Cheering on your OTP. The excitement! The drama! The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat! Going between blogs and Twitter exalting one’s favorite couple and denouncing any challengers! To see the fans of thine enemies brought low, or to accept the bitterness of a sunken ship! Truly, there are few thrills like rooting for an OTP. A mere year ago I would have thought such things boring or pointless. I was blind but now I see! It is a unique kind of thrill, where much is on the line but we as viewers have absolutely no influence except to recruit followers to our cause and spin events to our favor. Championing your OTP can be especially fun against those who have a different fate in mind for a certain character, leading to an immense amount of laughs and friendly propaganda competition. Those who actually get angry are to be ignored, for they are not true shipping warriors! In this spirit, I bring you a few favorite OTPs of mine. Some achieved their deserved love, others were not as successful but still shone bright as they met unkind fates. Join me, and post and argue your own favorites in the comments!
Kouichi Sanada X Mao Mizusawa
Anime of Origin: KimiKiss: Pure Rouge.
Displacement: 73,300 tons of Pyrrhic victory (equivalent to two displaced worthy rivals.)
Class: Resolved uneven love polygon.
Weapons and Defensive Systems: Childhood friends, close quarters living arrangement, older sister-like concern, delayed fuse true feelings discovery.
Comments: An OTP I rooted for from the beginning, but it reminds one to be careful what you wish for. Once things started to go well between Koichi and Yuumi and Mao with Eiji I reluctantly supported them despite my feelings that Mao and Koichi are a better match for each other. The whole time I still held out some hope for Mao X Koichi, but as things got increasingly serious with Koichi and Yuumi I was getting ready to admit defeat. But then in the end, my OTP happened. Dramatically at that too, and in such a sweet admission of feelings. But it was also a bitter achievement of one of my two OTPs from KimiKiss. Both Koichi and Mao were going along in their relationships and denying their feelings towards each other even as Yuumi and Eiji had really fallen for them. Kouichi’s admission to Yuumi of his feelings for Mao on the night of the festival, her last day to spend with him, was a dick move. But yet, I can’t help but be happy with this Pyrrhic victory. It really sucked for Yuumi and Eiji, but Kouichi and Mao make such a great couple. I’ve never felt so conflicted about one of my OTPs working out; both Eiji and Yuumi were good people who really cared for their loves. Unlike many a rival, I felt no joy from seeing them lose out, only sadness at their abrupt losses. Kouichi finally manning up and being honest with his feelings was respectable, but I also wanted to rage at poor Yuumi being left alone that final night. Eiji seemed to take it a bit better, and at least his and Mao’s relationship wasn’t as far along as Kouichi and Yuumi’s.
Lunamaria Hawke X Athrun Zala
Anime of Origin: Gundam SEED: Destiny.
Displacement: 9,200 tons of studio drama derailment.
Class: Trainwrecked budding romance.
Weapons and Defensive Systems: Ace pilot couple, best male and female character from the CE universe, rapid course change.
Comments: While I’m one of few UC-based Gundam fans that actually really liked the CE universe, even I can not fail to acknowledge its many failings in GSD. Prominent among them was the abrupt and complete disruption of the OTP comprised of what are in my opinion the best male and female characters from the entire show. Athrun was always my favorite from Gundam SEED. He’s a leader, a good commander in most respects, and managed not to let his friendship with Kira get in the way of his mission. When he did side with Kira, it was because his homeland had betrayed him, not the other way around. In GSD he became not only a leader, but a principled man who fought for the right side for the right reasons. While Kira irresponsibly spouted useless idealism and actively attacked the ZAFT forces that were attempting to end the conflict before it became even larger, Athrun followed Chairman Dulindal and did what had to be done. Lunamaria Hawke was one of the pilots sent by ZAFT to assist in this campaign against the Blue Cosmos extremists, and she was quite a promising new pilot herself. She also approached situations rationally, but wasn’t afraid to unleash her more daring side in mobile suit combat. The two were great together, and her interest in him grew. While Athrun had to worry about other matters and his disintegrating relationship with Cagali at the time, it was clear he held her in high regard. But then it fell apart and poor Lunamaria was consigned by cruel writers to ending up with Shinn Asuka, of all people. Some claim that the head writer had a personal grudge against Lunamaria’s voice actress and wrote her into such a terrible fate, though that can’t be proven. Amidst much else that was falling apart late in GSD (including Dulindal suddenly becoming a bad guy with laughably super-villainous plans), this promising ship was lost. Athrun though at least got the (SECOND) BEST END by ending up with Lunamaria’s younger sister Meyrin, a worthy if lesser member of the Hawke family. Oh yeah, in your FACE Cagali fangirls/fanboys!
Takumi Mayama X Rika Harada
Anime of Origin: Honey and Clover.
Displacement: 45,000 tons of Yamada fan anguish.
Class: Resolved uni-directional love triangle.
Weapons and Defensive Systems: Purpose in life, younger protector, overcoming past trauma, against the odds, impervious to rivals.
