With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought I would once again make some themed posts for the holiday. While not the very-much-facetious-even though-some-people-thought-it-wasn’t harem finder service from last year, I’ve decided to pursue another romantic theme. Shipping. Many are the joys of deciding upon or instinctively taking to certain pairings of characters. The thrill of battle against other ships and their supporters, the ambrosia-like taste of victory and the lasting scars of defeat most cruel. Shipping is the sport of kings.
So to kick off this series of shipping posts leading up to Valentine’s Day, a post on my current shipping in this season’s shows. We’re getting around to the halfway point, so there’s still much that can go right, and go wrong. But whether it’s a ship that has a chance or appeared doomed from the start, I live by a simple motto: I’d ship it. So, in alphabetical order, the shows I’m watching and the shipping-related commentary.
So, this first one isn’t exactly shipping in the classic sense. But with the advent of Amagami SS+ I can finally have some closure on what was my second favorite arc the first time around, Rihoko’s. And now that I’ve seen every girl get her respective GOOD END, I think I’ve come to like Rihoko’s the best, with Tsukasa falling back to a close second instead of leading the pack like she used to. Beyond my well known soft spot for childhood friend characters, I thought that Rihoko and Junichi coming together as a couple just had that extra element of sweetness that even Tsukasa didn’t quite have. That’s not to say that Tsukasa and her arc aren’t great, but Rihoko’s arc/afterstory was just so, so cute! It hit that part of my brain that just made me go aaaaaaawwwwww and squeal like a fangirl…in a manly fashion.
Ano Natsu de Matteru
Ano Natsu has turned out to be my main shipping show this season, though I’m currently of two minds about my ships. I instantly took to Kanna’s cause and started shipping her with Kaito, even though I knew from the first episode who the writer’s intended ship is. I stuck with my Kanna X Kaito ship through the increasingly common Kaito X Ichika scenes. And damn it!, the show has been making far too good a case for that ship! Ichika isn’t the usual ditzy, brainless magical/alien girlfriend character, and she and Kaito do seem to be really good for each other. This resulted in some shipping soul-searching, since I couldn’t ship Kanna with myself as Misa from Moretsu Pirates is Mai Waifu of the Season. But, Tetsurou has always been around, and I think that once Kanna goes through the certainly rough process of getting over Kaito, she’ll find that there’s a better match for her out there. Sucks to be Mio though, ooh ooh ooh!
Obligatory Kanna art. HHHHHHNNNNNNGGGGGG
Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou/Daily Lives of High School Boys/Nichibros
One might think that a skit-based gag comedy wouldn’t have shipping in it. But the skilled shipper needs only a glance, a short scene, and instinct. There have been several scenes with the Literature Girl in them, trying to act cool on the riverbank. But the first one was the right one, as far as I’m concerned. Hidenori X Literature Girl, OTP. He seems the best match for her, in both the coincidence of reading on the riverbank and in general temperament once/if they finally drop their respective acts. There’s not much material in this show to ship, so I’m relying on that core skill of a shipper: instinct. The almost Newtype ability to see two character together and instantly and intuitively disregard, nay!, SURPASS logic and reason.
Oh, but once you both come to terms with her writing you can start hanging out more, when she can then begin shaping you to fit her storyline!
AGE-2 is still too new for me to say much, but I have plenty to talk about from AGE-1. I was initially suspicious of Yurin, since at first it wasn’t clear how different Gundam AGE would be from its UC predecessors. I was worried that the show would be too kiddy and/or a rehash of the same UC tropes in much the same way that most Gundam series have been since at least SEED. But the show has happily defied both of those pessimistic expectations of mine, and Yurin didn’t turn out to be just another Four or Stellar. Well, in most ways. I had built my Yurin and Flit ship and things were sailing along quite well. They got closer together, and Yurin was obviously on Flit’s mind all the time when they were separated. Emily didn’t have a chance, and surely this slightly more kiddyish Gundam wouldn’t pose a mortal threat to my ship. Or so I thought. While Gundam AGE rose to new heights when the bodies started dropping towards the end of AGE-1, my ship was collateral damage, sadly. I was literally yelling at the screen during that scene, first “no no no NO!” and then “KILL HIM! KIIILLLLLL HIIIIIMMMMM!” when Flit didn’t go for the cockpit shot to make certain that justice would be done. So now my ship has sunk, and in the time between AGE-1 and AGE-2, it seems that Emily was the victor by default. No wonder Flit spends so much time away from home, working in Federation HQ.
How it should have turned out.
Moretsu Pirates and Rinne no Lagrange
Bringing together two sci-fi ships in one image.
These two shows are sort of low-intensity shipping, at least to me. I definitely prefer Marika X Chiaki and Madoka X Ran to the other possible ships in these shows, but for the moment I’m mostly concentrating on the awesome hard science fiction space combat and seeing where the show is going, respectively. Marika X Chiaki has no real challengers at the moment, but even so, I doubt that there will be a better sci-fi yuri ship this season. Marika has a great way of roping the alternatingly tsundere and kuudere Chiaki into things when she’d rather try to play it cool, though Chiaki is the obvious one with feelings at this point. They’re a great pair and will make wonderful Pirate Queens of Tau Ceti. Madoka and Ran meanwhile is a bit different even with roughly similar character archetypes. Ran seems more held back by being naturally quiet and also feeling guilty about getting Madoka involved in things. But she’s also the one with clear feelings. But there will be rough seas ahead as my ship will have to fight off a boarding action by Muginami. But I have no love for Muginami or any ship between her and Madoka, for her ways are haughty and her love, false.
This show is interesting for shipping in that it takes place in something like the shipping equivalent of a post-conflict environment. The war was waged between the only two real contenders during the last arc of Bakemonogatari, when Tsubasa arrived at the field of battle too late but fought bravely and well anyway. This isn’t to say that I didn’t like the relationship between Araragi and Senjyougahara in Bakemonogatari, it had an incredibly touching conclusion to it, a definite Great Moment in Anime. But I’ve always liked more and felt more towards Tsubasa. Her unrequited love for Araragi just seemed somehow deeper, like it went to the core of her being. Tsubasa X Araragi also had that ‘sweetness factor’ that I referred to above about Rihoko in Amagami. So, my ship had sunk before Nisemonogatari even began, and now I’m mostly watching how things play out from there, still wanting to cheer Tsubasa on but knowing that she’ll never have even the slim shot she once did. It kind of adds insult to injury that I really don’t care for her character redesign. Her old look was much better looking, in my opinion, and unfortunately she seems to have changed the most from the last ‘season.’ That said, I did enjoy watching her try and get back at Araragi, even a little, but laying out on his bed in various poses, as a way to punish him for making the wrong choice, haha!