Shipping (short for "relationshipping"; カップリング Coupling in Japanese) is the belief that two characters in the Pokémon universe are in a romantic relationship, or may have romantic feelings that could potentially lead to a relationship. It is generally used as a suffix attached to a word related to a pair of characters (like in PokéShipping).
For example, a person who would like to see Ash and Misty as boyfriend and girlfriend would be a PokéShipper, and as a PokéShipper, he or she would support PokéShipping. In addition to "shipping," and "shipper," there are "ship," which is a word for the pairing itself, and "shippy," which is used as an adjective. For example, if Ash and Misty kissed, that moment would be considered PokéShippy. A basic rundown follows:
- ship (pairing) : Example: "I support that ship." means "I support that pairing."
- shippy (supports a ship) : Example: "That hug was shippy." means "That hug makes them look like a couple."
- shipping (action of supporting a ship) : Example: "I enjoy PokéShipping." means "I enjoy supporting Ash and Misty as a couple."
- ship (action of supporting a ship) : Example: "Do you ship?" means "Do you support that/any pairing(s)?"
- shipper (supporter of a ship) : Example: "We are all shippers of that couple." means "We are all supporters of that pairing."
Another thing to note is that if a pairing is shown in the media it originated, it is considered canon.
The term "shipping" originated in the X-Files fan community 1. At that time, a Shipper supported the prospect of a romantic relationship between the series' main characters, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. The term crossed over to the anime community when Maria Rocket and other Team Rocket fans from TRHQ used the term to describe a relationship between Jessie and James. Thus, RocketShipping was born. It is to this day still uncertain if this was an independent development of the term (as a play on words of the word Rocketship) or not. Regardless, soon the term was applied to dozens of other Pokémon pairings—today, there are over 9,000 formally named and recognized pairings, but only a vague 5% are actually used in common and regular practice. The method is considered both helpful and unnecessary by various parts of the fandom today.
Once popularized in the Pokémon fandom, soon it spread to other fandoms frequented by Pokémon fans and former Pokémon fans, such as Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, and Harry Potter. These days, however, most fandoms use the word.
Japanese anime fans have their own form of naming couples, and this applies to the Pokémon fandom as well. The names of pairings are determined by combining the first two syllables of each character's name to form one word. In heterosexual pairings, the male character's name comes first. For example, a pairing between Satoshi (Ash) and Kasumi (Misty) would be called サトカス (SatoKasu). When naming a couple this way, in same-sex pairings, the seme (tachi; dominant) character's name comes first. For example, a pairing between Satoshi (Ash) and Shigeru (Gary) would be called シゲサト (ShigeSato), if Shigeru is the seme and Satoshi the uke (neko; submissive), but if Satoshi were considered the seme in the relationship, the denotation would be サトシゲ (SatoShige).
Some popular ships from the Pokémon Adventures manga include:
- AgencyShipping: Black and White
- ChoosenShipping: Silver and Green
- CommonerShipping: Diamond and Platinum
- FranticShipping: Ruby and Sapphire
- HaughtyShipping: Pearl and Platinum
- MangaQuestShipping: Gold and Crystal
- OldrivalShipping: Blue and Green
- SpecialShipping: Red and Yellow
Some popular anime ships include:
- AdvanceShipping: Ash and May
- AmourShipping: Ash and Serena
- AppealShipping: Dawn and Zoey
- ContestShipping: May and Drew
- ElderShipping: Professor Oak and Delia
- LuckShipping: Brock and Lucy
- NegaiShipping: Ash and Iris
- PalletShipping: Ash and Gary
- PearlShipping: Ash and Dawn
- PokéShipping: Ash and Misty
- RocketShipping: Jessie and James
- WishfulShipping: Cilan and Iris
For a complete list of articles, see List of shippings.