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Foe Yay Shipping

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"Is that what you want, Peepers? For me to marry the person I hate the most in the entire universe?"
Lord Hater, Wander over Yonder

So there's these two characters, right? And they spend 95% of their time thinking about each other, what the other one's planning or doing, and whenever they converse their dialogue is incredibly emotionally charged. Fortunately, there's a nice family-friendly explanation: they're arch-enemies, right? Right...

This audience reaction trope happens when fans interpret subtextual marks of sexual tension in a tense, antagonistic, or outright violent relationship, and subsequently write Fan Fic and make Fan Art where the arch-enemies love each other. They might write plots that end in a Dating Catwoman resolution, or use The Power of Love to induce a Heel–Face Turn (or more rarely, induce a Face–Heel Turn), or exploit the existing dynamics to show a romantic relationship that's dysfunctional or outright abusive. If the antagonist's one-sided crush is already canonically admitted, in these Fan Fics the protagonist might believe that Stalking Is Love, and reciprocate the feelings.


Psychologically speaking, this is generally the result of a principle known as misattribution of arousal. For more explanation, see analysis.

Compare to Belligerent Sexual Tension and Foe Romance Subtext, where there's actual romantic tension between the characters.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan fandom predictably has a huge amount of Eren/Annie, but there's also the less popular but still prominent Mikasa/Annie.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia France and England are also a good example of this, as they are often seen fighting over literally nothing. The ship was later turned into a gag during the movie Paint It White, where the alien's information on France and England says that they love each other, sexually.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Touma is pretty popular to ship with just about anyone, but there is a very healthy community of those who ship him with people (usually girls) that have tried at one point or another to kill him. Not like this doesn't have basis in canon, mind, as several members of his harem originally were foes who were trying to kill him, most notably Othinus, who killed him millions of times in various parallel worlds to try and break his spirit, yet ultimately fell in love with him because he was the only being who could understand her own pain.
  • Death Note: The most popular ship in the fandom is Light/L. As in the mass murderer and the detective he eventually murdered. Sometimes the fandom's reasons make little sense, but sometimes they have fairly good ones.
  • Durarara!! has Shizaya (Shizuo Heiwajima/Izaya Orihara) as its most popular pairing. The Homoerotic Subtext of their relationship is repeatedly lampshaded (especially in the anime) by other characters, most notably Yaoi Fangirl Erika, who is a prominent Shizaya shipper. Shizuo hates Izaya so much that he flies into a blind rage just by seeing him (and some times, just hearing his name), while Izaya espouses that he loves all humans — except for Shizuo, who he admits to being the only person in the world that he hates. The anime ups it a notch by having them so fixated on their rivalry that it mirrors the very disturbing romantic obsessions of other characters on the show, topped off with Hate at First Sight as the start of their relationship. It's at that point that people begin to stamp Belligerent Sexual Tension and Foe Romance Subtext on their relationship, because the Foe Yay is that rampant. Extra points for the author of the series, for being capable of both Ship Sinking and Ship Tease at the very same time. He has already stated that their relationship will never be canon, but he not only ships it, but has already written a very graphical fanfic of them together.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Winry and Roy are not exactly enemies, however Winry holds negative sentiments about Roy because she learned he was the soldier who killed her parents. A lot of people enjoy the angsty potential between them.
    • Envy and Edward are one of the most popular anime ships, to a lesser extent in the manga, despite being mortal enemies. Envy even kills Edward. Fans were in for a surprise when Envy revealed that he is Edward's half-brother.
  • Future Diary: Despite Aru Akise and Yuno Gasai being hostile toward each other in canon as they are love rivals fighting for Yukiteru's affection (to the point of Yuno killing Akise to keep her nasty secret from being exposed), there is a Vocal Minority part of fandom who ships Akise and Yuno as a couple.
  • Gintama: The rivalry between Kagura and Sougo is a lot of one-upping, arguing, and teasing, with several punches thrown in for good measure. Despite never once showing any signs of a crush, fandom tends to see a more romantic version: one's a feisty hothead voiced by Rie Kugimiya, the other's a pretty boy sadist who can get the girls fawning all over him. You do the math.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Yuki/Ryoko and Kyon/Ryoko were two of the most popular pairings even back when all that was known about Ryoko was that she tried to kill Kyon and Yuki killed her in his defense.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War has the unnamed president of the Kendo Club, and the president Astronomy Club Momo Ryuji, who are the son of the Superintendent General of the Metropolitan Police and the local Yakuza Princess respectively. They have only appeared together a grand total of two times (technically three, but one of them was a flashback to their introduction), and look like they're about to start fighting the one time the directly interact, but they're a minorly popular pairing to due the Dating Catwoman story potential.
