A form of shipping where a shipper supports the idea that character A is in love with character B, but that character B doesn't return character A's affection. Like with ships where the love is presumed to be requited, this can be support for a "pairing" that is either supported or unsupported by canon. Unlike more mainstream shipping, if the love is ever requited in canon this may cause the "starboarder" to Abandon Shipping
precisely because it has
Whereas a more conventional ship is usually displayed in fanfic summaries and stuff as, say, Bob/Alice or BobxAlice, a "starboard" seems to displayed with an arrow thus:
Bob -> Alice
As this sort of ship can lend itself to many a Love Triangle
, it can lead to stacking of characters in this sort of situation, or even a loop
. For example:
Bob -> Alice -> Alan -> Roberta -> Bob
A common way of pairing characters when one canonically hates the other
, or when it would
for the character to return their affection (for example, a student with a crush on their teacher
The term comes from the fact that Starboard is the naval term for the right side of a ship (the left side being the Port, but "Porting" already meant something else
). Thus a Starboard is one side of a ship. Not to be confused with the sailing term "Starboard!", which is shouted when a boat has right of way since that boat is on "starboard tack." Though there is a parallel if you think about it hard enough.
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Anime & Manga
- Naruto: Yaoi Fangirls are very fond of the Sasuke/Naruto pairing more than any other slash pairing because they notice how much tension the relationship has; also it's canon that Naruto misses Sasuke and wants to bring him back to Konoha even though Sasuke attempted to kill him several times.
- Kishimoto/Naruto/the manga confirmed they are just friends. Won't stop the Yaoi Fangirls.
- Happens a lot in this series, actually. There's the tendency of Neji/Hinata shippers to have Neji secretly pining over Hinata as though he were an Unlucky Childhood Friend, while Hinata falls for someone else (usually Idiot Hero Naruto or Hot-Blooded teammate Kiba).
- Kakashi Gaiden basically confirmed Obito->Rin->Kakashi. Too bad the first two are dead.
- Not to mention Sasuke/Sakura, Naruto/Hinata, and Naruto/Sakura, the three most popular hetero pairings, are all ironically unrequited ships in canon.
- And then there's the people who ship Sasuke->Hinata for the sheer irony of it.
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, there's the shipping of Tsuna and any of his male guardians. Due to Tsuna being an innocent and shy Messiah who very canonically has a crush on Kyoko, most of the fans justify the pairing by having whichever guardian he's paired with have an unrequited love for him. Shippers of Gokudera/Tsuna, in particular, support the idea of Gokudera having an unrequited love for him.
- And then there's the fans of one-sided Yamamoto/Gokudera. Sometimes, this can be used in conjunction with Gokudera/Tsuna, making it a sort of shipped All Love Is Unrequited Love Triangle of: Yamamoto -> Gokudera -> Tsuna.
- In Black Cat, most shippers who support Creed/Train tend to have the consensus that it would be unrequited on Creed's part.
- Genkaku/Nagi in Deadman Wonderland. It's canon that Nagi hates Genkaku for killing his wife, but fans specifically seem to like the idea that it's very unrequited on Genkaku's part.
- Trigun has Legato Bluesummers/Knives. Part of the appeal of the pairing is that it's very one-sided for Legato, as Knives sees him as a useless piece of trash.
- In Gankutsuou, there are the fans of the pairing of Franz/Albert. Many of them specifically think the sweetest part about that pairing is how one-sidedly dedicated Franz is to the clueless Albert.
- And it's implied in canon with all the subtly of a locomotive. Even if you can never marry the one you love, eh Franz?
- XXX Holic's pairing of Doumeki/Watanuki. Many fans think that it's cute that Watanuki has a crush on Himawari and dislikes Doumeki, and ships the idea of Doumeki having an unrequited love for clueless Watanuki. Not so much that fans tend to ship the dynamic of Watanuki/Himawari so much as it makes Doumeki's love for Watanuki unrequited.
- Full Metal Panic!'s slash pairing of Gauron/Sousuke. It would be pretty hard to try to explain how that pairing wouldn't be unrequited, considering how canonically straightforward Sousuke is shown to hate the man. Most of the shipping and ways that fans pair them up involves rape.
