I don’t think anyone will disagree with me when I say that the 2020s were rough. For that reason, we need a heavy dose of copium.
And what better way to achieve it than by combining my two sources of happiness: waifus and nostalgia?
So here’s my list of the best waifus that came out during the 2000s.
15. Nana Osaki
I’m going to start off with Nana, as she wasn’t as popular as most of the other characters on this list.
With the show being marketed as a shoujo series, many manly men missed out on this masterpiece.
Which is a shame. I can guarantee you that Nana would’ve broken so many waifu tier lists had the series gotten a bit more attention. She could’ve been everyone’s goth GF before it even became a meme.
She has a spunky personality, rarely holds her tongue, and usually gets to the point rather quickly. This is quite a blessing if you’re experiencing kuudere burnout.
Plus, the story has so much drama and depth that she ends up feeling like a real person. For fear of spoilers, I won’t get into it more than that. But definitely give this old classic a shot.
14. Fuu Kasumi
Anime: Samurai Champloo
Although Fuu wasn’t as popular as her male counterparts, she was still pretty iconic.
With Mugen being the bad boy and Jin being the serious samurai – Fuu had a lot of room to goof around.
Her interactions with both of the warriors made for some great scenes and brought most of the character development for the main cast. Plus, you just have to adore her antics.
She jumpstarted the entire plot simply by making a bet with two fierce warriors. And by the end of the series, she truly became an irreplaceable part of the show.
13. Seras Victoria
Anime: Hellsing: Ultimate
Considering the overall vibe that Hellsing has – I fully expected Seras to just be a comic relief/fan service character.
And while those points definitely turned up a few times – she was so much more.
The first time you see her go into a murderous rage – you know that you’re not dealing with the average female warrior anymore. Be it by crushing skulls with her bare fists or going Rambo with giant guns – Seras is a force to be reckoned with.
Even by today’s standards, this made her quite unique. But back in the 2000s, that was a gold mine waiting to happen.
Anime: Dragon Ball Z
Although Dragon Ball Z ended in the late 90s (and we collectively all agreed that GT never happened), Bulma still deserves some credit.
She was incredibly relevant even a decade after the show had finished and there’s no doubt that she achieved iconic status.
First off, she was the female Batman. Not so much in terms of actual fighting prowess but definitely in the money department. In fact, the first half of DBZ would’ve been a lot more pessimistic without her around.
Secondly, her relationship with Vegeta is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen. Instead of the usual lovey-dovey couple, Bulma and Vegeta just bicker constantly. This made her stick out quite a bit.
The fact that she was also a main character in one of the most popular anime ever made also helped.
11. Yoko Littner
Anime: Gurren Lagann
Although Yoko couldn’t really compete with the popularity god that was Kamina – she was definitely quite iconic.
You can’t see a sniper in a bikini taking down giant mechs and not instantly fall in love. It’s just human nature.
Plus, Yoko was honestly the most reliable character in the show.
While everyone else relied on giant robots and the power of friendship – Yoko was out here putting bullets in heads.
Her bubbly and optimistic personality never failed to make a scene more fun. And her design was honestly way more adorable than it had to be.
I also have to say that her short-lived teaching career puts 90% of modern slice-of-life anime to shame in terms of quality. Exactly why they didn’t make a spin-off for it, I’ll never truly understand.
Anime: Code Geass
C.C. is basically everything Kazuma ever wanted Aqua to be. She gave Lelouch power, stayed by his side through thick and thin, and stole all of our hearts.
Hell, she didn’t even have to say anything, and half of the community would melt. She usually kept to herself (like a true kuudere) – making her emotional scenes that much more potent.
She also wasn’t a pushover, as we see her jumping into danger time and time again. One could genuinely wonder whether C.C. has any weaknesses as a waifu.
And even if she did have some in the beginning, the amnesia arc erased them all. Like seriously, the kuudere into adorable goofball transformation will always make the character one million times more likable.
Anime: Black Lagoon
Revy basically has the same appeal as Seras.
She’s just a badass chick that can and will shoot you in the head.
However, since her powers aren’t tied to drinking blood or immortal demons, she feels a bit cooler.
She’s just a regular gal that happens to have an itchy trigger finger. And in terms of character – she’s just a giant mood. Constantly cursing, getting upset, and punching whatever is closest.
Plus, her visual design has just enough of a retro feel to really make her stand out from the competition. Overall, an iconic waifu who can hold her own in any situation.
8. Sakura Haruno
Anime: Naruto: Shippuden
I was slightly torn on where to put Sakura if I’m being honest.
