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Fan Preferred Couple / Anime & Manga

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  • Attack on Titan has several examples.
    • Eren/Levi without a doubt, to the point that it ranked 5th in Tumblr's 2014 most reblogged ships of all fandoms as seen here.
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    • Connie and Sasha are Birds of a Feather, and seeing them paired with anyone else is incredibly rare.
    • 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.
  • Among all of Aki's possible love interests in Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts, Hideyoshi is the only one that has yet to physically assault him. And as of the later light novels, the feeling is apparently mutual.
  • 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.
  • Beyblade:
    • The most popular ship for the original Bakuten Shoot Beyblade anime bar none is Takao/Kai.
    • Metal Fight Beyblade fans often ship Ginga and his rival Kyoya.
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    • Shipping Valt and his best friend Shu has caught on with Beyblade Burst fans, especially in Japan.
  • Many fans of The Big O prefer lead character Roger Smith to be with Dorothy Waynewright over Angel.
  • In the Binbogami Ga fandom, the Pixiv fanartists are very much in favor of Ichiko and Momiji over the former's canonical love interest Keita.
  • Most Black Butler fans ship Sebastian/Ciel, even Word of God repeatedly state that they are only using each other for personal gain. As for their canon romantic options, Ciel is engaged to Elizabeth, while the only thing Sebastian genuinely loves is cats.
  • Bleach:
    • As the two primary main cast characters, Ichigo/Rukia is extremely popular among fans even though Word of God has stated that their relationship is "close, but not romantic". The anime also supports this ship and inserts a lot of filler material to give them Ship Tease that doesn't exist in the canon material. The Distant Finale revealed that Ichigo and Rukia respectively married Orihime and Renji, much to many a fan's consternation.
    • The major slash pairings are Ikkaku/Yumichika, Kyouraku/Ukitake and Yoruichi/Soifon. Canonically, the first two are both Heterosexual Life-Partner examples and the third is a mentor/student Undying Loyalty relationship. However, both the fandom and the animators love shipping them together and find any excuse to do so.
  • Daikichi and Yukari from Bunny Drop are this. They have their Ship Tease and fans find the idea of two single parents up together adorable, however come the manga timeskip and it turns out it didn't work between them due to the fact Rin and Kouki end up dating. The manga's Official Couple is Daikichi and Rin, the kid he's been raising since she was six. Both the anime adaptation and Live-Action Adaptation ignore the manga and leave open endings with plenty of implications that Daikichi and Yukari will end up together.
  • Cage of Eden: Akira/Mami has started rapidly gaining popularity, even though Akira/Rion was the official pairing.
  • Cardcaptor 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 Ceres, Celestial Legend 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...
  • 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. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection resulted in much rejoicing because it created an alternate timeline where Lulu/CC is canon.
    • And when it comes to slash ships, Lelouch/Suzaku is the most famous and has the most fan material. It helps that the creators and marketing team caught on to this and released quite a lot of homoerotic official products of them.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Spike has a canon love interest in Julia, but the majority of fans prefer him with Faye. 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.
  • 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.
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School had a ship war between the 74th Class trio. Munakata/Juzo vs Munakata/Chisa vs Juzo/Chisa, being that there were heavy implications that Munakata and Chisa were an Official Couple. Ultimately, with The Reveal that Chisa was a Remnant of Despair who had been actively pushing Munakata into despair and took part in killing Chiaki and Episode 10 of Side:Despair revealing that Juzo was in love with Munakata, ultimately, doing a Heroic Sacrifice and saving the last participants of the Final Killing Game in exchange of bleeding to death, Juzo/Munakata quickly toppled the other two ships.
  • 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.
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Despite the Ship Tease between Laios and Marcille, fans widely prefer Marcile/Falin and Laios/Kabru; the former because of their extremely close relationship, to the point of sharing a bed and bathing together; and the later due to their contrasting characterization, good looks, and Kabru's obsessiveness towards Laios.
  • Den-noh 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.
