Feb 112012

Hate’s a strong word. And it’s a wholly inappropriate word to explain my feelings towards the whole “fans create relationships between characters and then delude themselves into believing their fanfiction is reality” phenomenon. But I’m using it anyway. I’m just a jerk like that.

But yeah. Shipping. I kinda did it back in the day when I was all “Yeah, Ryoga should totally ditch his Akane obsession and hook it up with Ukyo. The chick can actually cook, dude!” but that’s about as far as I ever went. I can’t say I don’t get the thing, but at the same time it’s pretty damn silly. Like, I’m all for making up crazy shit and pretending it’s real, but it’s just some idle blabber I spout out to make for an amusing blog post or whatever.

Shipping’s, like, a whole different story from what I can tell. Peeps take this shit seriously, and for some of them it’s, like, their man thing in fandom. They totally watch anime so they can play virtual matchmaker, pairing up chicks and dudes or dudes and dudes or chicks and chicks or amorphous blobs and slithering oozes. Hey, y’all dig on the romance. That’s cool. But it’s also a strange aspect of fandom because it’s utterly futile.

Like, these relationships almost never pan out. It isn’t even that the series in question goes with a different coupling. Nope. Most anime series do their best to not even create actual couples. Like with my Ranma example from above. I’m sure I read somewhere that she had no intentions of ever having any of the characters hook up outside of Ranma and Akane. Not even the more obvious couples, like Shampoo and Mousse, got anything resembling romantic resolution.

If such a blatantly obvious couple never actually comes together, there’s no hope for these “ships” that are purely in the minds of fans. X character and Y character, for whatever reason, appeals to a bunch of fans. That’s cool. But it’s, like, waiting for some dude that’ll never arrive. You talk about how this couple is made to be and all that shit, but it ain’t happening. Those two side characters barely get any screen time when it comes to the proper storyline, much less screen time devoted to exploring a relationship that you as a fan have thought of more than the actual writers behind the anime.

It’s some weird existential game that peeps play with this shipping shit. It’s utterly futile and yet is the backbone of a lot of peep’s anime fandom. And that’s pretty cool if you ask me, even if it’s, like, the polar opposite of what I dig about anime. I can dig enjoying futility.

But yeah, all of this was triggered by this week’s episode of My Little Pony. The three evil Cute Mark Crusader kids decide to brew up a love potion in order to make two side characters fall in love. Chaos ensues, with the three girls envisioning Ponyville descending into ruin because the unnatural love they “shipped” would lead to a chain reaction that would doom everyone. It was an amusing dig at the shipping phenomenon and pretty much encapsulated my feelings on it: Don’t be tampering with the natural order of love. Your matchmaking will destroy us all!

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