The world of Japanese anime is populated with a dazzling variety of characters ranging from mighty superheroes to relatable slice-of-life protagonists to idealized lovers and partners, many of whom are beloved as waifus and husbandos. It’s a subjective field, but even so, in every decade of anime, a handful of waifus will emerge as the very best.
A waifu is far more than a beauty pageant winner in the eyes of anime fans. Such a character is a complete package, balancing her good looks with an outstanding personality, a cool outfit, impressive skills, memorable scenes in their anime, and more. A waifu can be anything from a cool warrior queen to a hotheaded tsundere, and the 2000s in particular had plenty of amazing waifus to choose from.
10 Shirley Fenette Was Lelouch’s Good Friend (Code Geass)
Unlike her cold dusk friend Lelouch Lamperouge, the kind, cheerful Shirley simply wanted to live a proper life as an Ashford Academy student and stay out of trouble. In many ways, she was like a foil for the ambitious Lelouch, though she was no pushover. Shirley is gentle, but won’t tolerate troublemakers or bullies.
Shirley was a model student and friend despite the brutal sci-fi war unfolding around her, which made her even more likable. She was part of the swim team, and she even had an innocent crush on Lelouch himself. Tragically, Shirley would meet a tragic end when she got too close to Lelouch.
9 Saber Is A Warrior Queen (Fate/Stay Night)
Some waifus are beloved for being gentle, agreeable girls who can brighten anyone’s day with their wholesome smiles. Other waifus appeal to fans because they are both strong and beautiful, and a great example of that is Saber from the fate series, including 2006’s Fate/Stay Night.
Saber is an alternate version of King Arthur, a bold, regal sword fighter who will always risk her life for justice and peace in the world. In fact, she is an icon of the entire fate franchise and was also a major character in Fate Zero. Warrior queens don’t get any better than the awesome kuudere Saber.
8 Alicia Florence Is Plain Kind (Aria: The Masterpiece)
The 2000s era anime Aria: The Masterpiece is a fine example of the iyashikei subgenre, describing any wholesome, low-conflict anime with a charming setting and cast of characters to help the viewer relax. Iyashikei characters are easy to like, and that includes the wonderful waifu Alicia Florence.
Alicia runs a gondola rowing company on Neo Venezia, and she personally hired and coached Akari Mizunashi in the ways of the gondola. She is beautiful, kind, excellent at her job, and also rather funny with her “ara ara!” exclamations. Eventually, she retired to get married and left the company in Akari’s care.
7 Sango Is Another Warrior Waifu (InuYasha)
Sango is a sworn hunter of demons, and she is known for throwing boomerangs at her enemies to destroy them from a medium distance. She and her little brother Kohaku are good at what they do, but tragically, Kohaku was killed and revived as one of Naraku’s puppets. Sango must rescue her brother no matter what.
Sango won over anime fans with her tough but fair personality, and she balances her tough exterior with a gentle, warm interior. She is a loyal and brave friend of Kagome, InuYasha, and the others, and she learned to channel her grief into something much more constructive.
6 Taiga Aisaka Is A Lovely Tsundere (Toradora!)
Taiga Aisaka is one of the most beloved and iconic tsunderes in all of anime, and she represents that archetype well. Taiga is tiny but tough, and she puts on a brave front at school that earned her a reputation for being the “palm-top tiger.” But she is secretly vulnerable under all that bravado.
Despite her temper, Taiga is a good person and a loyal friend, and she soon fell in love with her charming new pal Ryuji Takasu, who soon reciprocated her feelings. Anime fans loved watching Taiga’s tsuntsun exterior peel away to reveal the kind girl underneath.
5 Yoruichi Shihoin Is The Goddess Of Flash (Bleach)
Yoruichi Shihoin is one of the quickest characters in all of Bleach, and her amazing flash step technique earned her the title “The Goddess of Flash.” She may be an expert assassin, but Yoruichi isn’t a stone-cold killer. She actually has a heart of gold and a great sense of humor.
Yoruichi has been an ally of Ichigo’s team since the start, and she is kind to her friends and tough on her enemies. All this ended her to shonen fans far and wide, and fans will get to see more of her in the upcoming Thousand-Year Blood War arc anime.
4 Tohru Honda Is Very Compassionate (Fruits Basket 2001)
Shojo fans got to see a lot more of Tohru Honda in the 2019 Fruit Basket reboot anime, but they still got a great impression of this wonderful waifu in the early 2000s. Back then, the Fruit Basket manga was still ongoing, so the 2001 anime was more limited in scope, but Tohru didn’t mind at all.
In that 2001 anime, Tohru established herself as a kind, compassionate, and generous young lady who will do anything for a friend, or even a stranger, in need. She is gentle on the outside, but she has emotional strength that few other waifus can match.
3 Yoko Littner Can Snipe Anything (Gurren Lagann)
Like Saber, Yoruichi, and Sango, the sniper Yoko Littner is a warrior waifu who is ferocious on the battlefield but very kind and gentle to her friends. Yoko has been a part of Simon’s adventurer gang since the start, though she rarely pilots any Gunmen robots for herself. She’s more comfortable with a rifle.
Yoko is more than a great soldier, though. She also has a charming personality as a mild tsundere, and she also worked as a beloved school teacher for a time before the Anti-Spiral attacked. It seems there’s nothing this excellent waifu cannot do.
2 Hinata Hyuga Is The #1 Dandere Waifu (Naruto)
A dandere is a shy but earnest anime character who needs more than a little courage to confess their feelings. More recent examples range from Miku Nakano to Shoko Komi, but in the 2000s, anime fans had Hinata Hyuga, and she’s still one of the best danderes out there.
This outstanding waifu followed Naruto’s example, being inspired to fight hard and prove her worth to all the doubters. She soon blossomed into an excellent kunoichi and waifu, and she even stood up to Pain on Naruto’s behalf. It’s no wonder Naruto married her later.
1 Erza Scarlet Is An S-Ranked Waifu (Fairy Tail)
when the Fairy Tail anime launched in 2009, it came packed with enticing waifus and husbandos alike, from the cool tsundere Gray Fullbuster to the musclebound Laxus Dreyar to waifus like Lucy, Juvia, and most of all, Erza Scarlet. The latter is Fairy Tail‘s #1 waifu and arguably, the entire decade’s best waifu as well.
Erza is the whole package for anime fans. She is beautiful, brave, incredibly powerful, compassionate, optimistic, and charmingly flawed as well. Erza does almost everything right in the Fairy Tail anime, though it’s also funny to watch her try and fail repeatedly to become a star actor. Even at her worst, Erza is still awesome.
NEXT: Top 10 Bleach Waifus, Ranked