The term “tsundere” is a Japanese word used to describe a character who at first appears cold and harsh (tsun tsun) but over time reveals a soft side (dere dere). An entire sub-genre of anime has been built around this character concept. Many of the better-known tsundere characters are female (Taiga from Toradora! is a favorite of Ando’s), but plenty of males fit the role as well (Kyo from Fruits Basket is a personal favorite). As it gains traction, the term of “tsundere” is being applied more widely, to characters such as Sherlock from BBC’s Sherlock.
Is Spock tsundere?
“The Galileo Seven” shows off many aspects of Spock’s personality– mainly repeating themes we’ve seen before, but this time in more detail. The crewmen of the week openly demonstrate their disdain for Spock’s cold, reason-based decisions while on Taurus II. Team Passive Aggressive take Spock’s perceived lack of grief over a dead crewman as evidence that he considers the crew little more than an expendable resource like any other. His strict adherence to logic and reason means that he cannot have an emotional attachment to crew, even those under his command. As the episode progresses, Spock’s actions appear less cold and more protective. He invokes the classic “go on without me” trope, demonstrating he is willing to sacrifice himself to save his crew. This is a turning point for Squishy Spock, culminating in most of the bridge crew ribbing him about his “strictly logical” act of desperation.
Examples of Spock’s “tsun tsun” nature are plentiful, as his emotionless logic is central to his character. Like any good tsundere, Spock himself insists that he feels no attachment and indeed cares for no person, as those are illogical human emotions and therefore have no place in his mind. In “The Galileo Seven,” Spock’s actions suggest a level of protectiveness that he would never admit to. While later episodes and movies give us glimpses of what could be considered a kinder gentler Spock, it’s not until 2009’s Star Trek, with the introduction of a relationship with Uhura, that we see what could truly be considered tsundere Spock. As is often the case in anime, it takes a romantic interest to crack the shell of a stubbornly cold loner.