If you ask me, the 2010s were the best decade for anime.
So many iconic shows came out during this time that it’s honestly hard to keep track of them all.
And with good shows come even better waifus. So we’re going to take a look back and rank the best anime waifus that came out during this golden age.
20. Mikasa Ackerman
Anime: Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan has become one of the most beloved and popular shows in history. From the banger opening to the complex plot – it’s easy to see why it spilled into the mainstream.
Plus, people were simply losing their minds over Mikasa. She hit the scene as a weird kuudere/yandere hybrid and instantly became iconic.
Her visual design is just brilliant (as she absolutely rocks that short hair) and her battle prowess made her a certified badass. Sure, she doesn’t talk much, but her actions speak loudly enough.
As of writing this, the series hasn’t concluded yet.
But if they manage to stick the landing, Mikasa might just become one of those characters that transcend time itself and remain popular indefinitely.
Anime: Akame ga Kill!
Before everyone was fanning over Lady Dimitrescu, Esdeath confidently wore the “dommy mommy” crown. She was an absolute powerhouse that took out entire armies and somehow managed to look good while doing it.
With her uniform giving her that professional air and her personality instilling fear into the enemy – she was quite noticeable. But then the second part of the series rolls around, and we even get to see her softer side.
Having therefore fulfilled the duality of a waifu – Esdeath’s popularity skyrocketed even further.
And before you knew it, she became one of the most recognizable waifus of the decade.
18. Kaori Miyazono
Anime: Your Lie in April
Completely switching gears from the previous pick, we have Kaori.
She’s basically a ray of sunshine disguising herself as a person and it’s impossible not to love her for it.
She always maintains an optimistic outlook on life and tries her hardest to light up the room when she enters. She can also play tunes that would make Mozart jam out beyond the grave.
But since life is unfair and happiness is a myth – Kaori’s story doesn’t get the fairy tale ending it deserved. And while that did dry my tear ducts quite a bit – it also made Kaori even more memorable.
Anime: One Punch Man
I really don’t know why the anime community is like this (myself included), but short tsundere characters always break records.
We see this little pipsqueak throwing a fit because someone underestimated her and universally go “Ah yes, true waifu material”.
Then again, it’s pretty funny when it does happen.
Especially when you take into account that she can wipe out an entire city if she so chooses. Or stab a dude repeatedly (as we’ve seen).
Overall, Saitama might have brought the hype, but Tatsumaki is getting all of the love. Now I just have to pray for a season three or a Tatsumaki spin-off!
16. Celty Sturluson
Celty is one of those characters that proves the anime community isn’t all about looks.
After all, my girl doesn’t even have a head (most of the time at least). And yet she’s universally beloved.
Then again, that latex suit do be hitting a bit different.
Jokes aside, Celty’s personality carries the show quite heavily. Although she looks (and sometimes acts) like a complete badass, she’s actually quite a goof. She’ll get embarrassed, shut herself in a room and just text her BF until things blow over.
Her arch-nemesis is a speedometer, her friend group is rather diverse, and the love of her life is a doctor.
So, definitely not the most standard waifu setup, but a good one nevertheless.
Anime: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
I’d 100% watch a show that just followed Morgiana around. She’s just beyond adorable and fun to watch.
In fact, I’d even say that she carries almost every non-Sinbad scene she’s in.
Her tragic backstory gives her a true underdog feel and her fighting prowess is nothing short of amazing. True, she takes metaphors quite seriously (literally using her chains in order to fly), but for once I don’t mind it.
Sometimes she’s stoic, sometimes she’s heroic, and sometimes she makes one of those pouty faces that gives me a reason to continue living. Truly a versatile waifu if I’ve ever seen one!
14. Yuno Gasai
Anime: Mirai Nikki
I kind of had to bend the rules a bit for this one.
When it comes to Yuno, you either love her or hate her. Being how she’s a murderous psychopath – that’s pretty understandable.
However, no one can deny the absolute presence that she had. Everyone in the anime community knew of Yuno and have heard at least one ominous “Yuki” at one point or another.
