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By Edward Lamarck

Everybody wants one, nobody’s got one. This April Fool’s Day, I am drawn to thinking of a warm Spring season. I think of the birds and the bees, of flowering and deflowering, and most of all: fertility. What better time of year to drop my objectively correct assessment of waifus from different anime, manga, and JRPGs? I will do my best to justify my choices and pray that they are not used against me in a future tribunal once the Otaku Revolution sweeps the United States. I solemnly swear that I have put more consideration into each of these rankings than I have ever put into my degree planning.

As a disclaimer, I will admit that my favoritism towards waifus changes on a frequent basis. While maturing from high school loner to model citizen, I realized that some of the characters on this list may not be the most ideal to marry if they were real. This is not due to any fault of their own, but my own inhibitions against personal injury. I accept this as a grave weakness on my part. Lastly, a proper waifu must be a compelling character and the term does not denote a female character who is little more than an obedient housewife. A waifu can be strong or meek, good or evil. It is her personality and charm that drives fans towards her, and I wish to show some affection for these 2D lasses because they really are some of the best female characters I have encountered in fiction. 

Some honorable mentions will be included for the place they hold in my heart, but my arbitrary criteria excluded them from receiving an official ranking. Rest assured, I think of them just as fondly as any of the gals who appear in the top ten. Hopefully this entire endeavor will inspire a brave soul to create a top ten husbando chart, if only for the sake of equality. Anyways, without further ado…

10. Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion: 

I am fiercely competitive with other Evangelion fans on the subject of best waifu. Sadly, I get the impression that fans of this stoic, blue-haired clone are fighting a losing battle against Asuka Langley fanatics and Misato Katsuragi worshippers. For the uninformed/socially well-adjusted, Rei Ayanami is an Eva pilot with a soft, demure manner of speaking. She might come across as a wallflower, but she is remarkably brave in combat situations and is strategically gifted as a pilot. The joy of knowing her is to experience a very gradual relationship; she shares her thoughts and interests bit by bit. I found myself relating to her deeply on account of having autism, struggling to understand my own state of mind during childhood and beyond. She longs for a purpose and suffers from nihilistic feelings, leading to outward signs of derealization and melancholy. The only reason she stands at tenth place here is because I don’t view her as fully compatible. Rei is a fascinating character nevertheless, and she deserves to be cared for. 

9. Yuri from Doki Doki Literature Club: 

I once had this purple-haired poet as my Discord profile picture for a solid year in high school. Quiet, intelligent, and contemplative, Yuri is an adorable bundle of anxiety and very handy with a pen. I found myself engrossed in her moody poems and I immediately connected with her fondness for darker works of literature. As you will see from many other entries on this list, I gravitate towards waifus with obsessive tendencies and eerie proficiency with knives. Yuri is no exception. When Yuri said that she wanted to crawl into my skin, I knew that she was the one for me. At the same time, her peculiar fixations are implied to be the result of brainwashing, which means that I have to give her ninth place as her craziness may not be genuine. 

8. Shiro from Deadman Wonderland: 

This character was arguably the first I ever considered as a waifu upon learning of the word. She certainly set me on a path from which I can never return. Possessing a wide array of special powers and a split personality to match, Shiro is unquestionably psychotic and powerful. Still, her cutesy demeanor continues to override my higher reasoning abilities. Despite her odd, occasionally violent behavior and penchant for sweets, Shiro is kind and helpful to her allies. She’s playful and brings a welcome spark to life. As long as Shiro has people to care about, her positivity is limitless, and I find that to be an admirable trait. Those who can bring people up even at their lowest moments deserve all the praise we can give, even if they are the products of deranged scientific experimentation. 

7. Raphtalia from The Rising of the Shield Hero: 

Super cute and adept with a blade. Is there anything else I need to say? Raphtalia is a warrior at heart and she fights for all that is good in the world. That alone is commendable, but what makes her special is her unflinching loyalty to her friends. Her role in the story is to serve on the front lines of dangerous battles, protecting her compatriots with her sword and never hesitating to risk her life for others. She is by far the most heroic entry on this list. Aside from her combat prowess, I love her little moments of insecurity and jealousy. Deep down, she tries to balance her quest to save the world and her desire to settle down with the one she loves. She may have lived her early life as a captive and a slave, but her spirit is that of a noble knight. Raphatalia may be #7 on this list, but she’s a champion waifu. 

