When a character has a very close and intimate relationship with their mentor
they might have very hot chemistry together, and shipping
ensues. This can be greatly helped by a Hands-On Approach
Depending on the characters' respective age, this could be a popular pairing, but it could just as easily be a No Yay
. It is more likely to happen if it involves a Sexy Mentor
Subtrope of Unequal Pairing
. See also Merlin and Nimue
, Teacher/Student Romance
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Anime and Manga
- Nanoha and Subaru, thanks to the latter's squeeing and blushing over the former.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Asuka has an insane crush on her first guardian Kaji. Then there's the interesting relationship between Shinji and his trainer/captain/guardian Misato... and implied relationship between Rei and her boss Gendo... On second thought, let's not get into this.
- Maya's crush on Ritsuko.
- And Fuyutsuki's feelings for his former intern Yui.
- Bleach: Yoruichi has been the Sexy Mentor for Byakuya, Soifon and Ichigo. Byakuya and Ichigo were equally horrified by her teasing personality whereas Soifon comically adored the attention. The fandom adores all three examples.
- In D.Gray-Man, if For can count as Allen's mentor (at least for that section where they were sparring together every single day), their relationship is definitely shipped by quite a few fans. Quite a bit of their chemistry was obviously on purpose, however, including a rather tender moment where she acts like a very shy and flustered Tsundere around him. And then there's how the dialogue and actions of her Heroic Sacrifice played it like they were lovers...
- There's also General Cross and Allen. C'mon, don't tell me you don't see it.
- Considering that Cross is a Trickster Mentor so tricky that he qualifies Allen for an honorary mention on the page for Abusive Parents, that falls into deeply, deeply creepy areas.
- Cross raised Allen from age 10 to 15, so if the one scene where he displays parental affection for him qualifies them for a ship, it would be a No Yay one.
- Guts and Farnese from Berserk. With Farnese crushing majorly on Guts, who is her role model, "savior," and the person who will "guide her." Except... she can't help but feel jealous when Guts has romantic moments with his canon love interest Casca.
- Hellsing has Alucard/Seras as a popular in the English fandom thanks mostly to the influence of the Gonzo anime that changed the dynamics between Integra, Alucard and Seras and omitted Pip Bernadotte's existence. There's some hints of it in the beginning and towards the end with Alucard's motive to turn her being her eyes reminding him to Integra's when she was younger according to the Word of God whereas in the original manga there's absolutely nothing to support them as a pair in a romantic or sexual way.
- In the OVAs, there is actually support for them as a pair, though it's just in the beginning, where Alucard transforms Seras into a vampire and acts like a predator to her... Yes, that kind of predator.
- It's kind of squicky, because he also holds her hand and answers her call when she asked for her parents, then OVA team insists she's like his cute daughter figure when asked. All their ambiguous scenes aren't present in the Manga. It looks like it's again the producer Yasuyuki Ueda who was also behind the TV series.
- In the manga Alucard calls Seras "my beloved servant," though.
- Lal Mirch and Tsuna in Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. Of course, since Tsuna is paired with everyone, this should come to little surprise.
- In Full Metal Panic!, there's the shipping of Kalinin with Sousuke. A bit unnerving, considering that he actually held Sousuke when Sousuke was a baby. And he's around 40-50 years old. And he legally adopted Sousuke. But since many people tend to see Ho Yay in close bonds, there's definitely an abundance that can be found between them.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, it's been revealed Negi's martial arts master, Ku Fei, has grown to like him in that way (this example inverts the implied Unequal Pairing though; Negi rapidly outstrips Ku-Fei in martial arts skill and by the end of the series is hilariously more powerful than her). Eva, his magic training mentor, also frequently seduces him, (or at least tries to), though it's presumably due mostly to his bearing a strong resemblance to the his father, the man she loves. On the flip side, Negi is the teacher of a class of 31 girls, enough of whom have shown interest in him that Chamo-kun keeps a running tally of the various dimensions of their affection for him.
- Asuna loves Takahata-sensei, whom Negi replaced. His supplanting of Takahata was a major source of tension between Negi and Asuna in the early chapters.
