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Fan Preferred Couple: Anime & Manga
  • For the Keroro Gunsou fanbase, you're more likely to find fanart of Giroro with Natsumi rather than her canon crush, Saburo.
    • Fuyuki/Momoka is rather popular too. The fact that it's the closest the series has to an Official Couple helps this.
  • Urusei Yatsura: Rumiko Takahashi originally planned for Ataru/Shinobu to be the Official Couple and Lum to be only an obstacle to their relationship. However, it soon became clear that everyone had fallen in love with Lum and her one-sided devotion to her "Darling" Ataru, including her own editors - probably because she had unintentionally made Lum too likeable and endearing a Romantic False Lead and fans found the Tsundere tiger-striped bikini-clad alien oni princess to be more appealing in more than one way) than the somewhat less Tsundere Ordinary High-School Student - and she was compelled to turn Ataru/Lum into the official couple instead. Many fans have speculated that this experience was what caused her to not only make Lum's Expy Shampoo far less likeable but also sink several Fan Preferred Couples in her later series Ranma ˝.
  • The most popular Hellsing couples are Alucard/Integra, Alucard/Seras, Pip/Seras and Alucard/Walter (the young or Dark Walter versions).
    • Walter/Girlycard. Sometimes, the fans make Alucard take his girl form (aka Girlycard) in Alucard/Walter stories.
  • Miki/Makoto seems to be for a major part of the (mostly female) The iDOLM@STER fanbase (or at least based on what you see on Comiket and other amateur publication events).
  • A shocking majority of the InuYasha fandom ships Sesshomaru with Rin, while his possible feelings for Kagura are all but ignored. Even more jarring since Rin is canonically a Shipper on Deck for Sess/Kagura, not to mention Sesshomaru's ''adoptive daughter'' in all but name whom he has been taking care off since she was eight years old.
  • Aside from the age and incest hurdle, Sasami from Tenchi Muyo! is big with fans for being the most subdued and overtly normal — or at least sane — girl in the show (in very general terms). In fact, before the Great Crash, this page was called "Sasami Syndrome". Word of God has it that Sasami will marry Tenchi eventually. Because everyone else will, too. Even then, however, many fans feel that Sasami alone - or any of the girls - would be preferable to Status Quo Is God.
    • Kiyone and Tenchi is extremely popular with fans too, for same "overtly normal or at least sane" reason as Sasami without the incest and pedophilia problems. Unfortunately Kiyone appeared only in spinoff media, Tenchi Universe hinted heavily towards Tenchi liking Ryoko, Tenchi in Tokyo ended ambiguously without a Word of God, and, most importantly, Kiyone was the only girl, perhaps in the entire franchise, who showed no romantic interest in Tenchi, which just made fans want it more.
  • Soul and Maka from Soul Eater, though the same can be said for all of the meisters and their weapon partners. Kid/Crona is also very popular, especially on deviantART. Although meister/weapon pairings are very popular, Soul/Maka seems to be the biggest faction, with at least three separate deviantART fangroups.
    • There's also a significant faction of Kid/Maka, Kid/Soul, Maka/Crona, and Stein/Spirit supporters that should not be over-looked.
  • Naruto has been running for over a decade with no Official Couples in sight. Do the Shipper frustration math yourself.
    • Anyone familiar with the conventions of Shōnen would tell you that the obvious candidate for the title character's final love interest is Sakura, the Tsundere object of his comical one-sided affections. Yet for years of the manga's run, most of fandom rooted for Naruto to turn around and notice Shrinking Violet Stalker with a Crush Hinata. Despite a crippling weakness on the front of actual interaction, NaruHina had been popular enough to get plenty of Ship Tease in Filler, a date in a High School AU bonus feature and a canon-defying Relationship Upgrade in a video game adaptation series. Only after over 5 years of running time did the manga apparently start treating it as a serious possibility.
    • Naruto/Sasuke enjoys all sorts of support and homage, especially on fanfiction.net and its ilk, even though it has already been well-established that Naruto is straight and Sasuke is homicidally insane. To be fair, Naruto's disproportionate obsession with "saving" Sasuke does raise an eyebrow or two, and there are plenty of things occurring in the manga that would have made the ship all but canon a long time ago if it weren't for the fact that Shonen Jump would never allow a homosexual couple as endgame. Among the rest of the generic Ho Yay galore, Kakashi/Iruka stands out in popularity, with Genma/Raidou and/or Izumo/Kotetsu as popular Ship Mates.
    • Neji/Hinata is popular back in Japan, presumably due to cousin incest being more accepted there. Some creators involved with the franchise have proven that they're not shy of considering the possibility; they have depicted Neji as lusting after his cousin in the Alternate Universe setting of the tie-in movie Road To Ninja, and have played the idea of laughs as a running gag in the Denser and Wackier spin-off Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth. With Neji's eventual death in the manga, while saving Naruto and Hinata, this seems to have been Jossed once and for all.
    • Shikamaru is so frequently paired up with Temari (by fans in Japan, the West and pretty much anywhere the manga is known) that many assume it is already canon, even though they haven't technically gone on a date (though Naruto incorrectly assumed they had when he saw them walking together just after the Time Skip) and another girl named Shiho has shown strong romantic interest in Shikamaru. The series does hint heavily at something being there- they keep getting Ship Tease half-invisible to the naked eye- and Word of God agrees there is something between them, but seems to suggest it's just not important enough for us to get to see it happen on-panel. Which hasn't stopped fans from anticipating a Relationship Upgrade.
    • Tsunade and Jiraiya before the latter died. The latter's love for the former is canonical but unrequited, both before she met Dan, her canonical boyfriend, and after Dan died.
  • Fans of Da Capo are rather divided about who Jun'ichi should have ended up with, but most think Kotori would have been a much better match for him than Nemu for various reasons, among them not being a Tsundere or his adopted sister. Unfortunately, the sequel reinforced the official pairing by featuring Jun'ichi and Nemu's granddaughters. (An alternate-universe OVA was released in which Kotori wins. Kotori must have been pretty popular.) In the original VN, Nemu has almost an unrecognizable personality if you're only used to her in the anime (she's far less bitchy and far more empathic and likable). She was undoubtedly the favorite of the majority until the anime adaptations.