My girl was omnipresent and pretty much popularized yandere characters for people who were just getting into anime.
So, even though she scares the hell out of me – I’m still going to give her the recognition she deserves and place her at number fourteen.
13. Hinata Hyuga
Anime: Naruto: Shippuden
Although Hinata started off pretty weak in the original series, Shippuden gave her quite the upgrade.
Sure, she maintained her signature dandere personality, but there was more to her now!
In the Pain arc, she showcased a level of bravery most other characters can only dream of (I’m looking at you Sakura). And if we throw movies into the mix, The Last finally gave us proper Hinata/Naruto chemistry.
So, while her character definitely could’ve used even more memorable moments – she became a staple waifu throughout the 2010s.
12. Nezuko Kamado
Anime: Demon Slayer
As a show, Demon Slayer has two major selling points:
Some of the best animation you’ll ever see, and the cutest little demon girl this side of the Styx River.
Especially if we’re talking about her chibi form. I swear that design was scientifically calculated to cure any form of depression.
But she’s not just a cute mascot.
When the enemy proves to be too much for the main trio, Nezuko will one hundred percent jump out and start kicking some butt.
So you get cuteness and unadulterated badassery all for the price of one. How could anyone possibly resist?
11. Violet Evergarden
Anime: Violet Evergarden
Sure, we’ve all seen the “robot learns about human emotion” plotline a million times before.
But a soldier returning from war and being so emotionally dead that she has to relearn how to be human? Now that’s fresh!
Jokes aside, the show is a downright masterpiece.
And I don’t think anyone who has seen it will argue with me on that one. But most of the charm comes from Violet herself.
Her genuine curiosity, kind heart, and feeling of loss just make her feel very real. And when you take such good writing and pair it up with Kyoto Animations’ visuals – you know you’re in for a treat.
10. Erza Scarlet
Anime: Fairy Tail
Although Erza doesn’t really have the same level of depth as Violet, she’s still quite lovable.
In fact, I think it’s her simplicity that makes her so.
She’s just one of the bros.
She likes going out for drinks, making a mess, and flexing on the battlefield. She’s very easy to understand but still given a few key scenes that flesh out some of her quirks.
And since Fairy Tail is as big as it is – you’re going to be spending a lot of time with Erza and her one thousand outfit changes.
9. Ryuko Matoi
Anime: Kill la Kill
Kill la Kill is one of those shows that you start watching for the “plot” but then get Rick Rolled and end up actually loving the story.
The absurdist humor, the over-the-top fights, and the unique world-building really just grip you.
And at the head of it all is Ryuko.
She’s a very straightforward character with just enough depth to truly love. If she wants something, she’s going to get it. If you insult her, she’ll insult you back. And if you hurt her friends, you’re getting chopped by the largest scissors you’ve ever seen.
Her relationship with Mako is especially wholesome as it allows us to see her softer side. And her relationship with Sanketsu allows us to see a whole lot of things.
Overall, she doesn’t seem to be as popular these days (which I think is a shame) but she definitely turned some heads during the 2010s.
Considering she’s a character from Gintama – you already know that Tsukuyo a bit crazy.
And you’d be right.
She frequently leads her band of ninjas into all kinds of mishaps and has stabbed people on more than one occasion.
That being said, she also has some depth. The scar on her face is a mark of when she gave up on her womanhood and that entire storyline is surprisingly brutal.
And she does occasionally get into situations where her more vulnerable side is on full display. This is always quite a treat as wholesomeness is best served in small doses.
Overall, Gintama fans are basically a cult, and Tsukuyo is by far the best waifu the show has produced. Therefore, she lands at the number eight spot.
7. Mai Sakurajima
Anime: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
You see the words “Rascal”, “Bunny Girl”, and “Senpai” in the title – and you’re already convinced that this is going to be as ecchi as humanly possible.
But then you actually get into the show and realize that Mai is a down-to-earth person with real-life issues. The twist that no one saw coming but everyone secretly needed.