- In Peacemaker Kurogane, there's the shipping of Tetsunosuke with Hijikata. Looking past the disturbing aspect of how Tetsunosuke looks like he's six years old and Hijikata looks to be in his late 20s-30s, the pairing isn't exactly unfounded. They love digging at each other, and are constantly bickering over petty things. Yet it's made clear that they both have a deep (albeit grudging) affection for each other. It's definitely helped that both are incredibly good looking.
- In Naruto, Kakashi/Sakura has gained quite a fan following, despite the fact that it has no evidence whatsoever from the manga or anime to support it.
- To say nothing of the Kakashi/Naruto or the Kakashi/Sasuke shippings.
- ...or the Gai/Rock Lee, Kurenai/Hinata, and Kurenai/Shikamaru shippings
- Orochimaru has this with just about everyone of his many disciples. Especially Anko and Kimimaro.
- Chojuro and Mei Terumi.
- On the other hand, Neji/Hinata has become this in the moment Neji started mentoring and training her, when she requested him to, right after his Heel-Face Turn. Despite having no support (or slight support, if it's taken into account that Neji seemed to have a child crush on her when they were little) in the official manga, they do have subtext in spin-offs and alternate movies like Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth and Road To Ninja.
- In XXX Holic, there's a small but dedicated fan following for the pairing of Yuko and Watanuki. It definitely helps that Watanuki is cute and Yuko is incredibly sexy. And the official art of them together certainly◊ teases◊ at◊ it◊.
- And CLAMP is certainly making this pairing more and more anvilicious as time goes on, to the point where Haruka pretty much comes out and gives Watanuki a little speech that remarkably resembles an If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... talk ( "If you truly believe you and she will meet again, then you must not do anything that will make her cry."). To this, Watanuki promptly angsts and reminisces over her while saying her name and holding her precious pipe.
- Kirby of the Stars: Meta Knight is a mentor to both Kirby and Fumu. Guess what two of the series' most popular ships are.
- Axis Powers Hetalia. America and England, anyone?
- In the same vein, there's China/Japan, Canada/France, Germany/Prussia, Greece/Turkey, and the almost-canon Spain/S.Italy.
- The eponymous Zettai Karen Children and their handler Minamoto.
- In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple we have Kenichi and Shigure
- There are a surprising number of people in Dragon Ball Z fandom who ship Piccolo with Gohan in spite of the fact that Piccolo is an adoptive father to Gohan, not to mention canonically sexless.
- Maka Albarn of Soul Eater is paired with her teacher (and mad scientist) Dr Stein.
- Attack on Titan: A very popular ship in the fandom is Erwin/Levi. Erwin is Levi's commanding officer as well as being one of the few people he really trusts - even if none of them display that many outward signs of it.
- In Kyo Kara Maoh, Yuuri and his favorite of his mentors, Conrad, have a relationship that can be taken several different ways, but there's enough subtext to make them the most popular ship in the Japanese fanbase. More blatantly, Yuuri's teacher Gunter has an over-the-top one-sided crush on him that is frequently played for laughs.
- Maybe you've heard of a book called Seduction of the Innocent.
- When introduced, Mia Dearden (the new Speedy) had a fairly obvious crush on her mentor Green Arrow. And on his son, Green Arrow.
- It's a fairly common plot device in comics when a hero and a sidekick are opposite genders. During Nightwing's fake Face-Heel Turn, Ravager had a crush on him, and in Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Strikes Again", Catgirl and Batman ended up with some very romantic undertones.
- Wolverine and his young female sidekicks, particularly Rogue. They aren't particularly rare ships...
- Although Wolverine/Rogue shipping is mostly due to the first X-Men movie, since in the comics Wolverine tended to mentor Kitty Pryde and Jubilee a lot more and there were few scenes where Rogue appeared in situations that could be interpreted as her acting as his sidekick.
- This Vaarsuvius x Aarindarius fic on the Crack Pairing thread. It's not very happy.
- Miss Alice Band (teacher) and Jocasta Wiggs (former pupil) in a significant strand of Discworld fiction. Although Alice only took Jocasta as both mentoree and lover after she graduated from the School and ceased to be a pupil.