  • Detective Conan: During the early parts of the series, it was heavily implied that Shiho/Ai, was in love with the main character Shinichi/Conan. Both characters had personalities that fans found complemented each other more naturally with the whole Deadpan Snarker schtick. However as the series went on, the creators almost completely erased all mention of Shiho/Shinichi Ship Tease material and now, they’re just True Companions. A large majority of fans of the series still prefers Shiho/Shinichi due to how their personality plays off each other as opposed to the canon Ran/Shinichi.
  • DEVILMAN crybaby doesn't end in good prospects for any of its pairings, and the romantic stuff that is there tends to lean on All Love Is Unrequited. Nonetheless, most of the fandom seems to rally behind shipping Ryo/Akira with a side of Love Redeems to resolve the aforementioned ending troubles, and Miki/Miko to tie up the major romantic loose end this creates and validate their final interaction.
  • Digimon: With its dozens and dozens of characters over the years, there's been all sorts of contention. Digimon fans grew up with the rise of the internet, so these are some of the earliest Fan Preferred Couples online.
    • Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02:
      • In a rather infamous example of Relationship Writing Fumble and Depending on the Writer, Taichi and Sora became a vastly more popular couple than the canonically-intended couple of Yamato and Sora. Show director Hiroyuki Kakudou had always planned for Sora and Yamato to end up together, with Sora and Taichi simply being Just Friends. Sora and Yamato being married with kids was even a part of the original finale to Adventure but he scrapped this as he thought the characters were too young. Even the production staff appeared to ship Sora with Taichi instead as they admitted they were used to the main boy ending up with main girl (which was a cliche that Kakudou himself was specifically trying to avoid) and some of the voice actors expressed a preference for Taichi/Sora (including Mayumi Yamaguchi, the VA for Yamato's Digimon partner Gabumon). Mamoru Hosoda, who directed Our War Game seemed to imply that Sora had a crush on Taichi, although this "crush" was never a thing in the original Adventure and 02. Naturally, the fans were all thrown for a loop when Kakudou forced the issue by having Sora and Yamato become a couple during the 02 Christmas Episode despite their relative lack of relationship development prior. This is much worse in the English dub, which put in a lot of Ship Tease for Tai and Sora which was never there in the Japanese versions and Jeff Nimoy (the man in charge of the dub) has even apologized for changing up the script so much. The lack of romance in Adventure meant it was possible for Sora to have ended up with anyone and the Yamato/Sora relationship went over with Japanese audiences much easier than it did with Western ones as a result (it also enjoys a much warmer reception in other countries with dubs more faithful to the original Japanese version, such as in South Korea). Later sequels and video games such as tri. and the PSP video game attempted to spin the Yamato-Sora-Taichi relationship off as a Love Triangle because of how inconsistent the writing has become.
      • Takeru and Hikari (Yamato and Taichi's younger siblings, respectively) were the show's most popular Toy Ship, period, which unfortunately led to some vicious Ship-to-Ship Combat when 02 fashioned a Love Triangle with them and newcomer Daisuke, though Takeru remains the more popular suitor, if only because he's the incumbent.
      • While Ken and Miyako wound up married in the finale, most fans shipped Ken with Daisuke instead, since they have very little in-show support other than her having a massive crush on him that he generally didn't notice much, as well as the Foe Yay between Ken and Daisuke, while Ken was still Digimon Kaiser, and their huge amounts Ho Yay, after Ken joined the main group. In fact, on Archive of Our Own the pairing outranks all others from the whole franchise.
    • Digimon Tamers: Ruki Makino is Tamers' Launcher of a Thousand Ships, and is more commonly shipped with costars Takato (in the west) or Jianliang (in Japan) than she is with Ryo, who's the closest thing she has to a canonical Love Interest. The Ruki/Takato pairing even supersedes the canonical Takato/Juri, and has a large number of interpretations ranging from Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy (Ruki's Tsundere and Takato's Adorkable) to Slap-Slap-Kiss to Twice Shy. Meanwhile, Ruki and Jian are commonly portrayed as Red Oni, Blue Oni (in that order) with a few shades of Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl.
