. Also, his disciple Cygnus Hyoga.
- And Pisces Albafica from Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas.
- Maria Tachibana from Sakura Taisen.
- As well as Subaru Kujo.
- Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai: Nagisa Yamada (a middle schooler and hopeful future member of the Self Dense Force) seems to have definite Kuudere leanings in the early chapters of the manga. When asked by Umino Masachika to become her "precious friend." Nagisa responds: "I'm not interested in you because you're not a bullet... I don't care for anything else."
- Serial Experiments Lain: Ah, Lain, who can contest Rei Ayanami for the role of creepiest Emotionless Girl any time, Mind Rapes herself (or something...) and the façade shatters completely.
- Since Lain is the viewpoint character for most of the series, the effect isn't quite as strong as it could be; the viewers get frontline seats to her internal turmoil, and she's far less aloof when she's alone with her thoughts, which is quite often.
- The titular heroine of Shoulder a Coffin Kuro, oh so very much.
- Amu Hinamori, the main character from Shugo Chara, is known as the "cool and spicy" girl at school because of her unique fashion style and her blunt attitude. However, she actually just wants to be normal and girly, and it's actually because she's shy that she puts on a cool girl act.
- Rima arguably qualifies as well - first impressions: dainty, spoiled, yet cold. She's really actually a sweet girl and just needed time to warm up to Amu and her friends. Plus, as serious as Rima is, her "would-be self" is a clown, because she wants to make people laugh.
- Noël Kannagi from Sora no Woto devoted herself to machines and closed to people after being tricked when she was a kid to repair a bioweapons facility and being shown the results.
- Kyon from Suzumiya Haruhi. If you think he really is as cynical and apathetic as he claims to be, just take a look at how pissed he got when The Integrated Thought Entity threatened to destroy Yuki at the end of the fourth book, or when Mikuru got kidnapped at the end of the seventh.
- Yuki Nagato sort of counts too, though saying she's a very Emotionally Repressed Girl is more accurate.
- Another male example: Ryu Amakusa from Tantei Gakuen Q.
- Kanzaki Kaori in To Aru Majutsu no Index.
- Golden Darkness (a.k.a. Yami) from To Love Ru.
- Miyu from Vampire Princess Miyu, though much more in the TV series.
- Lucia from Venus Versus Virus.
- Hiro from Wa Ga Na Wa Umishi is a textbook example, though her dere side comes out very rarely.
- Shizuka Doumeki from XxxHolic. 'Nuff said.
- Yuuko Ichihara as well. For a large portion of the series, she appears to be a rather cold-hearted, calm and calculating woman that seems pretty cynical and grants people's wishes with rather sinister consequences. Later, however, she starts showing her warm, affectionate dere side towards Watanuki... which is made all the more obvious in the touching scene in the manga where she disappears after telling Watanuki that her only wish is for him to continue living, and in turn he swears to wait for her forever.
- Shizuru Kuwabara from Yu Yu Hakusho.