- Many Axis Powers Hetalia fanworks featuring Belarus (either Male or Female) bring up her incestuous obsession with her almost-equally Yanderish brother Russia (unfortunately for Belarus, it's not her Russia is Yandere towards), as a lot of fans love the idea of the most feared and stalkerish character in the series being reduced to quaking and tears by his personal stalker.
- Similarly, Switzerland is often portrayed as having feelings for his Forgotten Childhood Friend (sorta) Austria, but keeping them to himself because of his moody and proud personality and the fact that not only is Austria married to Hungary, but they still go into dates after their "divorce".
- Huh. I always thought that was Prussia's role in Austria/Hungary fanfics, with fans seeming to like the idea of him having quite the crush on Hungary in spite of her constantly beating him up with her Frying Pan of Doom and only having eyes for Austria. Then again, there are more fics in which Hungary actually returns Prussia's feelings, if in a Slap-Slap-Kiss way, than fics in which Austria returns Switzerland's feelings (or is even aware of them).
- Also, Prussia is sometimes portrayed with a crush on Austria instead if not as well, and it's up to the fan artist/writer if Austria reciprocates this.
- The Hetalia fandom as a whole is very prone to this, not just the mid-European empires. Probably has something to do with the eternal and multiple cases of Will They or Won't They? and history itself being considered secondary canon by some people.
- Most Russia/Lithuania fics make Russia's affection for Lithuania decidedly one-sided, with Lithuania staying with Russia only out of fear, pity, and/or Stockholm Syndrome.
- Likewise, most of shipping with Russia can be identified as this (Russia X... Insert Lithuania,Latvia,China and etc.) seeing that most of time he "forced" everyone.
- While the most common depiction of America/England is as a pairing with mutual love on both sides but also a mutual inability to admit it, there are quite a few angsty fics that depict it as Unrequited Love on either England's part (with America being oblivious of his feelings or unable to think of his former big-brother figure in that way) or America's part (with England not being able to love him as anything other than his little brother).
- England being a very popular character means he often ends up in such triangles, most commonly involving America and/or France (or, in the Japanese fandom, Japan).
- In fanon, this happens with America too, who also happens to be a sort of class bicycle despite never really showing any sort of sign that he's even sexually active. This is prominent in some Russia -> America <- England fics, or fics in which Japan has the crush, or it's his own twin brother Canada, or in a really rather weird and unrealistic one everyone wants him, or at least his virginity.
- In fics that deal with the Greece -> Japan <- Turkey Love Triangle, Turkey is almost always relegated to the role of Hopeless Suitor based on how Japan has had a lot more interaction and Ship Tease with Greece than him in canon. It's no exaggeration at all to say that the number of fics where Turkey actually ends up with Japan is vastly outnumbered by the number of fics where Turkey has to face the fact that Japan views him as only a friend and is in love with his hated rival Greece.
- Japan also gets some of the "popular target for one-sided crushing" attention that the aforementioned England and America get, especially in Japanese fandom where he gets put into triangles with England and America and/or has his adoptive brother China or sister Taiwan crushing on him ever since their childhood/teenage years.
- In Peacemaker Kurogane, lots of fans support the pairing of Suzu/Tetsunosuke as being unrequited on Suzu's side. Unrequited Love in an Ax-Crazy, Stalker with a Crush, Rip-You-To-Shreds-Because-I-Love-And-Hate-You kind of way, that is.
- When Ryoga from Ranma 1/2 was given his own love interest to fall in love with, Akari, many fans hated it. Some wanted him to end up with Akane, others thought he should end up with Ukyou, but many felt that he should continue pining after Akane while she pined after Ranma, just as a demonstration of dogged determination as his primary quality. The cast of Ranma is full of other examples mostly because in canon it's a critical plot point that Ranma and Akane have a ton of suitors, and some of them have suitors as well.