Films — Animated
- Alfredo Linguini and his assigned haute cuisine mentor Colette Tatou in Ratatouille.
- 2 x 5 of Shane Acker's 9, anyone?
Films — Live-Action
- Harry and Dumbledore. Even Rita Skeeter thought so.
- When you think about it, in book six, you felt it was a good thing Harry was a boy, because else, what would people have said about all the time they spend together. Then Word of Gay came... Of course we actually see Harry and Dumbledore's interactions and know it is entirely appropriate.
- Lucy Maud Montgomery (of Anne of Green Gables fame) once wrote a story about this. So Guy A and Guy B are competing over the same woman. Guy A loses and goes away. Guy B and the woman get married, have a daughter, then the father dies. Guy A assumes godfather responsiblities for the daughter, but they fall in love. Guy A didn't want to, in fact he tried to set up his nephew with the girl, but apparently True Love conquers all, even in 19th century Canada.
- Tamora Pierce seems to be fond of this one. Daine and Numair from the Immortals quartet are the most obvious examples.
- The Dresden Files:
- Donald Morgan and Anastasia Luccio are a canonical (if one-sided) example. He loved her, and the two had a sexual relationship that ended badly when Morgan realized she didn't love him. Luccio thought they were just Friends with Benefits, and didn't know he felt so seriously.
- Another, equally one-sided, example is Molly and Harry. Although Harry has been under the impression that Molly's feelings were a passing adolescent crush, Susan has pointed out that Molly is genuinely in love with Harry. Harry's self-conscious awareness of Molly's attractiveness makes it all the more awkward (and imply that the ship isn't quite out of the question, either).
- Especially considering how long wizards live. When Molly is 40, Harry will probably have fewer issues with the fact that he taught her when she was a teenager.
- It helps that, after the events of Cold Days enough time has passed in-universe that Molly's an adult, and certain plot events have made her Harry's equal- if not superior- in magical power. It's not confirmation by any means, but the shippers were pleased. Then again, the same plot events mean she's higher up in Winter's hierarchy than him, and Harry has problems with authority figures, so you still get this trope, just flipped, and all the issues that come with it.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Petyr Baelish is probably hoping for things to turn out this way between him and his
daughter Alayne trainee Sansa, and a small chunk of the fandom would be happy to see it as well. The rest of the fandom is too Squick'd out by his clear transference of affection for Catelyn onto her daughter, not to mention him being her uncle, semi-adoptive father, and twice her age.
- In Havemercy, the world-weary exile Royston tries very, very hard to fight his feelings for Hal, an innocent young country boy whose interest in literature Royston fosters and promotes. He fails. But Hal doesn't mind in the slightest.
- A lot of fans of Mistborn read a lot of subtext in Kelsier's relationship with Vin, a fact which was referenced and denied by Vin in the second book. However, Word of God says she probably did have a crush on him, even though he saw her as more of a daughter.
- In Vampire Academy, Rose and Dimitri are this trope. He returns Rose's feelings, but doesn't act on them because she's a minor. (And they're both Lissa's bodyguards- he and Rose becoming a couple would interfere with their duty to protect Lissa.) The first book's Big Bad actually taunts him about this. They Do, and eventually earn their happy ending years after that. An unusually realistic example in that both characters act their age, and have arguments based on this.
- Kvothe has a brief and platonic affair with his mentor in The Wise Man's Fear.
- In Warrior Cats, Cherrytail has the kits of her mentor Sharpclaw, though this is long after she becomes a warrior and is no longer mentored by him.
- In Elminster: The Making of a Mage Elminster and his teacher Myrjala Darkeyes end up in a relationship after she comes after him and rescues him from a more experienced wizard. This relationship continues for a short time after he finds out she's really an avatar of the goddess of magic.
- In Home from the Sea, Mari Prothero falls in love with the Selch man sent to be her magic teacher instead of the four men sent to court her. A couple of other books in the series also has the main character falling in love with the guy teaching her magic and vice versa.
- In the Lark and the Wren, Rune/Lark gradually falls in love with Talaysen/Wren, the head and founder of the Free Bards, after he becomes her teacher/mentor.
