This adds a very interesting piece of subtext to a skit in Tales of Destiny 2 where Loni asks about a possible love triangle between Stahn, Rutee, and Leon. Of course, Leon seems disgusted at the idea, but that's mainly because Loni assumed Rutee was at the center.
In the Japanese version, Zelos calls Lloyd "hunny," a term he otherwise reserves for females. In the English version, it's changed to "bud" except in two obscure scenes the censorship squad apparently missed. (Yes, his butler also calls Lloyd Sir Hunny.) There was also a world map skit that was apparently too gay for America.
Also, one skit in which they missed the "hunny" might not have been such a mistake after all. It's called "Combo! Lloyd and Zelos," and it only occurs if Zelos is your top-rated character by Relationship Values. Perhaps that was intentional...?
Oh yeah, and now that the PS3 HD Rerelease has happened, they've translated the theme park date in Altamira and the scene in the deluxe suite afterwards. Zelos not only calls Lloyd "hunny" all the way through both of these events, but also offers to stay up all night teaching Lloyd how to be seductive. To which Lloyd says "I can't remember the last time I was this excited to study." As one amused tumblr comment put it, "I've read enough fanfic to know where this is going."
You could also say Zelos is hiding behind a Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today? facade and Lloyd never shows much interest towards the female sex in THAT way... due to being a Chaste Hero or something else? The game has pretty much given you everything you need to ship it.
One good example of a specific scene is when the party is in the sewers trying to sneak their way back into Meltokyo. Just as they're almost through, Regal makes his entrance by taking Zelos hostage. Presea chases Regal off of him and the first thing he does once he's up is to go to hide behind Lloyd, latching onto him from behind. That's not the last time he glomps Lloyd either.
It's even more blatant and serious if you make Zelos Lloyd's most important person and get the bonding scenes with him - of course, you get romantic subtext with anyone you decide to pair up with Lloyd, but in Zelos' case Lloyd becomes basically the only reason he bothers keeping alive.
Well not exactly, Zelos only commits Suicide by Cop in the path where you re-recruit Kratos, since that's the only path where Lloyd doesn't insist that he still trusts Zelos even after he betrays the party. So this basically holds true even when he's not Lloyd's most important person.
Zelos is also the only person, besides Colette and Kratos, but he's a different kind of special case, who will give Lloyd a trinket of some kind after their scene in Flanoir - the trinket that will later save Lloyd's life from a trap. That makes two optional scenes in which Zelos is explicitly set up in parallel with the official love interest, to say nothing of the fact that he's actively Colette's mirror through the rest of the game.
Also with Zelos's relationship values maxed out, when entering the coliseum as Lloyd, Zelos will demand you "put on a show that will make me fall in love."
To which Lloyd responds not with Squick or snark, but with "Okay!"
And more between Kratos and Yuan, the latter of whom winds up cradling the former in his arms at one point.
This troper saw more Yuan and Botta.. So, so much Ho Yay.
Can't forget Mithos and Genis, either - they even get a sidequest together for bonding.
Speaking of Genis, his admiration and more specifically, his comments towards Lloyd can make their friendship seem... like slightly more than just a friendship. "That's why I like you, Lloyd!" "That's why you're special to me!" "I'm still a little angry at you for leaving without so much as a goodbye."
And in the sequel, after Emil learns that Regal was forced to kill someone he loved, there's a skit where Emil wonders if he'd be able to fight Richter if the time came. Followed by the fact that he doesn't like Richter "like that". In his own internal monologue.
The way Emil babbles on about how much he admires Richter despite the latter declaring himself to be Emil's enemy sure makes it sound like somebody has a man-crush. Not to mention, they're practically pitch-perfect for the seme and uke roles.
Emil also has slightly less blatant but still noticeable moments with Regal and Lloyd. Also he thinks Zelos worships Lloyd, and if you get Genis' conversation with Lloyd in Flanoir you'll see he still hasn't got over Mithos.