- As far as Gundam 00 goes, although Lockon/Tieria is an extremely popular pairing in the fandom, a fairly large percentage of fans specifically prefer it as a case where not only are Tieria's feelings very much onesided (which, to be fair, is how they come off in canon if you see them as romantic) but there would be no hope whatsoever of Lockon ever reciprocating them even if he hadn't died near the end of the first season.
- This is also the most common approach for Feldt/Lockon, where she seems to have a huge crush on her much-older Big Brother Mentor figure (she's 14, he's 24) but like in Tieria's case, he cares for her yet not liking her romantically due to his own issues and his death.
- It's canon that Autor has a pretty big crush on Rue in Princess Tutu, and a lot of fans will admit to shipping one-sided Autor -> Rue. There are a lot less fans that ship requited Autor/Rue, however, since Rue is very attached to Mytho and later ends up going back to his story with him, presumably to marry him.
- Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei: Everyone->Nozomu. And Nozomu<-Matoi<-Her Ex<-His Girlfriend<-The Guy Who Eats At Her Resturaunt<-His Ex-Wife<-The Guy Who Washes Her Underwear. Like everything else in the series, Played for Laughs.
- Death Note: Rem&Gelus -> Misa -> Light.
- And if you see Light's sister as Bi the Way and having a crush on Misa, then it's Sayu -> Misa -> Light.
- Since Matsuda crushes on Sayu when She Is All Grown Up, it can also be Matsuda -> Sayu -> Misa -> Light
- Also popular: Near -> Mello.
- Orihime has confessed her feelings for Ichigo in the manga. Ichigo himself has shown no interest in anyone. This has been used as a basis for the IchiHime ship where her feelings are explored.
- A popular view of the UlquiHime ship is that Ulquiorra has an unrequited fascination with Orihime akin to lust, using Volume 40's poem as a basis for the interpretation. Orihime's situation regarding Uquiorra is very complex in the manga, causing a wide range of interpretations regarding her feelings for him.
- Get Backers: One-sided Takuma Fudou -> Ban Midou. Definitely a messed up, Ax-Crazy ship... but then again, the manga itself makes Fudou's homoerotic obsession with Ban pretty much canon (along with Ban's nonchalant, annoyed attitude towards Fudou). It probably doesn't help that Fudou actually even comes out and says that he's pissed off that Ban only has eyes for Ginji, and that he wants Ban to notice and pay attention to him instead.
- While pretty much the entire female cast of Darker than Black has some sort of crush on Hei, he often doesn't seem to notice and (with a few exceptions) certainly doesn't care. Hand this state of affairs to fanfic writers already prone to shipping him with everyone, and Hilarity Ensues.
- Many Black Butler yaoi fangirls support the idea of Sebastian -> Ciel, Grell -> Sebastian (which is canon on Grell's side), and Alois -> Claude (canon on Alois's side).
- Certain yaoi fans in the Code Geass fandom seem to favor the idea that Lelouch has an unrequited love for Suzaku (who is oblivious and loves Euphie), mainly because of the beautiful angst. The first season works better for this, given a large part of the plot is Lelouch either trying to protect Suzaku or win him over to his side, though even as bitter enemies, Lelouch demonstrates a surprising amount of trust and unwillingness to hurt Suzaku.
- Almost anyone in Lelouch's Unwanted Harem -> Lelouch seem to apply, too, depending on other shipping preferences.Gino —> Suzaku is popular too. **Nina —> Euphie is canon and Rolo—> Lelouch pretty heavily implied. On a more squicky note, V.V.—> Charles is a popular interpretation.
- In Pokémon, Ash is both a Chaste Hero and the Launcher of a Thousand Ships of the series, with evidence for (in order): Misty -> Ash, May -> Ash, and Dawn -> Ash, among others. It remains to be seen if Iris will continue the trend.
- Vampire Game has too many to count.
- D.N.Angel has hinted at Satoshi -> Daisuke. Satoshi seems to care more about Daisuke than any other person, and his transformation (which is triggered by feelings of love) happens when Daisuke gets too close. On the other hand, Daisuke's trigger has always been either Risa or Riku. Unfortunately for Satoshi and the Yaoi Fangirls, Daisuke is probably straight.
