I now pronounce you husbando and waifu, you may kiss your screen!
anime waifu otaku marries video game character niconama video Sal9000 and his waifu Nene Anegasaki (Love Plus) had the dream wedding at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 2009.
Though not something exclusive to anime, the concept of a fan getting married to a fictional character in their minds is nonetheless a rampant phenomenon in celebration of the medium. In a way, to feel this kind of connection to a fictional character is a kind of revelation about a person’s personality - what they want out of life, and out of love certainly. But perhaps they can only obtain it in their fantasies, either out of dissatisfaction with what they get in real life, or their social awkwardness when it comes to dealing with real people.
In the instance of a fan attracted to women and in search of the perfect mate, some find their ideal "waifu" (the otaku-ism for the English word wife) in a young tsundere, attracted to the concept of being the one person who can draw her soft "dere" side out from behind her tough-as-nails "tsun" exterior. Similarly, others find their ideal waifu in a young kuudere, if they’re drawn to females with an overall cold and cynical view of the world, maybe even from behind a pair of glasses that veil the secret sweet side. The rest seem to have a little of everything, or more of some things than others. But one thing they all share in common is that they have some kind of cute side that colors them irresistibly adorable to the viewer.
As for "husbando" seekers (husbando being the male equivalent of the waifu), there are a few versions that spark interest and create appeal. One is the bishounen, or "bishie", who, despite, or perhaps because of, his feminine touches (delicate wrists and slender figure and such) creates the perfect, non-threatening man. On the other hand, there’s also the husbando who seems dark and cold on the outset, but actually has a tender side, and just needs a romantically involved companion to draw it out of him, rather like a male tsundere or kuudere.
Then there’s the blend of the two, what might be described as a "dark bishounen", a beautiful youth that has a dark side that the fan attracted to them imagines being the sole person in the world who can "fix" them, at least in the realm of daydreams. And then of course we have the always enjoyable all-around badass: a strong, attractive man who's clearly the hero, but still has an edge to him that keeps him interesting as an imaginary life partner.
"Let's make our false love real!" - Chitoge from Nisekoi
Many of these waifu and husbando characters share things in common, apart from their attractiveness. One is that they often already have fans or crushes within their own universe, increasing their attractiveness. Also, there is the occasional waifu or husbando who is attractive merely for displaying yuri or yaoi tendencies.
Here are some noteworthy examples of characters - tsundere, kuudere, and everything in between and beyond - that have likely made their way into the hearts of fans with this level of devotion implied. These lists don't go in any particular order of rank, and are based on fan response I've read floating around the web, cross-referenced to the series I have seen personally.
15 Best Waifu
"These waifu are the real anime idols!" - Kotori from Love Live! School Idol Project
Mio Akiyama from K-On!
Member Favorites: 7381
What makes Mio so attractive is the fact that she doesn't realize it herself. Her timid yet gentle disposition only adds to her charm.
Be sure to check out the fan-made Mio shrine at the bottom of the article!
Nao Tomori from Charlotte
Member Favorites: 1750
Summer 2015 gave birth to a variety of beautiful characters, but none are cooler than this kuudere ice queen. However, as the pivotal series progressed, anime otaku worldwide were overwhelmed more by Tomori's warmth than anything else. Contrast to her tsundere image, she is loyal and honest to a fault, which is more than enough to grant her a spot in this list.
Konata Izumi from Lucky☆Star
Member Favorites: 12038
Konata will love you just the way you are. Because, well, she is just the way you are. This chibi cutie is the epitome of an otaku - she loves video games, anime, manga, and pretty much everything else that the typical male otaku does. What's better than a waifu? A waifu that will lend you her anime collection, of course.
Member Favorites: 5219
Hinata, the dandere queen of the Naruto series, has proven from time to time again that she is willing to do just about anything to protect the one she loves. And isn't that what marriage is all about?
Member Favorites: 640
The adorable songstress of Macross Frontier has grasped the hearts of millions of anime fans worldwide. In the darkest of times, her beautiful voice inspires courage in the weakest of souls. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.
