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  • Older Than They Think: In the "baby" Captain Tsubasa fandom of the early-to-mid 90s in Latin-America and Europe, it was relatively common to pair off Kumi with Ishizaki to get her out of the way of the Sanae/Tsubasa Official Couple without inflicting Die for Our Ship. It was sunk in World Youth Cup, however, with Ishizaki showing romantic interest in Sanae's best friend Yukari instead. On the other hand, the heavily ship teased Hyuuga/Maki and Yayoi/Misugi also make for cute Beta Couples, with the bonus of getting Yayoi out of the Unlucky Childhood Friend row safely.
    • Now that yaoi fans have openly joined the fray, while the majority tend to leave Sanae/Tsubasa untouched some like to pair Tsubasa with several other dudes instead. i.e., Tsubasa/Misaki shippers tend to like Hyuuga/Wakashimazu (they're teammates, good-looking, and fairly close friends) and Wakabayashi/Schneider (who give massive Foe Yay vibes), while Tsubasa/Wakabayashi shippers might tend to pair Misaki with Pierre instead due to being each other's temporary rivals in Shin. And others Take a Third Option via shipping Tsubasa/Sanae and Wakabayashi/either Misaki (who got a whole episode for themselves in the old series) or Schneider.
  • My Hero Academia has many due to a Gotta Ship 'Em All situation and Midoriya's status as Launcher of a Thousand Ships, it oftenly depends on whom do you want Midoriya to be with.
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    • To Todoroki/Midoriya you have Bakugou/Kirishima and Iida/Ochako to keep Ochako, Iida and Bakugou away from Midoriya. Bakugou/Ochako is a viable option for the same reasons. Yaoyorozu/Jirou also appears to keep Yaoyorozu away.
    • Bakugou/Midoriya has Todoroki/Yaoyorozu to keep Todoroki to be shipped with either of them.
    • Bakugou/Todoroki, although a rare pair, often has Midoriya/Kirishima or Midoriya/Ochako.
    • The msot popular Het pairings of the fandom are all often ship mates: Tsuyu/Midoriya, Todoroki/Yaoyorozu, Bakugou/Ochako and Kaminari/Jirou.
    • Though not as common, fans who ship Todoroki with Midoriya or Bakugo will sometimes also ship Yaoyorozu/Jirou.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto/Hinata makes it very, very easy to have Sakura make a beeline for Sasuke. And that's only one possible configuration (albeit one of the more likely ones). The less Sakura-hating Naruto/Sasuke fans prefer Rock Lee/Sakura and Neji/Hinata. Naruto/Sakura fans have a variety of options. For example, they can be friendly with Sasuke/Hinata shippers, or, more frequently, pair Hinata up with Neji or Kiba.
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    • Some Naruto/Hinata shippers who dislike Sasuke prefer Sakura to be shipped with Sai, Rock Lee, Kakashi, Gaara, or other people.
    • Konohamaru/Hanabi is a common ship if you like Naruto/Hinata, despite the fact that they never meet. People like the idea of Generation Xerox, however Hanabi is typically written as more aggressive and tsundere (or Sugar-and-Ice Personality) than her sister and thus the ship is written as an inverted Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl (though Hanabi's canon personality is energetic instead of savvy).
    • Shikamaru/Temari fans often also like Chouji/Ino or Sai/Ino.
    • When one of the males of Team Guy gets paired with someone else (most often Lee with Sakura or Neji with Hinata), Tenten often goes with the other member.
    • Sasuke/Karin is also popular with Naruto/Sakura shippers. Also, Suigetsu/Karin is popular with Sasuke/Sakura fans.
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    • Amusingly enough, ever since the manga ended, militant Naruto/Sasuke and Naruto/Sakura shippers have declared Death of the Author, with both ships Better Than Canon and united in hatred of the Official Couples Naruto/Hinata and Sasuke/Sakura. This also works from the opposite side: it used to not be uncommon to see configurations like Sasuke/Sakura alongside Shikamaru/Ino, or Naruto/Hinata with Lee/Sakura, but now the fandom's general vibe is that if you support one Official Couple from the epilogue, you support all of them.
    • In the sequel series, Boruto, Boruto/Sarada often goes along with Inojin/Himawari (another case of a Ships That Pass in the Night). In contrast, Boruto/Sumire fans often like Inojin/Sarada, Mitsuki/Sarada, or Shikadai/Sarada.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • This is definitely present in Fruits Basket — both of the guys Tohru might end up with has an alternate ship waiting on the sidelines. If she goes with Yuki, Kyo's probably gonna end up with Kagura, whether he likes it or not. If Tohru goes with Kyo, then Motoko (the Prince Yuki Fanclub President) or Machi (the council treasurer, if the fans have knowledge of the manga) might actually end up with Yuki after all. (As of Volume 23, the pairing set of Kyo/Tohru and Yuki/Machi has become canon, much to the chagrin of Tohru/Yuki shippers.)
    • This goes not just for the main Love Triangle but for the entire cast, with everyone but Momiji and Kagura being in a relationship by the end. Which, of course, makes it easy to pair up these two together for a perfect No Loves Intersect scenario.