  • Kill la Kill fandom had Ryuko/Satsuki, prior to the reveal that they're long-lost sisters. After that... it continued to have Ryuko/Satsuki, with a hefty dash of Incest Yay Shipping for flavor.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (2004): Vio/Shadow Link, especially after the former's Face–Heel Turn. The pairing is quite popular in the fandom, and is supported or hinted at in art by the manga artist herself. Why yes, Vio's arm is around Shadow's waist.
  • There is an inordinate amount of Signum/Cypha shipping material for Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, considering Cypha was introduced and only appeared in said manga, which was Cut Short soon thereafter. The only reasonable explanation seems to be that Cypha has come the closest to killing Signum in one-on-one combat than any other character in the canon.
  • One Piece: The Pirate Alliance saga unearths a 13 year stand-off between Trafalgar Law and Donquixote Doflamingo. Law is determined to bring the latter to ruin for killing the most important person in his life, who incidentally, was Doflamingo's younger brother Rocinante. Doflamingo himself however, is intent on having Law serve as his right-hand man and obtaining the ultimate power of the former's devil fruit ability for himself. Add Law's near-fanatical Undying Loyalty towards Rocinante, Rocinante's Heroic Sacrifice in order to protect Law from his brother, and Doflamingo going ballistic at seeing the Corazon motif Law has taken up in tribute to Rocinante on his clothes and tattooed all over his body, the complicated relationship between the three is very much seen as a Sibling Triangle.
  • Sabrina and Blue from Pokémon Adventures. Sabrina has a mean case of Adaptational Villainy and is originally a Team Rocket. Her and Blue being stuck together for several chapters only fueled the ship.
  • Mitsumi and Cyrus from Pokémon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure! have a complicated, tense relationship because Mitsumi was raised by him and was a member of Team Galactic until recently.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • A popular Crack Pairing is Mami/Charlotte. As in, the witch that decapitated Mami and ate her body. How this came about is anyone's guess, but it got some support with Rebellion, where Charlotte/Bebe is Nagisa Momoe, who joins the cast and is shown to be very close with Mami.
    • After Rebellion, Ultimate Madoka and Akuma Homura were shipped with lightning speed, something official artwork is only too happy to encourage (image contains massive spoilers). Along similar lines, Homura/Sayaka saw a big upswing in shipping activity following the movie, with a large portion of it falling along these lines given Sayaka was the only one to openly challenge what Akuma Homura had done.
  • Oh boy did this hit hard when Zarc and Ray were revealed. in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. Even before they were formally introduced in the show, fans shipped them hard when their names were revealed in the episode synopsis because of how three of their four reincarnations had at least one-sided crushes on each other and the final pair were forced apart when young. When they were finally introduced, they became the biggest ship in the western fandom.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Some people ship the two main rivals Weslie and Wolffy. There's even a fan-made manhua where they make love (it can't be linked here for various reasons).

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • A Diplomatic Visit: Discussed In-Universe in chapter 12 of the sequel Diplomat at Large, when Daring Do complains about the fans who think her character has this with Dr. Caballeron and claim she's in denial when she says no, she really can't stand him and the feeling's mutual. She also gets letters from fans who ship her and Ahuizotl/Teomitl, who's startled when he finds out. Becomes Hilarious in Hindsight late in the third story, which shows that she and Teomitl really have since become a couple.

    Films — Animation 
  • Frozen: The fandom likes to Pair the Spares. Since Princess Anna and [[Kristoff are already an Official Couple, some think that it's only appropriate to ship Prince Hans and Queen Elsa. This is despite the fact Hans tried to murder her twice and nearly killed her sister. Redemption plots are in frequent use for fanworks of the couple.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Frollo has a Villainous Crush on Esmeralda, however it is extremely one-sided and unhealthy. That doesn't stop them from being one of the most popular pairs in fanfics for the film.
  • Incredibles 2: One of the more popular ships is between Helen Parr and Evelyn Deavor, which is also a case of Ho Yay. Likely in part because Evelyn Deavor is one of the more obviously gay-coded, or ambiguously gay, female characters seen in an animated feature, but also because the chemistry and rapport between the two are intentionally placed as a build-up to the reveal of Evelyn's rather sympathetic villainy. The tension between the two, both in friendship and in outright opposition, as well as a final declaration from Evelyn that she considers their having to fight "sad" and thinks they would have made great friends if not for their opposing ideologies, makes the Foe Yay Shipping inevitable.
  • Wreck-It Ralph:
    • A faction of fandom ships candy go-karter Vanellope Von Schweetz with fellow racer and her mortal enemy, Turbo. This ship is aptly titled "Vanillatastic". In order to avoid the latter half of the ship being seen as a pedophile, Vanellope is mostly aged up to an adult in shippers' fanfiction and fan art.
