Overly Romantic ShippingJuly 20, 2008 at 5:52 am | Posted in Articles | 16 Comments
Tags: aww, fangirling, shipping
I’m a shipper fangirl. Meaning than more than being just being all crazy and creepy for male characters, I’m much more likely to have an overly-dramatic reaction about something involving my favorite pairings.
A lot of the time my enjoyment and ultimate, “sink or swim” opinion of an anime or manga comes down to whether my favorite pairing ends up together or not. If my supported couple fails…my interest in the anime kind of disappears too.
This either makes me a snob or someone who just judges things harshly. I’m not sure which. But either way since shipping is the most dangerous activity you can take part in after lolicon debates (because that pisses off supporters and haters like nothing else), it’s time to take the defensive and explain myself.
I think I’ve always been a “my way or the highway” sort of girl when it comes to what I watch. I probably get it from my brother who is incredibly stubborn about the stuff he likes. Of course, I express my stubbornness in the girliest way possible by demanding all the pairings I support become the OTP.
I’ve been like this since I was five-year-old and used to watched Disney movies. I’d viciously hate anyone that got in the way of the romance. I threw a stuffed animal at the TV once when I was watching Beauty and the Beast.
Despite my intense love of…love, I’m still really shy about it. I can’t watch any movie where I know there will be kissing with my parents. Or at least I purposely try to not pay attention because otherwise I’ll either start tearing up or I’ll have to let out my fangirl squeals.
Admittedly, I take it far too seriously and it seems to have become something that might be just a little too important to me. I know it’s all just fiction, but I can’t help it. It’s like I need to keep all my romantic secrets to myself because they’re too important to share.
You know, except with complete strangers. That’s okay.
I’d say romance the main reason why I’m such a big anime fan. I like my comedies and some action anime, but nothing beats my romance. Nothing! And somehow so many anime get my romance, just the way I like it. On TV it’s all melodramatic and rushed. Movies are generally the same (though I have a few I’m weak for).
And…I’m secretly a nice girl. I’m pretty understanding about everything, but if someone messes with my favorite pairings…uh. I change a little.
I was once told that I have a look on my face like a loan shark who enjoys torturing a client who can’t pay their loan. I’m…not entirely sure what that means since it was my friend Ashley who said it (people who read this blog must think that she’s such a bully from the way I talk about her) and she always says things in a way I can’t understand. But…I think she means something like this.
I did realized recently that I had a rather devilish smirk while talking about enemy shippers. I enjoyed insulting their stupidity (talking specifically about the stupid ones) way too much. I pretty much automatically like someone less if they want a character to end up with someone else. Or I try to like them less. Sometimes my reasonable side gets in the way.
I’m just a little messed up. But aren’t we all? I feel it’s just a little bit better to obsess over a character’s relationship than to want the character all to myself. Since at least I know the difference between reality and fiction…right?
But now that all my dirty little secrets about how I take shipping too seriously are out, we should move onto the real point of this post.
What makes me decide what couple to ship?
Ultimately…for me, what it all comes down to is pure and simple love. The pairing I think has more love is usually the one I support.
Or rather, to word this in a fair way, the pairing I think will get to show their love more is the one I’ll support.
That’s why Sakura and Syaoran get to be the showcase couple for this post. When I started writing this I knew I needed to find an image where you could just tell two people were in love. And no image does that better than that one special image of Sakura and Syaoran.
What they have is the sort of love that just makes you smile and feel so happy and calm. When I watch CardCaptor Sakura, I don’t really let out “KYAAA!”s like you’d expect a shipper to. I just start smiling like an idiot and go, “Awww” every time Sakura and Syaoran have any sort of moment.
Basically, it’s just heart-warming. You can just tell they belong together and that each one of them is the other’s, “most important person.” It’s no contest.
But Sakura and Syaoran are a one of a kind pairing. I have other “aww” pairings, but there aren’t any other pairings that have the same innocence or warmth. Because no other anime has characters fall in love at such a young age I guess.
Which brings me to my next point. I don’t support “liking”. I support only what I can see as being love. Attraction alone isn’t enough. Crushes aren’t enough.
