I-it’s not like I want to be tsundere, okay?!

Yes, this is another post about Aisaka Taiga. Let’s call this a Taiga Weekend Carnival.

Previously, I’ve established my belief that moe is tied to empathy, it is the connection of viewer to character in regards to some type of weakness, though the character may not necessarily be weak, physically, mentally, or emotionally. Think of it as a character having relatable character traits-which-may-be-interpreted as flaws. In this regard, Aisaka Taiga, the tora in Toradora, is one of the most effectively moe tsundere characters I have ever seen, a tsundere moe on the level of Ogiue. Tsundere has become a very common trope in otaku-oriented media, so to describe what makes Taiga a very moe character is to explain why she stands out from her peers. And to explain that is to explain why Taiga is tsundere.

Taiga is a girl who has difficulty expressing her own emotions. When Taiga speaks, her words are the culmination of 1001 battles fought inside of her mind. It’s a violent battle, and the victor emerges not without a few scars. The result is that Taiga comes across as rude, blunt, perhaps even shy. Unlike many of her contemporaries at Tsundere Academy, who use their brash attitudes to actively hide how they feel, or Ogiue, whose tsundere is caused by years of deep-seated self-loathing, Taiga’s outward attitude is the consequence of falling short of a greater goal, that of being able to accurately express one’s feelings through words. Taiga is tsundere, but only because she can’t help it.

Clumsy, socially awkward, unable to convey the proper meaning in words when talking to others, this describes more than just Taiga, this describes a feeling that hits close to home for me and I’m sure many others. Even if we’ve gotten better over time, we can still remember the days when talking was one of the most difficult things we’ve ever had to do, and are reminded constantly that for us introverted folk, being social is not a natural talent but one that has to be learned and built upon. It is from the people watching that Taiga truly generates her moe.

Tsundere characters, be they the traditional type which slowly turn from tsun to dere, or the modern type which switch back and forth constantly, are generally girls to be sought, to be pursued. They are the goal. Taiga is not the goal. Taiga is us.

11 thoughts on “I-it’s not like I want to be tsundere, okay?!

  1. Aww, very well said. I like your perspective on Taiga’s ‘natural’ tsundere-ness (and moe, for that matter), something to add to the growing list of “how to justify Taiga’s tsundere-ism”, which the haters probably won’t ever understand, and we Taiga fans could always moeliciously delight in.

    Taiga’s a waku waku carnival of tsundere and moe, and it’s always fun to see her antics. Taiga FTW!

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  2. Guess I’m kind of an anomaly as an introvert, because social interaction has never been any kind of problem for me. I strongly prefer solitarity, but I never have difficulties talking to people. Of course, talking to a person one likes is a different matter but I wouldn’t know about that.

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  3. I think you pinned down the Ogi-tsundere style well. While all forms of tsundere deals with some kind of inharmonious notion with one’s emotion, Taiga and Ogi are both notably abrupt about it, even when they may be more honest about how they feel than some other notable tsunderes.

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  4. Sigh.

    I really like your points about Taiga. You have a good insight into what makes her a complex and fascinating character. But I feel when you throw the tsundere label on her you flatten her character to many people reading your insightful analysis. I feel on a certain level you take a character that you see the rich depth of and then brush it away with a careless turn of phrase.

    Plus Taiga is not the standard tsundere archetype. The standard tsundere is mean to the man she likes but in order to hide her deeper affections. Taiga starts the series not caring about Ryuji but treating him in a somewhat stereotypical tsundere manner. Now I feel that it is rather inevitable that Taiga and Ryuji are our destined couple but so far in the series they are an odd pair of friends that support each other if in a somewhat dysfunctional manner.

    On the other hand, she is light years away from being anything close to tsundere when interacting with Yusaku, the boy she actually likes. Here we see the vulnerable Taiga who wishes to show her feelings but can’t find the correct way to express her desires.

    So I feel that in a way you have almost negated what you said by throwing the simple label of tsundere of Tiaga when that was clearly not your intention. Will Tiaga appeal to people who profess love for tsundere characters? Of course. But I feel she is greater than that straight jacket term. You realize it. I realize it. That is why I feel you do your analysis a disservice by using the term.

    Also Nagi is not tsundere! I will not allow people to throw that term at poor Nagi. Nagi is love!

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  5. I’ve run into that question at some point myself, where it seems using a term labels them and puts them into a specific category, where it seems people just aim for the labels and care for little else. Still, I decided to use it.

    I understand the term, taken at face value, indicates that a character only has two sides, but that’s also why I spent the post trying to describe what sets her apart, and all those previous posts describing Ogiue. I feel that it’s a term that can fall flat but doesn’t have to.

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  6. Pingback: The Scrumptious Anime Blog | The Taigaism Dialogues 3-4: The Ode of “OHAAA”, Altogether Now

  7. Pingback: 2008: The Year of the Taiga « ディエゴの日々

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