"Well, the more you fight the closer you must be."
So there's these two characters, right? And they spend 95% of their time thinking about each other, what the other one's planning or doing, and whenever they converse their dialogue is incredibly emotionally charged. Fortunately, there's a nice family-friendly explanation: they're arch-enemies
, right? Right...
This audience reaction trope happens when fans insist
that subtextual marks of sexual tension
actually mean that the arch-enemies really
love each other, and watch the rest of the show with that assumption.
In Shipping Fan Fiction
, they might write plots that end in Dating Catwoman
resolution. If the antagonist's one-sided crush
is already canonically admitted, in these Fan Fics
the protagonist might realize that Stalking Is Love
, and reciprocate the feelings.
Compare to Belligerent Sexual Tension
, where there's actual
romantic tension between the characters.
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Anime & Manga
- Pick a Shōnen protagonist. Any Shōnen protagonist. It's pretty much guaranteed that there will be tons of Slash Fic about him (or less frequently, her) and his (or her) arch-nemesis.
- Attack on Titan fandom predictably has a huge amount of Eren/Annie, but there's also the less popular but still prominent Mikasa/Annie.
- A popular Puella Magi Madoka Magica Crack Pairing is Mami/Charlotte. As in, the witch that decapitated Mami and ate her body. How this came about is anyone's guess.
- Kill la Kill fandom had Ryuko/Satsuki, prior to the reveal that they're long-lost sisters. After that... it continued to have Ryuko/Satsuki, with a hefty dash of Incest Yay Shipping for flavor.
- Sheriarty is one of the biggest ships in the Sherlock fandom, most likely due to the twisted and somewhat sexual (the line, "You've got to admit that's sexier," in context is a good example) fascination Sherlock Holmes and Jim Moriarty have for each other.
- The already established Superman/Lex Luthor ship got a huge fandom boost from the Smallville television series.
- The biggest Once Upon a Time fanbase is dedicated to Swan Queen, a.k.a. the Foe Yay relationship of the Evil Queen, Regina, and the savior, Emma.
- Given how much Foe Yay Heroes has, there are a ton of Foe Yay shipping fanfics. Some of the most popular pairings seem to be Sylar/Peter, Sylar/Mohinder, and Sylar/Claire. It does make sense, because Sylar and Peter are the fandom bicycles of this series. The Sylar/Claire is actually somewhat canon; it's just one-sided on Sylar's part.
- Although they eventually became friends, Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry from Glee started off bitter rivals who acted quite sociopathically towards one another. Didn't stop Faberry slash fanfiction to be spewed out in their thousands online.
- In Victorious, Jori is a popular ship consisting of two girls (Jade and Tori) who despise each other so much they've gone to psychotic lengths just to spite one another. And the ship is awesome.
- Season 5 of Merlin seems to have produced the Merdred ship, thanks to a no-longer-a-kid Mordred and the show's famous copious amounts of Ho Yay. And that scene in 5x02 in which Merlin helps Mordred with his cloak.
- Amongst Doctor Who fans, Doctor/Master has been one of the most popular pairings for decades. It long ago reached the point where the writers ship them as well, and ramp up the subtext to the point that it's barely subtext anymore.
- Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon.
- Feuding wrestlers can often come across as this. However, a special mention must go to Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, who's legendary feud went on for twelve years on-screen and off; since burying the hatchet in 2010 they now have regular Ho Yay with one another instead of the obsessive Foe Yay of yesteryear.
- Happens in-universe in Unwinders Tall Comics. Unwinder watches a few episodes of the anime Tokyo Delta Jetlag D and remarks, "I'd kind of like to see what would happen if Jaded and Colonel Gunarm hooked up."
- There is one for Britain and America. See it here◊. It's amazing.
- Cecil, the narrator of Welcome to Night Vale, often gets carried away ranting about how much he hates every little thing about Steve Carlsberg. Some fans have assumed they're exes or that it's just Belligerent Sexual Tension. It helps that Cecil has a few canonical male love interests.
- About 80% percent of RWBY fics ship Ruby/Weiss. And 80% of those fics are predicated on the assumption that Weiss' constant belittling of Ruby means they're in love.
- To Boldly Flee had plenty of Homoerotic Subtext already, especially with The Nostalgia Critic, but fandom went one step further and shipped him with Turrell. Reasoning? They love everyone who wants Critic to suffer painfully, and I Have You Now, My Pretty scenarios are always fun.
- Gargoyles fan-fiction does this a LOT, with one of the noteworthy examples being Eliza/Demona in many a Slash Fic. Where that particular pairing is concerned, approximately 50% of all fics dedicated to it usually portray Demona as the dominant and Eliza as the (initially) unwilling submissive, while the other 50% seems split between them either being very cool toward each other but gradually warming (no pun intended) or with Demona's human form coming into the mix somehow. There's also Goliath/Demona (it helps that they canonically used to be mates) and Fox/any female character.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Quite a lot of this for Jet/Zuko, who were briefly antagonists to each other.
- Azula/Anyone, thanks to generating Foe Yay with a good chunk of the main cast. The most popular targets are Zuko, Aang, and Sokka.
- This was how the Zuko/Katara ship started, until Zuko began to drift away from being an antagonist.
- Sequel Series The Legend of Korra follows in it's predecessor's footsteps, with Korra being paired with Amon, Tarrlok, and Tahno. However, most of the Korra/Tahno fanfics that take place after episode 6 are of the Hurt-Comfort variety rather than Foe Yay for reasons that will become obvious after you see what happens to Tahno in episode 6.
- Invader Zim fans love pairing Zim and Dib, usually revolving around their shared status as universally despised outcasts among their species. Much less popular is Zim/Tak and Dib/Tak, as while the pairings themselves are popular most of time in fics Tak just switches to the side of whomever she's boning.
- With the way Perry and Doofenshmirtz's relationship is in Phineas and Ferb, it's no wonder fans keep pairing them up.
- There are a large number of Doug fans who pair up Doug and Roger.
- There a lot of Superjail! fanfics pairing up the Warden with either the Mistress or Lord Stingray, both being his archenemies/rivals (though he remarks that he rarely gets to see the former). In the Mistress' case, there's the fact that she's a Distaff Counterpart and the warden of her own prison, and a cruel ice queen that rivals Warden's lighter-hearted megalomania. Thus, some fans insist she and the Warden must have feelings for each other and absolutely get together, although some stories seem to subject her to Chickification and have her personality altered to be submissive to the Warden (though some may insist on making her dominant too). With Lord Stingray, the fact that he tries to constantly one-up the Warden and that the Warden was initially impressed by him gives the Warden/Stingray fans quite the tension to go on as well.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Celestia/Discord was one of the most popular pairings that didn't involve the mane six, and Discord/Twilight (as well as Discord/any of the mane six) popped up on a regular basis. Not anymore after "Keep Calm and Flutter On", what with Discord's Heel-Face Turn.