I didn’t become a real Amuto fangirl until the day I read chapter ten of the manga. Up until then I was just interested in their pairing because it was exciting and I felt like there was something there. Something more than just the teasing. And I was right. I read chapter ten and saw this…
That familiar smile and absolute happiness that always comes to me for my favorite pairings appeared so quickly and easily. Seeing Amu smiling like that and Ikuto being nice even though he’s usually teasing her. It got a really big, “aww” reaction from me. And that usually comes when two characters just seem genuinely happy together.
Simple, wonderful happiness. That’s what usually ignites the extreme fangirling.
Then came along the fact that Ikuto can’t help but be nice to Amu even though they’re “enemies” and the fact that Amu forgave Ikuto even though they’re “enemies” which means that something more than just a dokidoki attraction is going on there.
And once I get that feeling that real love, not just like, can come from a relationship, it’s set in my mind that they belong together. And it’s almost impossible for me to give up.
That’s the real basis for why I’ve always disliked Tadamu. Everything is shallow and I can’t see any “love” from them. I can just see them liking each other like kids their age do. And that’s not enough. I always say that it’s because Tadase doesn’t deserve Amu, and I think that too, but it’s mostly because of their shallow relationship. Of course, no one understands that, so it’s hard to convince them.
And I think anyone who doesn’t know Shugo Chara! and doesn’t have any bias already will agree. One feels like it’s real, the other one just feels shallow.
Because *starry eyes* and fangirl mode doesn’t mean anything to me at all. And that shallowness just absolutely repels me.
I just need to be able to believe that a couple really does (or can) love each other. If I don’t think they do, they might be my favorite pairing still because I like the two of them, but I’ll never support them in the same way.
And if they’re shallow enough, I’ll even be directly opposed to the pairing. Though it doesn’t happen too often. I can only think about three pairing I’ve ever specifically disliked that much.
I think all of this is the main reason why I’ve always loved Arina Tanemura’s manga. No matter what, I can never deny that the main pairing is in love. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Time Stranger Kyoko, Full Moon, and Shinshi Doumei Cross. In each one there’s a scene after or during a big conflict where all the emotions come out and you just know that it’s love. It usually involves crying because they’re about to be separated or it’s when they’re reunited, but that’s what causes it to make sense for me.
I’ve never been in love before, but I have lots of people who are really important to me. And it’s just awful not seeing someone you really care about. The more you care about them, the harder it is to deal with not being around them.
So, the hardest thing in the world must be being separated from the one you really love. The one you love the most.
Then, if the feelings are strong enough to last after being separated a long time or to last through any other number of trials, that’s what really gets me.
The pairing I support are mainly chosen because I a) think they love each other and b) think that their love is strong enough to be tested.
And it’s a story. So of course the love is going to be tested. We can expect that the love will be tested. Especially if it’s shoujo or a series with any sort of focus on romantic relationships.
And that’s the only two sort of anime I ship for anyway. I don’t make up random pairings in shounen anime. You’ll pretty much never get enough development unless a female manga-ka is writing (Rumiko Takahashi just barely gives me enough development early on to keep me hooked).
But now that I’ve made it clear that I need a test, I should make it clear what I like that test to be. You can probably guess from what I mentioned already. It has to be some sort of separation.
It happens in all of the big Arina Tanemura manga. Being separated or even just the threat of separation. It’s happening now in Mistress Fortune. In CardCaptor Sakura, the threat of separation is what makes Sakura realize her feelings for Syaoran. Then their actual separation is what leads to one of the best moments ever in shoujo manga (I will always love their reunion in the manga).
As often as it occurs, I bet people are thinking that it’s just more of my love for cliches coming out. But no. I’m not just talking about the standard, “I’m transferring schools. Please wait for me” kind of separation. I’m talking about all kinds.
Being forced to be on separate sides of a conflict for example. Someone denying their feelings. A fight or an argument. All of these are ways of separating a couple. Obviously, some of them aren’t as dramatic as others, but any of these can be suitable.