6. Albedo from Overlord: 

This woman is refined, elegant, and utterly mad (not to mention perverted). In-universe, she began as a video game NPC whose programming was altered so that she would fall completely in love with the main character. This had the unintended effect of changing her personality to be violently devoted to a big skeleton man (the aforementioned main character, Ainz). Albedo has nothing but contempt for humanity, but that doesn’t dissuade me in the slightest. She may very well be the strongest character on this entire list, capable of incredible amounts of destruction with her ax and magical spells. Additionally, she is one of the most intelligent characters in Overlord, a series rife with villainous plotting and scheming. Albedo does not hesitate to eliminate potential threats or rivals, and that kind of determination is very attractive. 

5. Yuno Gasai from Mirai Nikki: 

The pinnacle of yandere manga and anime, Yuno Gasai reinvented a whole subgenre by showing how far a stalker girlfriend will go if her target does not reciprocate her twisted feelings. Yuno is endlessly entertaining to watch, not just because she’s delusional and collects sharp objects with which to do harm, but because she’s also vulnerable and traumatized from a tragic childhood. At her best, she’s the perfect wife–attentive, loving, and a skilled cook to match. At her worst, she’s prone to stabbing perceived romantic rivals and kidnapping her beloved. Yuno had no small impact on my preferences in romance since I was 14, even if she utterly terrified me at first. Once you peel back the layers of insanity, you’ll find a brilliant young woman who craves normalcy above all else. Any guy would be lucky to have her.

4. Rem from Re:Zero: 

This light novel series gave me a terminal case of maid uniform addiction. Rem is an oni (ogre) woman with unmatched talent in blunt weaponry, especially her chain whip. However, she stands out from the competition by being a pure and kind soul with a clever mind. Rem is smart enough to outwit her opponents and set traps when needed. At the same time, she sometimes takes instructions too literally and will put in all her effort to ensure a given task is completed, no matter what it is. She cares about family and will use every ounce of strength to protect her own. Once a battle is over, Rem’s words of encouragement can melt even the iciest heart. These attributes will leave longtime fans asking one question: who is Rem?

3. Tharja from Fire Emblem Awakening:

 I will not lie, Tharja creeped me out the first time I played Fire Emblem Awakening on the Nintendo 3DS. The idea of falling in love with a stalker hadn’t yet embedded itself in my DNA until much later. I deliberately avoided romancing her and chose tamer, but still lovable characters as wives on my several playthroughs. Tharja is a raven-haired beauty with all the major perks of a goth girlfriend. She casts hexes on friends and foes alike, experimenting with the dark arts and annihilating enemies with her magic spells. Her morality is complex and hardly consistent, yet she is a fierce guardian of her allies and finds unique ways to express her affection, such as promising to haunt her beloved if she were to be vanquished in battle. Adorable! 

2. Lucy from Elfen Lied: 

Readers don’t need a warning at this point for who this character is. Lucy is a complicated tragic figure who kills without remorse, but does so to lash out against a world that has wronged her. Like Yuno Gasai, she is a pink-haired stalker but is far more restrained in comparison. Like Shiro, she also possesses multiple personalities; one is innocent and harmless, while the other is cruelly sadistic. Lucy is cold and calculating, weaponizing her psychic powers to put an abrupt end to mankind. At least, that was the case before she fell in love. It goes to show us men out there that yes, we can fix her. You may be wondering why I like this character so much, and I can’t really give a straight answer. It baffles even me. It doesn’t help that Elfen Lied was one of the first TV-MA rated anime I ever watched, so it definitely left a strong impression on me. Her monotone voice strikes me as alluring, and her hidden longing for a friend makes me sympathetic to her plight. That is all I can say for certain.

Honorable Mentions 

Mizore Shirayuki from Vampire+Rosario, Tali’Zorah from Mass Effect, Revy from Black Lagoon, Ysolda from Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Rebecca from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, Ashara Zavros from Star Wars: The Old Republic, Emi Ibarazaki from Katawa Shoujo, Kiyohime from Fate/Grand Order, Kali Belladonna from RWBY, Edelgard from Fire Emblem Three Houses, Miia from Monster Musume, Black Cat from The Amazing Spider-Man, & Cassia Orsellio from Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader.

1. Camilla from Fire Emblem Fates: 

Purple hair? Check. Royalty? Check. Obsessive personality and trusty with a giant ax? Check and check. Camilla is a princess raised in a society that rewards backstabbing and violence. As such, she grew to believe that the only way to keep her loved ones safe was to surveil them constantly, never letting her kin out of sight. Likewise, she is very maternal, yet also cultured and polite. I purchased Fire Emblem Fates (all three editions) just to experience her romance storyline and it did not disappoint. Camilla is the waifu that I would want to come home to each day, a welcoming presence who is also assertive and just a bit seductive. The fact that she can crush armies beneath her boots is an added bonus for us intrepid souls. 

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