- just because Dark is triggered by love doesn't mean Krad is, and it's highly implied that Dark isn't really triggered so much as chooses to respond.
- A crack example from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is Clip Girl. Fans noticed that she was constantly looking at Homura, even when the class was doing other work, and then later she and a friend unsuccessfully asked her to go to get coffee together after school. So, a theory developed that she had a one-sided crush on her.
- Less crack is Kyouko -> Sayaka. There's some pretty strong subtext on Kyouko's part, but Sayaka is hung up on Kamijou (who doesn't see her that way).
- In Karakuridouji Ultimo the Depraved Homosexual Rune has a crush on Yamato who does not return his feelings. Rune's Not Good With Rejection as it turns out.
- Some Captain America/Iron Man shippers speculate that Tony is in love with Cap, but not vice versa, due to the somewhat lopsided nature of the pair's Ho Yay in canon. (Although in longer fics, it rarely stays one-sided.)
- In WALL•E: Go-4->Eve
- In the film The Watcher (starring Keanu Reeves), most of the fans of the movie ship Serial Killer David Allen Griffin (Keanu) with Joel Campbell (James Spader). The thing is, a lot of the charm of the pairing appears to be how completely one-sided and screwed up it is.
- Watchmen: Some people feel Adrian Veidt is carrying a little torch for Dan Dreiberg. Especially in the Foe Yay-ful final fight, and in particular the part where Adrian doesn't fight back.
- From both versions, Rorschach seems to hold his friendship with Daniel as his most important human relationship (and one of his very few) and also seems very possessive of Dan's time and attention, whereas Dan sees Rorschach just as a friend with unique and disturbing personal perspectives. This has given some shippers cause to cry Rorschach -> Dan.
- The Marauders in Harry Potter are subject to a lot of this. It started with Remus/Sirius as a popular ship; however, as the series went on it became harder to ignore the evidence that it was Sirius and James who had the Heterosexual Life-Partners relationship that's so easily mined for Ho Yay, and James, of course, wound up with Lily. This led to a variety of scenarios: Sirius is in love with James, who is straight; Remus is in love with Sirius, who is straight; Remus is in love with Sirius, who is in love with James, who is straight; and occasionally, Sirius is in love with Remus, who is straight (because Remus eventually married Tonks; there was a time when he was the one most likely to be portrayed as gay, but as it turned out, it was Sirius who finished out the series as the only good Marauder who was never seen to have a female partner).
- Going even further back in the past, we have the ambiguous ship of Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Rowling has confirmed that Dumbledore was gay and in love with Grindelwald, the dashing new kid in town, but her stance on Grindelwald's feelings are less clear. Grindelwald may or may not have been aware that Dumbledore loved him; he may or may not have been manipulating Dumbledore for his own gain; but plenty of fans like the tragedy of Grindelwald truly loving Dumbledore back, and their differing ambitions driving them apart.
Live Action TV
- In Doctor Who, fans tend to support the idea of any pairing with the Doctor as being unrequited. It's a very popular idea that the Doctor is asexual, but seeing as his very first appearance ever also included his granddaughter, it's quite safe to say that he's not. One novel in the Expanded Universe (not part of the TV show main canon) states that Time Lords never have sex, but instead weave their children on looms. A later novel has human companion Bernice Summerfield simply tackling the Doctor to a bed and merrily having her way with him, but the author was forced into a Fade to Black (which got lampshaded again in a Big Finish audio, twelve years later). Big Finish Doctor Who also has a serious Anguished Declaration of Love between the Doctor and human companion Charlotte, which becomes a major plot point — but the Doctor makes it very clear that he did not mean it that way, and the two spend a lot of time arguing about her "yearning" for him. The issue is often explicitly addressed in the new series: the Doctor realises that a relationship with a human just won't work, and tells his companions so, time and time again. However, writers Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat and Paul Cornell all enjoy writing the Doctor as flirty and quite sexual, and enjoy coming up with in-story reasons for him to kiss people and for implying quite a bit more on occasion. And as of 2010 canon, there was that... thing with Queen Bess. Now with bingo card◊!
