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I wonder if anyone has an approximation for the Japanese “tsundere”?

Tsundere (ツンデレ, pronounced [tsɯndeɽe]) is a Japanese character development process that describes a person who is initially cold and even hostile towards another person before gradually showing their warm side over time.

Wikipedia

About the closest I can come is “hate to love” but I wonder if there’s something more succinct?

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The related idioms for "gradually showing a warm and caring side over time" are:

  • warm (up) to somebody: to start to like someone:
    I wasn't sure about Sarah at first, but I warmed to her after we'd been out together a few times. Cambridge
  • grow on someone: if something or someone grows on you, you start to like them more Macmillan

However, I don't think there is an exact equivalent in English to describe the character. Tvtropes offers some alternatives for tsundere though:

Punchy Love, Oranyan, Hot And Cold, Bitter Sweet Heart, Affectionate Spitfire, Mood Swinging Sweetheart, Sweet And Sour Personality, Sugar And Fire Personality

* Oranyan is sometimes used to refer to a male tsundere character - incorrectly since it means the complete opposite.

Additionally, tsundere appears as an English word in Wiktionary and it is already used as a loan word:

(chiefly Japanese media) A fictional character who fits the archetype of being cold and even hostile towards another person before gradually showing a warm and caring side over time.

  • Suggest adding the softening of someone hard-hearted. It's a common trope, though. I still wonder if there's a lit crit name for it. – stevesliva Jul 7 '15 at 19:40
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I think the english idiom equivalent would be Heart of Gold

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