    • Uo is also a convenient way to take Kyo out of the picture.
  • Eriol/Tomoyo in Cardcaptor Sakura is frequently paired with Syaoran/Sakura (equally, Sakura/Tomoyo can go with Eriol/Syaoran). Once or twice, Meiling replaces Eriol and ends up with Tomoyo.
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5, in multiple configurations:
    • Nozomi and Rin are Heterosexual Life-Partners, as are Komachi and Karen; stepping either pair up to Schoolgirl Lesbians is made impossible by the Official Couples being Coco/Nozomi and Nuts/Komachi. If you go for the Ho Yay and put Coco and Nuts together, then Nozomi/Rin and Komachi/Karen become so easy that it's difficult to support any alternate yuri pairings for any of the characters (well, there is some support for Nozomi/Urara).
    • The official couples, on the other hand, have the opposite effect: by making Nozomi and Komachi unavailable, Rin/Karen becomes not just possible but practically automatic. It works even better with Kurumi/Karen, as Kurumi has hopelessly been chasing after both now-taken boys.
    • And the official couples are themselves Ship Mates, Coco/Nuts being the biggest threat to either of them. Essentially, any possible pairing among the main cast makes at least two other pairings fall neatly into place.
  • In Suite Pretty Cure ♪, the popular pairing of Hibiki and Kanade is impaired somewhat by Kanade's obvious crush on Ouji. This is easily taken care of, however — pairing Ouji with Siren/Ellen, who canonically has a crush on him, leaves Hibiki and Kanade free for each other.
  • The Prince of Tennis:
    • Those into Ryoma/Sakuno are expected to ship Momoshiro/An (and maybe, Horio/Tomoka).
    • In the yaoi side, Seigaku fangirls are practically expected to ship Momoshiro/Echizen, Tezuka/Fuji, Eiji/Oishi and Inui/Kaidoh. And Kawamura? He'll either be with Akutsu from Yamabuki or will just disappear.
      • On the alternate shipping side, Momoshiro/Kaidoh often comes with a side of Tezuka/Ryoma and Kawamura/Fuji. Atobe/Tezuka is fairly common to be seen with Fuji/Ryoma as well.
      • In turn, yaoi fans who like Rikkai are practically expected to ship Yukimura/Sanada, Renji/Kirihara, Marui/Jackal and Niou/Yagyuu. Unless Sanada and Yukimura have Renji as the third edge of their OT3, that is.
      • Most teams have similar combinations. As an example, Hyoutei fans often ship Shishido/Ohtori, Oshitari/Mukahi and Hiyoshi/Taki (though Mukahi/Hiyoshi or a Shishido/Ohtori/Hiyoshi OT3 can also pop out once in a while). Atobe is left aside since he's the Launcher of a Thousand Ships (often shipped with Tezuka from Seigaku or Sanada from Rikkai) and Kabaji, well... let's just say he suffers the same fate as Kawamura, if not worse. Jiroh is more liable to either disappear or be paired up with Marui from Rikkai, whom he fanboys quite a bit.
  • Pokémon:
    • One would be hard-pressed to find an Ash/Misty supporter who doesn't also support May/Drew and Cilan/Iris (and maybe pair Dawn with Paul, Kenny, or Zoey for good measure).
    • Fans who pair Ash/May or Ash/Dawn can also pair Misty/Gary, Misty/Tracy, or Misty/Brock. Or just ship May/Brock to keep main characters together.
    • On top of all that, a good proportion of any shippers will also be Jessie/James, as it doesn't get in the way of any of their pairings.
    • People that ship Jessie/James often ship Cassidy/Butch as they have a similar relationship. Their shipping name is even "Neoshipping", in contrast to Jessie's and James' "Rocketshipping".
    • Due to early comparisons in their behavior, quite a few May/Drew shippers ship Dawn/Zoey.
    • Shipping Cilan with Iris is usually the way people go when they're shipping Burgundy and Georgia, and vice versa.
    • Shipping Serena and Clemont (Geekchicshipping) is a great way for Pokeshippers, Advanceshippers, and Pearlshippers to get Serena out of the picture (she gets more heat than the others because of her Canon Crush on Ash). Ironically, Amourshippers (Ash/Serena) have been accused of not just supporting, but STARTING Penguinshipping (Dawn and Kenny), Orangeshipping (Tracey and Misty), and Contestshipping (May and Drew), despite the fact all three of those ships were around long before Serena was in the picture.
    • Ash/Serena shippers often ship Ash's Pikachu with Serena's Eevee.
    • People that ship Ash/Misty have a high tendency to ship Tracy/Daisy (Misty's blonde sister) as well.
  • Pokémon Adventures: Much like the anime, there's a common network of ships. Red/Yellow, Blue/Green, Gold/Crystal, Ruby/Sapphire, Diamond/Platinum, Black/White, Lack-two/Whi-two, X/Y, and Sun/Moon are often shipped together.