- In the same way, many people ship one-sided Maria/Rani—>Sarah Jane in The Sarah Jane Adventures since conventional shipping would be... icky.
- Jaqueline Pearce, who played Servalan in Blakes7, is on record as starboarding her character with Avon. Evidence for this in canon is... inconsistent, to put it mildly.
- In Oz, the pairing of Ryan O'Reily/Dr. Nathan actually had quite a few "starboarders" Abandon Shipping when she actually returned his feelings. Apparently, most of them liked it precisely because it was a screwed up, one-sided Mind Game Ship.
- iCarly has starboarding based on the canon "non pairing" of Freddie -> Carly. There is also some Sam -> Spencer starboarding, usually when they keep Sam the same age as she is in the show (about 15), Spencer not returning affection due to Sam being under age and/or because she's Carly's best friend. During a storyarc that appeared to be leading to an eventual canon Sam/Freddie pairing, there was some Carly -> Freddie starboarding, which is basically an Unrequited Love Switcheroo. Now that the show finished with a Carly/Freddie pairing, there is now Sam -> Freddie starboarding with many of the fandom declaring Sam 'too good' for Freddie after his 'betrayal'.
- Mash: This is what usually happens with Radar, due to his age and innocence, with the main fan pairings being either Radar/Hawkeye or Radar/Henry.
- Star Trek: Voyager: There's actually a surprising amount of evidence that Tom Paris had feelings for Captain Janeway, at least in the early seasons, although whether or not she returned them is certainly up for debate.
- Firefly: One could easily see implications of River -> Mal if one wanted to, especially during/after the Big Damn Movie.
- An in-universe example appears in Dollhouse, where Bennett has an intense but unspoken lesbian attraction toward Caroline, but it isn't reciprocated. Later on, when Caroline (apparently) leaves Bennett to die, this has some serious repercussions, as Bennett goes from love to hate very quickly.
- Actually, it was never confirmed whether it was reciprocated. Or in fact whether Bennett was actually in love with her, or just clinging to the only close friend she ever had. Many of the fandom choose to believe that they actually did have a relationship.
- Some people in the L&O:SVU fandom are of the opinion that Olivia -> Alex, particularly since everyone thinks she's a lesbian. Of course, straight Olivia/Alex is way more fun, and it's Law & Order - it's all conjecture anyway.
- There's a good case to be made for Troy -> Abed in Community. Though they're canonically best friends to the exclusion of pretty much every other relationship, their more intense/romantic moments all tend to come from Troy, while Abed either rebuffs him with a pop culture reference or appears unaware of Troy's emotions. At a dangerous moment, Troy tells Abed flat-out that he loves him; Abed's response is to complete the moment with a quote Star Wars. Their relationship functions just fine, but there are some big hints that Troy might harbor slightly deeper feelings, while Abed verges on asexual and doesn't tend to respond to romantic or social cues in the normal manner.
- Also from the L&O universe, Law & Order: Criminal Intent provides a lot of suggestion that Bobby Goren is deeply, if quietly, in love with Alexandra Eames, who is his partner, co-conspirator, best friend, and Berserk Button. It's less clear whether she returns the feelings, partly because she's still grieving for her murdered husband, although the finale drops some possible hints that she does.
- There's a number of Supernatural fans that see Castiel having serious feelings for Dean, but not the other way around.
- In S6, the angel Balthazar apparently shared this opinion about Castiel's feelings, although there are also those who believe Balthazar had one-sided feelings for Cas himself, which further complicates matters.
- There's another faction that believes the opposite, with Dean—the series' troubled, self-loathing family doormat—pining after the emotionless angel Castiel. It was made murky later on when Castiel slowly turns human and actually gains emotions, but once Castiel is re-"angelfied" and his faith in God restored, he sees no problem in leaving Dean to fly off to Heaven. In Season 6, he only appeared when he needs something from Dean, and Dean does not seem to have forgiven him.