  • In Ranma ˝:
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Many fans find the more emotionally expressive pop idol Seiya Kou from the Stars season to be a much better match than the more subdued Mamoru because Usagi and Seiya's personalities mesh well together. The fact that Seiya is actually female is not addressed by the series, though the series conveniently keeps Usagi painfully oblivious to Seiya's feelings up until the end of the series. This is also not helped by the manga having Seiya love Usagi from afar (and even forge correspondence from Mamoru since Usagi was still in denial over him dying in front of her) and the anime actually using her as a Replacement Love Interest when Mamoru was Put on a Bus.
    • There are a lot of fans who give in to the lesbian-oriented subtext supposedly in the show, the manga, and the live-action version. The most popular non-canon couples are Minako/Rei, Makoto/Ami and Hotaru/Chibiusa. Of course there are many, many more variations of this, especially when one includes the het possibilities.
  • Many of the fans who watched the Rurouni Kenshin prequel OVA Tsuiokuhen/Trust and Betrayal or read the corresponding Remembrance arc in the manga came to prefer his lost love, Tomoe, over his Second Love, Kaoru, in spite of the teeny-tiny problem of Tomoe being dead by the time Kenshin meets Kaoru.
  • Many Hot Gimmick fans prefer Hatsumi to have ended up with her (adopted) brother Shinogu rather than Ryoki, given Ryoki's treatment of Hatsumi. And in the novel, Hatsumi actually does end up with Shinogu.
  • Many Fushigi Yuugi fans prefer to pair Miaka with Tasuki instead of Tamahome.
    • Suboshi is far more popular a love interest for Yui than Yui's canon boyfriend, Tetsuya.
  • In the Digimon Adventure 02 series:
    • While Ken/Miyako (Ken/Yolei) wound up canon in the finale, there was very little actual development between the two other than Yolei mentioning her having a crush on him. Unsurprisingly, couplings of either with someone else usually have more fan support. Takari (Takeru/Hikari) also ended up as this since it already had a large fandom from when it was a popular Toy Ship in the first season.
    • Not to mention the massive fandom that surrounded Taichi/Sora (Tai/Sora) that did a major WTF when Yamato (Matt) — with almost no prior development — ended up marrying the latter and relegating Taichi to his original relationship role. With that said, the dub pushed the pairing more than the original, but many are still convinced that Taichi/Sora was actually meant to happen. Divorce fics ensue.
      • Not that the writers handled the Tai/Matt/Sora relationship all that well after they got together in the series; discussions often point out how, while Matt and Sora are clearly the parents of one another's children, the epilogue deliberately refrains from saying they got married (leaving the explicit statement of their marriage to All There in the Manual) and keeps them from interacting much at all — in clear contrast to Ken and Yolei. The nitpicky may also bring up how Sora both addresses Tai first and dodges behind him in Diaboromon Strikes Back, when Matt was right there.
    • Digimon is good about those. Rukato (Ruki/Rika and Takato) fans are a large part of the fanbase who think Ruki is a better match for Takato then Canon Love Interest Juri/Jeri. They mostly say that that is because Ruki and Takato have a "Hot-headed girl x cool-headed guy" chemistry, or even Slap-Slap-Kiss.
      • Not that Takato and Ruki (or Ruki and Jian)note  ever got along too badly. And the Ship Tease with Ryo was mostly him hitting on her as part of their rivalry, and stunted by his few sporadic appearences in the latter third of series making it hard for most viewers to get attached to him.
    • "Hot-headed girl x cool-headed guy" probably best fits Ruki and Jian, as that pairing was wildly popular in the Japanese fan community. In canon, Ruki got a lot of Ship Tease with Ryo, but you'll find more fanwork to Ruki and Jian ("Leeruki" as the Japanese fans called it) than for Ruki and Ryo.
    • Koushiro/Izzy and Mimi is quite popular among the Japanese fandom (it's somewhat popular in the West, too, but not as preferred as Yamato/Mimi). Must have something to do with Opposites Attract.
    • Furthermore, in Digimon Frontier, Takuya and Izumi were Implied Love Interests to each other and Junpei had quite an obvious crush on the latter, but the fan community (especially the Japanese) lean more towards Takuya/Kouji, Kouji/Izumi, or Kouichi/Izumi.
    • In Digimon Xros Wars, Zenjirou has a crush on Nene, and despite teasings for Taiki/Akari and Kiriha/Nene in Hunters, Kiriha/Taiki and Taiki/Nene are much more popular.
  • There's the popular pairing of Ruri/Akito in Martian Successor Nadesico. This is also kind of aided by the fact that their seiyuu, Omi Minami and Yuji Ueda, are married in real life.
  • Strawberry Panic! fans will often hate Amane for two things: taking away their beloved Hikari/Yaya Coupling and being a Bifauxnen. It doesn't help that many viewers, and several reviewers, who weren't even in a Shipping mindset, found the Hikari/Amane romance subplot to be bland and forgettable.
  • The most popular pairing in Slayers fandom used to be Lina/Zelgadis, given that both are level-headed and intelligent (despite the fact that Zelgadis cannot stand Lina at times), as opposed to the canon Lina/Gourry. Nowadays, it has a rather small following. This might have something to do with Amelia becoming less hated over the years, partly due to character development. Other official works have noted this - the Light Novel series artist now draws Zelgadis and Amelia together, and several manga adaptations, namely the manga version of the fifth anime season, has a massive Ship Tease in regards to them.
  • The amount of Domon/Allenby shipping in G Gundam is rather amazing considering that this show came before the series that allegedly attracted all the stereotypical shippers to the franchise. Proof that Love Triangles can survive and thrive even in a fairly straightforward shounen kung-fu-with-giant-robots show. The fact that Allenby herself is a Shipper on Deck for Domon/Rain, and the one who convinces Domon to tell Rain how he feels, doesn't seem to have gotten in the way.
    • The manga adaptation played up Allenby and Domon's teasing; the artist made it clear in an interview that he preferred Allenby to Rain.
