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Ship Sinking

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"Also, I think I ruined a solid year's worth of perfectly good shipping with recent revelations. WHOOPSEE DAISEE"
Andrew Hussie, after a particular twist in Homestuck

A Ship Sinking is a scene blatantly set-up to demonstrate that a particular romantic pairing is ridiculous, impossible and never, ever gonna happen.

Though many producers and writers are aware of Shipping in their respective fandoms, that doesn't necessarily mean they like it. It may be because of the actions of the fans if they get too rowdy about it, or they just don't like the pairing involved, or have intended the pairing to die for dramatic effect. They may have set out from the start to write two characters into a specific pairing and need to make it more obvious, or have simply decided on an alternative set of partners for the two characters in question. Whatever the reason, the creator wants to make it very clear to the audience that these two particular characters are not, and will not become, a couple.


In order to qualify as ship sinking,

  • The scene must be, in some way, specifically about the characters it's sinking
  • The work must contain some in-universe acknowledgement about the concept of these two as a couple, even if it's just to say "eww, no way!"

It can be a betrayal, a very sudden familial connection, hooking up with someone else, having the respective love interest kick the bucket, really being only friends or like brother & sister, or maybe they just bring them out of the closet.

Creators often Ship Tease two characters before they sink the pairing completely, although that's not a requirement, as long as the work contains some textual acknowledgement of the idea of the pairing.

This may or may not cause fans to abandon the ship— then again, some ships refuse to sink, with the help of ludicrous amounts of Shipping Goggles or outright Fanon Discontinuity.


Related to Anchored Ship, which occurs when factors arise that preclude the characters getting into a relationship, but have the potential to be resolved. If an Anchored Ship is never resolved before a work is finished, the moment of the anchoring will become a Ship Sinking moment.

Contrast Shipping Torpedo, when a ship is sunk or attempted to be sunk by the characters, not the writers. See This Index Broke Up for tropes about breaking up relations that actually exist in the work, regardless of the fandom preferences.

Compare No Hugging, No Kissing, where romance as a whole is avoided in canon.

If you're looking for the trope where a literal sailing vessel sinks, you'll find it at Sinking Ship Scenario.


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  • There was some undeniable shipping in BIONICLE's early years, such as Macku/Hewkii, Jaller/Hahli, Matau/Nokama and Roodaka/Sidorak (from the latter's perspective, at least), not to mention all the fan preferred couples. These were declared non-canon when the creators ruled that the characters are incapable of feeling romantic love, seeing as they're artificial. Most of these relationships, no matter how blatant, were written off as close friendships (with some scenes outright ripped from canon), and the would-have-been marriage between Roodaka and Sidorak was revealed to be strictly political, with both viewing the other as a tool to gain power (and Sidorak also got killed). Kiina and Mata Nui were the only official "couple", but that ship sank when the latter transferred his soul into a mask. This was mostly Executive Meddling: according to LEGO, kids find romance icky, and given the subject matter (toys), the story writer agreed.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Due to the Black Trailer setting up Blake and Adam as partners, shipping existed for them from the beginning. However, the Volume 3 climax makes it clear that Adam is a Psycho Ex-Boyfriend when he vows to destroy everyone she loves as a punishment for dumping him. He starts by cutting off Yang's arm; in Volume 5, he tries to have Blake's parents assassinated; in Volume 6, he stalks Blake across an entire continent after deciding that, if he can't have her, no-one can; Blake and Yang are forced to fight him to the death to stop him from murdering them.
  • Hazbin Hotel: Any and all ships involving Alastor were sunk when Faustisse confirmed that Alastor is aromantic asexual. However, Faustisse also informed the fans that they can still ship him with anyone they want in fanon.
  • SMG4 himself has shot down the infamous Mario x Meggy (who is a fourteen-year-old girl) ship a few times:
    • "Mario Preschool" has Meggy visibly creeped out when Boopkins introduces her to shipping.
    • "Stupid Mario Tennis Aces" has Mario hold up a sign saying "Mario x spaghetti 4 life".
    • The final scene from "Mario's Valentine Advice" pretty much reveals the duo's Asexuality:
    Luigi: Man...Love is complicated...
    Mario: Love is dumb.
    Meggy: (Face Palm) You guys got that right...
    • For a more subtle example, one of the collab entries included in the 3 million collab is a parody of the Distracted Boyfriend meme with Mario rejecting Meggy in favor of a plate of spaghetti.
    • The closed captions for the scene from "The Smash 5 Trials" that is commonly perceived as a Ship Tease even says "Bonus Lesson: Don't ship Mario x Meggy."
    • Done straight at the beginning of this Hobo Bros video.
    Luke (after Kevin touches a cardboard cutout of Meggy inappropriately): "I'm gonna call Chris Hansen, you're goin' to jail."
    • "Meggy's Part-Time Job" also features a jab at it.
    Anti-Shroomy: "Just point the gun at anything you want to die."

    Web Original 
  • Gaia Online:
    • Gee Boi Turbo item has the boss of the Dark Elves going to a Gaia-centric anime convention and finding... compromising... fanart of himself with Devin.
      Kuro: Seriously, guys... this isn't canon.
    • How they sunk the Meredith X Ivan Ship.
      Lex: Ivan! Hey Ivan! Why was your opposite self married to Meredith? Don't you like her?
      Ivan: Well, yeah, I love her very much.
      Lex: Then why—
      Ivan: Because she's my cousin.
      [awkward silence]
  • The finale of Natalie and Niya Impichishmay's spinoff from Single Girl One Hundred Baby Challenge featured this with Natalie and Caleb breaking up.

    Web Videos 
  • Linkara/MarzGurl was sunk for good when Lewis's girlfriend, Iron Liz, became a part of his show. Though most fans seem to like Liz, so this isn't the problem it would be in other fandoms. After Liz left the show, Linkara started dating, and is currently married to, Viga, sinking any chance for a MarzGurl-shipping resurrection.
  • Because of the Double Standard with The Nostalgia Chick chasing Todd in the Shadows being seen as cute but Todd chasing Obscuras Lupa being seen as creepy, Lindsay had to announce on facebook that she and Todd decided at the very beginning the characters were never going to get together. For bonus points, she also had the Chick go through Sanity Slippage to sink it even further.
  • Pretty much everyone who watched Team Starkid's original production Starship hopped on the Taz/Up (Tup) ship from the second song of the musical. However, since then the Team has at least attempted to sink the ship by pointing out their age difference, something usually ignored in fanfictions/fanvids/fan-anything. Lauren Lopez (paraphrased) remarked "She's like...sixteen...and he's like... eighty." Most fans regard this as an adorable exaggeration and the ship is still sailing strong, despite a few holes.
  • Episode 38 of Critical Role does this for Vaxmore, the pairing of Vax'ildan with fan favorite NPC Shaun Gilmore, with the former breaking off their flirtatious relationship after realizing he's in love with fellow party member Keyleth. Unfortunately, Vax's continued flirtation after this point (going so far as to kiss Gilmore, insist that he loves him "as a friend," and start calling him by his first name) drew no end of criticism from the fanbase and required a second Word of God ship sinking via Reddit AMA.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Ship Sink


"Not with a gun to my head!"

Mickey obliterates the Mick+June ship. June herself is distraught, to add insult to injury.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

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Main / ShipSinking

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