Category Archives: Pairings and Shipping
Re:ZERO was a series I became mildly obsessed with as it aired. It resonated with me for similar reasons Oregairu did – because it showed a deep understanding of its self-loathing geek protagonist. In the end, I couldn’t help but root for Subaru, even when I knew that his actions were self-defeating. He felt empty and alone, and he was convinced that he could save himself by becoming Emilia’s knight. I’m not sure that he overcame his white knight complex by the end of the anime, but he did become more capable of empathising with others, and that was significant in itself.
However, anyone who followed me on twitter during the time Re:ZERO aired probably knows which two characters really stole my heart.
So I was reading the first Re:ZERO Ex novel and this conversation came up on pages 160-161.
Here’s a rough translation below:
Zen and Shirayuki’s relationship is supposed to be the heart and soul of Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, but for some reason their interactions have always left me slightly cold. It’s a strange conundrum, because Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is everything I told myself I wanted out of a shojo romance: a story where the main characters actually communicate and are not douchebags/morons.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the manga is how Sorata Akizuki goes out of her way to infuse those old fairytale tropes with a modern, egalitarian spirit. Zen might be a dashing prince who falls for a commoner, but instead of eloping with Shirayuki or turning her into a princess, the story is all about Shirayuki rising to Zen’s level of esteem through her hard work and merit.
On closer inspection, the egalitarian message clashes with the story’s setting. Monarchism and egalitarianism don’t mix well, after all. But of course, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is not really making a point about social equality. It is simply trying to sell a fantasy about a kind prince from a utopian kingdom to a modern audience, for whom gender equality has become a romantic ideal.
This is the main reason why I don’t find the romance in Akagami no Shirayuki-hime interesting. It is the kind of story that sets out to reaffirm what the audience believes about romance instead of challenging our preconceptions. This is not to say that I think Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is a bad series, because it is exceptionally well-crafted comfort food. But it does mean that I enjoy it primarily for the relaxing atmosphere instead of its romantic moments. Every time Zen and Shirayuki display their enormous trust in each other, I think, “This would be great for a couple in real life, but as fiction it’s boring.”
Aldnoah.Zero is not a terribly well-regarded show in the English-speaking blogosphere, but I enjoyed it. I even liked the much maligned second season. I think one of the things I liked most about it was how it fired a torpedo at every possible ship, even though nobody important died [OOPS, SPOILERS]. It was not a conventional ending, nor was it an emotionally satisfying one, but somehow it stuck with me.
One particular character I was fond of really seemed to get the short end of the stick, and I’ve been unable to get her off my mind since. That character was Lemrina.
I was tempted to conclude my 12 days of shipping series with a Me x Lemrina post, but since I’m not an anime character (I think?) I doubt it’ll ever work out between us.
So let me tell you about another person I shipped Lemrina with: her sister.
Gosick aired in 2011, but I’m going to write about it here because I watched it a few months ago, and Kujo and Victorique is the cutest and most endearing anime couple I’ve seen this year. Just look how adorable they are! This is way better than watching cat videos on Youtube.
But now, after years of disagreements, sanctions and vague threats to start World War III, things have changed for these two powerful nations. A heartwarming love story has sprouted between the Russian president and the loudmouthed bigot who wants to be president of the USA.
However, the reason I approve of the harem is not just because I’m a pervlord who likes harems. The harem in Gundam: Orphans says something interesting about family structures – and how they change in times of conflict.
SPOILERS EVERYWHERE IN THIS POST
For those of you living under a rock, Naruto is a manga series about a ninja who wears orange. It also had a complete bullcrap ending. It was pretty much exactly the same as Harry Potter’s “BABIES EVER AFTER” ending. The Western Naruto fandom collectively flipped their shit over it. My favourite reaction has to be from a tumblr person who has since deleted their account, who had this to say:
I’m so upset right now, I just deleted everything Narusaku related in my computer, I tore up all my narusaku drawings that were hanging on my wall for years now, I threw away all my naruto manga & DVD collection into the garbage, I ripped apart all my posters…I literally wanted to burn everything instead but I live in apartments so I obviously can’t start a fire. I’m not bashing or anything I just feel like all of this was pointless…completely pointless. I wasted so much money…so much time… I can never get back…
So. It’s been a year. We’ve all had time to cool our heads and get used to the fact that Naruto and Hinata copulated and had a kid with the unfortunate name of Bolt. Sasuke and Sakura also had a kid with the even more unfortunate name of Salad. There’s even a sequel movie focusing on the kids, and it doesn’t look like the parents got a divorce. Are the Naruto shipping wars finally over?