Comments: The unsinkable ship, Rika X Mayama began before the events of the first episode even started, and defied the Rule of Drama that most series starter relationships succumb to. It wasn’t easy for either party, and it took almost the entirety of both seasons, but damn Mayama was persistent. Which, whether he knew it or not early in the story, ended up literally saving Rika from her eventual plan to follow her late husband in death after finishing the last of their projects. All along the way it could have gone differently. Mayama could have given up on Rika, Yamada’s obvious affection could have won him over, or countless other derailments that life could have sent their way. Perhaps I have a thing for this sort of sad (for most of its course) relationships, or for the younger guy winning over the older girl, but for as much as I kyaaa’ed over its sweet and bittersweet moments, I also had an equal measure of admiration for Mayama and Rika through it all. Mayama just kept trying over a several year time span, he devoted himself solely to finding a way to bring Rika out of her pain and to be with her. Everything he did, from his education to his job to his finances, was for this singular purpose. Furthermore he managed to, with stumbling steps at times, to find a way to cause the least possible amount of pain to Yamada while acknowledging but turning down her affections. And Rika, while she’s much less expressive on screen, didn’t take the easy way out and completely shut herself off from the two people (Shuu being the other) who kept trying to connect with her and ground her to something in life. She tried pushing Mayama away several times, but her eventual recovery was due in part to her being able to see in herself a way forward with Mayama when she had just about severed all her ties with the world.
Fumie Kotozuka X Saku Ooyagi
Anime of Origin: Sora no Manimani.
Displacement: 8,040 tons of fight the official couple.
Class: Unresolved weighted love polygon.
Weapons and Defensive Systems: Tsundere X tsundere, bungaku shoujo/shounen, common interest, double megane array, kuudere.
Comments: The very first OTP I ever shipped, from the very first show I ever blogged. While Mihoshi is cute and presents a formidable challenge in the form of the returned childhood friend, and Hime’s fluffiness is hard to ignore, Our Queen and Protector Fumie is clearly the best match for this currently unresolved situation. Both she and Saku have a strong interest in literature, similar borderline tsundere attitudes that just make them ridiculous cute together, and have had more genuine, meaningful dialogue between them than between any two other characters. Saku clearly was smitten with her at first sight, and Mihoshi herself was quick to acknowledge what a grave danger this was for her. And towards the end, Fumie almost got up the nerve to deliver her trip souvenir along with confession to Saku, a move that not one of her rivals has even come close to. In the course of shipping this OTP and engaging in ship to ship combat with Mihoshi and Hime’s champions, RabbitPoets and Scamp respectively, I ended up having a ridiculous amount of fun over the run of the show. Bring on season 2! Mihoshi X Saku may be the obvious official couple, be we must never give up! The story has yet to end! We will fight in the fansubs, we shall fight on the manga scans and the DVD extras. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength on Twitter! We shall defend our ship whatever the costs may be. We shall fight on the character songs, we shall fight on the blogs, we shall fight in the conventions and in the forums. We shall fight in the face of the official pairing, we shall never surrender!
Yasako X Isako
Don’t let the near kiss and fade to white fool you, the image on the right is how it really went down!
Anime of Origin: Dennou Coil
Displacement: 20,000 tons of F–K YEAH YURI ENDING!
Class: Implied resolved yuri.
Weapons and Defensive Systems: Badass couple, too good to last, rivalry into love, last minute resolution.
Comments: Isako, skilled hacker child and a younger version of Alphard, spends the entire series plotting, using others, and being a badass in her pursuit of resolution and atonement for her brother’s death. Yasuko, the nice girl who generally gets in the way or even opposes Isako’s plans. But over time the two come to know one another better, and the noble if misinformed goal of Isako begins to be understood by Yasuko. And in the end, the quiet one is the key to saving the bold badass. While things get implied several times in mostly a humorous manner, by the end of the show Yasuko’s near sacrifice to save Isako melts her yuri heart and one of the final scenes closes with the two moving closer together into a kiss…though the studio unwisely decided to fade to white before contact was made. Furthering this implied resolution, the official couple partner of Yasuko, Haruken, gets barely a goodbye during the closing credits. Alas for our poor heroines, things have gotten too hot for Isako to remain in Daikoku following the massive upheavals of the finale, but as she starts life at a new school, she calls Yasuko and reminds us of the rivals into love relationship they formed. On a personal note, this show and the kiss in particular redeemed an entire semester of anime club. After Kuroshitsuji and To Aru Majutsu no Index, I really needed that.
Gamlin Kizaki X Mylene Jenius
Anime of Origin: Macross 7
Displacement: 9,400 tons of COME ON MACROSS 7, GIVE ME SOMETHING FOR ENDURING THIS!
Class: If-it-weren’t-for-the-writers resolved love triangle.
Weapons and Defensive Systems: Mecha pilot couple, song of love, going to extremes, no realistic opposition.
