Some of you may have heard of the (not-so-recent) phenomenon regarding something called ‘waifus’. In fact, if you haven’t, I’m relatively surprised you made it here, especially considering that half of the search terms here are just people looking for doujins. Unfortunately, for those of you with your head eagerly in the air and your (possibly figurative) penis eagerly pressing against your pants, there are none of those here.
Now, what I’m going to say is extremely subjective, and thus everyone will quite possibly think I’m terribly wrong and an idiot, but I’d just like to put down my two cents since I never really have anything else to blog about, given that I think that other people are perfectly capable of episode-by-episode anime summaries and their thoughts on it and that they can do it much faster than me. Nor do I really think that many people actually care about what my thoughts were on Kanamemo or Serial Experiments Lain. So, therefore, for my first post in months, I’m going to talk about something that most of you probably won’t find interesting: the waifu phenomenon.
Now, for those two of you who may potentially read this who don’t have any idea what a waifu is, here’s a brief rundown. You’re aware, of course, of people who think of celebrities as their husbands? They have pictures of them all over their walls and own every movie by them? This is much the same phenomenon, except instead of celebrities, the characters here consist of mostly female (though certain male characters can certainly qualify as well) characters from anime, manga, video games, light novels, and ero-games (or non-porn visual novels because umineko fans will instantly jump on me for saying such otherwise).
There are several ways in which people with waifus will express their adoration. You know that one person in lecture you see with Nadeko as their background? Probably not, but you get the point – often, when one obtains a new waifu, it becomes their goal to plaster the user screens of technological items such as computers and cellphones with pictures of them.
Then, there is the next step – buying posters. If the character in question is from a relatively mainstream, slightly-old anime, such as Kagami from Lucky Star or Yuki from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, then you can probably find a metric ton of wallscrolls at whatever anime convention you live within 200 miles of. However, if your character of adoration is from a more recent, slightly more obscure anime (though the term of obscure is relatively hard to define in terms of certain fandoms, I don’t consider Saki or Kodomo no Jikan obscure, but I’m sure that a lot of people do) then your next step will be to find posters from Nyantype or Megami Magazine. If you are not familiar with either of these magazines, they contain several relatively small posters depicting female (with the recent exceptions of Mariya and Hideyoshi, and perhaps others that I don’t know about) characters from anime that were airing in Japan at the time of publication.
Hideyoshi, even according to Megami and Nyantype, is a gender classification of his own self-while biologically male.
Keep in mind, these steps are not in order, don’t necessarily need to happen at all, and aren’t really indicative of anything. It’s just typical behavior that I’ve generally noticed. That being said, the next ‘stage’ that I’ve noticed is purchasing of figures. They’re generally quite expensive, and this is a stage that few people except for anime fans understand. Often, when people see my figures, they ask “aren’t those toys for kids?” even though Stringed owns like a million more figures than I do. Most of mine are actually just small trading figures, because I generally lack the funding for figures, though I have managed to amass like three of them myself. While I’d like to own many more, particularly that Koromo figure that I posted earlier on in this and a figure of Sanya from Strike Witches that I do believe is made by Kotobukiya, they’re just…very expensive. Often a sign of someone who is devoted to their waifu is someone who has several figures of them, just because of the financial cost associated with these figures. Though I’d honestly buy a lot of Alter figures, as well as Nendoroids, generally because those are my favorites.
Even so, figures generally have a vast price range. While for most people this ranges from too expensive to far too expensive, it is not always as horrible as it looks. Sites such as Hobby Search and Toys Logic generally have sales as well, though there often are not great figures there, and it is often possible to find figures at conventions relatively cheap, and they can be even cheaper on Sundays if they feel they can sell them. Figures that are to-scale generally cost from $60-100 a pop with shipping, whereas some non-scale figures tend to be a bit cheaper, in the $35-60 range. Nendoroids are generally about $35 each, and trading figures, which are generally smaller, can cost as little as $5-10, though they generally tend to be around $10-15 when searching for a particular one.
However, for many people, that isn’t quite enough. Some people want to spend time with their waifu in a closer way than figures and pictures on their walls and PCs can allow. Therefore, where is the best place to place a picture of them, because they sadly cannot materialize in the real world? The answer to that is simple – a pillow case. These pillowcases with female anime characters on them, often with one ‘clean’ side and one ‘scandalous’ side, are generally referred to as dakimakura. This is one of the things about anime fandom that many people consider weird; however, I honestly think that dakimakura should be kept relatively private. Therefore, if you go around with your dakimakura in public, such as the one infamous man who traversed around Japan with his pillow depicting Nemu from Da Capo, you should expect some strange looks from many people.
I don’t really think dakimakura are weird myself, however. I’d honestly buy one of Yuno from Hidamari Sketch, the official one is just adorable. And the Sanya one because Sanya is sexy and awesome. (Terrible confession here: I have not made the time to watch season two of Strike Witches, nor Season Two of K-ON!!, someone please scream in my face to make me watch both of them) I just think it’s one of those things you should keep private, because of the sexual connotations of white stains being all over them within several hours. Even if you don’t want to defile your dakimakura with your sexual organs, there are some people who do, and there is a high enough number that it’s the equivalent of going around with a large, colorful vibrating dildo and showing it to everyone.
Now, what implications do all of these things have? I honestly don’t think anything of it. It’s just a fantasy, and so long as it doesn’t get in the way of your everyday life, I see it as no big deal if you have no waifus and find the practice weird and disturbing and for virgin nerds who have no life or various other negative things people could say. While it’s true that a lot of people with dakimakura haven’t done the deed, it’s not even always the case, especially if you go to certain websites on the internet. There are many people who are even both in relationships in their real life and still have a place in this subculture, though they don’t often speak up about it. (For example, myself. I’m in a relationship and I have several waifus. It’s not really weird unless the other person in the relationship is uncomfortable about it).
Really, the only thing that prevents me from having ten dakimakura and a million figures is a general lack of funds. And that doesn’t stop anything else. So, uh…yeah, that’s pretty much my two cents. Feel free to comment, rage that I’m in a relationship and that I therefore have no right to be saying anything about waifus, that I’m a female and also have no right to say anything about this or any other such comments you might have.
And for those of you who are now curious, here are some links! I wouldn’t be surprised if Stringed has already mentioned these sites, but you can never be tantalized by things you want to buy enough.
http://www.auctiva.com/stores/viewstore2.aspx?id=874911&page=home – Dakimakura. Most of them are probably counterfeit, but whatever.
http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/ – mostly sells figures. However, you can get -official- dakimakura here as well if you click the “Anime Toy” button! These are pretty expensive though, and unless you really want to support companies or can’t find it anywhere else there generally isn’t a huge quality difference, from what i’ve noticed.
http://toylet.net/index.html – Has a lot of stuff, surprisingly. It’s all pretty expensive, but it’s nice for a look. It’s also very, very nice if you’re a fan of Touhou Project.
You can also find a lot of figures at conventions! I’ve actually gotten almost all of mine from conventions, because I just hate paying for things online and don’t trust figures getting shipped back to my dorm anyways. As for dakimakura, I’d feel a little odd buying one at a convention, but they generally only have a few anyways, and honestly I think all of the designs on them kinda suck. And…there you go. My random rambling is officially finished.
At least, for now.