    • 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.
    • Digimon Fusion: 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.
  • Dragon Ball, quite a few.
    • An example comes from the voice actors surprisingly. As Bulma and Yamcha's seiyu reportedly didn’t like the fact Bulma hooked with Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z, seeing as it threw away the growth the couple had throughout the early series and felt out of character for Yamcha to play the field.
      • Really Vegeta and Bulma only got together for the sake of plot and getting another Saiyan into the picture aka Trunks. Lampshaded in Dragon Ball: That Time I Got Reincarnated as Yamcha!, where the kid who is reincarnated as Yamcha loves Bulma but realizes that being her boyfriend and not training got Yamcha killed and secondly he has to let Vegeta get her for the sake of billions of people in the future.
    • A good chunk of the fanbase actually like Goku and Bulma together, since they’ve had such strong connection from the start and Bulma becomes attracted to Goku seeing him as a grown man. But ultimately he ends up with Chi-Chi; lampshaded by Bulma herself where she reflects how lucky she could’ve been to be his wife but understands she really missed the boat on that one.
    • One particularly painful example is Tien and Launch (particularly her mischievous blonde side) who have more fan support than most ships in the franchise but Launch was Put on a Bus (forever) despite all the ship teasing in Dragon Ball. Akira Toriyama said in a 2013 interview they do not end up together but remain good friends. It got especially annoying in Dragon Ball Super when some chick called Yurin was introduced as some weird Foe Yay for Tien all while Launch’s existence was continuously ignored.
    • Thanks to Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi a lot of fans ship Bardock and his female teammate Celipa/Fasha together and even speculated that she was Goku's mother as she's the one who reminds Bardock of the exact date of Goku's birth. When Dragon Balll Minus introduced Gine, a good deal of fans still preferred Bardock with Fasha, it wasn't until Dragon Ball Super: Broly that the majority came around on Gine.
    • Some people also hate Videl Satan to the point where they ship Gohan with someone else, usually someone like filler character Lime or sideline nice-girl Erasa.
    • Similarly some fans detest Chi-Chi and ship Goku with Caulifa from Super.
    • A lot of fans of Dragon Ball GT thought Goten and Bra, as well as Trunks and Pan should eventually hook as way of uniting Goku and Vegeta’s families and ensuring the survival of the Saiyan-line on Earth.
    • Ho Yay side, a good chunk of fans actually prefer rivals Goku and Vegeta together rather being with their respective wives.
  • Episode 13 of Dog Days gives Cinque/Millhi as the Official Couple, but there's a lot of fanart out there for Cinque/Eclair.
  • Durarara!!: Despite the creator's insistence that the two will never get together Shizuo/Izaya continues to be the most popular ship in the fandom. While neither character officially hooks up with anyone, the novels imply that Shizuo has feelings for Vorona (even if he's not aware of it), while Izaya claims to love all humanity except Shizuo.
  • In Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor, main characters Kazuki, Soushi, and Maya are supposed to be in a Love Triangle, with Soushi liking Maya who in turn is in love with an oblivious Kazuki. The thing is, Kazuki and Soushi have some great chemistry together, share a lot of very intimate moments, and Maya thinks that Kazuki would rather be with Soushi than with her. All of this has turned Kazuki/Soushi into an overwhelmingly popular pairing, to the point that shippy fanart about the two makes up about a third of all Fafner fanworks hosted on pixiv (for a reference, that's ten times as much fanart as Maya has, and she managed to avoid Die for Our Ship rather well). Before the sequel Exodus came out, Fafner's official website hosted a poll asking fans to choose their favorite moments in the franchise. Out of the five winners, four were scenes of Kazuki and Soushi bonding and showing affection for each other.
  • Fate/stay night: Although Rin is technically a love interest to Shirou Emiya, fans generally prefer to ship her with her Servant Archer instead, due to their snarky relationship which mixes elements of Mistress and Servant Boy and Lady and Knight together. Ironically, Archer is a version of Shirou Emiya from the future, albeit one who is heavily jaded by his experiences.
