[The second of two guest posts on shipping for the lead-up to Valentine's Day series, this time by another main shipping bro, Nazarielle. More posts on the way after this too! -EO] And all’s fair in Shipping Wars too. Not that I’d ever stoop to mocking my fellow shipping bros as their ship sinks like a lead weight, laughing at their misery while reveling in the glory of shipping victory. No, I’m above all that, right EO?
Be it the intense and sometimes bitter rivalries between ships or simply that moment that makes your inner shipping persona giddy, shipping is a lot of fun and has affected the way I watch what I watch, be it anime or not. When I thought about what I would want to write about for a Valentine’s Day post about shipping, I found myself overwhelmed by the possibilities. There are so many ships that I like, and even narrowing it down to just the ones I really love was proving to be decidedly difficult. Do I try to rank my ships based on which one I liked best? How do I determine how to rank them? Do I pick out the ship that involves my favorite girl? As is sometimes the case in anime ships, the male half of the ship just so happens to be whatever hunk of meat the writers decided could pass for a main character. My real focus in those ships is the girl, and compatibility with the lead has little to do with my support of said ship.
However, there are a few ships here and there that defy the odds. For a post around Valentine’s Day, I figured it would be best to focus on a ship where both sides of the relationship play a role in my choice of supporting the ship. I also wanted to choose a ship that I felt brought out some of the greatest shipping highs – the ones that make that inner shipping persona squeal with glee.
It’s the moments like these that make me absolutely love shipping. BakaTest seems like an unlikely source of excellent shipping moments, but it’s surprisingly packed with them. The Yuuji/Shouko ship that I picked isn’t like most ships. There’s no real rival for either side of the relationship, although I suppose you could make a case for Yuuji/Himeji, but it would be a real long shot. All the same, I wanted to focus on this ship, because there are so many great shipping moments in the show, in both seasons.
It starts off with a confession from Shouko right at the beginning of the first season. Something you rarely see in anime, much less coming from a girl. What makes this even better is that this early declaration of war allows the show to focus on what happens after the relationship has been established. Even though Shouko and Yuuji aren’t really main characters, the show does quite a good job of showing their relationship growing stronger over the course of the show. Just like every relationship, they have their ups and downs…
…but they work things out in the end…
Now I admit, the biggest reason I enjoy this ship is due to Shouko. She’s that crazy yandere ultra-obsessed girl, who won’t take no for an answer. But it’s not like she just randomly woke up and decided to like some idiot and stalk him to the end of the earth. There’s a reason for her undying loyalty to Yuuji, as we see in season 2. In an episode dedicated to Yuuji and Shouko’s past, we learn that Yuuji was actually a snotty honors student, who treated everyone else like crap because he thought he was special. Strangely, this brought Shouko to like him, because everyone else seemed to avoid Shouko. Yuuji was abrasive, but Shouko didn’t mind. And it seemed even back then, Shouko knew how to press his buttons.
But that’s not why she fell in love with him. What really made her swoon was when one of his perfectly laid plans backfired. Shouko walked in on some bullies trying to vandalize Yuuji’s shirt and tried to stop them. When the bullies turned on Shouko, Yuuji didn’t know what to do. He knew he couldn’t win in a fight against three older students, but at the same time he didn’t want anything to happen to Shouko, despite his statements to the opposite.
Finally, he resolves himself to face the bullies, knowing that he doesn’t stand a chance. Terrified, trembling, he tells Shouko to run. After something like that, there was no turning back for Shouko, she was completely smitten.
However, this relationship tends to be pretty one sided. Yuuji tries to resist and at times downright refuses Shouko. And who can blame him? She does get a bit… clingy.
But when push comes to shove, we see that Yuuji really does care deeply about Shouko.
Whether he’ll admit it is another matter…
As Shouko’s seen this side of him, both when he was a kid and now, she knows how much he cares for her. So through all his tsuntsun, she’ll stand by her man, and that’s why I just can’t get enough of this ship.