Warning: Extremely long post just for my documentation. If you want to read it, power to ya!
Shipping is present in ALL fandoms. It’s such a strange phenomenon pretty much only acceptable over the internet. People quite literally dedicate their whole being to this. I’ve been pulled into it, and chances are you’ve been to.
So first of all, for those not fandom literate, what is “shipping?” It’s when people pair up two people/characters up in a relationship, most commonly romantically. So if someone says “I ship _____,” assume romantic. If it’s not romantic, they will say “I ship _____ platonic-ly/in a sibling way/as friends/etc” or my personal favorite “I broship _____.”
So isn’t this normal? Well, on the internet, people will fangirl/boy over anything of their ship! It’s quite hard to explain unless you witness it, but they go quite crazy over it.
Dictionary, in case I slip up and start using my fandom slang. Please comment on any words I should add to this.
- Canon – offical, the original source has said it… ranges from events to feelings to a couple, etc.
- OTP – One True Pairing, this is the shipper’s favorite pairing, can be multiple or sometimes used in “OTP in -insert series-“
- Shipper – the person who is pairing up two characters
- Tag – in Tumblr, these are the labels you use to search their post. Shippers usually frequent their ship tags on Tumblr.
- Head Canons – Things that are not made clear in the official source, but it’s an event/idea/etc. the person in question accepts as “official”
Like celebrity couples, ships (that is the couple) usually have fan names. These fan names are established usually in the standard way, but sometimes they can be derived differently.
The standard way is a syllable from one character’s name + a syllable from the other character’s name
- Inukag (Inuyasha and Kagome, Inuyasha)
Special naming, usually derived from Japanese pronounciation
- Royai (Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye, FMA) Roy, obviously, but the “ai” comes from HawkEYE which is spelled with the character “love” in Japanese.
Special code, my personal favorite. I’ve only seen it in one fandom: Katekyo Hitman Reborn. Each character is designated a number or letter that represents them. It usually links the syllable sound to a number sound. When a ship is said, it’s a bunch of numbers and letters only fans can decode.
- 1827 – 18(Hibari) and 27(Tsuna)
Common interest. Simply called by what they have in common.
- Protagshipping (can be used for any two protagonists)
Team ship. Everyone is familiar with this. Usually used in love triangles.
- TEAM EDWARD (Edward and Bella, Twilight) [side note-did I really almost write Elric?]
The safe way. This is what I use when I just enter a shipping fandom since I don’t know what they refer them to. Person A x Person B
- Edward x Winry (actually called Edwin though)
Types of Ships
- Canon Ships – These are the ships officially recognized. They are together, they’ve kissed, they’ve confessed to each other, etc. Something that makes it obvious there’s something between them
- Oh-so-close-but-not-quite-cannon ships – I’m most commonly involved here. There are so many signs as to the two being romantically involved, yet there is nothing “official,” and not everyone acknowledges the ship.
- Ships – just two people you would like to see together, although neither of the two above
- Crack pairing – shipping two people that make no sense whatsoever. I’m still determining whether people take it serious or not. Most will acknowledge their crack and laugh it off, but I believe it may be a guilty pleasure.
- Slash – boyxboy or girlxgirl, yaoi, BL, yuri, etc.
- Het – boyxgirl.
Number one concept I want to feature in my shipping comic. It’s such an interesting thing that they fight over which couple is the best. This especially happens with an overlap between characters. Example: Lelouch x C.C. and Lelouch x Kallen. A rivalry seems to appear and the rival ship seems to hate the character “interfering.” Of course it takes one loud person to ruin it for everyone. Just a few tend to go into the actual rival fandom tag and decide to rant about how much they hate it. Flame wars ensue. It never ends even when one of the ships go canon. These people don’t mess around when it comes to fictional characters.
This is one of the hardest things to describe. Number two concept I want to feature in a comic. It’s strange. You watch the same anime/manga/game/etc, and yet people define the characters totally different. Unfortunately for me, my head canons do not blend in with the majority and I’m left wondering where everyone pulled this stuff out of. It’s so hard to find the perfect fanfiction. It’s too sappy, it’s too angsty, it’s too happy, etc. Truth is you’ll never get exactly what you want unless you write it yourself. So the solution? Well, I find myself becoming more lenient. This is a HUGE disadvantage. It brainwashes you. You find yourself characterizing them in such a different way from the anime/manga/game/etc. You get sucked into the writer’s view of the character that it’s so embarrassing to watch the real thing. I can do a whole thing on fanfiction, but relating to shipping: there is all kinds. The majority will not fit your tastes, there are crack versions of your ships, there are underdeveloped stories, but there are some golden gems you’re glad you dig up. Below will explain more on what I mean.
Versions of One Ship – as I said, people interpret the couple differently… This is MY view again. What I consider canon doesn’t mean everyone considers it canon.
- Canon – Based on the official source! How a character will act in a situation can only be determined by the original source, so this is really based on opinion. But in my experience, these are extremely rare.
- The semi-based offish – They will try to stick close to the source, but there are a few weird things that define the characters. The most popular, again this is my opinion.
- LUST – the lemons, the limes, the sourness you accidentally come across when you don’t want to picture all that stuff. It’s porn. Not really any story. Some people picture ships in only a sexual way. Scrolling through Tumblr can be a terrifying thing.
- Crack – The characters are all on crack. They’re very animated caricatures, highlighting only the funnier parts of them. I label it crack when it’s WAY out of this world. A bunch of extremely impossible things happen… in a very extreme fashion. Unicorns, rainbows… all those other things that drugs make you see.
- Alternate Universe (AU) – Some people only ship the people in an alternate universe. Whether they are genderbent, in a school setting, or maybe their situation are different. Of course, suspect some disrepancies.
- Out of Character (OOC) – Based off the ship, but the end characters end up different. I don’t get why they don’t just use different characters.
Role Playing (RP)
People usually RP and come up with various different scenes. I hear sometimes an rper starts to ship a certain couple because he/she has had to act it out. I think this can be a source of fanfiction or sometimes Tumblr posts. Sometimes there are “ask” blogs where you can ask the couple about their life. Usually they are married, a couple so how’s life? Or maybe an AU… the RPer will usually say the situation of the couple.
By the way, the one described above are online… there are people who RP in real life. I’ve seen it all the times in conventions. Sometimes they don’t even know the other person and they start making out! Disturbing, but I guess really dedicated. I don’t really stick around long enough to accurately describe their interaction.
The Shipper Anthem: “White Flag” – Dido
I absolutely love this. Tumblr labels this as their official anthem. This is what tied it together for me. What inspired me to make a comic.
“I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP!” – this means the person loves the couple so much, they don’t care if it’s not canon. I’ve never heard of a “sunken ship,” but it’s an interesting concept. Tumblr is known for shipping every pairing… so of course, they’ll say it!
So the song is basically saying no matter what, either it’s not canon, maybe someone died, maybe something horrible was revealed, they will stick to it to the very end. I will gladly go down with my Royai ship.
I can never take this song seriously anymore. I just picture a bunch of boats being shot with cannons. And people are refusing to give up and gladly go down with their boat.
So all these ideas in the shipping fandom has caused me to explore it and depict it in a comic. It’s about a girl who joins a pirate crew based on the couple she likes of an ongoing tv series. There are three pairings and she journeys with the crew to prove their superiority whilst the girl finds out about the actual fandom. It’ll explore the types of ships, the things people do, the strange things that happen, and more! This will extend to the end of the series where all but one ship will sink…