On top of Emil's obvious man-crush on Richter, even Richter and Aster have prime shipping opportunities as well. Man, Namco. So much Ho Yay, so little time. They certainly know how to please the fans.
In Flanoir where you first meet Decus, with his whole "You must have a crush on me too!" thing. He basically called dibs on Emil if things didn't work out with Alice...
Some people have started shipping Kratos and Lloyd only to find out Kratos is Lloyd's daddy.
Tales of Rebirth: Whenever Veigue's upset about something (usually Claire), it's always Tytree who comes to cheer him up or comfort him. Veigue's in general a more reserved character unless his Beserk Button is pushed, but gradually admits he finds Tytree to be a good friend of his. When Veigue starts really angsting about Claire, Tytree finally gets fed up and gets into a fistfight with him to force him to resolve his issues. And it actually works. In the end, before the final battle, the pair talk about what good friends they are and how they'll both make it out alive.
Tales of Legendia
Tales of Legendia has, on the Ho Yay side, Jay and Moses, who eventually become quite close - Jay (who's generally emotionally distant) even hugs Moses in the end. It also has quite a bit of Les Yay, especially between Grune and Norma; Norma seems to quite enjoy cuddling up against Grune's chest, though she might have been doing that to taunt everyone. Grune, for her part, seems bisexual given that she seems fine doing, that, with anybody.
Shirley and Fenimore. Fenimore's death is even the thing that pushes Shirley into a world-destroying rage.
And then there's Elsa. At one point, you encounter her walking around town with Chloe, and she insists they're on a date, to Chloe's embarrassment. In a later scene, Elsa falls asleep on Chloe's lap and repeatedly says her name in her sleep, then, upon waking, proclaims Chloe to be "the best".
Norma: It's love! True love!
Pick two characters in Legendia. Any two. Oh look, you have found a couple with a lot of subtext!
He's not just being sarcastic. Take, for example, the scenes Shirley and Chloe get together following the latter's day in the limelight episode (especially once Norma gets in on the fun, claiming Chloe is "hogging Shirl". The girl even has a segment where she starts fawning over Grune's breast size.) And of course:
Moses: All us baby, it's all us!" *faintly homoerotic hand clasp*
Guy is terrified of women, and acknowledged in one sidequest to have basically raised Luke as they were growing up together. As a result, Luke depends on him emotionally to a great degree. Add to that the fact that Guy is Luke's servant and therefore technically has to follow his orders.
Luke and Asch have a great deal of aggressive tension between them, plus Luke's struggle to have Asch acknowledge his right to exist, and Asch's Tsundere way of looking after him.
Some people are a little put off by the implications of Screw Yourself, because of the whole replica thing. Others say that just makes it hotter.
Dist is openly obsessed with Jade, only avoids Camp Gay because his sexuality never actually comes up, and generally acts like a Stalker with a Crush. Meanwhile, Jade tries to ignore him, but they were childhood friends, and the party actually speculates that Jade likes Dist more than he lets on. The interrogation scene with Jade and Dist was particularly...questionable. Dist also hates Peony and basically treats him like a rival love interest, which leads to the next point...
Peony refers to Jade as "his", and gives him privileges well above his rank and station purely because they're so close, and since he's the Emperor he can do that sort of thing. While Jade trolls everyone in the game, Peony is the only one who can get Jade back just as well, or even better. Jade is The Stoic, so he doesn't show as much affection as Peony does, but he does undertake dangerous missions as Peony's most trusted adviser, which speaks volumes. And then there's a scene in Tales of Fandom 2 where it looks like Peony has been assassinated, and Jade actually shouts his name. His realname.