  • Fate/Apocrypha: Fans tend to find Jeanne/Sieg very dull, whether it's due to being too similar to the already lukewarm Shirou/Saber, their lack of chemistry, the apparent jump to love interests happening far too quickly, or just not liking Sieg. Because of this, people who like Sieg tend to prefer him with Astolfo, who is more popular, contrasts Sieg better, and has more evident chemistry. It also frees up Jeanne, who can end up with Mordred, Marie Antoinette, or her own Alter counterpart. This one even got some official acknowledgement in Learning with Manga, where Gudao watching the show immediately interprets the two as a couple, and even gets jealous over it.
  • Food Wars!: Soma Yukihira and Erina Tariki tends to be the most supported pairing in fan works and forum discussions, despite Megumi Tadokoro having a number of Ship Tease moments with Soma.
  • Fruits Basket is a shipping goldmine! While many support the cannonical 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.
    • Interestingly enough, there was a pretty respectable contingent of Haru/Akito shippers... but only when Akito was thought to be a boy.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • 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; many other characters acknowledging it, and the mangaka herself needing to address why they don't happen. 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 2003 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, who was 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 Winry with Sheska. The same reasons above only made people ship it more, even some EdWin fans.
    • There is also a relatively small but determined faction which prefers to pair Winry with Alphonse. It's also a popular Ship Mate for Ed/Roy or Ed/Rose.
    • For those few fans who include Noah in their fanworks, she's usually shipped off with Alphonse. This leaves Ed open to date alter!Roy, alter!Winry, or Alfons.
  • Fushigi Yuugi:
    • Many 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.
    • Nuriko/Tasuki also has their share of fans. It helps that their English voice actors actually got married.
  • Ostensibly, the main pairing of Ga-Rei is Kensuke/Kagura. However, the prequel, Ga-Rei -Zero-, focuses on Kagura's relationship with the otherwise minor character Yomi - and as it turns out, said relationship turned out to be a lot more compelling, in spite of (or even helped by) being Doomed by Canon. That Zero is the more popular of the two overall doesn't hurt, nor does the most famous scene in the franchise being the two of them playing pocky game.
  • Gakuen Babysitters: Later in the plot, the protagonist Ryuuichi is in the middle of a love triangle in which the Tsundere Inomata and the Shrinking Violet Ushimaru try to get with him. Most fans however tend to ship Ryuuichi with Kamitani. It's somewhat Hilarious in Hindsight as it's implied that Ushimaru envies how close the two men are, if not outright recognizing Kamitani as another love rival.
    • Connected to it, as the two girls befriend, a lot of fans started to ship them with each other rather than Ryuuichi.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Great Pretender fandom is heavily focused on the Makoto/Laurent ship, moreso than the ship teased Makoto/Abbie, and the formerly-canon-but-now-over Laurent/Dorothy. The two have a rather Ho Yay-laden relationship, with Laurent having a bad case of No Sense of Personal Space where Makoto is concerned, his constant teasing, and calling him by the Affectionate Nickname "Edamame." There are hints in-series that this is intentional—when Laurent playfully flirts with his associate Cynthia (and informs her he's doing so), she responds, "I thought Edamame was your favorite?" While it's left ambiguous whether she's referencing a genuine attraction on Laurent's part or just teasing him about his favoritism, fans latched on to the former interpretation.
  • While the official pairing in Guilty Crown is quite obviously Shu and Inori, many fans actually consider Ayase or Hare as better romantic partners.
  • Despite the No Hugging, No Kissing tone of Haibane Renmei, and slight Ship Tease between Reki and a childhood friend of hers, Rakka/Reki is the most popular ship.
  • ''Haikyuu!!: Many fans like the idea of Kanoka getting together with her crush Tanaka who at the very least supports and admires her. Even after Tanaka marries Shimizu, some still prefer him to be with Kanoka.
  • Tsukushi was originally supposed to end up with Rui in Boys over Flowers 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.
