The 2022 anime season was a great many things. Surprising, thrilling, ground-breaking, testicle-kicking…
But perhaps above all else, it was absolutely overflowing with waifus. The kind of strong, majestic ladies who intrigue and inspire in equal parts. To rank them is a fool’s folly, as they are all winners in our book, and yet adoration does indeed make one commit foolish acts.
And so, we have given it an earnest attempt. We only hope that those who fell just short of consideration will still forgive us, for we are already guilt-ridden enough; we don’t need fictional women to be mad at us to close out the year. In the interest of parity, we have limited our list to include one candidate per anime. A bold choice, but one that we think will still pay dividends.
10. Tsubomi Takane (Mob Psycho 100)
The apple of Mob’s eye saw great strides in Mob Psycho 100 III that really fleshed out her character, taking her from an aloof mystery to a grounded, likeable human being with her own values and flaws.
As unusual as it sounds, Tsubomi’s perfection would prove to be her greatest burden, putting a significant amount of pressure on her to mask her flaws from friends and fanciers alike — and oh, there was no shortage of fanciers. Tsubomi tsimps, if you will.
Eager young suitors lined the streets to shoot their shot, and all would be stricken down in the gentlest fashion possible. As Tsubomi put it, half of them she didn’t even recognize. And yet, she still respected them all enough to tell them the truth, and even weathered a natural disaster to hear her friend Mob out when he worked up the courage to confess to her.
Fortunately for her, she only has to hold up to the standards of 10th place in our ranking, a much more manageable task that won’t be nearly as stressful.
9. Kikuri Hiroi (Bocchi the Rock!)
Music is a fascinating, delicate art that is able to convey emotion and ambition with poetic symmetry. The instrument acts as a conduit between the musician and the audience, bridging gaps of understanding and exposing their very soul to the world.
Sometimes, that musician also happens to be drunk. And that’s kind of fun, too.
It’s not exactly a testament to her professionalism, but Kikuri is no less aspirational. Underneath the veneer of a perpetual lush beats the heart of a leader. This talented bassist takes Bocchi under her wing, offering slurred words of wisdom that will either take her to new heights or down a dark path of alcoholism.
8. Tsuki Uzaki (Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out! Season 2)
Mommies were all the rage in 2022 — not a sentence I anticipated typing today, but one that I fully stand by all the same — and none would embody the prototypical maternal heartthrob quite so well as Mrs. Uzaki.
Although her confidence may be lacking and her awareness is practically a net zero, it is all a part of her charm. Perhaps as a by-product of constantly having to stave off leering eyes, she has a tendency to jump to wild conclusions and misinterpret kindness for lust.
Quite frankly, we would be dissuaded from taking a chance the moment we caught a glimpse of her enormous husband, Fujio. Flirting with Tsuki could lead to a swift and brutal death, and we’ve got seven more waifus to get through before being pummelled. We’ll take a rain-check on that throttling, thank you very much.
7. Jolyne Cujoh (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean Part 2/3)
Some women are innocent, naïve cherubs who have never experienced a day of hardship in their lives. Others have seen and done some stuff, man, that leads to incarceration, and we are not about to judge that for a second. Who says that hard time doesn’t have to be a good time?
As a member of the Joestar lineage, Jolyne was blessed with unrivalled power and determination, made even more fearsome once her latent Stand was awoken. Though not everyone in her ancestry would hit the jackpot on this front (I’m looking at you, Hermit Purple), Stone Free is no slouch with its ability to restrain enemies using a barrage of strings.
Alas, of all the women on this list, Jolyne may perhaps be the most inaccessible. ‘Twas the cruel game of love that would put her behind bars in the first place, and she probably isn’t going to requite our affections any time soon. You may just have to settle for being bound and tethered by her Stand, and your mileage of enjoyment for such an experience will vary.
6. Shikimori (Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie)
Picture this: you’re walking down the street with your cute girlfriend. You’re holding hands, talking back and forth, and just generally being enamored with one another. Suddenly, and without warning, an assailant emerges from the shadows, a knife in hand and bad intent in their eyes.
Your first instinct is to run, but you find yourself unable to move an inch. Within a second, your girlfriend springs into action, kicking the knife from the villain’s hand before driving her knee directly into his gut. He flees back into the alleyway, leaving you in dumbfounded admiration of the cool beauty standing before you. This is Shikimori, and she will protect you, no matter what the cost.