Jade and Guy also have a bit of a bromance going, at the very least. In one skit when the party complains about how tired, sweaty and gross they are, Guy notices that Jade actually smells really good and compliments his cologne. Jade's got at least a little respect for him, as shown when he tracks Guy down at the Aramis Spring to ask for his help, even after the party has semi-disbanded, thanks to Luke. On a more heartwarming note, when Guy remembers what happened to his sister, it's Jade who's standing with him in the chapel. Oh, and then, of course, there's the skit in which Guy is tickle-tortured, which ends with Jade nibbling on him. note The nibbling was a mistranslation. In the original Japanese, it was just the onomatopoeia for Jade pushing his glasses back into place.
Tales of Innocence
One should not forget Tales of Innocence with Spada and Ruca, which is amped up even further in R.
In the original DS version, Spada hugs Luca◊ twice (and attempted the third) in succession after Ruca survived the stab wound from Hasta. In R? Spada hugs Ruca way earlier not long after they meet upon finding out that he is Asura's reincarnation, while saying that he (as Durandal) truly misses Ruca/Asura.
Spada being protective of Ruca in general. In the remake, this is taken further to the point his Declaration of Protection becomes one of his victory quotes, which Luca appreciates in return.
Again from the remake, Spada and Ruca are now upgraded to Bash Brothers, with several of their victory poses have them cross their swords onto the air together.
Tales of Vesperia
Tales of Vesperia: If, after some twenty hours at least, you haven't done some serious thinking about how much Rita is concerned about Estelle's well-being, then, friend, you're not paying any attention. Makes one wonder just what it is she finds in Rita's drawer not long after they meet.
The PS3 version even adds some newscenes where Rita and Estelle pledge their eternal friendship and raise a baby together.
Put these two together in battle and you will hear a lot of "That's amazing Rita! You're so cool!" followed by Rita's sudden loss of words.
As soon as you enter the first dungeon with Rita, she is caught by the main character, staring at Estelle with little blush marks. She doesn't continue to stare, but will get very flustered when the other characters tease her for being close to Estelle.
Adding to the Les Yay, Judith frequently tells the other girls "you look cute when you're X."
To say nothing of Yuri and Flynn's could-be-interpreted-either-way friendship since childhood.
Actually, let's say something about that. It would really not be going far to say that Yuri's kind of obsessed with Flynn. The second line out of his mouth in the game is about Flynn. Before you find him in Capua Nor, Yuri will bring him up out of nowhere, like after curing Halure's tree, or when everyone sees the ocean from Ehmead Hill. He really does give off the impression that Flynn is all he thinks about, and that's before he offers his life for Flynn's during the sequence with Barbos trying to start a war in Dahngrest. And on Flynn's side, well, there's the Taking the Bullet moment in Zaude, the fact that he scoured the entire ocean to search for Yuri after his supposed death, and his constant worry that Yuri's not getting the credit he deserves for his heroic acts. Their admittedly tense relationship culminates in their Duel Boss fight - preceded by the line "everything I feel is in this sword," no less - after which they lie side-by-side in the grass for a while. Add to this dozens of extra scenes, sidequests and subtext moments and they start to rival Ristelle.
They're also basically constantly voted as the "Ideal Combination" or "Best Partnership" in the Japanese popularity polls...and the runners-up are usually official couples like Jude and Milla above, or Asbel and Cheria from Tales of Graces.
And just like Rita and Estelle, this is not lost on the characters in the game itself. Sodia is fully aware that Yuri is her main competition for Flynn's affections, which puts her attempt to kill Yuri on top of Zaude in a whole new light.
Yuri is always the first and the last to talk about Flynn, he mentions him at the most unnecessary moments too. When your team reach at the top of the hill and see the sea for the first time, Estelle says the place is really beautiful (and romantic). What Yuri says? He is just wondering (for no reason) if Flynn saw it too.
For a quick moment, Yuri has to wear the soldier's uniform, Estelle and Judith say he looks handsome and he blushes. Oh, he didn't blush because of the compliment, he just got embarrassed because Flynn used to say that "he looked silly with his uniform" and ends the conversation with a "That's why i hate that uniform!"