- However, the reveal at the end of S6 that Castiel made a Deal with the Devil rather than ask Dean for help and drag him away from his ideal life with his girlfriend and adopted son only further fueled the idea that Castiel has serious feelings for Dean, with many comparing the situation to the I Want My Beloved to Be Happy trope. In hindsight, the entitled and insulting way Dean treated Castiel when he did show up is almost painful to watch, knowing it all led up to Cas not telling Dean about the deal with Crowley until it was too late for Dean to convince him to stop, leading to Cas succumbing to With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, proclaiming himself as the new God, and ordering Dean and the others to declare their love for him. The entire affair is incredibly tragic.
- Cat from Victorious seems to have a crush on Jade, who is currently dating Beck. Many a fanfic has explored this more in-depth.
- Also, Tori for Beck, who is dating Jade.
- Many fans of The X-Files assume that in the first seasons, one of the main characters is in love with the other, who does not reciprocate it.
- There's much more evidence that Pete has romantic feelings for Myka than the other way around, especially since Myka is obviously in love with HG. He's told her how beautiful she is and even admitted that he loves her, but they're probably just Platonic Life Partners since he's very supportive when she likes someone.
- In Metal Gear Solid 3, the pairing of Ocelot/Big Boss. Everyone is cool with the idea that Ocelot has a giant, unrequited crush on Big Boss. Fewer seem to feel the need for Big Boss to ever return it. Admittedly, if he spent time returning the feelings for every person who had a crush on him, he wouldn't get anything done.
- Kingdom Hearts II: A lot of Axel/Roxas fans ship the idea of it being unrequited on Axel's part. Particularly helped by how cold Roxas is (complete with him saying "You're not my friend" in the novels).
- There's also the Ventus/Vanitas pairing from Birth by Sleep. Though YMMV.
- A lot of fics and doujinshi in the Fate/stay night fandom involve a character (or multiple characters) having an unrequited crush on Shirou. Justified, as it's based on a game with a Road Cone, and he can return the affections of all of his love interests, but usually only one at a time...Unless it's Issei, in which case not even fandom can get Shirou to return it.
- Psychonauts Milla Vodello is hinted to have feelings for Sasha Nein, and a cut scene involves Milla fantasizing a makeout session with him, but within the game there is no evidence that he sees her as more than a friend and colleague.
- It's unclear whether that's a fantasy or a memory...
- It's highly recognized in the Mega Man fandom that Ciel of Mega Man Zero has very blatant feelings for the eponymous hero, regardless of her being human and his being a
Reploid highly-advanced robot. It's also generally accepted that most of it is probably unrequited due to Zero's very broken past (although there're shades of chastity there, too). However, there's still the fact that Zero's very willing to die fighting for her ideals, and he does. You can't help but feel sorry for the poor girl...
- Project Origin. Dear GOD, Project Origin. Alma wants Beckett, and she's damn well gonna get him.
- Fatal Fury's Mai Shiranui is absolutely smitten by Andy Bogard, but Andy, being a Celibate Hero who also knows her since they were children, isn't having any of it. So unless we talk about The Movie, poor Mai is doomed to be the Unlucky Childhood Friend.
- In Ace Attorney fandom, Gumshoe regularly gets this kind of shipping with Edgeworth, whether or not Edgeworth is being paired with anyone else. It's not much of a stretch from canon, given his apparent hero-worship and tendency to follow Edgeworth around like a dog seeking praise.
- Although, from another perspective, it could just be that Gumshoe is very, very lonely in general, and is out for just about any attention he can get. The manual for Justice For All offers a jokey sort of explanation for where all that confetti comes from when Phoenix wins a case; Gumshoe spends his free time cutting it all out himself, and apparently throws it out at the conclusion of any case where he's present without any particular favor. Edgeworth doesn't appreciate the gesture quite as much as Phoenix does. That guy's not interested in sex; he's just happy you're willing to take twenty seconds to look and register the light reflecting off him onto your retinas.
- Canon example: In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, it's revealed that Layton's sweetheart Claire, ten years deceased, was the Love Interest of two men other than her actual boyfriend. One was her boss, Dimitri Allen, whose affections she acknowledged but was unable to return because she was already in love with Hershel. The other was Don Paolo, who attended the same university as Layton and Claire and was in love with her from a distance; not only does she not appear to have been aware of his feelings for her, it's debatable whether she even knew he existed.