  • Bleach has several different possible configurations, depending on whether you'd rather see Ichigo with Rukia or Orihime. Ichigo/Rukia shippers often also go for Ishida/Orihime, Ulquiorra/Orihime, Renji/Tatsuki, Renji/Ishida or Renji/Jackie. Ichigo/Orihime and Ulquiorra/Orihime shippers frequently support Renji/Rukia and Ishida/Nemu. Yoruichi/Soifon shippers will pair Urahara with Shinji, Hiyori or Isshin. These usually lead to happy endings... Fans try.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • If a fan wants to pair Usagi with anyone but Mamoru, but doesn't like Mamoru on his own, they might pair him with Ami (to whom he's a bit of a Big Brother Mentor), Rei (who did date him briefly in the anime), or Setsuna (who is believed to have feelings for his King Endymion self, especially in the musicals) to peacefully get him out of the way for Usagi/Demand, Usagi/Haruka, or Usagi/Seiya. In a similar vein, Helios is often paired with Diana or Hotaru so that Chibi-Usa can be put with Perl or Hotaru herself.
    • Meanwhile, many fans who support Usagi/Mamoru pair Rei with either Yuuichirou, Minako or Jadeite. Solutions for Setsuna are a little more varied, but fans usually come up with someone for her too, whether a villain, a civilian, an OC, one of the Senshi or even a threesome with her roommates.
    • Among the Dark Kingdom fan circles, Kunzite x Zoisite goes hand in hand with Nephrite x Naru, though others have also paired Nephrite with Jadeite in Everyone Is Gay fic. Other times, Jadeite is paired with Tetis or Queen Beryl.
    • Naru/Nephrite shippers also tend to get along with Makoto/Motoki shippers, and Makoto/Motoki fans often pair Minako with Yaten. In fact, Makoto/Motoki, Minako/Yaten, Ami/Taiki and Rei/Yuuichirou often go hand in hand the same way that Senshi/Shitennou pairings do.
    • In the anime, Shingo has a crush on Ami, but the Senshi he gets shipped with the most is Hotaru (who is similar to Ami in many respects but closer to Shingo's age), leaving Ami free to be with Makoto, Ryo, Zoisite or Taiki.
    • Shipping Ami and Makoto together is very common because it "gets in the way" of few ships, whether you ship Usagi/Mamoru, Usagi/Rei, Rei/Minako, Rei/Mamoru, or whatever pairing. It can also be used in all continuities with little issue.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has two different configurations of these, depending on whether you toe the (arguably) official line or not:
    • The former is particularly noticeable in the manga fandom, where many fans seem to expect shippers to enjoy the complete set of Ed/Winry, Roy/Riza, Ling/Lan Fan, and Al/Mei. Of course, if you're not into that version of things, you can't just like Roy/Ed and be done with it; you also have to have Havoc take Hawkeye off Roy's hands and Alphonse remove Winry from the picture.
    • The latter take on things is much more common with fans of the original anime, where none of the romantic loose ends were tied up (as opposed to the manga/Brotherhood, where Ed/Winry is canon), though still far from universal. Edward/Alphonse fans will often pair up Noah with Alfons (or Alfons/Edward fans will opt for Alphonse/Noah), nevermind that Alfons dies before meeting Alphonse. Sheska/Winry is also a ship-mate to Roy/Riza due to Ed/Winry being unlikely due to Ed's departure.
  • Death Note:
    • The fandom is filled with yaoi pairings, since most of the fandom's beloved males are considered Bishōnen (even L, the blatant subversion of this trope), and Het Is Ew. The most common match is Light/L and Mello/Matt or Mello/Near — it could be either with Mello as the fandom's more common Launcher of a Thousand Ships.
    • Matsuda/Sayu, Misa/Sayu, and/or Rem/Misa are also frequent shipmates to the Light/L pairing. Sayu is heavily implied to be lesbian however there's some wiggle room to guess that she might be bisexual.
  • Even though Tokyo Mew Mew canon gives equal support to Ryou/Retasu and Pai/Retasu, strictly canon shippers tend to gravitate towards the former, because Ryou/Ichigo is the biggest fandom threat to Masaya/Ichigo in existence besides Die for Our Ship. It helps if they're Yes! Pretty Cure 5 fans. There's a small subset of fans who ship, of all things, Mint/Quiche on the grounds that the other four Mews have canon or near-canon pairings. May qualify as a Crack Pairing in addition to Foe Yay. Tends to undergo heavy assault from canon or Fan-Preferred Couple sections.
  • Gravitation fandom: Yuki / Shuichi often goes hand in hand with Ryuichi / Tatsuha, and Hiro is usually paired off with fellow bandmate Suguru or band manager K (or even his canonical love interest Ayaka, for the few fangirls who don't think Het Is Ew). For those who don't want Yuki and Shuichi together, Yuki is usually paired off with the ever-devoted Tohma while Shuichi moves on to his idol Ryuichi or Hiro.
  • Digimon. When you have anywhere from three to twelve characters to work with at any given time, this is very, very common. Some popular configurations:
    • Back when Digimon Adventure was new, Taichi/Sora fans tended to ship Mimi/Yamato and vice-versa; less often Mimi/Jou or Mimi/Koushirou. Taichi/Mimi shippers usually ship Sora/Yamato as well. Taichi/Yamato fans also shipped Mimi/Sora and Jou/Koushirou. The Toy Ship, Takeru/Hikari, went with everything back in those days.
