The world of Japanese anime is home to thousands of fictional characters of all sorts, and these characters can be hugely popular for various reasons. Classic shonen protagonists are famed for their strength and courage, and shojo heroines are inspiring role models for girls everywhere. Anime waifus are equally as admirable.
An anime waifu is the theoretical ideal life partner for a viewer, typically a female character with desirable traits such as beauty, intelligence, personal loyalty, certain talents/skills, a fascinating worldview, a good sense of humor, and more. It's ultimately a subjective field, but certain waifus have established themselves as clear favorites and can be approximately ranked according to popularity and merit.
Updated on September 2nd, 2022 by Sarah Martin:We've added five more of the best waifus from across anime. Whether they're badass heroines who always save the day or simply well-written female characters, these waifus deserve all of the praise and recognition they receive.
15 Despite Her True Identity, It's Pretty Hard To Dislike Makima (Chainsaw Man)
Chainsaw Man's Makima quickly became one of anime and manga's most popular female characters. Though she's clearly a villain, fans find it hard to dislike her for many reasons. Some say it's because they just really like her design and find her visually appealing, while others appreciate how complex her entire character arc was.
Despite Makima's true identity as the Control Devil, it's hard for people to dislike her. She's a manipulative person who's done terrible things, but fans are nonetheless drawn to her. All of Chainsaw Man's female characters are praiseworthy, but Makima garnered the most attention from fans.
14 Shinobu Cuts Down Demons With A Smile (Demon Slayer)
Demon Slayer's Shinobu Kocho is the Insect Hashira. She stole the show during her debut in the Mt. Natagumo arc. She has a very bubbly, friendly attitude towards everybody. Though this makes her quite magnetic to most, watching her defeat bloodthirsty demons with a calm smile is terrifying.
Despite her hatred for demons, Shinobu showed compassion for Tanjiro and Nezuko after hearing about what they've been through. She's endured tons of trauma, but it's admirable that she never lost her cheerful personality and kept pushing onward.
13 Maki Oze Is Tough On The Outside & A Hopeless Romantic On The Inside (Fire Force)
Maki Oze is a total spitfire in Fire Force. She's a fierce fighter who never backs down in the face of danger and she's never afraid of speaking her mind, no matter whose feelings get hurt.
Though her peers get on her case about her brutish behavior and scrutinize her for not behaving "ladylike" enough for their standards, Maki faces adversity head-on and continues to be herself unapologetically. Despite her tough exterior, Maki is a hopeless romantic who is in touch with her emotions.
12 Saber Is Courageous & Always Speaks Her Truth (Fate Series)
Saber, or Artoria Pendragon, is a Saber-class servant. She's a brave fighter and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty in battle. She's determined, trustworthy, and always gets the job done. She hates being patronized just because she's a woman.
Saber has proven on multiple occasions that she's stronger than most of her male peers. She has a strong moral compass from which she would never stray and always tries to resolve conflicts in a way that's fair to all parties involved. She's easily the most popular character in the Fate series.
11 Kurisu Is A Tsundere With A Realistic Outlook On Life (Steins;Gate)
Kurisu from Steins;Gate is a sarcastic genius who isn't afraid of speaking her mind. She's a total tsundere who stole fans' hearts with her dry sense of humor, creative mindset, and realistic outlook on life. Her development wasn't quite as stark as other characters in the series, but the subtle nuances of her arc made fans fall in love with her.
She's actually quite lonely and values memories more than the average person, something many fans can relate to. Kurisu rarely loses her composure and is the voice of reason in every situation. Her sensible personality greatly contrasts with her perpetually zany partner, Rintarou.
10 General Esdeath Is Brutal But Caring (Akame Ga Kill!)
General Esdeath is a military commander who is famed for her devastating ice-based powers and her "survival of the fittest" worldview. Esdeath grew up in a harsh environment where her tribe's survival was always on the line, so she learned to be practical and pragmatic in all things.
Esdeath maintained that attitude as a general, and she says that the weak deserve to die and the strong deserve to conquer all. But she also has her soft side, and she quickly grew attached to Tatsumi, becoming a doting girlfriend of sorts before finally realizing that Tatsumi is her enemy. Anime fans, meanwhile, love her as a cuddly ice queen.
9 Miku Nakano Will Try Her Best (The Quintessential Quintuplets)
There's something to like about all five Nakano sisters, from the goofy Yotsuba to the tsundere Nino, but the middle sister, Miku, has become the Quintuplets fandom's favorite waifu by a comfortable margin. Miku is a classic dandere, a kind and loving girl who is also terribly shy and meek.
Miku is soft-spoken and unassertive, contrasting sharply with Itsuki and Nino, but she'll try her best to impress her tutor Futaro and express her true desires. She'll even try baking sweets for him, but she's not exactly a master chef.
