Living up to my name with the obligatory Mai Waifu post

by eternal on August 30, 2009

Mai Waifu list

If you’re reading this, you should already know that I’m a moe fan. As a proud newfag Not Oldfag, I don’t see anything wrong with fluffy VNs and pointless harems. However, as most moe fans know, it’s not quite as easy to create an appealing character as you might think. There are tons of characteristics to think about, almost like planning a storyline: which tropes to use and which to subvert? Should there be a major plot twist, or should the effect sneak up on you? Despite the fact that so many shows star characters that are meant to appeal to male viewers, very few make a genuine impression that lasts more than a few weeks. Thus, after being reminded by digitalboy’s post, I have decided to perform a rite that every self-proclaimed otaku ought to perform at some point: create a list of my 5 favourite anime girls and explain what sets them apart from the fields of osananajimi and the seas of tsundere.

Mai Waifu list (3)

5 – Mio Akiyama

All right, I admit, this is a little redundant: I know I wrote about her a little while ago, but omitting her from the list just because of that would be cruel and inhumane (or at least incorrect). I definitely did a better job of describing her charm in that post than I can do here, but the long and short of it is that she’s a unique twist on tsundere. She plays the tsukkomi in most of the comedy in the series, building up an image of being cool and mature, but the real finishing blow is in her dere side. Instead of feeling embarrassed around her crush, her soft side comes out in the funniest everyday situations: childish fear. The way she gets scared of ghosts and barnacles, then gets embarrassed about getting embarrassed, was instantly enough for me to put her on the list, even before the show was finished. Maybe it’s because I can relate to her awkward bashfulness, but Mio’s appeal is decidedly more unique than that of her ilk.

Mai Waifu list (4)

4 – Mizuki Hayama

Mizuki is…interesting. If I were to accuse any of these girls of being unoriginal, it would probably be her. Admittedly, Mizuki’s personality isn’t very unique; she’s genki, kindhearted, a little clumsy, and then back to genki. It doesn’t take long to understand her, and there wasn’t anything too significant in the anime to really win her “points” with me. However, for some inexplicable reason, she quickly became one of my favourite aspects of melodies, right next to Shinbo’s antics. Perhaps it’s because she came on strong, but it didn’t take long for her bright smile to quite literally become one of the highlights of my week, even as the world fell apart around them. Her final confrontation with Kuze helps as well: realistic or not, her blind but genuine faith in love and life fits her personality perfectly, and I couldn’t help but smile at the end of it. In a sense, Mizuki made an impression on me by “being herself” – the tropes and cliches were meaningless in the face of a character who couldn’t care less about them.

Mai Waifu list (2)

3 – Miyako Miyamura

Ah, MiyaMiya. Where to start? Yandere scares me, that much is certain: in real life, I don’t think I’d be able to handle someone as unstable as her. That said, her insecurities are an important part of her character, and I couldn’t criticize her for not being “perfect.” From that perspective, Miyako has the advantage of not relying on blatant pandering, as the viewer is forced to see that life isn’t always easy in the anime world. Weaknesses aside, though, Miya’s personality is something that clicked with me right away. Maybe it’s because of her first encounter with Hiro, but her energetic, outgoing nature appeals to the antisocial tendencies in me, and her sly playfulness is the icing on the cake. She’s the perfect companion for apathetic or unmotivated guys like Hiro was at some points, yet she still tickles the protective urge that moe is known for.

Mai Waifu list (5)

2 – Nagisa Furukawa

A little while ago on Google Reader Secret Society Shared Items, someone brought up the concept of “being in love with the idea of being in love” with relation to Clannad. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever know where my attraction to Nagisa ends and my respect and idolization for the main couple begins. Tomoya Okazaki is easily my favourite male visual novel character, and when the cheesy, almost shoujo-style moments starting showing up between him and Nagisa, my enjoyment of her character shifted away from moe. However,  she still pulls of the “Key lead” stereotype perfectly, with a delicious mix of air-headed clumsiness and childish determination. Nagisa goes a bit deeper than that, with her initial lack of confidence, but I was especially impressed by the fact that she wasn’t held back by her past. Her problem wasn’t as convenient as a tragic past or lost childhood friend; she simply didn’t have the confidence or desire to move forward. Tomoya gave her that confidence, and together they were able to find happiness. This is a fuzzy one for me because it’s hard to pinpoint whether I like her more as a haremette or a shoujo lead, but I can’t forget my love for her moeblob exterior and weak-willed but strong-hearted interior.

Mai Waifu list (1)

1 – Shiori Misaka

Surprise, surprise? Oh, who am I kidding.

My love for Shiori will always be strange because I don’t really know where it began. I watched Kanon when I was innocent, as far as otaku go; I wasn’t as in-tune with moe subculture and its many divisions, and I didn’t consciously notice pandering and affection for a character as I do now. As a result of that, I still don’t know when I became a Shiori fan. I’m sure some of it was due to her character design, which stands out as original even now; and I’m almost equally sure that her mysterious nature and heartbreaking story arc contributed greatly. But there had to be something more, something to give her the position in my avatars and signatures that she has today.