  • The most popular Hellsing couples are Alucard/Integra, Alucard/Seras, Pip/Seras and Alucard/Walter (the young or Dark Walter versions...which is ironic since canonically Alucard refers to Walter's natural, elderly body as being trillions of times more beautiful than his artificially youthened one).
    • Walter/Girlycard. Sometimes, the fans make Alucard take his girl form (aka Girlycard) in Alucard/Walter stories.
  • Despite him being an Official Couple with Rias Gremory for around 10 volumes, the protagonist of High School Dx D, Issei Hyodo, gets shipped more often with Akeno Himejima than with Rias. This is partly due to their personalities being more or less in harmony: Issei is a Lovable Sex Maniac with an eternal fixation for the female breasts, while Akeno is a tease-happy sadomasochist - as well as a Yamato Nadeshiko, and also has the largest recorded rack among all the girls in the series with an astounding 40". This is further helped by Akeno being the first girl in the harem that Issei goes out on a date with. Something worth noting is the near-total lack of any Ship-to-Ship Combat for this one - according to both Word of God and the text, Issei/Akeno is just as canon as Issei/Rias, and Akeno gets a kick out of being the "mistress".
  • 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.
  • Inuyasha: A vast majority of the fandom is very evenly split between pairing Sesshomaru with either Rin or Kagome, ignoring his canonical Implied Love Interest status with Kagura. The reason for the even split is because Rin is eight years old and (though he doesn't directly admit it because that would mean admitting he actually cares about a human) Sesshomaru's adopted daughter, and therefore causes controversial Wife Husbandry support/squick debates. Kagome's status as the Girl Next Door character makes her an extremely seductive, and less controversial, Wish Fulfillment alternative for shipping fans.
  • 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/Okuyasu (in western countries), Josuke/Rohan (in eastern countries), Giorno/Mista, Jolyne/Ermes, and Johnny/Gyro. Jonathan/Erina and Josuke/Yasuho are pretty much the only canon protagonist romances to stick. Of the non-JoJo related couples, Bruno/Trish and Diego/Hot Pants prove to be quite popular.
  • 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 Couple according to the Light Novel is Natsuru and Akane, while the anime opted for the "everyone wins" route. The manga has Shizuku winning.
  • Amongst the Kill la Kill fandom by far the most popular ship is Ryuko/Satsuki that tends to have at least twice as many fanfics written about the two then any other pairing. The Reveal that the two of them are actually long lost sisters doesn't seem to have petered most of the fandom at all, if anything it's actually made the pairing stronger. The popular Shipmates for the two seem to be Mako/Gamagoori (it helps that Gamagoori seems to have feelings for Mako In-Universe anyway). A lot of this was changed by the ending, however, when Mako asks Ryuko on a date. Preferences after that went in the direction of a Ryuko-Mako-Satsuki OT3.
  • Kiss Him, Not Me: For those who like yuri, Serinuma/Nishina is probably the preferred ship, helped by the fact that Nishina is legitimately part of Serinuma's harem and she shares a lot of good points with Mutsumi.
  • Little Witch Academia: Despite some hinting towards Akko/Andrew, fans (and even some of the crew) would much rather have Akko/Diana as the end game, given the large amount of development their relationship had over Akko's relationship with Andrew. Enough so that Andrew's original intent as a canonical love interest was vetoed early in development; aforementioned hintings being a compromise/reference to his initial purpose. Not enough, however, to make the preferred pairing canonical, as they've gone on record saying it will never leave the realm of fanworks.
  • Lucky Star: There are quite a few fans who choose to believe that Ayano isn't dating Misao's unseen older brother, but rather, this is a euphemism to cover up her relationship with Misao herself.
  • MÄR:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Many fans of Midori Days seem to prefer Ayase/Seiji more than the official couple.
  • The amount of Domon/Allenby shipping in Mobile Fighter 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.
  • 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. The fact that Athrun/Cagalli were broken up in canon seemingly because of a real-life feud between the head writer and Cagalli's seiyuu has, if anything, made fans ship it even harder out of defiance.
  • Mobile Suit 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 precisely because of that 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.