  • Many Mai-HiME fans are convinced that the dark and suave student-council vice-president Reito Kanzaki makes a much better match for Mai than male main character Yuuichi Tate, since Reito openly acknowledges his crush on her early on while Yuuichi tends to skirt the issue. Others believe that Mikoto Minagi would be a better pairing option for her (hard not to see, since the two of them are attached at the hip throughout most of the series). Keep in mind that Reito and Mikoto are brother and sister, but that's needlessly complicating things.
    • Natsuki/Shizuru is also overwhelmingly popular. There are more Natsuki/Shizuru fanfics in the Mai-Hime section of fanfiction.net than there are all other stories combined. They are a couple in Mai-Otome, but that's a different continuity.
  • CLANNAD was extremely obvious about pairing Tomoya and Nagisa. Didn't stop many, many people from wanting to pair Tomoya with Kotomi or Tomoyo.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo/Rukia is very popular among many fans, although Word of God has stated that the two are "more than friends, but less than lovers." It doesn't help that the anime added in a lot of filler Ship Tease between the two that was not present in the original manga.
    • Ulquiorra/Orihime, big time. This was specially jump-started in the infamous "slap scene" (where Orihime snaps on Ulquiorra after he insults her friends), and then it went on LOTS of Foe Yay/Mind Game Ship-like Ship Tease. Needless to say, their final scene pretty much cemented them in that position.
    • Uryu/Orihime was especially popular during the Soul Society arc, as the two teamed up and worked together for the majority of the arc. It didn't help that this was the point Orihime's character transitioned from The Ditz into being far more serious and empathic; this resulted in her showing a deep care and concern for her good friend Uryu (especially when he ended up facing Mayuri) that several interpreted as a product of deeper feelings (though later on it was revealed to simply be Orihime's nurturing personality). Needless to say, poor Orihime's silent confession to Ichigo was considered a Face-Heel Turn for some shippers, who assumed that they'd be paired off and/or that Orihime owed Ishida romance.
    • Other popular pairings include Hitsugaya/Hinamori (despite this being a confirmed Like Brother and Sister relationship), Hisagi/Rangiku, Gin/Rangiku, and/or Urahara/Yoruichi (the latter are childhood friends who clearly are/were very close, but no indication is given one way or the other as to whether romance is involved). Slash fans have their share of preferred ships as well, such as Ichigo/Renji, Ichigo/Uryuu, Ichigo/Grimmjow, or Ulquiorra/Grimmjow. The most prominent yaoi ships are Ikkaku/Yumichika and Kyoraku/Ukitake. Neither pairing exists in the manga, but the Ikkaku/Yumichika pairing in particular is given almost as much filler Ship Tease by the anime as they give IchiRuki. Almost all yuri fans support Yoruichi/Sui-Feng.
    • A certain reveal in the final arc caused Zaraki/Unohana of all things to explode.
  • A lot of Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny fans still scoff at the official pairings and think Kira/Flay, Athrun/Cagalli and Shinn/Stellar are a lot better. In Shinn and Kira's cases, it appears to be a 50/50 even split.
    • The case of Athrun/Cagalli was certainly a peculiar one, as they were a canon pairing in the first series and the beginning of Destiny, but through a series of strange events (both in the series and in RL), they ended up dropping out. Even so, fan demand was apparently so much (especially when the pairing wasn't reestablished in the revamped Destiny finale) that Mitsuo Fukuda, the director for both series, ended up putting together a few Athrun/Cagalli themed AMVs in response.
  • Gundam Wing: The show's writers intended Heero/Relena (especially in the sidestories like Blind Target and Battlefield of Pacifists), but the Yaoi Fangirls completely and utterly despise her and pair him with Duo 99 times out of 100. Making this especially odd is the fact that Duo does his best to get Heero and Relena to admit their feelings for one another.
  • Many fans of The Big O prefer lead character Roger Smith to be with Dorothy Waynewright over Angel.
  • In Code Geass: post-series, the creators did their best to dismiss the Lelouch/C.C. ship. Fans of Lulu/CC persist because the pair, a Chessmaster Byronic Hero and a Mysterious Waif Broken Bird, complemented each other very well - so well that a vast majority of the show's art, both fan- and official, puts Lelouch with C.C. rather than Kallen or Shirley.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew combines this with Americans Hate Tingle. In Japan, Ichigo/Masaya is the most popular pairing. However, it's a different case in America, where a rather vocal amount of fans wanted Ichigo to get together with either the Jerk with a Heart of Gold Ryou or the Stalker with a Crush Kisshu/Quiche in the end.
  • Roy/Riza ("Royai") of Fullmetal Alchemist seems to be of the "set it up as fan-preferred for extra credit when it becomes official" variety, with many other characters acknowledging it. But the true Fan Preferred Couple of the series is Roy/Ed, which is unsurprisingly popular with slash fans (especially among fans of the first anime, where there was far less Royai build-up), even with Ed being in an Official Couple with Winry by the end of the manga/Brotherhood.
    • Overall, the whole issue of shipping is one of the big divides between fans of the original anime and those of the manga/Brotherhood; fans of the latter overwhelmingly prefer the various Official Couples, whereas the former focused less on romance and had a more ambiguous ending, leaving fans to draw their own conclusions. (For example, part of the reason that Roy/Ed was so fan-preferred is that the first anime's Het shippers were fiercely divided over whether Ed belonged with Winry or Rose, a much more important character in the 2003 anime continuity.) However, overall, Roy/Ed remains the most popular ship when one crunches the numbers on fanfiction and fanart sites, especially in the Japanese fanbase.
    • Elricest (Alphonse and Edward) is far, far more popular with 2003 fans than in the manga-verse. The ending to the series, with them being on the other side of the Gate away from their friends and in turn from love interests, only helped.
    • Though shipping Edward with Winry was exceedingly popular for 2003 fans it's also very common to pair her with Sheska. The same reasons above only made people ship it more, even some Edwins fans.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, it's safe to say that the majority of fans ship Tsuna with pretty much any male in the series, and tend to dislike him being paired with any of the more canon female love interests. And even when there are shippers that put him in a hetero relationship, it never seems to be with his most official love interest, Kyoko, who's viewed by many as a Satellite Love Interest.
