A Letter to Lacus Clyne, My First “Waifu”
It’s hard to know where to begin with this letter. It’s the first time I’ve ever written a letter addressed to a fictional character. I know that you will never read it, so it’s really just for my sake.
You’ll never know this, but you were the first girl I ever thought of as my “waifu”. Because of you, I experienced a whole slew of unfamiliar emotions for the first time. In a sense, you were my first love.
You are a very special person to me. Through you, I’ve come to understand a lot of things about myself, about others, about this fascinating world of otaku. It’s because of you that I cannot bring myself to look down upon people who love fictional characters. I know that these feelings, however complicated they are, are real.
I can still remember the moment I first fell in love with you. It was in episode 36 when you confronted Athrun after switching to Kira’s side.
The song you sang when Athrun approached you was simply spellbinding. The scene itself was full of tension but somehow your singing put me at ease. It felt like you were controlling the mood somehow. That was the moment when you revealed yourself as a savvy politician with persuasive powers on par with your singing abilities.
In an instant, you became my ideal of a strong female leader. You were so committed to finding non-violent solutions to violent problems that I could not help but admire you deeply. And you knew how to work with people in order to achieve your goals. I was just a young, impressionable teenager when I first encountered you, but your principles have always stuck with me.
At the same time, I put you on a pedestal. I never really tried to understand your vulnerabilities or all the pressures you experienced. And, to be perfectly honest, the series portrayed you as someone just a little too perfect. You were more an ideal than a person.
In my mind, you became someone that no real person could ever match up to.
Sometimes I think about the so-called “otaku purity complex”, about the expectation that anime girls should be sexually pure. To be honest, I can understand it to a degree. This is something I don’t talk about nowadays, but when I was younger I was a devoted Catholic. I was brought up to believe in no sex before marriage. Although I called you my “waifu” because that’s what people in the anime community seemed to call the female characters they’re particularly enamoured with, I could never imagine myself in a relationship with you. Had you existed in real life, I would never have mustered the courage to approach you.
To me, you were untouchable. Even though you were engaged to Athrun and fell in love with Kira, your relationship with both characters was remarkably chaste. It only made you seem more aloof.
This might seem strange, but what made me change my attitude towards you was Meer Campbell, the “fake” Lacus Clyne.
At first, I disliked her. I didn’t like her outfit, for a start. How was that skirt supposed to fit, anyway? But she grew on me after a while. I came to admire the way she owned her sexuality in a way that you, Lacus, never did. Unlike you, Meer showed her vulnerabilities as well.
Meer was a flawed human being who tried – and failed – to become the ideal. I empathised with her.
It took me some time, but eventually I realised that you were never perfect yourself, Lacus. On retrospect, I cannot say that I agree with your solution to end war. You created an alliance that was guaranteed to overpower all of your opponents, but instead of killing them, you simply wanted to strip them forcibly of their will to fight. Your strategy worked because that was the way the story was constructed.
But would it create peace in the real world? Maybe it would, because the logic is similar to that of nuclear deterrence, but it is grounded in deeply undemocratic principles. You call it pacifism, but it’s violent to the core.
And yet the things you say are so nice, so reasonable. They make me want to believe in you. I can tell that you truly want to make the world a better place.
I understand better now why I was drawn to you as a teenager. You encompassed all my ideals, not just as a “pure girl” but through the ideas you expressed. These days, I’ve grown to be critical of “pure girls” and of the writing in Gundam Seed in general, but I haven’t lost my respect for you. I still think that you make a charismatic leader. Even knowing that you cannot offer a long-term solution to the complex problems that face our world, I think I would follow you because you would seem like the best option.
I feel grateful to you as well. It’s because of you that I understand all too well the impulse behind loving a fictional character, of living an ideal. Maybe, on retrospect, the word “waifu” doesn’t honestly capture how I feel about you. It makes it sound like my feelings for you are just a fandom joke. But they’re not. I still think about you a lot, about how much I wish I could understand you better as a human being. Because I see a lot of myself in you.
Even today, I want to live by your stated principles. I despise violence, but I can’t bring myself to despise people. I want to connect with other people, the way you do through your music. I know that I’m not a perfect person, but I also know that I can be better.
Thank you, Lacus Clyne, for everything that you have taught me. Happy Valentine’s Day!