These Expensive Headphones Come With Controversial Waifus

There are two types of people in nearly every niche online community: those who like porn of vague interests and those who don’t.

Especially for headphone lovers. For those who enjoy high-performance, Chinese-made or “chi-fi” in-ear monitors (IEMs), the battle is less bodily, as the sluggish anime girls adorning the box art are presented as muses rather than overtly sexual. bait. But still it continues.

While IEM girls are often not obscene, they are sexualized, or at least romanticized, by the people who buy them. Headphone fans will from time to time refer to these cartoon girls as “mascots”, not current anime franchise characters modified for marketing, but usually original artwork made specifically for a particular IEM. However, they talk about them more often. “animal,” Manga abbreviation for “attractive, vaguely Asian woman.”

Apparently what makes IEM girls “waifu” stuff is the fact that they look like kids. They’re often willowy, with ethereal baby faces or real wavy schoolgirl uniforms, as in Moondrop’s $360 example. Blessing 2 Twilightcollaboration with popular headphone reviewer celandine. Sometimes they just adorn the IEM box, like the snow-haired girl looking out of Tanchjim’s window. $40and sometimes they seem intent on personifying the spirit of a product, like Moondrop’s infamous Instagram post of a girl in torn socks… um, yogurt?

“Yogurt spilled in the ear,” says a trans.list now deleted posthints that the deeply blushing girl is actually a Moondrop earphone covered in yogurt.

Do they want people to fuck headphones? The fans I spoke to don’t think it’s that deep.

Don’t overthink anime girls

“I didn’t know [anime girls on IEM box art] it was a ‘trend’ until I heard [the company] moon drop and how people in the West think this is unusual,” headphone fan M tells me via Reddit chat. “I live in Asia, so anime artwork isn’t really that rare or unusual. I think it gives a sense of personality to products and brands.”

Or, if it’s not a personality, then at least some light, catchy sex appeal that you wouldn’t normally associate with technology, like how a beer buzz helps you get excited sitting on the couch eating Bugles.

“[IEM anime girls help] “Attract more consumers,” says Jeremiah, another headphone fan on Reddit. And “sometimes, it makes the IEM more recognizable. For example, if you see a girl with glasses and a ponytail, you’ll know right away that it’s Blessing 2 Dusk.”

But even those who appreciate IEM girls have their limits. “As someone who likes to watch anime, I enjoy the trend of making box art tastefully done,” says U/nopunterino. “But sometimes I think manufacturers can go too far.”

“It could be [not even be able to order an] I am concerned that my IEM roommate or relative will open my box and see a bunny girl in a very inappropriate position,” says Jeremiah.

Both cited SeeAudio’s collaboration with audiophile commentator Z Reviews, 100 dollars– the box features two girls wearing bunny ears, mouths open while pressing their remarkably spherical breasts together in an embrace – an example of a brand taking anime girls “too far”.

“And we can never forget the Moondrop ‘yogurt’ thing,” u/nopunterino says.

Most people I’ve talked to are fed up with (and indeed are) fed up with IEM girls. IEM girls—over-ear headphones made in China mass appeal itemsNot cow fodder like IEMs and their design overwhelmingly clinical). But it’s clear that some audiophiles have a greater commitment to themselves than they’d like to admit, and are particularly willing to defend companies that “take it too far”.

I need to analyze anime girls.

A few passionate “why is this happening?” A few minutes of talking in r/headphones will lead you to the evidence. Confused by all the boobs and childish mouths, they seem to be afraid of being unpopular before voicing their opinion. Wondering “What’s wrong with ‘waifu’ girls in so many products – risking being burned at the stake?” or, Lately and “What’s wrong with IEMs and anime girls?”

“Why? Where did this start?” Starting the second thread, u/brubby3179 pleaded with users, “I’ve never seen this over the ear.”

“I’m new to the hi-fi headphone scene, so I only started noticing this in early 2021 when I started watching headphone reviews on YouTube,” says u/brubby3179 nearly two weeks after its title inspired nearly 200 contentious comments. — there were so many disagreements that the r/headphones moderators locked the comments. “Some interesting comments on that, and what’s even more interesting is how fervently some of these guys are defending the box waifus.”

Other than some vague theories about crossovers between headphone enthusiasts, anime fans, and tech workers with money to burn, no one has been able to provide a concrete answer as to why IEM anime girls are everywhere. Moondrop, the company most frequently cited as popularizing them, also did not respond in a timely manner to publish.

But while they’re vague about “why,” the advocates are confident they want to keep the girls around.

“It looks like harmless fun to me,” said one user. “It doesn’t make me want the product, but it’s not intended to appeal to me. It seems odd to ask.” hm. IEM Tony Soprano doesn’t want people to ask questions. Suspicious.

“Why hate!!!?? Let me get my waif. I need yogurt waifu! another user wrote over and over, crazier each time. “Do I need yogurt waifu moon drops? Please perform I’ll take 10 pieces. Laugh out loud.”

Laugh out loud. Personally, I love some of the IEM girls, including the box art by Moondrop. For $20 ChuA stout figure with ash-colored bangs and eyes as clear as fresh water. These less suggestive illustrations make them feel like patron saints or zodiac signs for techies, providing an oddly mystical way to imagine your headphones. Personalizing them gives them a heart, and I think this can encourage preserving and caring for things that are good for the environment, your wallet, and your satisfaction.

Even so, I wish the beautiful IEM art wasn’t limited to girls or more “waifus” to be literally objectified and discarded. While many fans argue that “Asian culture” makes their waifu different from misogyny at home, the art of sexual IEM is very similar to the obscene souvenirs you find rusty at gas stations in the US.

like breast salt or keychains from Florida, most documented by feminist artist Portia Munson in your silently cursed drawingsIEM girls encourage men to think of women as pocket-sized ornaments, just something to keep around the house.

“These objects initially seem like a funny and somewhat shocking anomaly, showing the commodification of female bodies in tchotchkes,” says Munson’s website, “but when put together, the total amount points to deeper issues surrounding society’s view of women as accessories. does.”

I’d love to see IEM girls more clearly valued for what their proponents say, their collectibles and artistry, as part of a more dynamic box art practice that expands to include anime boys, landscapes, fantasy creatures, or literally. another thing. I’m starting to get tired of feeling that women are used to selling technology but not welcome.



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