    • Sidekicks Yamamoto and Gokudera are arguably the most popular ship among American fans. Dino/Hibari and Mukuro/Hibari fans are also abundant.
  • A lot of people who have read the Haruhi Suzumiya novels are of the opinion that Kyon/Yuki is the perfect couple. This can be attributed to the 4th novel, Disappearance, which focuses majorly on Yuki and Kyon, as well as the fact that Haruhi tends to go Out of Focus, while Yuki becomes more focused on, all combined with an utter lack of any major Haruhi/Kyon hints. The fact that the author himself has said Yuki is his favourite character may also help. It may also help that Yuki is beloved by an enormous portion of the fandom, individuals at worst not expressing any interest in her, while Haruhi, though popular as well, has acquired a significant force of haters due to the more abrasive and violent portions of her personality.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has quite a number of them, thanks to the Loads and Loads of Characters and large amounts of Ship Tease in the series. Of these, America/England, Germany/Italy, Spain/Romano, Sweden/Finland, Russia/China, and France/England are some of the most popular.
  • Most Lucky Star fans prefer to ship Konata and Kagami, and there have been some slight Ship Teases, mainly on Kagami's part.
  • There have been some similar Les Yay debates over Azumanga Daioh, mainly involving Shrinking Violet Sakaki. The most popular Fanfic pairings for her seems to be with Kagura. Chiyo/Osaka seems to be another favored pairing in the fandom.
    • The Tomo/Yomi pairing is outright considered Fanon.
      • As is Yukari/Nyamo, with many assuming the once mentioned "Love Letter" was to Yukari from Nyamo.
  • The Higurashi no Naku Koro ni fandom is split on who Keiichi should be with, with all of the girls claiming a share of fans (Rena and Mion being the most popular). Rika/Satoko is far more popular than Rika/Hanyuu or Satoko/Hanyuu.
  • From Ashita no Nadja, at least half of the fanbase will tell you that Kennosuke is that much of a more fitting match for Nadja. It helps that Nadja's Love Triangle-y canon interest on Francis/Keith (Black Rose) is mostly based on a "he saved me, therefore I love him" reaction, while her friendship with Kennosuke was actually developed and detailed.
  • Although by far one of the most popular couples in D.Gray-Man, the mind-numbingly obvious pairing of Allen and Lenalee has accumulated a fair amount of haters. Most of the remaining in the fandom are proud Yullen (Kanda/Allen) fans because of a "hate/love" appeal.
  • Quite a few Genshiken fans would love to see Madarame and Saki at least try to get together. Sure, Madarame seems to have a disadvantage compared to Kousaka in the looks department, but he and Saki seem to be a much better match when it comes to temperament. They also like to tease each other a bit too much for comfort.
  • Ouran High School Host Club, being a Reverse Harem series, has a lot of this. Although the canon pairing (in the manga, at least) is Tamaki/Haruhi, many fans pair Haruhi with Hikaru (who also has romantic feelings for her, although they're one-sided). The anime kept all possible pairings open by ending with Haruhi not romantically involved with anyone, which was probably a smart move on their part.
    • Hikaru/Kaoru is the most popular pairing on fanfiction.net, despite it being the least likely of all the pairings to become canon.
    • From the same website, Haruhi/Kyouya is apparently more popular than Haruhi/Hikaru.
  • A Certain Magical Index gets a lot of this as well. While no Official Couple is present, most fans want Touma and Mikoto to hook up. Mikoto/Kuroko is also quite popular among the Yuri Fans.
    • Kanzaki Kaori is also a more popular pairing with the main character (Touma) than the titular character.
  • Fans of Cowboy Bebop can't agree on who Spike should be with, but they do seem to agree that it's not his canon love interest, Julia. It helps that Word of God has confirmed Spike and Faye had a thing for each other, but Spike's obsession with his past prevented him from doing anything about it.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! began with the daunting task of giving the male lead an entire classroom of love interests, a whopping thirty-one girls, with more added as time went on. Eventually six women emerged as having the best chances of hooking up with Negi, and fandom was pretty evenly split among them. Then the series ended. Badly. Very, very badly. And ambiguously, with a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue that covered everyone's lives except on this one issue; it did rule out six characters, but none of them were the main six. The final chapter ended with Negi saying he might like someone, but he's ten-years-old, it's not really a sign of a final commitment.
  • The Pokémon anime has a few, despite the No Hugging, No Kissing.
    • Each of Ash's female companionsnote  have had their share of Ship Tease moments, and, thus, their share of supporters for his hand, mainly correlating to either when the fan first entered or which season was a fan's favorite. As of the end of Best Wishes, however, Misty had stood the test of time; though she was aided by external support during her tenurenote , other pairingsnote , and, in Iris' case, characterization issues[[/note]].
      • Gary (Bleeping!) Oak is still the popular Gay Option for Ash, even after several potential challenges.
      • With Pokémon/Human fans it's either Latias or Pikachu.
    • As indicated above, the pairings involving Ash are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are Loads and Loads of Characters, leading to loads and loads of ships.
      • Jessie and James.
      • Ash's Mom (Delia)/Professor Oak had a strong following for a while, partly due to Oak acting as Ash's father figure most of the series, and partly due to their offscreen (and several onscreen) locations being in close proximity.
      • May and Drew, which qualifies due to their resolution being an apt Maybe Ever After.
      • Dawn and Zoey were notable for several Les Yay moments early on in Sinnoh.
      • Despite the pairing being painfully one-sided,note  Pikachu/Buneary has tons of followers.
    • Some pairings sound just downright impossible but still manage to be popular.
      • Though Dawn and Paul hate each other and don't share any Ship Tease moment together, somehow, this pairing has a lot of followers.note 
      • Despite the fact that she doesn't exist in the anime canon, the amount of Gary/Leaf fanfictions is staggering, most of the time being featured as a Ship Mate with the aforementioned Ash/Misty, Drew/May, and Paul/Dawn.