    • On the Toy Ship side is pairing Vanellope with other kart racers, usually Rancis (referred to as "VanillaButter") or Taffyta (referred to as "Vanilla Taffy"). Both mock and bully her most of the film though after remembering Vanellope is their ruler they stop it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman and Superman are at odds in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It's a Foregone Conclusion they will become the best of friends in due time but many fans are enjoying their tense relationship.
  • It is often debated whether Kylo Ren and Rey's interactions from The Force Awakens should be considered Foe Yay based on fan interpretation, intentional Foe Romance Subtext, or misattributing sexual interest behind Kylo's threats of further Mind Rape and offer to show Rey the ways of the Force which Rey violently rejects. Even ''Time'' Magazine's review of the film commented on their unusual rapport.
  • There is fanfiction set after Daredevil and Elektra where Elektra Natchios is shipped, not with her canon Love Interest Matt Murdock, but the assassin Bullseye. This ignores, or accepts, that Bullseye is not someone whose attraction Elektra reciprocates since he killed her father and her.
  • Freddy vs. Jason: There are actually quite a few people who came out shipping the two titular slashers.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger has many aspects that would not make him an ideal boyfriend/husband: he's sadistic, he has a Lack of Empathy, he's more likely to rape a woman than to show any love or affection. This doesn't stop people from shipping him with the women who frequently oppose him, the most popular being Nancy Thompson and Lori Campbell.
  • There are some members of the Godzilla fandom that just love to ship Godzilla and King Ghidorah together, despite the fact that they're both archenemies and giant monsters.
  • Peter Jackson's The Hobbit film series has spawned the disturbingly popular ship "Smaugbo" (Bilbo x Smaug). It helps that their actors play the two male leads on Sherlock, who are commonly shipped together.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): There's some Freddy Krueger and Nancy Thompson fanfics out there, mainly caused by the line:
    "I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy." *Licks Nancy's ear through the phone*
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show:
    • There are fanfics that pair Riff Raff with Dr. Frank-N-Furter. This is possibly due to when Frank whips Riff, or due to the line (which seems to indicate that Riff was jealous of Frank) "They didn't like me. HE NEVER LIKED ME!"
    • Considering his whole nature, there's also fanfics that pair pretty much anyone with Frank (who has, according to various bits of dialogue and action, already paired himself with most of the major cast members at one time or another).
  • Skyfall: 00/Silva shippers often complain that 00/Q became the fandom's flagship, seeing as Silva aggressively came onto Bond multiple times throughout the film.
  • There Will Be Blood focuses a lot on this dynamic between Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday, featuring several scenes of one beating the other up, physically or mentally. It's so prominent that nearly all of the fanfic written is for this ship.
  • No doubt helped by the popular Wicked making them an Official Couple, more than a few people ship Glinda the Good and The Wicked Witch Of The West from the classic MGM The Wizard of Oz. In contrast to Wicked, where they're good friends, shippers tend to either see them as exes or have them have them as enemies with Unresolved Sexual Tension. This goes hand-in-hand with the popular Alternative Character Interpretation that Glinda is more malicious than she puts off.
  • Fan art of The Good, the Bad, the Weird tends to pair Do-won and Chang-yi, two pretty boys who are professional enemies.
    • There's a fair amount of Chang-yi/Tae-goo fan art as well, mostly Japanese and on Twitter, and not nearly as common. It's rare to find Do-won/Tae-goo fanart anywhere.

  • The weird thing about romantic fanfiction for The Dresden Files is that the Harry/Marcone fics make up a lot of it. This is weird because Harry is the compassionate, staunchly independent protagonist, and Marcone is the Badass Normal mob boss who controls Chicago. There are barely any hints in canon to build the ship on, and yet fics supporting it form a clear majority.
  • Happens in-universe in Fangirl where the main character writes fanfiction that ships the Show Within a Show's protagonist Simon Snow with his nemesis Baz Pitch instead of his canonical love interest Agatha Wellbelove. Simon and Baz are also thinly-veiled Expies of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy who, as the below Harry Potter example mentions, have a sizable number of real-life shippers.
  • Good Omens fandom predictably has a huge following for Aziraphale/Crowley. It helps that by the events of the book they've developed into Friendly Enemies who are only doing a job.
  • Draco Malfoy, Severus Snape, and even Voldemort (a.k.a. Tom Riddle) from Harry Potter are frequently shipped with Harry and/or Hermione.
    • Hermione is also shipped with her Slytherin rival and resident mean girl Pansy Parkinson (who J. K. Rowling has described as the Anti-Hermione), and the much older Ax-Crazy villain Bellatrix Lestrange. A canonical scene where Bellatrix tortures a captive Hermione has been given erotic twists in fan fiction and fan art.