On the one hand, her waifu status is highly debated and shabby. On the other hand, no one can deny her vast popularity.
So the visual representation of the word “useless” lands in the middle of my list. Although her character would get better in Boruto, Shippuden wasn’t as kind.
With constant crying, empty promises of “I’ll be an equal part of team seven” and the biggest simp behavior I’ve ever seen.
She did have some good moments and a fairly decent fight with Sasori, but that’s not the point. This is one of the very few characters that reached the iconic status through infamy – and that still counts for something.
7. Asuka Langley
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Take everything I said about Revy, add buckets of trauma and you get Asuka. Exactly why more trauma equals more fame is something I don’t want to think about.
Jokes aside, Asuka was an instant classic. In fact, most of the female cast from Evangelion became major hits. But I think Asuka stood out the most and will therefore represent their party.
That red jumpsuit shook more sexualities than any other show at the time and her badass nature cemented Asuka as a GOAT.
Plus, her final episode was so over the top and emotionally taxing that I don’t think I could forget it if I tried.
For better or for worse, she’s definitely an icon in the anime community.
Anime: Spice and Wolf
I have no proof for this – but I’m pretty sure Holo invented furries. Just think about it! The show was huge in the 2000s and Holo is basically S class waifu material while also looking like a fox. It all adds up!
Jokes aside, Holo is an absolute treat.
Her chemistry with Lawrence was just lovely and gave rise to lots of funny/memorable moments. Plus, it’s one of the very few shows where the dub can actually compete with the original Japanese VO.
Her design is rather minimalistic, but her character makes up for it completely.
She doesn’t strictly fall under any of the “dere” archetypes – which actually makes her feel very unique and fleshed out.
5. Rukia Kuchiki
As one of the big three, you already know that Bleach has to have some top-tier waifus. And boy, does it deliver.
In fact, it over-delivered – as picking just one character was way harder than it had to be. But seeing how Rukia basically smashed every popularity poll – I think it’s a safe bet to say she’s the most iconic.
That, and she’s also a tiny tsundere.
And as we all know – that’s a winning combination!
Sure, a lot of people were disappointed that she didn’t end up with Ichigo, but it was also kind of nice.
A genuine platonic friendship is rare these days. And their chemistry definitely made them quite the dynamic duo.
4. Erza Scarlet
Anime: Fairy Tail
It’s just very difficult not to love Erza.
She’s basically one of the bros – partying, drinking, and breaking tables. Plus she lends herself to a lot of comic relief – as she’s sometimes completely clueless about how normal people function.
Then on top of all that, you add her incredible fighting skills – bringing us many epic battles and dozens of unique armors that diversify her move set.
And in case you still weren’t sold, just sprinkle in some fan service.
As I said, it’s really difficult not to like her.
3. Yui Hirasawa
The best way to describe K-On is a meditation that you didn’t even know you needed.
It’s just so wholesome and adorable that you’ll feel your muscles physically loosen up once you get a few episodes in.
And honestly, there isn’t any “one” correct pick for most iconic here. The entire cast is memorable and lovable in their own way.
I just chose Yui because I feel like she’s the spirit animal of the modern person.
She’s overly creative but just can’t be asked to actually sit in one place and study. Could you imagine the popularity she’d have if TikTok was canon in her universe? It would be madness!
Plus she has a very cute design and some killer tunes. What’s not to love?
2. Taiga Aisaka
If someone told me that Taiga singe-handily created the tsundere archetype – I’d have no way to prove them wrong.
This little bundle of pent-up aggression and pouts absolutely stole everyone’s hearts when the show aired.
Her backstory made her rather sympathetic and her relationship with Ryuji was actually very believable. You could see how the two desperately needed each other and made up for each other’s weaknesses.
Taiga also had an absolutely adorable design and scenes that fully explored the depths of her character. The latter part of that statement just means that this show made me cry a lot.
Even to this day, I occasionally see video essays on why Toradora perfected the slice-of-life romance formula. So it’s pretty safe to say that the show isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
1. Haruhi Suzumiya
Anime: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Haruhi’s popularity is honestly just poetic.
Her entire storyline is based around the fact that she’s a god but doesn’t know it. And in real life, people definitely seem to treat her that way.
Like seriously – if you have some time to kill, try to find videos of anime conventions from back in the day. Her dance was everywhere, Haruhi cosplay was huge, and her figurines probably raked in more money than most countries.
There was something about this in-your-face goddess that people just clung to, and her anime supremacy lasted for quite some time. Therefore it’s not even a question in my head. She’s definitely THE waifu that defined the entire 2000s.