      • And there's a surprising amount Oshawott/Snivy fanfictions that exaggerate Emolga's Jerk Ass attitude. No, really.
  • In the Pokémon Special manga it tends to be Red and Yellow. Some go for Red and Bluenote . Bluenote /Silver, Gold/Crystal, and Ruby/Sapphire teeter on the edge of canon, but can still be called this. With any other manga? Most fans don't know of any other manga. A slight example is Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure, where Jun and Mitsumi seems popular. Cynthia and Mitsumi have a small following as well.
    • Contrary to the games, Black/White is a much more popular ship amongst Pokémon Special fans then N/White, whose game counterparts are the components of one of the most popular game ships in existence. Ironically, the one thing that had Special fans dropping the N/White like hot potatoes was the one thing that made their game counterparts so popular. Can you say, Ferris Wheel?
  • In a series like Durarara!! with loads and loads of characters and many possible pairings, guess which pairing is the most popular? That's right, it's Shizuo/Izaya. Despite Narita claiming that the two will never end up together, he deliberately ships the two together. Check the Ship Tease page for all the examples.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is infamous for its Ship Tease — sometimes metric tons of it — for couples that are not official at all. And that means basically all potential pairings, since there's exactly one Official Couple in canon to date... an off-screen hookup between a member of the supporting cast and a glorified extra. The fans have responded with Fan Preferred Pairings for most of the main cast, particularly Nanoha/Fate, Suzuka/Arisa, Hayate/Vita, Subaru/Teana, Caro/Erio/Lutecia, and Vivio/Einheart. (That is, not counting the harem theory.)
  • The only official couples in Nabari No Ou are Thobari/Hanabusa and Kouichi/Raimei. However, thanks to the sheer amount of Ship Tease Yoite/Miharu and Raikou/Gau get, fans overwhelmingly prefer to Squee over those pairings instead.
  • Many fans of High School Of The Dead think that Saeko is a far better match for Takashi than Rei. This is probably due to several reasons, including Saeko not being a Clingy Jealous Girl like Rei. There's also the fact that Rei toyed with him on purpose, knowing full well what his feelings were.
    • Of course, in a post apocalyptic world where the only people you know but aren't undead yet are gendered over 2:1 in favour of women, there's not exactly much in the way of alternatives.
    • Saya and Hirano have a respectable fanbase as well.
  • One Piece has a few, despite No Hugging, No Kissing being heavily hinted at as the author's intent. The fandom heavily prefers pairing Luffy with Nami, citing a unique relationship between the two as evidence, as well as the fact that author Oda's wife apparently cosplays as her. On the Yaoi side, Luffy is often paired with Zoro, or Zoro with Sanji. Other fan-favored pairings include the sorta-obvious Usopp and Kaya, as well as Zoro and Robin.
    • A more extensive list includes:
      • Franky/Robin (due to them having been described as the "dad" and "mom" of the Straw Hat crew, numerous scenes of Character Development they share; especially their recent Punk Hazard moments, and both being strongly connected to the Myth Arc.)
      • Sanji/Nami or Sanji/Robin (his constant canonical swooning over both of them plays a role)
      • Zoro/Nami (due to their Vitriolic Best Buds nature; fan artwork has even been dedicated to this one)
      • Zoro/Sanji (The whole rivalry between the two strongest and the fact that Filler has the two almost kissing...twice)
      • Chopper/Robin (largely because of a filler episode post-Alabasta that centered on his initial interaction with her, despite the implied bestiality)
      • Nami/Kalifa (because of how the anime portrayed their fight at Enies Lobby)
      • Luffy/Ace (due to their canonical closeness)
      • Crocodile/Robin (assuming the fanfics where this happens take place before her Heel-Face Turn)
      • Ace/Smoker (despite their very brief clash in Alabasta)
      • Zoro/Tashigi (because of her resemblance to Kuina, Zoro's childhood friend)
      • Luffy/Hancock (Hopeless Suitor going after the Chaste Hero)
      • Usopp/Perona (For those those two being way too alike, and the fact Usopp has been the only man to tame her bossy personality)
      • Usopp/Kaya (Childhood Friends)
      • Smoker/Tashigi or, to a lesser extent, Smoker/Hina (canonically he has a good working relationship with both of them, and Hina has a good understanding of Smoker's personality from their days at the Marine academy)
    • ...yeah, the possibilities are endless.
  • Some fans of Tears to Tiara like to pair Arthur and Octavia together, since they're both noble warriors and swordsmen with Sad Pasts that involve their dead loved ones. And of course the fans were excited when they saw episode 10.
  • The favorite pairing among fans (And the creator, believe it or not) of Infinite Stratos seems to be Ichika and Charlotte Dunios. It seems to help that Char is the only non Tsundere member of the harem.
    • Due to how incredibly Adorkable Laura is after her defrosting, many fans add her into the Ichika/Char pairing as an OT 3.
  • Future Trunks and Android 18 is a very popular couple in the Dragon Ball 's fandom, moreso than the Official Couple of Krillin and 18. Bear in mind that Android 18's counterpart from Trunks' Bad Future killed his entire family. Which might be part of the appeal.
  • Rein and Eclipse from Fushigiboshino Futago Hime were more popular (in fact, the most popular pairing) in Japan than the Official Couple Fine and Eclipse, at least, before the second installment began. Even Mayuki Anan, the artist of the manga adaptation, seemed to prefer them, as Rein and Eclipse got more Ship Tease than any other pairing.
  • L/Light and Mello/Matt are the most popular ships in the Death Note fandom.
    • While the slash fans dominate the fandom, L/Misa fans contribute their share of fan art as well.
  • From Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yugi/Yami Yugi, Jounouchi/Kaiba, and just about every combination of Bakura, Marik, Dark Bakura and/or Dark Marik. On the hetero side, Yami Yugi/Dark Magician Girl (or Atem/Mana), Shizuka/Kaiba, Isis/Kaiba, Mai/Yugi, and among others.
    • Puppyshipping (Jounouchi/Kaiba) is probably the biggest pairing in the whole fandom, despite the fact that the two are neither even remotely friendly nor actual rivals, treating each other with a fairly dismissive hatred. It mostly comes from that one time with the dog suit (which wasn't even in the manga).
