A debate has raged—raged, I say—in our combox on the subject of waifus.
What is a waifu? And how many waifus may a man have?
The first question is easily answered. As explained by Know Your Meme, the word waifu entered the parlance of English-speaking otaku largely on account of the popular anime adaptation of Azumanga Daioh, an irreverent and plotless slice-of-life story originally created as a four-panel comic strip by Kiyohiko Azuma. Azumaga Daioh is more-or-less the origin of the deservedly reviled CGDCT (cute girls doing cute things) genre of manga and anime, though it is considerably less putrid than many of its imitators. In one of Azuma’s comic strips, later adapted into an anime episode, the girls find a photograph of a beautiful lady, which fell from the pocket of their creepy pedo schoolteacher. When the girls ask the identity of the woman in the picture, the creepy teacher replies, in mutilated English, “Mai waifu,” that is, “My wife.”
Fans thought this was hilarious, so the word waifu, which is wife transliterated into Japanese and then back into English again, entered the parlance of English-speaking anime fans as a reference to female cartoon characters on which one has a crush. The corresponding word husbando refers to male characters.
For the record, my husbando is Ken from the web series Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse. The Barbie series is a self-effacing parody apparently inspired by the depiction of Barbie and Ken in the Toy Story movies. Originally, it consisted of five-minute shorts that told a few silly jokes before bowing out, but once it went to full-length episodes, it started overstaying its welcome. Ken is a metrosexual parody of modern manhood, a literal accessory whose life revolves around his girlfriend. He is also a gadgeteer genius who can instantly construct any machine, but only if it’s ridiculously complicated. For example, in the second episode, he is confounded when trying to put together a bicycle, and instead inadvertently constructs a tennis-playing robot.
But never mind that. Getting back to the matter of waifus, the unresolved question is, may a man have more than one waifu?
There are two major schools of thought. On the one hand are those who hold that the the waifu is a feminine ideal, an abstract concept akin to the visions and phantasms of the poet of old, who would waste away in his bleak garret, a glass of absinthe at his elbow, while writing lines to the unobtainable vision of womanly beauty flitting through his fevered brain.
In like manner, so the theory goes, the weeaboo of today creates Internet memes and posts them on Instagram in honor of an unobtainable anime character. He sobs into his cuddle pillow, wasting away in his mom’s basement with a can of Mountain Dew at his elbow while writing fanfic about how his two favorite magical girls would be totally hot if they made out. Surely, if such a lovelorn neckbeard is truly to dedicate himself to loving an imaginary being pure and chaste from afar, he can only have one waifu. The lover of many waifus is in fact the lover of none.
On the other hand, another school of thought holds that a man may have many waifus, just as the hero of an anime may have many girls trying inexplicably to get into his pants. As this theory goes, a man can build a vast collection of feminine ideals, so long as each has distinct attributes. After all, there are many attributes and personalities, even some that contradict one another, that may be considered feminine, so why should a man be limited to a single personality profile in his contemplation of the feminine ideal? Thus, each weaaboo can claim a tsundere waifu, a meganekko waifu, a yandere waifu, and so forth and so on.
After some consideration of this urgent subject, I have arrived at a compromise position: I believe it is appropriate for a man to have three waifus—a regular waifu, a sailor waifu, and a pony waifu. Any man who thinks he needs more than that is just getting greedy.
My pony waifu is of course Rainbow Dash, though I confess it was a hard choice between her and Princess Luna.
Rainbow is a scratchy-voiced tomboy whose main interests are lazing around and flying really fast. She is the sole Pegasus pony in all of Equestria who can fly fast enough to produce a sonic rainboom, which fans estimate to be equivalent to Mach 5. She is both a braggart and a great athlete, but her desire to show off in front of others gives her a paradoxical case of intense stage fright. Although boyish in some respects, she easily bursts into girlish giggles. Her tomboyish charms have carried away the heart of many a Brony, and thus she is one of the most abused characters in fan fiction, where she is oft represented as a nymphomaniac, though canonical depictions of her, especially in the expanded universe of the IDW comics, represent her as all but uninterested in anything but sports.
Even though Rainbow evinces no particular interest in boys, I am sure that if only we could meet, if we could talk for a while, she’d see how much we have in common, how passionate we are about the things we love …
I probably don’t even need to tell you that my sailor waifu is Sailor Jupiter. She cooks, she cleans, she casually beats up thugs … and she gets a crush on anything with a Y-chromosome, which means I have a chance. She tends to intimidate men on account of her size and strength, but that’s only because she’s too much woman for lesser men to handle.
My regular waifu is Duck, also known as Princess Tutu, from the anime of the same name. She is a duck transformed into a girl, who in turn can transform into a graceful ballerina with magical powers. With the power of her dance, she shatters peoples’ fond illusions and restores them to their true selves. Though, like all magical girls, she is clumsy and oversleeps her alarm, she is so pure-hearted that birds don’t merely flock to her, but literally mob her.
Arguably, by choosing her as my waifu, I might be cheating, since she has four forms. If you ask me if I want her as a duck, a girl, a magical ballerina, or a swan princess, the answer is … yes.
I forgot to mention, I believe it is also acceptable for a man to have one YouTube waifu. Mine is Lindsey Stirling, the dancing violinist.
Don’t judge me.