You can also get an optional soldier costume for Yuri later in the game. If you wear it and talk to Flynn, he'll Wolf Whistle.
Also worth pointing out is Yuri's explanation for why he doesn't turn Sodia in for her crimes. He seems more angry that she's abandoned Flynn than about the whole attempted murder thing. Then he says he agrees with her about something, which turns out to be...well...this:
Yuri: I'm a criminal. I could be killed any time. Flynn is the perfect knight. A perfect leader. He doesn't need a criminal by his side.
Don't forget Zagi's violent obsession with Yuri.
Hell, every time you fight him, he is screaming stuff like "Yes Yes!" and "You're the only man who ever made me bleed!"
One can't forget Duke and Elucifer. The latter's murder leaves Duke so bitter, he's prepared to sacrifice all of humanity as a means of saving the planet.
Not necessarily. We've seen that at least one of them can take on human form.
Tales of Graces
Tales of Graces...oh boy. Richard's crush on Asbel seems to have started when they were kids, 7 years ago. And not to mention that in the demo for Tales of Graces F, when Asbel jumps for the ship it's Richard that catches him. First scene. Then there's Pascal and Sophie, and Hubert who seems to be some sort of backwards tsundere for his brother. And then Lambda. Lambda is....well, let's just say he spends most of his time residing in either Richard or Asbel and has yandere tendencies.
Not to mention, him giving Richard some yandere-ness as well. Just listen to the voice clips of him screaming Asbel's name like a betrayed lover. And then there is the line where he says that Asbel's kindness is what he loves most about him.
There is a skit where Pascal says that Sophie's strange behaviour around Richard is due to the 'hanky panky mwah mwah mwah' between him and Asbel and that Sophie is jealous of their relationship. Make of that what you will.
The Future arc takes all the Ho Yay to eleven. Before the final dungeon, Asbel gets a chance to talk to each party member separately. Each person makes physical contact with Asbel, somehow, so they also get a chance to talk to Lambda. Most of them are platonic claps on the shoulder. Cheria, the official love interest, gets a pinky swear. Richard touches Asbel's face like he's about to kiss him. And then he tries to tell Lambda something else, and we don't hear what he says. Given the situation, if it's not some variation on "protect Asbel, please," I'll eat my controller. Also, this scene, unlike all the Ho Yay-tastic skits? Utterly mandatory.
Tales of Xillia
Tales of Xillia subtly combines this with a Precocious Crush. At multiple points, and as a possible post-victory skit, Elize's living doll, Teepo, latches onto Milla and starts motorboating her. It's revealed later in the game that the things Teepo says and does are really Elize's innermost thoughts.
And then there's Alvin and Jude. Alvin just loves putting his arm around Jude's shoulder and Jude can say things like "I'd like to think Alvin knows how I feel" right it front of him and his ex-girlfriend (Alvin's even double takes after hearing that). Jude's also always the first to allow Alvin back on the team after his betrayals. He also asks Jude if he swings both ways without much prompting - which Jude doesn't exactly deny.
There's also Rowen and Nachtigal. The two had grown close while in the military together, and Rowen admired the fact that despite being a prince he was down and fighting with the rest of them. Blames himself as the reason Nachital strayed from his path because he was no longer around to give him counsel. Before you had to fight him, Nachitgal had called out to Rowen to join him- that despite the years apart, he still wanted Rowen by his side, and up until that moment Rowen hadn't even known if he could have fought his dear old friend. After the fight, and before Nachtigal died, Rowen and him had nearly patched things up between them. Rowen was going to return to his side to help steer him to the right path again, and that he would share in his crimes (which astonishes Nachtigal) and they would together both bring the country back to peace.
Jude, for one, might be canonically bisexual, as alluded to in the last game - one of his alternate universe counterparts has a "tethering" relationship with a Camp Gay spirit, Aska.