  • My Hero Academia: All Might/Inko became a popular pairing after Chapter 97 after the former admitted he admired her, not only for her resemblance to his deceased mentor, but her personality too. Despite Inko being canonically still married to Izuku's father, several fans prefer to simply ignore this fact either by portraying All Might as Midoriya's father or Inko as being divorced (helped by said father being The Ghost).
  • My-HiME: Many 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.
  • Naruto ran for 15 years with no Official Couples in sight for the teenaged cast until the very end. Do the Shipper frustration math yourself.
    • Naruto/Sasuke has been going strong ever since their Accidental Kiss in Chapter 3. Naruto/Sasuke is the most popular pairing on FanFiction.net and ArchiveOfOurOwn.org. It helps that the anime showcases a lot of rather... romantic moments between them, either in Filler or the openings and endings. You can see the Naruto Ho Yay page for more details, where they have an entire folder.
    • While Sakura does marry Sasuke and have his child, a good many fans still prefer her with Rock Lee, Sai and aforementioned Naruto simply because Sasuke treats her so goddamn terribly. Kishimoto did acknowledge the flaws in Sakura’s love for Sasuke, but stated she would be a “terrible person” if she moved on from her Single-Target Sexuality—though given she’s labeled as The Scrappy by a majority of fans because of her obsession with Sasuke, having her move on like Ino (who was also very attracted to Sasuke) did when she married Sai would’ve likely been a point in Sakura’s favour. Especially to the unforgiving fandom.
    • 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. Though with that said Tsunade did say to Jiraiya she might’ve give him a chance then he dies soon after while Tsunade hides her tears and remains single forever.
  • In Nightwalker the main character, Shido, has a Friends with Benefits relationship with his colleague Yayoi, and his evil vampire dad really wants to get back together with him. Plenty of fans prefer either one, but the show goes for a surprise Last-Minute Hookup and pairs Shido with his adoring, high school-aged vampire daughter.
  • Ouran High School Host Club, being a Reverse Harem series, has a lot of this:
    • Going by amount of fan fics and communities, it looks like Haruhi/Kyouya counts as this. Maybe it's Kyouya's more ominous and even humorously evil personality in contrast to the sweet but dumb and clingy Tamaki or maybe it's fans just plain not wanting the independent Haruhi to end up with a Manchild like its a sitcom. Kyouya respects her intelligence and independent nature while Haruhi can match wits with Kyouya- seeing through his lies and cool facade to the good-natured man afraid of being seen as soft underneath.
    • Haruhi/Hikaru also counts across more avenues of fandom. While both the twins care for Haruhi, it is the more-clueless Hikaru that must be pushed into recognizing his feelings by his brother that gets the most time with Haruhi. The two get entire episodes together, showcasing their quirky dynamic of the unflappable, Only Sane Man Haruhi with the rich but savvy Hikaru. Helping matters is that Haruhi is the only person ever able to tell the twins apart, allowing the two to feel like their own persons for the first time in their lives; something that they have always wanted but dreaded at the same time.
    • Hikaru/Kaoru is the third most popular pairing on fanfiction.net. Not surprising, given how incredibly close to two are and just by the virtue of their club gimmick hyping up their relationship so much.
    • Though Honey gets a female love interest in the manga, most of the fans still prefer him with Mori.
  • Some fans of Paprika have lots of trouble accepting that Chiba loves Tokita, and would rather have had her end up with Konakawa. This ignores how the fake ending with Konakawa and Chiba kissing in the sunset is supposed to be making fun of trite, cliché movie endings, which implies that pairing them together would have made for a really, really bland and predictable ship.