Comments: Love triangle in name only, Gamlin and Mylene made an excellent couple from the start and over time only showed more and more how much they care about each other. Gamlin was always the serious sort, at love and everything else, but even Mylene’s frivolous nature faded away when she was with him. Basara neither showed interest in her, nor she serious interest in him. If it weren’t for the writer’s determination to not give me ANYTHING from the show, and the younger audience Macross 7 appeared to be targeted to, we’d have had on screen resolution. They were ridiculously cute together, complemented each other well, and helped each other grow. Mylene became more serious and aware of her feelings and Gamlin was able to let more of his feelings out. Need proof? How about this DDDAAAAWWWWW worthy example: when Gamlin was possessed by one of the lame Protodeviln antagonists, Mylene got out into the middle of the fight in only her spacesuit to sing him back to his old self with love and emotion in the last four minutes of the episode. Yeah, that’s right Basara, sit back and watch it. Even without on-screen resolution, moments like this meant that Macross 7 did have a few redeeming qualities.
Kikiyou X Inuyasha
Anime of Origin: Inuyasha.
Displacement: 31,900 tons of supporter and opponent tears.
Class: Unsuccessful resolved love triangle.
Weapons and Defensive Systems: Long haul ship, improved durability, undefeated (in love), lifetime service commendation.
Comments: Looking back to when I first started watching Inuyasha all those years ago on Adult Swim makes me realize that perhaps my love of shipping has deeper roots, that I just needed the catalyst of blogging to realize it. I’ve always been a fan of this OTP, always opposed to Kagome trying to win out over Kikiyou. Inuyasha was ready to give up half of his being to be with her, and she her position as guardian of the Shikon no Tama to make things work. All was going well until they tragically fell into Naraku’s plan. For a long time after Kikiyou’s resurrection she hunted her former love, but he never fought back with hatred and in time helped her discover the truth. And even when she committed her entire being to destroying Naraku, she would still be there for Inuyasha. Inuyasha himself also never really fell out of love for her, despite all that Kagome tried. Throughout the many seasons of the show, Kikiyou constantly and effortlessly showed up Kagome’s pitiful attempts at cementing her preferred couple. It took Kikiyou’s tragic death in her attempt to destroy Naraku once and for all to sink this ship. And while I knew it was coming, it was tough to take, especially so soon after the tragic end to my other Inuyasha OTP with the death of Kagura. So tough in fact, that I have yet to finish Kanketsuhen, I was left that demoralized. Content yourselves with your now unopposed ship Kagome fans, but know that it will never be so strong as the love between Inuyasha and Kikiyou!
Eriko Futami X Kazuki Aihara
Anime of Origin: KimiKiss: Pure Rouge.
Displacement: 45,000 tons of Crusader RAEG.
Class: Resolved love triangle.
Weapons and Defensive Systems: Against the odds, impervious to rivals, overcoming doubts, unconventional beginning.
Comments: It started with a (experimental) kiss. Estranged from her classmates by her intellect and lack of interest in socializing, Eriko decided one day when she Kazuki wandered into the science lab room to kiss him. It was an awkward start, but plenty of growth and genuine DDDAAAWWWWWW was to follow from it. The two continued to get to know each other, at first only in the confines of the science lab room, but later Eriko went along with Kazuki elsewhere and even hung out with him and a few of his friends. Kazuki had seemed to have something of a crush on her before he even got to know her, but despite her weird habits and tastes he enjoyed spending time with her just sitting around and drinking coffee more than anything else. Their rival was the bold and competent Asuka Sakino, a soccer player just like Kazuki and keen to be with him. She conducted herself admirably and helped Kazuki reach his potential in sports. But in the end Eriko connected with Kazuki in a deeper way. In that undefinable sense they were just right for each other. Eriko found someone to depend on and to help her grow, and Kazuki had someone to inspire him and keep a check on his tendency to just go with things. While my comrade Crusader was on Asuka’s pony-tailed side all along, I could not be happier with their resolution.
Shinichiro Nakagami X Noe Isurugi
Anime of Origin: True Tears.
Displacement: 110,000 tons of fan community anguish.
Class: Unsuccessful complicated love triangle.
Weapons and Defensive Systems: Noe is moe, right from the start, vulnerable to childhood friend.
Comments: What collection of OTPs, though this one is far from comprehensive, would be complete without a ship that sank so dramatically that its echoes are still heard around the community? Despite Noe and Souichiro’s intense feelings for each other, admitted by Souichiro even on the verge of choosing the other girl, this OTP was still lost at the end of the series. Noe and Souichiro spent the majority of the series together and connected in Noe’s weird way over the chickens she raised and the storybook Souichiro was inspired to write based on them. There was nowhere near that level of connection between Souichiro and Hiromi Yuasa, the eventual victor. As Shinn87 put it well, it was one of the few anime series where the bad guy won. Noe painfully admits Souichiro’s choice to herself out on a jetty in her now infamous song, and Souichiro’s later confession about how dear she is to him were the final nails in the coffin of what would have been a great OTP. To Noe! To the one who kept chickens and freed Souichiro’s soul!
I welcome your own favorite OTPs, or perhaps some fun shipping skirmishes, in the comments.