Why Your Waifu Sucks: Investigations Into Why Anime/Game Characters Would Be the WORST Romantic Partners.
I’ve been watching a lot of anime recently, mostly because I suddenly found myself with several different accounts to streaming services that provide me access to basically all the anime I could ever hope to watch. I’ve never been terribly interested in using streaming video services, if we’re being honest; while I signed up for the WWE Network for myself, I signed up for Netflix, Hulu and Crunchyroll so that other people could use the accounts, and never bothered to log into said accounts after that. Video games occupy most of my free time, and provide most of my entertainment, because I’ve never really cared much about TV or movies; I’m not some kind of weird snob who thinks that sort of entertainment is beneath him or whatever, I just prefer to interact with my entertainment. That said, as I get older, I find that sometimes I want to be entertained but just don’t feel like being bothered to pick up a controller and play something, and suddenly using these streaming services seems like a pretty great idea. I can watch something to entertain myself without having to get up and do something to make it happen, and honestly, isn’t that what we all want? Entertainment with minimal effort? The ability to turn into the roly-poly people from WALL-E? No, that’s just me? Well whatever, the point is, technology is wonderful when you’re old and lazy, I guess.
I told you that story so I can tell you this one: while attempting to plow through a bunch of random anime series’, I had something of an epiphany: most of the characters in anime and video games would be the worst significant others ever. I don’t mean “from a specific series,” either: the longer I spent thinking about the concept, the more I realized basically every man and woman in gaming and anime would be the worst possible romantic partner possible. Matt Yaeger suggested this is because these characters are generally poorly developed and fleshed out, but it’s more than that; even when a character is very well developed, they’re often a gigantic mess as a person, such that they’d be utterly intolerable to deal with as a romantic partner. This, again, applies to men and women universally, so it’s not a case where one side or the other is a gigantic mess; regardless of who you’re looking at, both sides are stuffed full of damaged people.
The reason this was so interesting to me, though, is because let’s be honest here: we all have fandom crushes on some level or another. Many of us have secret (or perhaps not so secret) crushes on specific characters from specific franchises, and even if you’re the sort of person who would say, “Oh, I’ve never had a crush on a fictional character because THAT’S WEIRD,” shut up, yes you did. Whether you secretly spent your days pining for Lara Croft, took martial arts lessons in hopes Kimberly from Power Rangers would find it attractive or are the charter member of the Chiaki Nanami fanclub, you’ve had a fandom crush at some point or another. That’s okay! Hell, even other websites are running polls called (and I swear I’m not making this up) “Waifu Wars, so really, it’s not like it’s a shameful thing in general at this point. I have too, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I kind of had a crush on Sailor Jupiter until I got to the age where it would be legally weird to do so (seeing as she’s perpetually fourteen and all). I’m also not ashamed to admit that if she were a real person that’d be the worst thing ever, because being mature means you can recognize flaws in the things you love, and then ruin them for other people. I’m also not ashamed to admit that, despite liking Persona 4 a whole lot, I actively acknowledge that every single person in it would be the worst possible romantic partner possible, and they get a veritable shitload of character development.
Wait, what were we talking about? Oh, right, why your waifu is awful.
Anyway, the point here is that there are a lot of people out there who kind of-sort of project their love onto fictional characters publicly, either by the traditional means (admitting they crush on a character) or… less traditional means (dudes who want to marry their stuffed animals), and that’s fine, I… guess? I’m not interested in crapping on someone’s ability to love something; love whatever you want, flaws and all, I say. That said, however, I’m also not above crapping on the things I love, because it’s a fun thought exercise, and because literally no one I know wants to hear me talk about this, I’ve opted to turn this into a series of columns that will irregularly grace your eyeballs, wherein I will discuss why your chosen waifu would make you want to strangle them inside of a month if they were real and dating you.
I hope you will enjoy it.
WHY YOUR WAIFU SUCKS: Super Sonico
Presented without comment.
I’ve never really “understood” Super Sonico in the traditional sense.