  • From Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Juudai/Asuka (Jaden/Alexis in America) or Juudai/Johan (Jaden/Jesse)note . As for what the Official Couple is... let's just say Juudai goes both ways... sort of.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds has the unusual case of Jack and Carly, where the pairing was an Official Couple... until Carly got Laser-Guided Amnesia and more or less demoted to a member of Jack's harem (which he decides to dismiss at the end of the series). The number of fics of the two quickly hooking back up is staggering.
    • Ushio/Mikage is another one. For a brief while, it seemed like Ushio had an unreciprocated crush on Mikage, but this fizzled out when Mikage also became part of the Jack harem. The two of them have become an incredibly popular Beta Couple in Jack/Carly fics.
    • Yusei is a Launcher of a Thousand Ships, so picking a definite Preferred Couple is tricky, but the three biggest ones are Yusei/Aki (probably the closest to an Official Couple, but as of the Distant Finale it doesn't seem to have gone anywhere), Yusei/Jack (the obligatory hero/rival ship), and... Yusei/Bruno. The shippers picked up hard on the fact that Yusei seems to prefer him to Aki, and he regularly ends up Back from the Dead and redeemed in fics to pick up where he left off.
  • Shizuku and Natsuru in Kämpfer are essentially this in the eyes of the fans, who love seeing Shizuku trolling the hell out of Natsuru. The official according to the Light Novel is Natsuru and Akane, while the anime opted for the "everyone wins" route.
  • Within the Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl fandom it's extremely rare to see someone who ships Hazumu and Yasuna. This is despite, or maybe because, she was the girl Hazumu was going after for most of the series. The shipping was so noticeable that an anime OVA came out that killed the Hazumu/Yasuna ship with a flimsy excuse, to get Hazumu and Tomari together. It has a mild excuse in the anime, where the ending before the OVA does have aspects of Ass Pull.
    • It's also worth noting that the manga did have Hazumu end up with Tomari at the end. The anime came out before the manga ended, though, so it's possible that the manga's ending was influenced to some extent by the popularity of Hazumu/Tomari.
  • Tohru/Natsuno and Tatsumi/Ozaki are shipped the most in Shiki, especially Tohru/Natsuno.
  • In Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle Kurogane and Fai are the biggest non canon pairing due to the massive amounts of Ho Yay between them, and the fact that neither of them have any love interests. Some fans are desperately looking for Kurogane/Tomoyo hints though, which makes everyone else laugh sardonically because...well, everyone who is familiar with the Tomoyo of Cardcaptor Sakura knows why. Word of God has (admittedly rather begrudgingly) moved them up to a more official status.
    • Tsubasa's Sister series xxxHOLiC has the similar dynamic duo of Doumeki and Watanuki as the, without a doubt, most popular pairing in the fandom. It is very rare to find anyone who ships Watanuki with anyone other than Doumeki, despite the fact Watanuki 1) never fully gets over his unreasonable distaste for Doumeki, 2) has a massive crush on his classmate Himawari and 3) by the end, has at least three other potential love interests.
  • WORKING!! has Souta/Poplar, as they seem to actually treat each other nicely, as opposed to Souta's almost-Official Couple Inami, whom he has what can only be called Belligerent Sexual Tension gone wrong.
  • Fruits Basket is a shipping goldmine! While many support the canical Kyo/Tohru, Yuki/Tohru and Kyo/Kagura complete the love triangle with a large fan base. On the yaoi side, Yuki/Kyo and Yuki/Hatsuharu are pretty popular too.
  • Vampire Knight has Zero/Yuuki. Many fans also support the relationship between minor characters Senri and Rima.
  • To be a Black Butler fan and not ship Sebastian/Ciel is to be insane or be slowly driven there by the raving Yaoi Fan Girls, even though Word of God has sunk it many times already.
  • Fairy Tail has its fair share. A good majority of the fandom ships Natsu/Lucy. Jellal/Erza and Gray/Juvia is also abundantly supported, helped in fact by the continuous Ship Tease for the former and the adorable interactions for the latter. Beta Couple Gajeel/Levy is also unanimously supported by the fandom. Cobra and CubeliousKinana are also very popular. Evergreen and Elfman are basically canon now, to everyone's amusement but their own.
  • In the Hayate the Combat Butler fandom the majority of fans seem to be divided between Hayate/Hinagiku and Hayate/Athena. While Hinagiku continues to completely overshadow the entire cast in terms of popularity, Athena is a firm second and discussions on the forums can be split pretty evenly. Notably neither of the girls is one of the main heroines, those being Nagi and Maria who have more supporters than the other 'auxiliary' pairings but not nearly enough to compete for fan-favor.
    • Wataru/Saki is also incredibly popular among the fandom despite Wataru being interested in Isumi and Sonia having an obvious interest in him. Recently in the manga it seems that the Wataru/Saki shippers might have won after all, as Wataru confessed to Isumi that he loved her and has since dropped out of Hakuou to focus on his business with Saki.
  • YuYu Hakusho: While Yusuke/Keiko is the Official Couple of the series, there are also fans of Kurama/Botan, Kurama/Hiei (Googling this one gives you plenty of NSFW imagery), Yusuke/Botan, Yusuke/Hiei, Koenma/Botan, Sakyo/Shizuru, and Kuwabara/Yukina. The last one might be canon in the manga, though it's left ambiguous.
  • Tower of Druaga: Even most Kaaya fans preferred Jil and Fatina as a couple. Could have something to do with how poorly written Jil X Kaaya is.
  • Card Captor Sakura has Eriol/Tomoyo, even though Eriol/Kaho is canon, and Tomoyo is in love with Sakura. But many fans will pair them because of their similar personality traits and that they find Eriol dating Kaho to be "creepy" because of their apparent age-difference (Word of God has stated though that Eriol is Fujitaka's age, technically making him older than Kaho and way older than Tomoyo).
  • Many fans of Midori no Hibi seem to prefer Ayase/Seiji more than the official couple.