    • A few fans ship Ginny Weasley and mean girl Pansy Parkinson. Probably because of a book scene where Pansy rather enthusiastically describes Ginny as unquestioningly "good looking" to her fellow Slytherins. As of September 2017, Archive of Our Own (a fanfic archive) lists 210 fanfics shipping Ginny and Pansy.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: There's a significant following for Percy/Luke, despite the age difference (and, of course, the fact that they're bitter enemies). Percy initially harbored a protege-ish admiration for Luke, and his repeated descriptions of Luke's looks do get pretty damn loving at times. He even admits that Luke giving him a gift before his first quest "made [him] blush almost as much as Annabeth".
  • Twilight: Many people in the Hatedom ship Bella/Tyler's van.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. smacks Ward and Simmons pretty hard with this in season two, after brief moments in the back half of season one. Her return from a long mission almost immediately shows her fixated on the camera feed of a very shirtless Ward in his cell. Simmons mentioning that she spent every day since they locked him up watching until she left, and every day since she came back, among other moments.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans shipped Buffy with Spike almost since the latter's first appearance, long before their canon Destructive Romance.
  • Amongst Doctor Who fans, Doctor/Master has been one of the most popular pairings for decades. It long ago reached the point where the writers ship them as well, and ramp up the subtext to the point that it's barely subtext anymore.
  • Elementary fans love Joaniarty, Joan and Moriarty (though admittedly not as much as Joanlock, which is expected for all Sherlock adaptations). It wasn't helped by the fact Moriarty once drew a giant portrait of Joan.
  • Glee: Although they eventually became friends, Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry started off bitter rivals who acted quite sociopathically towards one another. Didn't stop Faberry slash fanfiction to be spewed out in their thousands online.
  • Gotham: Fans started shipping Gobblepot almost as soon as the first episode finished airing. It doesn't help that Oswald Cobblepot calls Jim Gordon "old friend," talked about him while naked in a bathtub, and at one point introduced him to his mother.
  • Heroes: Given the amount of Foe Yay, there are a ton of Foe Yay shipping fanfics. Some of the most popular pairings seem to be Sylar/Peter, Sylar/Mohinder, and Sylar/Claire. It does make sense, because Sylar and Peter are the fandom bicycles of this series. The Sylar/Claire is actually somewhat canon; it's just one-sided on Sylar's part.
  • Merlin: Season 5 seems to have produced the Merdred ship, thanks to a no-longer-a-kid Mordred and the show's famous copious amounts of Ho Yay. And that scene in 5x02 in which Merlin helps Mordred with his cloak.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • The biggest fanbase is dedicated to Swan Queen, a.k.a. the Foe Yay relationship of the Evil Queen, Regina, and the savior, Emma.
    • After Seasons 2 and 3 rolled around, though, most of the fanbase has switched over to Hook/Emma. The fact that their fights are just dripping with innuendo doesn't help.
  • Person of Interest might be one of the few cases where this became canon, though only after they both ended up on the same side. Going from Root threatening Shaw with an iron and Shaw shooting Root, it went to conventional Belligerent Sexual Tension as they start working together. When Shaw performs a Heroic Sacrifice, kissing Root and going to her apparent death, it seems to have moved towards genuine affection as Root completely breaks down after being unable to find her.
  • Sherlock: Sheriarty is one of the biggest ships in the fandom, most likely due to the twisted and somewhat sexual (the line, "You've got to admit that's sexier," in context is a good example) fascination Sherlock Holmes and Jim Moriarty have for each other.
  • Smallville: The already established Superman/Lex Luthor ship got a huge fandom boost from this television series.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: Lt.Reed and Major Hayes are often shipped together, despite Hayes only being in 5 (or 6) episodes.
  • Victorious: Jori is a popular ship consisting of two girls (Jade and Tori) who despise each other so much they've gone to psychotic lengths just to spite one another.
  • The X-Files fans love to ship Fox Mulder with Alex Krycek, despite all of the ways he wronged Mulder, including, but not limited to, killing his father and Scully's sister. In fact, Krycek is shipped with most everyone.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon.
  • Feuding wrestlers can often come across as this. However, a special mention must go to Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, who's legendary feud went on for twelve years on-screen and off; since burying the hatchet in 2010 they now have regular Ho Yay with one another instead of the obsessive Foe Yay of yesteryear.
  • Randy Orton has this with almost all of his rivals over the years (no thanks to being a Launcher of a Thousand Ships), but none more so than with John Cena, easily the most prominent Arch-Enemy of his entire career (followed closely by Triple H). Orton and Cena do not like each other, and never have, even when they were both faces. When something puts them in even the slightest amount of conflict, it's enough to push them to the verge of feuding again, even though their rivalry was suppose to end (officially) back in 2009 after their infamous Iron Man match (which Cena won). Naturally, the animosity between them is enough for the fan girls to ship them together with a vengeance.