Jude and Ludger get caught in a "blush-flattery-feedback-loop" when complimenting each other during a skit. Also, when Ludger's brokenhearted after his encounter with Victor, Jude offers him a pep talk that ends with a tender hand on Ludger's shoulder. There's also a skit where he says that he feels a strong connection with Ludger even though they've just met.
Jude and Alvin are still going strong, of course - when Alvin makes fun of Jude's tethering with Muzet he comes out with the line "oh, Jude, hold me tight and let's tether all night long."
If you select the option for Ludger to tell the group that he's technically naked in his Chromatus form, you get approval points from Gaius and Jude ostensibly because they were happy to be off the subject of Muzet technically being naked.
Gaius invites Ludger to his igloo of solitude for some...character building...
As your Relationship Values climb, you'll get short skits with each character telling you how much they appreciate Ludger. Alvin, Jude, and even Gaius can get very blushy and affectionate.
Gaius: Whatever my guise, be it commoner or king, I feel that you're somehow able to bring out the true me.
Tales of Zestiria
Tales Of Zestiria is absolutely loaded with subtext between Sorey and Mikleo. They're childhood friends and rivals, tend to be very touchy-feely with each other, they call out each other's names when they get KO'd in battle, and it becomes quite apparent as the game progresses that they are each other's most important person.
Mikleo actually falls into the majority of scenarios that would usually be reserved for the love interest.
Mind you before continuing that unlike most Tales series, there isn't a 'set' heroine for Zestiria.
The anime special includes a fair bit of shipping fuel as well. When Sorey catches Mikleo after he triggers a pitfall, Mikleo can be seen smiling to himself before asking to be pulled back up. When Sorey and Mikleo are leaving the village, Sorey tells Mikleo that he's glad they'll be together, and Mikleo responds with a Luminescent Blush and some Tsundere line about Sorey being hopeless. Boys...
Hell, the two get into an argument early in the game because Mikleo wants to form a pact with Sorey so that he can fuse with him, but Sorey refuses because he doesn't want Mikleo to get hurt. All this does is cement how protective they are of one another, and when they finally make up it's with a tickle fight.
There's a skit where Zaveid tries to convince Sorey to peep on the girls in the sauna, by trying to appeal to the beauty of seeing their "hot skin, glistening with sweat". Mikleo enters the scene, sweaty after exerting himself in some manner, and Sorey asks Zaveid if that's what he meant. Looks like Sorey's into a whole other form of beauty...
Another skit reveals that while Sorey was unconscious after becoming the Shepherd Mikleo did nothing but sit beside him and read for the entire three days, when he could have been out doing better things with his time. He also declined hearing an explanation from Lailah about the requirements of the job, preferring to wait until Sorey woke up so they could hear it together. When asked why (and after Sorey brings up some embarrassing childhood memories), he reacts predictably.
Near the end of the game the two share a scene on a balcony (does that sound familiar?) where Mikleo reveals that he knows Sorey will have to disappear for a few hundred years at the end of the game and is quite broken up about it, but says that he'll wait for Sorey to return no matter how long it takes. Sorey for his part, vows to find Mikleo once he's able to.
To top things off, in the post-credit epilogue an older Mikleo is exploring some ruins and triggers a pitfall trap. Mirroring a scene from early in the game, someone catches him before he falls. It's heavily implied to be Sorey, and once Mikleo realizes who it is his face softens into a tender smile before he grasps Sorey's hand and the scene cuts to black, followed by the ending card. It could be argued that Mikleo, of all people, is the game's heroine in that regard.
In the Alisha DLC Mikleo's been spending his time trying to secure the area where Sorey is sleeping to keep him safe. Aww.
In the credits picture of the Alisha DLC, Mikleo can be seen with a longing look on his face. What is he looking at ? Sorey in his light form, still asleep with Maoteras. Note that he's the only party member to do that, emphasizing on how deep his relationship with Sorey is.