  • K-On! has Ritsu/Mio, and also Yui/Azusa, even though recent chapters of the manga seem to be Ship Teasing Yui/Akira and Ui/Azusa. And then there's Sawako/Mugi. The Fan Preferred Couple among the background characters is Akane/Eri.
  • In the Binbō-gami ga! fandom, the Pixiv fanartists are very much in favor of Ichiko and Momiji.
  • Hana No Kishi has Ibara/Ran and Rei/Sei. They both end up becoming the Official Couples.
  • It's obvious from the first episode of Ai Yori Aoshi that Kaoru and Aoi will wind up together. (Some would say painfully obvious, in that it kills a lot of potential tension.) Even so, how can one help but feel bad for Tina?
  • Tsukushi was originally supposed to end up with Rui in Hana Yori Dango but Tsukasa/Tsukushi became so popular with fans it became the Official Couple, which is ironic because after the manga finished, Rui/Tsukushi became the Fan-Preferred Couple because a lot of people thought Tsukasa became an incredible jerkass at times who kept upsetting Tsukushi while Rui gradually became a much more friendly and warm young man who was always there for Tsukushi.
  • Zombie Loan has Chika/Michiru.
  • Sugata/Takuto in Star Driver. Even amongst the actual characters. Takuto/Mizuno is also liked in some circles.
  • If fan art is anything to go by, the Narutaru fanbase seems to prefer Tsurumaru with Norio and Shiina with Akira.
  • Kagura/Yomi has gained prominence amongst fans of Ga-Rei, especially those who had watched the prequel.
  • Meiko and Satoshi are this in Marmalade Boy. Many fans were visibly irked by Namura's re-entry into Meiko's life, and the abrupt abortion of what seemed a slow-but-steady romantic buildup between her and Satoshi. Many post-series fics have been written with Namura either dying in a fire or turning out to be an abusive husband, leaving the door open for Satoshi to play Knight in Shining Armor.
  • The majority of Black Cat fans ships Train/Eve.
  • Kensuke/Misao is this in Black Bird.
  • Many fans Ichigo 100% wish that Junpei picked either Aya or Satsuki over the actual winner, Tsukasa.
  • Though they're only hinted in Eyeshield 21, Sena/Suzuna and Hiruma/Mamori do have their own followings.
  • Dennou Coil: A large portion of the fanbase, particularly on Pixiv, seem to be supportive of Yasako and Isako, leaving Haraken to die for their favorite couple.
  • Orange and Apple in Le Gardenie.
  • Takatsuki/Chiba is the most popular pairing in Wandering Son, though Takatsuki/Nitori is quite popular too; Doi/Nitori is gaining popularity.
  • Bakuman。 fans like Aoki with either Takagi or especially Shinda Fukuda. In the end, Takagi ends up married to Miyoshi, while Aoki is in a relationship with Hiramaru, and is ultimately engaged to him.
  • Ghost Hunt has Naru/Mai and Monk/Ayako. Some fans also seem to like Masako and John together; an odd pairing given that the former only has eyes for Naru in canon and the latter is a Catholic Priest.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • Seiya/Shaina has quite more fans than Seiya/Saori. Also, Aioria/Marin.
    • On the Yaoi side of things, there is Hyoga/Shun (who have Ship Tease with each other and, in the case of Hyoga, at least two girls) and Camus/Milo as two of the most popular couples.
  • Zatch Bell! has Kiyo/Suzy.
  • Due to the nature of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, fans tend to prefer the JoJos with their Heterosexual Life Partners or Rivals instead of their canon love interests (if they even have one). The top picks seem to be Joseph/Caesar, Jotaro/Kakyoin, Josuke/Rohan, Giorno/Mista, and Johnny/Gyro.
  • Rosario + Vampire:
    • Mizore/Kurumu ever since their on screen kiss. Tsukune/Inner Moka is also the most popular pairing of the Harem.
  • Some Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi fans would prefer Chiaki with Yanase than Hatori. This has to do with Hatori brutally raping Chiaki and episode 16 that pulled everyone's heartstrings.
  • Medaka Box has Zenkichi/Emukae. Medaka/Kumagawa definitely seem to be fairly popular as well, compared to the canonical affection Zenkichi has for Medaka which seems to be reciprocated as of Chapter 140.
  • Gintama has so far no Official Couples, and the chances of there being any are slim, but this has not daunted the shippers in any way. Okita/Kagura, due to the Foe Yay and Belligerent Sexual Tension between them, are ardently shipped together. A close second would be Gintoki/Tsukuyo, especially after the Ship Teasy Red Spider arc. Yaoi couples such as Gintoki/Hijikata and Hijikata/Okita are also hugely popular due to a large part of the fanbase consisting of Yaoi Fangirls.
  • Despite the fact that they're half-siblings, Serpico/Farnese is still a popular pairing within the Berserk fandom. Even though she's arranged to marry Roderick, there's not much approval for that pairing in the Berserk fandom. Despite a strong Guts / Schierke contingent and Guts' status as the Fandom Bicycle, the Official Couple of Guts / Casca is still Fan Preferred due to their mutual Woobiehood and the tragic, doomed nature of it all.
  • Pretty Cure has quite a few (it is a yuri-implied series, after all)
  • While the official pairing in Guilty Crown is quite obviously Shu and Inori, many fans actually consider Ayase or Hare as better romantic partners.
  • In the Nightwalker fandom, there are those who would ship Shido with either Yayoi or Cain.
  • Popular Hyouka fan pairings include Oreki/Irisu, Oreki/Mayaka, and Eru/Irisu.
  • Many Ayashi no Ceres fans consider Yuuhi to be a better match for Aya than Tooya, though she actually does sort of end up with him. Not on-screen, but considering Tooya is dying already...
  • Episode 13 of Dog Days gives Cinque/Millhi as the Official Couple, but there's a lot of fanart out there for Cinque/Eclair.
  • There is little to no romance in Yotsuba&! but Koiwai/Fuuka is easily the fan favorite. Rule 34 is generally frown upon when it comes to this series but they obviously exist, and probably 90% of them are on these two. It helps that any ship tease that exist in the manga at all are between these two.