Skip Beat! has an especially creative way of separating the pairing I like. Kyoko “lacks” the ability to love because of her past. And Ren doesn’t feel that he should be allowed to love.
I love my inner-conflicts. More difficult drama and then a happier, more “aww”-worthy resolution.
Dramatic isn’t always good. Especially if I’m left thinking that neither person feels strongly enough about the other for it to be realistic. Fushigi Yuugi would be a good example of this. Miaka and Tamahome got together in the third volume of the manga, leaving everything feeling incredibly shallow and melodramatic afterward.
I need to see a lot of interaction before the DRAMA hits too. A little drama sprinkled along the way isn’t bad, but before the big drama, I need to already be thinking, “These two suit each other.”
Because part of me thinking that two characters love each other includes me thinking that they could love each other. That they could work as a couple. When this missing and all I get is rabu-rabu or “cute” interactions, it’s too shallow again. I mean, even Nogizaka Haruka takes out the time to establish that Yuto and Haruka enjoy being together and can have actual conversations.
Bringing up my only current ship (almost every other pairing I like has already been resolved…), this is yet another reason why I prefer Amuto over Tadamu. Amu and Ikuto talk almost every time they meet and learn something new about each other. With Amu and Tadase, Amu is too busy being a fangirl and almost every time Tadase says something, it’s something that makes us all go *facepalm* because he’s being dumb (Amulet Heart gets mentioned way too much).
Basically, I like it when couples talk about themselves and their interests…not just romantic stuff. That sucks. No real couple I know ever talks like, “I like you because…” They talk about common interests and each other.
And the getting to know each other bit is always better if there’s some sort of strain on the relationship from the beginning. All of my really favorite pairings have that.
Haine and Taka-kun, Amu and Ikuto, even Sakura and Syaoran had it. In both CCS and TRC (In TRC, Syaoran tried to distance himself because Sakura doesn’t remember him and in CCS, well they had their rivalry). I probably like it that way because the “awww” moments are always better because I get to think, “they’re starting to like each other even though they’re not supposed to” or something similar.
Basically, I need two things from my pairings: the knowledge that they both love each other most (or could) and the fact that they both know each other pretty well (or are always learning more about each other) and can work well together.
Yes, the love does need to be mutual. I don’t hold onto “ships” if they “sink” (it’s only happened to me once though). And I only get pissed off if I think I was misled, like if a creator advertised my pairing and gave them more coverage as if they were the OTP (meaning that with three splash pages of Amuto and none of Tadamu I will be pissed at Peach-Pit if it ends with Tadamu).
Supposed “cuteness” (honestly, I don’t see it with Tadamu) isn’t enough coverage for a pairing after all.
And because I know someone will bring it up if I don’t…I do talk about how cute pairings are, but I only think a pairing is cute if I think they fit together. They can’t be cute together if I don’t think they fit together.
Actually, it usually gives me an “ugh” reaction instead. If they’re supposed to look “cute” together and I don’t like them I just feel kind of…disgusted. That’s a bit extreme, but I can’t think of any other way to word it. (Heh. Tadamu anyone? Even when other Amuto fans admit that they look cute together in certain moments, I still can’t admit it. They might look cute individually, but together it just repels me.)
But it all really just comes down to which I think pairing shows their love more. Which ones I think will do anything for their love. Which ones have that love so much that they overcome their tests, and usually, give me my happy ending. They have to be willing to sacrifice and do just about anything for their loved one. That is the standard of love I expect from my very favorite pairings.
I guess I kind of judge my pairings harshly and I’m unintentionally strict about it too. That’s why I only have seven pairs I can still go completely fangirl-crazy for even though I watch so much romance anime. Maybe that justifies the fangirl-craziness at least a little bit. Or maybe it just makes me even crazier.
Now I bet people are wondering why I decided to write this up. Well, it’s something that’s been on my mind since I read CCY’s post on shipping. Why am I so rabid about my pairings?