CCY talked about it before, but almost like Nagisa, Shiori’s character goes a bit deeper than her initial appearance. The first thing that got me was her physical weakness – the kind of thing that makes you want to hug her and stop her tears, even though you’ll be crying in her place because there’s nothing anyone can do – but I think the final blow, the thing that puts her above the stereotypical Dying Moe Girl, is her inner strength. Much like Nagisa, Shiori is a fairly strong person mentally, but the gravity of her situation is too much to bear alone. And that’s where you come in. She isn’t so weak that she begs to be protected, but she doesn’t do everything for you like Miyako; she’s right in between, trying her best to enjoy her life while fearing the inevitable like any sane human should. Somewhere along the line, her silent struggle combined with her mysterious nature and memorable character design boosted her to the top of my list, turning her into a memory that I hope I won’t forget in 7 years.

– – –

Having said all of that, my disclaimer is that, for me, a character’s appeal is closely tied to a show’s appeal. All of the girls on this list are from anime that I honestly enjoyed, and all but one are from shows that are on my Top 5 on MAL. Additionally, rewatches tend to change my perspective on things, and I’m sure I’ll be able to write something better on Shiori after I play through the game this winter. The list isn’t too rigid and I shift things around from time to time, but I very rarely add or remove a character, and I feel confident in my current choices. Ultimately, though, the otaku heart will always be a fickle thing, demanding imagedumps and blog posts whenever a new girl “transfers in” to shake up the class. And that’s the way I like it.


Honourable mentions:
Mai Asagiri: win for character design, but she played almost no role in the anime and the game isn’t translated.
Matsuri Shiho: a lot like Miyako IMO, but the story and atmosphere of ef will always be more alluring.
– Kazumi Yoshida: Shana isn’t bad, but Yuuji is an idiot and Kazumi is way underrated. She’d have potential if she had her own show, or at least more screentime.
– Nagi Sanzenin: Loli tsundere hikikomori otaku. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

animekritik August 30, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Very interesting. I don’t really know your # 1 and # 2 choices, not having seen the shows, although Nagisa is all over the Net and she always strikes me as having unbearably large eyes.. That said, I really do like Miyako although I think she’d be extremely tough to live with you, as you said. As for Mizuki, wow, that’s an interesting choice. I kinda thought you were a Chihiro fan… Mizuki would be a good maiwaifu, sure, but I’d pick Chihiro over her. Mio I’m not going to say anything bad about, so I won’t say anything at all except: GO RITSU!!!!!!!


Kairu August 30, 2009 at 9:47 pm

This post makes me want to make a non-filler post on my blog. Since this is obligatory.

brb, doing my waifu post.


Chris K. August 30, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Interesting mai waifu list, the mai waifu lists seem to be making their way around the Internet lately. I agree with including Nagisa in your top 5, one of the greatest advantages of picking her is that we’ve already gotten a look at her post-motherhood and she’s still smoking hot.

But, I might have to disagree with including Mio in the list, while I find Mio extremely intriguing and attractive but I would put her more in the category of nice summer fling.

I also find your choice of Shiori quite interesting, Shiori seems to have the right combination of sensitivity and sweetness to make a good waifu and mother, and wonder if she’s like Bo from Smokey and the Bandit with Shiori only taking her shawl off for ?


otou-san September 1, 2009 at 8:51 am

Miyako is a nice choice, but make sure you have room for a lot of voicemails…

Dunno about the mention of Yoshida Kazumi though — the main reason I’m waiting for a third Shana is a thin bit of hope that she may finally kill herself. At least you know she would constantly pine for you.


digitalboy September 1, 2009 at 8:56 am

You can’t have Miyako. Take your damn moeblobs, but you can’t have Miyako!

But seriously, I see no correlation between these girls, leading me to believe you will marry just about anyone :p


phossil September 1, 2009 at 10:47 am

Im seeing a lot of waifu posts these days.. Lol.
I should be doing the same.. ^^


ETERNAL September 1, 2009 at 4:04 pm

@ animekritik: Now that you mention it, I should do an alternate version of this list where talk about practicality instead of pure moe. I actually am a Chihiro fan, to some extent, but I think I’d be much more attracted to her if she existed in the real world. It’s been a while since I saw the first season so my opinion might change, but as far as I remember, she didn’t make as much an impression on me as Miyako did. On the other hand, looking at it logically, I imagine we’d actually get along well IRL. I’ll have to look into this!

@ Chris K: I had no idea what Smokey and the Bandit was until right now, but I’ll take your word for it :P

@ otou-san: Yeah, her pining can get annoying, but something about Shana just bothers me. Actually, something about that whole love triangle bothers me. I remember half-liking Kazumi out of sympathy during the first season, and that impression sorta stuck with me throughout. I still say she (and Ike) need to get out of that mess and find themselves a new anime.

@ digitalboy: Ah, but I wouldn’t take just any tsundere or any moeblob. Besides, love should not be bound by personality archetypes!


moritheil September 23, 2009 at 4:15 am

Very interesting. The fickle otaku heart is not just the way you like it, but the way the industry likes it: without it, where would the drive for new anime be?

Re: Nagi, jail.


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