      • "Mimato" is an especially odd case — in canon, the two characters almost never interact in any way, something frequently noted by non-shippers. Every other popular pairing in the series has at least one scene that its fans lean on, but being the next-most-prominent male and female in the cast seems to be the only reason behind pairing them.
      • As of Digimon Adventure tri., Taichi/Meiko has become the number one complement to Yamato/Sora, often paired with Koushirou/Mimi and Takeru/Hikari.
    • Takeru/Hikari, Miyako/Ken was popular in Digimon Adventure 02 fics for a time. The Jogress evolution partnerships made this very easy for yaoi fangirls: Daisuke/Ken was already very popular, and the biggest "threats" to that pairing, Hikari (Daisuke's crush) and Miyako (Ken's fangirl, then friend and finally wife in the epilogue), were neatly paired off together, which wasn't that off the record either as the girls's relationship had strong Romantic Two-Girl Friendship vibes and they had their own Jogress evolution and Takeru/Iori is also nice, though prepare to handle this.
      • For those who ship both Het and Yaoi, there is also the option of Iori/Miyako and the ever popular Takeru/Hikari.
    • In Digimon Tamers, Takato has a crush on Juri, and while she's amused but not really interested in one early episode, by the end, they seem to be about as much of an Official Couple as you can be when you're ten years old — which is fine, if you ship Ryo/Ruki or Jenrya/Ruki. Takato/Ruki fans tend to ship Jenrya/Juri or (less commonly) Ryo/Juri instead, often with the remaining male being paired with Alice.
    • In Digimon Frontier, Takuya/Kouji shippers like to have Izumi equivocate Junpei's canonically unrequited crush, while Kouji/Kouichi shippers are more likely to ship her with Takuya. And that's not getting into the numerous yaoi pairings.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing fandom, putting Relena in a lesbian relationship (usually with Dorothy, less frequently Hilde, maybe Noin) is seen as the kinder alternative to what the fans usually do to get her out of the way of Heero/Duo.
    • There's also the occasional Quatre/Relena, though as it splits up Trowa/Quatre, it really only shows up in Heero/Trowa fanworks where Quatre/Relena gets rid of the "competition" by making them a het Beta Couple instead.
  • InuYasha:
    • Inuyasha/Sango and Miroku/Kagome fandoms are natural allies as both require splitting up the canon ships of Inuyasha/Kagome and Miroku/Sango to create them.
    • The Sesshoumaru/Kagome fandom often supports Inuyasha/Kikyou to allow Kagome to be with Sesshoumaru while the rival Sesshoumaru/Kikyou fandom often supports Inuyasha/Kagome, leaving Kikyou free for Sesshoumaru. Both fandoms will support Kohaku/Rin to counter the rival Sesshoumaru/Rin fandom.
    • The Sesshoumaru/Kagura fandom allies heavily with the canon pairings, but also with the Kohaku/Rin fandom to counter the rival Sesshoumaru/Rin fandom.
    • Kouga/Inuyasha, Inuyasha/Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha/Kikyou fandoms often support the Kagome/Houjou ship to give her a modern 'happily ever after'.
  • So, as in The Irregular at Magic High School Brother–Sister Incest is a central romantic line, many options consist in conjugating someone from Shiba siblings with other people to avoid incest. For example, although few people in the fandom really like Masaki, many fans of Tatsuya x Mayumi or Tatsuya x Lina support Masaki x Miyuki, in order to avoid incest, separating her from her brother and opening the way for other girls. On the other hand, Katsuto is a good substitute for Mayumi, so as to deprive Tatsuya of any real option except for a couple with Miyuki.
  • Happens a lot in the Axis Powers Hetalia fandom, thanks to the Loads and Loads of Characters and potential relationships (the already-long entry below just barely scratches the surface of all the pairing juxtapositions and rotations going on in fanfic):
    • America/England shippers tend to support France/Canada, and vice versa. France/England shippers simply rotate these pairings around to form the "FrUK family" or "FACE family", with America and Canada being in a very close brotherly relationship (or even closer than that) and France and England treating them as strictly family. Meanwhile, shippers who pair America with someone other than England (usually Russia or Japan) and don't simply treat England as America's father figure or Hopeless Suitor pair him off with France.
      • Seychelles is often seen as a good het option for either Canada or France, leaving England free for America. Much more the latter than the first, though, as it has roots in the Gakuen Hetalia game.
      • Unless of course, you ship England/Seychelles, in which case France/Canada and America/Anyone else is the way to go to keep everyone happy.
      • Don't forget how Canada's "suitors" outside FACE include also The Netherlands, Cuba, and Ukraine, all of them based on history.
    • Prussia/Canada shippers often support France/England (and Russia/America so that America has someone too) to remove any possibility of France/Canada, although a fair number of them do go the conventional America/England + France/Anything That Moves route. Austria/Hungary also tends to pop up in their fanworks too.
