To Ship or Not To Ship

That is the question. The imagined fantasies of a fujoshi encompasses that idea in which they imagine two males getting together. However, in contrast with their fantasy, in reality, the two males in question are in fact, not gay at all. In most cases, if not, all cases, most fujoshi tend to ship a straight male with another straight male. Why is that the case? Why not ship a gay male with another gay male? Isn’t it basically the same thing, just the sexuality of the male is different? First and foremost, what is shipping? I think that it was said earlier but in terms of the actual definition, shipping is basically when someone, doesn’t have to be a fujoshi or fudanshi (male counterpart of fujoshi-male who fantasizes male-male relationships), believes that two characters should be together in the romantic context. While there are a lot shippers in the realm of otaku culture, there are also some diehard shippers in which they believe that their ship is absolute and there is no ground for debate. This can also be said for fujoshi. I am inclined to believe even more so.

An example you see of this is in the anime Watashi ga Motete Dosunda (Kiss Him, Not Me!). This anime and manga in particular has a girl name Kae Serinuma who is an avid fujoshi who ships Lord x Akane in the anime of the show called “Katchu Ranbu” in which she believes the Lord acts as the seme or the one that tops, and Akane acts as the uke or the one that bottoms and in reality her two classmates, Igarashi-kun and Nanashima-kun. However, in the previous episode, where she goes to a convention she happens to meet a girl named Mishima Shinomiya-senpai, who is just as much of a fujoshi as her, but in terms of her ship between Lord and Akane in the anime, she believes that it should be Akane x Lord in which the roles are opposite to what Serinuma in which she believes Akane tops and Lord bottoms. Throughout the rest of the episode it shows how hardcore and how devoted a fujoshi can be when it comes to their ships. Because of this outlier, their friendship becomes damaged and it takes them awhile before coming to terms and respect each others ships, though they agreed to never talk about that ever.

However, in terms of fudanshi shipping . thought this is speculation on my part, they are not really into shipping of characters, though I am not saying that they don’t exist. In the anime Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu (The High School Life of a Fudanshi) there is a fudanshi who became friends with a fujoshi and talked about official pairings, though not ship-related, it is more like a distant relative to one. He basically talks about how he hates pairing more so official ones because it takes away the fantasy aspect and freedom to choose which character gets with another characters. I guess you can say that he is more of a shipper than his female friend, but I want to hear your thoughts about the difference in shipping in fujoshi and fudanshiIs there really much of a difference between the two and if so, why? If not, why not?

Also to further add to discussion, do you feel that in terms of parings and shipping, when the creator makes a pairing official, does that hinder the imagined fantasies that a fujoshi or fudanshi have for said characters?

One thought on “To Ship or Not To Ship

  1. Hi Ashanti,

    You do a great job here of summarizing “shipping” and setting up a comparison of how it differs between the fujoshi and fudanshi iterations. I am curious about the series you summarize in para. 2 (Kiss Him, Not Me). What does it mean, that Kae sees Lord and Akane in one way, whereas Mishima sees them in another type of relationship? What is the significance of their respective expectations, and what is this trying to suggest about fujoshi culture? The other thing that struck me while reading your post is when you said that fudanshi are “not really into shipping of characters.” Why might this be? Also, this comment makes me think of American culture, where there is strong fetishization of lesbian sex (whether or not the women involved are straight or gay) among hetereosexual males. Would you call this “fudanshi shipping”? If not, in what ways does this type of fetishization differ?

    Cheers,
    Amanda

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