Is it normal i think comfort characters/waifus are similar?
I'd like to preface this by saying that the term "waifu" is widely recognized and has a number of connotations that won't apply to this post. For this post, waifu applies to waifuism (as in the system laid out by r/waifuism) in which someone is "in a relationship" with a fictional character, typically from an anime but sometimes from games/books/etc. A waifuist knows that their waifu is not real, but for various reasons is in love with their waifu and treats them as a real partner anyways. Waifuists don't often tell their real life connections about their waifu lifestyle, but they can. Merchandise or pictures are simply ways to get closer to your waifu. Experiences with your waifu happen mostly through imagination. There's a lot of nuance involved so I won't get too deep into it. I think a prototypical example of a waifu is Zero Two (Darling in the FranXX), or Monika (DDLC).
Now for the other part of this, it appears that there is another subsect of the internet that uses the term "comfort characters" to describe characters (from what I've seen from mostly books and games, but also anime) that these people, well, find comfort in. Imaginary relationships are another hallmark of these relationships, including but not always romantic ones. Instead of imagining comfort characters as real, though, people in these communities often seem to either "reality shift" (TikTok phenomenom that can be loosely equated to either lucid dreaming or just very serious daydreaming about a different world) or simply think about them in a self-comforting manner. I think a proto-typical example of a common comfort character is Xiao (Genshin Impact), or Draco (Harry Potter).
Does anyone with experience in either of these communities want to comment on how similar they seem? Some interesting questions I have are how people's perspectives are on these communities, since I know waifuists get a lot of hate because of the "anime = cringe" idea that still perpetrates non-anime/game circles, but "comfort characters" is a relatively new phenomenon from what I can gather. Another is demographic. I feel like waifuists are generally guys aged 16 into the 20s, while the comfort character community seems to be associated mostly with girls aged 13-18.
To me, it seems like the idea of a "waifu" or a "comfort character" is very similar and divided more by demographic and internet-based barriers than by concept. What do you think?