  • Pretty Cure has quite a few (it is a yuri-implied series, after all)
  • Project K has Kuroh/Shiro, and Mikoto/Munakata to the point where it's rare to see them shipped with anyone else. Though the best example in the series is probably the Fushimi/Yata ship that has both very overwhelming and enthusiastic support from both the Japanese and western fandoms. The creators are very aware of the fan preferred couples and often pander to them.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Though it doesn't compare to the juggernaut of Kyouko/Sayaka, Hitomi's most popular pairing is not with her canon paramour, Kyousuke, but instead with Sayaka. Technically, Kyousuke/Hitomi is more common, but that's only because it gets Kyousuke out of the way in Kyouko/Sayaka; the pairing itself has few actual fans. If Hitomi is a main character, most of the time, she'll be paired up with Sayaka. This is only helped along by the PSP game directly suggesting that Hitomi is interested in other girls, despite her protestations to the contrary.
  • In Ranma ½: Ryoga Hibiki is almost always paired with Ukyo Kunoji, rather than their respective canon suitors, Akari Unyuu and Konatsu the kunoichi, due to the fact that most of their "romance" felt like a tacked-on Last-Minute Hookup with no development.
  • Reborn! (2004):
    • A huge majority of the fandom ships Tsuna with Hibari rather than his two canon female interests. It has to do with Hibari's fixation with Tsuna's growing strength, obsessively challenging him to fights (which Tsuna always declines), his suggestive catchphrasenote , and him being the stoic Bishounen to Tsuna's naïve personality has fans shipping both by droves. It helps that Future Hibari actually respect's Tsuna's leadership in the Future Arc, which made the shippers ship them harder.
    • Sidekicks Yamamoto and Gokudera are the most popular ship among American fans, as they like to turn Gokudera into a Tsundere for Yamamoto while kicking Tsuna out of the narrative or ship him with Hibari. Some keep Gokudera's obsession with becoming Tsuna's right-hand man and give all the romantic teases to Yamamoto.
    • As for the het couple fans, a lot of rare male fans find Tsuna and Haru’s relationship much more enjoyable due to Haru’s unique personality than Tsuna and Kyoko’s stereotypical puppy love Token Romance.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 Goldfish when Mamoru was Put on a Bus.
    • Given the overwhelming amount lesbian-oriented subtext in the show, the manga, and the live-action version, the most popular secondary couples are Minako/Rei, Makoto/Ami and Hotaru/Chibiusa.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • Seiya/Shaina has quite more fans than Seiya/Saori. Also, Aioria/Marin.
    • On the Yaoi side of things, there is Hyoga/Shun and Camus/Milo as two of the most popular couples.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei
    • Many fans find the more subdued Jun Kudou to be much better to the depressive Nozomu than the cheerful Kafuka because Nozomu and Kudou's personalities mesh well together, despite rarely interacting in-series. It looks like the author picked up on it too, with Kudou starting to appear much more, coincidentally ramping up the Ho Yay between him and Nozomu. He even started appearing more than some of the girls. Played for laughs, of course, until the author decided to Throw the Dog a Bone to the fans, by revealing that Kudou has feelings for Nozomu because of the blood transfusion he received from Kafuka, thus becoming part of Nozomu's harem in the end. More specifically, it's implied Kafuka was possessing him when she married/consummated the relationship with Nozomu.
    • Despite the series being extremely obvious about pairing Nozomu/Kafuka, it wasn't a very popular pairing, because of Kafuka being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl to him, something that fans consider rather cliche. The popularity boosted upon the revelation that Kafuka was Dead All Along.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • For the Sgt. Frog fanbase, you're more likely to find fanart of Giroro with Natsumi rather than her canon crush, Saburo. There's also as much Natsumi/Koyuki fanart.
  • 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.
  • 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 overlooked.
  • Sound! Euphonium:
    • Shuuichi, Kumiko's official love interest, is largely treated as a non-entity by fans. Until proven otherwise the anime is unofficially a Yuri Genre series themed around high school band club members. The original light novel is more direct about Shuuichi and Kumiko as the Official Couple, while the anime emphasizes Kumiko's budding friendship with Reina and has incredibly heavy Ho Yay between them, treating Shuuichi like a platonic childhood friend. Word of God in the between-seasons period was somewhat rudely dismissive of Kumiko/Reina (despite the obvious baiting in the anime). Just to make things even more confusing, Kumiko seemingly confesses to a different female band member at the end of the second season, but this may also turn out to be misleading.