  • While the canon Keith/Allura pairing has a LOT of fans, an almost equal number of Voltron fans like to pair Allura with Lotor, in part because of Lotor's Draco in Leather Pants vibes, and in part of scrub off some of the Purity Sue aspects of Allura. It should also be noted that a small but vocal minority would prefer Lance be with Allura.
  • A strong portion of the (Japanese) Seiyuu Ka fanbase ships Haruka/Hime while lesser portions ship Senri/Hime and Mizuki/Hime.
  • Among all of Aki's possible love interests in Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, Hideyoshi is the only one that has yet to physically assault him. And as of the later light novels, the feeling is apparently mutual.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Viral/Adiane seems to be popular.
  • If the forums of various sites are to be believed, then Akira/Rion is by far the most popular pairing in Cage of Eden, and for good reason, due to their willingness to protect and take care of each other, no matter what happens. Akira/Mami seems to be gaining popularity quickly, though.
  • It seems that a lot of Aquarion Evol fans, at least in the U.S., preferred Amata to be with Zessica and Mikono to be with Kagura.
  • In The Cat Returns, Haru/Baron is one of the most impossible couples to actually get together (except through very powerful magic, more so than the Cat Kingdom's cat turning abilities), with Baron being a foot-high, half cat living statue and Haru being a fully human, normal height school girl. Doesn't stop the fans from shipping them.
  • Nanashi/Dorothy is largely supported in the MÄR fandom due to their Belligerent Sexual Tension that they have.
    • Jack/Snow is surprisingly more popular than Jack/Pano (if only because of the Ghost Chess arc) on forum discussions.
    • On the Ho Yay/Foe Yay side, you have Ginta/Alviss, Phantom/Alviss and Rolan/Alviss with the first two being nearly tied.
      • Basically, disregarding O Cs and self-inserts, the most popular ships seem to be Ginta X Alviss, Ginta X Phantom, Alviss X Phantom, or some combination thereof, though some might argue the Yaoi fans are an extremely vocal minority. As far as heterosexual pairings go, Ginta is almost exclusively shipped with Snow, and Dorothy is near-universally paired with Nanashi. Jack is either left alone or paired with Pano, or rare cases with Snow. Alviss is... Unsurprisingly almost never paired heterosexually, but in the rare instance he is, it's usually Belle.
  • As Fleur got more Character Development, and Naru became The Scrappy, fans of Eureka Seven AO started migrating more toward a Fleur/Ao pairing.
  • Surprisingly, even with all those ship tease between Ako and Shou, the most popular ship of Thriller Restaurant is Anko/the Garçon. It must has something to do with the ED and the implication that they really have met before.
  • Most Tiger & Bunny fanart and fanfiction you'll find will be about Kotetsu and Barnaby.
    • Now to the point where Word of God has made it semi-canon; apparently, if the viewer interprets their relationship as a romantic one, then that's what it is and they're free to ship it.
  • In terms of the Sibling Triangle in Kuragehime, fans like to ship Tsukimi with Kuranosuke for various reasons; the main one being that he likes her for the jellyfish otaku she is as opposed to Shu, who can't even tell that "Before" and "After" Tsukimi are the same person.
    • More preference has slowly shifted toward Shu now, though. At least for fans who read the manga. Since only in the manga did Shu discover that "Before" and "After" Tsukimi are the same person. His conclusion? He doesn't care, still loves her, and is willing to even go along with her Jellyfish obsession.
  • While Ken and Jun officially got together at the end of the third series of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman -Gatchaman Fighter-, there is part of the fanbase that prefers that Jun be with Joe instead, feeling that Joe is more interesting of a love interest and pointing to various moments in Gatchaman II where the two seemed closer than Ken and Jun had. This extends to the only (at time) English adaptation of the same sequel, where the dub writers seemed to be pushing Joe and "Kelly" more as a possible couple.
  • Just a little over the first year of its serialization, fans of Shokugeki No Soma have already been pairing off Akira Hayama/Jun Shiomi; the fact it can spark a Teacher/Student Romance fuels the preference further. Meanwhile, there's also Koujirou Shinomiya/Hinako Inui, with many readers claiming the Volleying Insults between as a sign of Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Attack on Titan has several examples.
    • Krista and Ymir managed to transcend into Official Couple status, thanks to Word of Dante.
    • Connie and Sasha are Birds of a Feather, and seeing them paired with anyone else is incredibly rare.
    • Eren/Levi enjoys quite a bit of popularity, and clashes with fans of Levi/Erwin quite often.
    • Reiner/Bertolt is another extremely popular pairing. Even Reiner being a Shipper on Deck for Bertolt and Annie hasn't killed the popularity of this pairing.
  • Kagerou Project Has Shintarou/Ayano, Haruka/Takane, Seto/Mary, And Kano/Kido. It helps that the author often writes these as duos with gracious amounts of ship tease.
  • With the exception of the rare Sakurako/Akari ship, the Yuru-Yuri fandom does not ship Sakurako or Himawari with anyone but each other.
  • For Strike Witches fans as of late, it's been Perrine and Lucchini. Many of their interactions are rather amusing in terms that they're complete polar opposites,with Lucchini almost always teasing her, especially episode 10 of the second season, where they share tons of Ship Tease moments, including Lucchini hugging Perrine as she's scared, then later throwing a sword to Perrine to defeat a golem, which got fans curious on how well they work together.
  • In Date A Live, while Tohka is the lead girl, fans would prefer shipping Shido with Kurumi since they snark so well with each other.
  • Though nothing in the Puella Magi Madoka Magica fandom beats the Official Couple double-bill of Madoka/Homura and Kyouko/Sayaka, Kyouko/Mami comes the closest, and more or less outstrips fans of Mami's usual mate in merchandise, Nagisa. Part of it's that Kyouko/Mami is more entrenched and Mami/Nagisa is comparatively young, part of it's that Nagisa, being the Token Loli, produces some fairly self-explanatory squeamishness when paired with resident Ms. Fanservice, part of it's that Mami's relationship with Nagisa doesn't seem as romantic as with Kyouko... either way, it's the only case where a pairing endorsed by a spinoff beats a pairing endorsed by a feature film.

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