After a lot of thought about what I like about my pairings and all of that, it pretty much came down to just that. Putting a lot of thought into choosing my pairings. That mostly explains why I’m defensive about people challenging my opinion. I shouldn’t really need a reason to be defensive about that. It’s my opinion. I shouldn’t need to explain it in the first place.
However, I also have my reason for that, “my way or the highway” sort of feeling about my pairings. It comes down to the fact that I react to the pairing that has the most emotion and therefore makes me the most emotional. And if someone doesn’t react to the obvious emotional stuff, I think there’s something wrong with them.
Example: I don’t get why people who hadn’t played the Clannad visual novel supported anyone but Nagisa with Tomoya. They were the only ones who had any real mutual romantic moments. So they were the only ones that could really make me feel anything about them as a couple.
I guess it’s okay to support Tomoyo and Tomoya now that episode 24 is out, but anyone who supports Kyou and Tomoya really just likes Kyou. They need to admit that.
Then I kept thinking about my shipping choices more and more when the Tadamu fans started being stupider than usual. Then I came to the realization, that Tadamu arguments are all made up of, “They’re cute” or trying to defend against why Tadamu specifically isn’t a bad couple. They never really list out why those two make a good couple. It’s…shallow.
Everything made sense then. I remembered all the times that I called Tadamu shallow and realized that it was more than just a reason why I think it would be stupid if Peach-Pit made them get together. It’s also the reason why I dislike them together so much in the first place.
Of course, the ultimate point to my shipping has nothing to do with other pairings. I wish that wasn’t a part of shipping. It’s just me loving couples that love each other and that can work well together. That doesn’t need an explanation. That’s just my usual self liking some sort of realistic bit to my anime.
I’m probably thinking about this a lot more than any other shipper does. Everyone else just knows that they like a couple and that they don’t like another couple. Well, this explains it for me and knowing that I’m not just completely irrational makes me feel a little bit better.
I put a lot of thought into this stuff, so I like defending my reasoning. That’s not so bad.
It also explains why I dislike someone who doesn’t agree with my pairing (or really anyone who likes a pairing I specifically don’t). To me liking certain couples is like common sense. They’re the ones I think have the most love and the ones I think work together. It just seems obvious to me. And anyone who thinks there’s substance where I see absolutely none…I think poorly of their judgment. Unless they admit they just like the cuteness or admit to liking them for another reason they know is shallow, I think they’re stupid.
It’s harsh, but generally I find out that it’s true. After all, the most irrational fans in the Shugo Chara! fandom seem to be the Tadamu fans who insist on arguing or the Amuto fans who say they like Amuto because they like Ikuto (and think that’s a legitimate reason). I don’t see eye-to-eye with anyone who likes pairings for shallow reasons, even if we support the same one.
I have my shallow moments too, of course. For Macross Frontier I’m completely unable to decide who will show their love for Alto more in the long-run (I’m pretty sure it’s been about equal), so I just support Ranka because I like her better. She’s so cute and I like everything about her and I just end up supporting her. That’s the type of shipping I dislike, but since I’m not being rabid, it’s okay~!
I have many strange shipping rules that no one cares about.
Heh…now with all this over-thinking I have no doubt that I’m an otaku. I’m just probably more of a shipping-specific otaku. Because my “fangirl power” wanes when I have no pairings to ship. I’m a sad little otaku girl who thinks too much.
But now I can persevere! Now that I know my reasons, shipping can just be fun again. I can just laugh at all the people who try to argue with me about my choices, because there’s just no way they’ve put as much thought into it as I have.
And instead of trying to knock down other couples, I’ll just enjoy the “aww” moments produced by the pairings I love. Because as much as I over-think my pairings, all of them have one very obvious and simple thing in common…
Awww… (and some tehe~! fangirl giggling too)
I have my other weaknesses, many of them in fact, but the one thing all my pairings have in common is “aww.”
(Let me just apologize if there’s any errors in my writing or if I seem to be rambling. I pretty much wrote this in one sitting. Once I got all of this to make sense I wanted to just clear it out of my head before I got confused and forgot anything. And I like my opinion posts to be completely honest, so I post them without re-reading too much. I’ll reread it a few times after I post it to catch everything.)
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