  • Seth Rollins' betrayal of The Shield hurt Roman Reigns, but Dean Ambrose took it even harder. Dean's greatest desire in life now is to beat Seth within an inch of his life, and that led to him spending several months doing nothing but making Seth's life a living hell. Seth literally could not go through a week without Dean trying to attack him at some point. It's extremely reminiscent of how a boy tugs on the pigtails of the girl he likes. Dean's Anguished Declaration of Love on an episode of WWE SmackDown did not help, and now the two are the OTP of many a wrestling Fangirl.
  • CM Punk and Jeff Hardy had this a lot during their feud, and it retained a minor following for several years after the feud ended. Punk also had this with Cena and Jericho, especially the former.

  • Cecil, the narrator of Welcome to Night Vale, often gets carried away ranting about how much he hates every little thing about Steve Carlsberg. Some fans have assumed they're exes or that it's just Belligerent Sexual Tension. It helps that Cecil has a few canonical male love interests. Made a little weird by how Steve Carlsberg and Cecil are brother-in-laws, or he's at least the boyfriend of Cecil's sister.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Crusader Kings: The "Way Of Life" DLC allows landed characters to seduce other adult characters who are of the appropriate gender and orientation. The player can even use this to seduce and start a sexual relationship with hated rivals.
  • Dragon Age II: An in-universe example, where Snarky Hawke jokingly ships Meredith/Orsino.
    Hawke: The way you two go on... people will talk!
    • Out-of-universe example with the "Fenders" ship. Despite Anders and Fenris both being party members, they despise each other: Fenris comes from a magocratic oligarchy where slavery, demon-summoning and necromancy are widely accepted, and Anders is an apostate mage whose entire life has become defined by a war against the Chantry's system of virtually enslaving mages to prevent things like Fenris's home from springing up anywhere else; most of their in-game interactions consist of them verbally tearing each other to shreds. Despite this, there are people who ship them.
  • Dynasty Warriors has a whole lot of Foe Yay Shipping between the Three Kingdoms.
    • Wang Yi's whole motivation for serving Wei is finding and killing Ma Chao to avenge the death of her family. Thing is, Wang Yi once compared her hate for him to love, so some fans have interpreted their relationship in a... deeply uncomfortable way.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Miranda/Jack became a popular pairing despite (or rather because of) them being the most hostile to each other out of anyone in the cast, outright coming to blows at one point. As with everything else, the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3 gives this a Fandom Nod.
    • Tali/Legion is oddly common, despite the... tumultuous history between the Quarians and the Geth. Mass Effect 3 gives them some Ship Tease.
  • Metroid: Samus Aran has an active shipperdom with Ridley. That's right, Samus gets shipped with the space dragon who murdered her parents. Go figure.
  • Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA-: Fugen Bosatsu/Monju Bosatsu is one of the major ships among this fandom, even though they are servant Buddhas who compete with one another for their head Buddha's trust, have clashing personalities and bicker often.
  • Overwatch:
    • Thanks to a screenshot from the promo cinematic, the game got one of these before it was even released, pairing Tracer and Widowmaker under the name of WidowTracer. And then Blizzard added fuel to it by having the majority of Widowmaker's animated short be a fight between her and Tracer.
    • There's also the common pairing of Soldier: 76 and Reaper. Granted, they were friends in Overwatch's heyday, but after a few decades they're now sworn enemies who wouldn't hesitate to kill each other.
    • Other popular Foe Yay pairings include Mercy/Reaper, Mercy/Moira, Zarya/Sombra and Symmetra/Lucio.
  • Pokémon:
    • Any player character will inevitably be shipped with the Big Bad (or rival equivalent) of their game-generation. Never mind that most of the player characters are underage, and the villains usually are not. Female player characters are most prone to it, though the guys certainly aren't immune.
    • Members of the rival villainous teams Aqua and Magma from Ruby and Sapphire often have this attributed to them, both in the original games as well as the 2014 remakes. Matt/Tabitha and Shelly/Courtney are popular, and you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't ship the leaders of the two teams, Maxie and Archie.
  • Portal: Chell/GLaDOS have a gargantuan following, what with GLaDOS continually acting like an abusive partner, though being the only characters made it largely inevitable. As of Portal 2 Chell/Wheatley can be this, depending on whether the specific fic writer thinks that the latter's actions were deliberate or a case of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, and whether or not they depict Chell forgiving him.
  • Resident Evil has Wesker/Chris. There is a lot of Foe Yay subtext in canon and shippers just went with it. Actually, most pairings involving Wesker are going to be of the Foe Yay variety on account of Wesker's chronic backstabbing. There's also Leon/Krauser.
  • Silent Hill fandom has James/Pyramid Head from the second game, Heather/Claudia from the third game, and Henry/Walter and Eileen/Walter (or Henry/Walter/Eileen, if you're feeling adventurous) from the fourth game.
