The Meaning of Waifu and Purpose

Waifu is a term that is used extensively in the Manga/Anime Universe. It refers to a fictional female character a viewer considers one’s spouse or would want to marry. The person feels attracted to this fictional character; sexually and/or romantically.

anime waifu

Origin of the term

Waifu is a term borrowed from the English Language which appeared in the Japanese terminology during the early 1980s. According to Google records, the oldest entry for this word shows up in the Urban Dictionary on 2nd April 2007. The word waifu is commonly associated with otaku culture, but its history can be traced outside of it.

In the past few decades, the relationship dynamics between husband and wife have changed in numerous ways. The traditional Japanese words for husband and wife sound somewhat regressive to young couples, especially women.

A lot of couples have culturally appropriated the English words for husband and wife. The words altered faintly in pronunciation; the wife changed to waifu, and the husband changed to hazu.

These altered words eventually made their way to the Western Manga/Anime fandom, who started using them to refer to their favorite Manga characters. Although, these words were a part of the Japanese lexicon and were used long before their popularization in the West.

Meaning of the Term Waifu in Otaku Culture

Within the content of Otaku culture, these labels to refer to fictional characters are not completely solid. The online otaku culture adopted the word husbando to refer to male Anime characters, female fans adore, instead of the word Japanese word hazu. In some cases, waifu is used to refer to male fictional characters by female fans.

Simply, a waifu refers to any fictional character that we person adores and feels attracted to. This relationship occurs on a spectrum. Some people view it as fun and fleeting. To others, it might be a little more than casual, and then there are some who take this relationship very seriously.

The latter view waifu as someone who is real and can feel anger, happiness, and affection. So, they make their decisions based on what their waifu would ideally want.

The spread of the term

This term denotes an imaginary relationship with an Anime character stuck with English-speaking fans all over the globe. It gained a lot of popularity in the latter half of the 2000s, and some believe that the credit goes to the 2006 anime Azumanga Daioh.

Characteristics of Waifuism

Every person shares a different relationship with their waifu. But there are a number of common characteristics displayed by the community;

  1. Waifu relationships may involve some level of commitment.

  2. Waifuism is not rooted in mental illness or detrimental obsession as the person knows the character is fictional.

  3. The lover of the waifu may or may not be sexually attracted to the character. Sexual aspects are individual decisions.

  4. The lover considers waifu’s views when making a decision.

  5. Having a waifu does not necessarily mean that you cannot be in a real/tangible relationship.

  6. The waifu exists in the realm of ideas and the mind.

Other elements of Waifuism

Waifusim as a concept is not limited to manga characters. It could be used to refer to any fictional character that one feels attracted to. Simply put, every fictional character has the potential to become a waifu. This relationship involves an emotional event that happens after one resonated with a specific character. It is not really ‘chosen.’

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Psychological point of view

From a psychological standpoint, waifuism can sometimes transform into an unhealthy obsession. Some people may become delusional, and then it starts affecting their mental health.

Though usually it is understood as a connection that fulfills a need that one is unable to find in the 3D world. Sometimes people start projecting their own wishes on their waifu, but mostly the waifu’s point of view is considered.

A full personality of the character can be fleshed out from the stories she resides in. Based on these traits and characteristics, a waifu’s reaction is evaluated in mind. The only difference here with a comparison to 3D couples is that this relationship is one way. The fictional character is unable to return their affection.

This one-sided connection can sometimes prove detrimental to one’s mental health. But sometimes they can also be beneficial as it prevents a person from getting into a messy relationship with a 3D person. Waifu relationships are safe and allow the person to feel compassion; by considering other’s viewpoints. This can help people when they get into a relationship with a 3D person.

Popular Anime Waifus

The anime industry is brimming with thousands of wonderful characters. A lot of new characters are created and developed every year. However, only a few are considered as attractive and chosen as waifus. Here is a list of a few popular anime waifus;

Bulma from Gragon Ball Z

Waifu Bulma

She is a chill character who won’t be hesitant to inform you where you stand. She is attractive, witty, diligent, and committed. She is not afraid to stand up for herself, and her strong work ethic tops it off.

Emilia from Re:Zero

Waifu Emilia ReZero

Emilia is mostly focused on being kind to others and stays true to her promises. She is philanthropic and concentrates on doing good for others without caring whether she’ll be rewarded for her efforts. She’s extremely loyal.

Saber from Fate Stay Night

Waifu Saber

Saber has respect for others and is the type of person who puts her best efforts to stay true to her promises. She always takes a firm stand and takes pride in herself. She doesn’t blindly follow anyone.

Final thoughts

The concept of waifu is a bit complex, and some may find it difficult to understand. These relationships are defined by the personalities of the characters involved.

When a fictional character resonates with a fan, it can generate feelings of love, lust, desire, anger, etc. This relationship is a result of the normal and sometimes abnormal workings of the human mind.

Sources:

Article submitted by Charbel from WaifuForLaifu

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