- In Doctor Who the Doctor and any number of companions. Shipping was rife even in the Classic Series, which had a policy of No Hanky-Panky in the TARDIS; Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen joked that the Doctor and Sarah Jane were probably boinking all over the TARDIS.
- Giles/Buffy had a number of followers. In fandom. The two times someone (a werewolf hunter and Spike) suggested such a thing on the show, Buffy was Squicked. As was Giles in the first instance. He wasn't there in the second.
- Giles/Willow also had followers. In one scene in the episode "Faith, Hope, & Trick", when Faith describes Giles as cute, Willow has an impish grin on her face.
- Willow says she used to have a crush on him in "Where The Wild Things Are"
- "Young ingénue" Cameron's crush on her "gruff, older mentor" House is plain to see. His own feelings for her, though somewhat more complicated, are clear enough. This one's got a bit of Reality Subtext to it, insofar as Jennifer Morrison has stated that one of the ways she grew in her craft while working on the series was to watch Hugh Laurie (and, from the other direction, Laurie is plainly flustered when he offers his thoughts on Morrison during his appearance on Inside The Actors' Studio).
- The Middleman:
- There is a sizable portion of the fandom who ship the Middleman and Wendy, his protégé. Their relationship is more of a partners dynamic than a boss-employee one, but Wendy has said that since her father's disappearance, the Middleman is the closest thing she's had to a father.
- In the Episode 13 comic, it is revealed that the love of the Middleman's life was his Middlewoman, Raveena Rao.
- In NCIS:
- Gibbs mentored Jenny Shepard in their early days at NCIS; they later became partners. She vanished for about a decade, and then turned up as Director in the beginning of season three, neatly reversing the dynamic (as there is still plenty of UST there).
- Tony's rather glaring puppy-like devotion to Gibbs. It doesn't help that nobody else can control him.
- Now that we've met Tony's playboy father it's more explicit Tony and Gibbs is more Tony DESPERATE for a "Well Done, Son" Guy from SOMEONE vaguely parental.
- Firefly has a substantial River/Mal shipping base.
- Canon example: Ziggy and Doctor K from Power Rangers RPM, although the mentor (K) is actually younger than the Ranger.
- Jesse and Shelby from Glee could also count. That hug at the end of Regionals...and the hand-holding...and the kiss on the cheek. And, oh yeah, he helped her find her biological daughter and all that.
- Also seems to be heading this way in regards to Kurt and Blaine. They're both very gay, and Blaine IS Kurt's Sexy Mentor / Big Brother Mentor...
- Kurt/Blaine is canon as of 2.16 - but by this point, it's not really a Mentor Ship, they're on pretty equal footing.
- Michael and Nikita from Nikita, due to the uncontrollably large amount of Unresolved Sexual Tension between them that eventually culminates in a Relationship Upgrade after "Covenants", much to the fans' delight.
- Garak and Bashir from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Justified to some extent, as the relationship between mentor and student among Cardassians is extremely important and emotionally (though not necessarily romantically or sexually) intimate. And it's canon on Garak's end.
- Ace Attorney:
- Mia Fey and Phoenix Wright. Well, before The Plot Reaper shows up.
- There's also Mia and her mentor Diego Armando, which is canon.
- Not to mention Phoenix and his assistant Maya, which even has an in-game fangirl in the form of Pearl, Maya's cousin. It's probably the most popular het ship in a fandom full of yaoi and yuri.
- A slightly less popular ship, but Kristoph/Apollo.
- Though Athena/Apollo seems to be gaining traction.
- In Metal Gear, Naked Snake and The Boss.
- There's also the occasional fic involving Solid Snake and Gray Fox, or Snake and Raiden.
- Dynasty Warriors 5 has Zhao Yun and Xing Cai.
- Final Fantasy IV: The After Years has one between Palom and the Epopt trainee Leonora.
- Fire Emblem fandom has small followings for these pairings: Saleh/Ewan and Seth/Franz in FE8, Pent/Erk and Marcus/Isadora in FE7, and Cecilia/either Roy or Lilina in FE6.
- Don't forget Karel/Guy in FE7 and Shinon/Rolf in FE9/10.