  • Sound Voltex artists tend to ship Series Mascot Rasis with Big Bad Grace. It helps that both characters have pink hair and are both Ms Fanservices.
  • Splatoon: Shipping Inklings with Octolings (especially Captain Cuttlefish/DJ Octavio) is a very common concept in the fandom, despite the fact they're enemy species who war against each other. Then again there aren't exactly many characters to ship in canon.
  • Super Mario Bros. has Mario/Bowser as a popular pairing, helped along by copious amounts of Go-Karting with Bowser. Peach/Bowser is one of the top ships as well but Peach dislikes Bowser, while he has an unrequited love for her.
  • Team Fortress 2 fandom loves pairing members of the opposing teams with each other, especially Sniper/Spy, who in canon hate each other with the fury of a thousand suns.
  • Touhou:
    • Due to the prevalence of Defeat Means Friendship the fandom mostly avoids this trope, but two characters who haven't done so are Kaguya and Mokou, who are still highly antagonistic towards each other and spent the previous several centuries repeatedly killing each other. Kaguya/Mokou is still one of the most popular pairings in a very ship-happy fandom, ranging from Tastes Like Diabetes fluff all the way to incredibly bloody sadomasochism.
    • Byakuren and Miko are the leaders of two temples (Buddhist and Taoist, respectively) with a long history of mutual strife, and are vicious to each other (at least by Gensokyo standards) when they meet. Outside of their respective Cast Herds, they are each other's most common shipping partner.
      • Taken even further with the introduction of Hata no Kokoro from Hopeless Masquerade, as they are both connected to her in some way, and thus fandom often treats them like they are Kokoro's parents.
    • After Hopeless Masquerade incident, aforementioned character above Hata no Kokoro is shipped with her Arch-Nemesis Koishi Komeiji despite the latter stole the former's Mask of Hope and refused to return it. Kokoro and Koishi being each other's antithesis (Kokoro is unable to show expression while Koishi is unable to feel emotion) makes their interaction interesting, at least for certain fans.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney has Phoenix/Edgeworth as the pairing of the fandom, despite them starting off as antagonists. Then Edgeworth slowly got a Heel–Face Turn and support remained strong, ultimately averting the trope.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • "Fallen Petals", shipping mysterious villainess Cinder with perky, innocent Ruby, has gained a not inconsiderable following in the fandom.
    • The end of Volume 2 saw, among other things, Neopolitan giving Yang the Curb-Stomp Battle of a lifetime. Fandom's response was to create a wave of Neo/Yang fanart.
    • Mercury Black's most popular ship isn't with his partner Emerald, but with Pyrrha. The only interaction they've had is a sparring match.
    • Another fairly popular ship involving Ruby is her and her Arch-Enemy Roman. Noticeable in that no matter how many times Roman expresses his absolute hatred for her, the fans fall back a bit, and then return with full force. He doesn't even consider her a Worthy Opponent, instead considering her a mere nuisance.
    • In Volume 5, Weiss is captured by Raven's bandits and, still being a Badass in Distress, defiantly snarks at Raven's lieutenant Vernal. This seemingly earning Vernal's Villain Respect, Vernal commenting that maybe she'd fit in with their group after all. Some people have played it up so Vernal has a crush on Weiss.

    Web Comics 
  • Happens in-universe in Unwinder's Tall Comics. Unwinder watches a few episodes of the anime Tokyo Delta Jetlag D and remarks, "I'd kind of like to see what would happen if Jaded and Colonel Gunarm hooked up."
  • Despite having only had one face-to-face conversation, there are a lot of fans of Nightmare Factory who ship the main character, Emai, with the Game Master Phirre. Their meeting was intense and could be seen as charged, with both parties playing mind games. He constantly taunts her by calling her "Princess,". Plus, there were those few shots where, judging by their positions, you almost expected a kiss... right before she "stole" his in, literally ripped his heart out of his chest. The revelation that Emai has turned out to be Ylantis, or Phirre’s soul mate, doesn’t help matters.

    Web Original 
  • Britain and America.
  • This is how Creamsicle came to be. Someone drew a parody pic about how they weren't like 'other girls'. People were outraged however eventually people began shipping the two characters.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time fandom has a surprisingly large following for Fionna/Ice Queen, which could be the result of Ice Queen literally taking Fionna on a date. Finn/Ice King is a big no-no in the fandom however, with Finn looking and acting a lot younger than Fionna and Ice King being repulsive in every sense of the word.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Quite a lot of this for Jet/Zuko, who were briefly antagonists to each other.
    • Azula/Anyone, thanks to generating Foe Yay with a good chunk of the main cast. The most popular targets are Zuko, Aang, and Sokka.
    • This was how the Zuko/Katara ship started, until Zuko began to drift away from being an antagonist.