From that point forward, Mai just becomes more and more lovable with each passing episode.
She and Sakuta have actual chemistry. Their lives and their relationship actually seem realistic.
Who knew anime was capable of such feats?
And before you know it, you’ve completely forgotten the reason why you started watching this show.
Now it’s all about Mai and all the cuteness that comes along with each episode.
If you like isekai or comedy, you’ve no doubt watched KonoSuba.
It feels like the ultimate meme show – with enough hilarious screencaps and plot points to control the anime subreddit for years.
And while Aqua gets memed on and Darkness gets overlooked – Magumin just gets all the love. From the moment she was introduced, she was a hit.
Her obsession with explosions, her cute design, and most importantly her facial expressions. All key features that quickly made her waifu royalty.
She’s so beloved that even the biggest anime elitist (like myself) actually considered reading the source material just so that we can get more Megumin!
5. Zero Two
Anime: Darling in the FranXX
This character basically ruled the Internet for about a year or two.
Maybe it’s because she came onto the stage naked and with a fish in her mouth. Or maybe it’s because the plot was the biggest roller coaster to date.
Or, realistically, it was because of the way she said “darling”.
I can’t explain why that captured the hearts of millions, but it just did.
She was a true ride or die (quite literally by the end), had a very cute design, and even some mech action to really cement herself as a decade-defining waifu.
When will her reign truly be over? It’s hard to tell.
But cosplay conventions will never see this much pink hair again.
Anime: Re: Zero
Just like Zero Two, Rem absolutely blew up online. But her rise to fame was way easier to track.
You see twin maids who verbally assault you while also looking cuter than a button? You know it’s going to be a good show.
One of the maids then turns out to be a demon who can rip you apart limb from limb? A bit scarier, but also a lot more interesting.
Said demon has a well-paced character arc and is now the kindness, cutest little thing you’ve ever seen in your life? Time to praise the waifu gods and spend obscene amounts of money on merch.
As I said, her popularity was very easy to track.
Even after she was basically out of the show, her reign remained strong. And the second she jumps back in, I’m pretty sure she’s going to break the Internet.
3. Hitagi Senjougahara
I honestly can’t even think of a joke for Senjougahara.
She’s kind of just a really well-written character placed inside of a very interesting world.
She doesn’t fully commit to any of the dere archetypes, but rather just sprinkles in a bit of everything. She starts off rather aggressive (stapling cheeks and what not), then becomes calculated, and lastly showcases genuine care for her loved ones.
Neither phase is over-the-top, and she switches back and forth when needed. She has some killer one-liners, some wholesome jokes, and some badass moments.
She’s literally the holy grail of waifus.
And I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t considering putting her in first place.
2. Kurisu Makise
Steins; Gate is one of the best shows anime has to offer.
And Kurisu is one of the most lovable characters the world has to offer.
With a nice mix of brilliant intellect and raw charm – it’s just very difficult not to fall in love after spending a few episodes around her.
And since the writing in this show is pretty god-tear – you truly get to see the inner workings of her character. The backstory, the movie, that one speech she makes while wishing Okabe would return – it’s all just too much.
I’ve cried for this character more times than I can count, and I think that’s pretty normal for this show.
So, at the very least, she has to be my number two pick.
1. Kaguya Shinomiya
Anime: Kaguya-sama: Love is War
Kaguya-sama is a show that I’ve started watching relatively recently and oh my god – I finally get it.
I’ve been hearing about Kaguya for years but always refused to join in on the hype. But it’s all clear to me now.
The show is a must-watch for any anime fan and Kaguya’s character is beyond lovable. Her intricate schemes showcase just how intelligent and accomplished she truly is. But her frustrations are what really get me.
Like seriously – she somehow managed to out-kawaii even Nezuko. Especially in that one episode when she was sick.
Whenever she gets embarrassed, an anime angel grows new wings, and I’m pretty sure we’ve achieved heaven.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Kaguya is the most lovable character to have come out during the 2010s.