I mean, I get why she’s popular, and if you don’t, scroll up and look at the picture again for a few minutes until it sinks in. Physically, she’s anime lust personified: bright hair color, huge breasts, pretty face, she’s literally the definition of the male gaze, brought to life wearing a pair of headphones. That part, I understand. However, it’s not like Japan has any shortage of such characters, and if you can’t name five of them off of the top of your head, hi there, welcome to the world of gaming, and I’m sorry I had to be the first person you met while looking into it, but we’ll get through this together, I promise.
Sonico is actually kind of a weird character all around, though, if you think about it. She was originally developed as something of a mascot for Nitroplus, as they created her for one of their music festivals back in 2006, dubbed “Nitro Super Sonico,” and she was somehow turned into their flagship character from there. Starting off as little more than a busty lady in headphones, she’s somehow become a teenage college student who plays in a band, wears her headphones literally everywhere, models for spending cash, and is incredibly awkward despite having multiple different hobbies and jobs that would be hell on Earth for an awkward person. Her parent company, Nitroplus, is ostensibly a software development company (that hosts music festivals, because Japan), and they’re no stranger to the eroge market, but despite the fact that her band members have both appeared in a hentai game (Axanael, which is about underground Russian Roulette, because Japan), Sonico has more or less only been placed into “normal” games. She’s also a character who, for some reason, has become quite popular (relatively speaking) in the US, despite the fact that none of the media that bears her likeness has “officially” been brought to the US until recently. While Super Sonico the Animation was released on Crunchyroll this year, none of the video games that feature the character have been translated for US audiences (though I’d be surprised if we don’t see SoniPro appear on the 3DS in some form eventually). The closest she’s come to appearing in a US game release is an odd collaboration between THQ and Nitroplus in Saints Row the Third (which, even then, was only in Japan) and a couple of advertisements in Akiba’s Trip. Cosplayers love the hell out of her, though; notable cosplayers Jessica Nigri, Ani-Mia and Yaya Han have all cosplayed as her, and near as I can tell, every female cosplayer on Earth has done the character in some form or another, to the point where I even saw a cosplayer make a Super Sonico/Bible Black mashup (and as an aside: ew). Googling the phrase “Super Sonico Waifu” nets 33,500 results, including a Facebook group, and Sonico is apparently so popular that her creator, Santa Tsuji, designed another character, Super Pochaco, who is even more well developed, as something of an April Fool’s Day joke, and she’s apparently gaining steam in the US despite having absolutely no media available to speak of, save for lots of merch, much of it questionable in nature.
On the plus side, at least she has a positive body image?
I am in no way kidding about any of that.
So yeah, a whole lot of people love Super Sonico. Heck, even I like Super Sonico; I ended up watching her anime as a joke while a friend from out of town was visiting, and damned if I didn’t watch the whole thing (it’s over on Crunchyroll for those who are saying “SHE HAS AN ANIME?” right about now). It’s cute, and after watching it, hey, I can kind of understand why people like her as much as they do, even if I don’t really ever feel like I need to watch it again or anything. So, hey, if you’re kind of annoyed that I’m picking on her here, relax: I like Super Sonico just fine, and I can totally understand why you’d have a body pillow or half-naked statuette of her in your house somewhere, honest. Heck, I can even understand why people proclaim “SONICO IS MAI WAIFU,” on the internet, because she’s pretty easy to like.
So let’s take a look at why that’s not the best idea.
On the subject of profession:
Let’s start with the simplest point in Sonico’s existence (relatively speaking): her professional life.
Super Sonico (and for reference, that is her actual real name; her first name is “Super” apparently) is identified as having four major things she does as part of her routine, in order of personal interest: she is a guitarist and singer in a J-Rock band, a gravure model, a college student and a server at her grandmother’s restaurant. In theory, this isn’t a terrible amount of things for a college-age girl to be doing with her free time; she only works part-time at her modeling and server jobs, meaning she has plenty of time to commit to classwork and practice as needed. In practice, however, this sort of lifestyle basically means two major things:
1.) You’d almost certainly never see her, and
2.) No matter how her long term career prospects pan out, you’re fucked.