    • If Austria is paired up with someone other than his canon girlfriend/ex-wife Hungary, her Unlucky Childhood Friend Prussia serves as a nice option for her. Unless it's Austria/Prussia, but even then, Hungary is usually portrayed as not objecting all that much. And sometimes even joining in.
      • Now that Hungary's other old rival Romania has appeared, he's shaping up to be a possible shipmate as well. Hungary/Romania would go nicely with Prussia/Austria, to start...
      • Alternatively, some Romania/Bulgaria fans like to have Prussia/Hungary and/or Austria/Hungary as a Beta Couple.
      • And taking into advantage Switzerland's denial regarding Austria, Prussia/Hungary and Romania/Hungary shippers have happily embraced this option. Liechtenstein's usually taken care of by pairing her up with Latvia or Sealand.
    • Almost all Spain/Romano shippers include or at least reference Germany/Italy in their fics too, for obvious reasons. It helps that Germany/Italy is an Official Couple and Spain/Romano is considered to be at least pretty damn close to one in the fandom.
    • Russia's most canonical (if one-sided) love interest is Lithuania. Given that Russia is a major LOATS in the fandom, it's probably a good thing that Lithuania can be very easily paired off with his former alliance partner Poland instead.
      • When fans want to get Russia's Stalker with a Crush Belarus out of the picture too, they take advantage of Lithuania's canon crush on her and make her jealousy and hatred of Lithuania diminish enough for them to become a Mind Game Beta Couple. Other times, they refer to a sidenote in the manga about America having taken care of Belarus for a while to pair her up with America instead.
      • In regards to Russia's other sister, Ukraine, if the fanworker wants to pair her with someone else than Russia the first candidates are the aforementioned Canada or Estonia (per Gakuen Hetalia notes that say they're in the World academy Choir Club and recent Gakuen strips/episodes in which they show up together). Poland might have joined in due to their Hetaween 2011 interaction, and after a strip shows Ukraine's close friendship with Hungary she has also become a possible option. (There's a rather polemic fanartistswho invokes historical reasons to pair Ukraine with Turkey, but few seem to have followed suit.)
    • Denmark/Norway goes well with semi-Official Couple Sweden/Finland in Nordic-centric fics. As for Iceland, he used to be almost always relegated to the role of fifth wheel or Tagalong Kid, but it's now somewhat popular for him to be paired up with someone outside of the Nordic family, the most common choices being Hong Kong (for the Birds of a Feather factor, as he sometimes also ends up as Tagalong Kid) and Turkey (for the Hetalia Bloodbath 2010 interaction factor).
      • Denmark/Sweden shippers, however, often play on Norway's Big Brother Instinct towards Iceland to pair them off, with Finland usually left in the lurch. Although some are merciful enough to at least pair him off with Estonia.
    • Greece/Japan not only makes for an easy-to-set-up Beta Couple, but goes well with almost every major ship out there (especially when America/England or Russia/China is the main couple), and Turkey/Egypt can occasionally be spotted alongside of them from shippers who don't want to leave Turkey in the role of Hopeless Suitor to the couple. Giripan is often included as a sidenote to get Japan out of the way in America/England stories, as England/Japan is the Japanese fandom's Fan-Preferred Couple.
      • There's also Japan/Taiwan for those who want to keep the Asians together, don't know/care about Japan's scenes with Greece, or ship Greece with Turkey instead. And of course, Turkey/Greece by itself is a convenient way to deal with Greece when Japan goes off with someone else. (Unless they ship Greece/Hungary instead.)
    • Regarding the other Asian nations, China is usually paired up with Russia but can also be paired with South Korea if Russia is unavailable; Hong Kong goes with either Korea or Taiwan (if not with Iceland or even England), and Vietnam is paired up either with America or Thailand (or more infrequently, France and/or Taiwan). Macau tends to go with Hong Kong, sometimes with Taiwan... or, if with somebody out of the Asian Group, Monaco. (They haven't interacted yet, but fans have noted on their similar interests like gambling.)
  • Ranma ½ features an insane, sprawling Love Dodecahedron with a Gender Bender at its epicenter. Fanfic writers have also had a tremendous amount of fun rearranging the Akane/Ranma and implied-official couples into Ship Mates that weren't remotely hinted at in canon, ranging from the semi-plausible (Mousse/Ukyō) to the outright Crack Pairing (Genma/Cologne).
    • This, in fact, is half of the reason for Ryōga/Ukyō and Kunō/Nabiki being so popular in the fandom, as each ship helps with the cleaning up of romantic loose ends for Ranma and Akane in fanfic a lot. The other half of the reason being some Ship Teasing present in canon for these couples.
    • The same can be said for shippers of Ranma with his other fiances, Shampoo, Ukyo, and even Kodachi.
  • Planetes: Hachimaki/Tanabe and Lucy/Cheng Shin. Each pair are also literal "Ship mates" because Hachimaki and Tanabe work together on Toybox, and Cheng Shin and Lucy are pilot/cabin crew on passenger ships.
  • With three official couples and various storyline overlap in Junjou Romantica, the fandom is very prone to this, usually with Romantica/Egoist or Egoist/Terrorist, although all three pairings being shipmates is also very common.