Asuna from Sword Art Online
Member Favorites: 11073
Introduced in Episode 2 of Sword Art Online as a bad-ass swordswoman on par with Kirito, this is one beautiful redhead you wouldn't want to mess with in-game. What would a waifu be without a little "spice" every once in a while?
Member Favorites: 2117
More than just your typical tsundere, and despite her initial civilian status, Kaname Chidori refuses to go the way of the wilting flower when the going gets tough for Sousuke Sagara and his comrades. She is one of the most loyal waifu on this list!
Member Favorites: 9359
As the "Second Child" in the lineup of Evangelion pilots, we have yet another beautiful redhead who packs a punch. Whether it be for her tsundere nature or her delicate core, fans worldwide just can't get enough of Asuka.
Member Favorites: 7212
Yuki Nagato is the kind of "book smart yet clueless when it comes to romance" meganekko whose heart every man dreams of reaching, even the rather snarky, skeptical and romantically confused Kyon.
Member Favorites: 3334
As Zero's metaphorical queen on the chessboard of rebellion, the very curvaceous and fiery Kallen renounces her Britannian surname and pledges allegiance to the masked terrorist and the Black Knights. This waifu will pledge an absolutely divine allegiance to those she cares for, which is probably what makes her such a popular waifu.
Member Favorites: 4020
All the right curves in all the right places, flaunted around unabashedly, with an array of handy skills... What's not to love about this hot rod babe from Littner village?
Member Favorites: 1635
As the cute blonde gear-head who helped build Edward Elric's iconic automail leg and arm, how could anyone not fall for her?
Member Favorites: 14229
With the wisdom of ages and the playfulness of youth, other fox-eared beauties have nothing on this lovely furry who is none other than the wolf deity of legend.
Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate
Member Favorites: 15928
With both brains and beauty, Kurisu doesn't make things easy for the man who becomes her intellectual "match made in heaven", Okabe Rintarou, a.k.a. "Hououin Kyouma". But what fun would life with your beautiful waifu be if it was easy?
Saber from Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Bladeworks Movie, and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Bladeworks (TV)
Member Favorites: 13015
This blonde mistress of the blade Excalibur manages to hold her own, with a leonine grace combined with a sense of honor, making Saber a heroine more than worthy to love and fight beside.
15 Best Husbando
"I got a long way to go before I become like these husbando hunks!" - Miharu from Nabari no Ou
Levi from Attack on Titan
Member Favorites: 15571
A handsome titan-slayer and a captain who takes no prisoners, Levi demonstrates fierce loyalty to those under his command and to the future of the human race. On top of all of that, he's a man determined to keep everything spic and span. A hot husbando that will help with household chores - meet the epitome of every girl's deepest fantasy!
Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul
Member Favorites: 11858
Poor Ken. Why must a boy with such a gentle manner face such a twisted destiny? His tragic tale of the transition to and from darkness inspires us to stay strong no matter what. Ken is a husbando that we can both love and admire.
Rei Ryuugazaki from Free!
Member Favorites: 912
Who doesn't have a thing for athletic guys with fantastic abs? Just about every character in Free! is husbando material. But as much as a nice body can make you smile, marriage should be about more... like a pair of adorable glasses!
Member Favorites: 1018
Luka "Bloody Cross" is the kind of demon you think of when you think "angel of darkness". This tall, dark and handsome husbando will surely fill your life with mystery and excitement.
Member Favorites: 9018
It's hard to say what makes Araragi so special. He is an average school boy with a couple supernatural powers and somewhat attractive looks, but there are certainly other male anime characters that fit that same criteria... and better! So what makes Araragi husbando material? One word: loyalty. What other guy could resist the temptations of so many cute girls so as not to betray his one true love? Yeah, that's what I thought.
Member Favorites: 14639
Sebastian is devilishly handsome and a more than capable butler to Ciel Phantomhive, the tormented heir of the Phantomhive Estate. Can't blame Mey-Rin (or the tons of fans worldwide) for wanting him to look her way.