- In the Inazuma Eleven fandom, several pairs of the form "<character> -> Endou" seem to be quite popular, probably because Endou is a completely oblivious Chaste Hero who gets along great with everyone.
- In Rift, Word of God has hinted that Uriel Chuluun's crush on Kira Thanos is canon. Whether or not Kira reciprocates, on the other hand, is a matter of debate.
- Canonically, Karkat from Homestuck has a Caliginous crush on John. However, John can't return these feelings, partly because he's straight and partly because he just doesn't have it in him to hate someone like that. Although the first issue is pretty easy to work around in fiction (after all, he's 13 - what 13-year-old can so decisively say what their orientation is?), the latter...isn't. However, Karkat's hatecrush is, in the eyes of many, either a great opportunity for angst or goddamn adorable. (Or both!) Thus, while fic involving matespritships or moirallegiances are common between these two, fic where Karkat has a one-sided wish for John to be his kismesis are also quite popular.
- Similarly, most Feferi/Eridan fics (a painful relationship which ended very badly in canon) focus on the couple struggling, or the tragedy of Eridan's unrequited feelings for her- even if the fic itself isn't set in canon.
- Another canonical one-sided pairing is Dirk/Jake, which is just as often angsty and unrequited as it does actually involve them getting together. Though later updates which gave the ship a lot more subtext and genuine possibility have changed this a bit.
- One anachronistic pesterlog revealed that Gamzee apparently had a crush on Tavros, and enough that he later mourned Tavros and romantically kissed his dead body despite having, by that point, undergone a massive Freak Out that left him an Omnicidal Maniac. Tavros's feelings for Gamzee are deliberately unexplored, but the panel showing his reaction to Gamzee's soliciations is an Homage Shot to a Problem Sleuth panel which was captioned "You cannot do it. You cannot tap that ass." This suggests to a lot of fans that even if Tavros had felt anything towards Gamzee, he was emotionally unable to pursue his affections either because of his lack of self-esteem or because of fear of Vriska, his Stalker with a Crush.
- El Goonish Shive: Justin, who is gay, has had a crush on Elliot since they met. However, Elliot is with Sarah. Fans love this ship, and Dan even did a sketchbook entry because of this.
- X-Men: Evolution: The Rogue/Scott pairing is sometimes written this way. This one's got canon support, though: Rogue's one-sided crush on Scott as seen in the show was seen as being much more interesting than Scott and Jean's relationship.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender :
- Isabella of Phineas and Ferb has a has huge crush on Phineas, who seems completely oblivious. (Well, most of the time he does.)
- Fanfiction often does this with Keef -> Invader Zim.
- While there are fans would like to see them actually get together, many bronies feel this way about Spike's crush on Rarity - finding it endearing while believing they wouldn't work as an actual couple. The relatively minimalistic (and thus ambiguous) Ship Tease throughout the second season has served to stoke the flames of speculation on both sides of the argument even further.
- Bronies also sometimes like to depict Twilight as having one-sided feelings for her teacher, Princess Celestia.
- Another common one is Fluttershy confessing to Big Mac but then discovering he was already with someone else, usually another member of the Mane 6.
- After the Young Justice episode "Coldhearted" aired, many squeed at the idea of 12-year-old Queen Perdita having a Precocious Crush on Kid Flash. It's deemed harmless and cute enough that many of the Perdita -> Wally fans are also fans of him paired more seriously with another character.
- Many shippers' view on Spitfire Vs. Traught is that Dick had(?) a crush on Artemis and simply never said anything because he knew that his best friend Wally liked her. Not helped by Season 2 (when Dick gave Artemis CPR during her faked death, stared at a five-year-old picture he took of himself and Artemis, and the brief fight scene with Tigress). As the second scene took place in private, the ambiguity is somewhat suspicious.
- There are Gravity Falls fans who find Dipper's Precocious Crush on Wendy adorable without shipping them.
- Similarly above, in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends some fans think the same with Mac shipped with Frankie.
- In Sidekick, Kitty has a stalkerish crush on Eric, who is more into Vana.