  • Happens a lot in Hellsing: The most official and popular ship mates are Pip/Seras and Alucard/Integra fans (and let's include Kouta Hirano among them) who are also usually in comradeship with Heinkel/Yumie and Maxwell/Anderson fans (the latter is specially true in the Japanese fandom) but other variations exist. Alucard/Seras fans who like Integra pair her off with anyone as long she's out of the way, including Pip (more popular in the Japanese fandom), Walter, Major or Maxwell or some random OC to continue the bloodline, so they get along with any other shipper as long as their pair is intact.
  • In the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED fandom, Athrun/Lacus makes Kira/Flay a lot easier to justify. They were engaged at one point, after all.
  • Fairy Tail has plenty of this. You have the core ships of Natsu/Lucy, Gray/Juvia, Erza/Jellal, and Gajeel/Levy. However, if for whatever reason those ships don't strike your fancy, there are alternatives.
    • Natsu has his childhood friend Lisanna.
    • Lucy has Loke, who's already declared his love for her.
    • Gray has Erza if you like to keep romance within a team.
    • Juvia has Lyon if you prefer Gray with Lucy or Erza.
    • Erza has Natsu or Gray to help her move on from Jellal (though Laxus isn't unheard of).
    • Crazy as it sounds, there are those who ship Jellal/Ultear, which, if you can get past his brainwashing being her fault, works out rather nicely. Since the series is so jam-packed with Ship Tease in every which way and direction, just about every main character has several perfectly plausible alternative pairings that keep things neat and civil.
    • Edo Natsu/Edo Lucy, Edo Juvia/Edo Gray, and Edo Erza/ Mystogan are a good combination for their Edolas counterparts.
    • Other ships like Gajeel/Levy, Mirajane/Fried, and Elfman/Evergreen are also quite popular.
    • If you're into same-sex ships (a surprisingly small minority among Fairy Tail's fandom, considering the massive amount of Ho Yay the series has), then the ship mates are completely different. The most popular gay ships are Erza/Lucy and Gray/Natsu The same shippers tend to also like Cana/Mirajane, Freed/Laxus and Wendy/Chelia. Jellal tends to be left alone, seeing as the only real alternative ship to Jellal/Erza, Jellal/Ultear was pretty harshly Sunk years ago. Oddly enough though, Gajeel/Levy is still well liked.
  • Shokugeki no Soma has Erina/Hisako for fans who want to keep Erina away so they can ship Soma with someone else.
    • Takumi/Soma has Megumi/Isami, as a way to keep Megumi away from Soma. It doubles as Ships That Pass in the Night since Isami has little interaction with anyone else besides his brother.
    • People who ship Alice with Soma, Akira, or anyone else besides Ryou tend to put him with Megumi. Shippers of Soma/Erina may do the same or pair her with either of the Aldini brothers.
  • One Piece fans who ship Luffy with Nami often pair Zoro with Robin or Tashigi as well as Sanji with Vivi. Zoro/Nami fans usually go with Luffy/Hancock and Franky/Robin (and in some cases, Luffy/Vivi), while Zoro/Sanji supporters sometimes pair Nami up with Luffy or Usopp... when she's not in the way. Or in the yaoi variety, they sometimes include Luffy/Usopp, Nami/Vivi and Franky/Iceburg. And then there's Usopp/Kaya, which pretty much goes with everything since it doesn't "get in the way" of other pairings...
  • Bakemonogatari: Koyomi/Hanekawa shippers often get Senjogahara out of the way by shipping her with Kanbaru.
  • In the Slayers fandom, it's uncommon for a Lina/Gourry shipper to not ship Amelia/Zelgadis as well, and vice versa. It's gotten to the point were a lot of fans will refer to these two pairings collectively as "trad" pairings (short for traditional; a reference to the fact they're the most popular pairings, and are almost, but not quite, canon). Quite a few (but not all) trad shippers will include Xellos/Filia under this label.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • Kyon/Yuki and Kyon/Mikuru shippers often get Haruhi out of the way by shipping her with Itsuki. Conversely, Kyon/Haruhi shippers will occasionally attempt to kill two birds with one stone by shipping Yuki/Mikuru. Or Yuki/Itsuki.
    • Haruhi/Mikuru is popular with Kyon/Itsuki shippers.
  • Evangelion shippers who support Asuka/Shinji pair Rei with Kaworu. This is for het, however; fans of Shinji/Kaworu tend to do the reverse and ship Asuka and Rei.
    • That's only one Het set, too - those who ship Shinji/Rei sometimes ship Asuka with Kaworu (if they don't hate her guts), with the (mostly) canon Toji/Hikari by the side... unless the shipper in question is one of the less-common-but-existant Shinji/Hikari shippers, in which case Asuka/Kaworu or Asuka/Toji can work (at least one fanfic explored both), with Rei & Kensuke occasionally paired together as well. And this is only the kids - of course, given the mental state of nearly the entire cast, this is a series where almost any pairing could conceivably work given enough imagination.