Tobio Kageyama from Haikyuu!!
Member Favorites: 2036
There's something about a child prodigy with a dark past that tugs at the motherly instinct in us all. Fan girls worldwide can't help but fantasize about being the one to heal the tormented soul of this hot husbando.
Member Favorites: 2459
Despite the enormous age-gap created by his master and best friend being whisked away to Abyss, Gilbert remains loyal to the end, even as he blames himself endlessly for not being able to protect his precious Oz Vessalius from being stolen away in the first place. And every Pandora Hearts fangirl loves him for it.
Light Yagami from Death Note
Member Favorites: 24734
Meet our favorite self-righteous serial killer and self-proclaimed "god of the new world", Light Yagami. Although his psycho stalker, Misa Amane, seems to be an incredibly annoying character, fangirls somehow can't help siding with her when it comes to how attractive the intelligent mastermind "Kira" makes his twisted concept of justice look.
Kiritsugu Emiya from Fate/Zero
Member Favorites: 5526
Though he is but one character in the myriad of other intelligent, somber, good-looking men seeking to save the world despite the murkiness of his methods, the fact that behind the cold mask of the assassin he's become a family man sets him apart from all the rest. This just manages to make him all that more appealing.
Claire Stanfield from Baccano!
Member Favorites: 3011
Yet another master assassin that manages to make himself a heart-throb even when he's covered in blood, this guy's so attractive that he can get a woman he's just met in a knife-fight on top of a speeding, high-jacked train to agree to marry him in a snap. Smooth.
Mikoto Suou from K
Member Favorites: 1701
Even as he wears no crown above his head, and even as he sports the look of any number of good-looking street-tough gang leaders, he carries himself as a troubled, leonine king fiercely loyal to his followers to the point of walking tragically down a path of destruction. And handsomely so.
Takasu Ryuuji from Toradora!
Member Favorites: 3091
Love means never having to say you're sorry. Ryuuji may have the face of a thug, but he also has the heart of an angel. Can't cook? No problem. Never cleaned your room before? Who cares? Anger management problem? No worries. Ryuuji has got to be the most understanding man in existence.
Member Favorites: 12141
For a man who "hates violence", and whose name ironically means "quiet hero of the peaceful island", we can't help but love him. He has suave blond hair, kickass purple shades, and his rivalry with Izaya Orhiara incites many a yaoi fantasy.
Member Favorites: 47836
Forget all the other geniuses bent on taking over the world through questionable means for the sake of justice. They don't call Lelouch's Geass "the power of the king" for nothing. No one could pull off the "quest for domination" look with such grace and charm.
The waifu and husbando phenomenon knows no boundaries!
One of the greatest things about anime is not only the breadth of storytelling it offers, but also the boundlessness of its aesthetic. Characters can feel real, but they can be drawn in whatever idealized style the creators imagine. Certainly most anime are based on manga, but even so, when those drawings are brought to life, there's no question there are some attractively drawn characters that grace the screen, ones that many fans can't help literally falling in love with.
The other great thing about anime, and about fictional characters in general (as waifu and husbando are not exclusive just to the art of anime), is the power of imagination that allows for fans to fantasize having real-world, personal, romantic relationships with these characters. The idea of having one with a character that's 2D though is particularly fascinating, since there's absolutely no way their appearance could cross over into the real world. They are an ideal design of what a fan's attracted to, unbound by any kind of reality. On the outside, it might seem pathetic to feel so deeply about a person that doesn't and could never exist in any way, shape, or form, in this reality as an interacting individual, and that the closest thing they can achieve in physicality in the real-world is as a cardboard standee. But however so, fans find enjoyment in it, and, in many ways, it feeds into the relationships they do have in real life, romantic or otherwise. This might depend on how far the fan takes the fantasy. Some enjoy their non-legit wedding ceremonies, while others keep it locked down in the realm of fanfiction and casual discussion with other fans.
Either way, the waifu and husbando fantasies are major trends in anime fandom that aren't likely to die down anytime soon.