    • Shipping Kumiko and Asuka caught on in the second season due to their interactions together combined with the increasing emphasis on depicting Reina's unrequited crush on Taki-sensei. The fact that the anime ends on No Romantic Resolution for Kumiko and instead has her deliver an emotional (probably) Platonic Love Confession to Asuka only helped.
  • Sugata/Takuto in Star Driver. Even amongst the actual characters. Takuto/Mizuno is also liked in some circles.
  • Many fans Strawberry 100% wish that Junpei picked either Aya or Satsuki over the actual winner, Tsukasa.
  • 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.
  • Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note: When Sunahara appeared in episode 5 (animating part of the fourth novel The Egg Hamburg Steak Knows), the western viewers immediately picked up Sunahara X Aya and prefer it over the "default" Wakatake X Aya, reasoning that a Nice Guy like Sunahara is a better choice to introverted Aya than the Hot-Blooded, impulsive, and occasionally jerkass Wakatake. Although later on in the anime the direction does turn to Sunahara's side; Aya and Sunahara has mutually confessed (despite still Star Crossed), while between her and Wakatake it's more of a case of an ambiguous Just Friends plus mutual Green Eyeing.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: Kiyone and Tenchi is extremely popular with fans too, for the 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.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Viral/Adiane seems to be more popular than Adiane's canon relationship with Thymilph.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Toriko: After the time-skip, Toriko is engaged to Rin and ends up marrying her at the end of the series. However, the fact that Rin has very little relevance to the plot and that Toriko and Komatsu are much, much closer to each other with a hell lot more chemistry (in fact, Komatsu is Toriko’s chef partner, not Rin, and he is the Deuteragonist with the second most important role in the plot) have led most of the fans to ignore Toriko x Rin official status and keep on shipping Toriko x Komatsu. It doesn’t help that even after being engaged to Rin, Toriko still spends much more time thinking about Komatsu than spending a panel to think of his fiance; and at the end of the series, he leaves Rin at home to go to space with Komatsu to find ingredients, just the two of them alone. Most fans agree that Toriko x Komatsu would have been canon in a heartbeat had Komatsu been a woman and not a man.
  • The 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.
  • ×××HOLiC has the 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.
  • Rein and Eclipse from Twin Princess of Wonder Planet 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.
  • A strong portion of the (Japanese) Voice Over! Seiyu Academy fanbase ships Haruka/Hime over the Official Couple Senri/Hime.
  • 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.
  • Wandering Son:
    • Takatsuki/Chiba is the most popular pairing, what with their large amounts of Foe Yay which diminishes just into Ship Tease over time once they become best friends again. In the end however Chiba dated Fumiya while Takatsuki ends up with an unrequited crush on Nitori.
    • Takatsuki/Nitori is quite popular, which is expected from opposite gender major characters. Nitori liked Takatsuki early on but it was unrequited. This is reversed in the end as Nitori has a long-time girlfriend while Takatsuki realizes her feelings for Nitori, which are now unrequited after so many years.
    • Doi/Nitori is pretty popular amongst anime fans but not manga fans.
  • 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.
  • Fans of The World God Only Knows had been rather subtle with choosing their favorite pairing since the plot kinda resets the status quo every after conquest arc, though Keima/Haqua and Keima/Shiori tended to be the fan favorite ships. Then came the bunker-buster that was FLAG 267 where Keima confesses to Chihiro. Needless to say, a number of people were unhappy.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice:
    • J.J./Yurio was this for a bit even after the introduction of J.J.'s girlfriend Isabella, who shared his arrogance. It died down both when Isabella showed her sweeter side (supporting J.J. after his disastrous GPF short program) and when Otabek was introduced and overtook J.J. as the fandom's preferred Yurio love interest.
    • Christophe is shown to be close with a nameless man who may or may not be his boyfriend, but their relationship is rarely found in fanfiction other than as a secondary couple. When Christophe is the focus, it's way more common for fans to pair him with Phichit or other major characters.
  • Yu Yu 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.

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