- Or Ike/Titania. On the subject of Roy/Cecilia, this can actually happen in the game if you get them to A level support.
- There's also Jeorge/Gordin from FE3/FE12.
- And in FE13, Sully/Frederick easily falls into this territory.
- Luke and Van from Tales of the Abyss. Luke and Tear as well. Also Asch and Van.
- In Breath of Fire III, there's Ryu and Deis/Bleu (who he's heavily implied to have a crush on). She can also become a mentor that you learn spells from. Canonically, he expresses some of the most romantic interest in her (compared to others) considering how he is through the entire game (including one of the few dialogue choices, where both choices imply his attraction to her). And then there was one of the few instances that he showed extreme emotion, which involved him turning bright red when he first saw her awaken.
- Commander Shepard and Garrus Vakarian if Shepard is female. This one's a rare example of the hero being the mentor.
- If Shepard is a male, then Shepard and Ash or Shepard and Tali could also count. Or for either sex, Shepard and Kaidan Alenko.
- Another case of "hero as mentor" comes in the second Knights of the Old Republic, if Exile cross-classes his/her love interest. Double this with a female Exile and Mical, who was supposed to be her Padawan to begin with.
- Occurs for every Force-using class in Star Wars: The Old Republic, if you're playing a male character:
- Kira and the male Jedi Knight.
- Ashara and the male Sith Inquisitor, though in this case she isn't officially his apprentice.
- Jaesa and the male Sith Warrior, though only if she's been pushed to the Dark Side.
- Nadia and the male Jedi Consular in the latter part of the game.
- In Tales of Symphonia, Lloyd/Raine can be made possible in the sequel.
- Yuri/Nia in Infinite Space, as Nia taught Yuri many things regarding his life in space. Sadly, it was sunken by the end of Act 1 following Nia's Heroic Sacrifice.
- In the Metroid series, Samus and her former commanding officer Adam Malcovich, who she considers a father figure (not that they care), is heading into this direction... At least that's better than Samus x Ridley.
- Luke/Layton of the Professor Layton series is quite popular, although it is also shota and sometimes crosses over into father figure-son territory. Plenty of people also like Flora/Layton, although she's an apprentice in the same way that Luke is, but is Layton's adopted daughter.
- Used constantly in morphE. Amical is wildly flirtacious and makes passes at his students constantly. Billy has been humoring him and leading him on to get a more powerful position in the group and Tyler is swept off his feet very easily making him a prime target for his mentor's affection. Adrestia was flattered but unreceptive to his advances and Amical would never attempt anything with the 15 year old Curio. Asia however is impervious to his advances.
- RWBY canonically teases Pyrrha/Jaune. They're the same age, but she teaches him to fight and helps him survive the minefield that is Beacon Academy. In particular, the words Pyrrha uses to unlock Jaune's magical ability sound like some sort of archaic marriage vow.
- Batgirl's crush on Batman in Batman: The Animated Series. Honestly, with Kevin Conroy's voice, who could blame her? It's canonically stated in Batman Beyond that Bruce and Barbara had a relationship. Confirmed again by Word of God (Bruce Timm).
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!:
- Aang of Avatar: The Last Airbender gets shipped with all 3 of his Bending teachers — Katara, Toph, and Zuko. He ends up with Katara.
- Well before Sequel Series The Legend of Korra aired, shippers pairing Aang's teenaged Reincarnation Korra with her Airbending mentor Tenzin (Aang's son) manifested, despite the implicit May-December Romance the pairing would require. News of Tenzin being Happily Married with three children and a bun in his lovely wife Pema's oven caused most to Abandon Shipping. Most, but not all.
- 9's resident LOATS woob 5 gets this a lot with 2, to the point that some are actually arguing for its canonocity.
- The animated adaption of Teen Titans has inspired such a ship in the form of Slade/Terra, the former being a Manipulative Bastard and the latter being his apprentice. It also doesn't hurt that they were a canon item in the original comic storyline.
- There's also Slade/Robin; much the same, but a lot less consensual.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Twilight Sparkle/Princess Celestia is a popular pairing because of the former's adoration of the latter and the latter treating her as more than just another subject.