Shipping

Shipping (short for "relationshipping"; カップリング Coupling in Japanese) is the belief that two or more characters are in a romantic relationship, or may have romantic feelings that could potentially lead to a relationship. The term "shipping" originated from the X-Files fan community and has since spread into multiple franchises and series, including Pokémon. This is primarily explored through the creation of fanworks, including art, video editing, and fiction.

These relationships can take many forms, including canon, where the relationship is acknowledged within the medias universe and non-canon where the relationship relies on what people consider subtext or hints towards a character's involvement with each other. This can also extend to include characters who have never actually appear together in official media, generally referred to as never-met ships. A pairing usually develops a name in one of two ways; either a portmanteau of the names of the characters involved or a prefix which is a word that best describes the pairing and ending in -shipping.

Types of ships

There are multiple terms that the shipping community uses to describe the different characters within their relationships. These include:

  • Hetro - A pairing between male and female characters.
  • Slash - A ship between male characters.
  • FemSlash - A ship between female characters.
  • Non-Binary - A ship featuring one or multiple characters that don't identify as either gender.

There are also common terms used to determine the type of relationship:

  • Canon - A ship that's established within official media.
  • Poly - A ship involving multiple characters.
  • Crackship - A ship involving characters generally popularised due to comedic effect, such as ElderShipping. A ship between Professor Oak and Delia Ketchum, popularised due to their frequent appearances together.
  • Never-met-ship - A ship between two characters that have not interacted within official media.
  • Crossover Ship - A ship between two characters from different fandoms.

Shipping in Pokémon

Shipping in the Pokémon fandom began in the late 90s, with Pokémon forums hosting their own shipping sections for fans to discuss their favorite ships. Two of the most popular ships at the time were PokéShipping; the pairing of Ash and Misty, and RocketShipping; the pairing of Jessie and James. Other Pokémon sites would also have sections dedicated to shipping, having lists of hints and evidence of a romantic relationship that were mostly speculation.

Shipping is notorious for sparking heated debates and arguments over any given pairing and the evidence provided by fans. Many fans use dialogue and visual context for clues, while some will usually look very deeply into a very minor aspect of an episode. Shipping would sometimes go far and beyond the "norms", as fans would sometimes pair up characters with obvious age differences, characters of the same gender, Pokémon with other Pokémon, or even human characters with Pokémon. These pairings would often bring ire into the community, with many finding these kinds of pairing offensive.

Although any selection of characters can be shipped, there are multiple shipping archetypes that are more common than others within the Pokémon fandom. These will generally include the main characters, mostly due to their abundant screen time and the resulting chance for interactions between individual characters. The most popular of these in the anime is usually between Ash and his female traveling companion of the series; other popular pairings include the main characters as well as their respective rivals. There are also specific character or arc ships that are usually passing in the media that usually have more specific evidence of attraction on the part of at least one of the included characters.

Within the manga and game universe, common pairings are the opposing protagonists of the games represented in that generation.

Recently within the fandom, shipping has seemingly died down, with conversations about them only occurring in small pockets of the community. Many fans seemingly condemn the idea of shipping, particularly the more offensive shippings. As such, the concept of shipping characters has mostly been abandoned.

See also

  This article is a part of Project Fandom, a Bulbapedia Project that aims to write comprehensive articles on every aspect of the Pokémon Fandom.