8 Kaguya Shinomiya Is Smart & Endearing To All (Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War)
Kaguya Shinomiya hails from a fabulously wealthy and powerful family, but she doesn't want her family's status to define her. Instead, Kaguya wants to pursue her own interests and get what she wants with her own power. Her maids and butlers can only do so much for her.
Kaguya Shinomiya used to have an ice queen persona, but that's over. Now she is a warm-hearted and caring girl who is quick to support all her friends, from Chika and Yu to Nagisa, and she has a sharp and witty mind that allows her to outfox Miyuki Shirogane time and again. She's also a bit naive but earnest, making for a charming combination.
7 Yoruichi Shihoin Is Funny, Caring, & An Expert Fighter (Bleach)
The hit shonen anime Bleach has a handful of potential waifus to its name, from Rukia Kuchiki to Orihime Inoue and Rangiku Matsumoto, but the ninja-like Yoruichi Shihoin has risen to the top. She is one of Bleach's strongest and most memorable characters, making her solid waifu material.
Yoruichi is popular not just for her good looks but also for her cheerful personality and strong sense of loyalty and duty, which are admirable traits in any partner. She is also tough and reliable, an expert fighter who will swiftly kick anyone who threatens her dear friends.
6 Mikasa Ackerman Is Loyal & Cool (Attack On Titan)
Mikasa Ackerman is Eren Yeager's childhood friend, though recent events have driven them apart. Eren's harsh words toward Mikasa are downright cruel, and no doubt every Attack on Titan fan is on Mikasa's side rather than Eren's. She did nothing to deserve this.
On her own merits, meanwhile, Mikasa is a wonderful waifu, being a loyal, caring, and protective person who is also quite attractive and a fantastically skilled fighter on top of that. She is also rather sentimental in a world where sentimentality seems to be dead. In her quiet way, Mikasa is a ray of sunshine in a realm of darkness.
5 Zero Two Is A Committed Mecha Pilot (DARLING In The FRANXX)
Zero Two is often considered the best part of the DARLING in the FRANXX anime by a wide margin. This particular mecha anime has some serious issues, but the character of Zero Two isn't one of them. She was introduced early in the series, and fans loved her right away.
Zero Two is famed for her peculiar but charming behavior, her ferocious attitude in battle, her utter loyalty to Hiro, and her intriguing backstory as a humanoid monster with horns on her head. She also pilots the series' most powerful mecha, Stelizia.
4 Erza Scarlet Is A Heartfelt Swordswoman (Fairy Tail)
The Fairy Tail anime is another one that features quite a few potential waifus, from Lucy Heartfilia herself to Juvia Lockser the megadere and the bookish Levy McGarden. Arguably, though, the sword-slinging Erza Scarlet is Fairy Tail's #1 waifu and one of the best waifu in all of anime.
Fans of Yoruichi Shihoin or Zero Two will find a lot to like about Erza as well, from her tough but fair attitude to her hidden loving side to her impressive combat skills and amusing hobbies. She loves armor, theater, cake, and Jellal Fernandez, and she's quick to act like a responsible big sister to Natsu and Gray if necessary.
3 Hinata Hyuga Learned To Love Herself (Naruto)
Hinata Hyuga is a standout character in the story of Naruto, a dandere who was inspired when Naruto Uzumaki shared some heartfelt words with her during the Chunin Exam story arc. Ever since then, the meek Hinata has been working hard to live up to Naruto's expectations of her, and it changed her life.
Hinata is now a confident shinobi who will gladly risk her life for duty's sake or the village's, and it's no wonder Naruto fell in love with her later on. She and Naruto are now happily married in Boruto, and Hinata is an exemplary partner and mother. She's got it all.
2 Tohru Is A Scaly Dragon Maid (Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid)
Tohru is a unique take on the "magical girl" concept, a mighty dragon that can take the form of a fair-haired young woman in a maid outfit. This series is also an example of the reverse-isekai genre, with Tohru learning the ways of modern Japanese society while still staying true to her fantasy roots.
Tohru is easy to like because she can do it all - dress in lovely outfits, fight off punks and monsters, run errands, have fun exploring the world as a newcomer, look after Kanna, and most of all, be a wonderful friend to Kobayashi herself. Anyone would invite this dragon into their home.
1 Rem Is Another Loyal Maid Warrior (Re:Zero)
Rem is a loyal and hardworking maid like Tohru, though she's not a dragon but an ogre. Also, in this case, it's her ally Subaru Natsuki who ended up in another world. When she first appeared, Rem and her pink-haired sister Ram were maids working in the Mathers estate, but housework isn't all they're capable of.
Rem was suspicious of Subaru at first, but she soon became one of his key allies and fought ferociously on his behalf for a time. Fans love Rem for her combination of her charming personality, her strong sense of loyalty and duty, her combat skills, and certainly her charming appearance and easygoing nature.
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