  • Ben 10 had Ben/Kevin and Gwen/Kevin as two of the three most popular ships, only beaten out by Ben/Gwen. Sequel Series Ben 10: Alien Force made Gwen/Kevin canon and gave Ben and Kevin massive amounts of Ho Yay, though by that point Kevin was no longer a villain.
  • Danny Phantom: Though neither show an interest in each other in the series, Danny Phantom and Ember McLain are a popular ship in the fandom. Word of God has suggested Ember is secretly in love with Danny, but denies such a thing.
  • Doug: There are a large number of fans who pair up Doug and Roger.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • The amount of Timmy/Vicky fics in the fandom is astounding, especially as Vicky was established as more of a sociopath as the series went on.
    • Timmy and Anti-Cosmo is also quite popular due to the latter being the Evil Counterpart to Timmy's godparent.
  • Gargoyles fan-fiction does this a LOT, with one of the noteworthy examples being Elisa/Demona in many a Slash Fic. Where that particular pairing is concerned, approximately 50% of all fics dedicated to it usually portray Demona as the dominant and Eliza as the (initially) unwilling submissive, while the other 50% seems split between them either being very cool toward each other but gradually warming (no pun intended) or with Demona's human form coming into the mix somehow. There's also Goliath/Demona (it helps that they canonically used to be mates) and Fox/any female character.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Mabel/Pacifica was originally small, but after "The Golf War" where Mabel and Pacifica have a mini-golf competition, it became popular.
    • Dipper/Pacifica is similar to the above, and owes its popularity largely to the episode "Northwest Mansion Mystery" - said episode has Dipper "greet" Pacifica by telling her that she's the worst and slamming the door in her face, and quite a bit of what follows is the two arguing while trying to stop a vengeful ghost.
    • Bill Cipher, a demonic Eldritch Abomination, has been shipped with several of his enemies, including Dipper, Mabel, or even Stanford "Ford" Pines.
  • Invader Zim fans love pairing Zim and Dib, usually revolving around their shared status as universally despised outcasts among their species. Less common are Zim/Tak and Dib/Tak; while the pairings themselves are popular, most of time in fics Tak just switches to the side of whomever she's paired with.
  • Jem:
    • Unsurprisingly some people ship Jerrica and Pizzazz despite the fact they hate each other. A quiet, overworked prude with a loud, bad girl pop star just works well.
    • Jetta and Roxy are bandmates who get along like water and oil. Obviously they're a popular pairing.
    • Kimber and Stormer are the third biggest couples in the fandom - right after the Official Couple of Rio/Jerrica and officially one-sided couple of Riot/Jerrica - despite being from rival bands. Stormer is the Token Good Teammate of The Misfits and got along extremely well with Kimber in "The Bands Break Up" but you can't forget all the times she's nearly killed Kimber. It was made into Ascended Fanon in 2015 comic reboot.
  • Almost all Kaeloo fans ship Kaeloo and Mr. Cat (who can be considered enemies when Kaeloo is in her Bad Kaeloo form). It's also true in-universe that they actually are in love with each other.
  • Kim Possible fans frequently pair up Kim and Shego ("KiGo"). It's the second most popular couple in the fandom, right after the Official Couple Kim/Ron.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Korra is paired with Amon, Tarrlok, and Tahno. However, most of the Korra/Tahno fanfics that take place after episode 6 are of the Hurt Comfort variety rather than Foe Yay for reasons obvious to all that have seen that episode.
    • After the emergence of Book Four's trailer, some fans began shipping Korra/Kuvira. Due to a lack of suitably Foe Yay moments, the ship died down as the season itself aired - only to flare up with renewed vigor after the events of the Grand Finale.
    • Kuvira/Suyin was popular even early in Book Four despite the fact Suyin is (supposedly) a mother figure to Kuvira. It remained fairly popular even after Su attempted to assassinate Kuvira.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • Chloé/Marinette has a surprisingly massive following due to their surprising similarities. Many fics turning them into lovers and even the ones that don't are very offering of plenty of teases between them. Let's not forget in canon how Chloe can't seem to prevent herself from touching Marinette's boobs.
    • Lila/Marinette is quite popular too despite their hatred for one another. Although while Chloé/Marinette centric fics tend to be fluffier, Lila/Marinette fics are notably darker. And then there's moments like this in canon, which can easily come off as Attempted Rape.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic:
    • Celestia/Discord is one of the most popular pairings that doesn't involve the mane six, and Discord/Twilight (as well as Discord/any of the mane six) pops up on a regular basis.
    • Luna/Sombra came about soon after the latter's debut, despite him being Killed Off for Real, as a foil to Celestia/Discord, and while it's nowhere near as common it pops up here and there.
    • Twilight/Trixie and Rainbow Dash/Gilda were very popular in the early days and support still goes strong years afterwards. Granted, the latter half of the pairings were more antagonists than outright villains, and Trixie also got a Heel–Face Turn.