Regarding the first point, the only actual “friends” Sonico has are her classmates, bandmates, modeling coworkers and people she meets in the shopping district she works in. This isn’t a big thing in theory, but in practice none of her high school friends carried over, and she has ZERO friends that have been around since that point that she doesn’t see routinely in one of those four settings. It’s entirely possible that she didn’t have any friends that weren’t in the music club, since when the band’s bassist (whose name I’ve already forgotten and don’t care to look up) met her for the first time, it was outside a concert that Sonico literally could not find anyone to go with, despite being in the fucking music club with at LEAST two other people. She almost literally cannot maintain friendships with anyone who isn’t part of at least one of her activities, and her entire life revolves around them to some extent or another.
In other words: at most, you’d see her if you were a part of one of her personal life activities; at worst, you’d never see her, because she simply doesn’t have time for a social life.
Regarding the second point, there are five possible directions for her professional life to go in: musician, model, marine biologist, server, and “other.” Aside from the fact that that’s an… incredibly eclectic spread of choices for a person to have before them, here’s what that means in plain English:
– if she becomes a popular musician, you’d never see her because she’d be touring for years, and by all indications that’s not healthy for any relationship, and Japan is no different, since Utada Hikaru is on her second marriage and third major relationship (though she married a bartender from London so, hey, at least you have a shot when that marriage goes tits up),
– if she becomes a niche-popularity musician, you’d never see her because she’d be spending all of her time marketing the band and trying to become a legitimately popular musician, touring like crazy, and generally pouring herself into her one true love, which ain’t you,
– if she becomes a model, you’d never see her because she’d be travelling constantly to promote whatever her modeling company pushes her to market next, and also she’d be half naked in front of thousands of different people, so that’s not going to be healthy for your relationship,
– if she becomes a marine biologist, either she’ll be working at Sea World (which means raw skin, smelling horrible constantly, and a general hatred of life), working in a lab for next to no money while she studies God knows what or going on long trips so you’ll never see her, or doing like the marine biology majors I know are (that is, working in terrible jobs and hating their life choices),
– if she becomes a server you will either be stuck in her tiny-ass home town forever while she runs her grandmother’s restaurant or stuck trying to make ends meet while she waits tables forever and hates her life choices, and
– if she chooses “other,” well… she’s a failed musician/model who dropped out of college and has no practical skills outside of two entertainment fields she couldn’t hack it in and schooling in a degree that isn’t widely useful even if you have a degree, and she doesn’t, so God knows.
She’d look very pretty doing it, though.
Understand: that’s not a judgment of a fictional character; her life is in the hands of her creators and she’ll almost certainly be amazing at whatever they task her to do. This is a judgment of her as if she were a person in the real world, and in that regard, two of her talents are in fields that are immensely competitive and fraught with heavy travel and work schedules, the third revolves around a field with minimal job choices and funding, and the fourth isn’t a field people generally like working in. Sonico was given a weird set of interests to make her an interesting fictional character, but for a real person, her talents are either going to end up with you never seeing your “waifu,” or with her basically being bitter and pissed that life kind of fucked her over, and neither option is all that great.
But hey, she’s nice and cute, right? Well…
On the subject of personality:
Super Sonico is very much an introverted doormat.
Apropos of nothing, this is a body pillow, BECAUSE OF COURSE IT IS.
Regarding her introversion: well, I’m going to start by pointing out that, again, she went to a concert by herself despite presumably having friends, and also completely lost her mind when someone went out of their way to make friends with her at the concert. Which is not to say that she hasn’t grown as a person by the end of the anime series, as she certainly has, but rather that this is a thing that’s always going to be there. Even if she’s grown to a point where she’s willing to ask for help and talk to strangers without too much effort, she hasn’t grown to a point where she can say no to anyone, to the point where her friends end up having to step in to bail her out. Sonico can’t even say no, emphatically, to wearing outfits she’s uncomfortable in, or doing things that embarrass her or that she finds objectionable, especially if the “cause” associated in some way involves her pride or work ethic, unless her morals are severely impugned. Sure, someone who’s TOO confrontational is going to be annoying to hang around with, but Sonico is the exact opposite: she’s not confrontational enough, and ends up being walked all over because she’s too damn nice.