  • If you are a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan and you ship Yugi and Yami, you will (usually) also ship Ryou Bakura and Dark Bakura, Seto Kaiba and either Anzu Mazaki (in the rare instances where she isn't the team's whiny, Alpha Bitch ex-friend and/or totally Yandere for Yami) or Katsuya Jonouchi, Hiroto Honda and Ryuji Otogi, and, if you're feeling crazy, Marik and Dark Marik. Also, probably Mokuba and Shizuka. Fics made in the wake of Bonds Beyond Time add Judai/Yusei to the mix.
    • Next-Gen Fic tends to favor Yugi/Anzu, Jounouchi/Mai, and Kaiba with either Shizuka or Ishizu.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX fandom, people who prefer Judai with Yubel (canon) or Johan (Fan-Preferred Couple) tend to ship Manjoume/Asuka to resolve the Judai/Asuka Ship Tease. If Manjoume/Judai is the pairing, all bets are off on who Asuka ends up with, though Ryo is one of the more common answers.
  • Fans of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's who favor Yusei in one of his many Ho Yay-based pairings (typically Yusei/Jack) tend to set Aki up with either Crow or Sherry. On the other hand, if Yusei is paired with someone besides Jack, there's a good 90% chance that Jack and Carly will be together. Jack/Carly is also often accompanied by Ushio/Mikage, to serve as a Beta Couple.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL's two big ships are Yuma/Astral and Yuma/Shark. In the former, Shark tends to get paired with Kaito, IV, or Durbe, while in the latter, Kaito being with V or Mizael are more common. Strange how the solution to both includes an Arclight and a Barian... Meanwhile, Astral, in shipping fics that don't pair him with Yuma, tends to be just quietly left alone or have his relationship with Yuma be Just Friends. (When you can only be seen and heard by one person most of the time, it puts a damper on your prospects outside of them.)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V seems to be designed with this in mind with many that ship Yuya and Yuzu also pair their respective dimensional counterparts with each other: Yuto with Ruri and Yugo with Rin because each pair has shown to be incredibly close. This dynamic is so strong, they also ship Yuri with Serena despite the two not being close and rarely sharing a scene together. This goes into extreme as once Zarc and Ray, the originals of each group, were revealed they were instantly shipped together despite being mortal enemies.
  • In D.Gray-Man fandom, people who consider Allen/Lenalee their OTP and also ship Lavi/Kanda (and vice versa) are pretty common. Another common ship combination is Allen/Kanda and Lavi/Lenalee or Allen/Lavi and Kanda/Lenalee.
  • Within Trinity Blood het fandom, Esther/Abel shippers often lack Ship Mates, but fans of Esther/Ion or Esther/Alessandro tend to also ship Abel with one of the older female characters, such as Noélle or Astharoshe.
  • Slam Dunk fandom was a sort-of pioneer in this. If you shipped Sakuragi/Rukawa, you were expected to also ship Mitsui/Kogure (and viceversa), and to get Sendoh out of the way without bashing him you'd likely ship him with his snarky teammate Koshino. As bonus, Miyagi would go with Ayako (whom he canonly crushes on), and if you didn't bash the shit out of Haruko then you'd put her with Sakuragi's best friend Youhei, whom she got along pretty well with in canon.
  • Loveless: Ritsuka/Soubi makes it easy to pair Yayoi and Yuiko. On the other side of the fandom, Ritsuka/Yuiko leads quite well to Kio/Soubi. Both pairings also go quite well with Kio/Yayoi as a result of Pair the Spares.
  • An in-universe version occurs in Haiyore! Nyarko-san. Cuuko actively tries to set up Mahiro with Hasta so that she can have Nyarko, who is only interested in Mahiro, for herself.
  • Strawberry Panic!: Those who ship Shizuma/Nagisa would often ship their respective best friends Miyuki and Tamao. Meanwhile, some Amane/Hikari shippers would also ship Yaya/Tsubomi.
  • Free!:
    • As soon as Seijuuro Mikoshiba appeared and started crushing on Gou Matsuoka, a rather big part of the fandom rushed to ship them. Partially because they look adorable together, partially to keep Gou safely away from the very slashable main guys without bashing her. Other fans will also resort to pairing up Gou with her lady friend Chigusa.
    • In addition, MakoHaru shippers tend to like pairing up Rin with Nitori, and Makoto/Haruka and Rin/Haruka shippers alike generally ship Rei/Nagisa as well.
    • In the second season, Mikoshiba's younger brother Momotarou showed up... and he started crushing on Gou, too. Guess what the fandom has done. Also, some Makoto/Haruka fans see Sousuke as a prospect Rin "suitor" that may keep him safely "away".
  • In Princess Tutu, Mytho/Duck shippers tend to pair Rue up with Autor (Fakir/Rue is surprisingly uncommon), while Fakir/Duck shippers pair her up with Mytho.
  • In the Brazilian/Latin-American Spanish Saint Seiya fandoms, a common ensemble of Gold Saint pairings is Camus/Milo, Mu/Shaka, Aiolia/Marin and Deathmask/Aphrodite. Shura tends to fall into Pair the Spares territory (being paired with people such as Shaina, Aiolia if the writer feels that Het Is Ew and even Pandora), while Saga tends to go with Aiolos or his brother Kanon. Aldebaran, not being a Bishounen, tends not to be paired with anyone.