    • In spite of the Disneyfication between settlers and Native Americans in the Old West, Braeburn/Little Strongheart, introduced in "Over a Barrel" is a popular ship among fans.
    • Many fans view Diamond Tiara as a Loving Bully towards Apple Bloom. After Diamond takes a Heel–Face Turn this just becomes straight Ho Yay.
  • Phineas and Ferb: With the way Perry and Doofenshmirtz's relationship is, it's no wonder fans keep pairing them up.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: Bubbles/Him and Blossom/Mojo Jojo are both pretty popular pairings. They're not nearly as popular as the Toy Ship's of pairing the Powerpuff Girls with the Rowdyruff Boys, but they have more than their fair share of fans.
  • Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles makes pairing Splinter with season 1's Big Bad Baron Draxum all too easy. The spark for this ship mainly started during the episode "The League of Evil Mutants" wherein Baron Draxum flashes back to the first time he saw Splinter (back when Splinter was human and known as Lou Jitsu) — Splinter is striking a dashing victory pose after triumphing in a Battle Nexus tournament, with the front of his outfit torn open, revealing his awesome abs — and Draxum is completely smitten with it all. Later on, this becomes straight-up Ho Yay material after Draxum makes a Heel–Face Turn in season 2 and is more or less accepted into the TMNT family (he did create the Turtles after all, even if it was for all the wrong reasons). Splinter initially isn't too thrilled about this development to say the least, and the first couple of Draxum-centric season 2 episodes largely deal with Draxum and Splinter bickering like a married couple — but they ultimately reconcile. Mikey outright calls Splinter and Draxum "my two dads", and shortly thereafter Draxum, speaking with Splinter, refers to Mikey as "our boy".
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, the canon enemies of Catra and Adora get this quite a bit. They have a very close relationship both before and after Adora defects from the Horde. Many scenes center around Catra's feelings of betrayal, Adora's lingering feelings towards her, and how they were inseparable as children. The two of them even have a romantic dance together at Princess Prom (seen in the video examples below). All of this was intentional on the part of the show's creators; both Adora and Catra are presented as Ambiguously Gay, having other flirty interactions with women besides each other. Their relationship has been described in official bios as "complicated."
  • There a lot of Superjail! fanfics pairing up the Warden with either the Mistress or Lord Stingray, both being his archenemies/rivals (though he remarks that he rarely gets to see the former). In the Mistress' case, there's how she's a Distaff Counterpart and the warden of her own prison, and a cruel ice queen that rivals Warden's lighter-hearted megalomania. Thus, some fans insist she and the Warden must have feelings for each other and absolutely get together, although some stories seem to subject her to Chickification and have her personality altered to be submissive to the Warden (though some may insist on making her dominant too). With Lord Stingray, how he tries to constantly one-up the Warden and that the Warden was initially impressed by him gives the Warden/Stingray fans quite the tension to go on as well.
  • South Park: The Kyle/Cartman pairing is an obvious one for this. Also, some fans of the Goth Kids and the Vampire Kids tend to pair up Mike Makowski (aka "Vampir", your lord of darkness per se) with either Michael or Pete. The Goth Kids and the Vampire Kids are enemies; the Goth kids kidnapped Mike and mailed him to Scottsdale, and then burned down the vampire lair (Hot Topic). However, the Goth Kids and Vampire Kids did later team up to defeat the Emo Kids.
  • Steven Universe
    • The (semi canonical) Lapis/Jasper ship. The two are described as having the worst relationship possible (due to the fact that Jasper helped keep Lapis prisoner, pushed her around and then tried to force her to fuse in a way indicative of sexual harassment and Lapis hijacking their fusion and dragging it to the bottom of the ocean were she can keep Jasper as her prisoner forever). Despite this however their are a lot of fans who ship the two together because of how uncomfortable and horrible the two are to each other (or of course in Lighter and Softer AU situations).
    • The Prosecuting and Defense Zircons introduced in "The Trial," are often paired together. Their Courtship largely born out of the rivalry the pair shared. Fan works tend to play them up as bickering/flirting.
  • Storm Hawks fandom has a bunch for Piper/Cyclonis and Aerrow/Dark Ace, usually running along their established Not So Different lines.
  • Total Drama: Plenty of examples in the fandom, such as Jo/Brick, Geoff/Blaineley (despite Blaineley being more than twice Geoff's age), and Dawn/Scott. However, Gwen seems to get more of this than any other character on the show, including Heather, Courtney, and Sierra, just to name a handful of examples.
  • Winx Club has Bloom shipped with evil wizard Valtor or ice witch Icy.
  • Unikitty! has good Unikitty and bad Master Frown, the former having kissed the latter a few times with passion.


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