Imagine that relationship six months in. Get past the “hot waifu” with huge cans who’s modeling, past the bragging and the internalized pride associated. Imagine having to deal with constant scenarios where your relationship is in a weird state of up-down flux because Sonico breaks a date to help someone out, then feels she has to make it up to you in some way. The first time you go through that, it’d feel pretty good, I’m sure, but what about the tenth time? The twentieth? Oh, and that’s not assuming that you end up roped into her plans, but if you do, imagine how great it would feel the fifth time you’re helping out the shopping district, after a long day of class/work/whatever, when all you wanted to do was veg with her on the… floor I guess, and watch Netflix? Disconnected from the actual situation, you can probably say, “I could handle that because I LOVE HER,” but let’s be honest: if your life is already super busy you’d want to kill her after six months, and if your life ISN’T busy, you’re probably used to being sedentary such that this huge disruption would make you want to kill her after six months.
On the subject of the world and her place in it:
Sonico has a lot of violent friends.
Her band’s bassist explains that the first time she met the drummer, Fuuri (I remember her name because she was a more likable character, shut up), was when she dropkicked a dude in the face who was harassing Fuuri, and they became friends. There is an entire episode dedicated to the trio dealing with a weird zombie outbreak and Suzu (I went and looked it up OKAY) spends like five minutes beating the crap out of the undead with her bare hands. That’s not even including her manager, Kitamura, who is literally a flame-headed samurai… thing with an actual sword who will completely ruin anyone who harasses or hurts Sonico, and while the small girl with the eyepatch, Ouka, hasn’t hit anyone, she has an eyepatch for a reason. Also Fuuri and Suzu played Russian Roulette in another Nitroplus game so they’re super hardcore, seriously.
You’re now dating the person who is friends with these people.
You’re almost certainly doing it, in part, because of the way she looks.
You are almost certainly going to have a broken EVERYTHING before the end of the year.
Her friends are not reasonable people, bear in mind, and nothing about their actions in the TV show implies this is the case. You might not even do anything; she might come to work or practice some day, depressed because she saw a homeless cat that ran away from her, and blow off telling her friends because she thinks it’s silly, and the next thing you know you’ll wake up to a foot pressed against your throat and someone in the darkness demanding you tell them what you did right now before your miserable life as you know it is extinguished.
How many times would it take for that to get old?
Okay, a lot, BUT STILL.
Oh, and of course you’re never going to be able to have sex unless you want it to be the last thing you do on this Earth. I don’t even know why you’d think otherwise.
On the subject of odds and ends:
Well, there’s the fact that Sonico needs somewhere around nine active alarm clocks to wake up on a normal day, and even then her cats need to force her into it. That is almost certainly a sign of a serious medical condition, or at least a terrible grasp of time management skills, so either way that’s a thing you’re going to need to deal with.
Oh, and did I mention that she has five cats?
Because she has FIVE CATS.
Now, while it’s clear that she’s entirely capable of working out alternative care options for the five of them, as they’re the most obedient cats known to God and man, first off, they will probably hate the shit out of you because any time Sonico is spending with you is not being spent with them, so that’s going to be great. Also if you’re allergic to cats you’re DOOMED. That said, she has FIVE cats and lives in a two room apartment… can you even begin to imagine what her apartment smells like? I had a cousin who owned three, and even with constant maintenance, the first time I went into his apartment I nearly vomited, AND I OWNED TWO at the time (their boxes were in the basement so there was more room for their business to air out).
So there you go: if Super Sonico was a real person, and you were somehow to wind up in a relationship with her, you’d barely see her unless you were directly involved in one of her hobbies/professions, her professional prospects are weird at best and dead at worst, she’s an introverted doormat who will likely be hard to get opinions from and will almost certainly be ditching you to help one of her various causes, all of her friends will want to kill you multiple times in a calendar month, her apartment almost certainly reeks, she probably has a sleeping disorder, and you’re probably not going to sleep together for like a decade.
… wow I really am an awful person in retrospect. Oh well, we’re six pages in, too late now.
Anyway, this will almost certainly be an irregular column, but feel free to post your favorite waifus you’d like to see evaluated in the comments and I’ll be sure to consider any of them that don’t involve me having to watch something like Guren Lagen. I kind of already have an idea what I want to do with my second chapter of this thing, and it’s gonna be a big one, but I’ll absolutely take suggestions after that.