  • In the Madoka fandom, there are five main characters. Of those five, four of them have heavily-implied relationships. The fifth, Mami, doesn't interact with that many other characters, and is consequently left out in the cold. Consequently, she often winds up in a semi-Crack Pairing with Charlotte, the Monster of the Week who devoured her. The fact that Charlotte was once human usually helps this along. This one even gets play from Ume Aoki, the show's character designer.
    • The creators seemed to have picked up on this. As of Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion, Charlotte's human form, Nagisa Momoe, has been introduced as a new character having a close relationship with Mami. Homura even keeps the two together after she rewrites reality in the end.
    • A less-cracky example are the fans who ship Mami and Kyouko, who prefer to make Kyouko's more common shipping partner Sayaka totally straight and still in love with her canonically unrequited crush, Kyousuke (who may or may not return the affection, depending on the fanwork). The author of The Different Story, from which most Kyouko/Mami flows, has noted that they prefer Kyouko/Mami/Sayaka as a One True Threesome.
    • Conversely, Kyousuke/Hitomi is one of the most common ships in the fandom, not because it's canonically supported or because of any kind of chemistry between the two, but because it gets Kyousuke firmly off the table so that Sayaka can start making out with Kyouko (or one of her other potential love interests) without any guilt. Stories that feature Kyousuke/Hitomi as a Beta Couple or offhand mention are nigh-on universal, while stories that actually use them as the main pairing are nigh-on nonexistent.
  • Attack on Titan has no shortage of Ship Tease, making this a common occurrence; fans of Eren/Annie like to pair off Mikasa with Jean or, oddly, Levi, whereas those who prefer Eren/Mikasa were quite happy to discover that Bertholdt had a crush on Annie. For those who like Ho Yay and Les Yay, Annie/Mikasa nicely complements Eren/Levi, Eren/Jean, or Eren/Armin; pairing up Reiner with his Heterosexual Life-Partner Bertholdt also leaves Christa free for Ymir. And this isn't even going into the plethora of Crack Pairings...
  • In Kill la Kill, Ryuko/Mako fans often also pair Satsuki/Nonon (or, less commonly, Satsuki/Gamagoori or Satsuki/Sanageyama), while Ryuko/Satsuki fans are the natural ally of Mako/Gamagoori shippers. Inumuta/Jakuzure is also common for fans of pairing Satsuki with anyone other than Nonon. For fans of the popular ship of Inumuta/Iori (especially outside of the Western fanbase), the relatively rare Sanageyama/Jakuzure can be considered an alternative to Inumuta/Jakuzure.
  • In the Detective Conan fandom, if you support the same format, then Shinichi/Ran, Heiji/Kazuha, and Kaito/Aoko is for you. To get Haibara out of the way, pair her up with Mitsuhiko. who already has a crush on her. You might also include non-related ships like Eri/Kogoro and Satou/Takagi (already canon) along with Shiratori/Kobayashi (also canon) and Genta/Ayumi.
  • A lot of Yuki Yuna is a Hero fans who ship Togo/Yuna also ship Karin/Fu.
  • With Maria-sama ga Miteru Yumi/Sachiko is by far the most popular pairing, and for good reason considering all the Ship Tease and how they're all but the Official Couple. Many people who ship them pair off Sachiko's cousin, Suguru, and Yumi's brother, Yuki, for comparisons sake. Rei/Yoshino is also a Ship-Mate to Yumi/Sachiko.
  • In the Wandering Son fandom the Official Couple Nitori/Anna goes hand-in-hand with the Foe Yay laden Takatsuki/Saori. You can only imagine the anger when Saori ended up with Fumiya, a boy she had been rejecting for years.
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun has some very clearly defined pairings for its cast... all except for Mikorin, who doesn't have another character (background or otherwise) to get paired up with. This usually results in Mikorin either getting paired up with everyone or pairing him up with Mayu, as he's the only other character without a pairing. It all seems to have worked out in hindsight, as Mayu's original purpose was to be paired up with Mikorin anyway (as a girl) when the author noticed that Mikorin was the only shipless character.
  • DEVILMAN crybaby's two most popular pairings have two major obstacles: for Akira/Ryo, it's "what happens to Akira's relationship with Miki?", and for Miki/Miko, it's "how do you avoid the fact that they die seconds after their apparent confession?" Since Akira/Ryo by its nature assumes a more peaceful ending to the series, and Miki/Miko handily gives Miki a girlfriend, the two have every reason to stick together.
  • Little Witch Academia fans tend to favor Diana/Akko, Chariot/Croix, and Lotte/Sucy, which gets the six most important characters out of the way fairly elegantly. Amanda, Jasminka, Constanze, Hannah, and Barbara tend to shuffle around depending on the author's preference (though Amanda/Hannah is oddly common). One solution is to use the former three as a One True Threesome, leaving Hannah and Barbara to each other.
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