And yet, despite being able to protect you at the drop of a hat, she’s still got a softer side that she’s able to share with those she truly cares about. If this double-whammy of Waifu-whimsy doesn’t justify her placement on this list, I don’t know what would.
5. Hiling (Ranking of Kings)
To unravel the many layers of Queen Hiling, we must explore her character arc to some degree. Anyone who would prefer to go into Ranking of Kings spoiler-free, please proceed to #4 on this list.
When we first meet Hiling, she very much suits the archetype of the wicked stepmother. She is brooding, cold, and cruel towards Boji, unleashing spiteful words in his direction and looking down on him as a childish disappointment. But this is simply a front for how much she truly cares for him, and a reflection of the responsibility a monarch must solemnly bear.
Not only is Hiling quite courageous, but she also possesses magical powers that grant her healing abilities. Despite the fact that it drains her of her energy, she will always go the extra mile to aid her comrades. This also makes her name a delightful pun, and that alone warrants inclusion on a top 10 list.
4. Himeno (Chainsaw Man)
Narrowing down the Chainsaw Man heroines to merely one entry was an unfathomably daunting task. Power and Makima each warranted consideration, and some even attest to the merits of Kobeni (no accounting for taste, then).
Still, when it comes down to it, when one considers what truly makes a waifu a waifu, Himeno was the logical choice. I shan’t go into detail as to what the deciding factor was, but it may have to do with the fact that, like Kikuri, Himeno is a fabulous drunkard.
Himeno only has
eyes eye for her partner, Aki, and she would stop at nothing to ensure his safety, and her commitment to him is one of the sweeter elements of an anime that is not exactly known for being warm and cuddly. Her vices notwithstanding, we are resolute that she is the true distillation of waifu royalty.
3. Rumi Usagiyama, aka Mirko (My Hero Academia 6th Season)
Dear diary: I want the frightening rabbit person to crush my skull between her thighs.
Do we really have to elaborate more than that? I guess so, because that’s kind of how articles work.
My Hero Academia’s current season has been a non-stop thrill ride of high octane combat, and the melee was kicked off — literally and figuratively — by the indomitable will of Rumi Usagiyama. She flings herself chaotically into battle, leaving a trail of destruction in her wake and her targets scattering in panic.
One may even consider a career path in villainy, in the vague hopes that Mirko might show up on their doorstep to dish out her unique brand of punishment. There are better ways to be smacked about though, friend, so we strongly recommend you reconsider.
2. Yor Forger (Spy x Family)
Berlint City Hall’s unassuming clerk was one of the best new characters of 2022 in every sense of the word, and a natural fit for the top 10 waifus. Observe: her role in Operation Strix is literally to be a wife.
Kind and bashful she may be at most times, Yor is among the most lethal women on this list, acting as a covert assassin known as the Thorn Princess. The briefest flash of her beauty could be the last thing you ever see before shuffling off this mortal plane, which isn’t really such a bad way to go. Those who have to suffer through the efforts of her cooking are in for a far worse fate.
This is also the second appearance of Saori Hayami on this list! Indeed, Yor Forger shares her Japanese voice actor with Tsuki Uzaki. We hope that she may also [redacted to protect the privacy of the author’s degenerate tastes].
1. Marin Kitagawa (My Dress-Up Darling)
Anointing Marin Kitagawa the waifu crown was not something we took lightly. It came down to her bubbly personality, her intoxicating smile, and the knowledge that she could whip up a cosplay of any of the other women on the list, technically making her all of the best waifus all at once.
Marin proves to be more than just a ditzy airhead. She is an eager, reflective young lady who has hidden her true passions, fearful of judgment and ostracization. Look, she just wants to look cute and wear a comfortable boob bag; is that such a crime?!
When the humble Wakana Gojo finds his way into her life, she at last meets the man who can make her dreams into a reality to the betterment of the world. Without their partnership, we would never have witnessed Shizuku Kuroe brought to life.
Which is reminds me: Have you pre-ordered your copy of the next entry in Saint ♡ Slippery’s Academy for Girls? I hear it is nearly as depraved as this waifu ranking turned out to be. Neeeeearly.
Should you wish to stake your claim on others who didn’t quite make the cut this year — I’ll have you know, I had to be talked out of bravely proclaiming Yumika Sakuraba as the surprise #1 — please leave your feedback in the comments below! Remember to always look, respectfully, but not touch.