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“I won't marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone”
From the journal of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, who has had it with the fan letters asking of her to do that

A lot of fans are rooting for this couple to get together. A lot. Way more than are rooting for any conceivable alternative. And it is not happening.

Unrelated discussions degenerate into Ship-to-Ship Combat involving them. Fan Art of them embracing passionately is everywhere. Threads dedicated to gushing over their sweet, fluffy, legendary love and scorching hatred of anyone in the way dominate forums. Bits of trivia are cited and Word of God is creatively interpreted to show that they ARE going to happen. The Official Couple they're breaking up gets only three votes in fan support polls, possibly including one vote cast by a very alarmed author. They are a phenomenon shrouded in infamy.

And still yet, in spite of it all, they are not happening. Certainly not now, and probably not ever.

A subreaction of Better Than Canon. Most often the result of a Romantic False Lead Gone Horribly Right due to Emotional Torque critical mass, but sometimes happens by design or because fandoms just make no sense. Often, but not always, involves disregarding a competing Official Couple with extreme prejudice. Can eventually lead to an Author's Saving Throw or a Writer Revolt.

The highest aspiration of a Fan-Preferred Couple is to beat the odds and evolve into an Official Couple. This is about the only way the same couple can end up being both of these things.


When left alone, this page very quickly decays into its natural state of equilibrium: Everyone listing huge Walls of Text about their favorite ships. We don't want that. Here are some guidelines for what examples you put on this page and how.

  1. No listing pairings that are less popular than rival pairings. Yes, this means it's not a Fan-Preferred Couple if the Official Couple is more fan-preferred than it.
  2. No listing two different pairings with the same character in them, unless you have a very good explanation of how they can both be the most popular at the same time.
  3. Give us specifics. Saying "some fans think" it should happen gives us zero information. That's true of anything on the internet.
  4. Keep it short and to the point. Lapsing into speculation of what in Canon set this reaction off is all right, but don't give us a friggin' plot summary.

Examples of Fan-Preferred Couple include:

Comic Books

  • Archie Comics — A lot of people forget that Archie and Veronica were the original Official Couple; it's only because of Betty being a Better Than Canon match for him that Betty and Veronica even became a question. The newspaper comic version does a much better job of emphasizing Archie/Veronica, but this still just doesn't help at all. During the last couple of decades, the writers have tried to make the triangle more even; Betty gets about as many dates with Archie, and Veronica has several other (one-shot) boyfriends.
    • How seriously do fans take Archie/Betty? A Dallas comics collector sold his copy of Archie Comics #1 at auction, to protest a storyline where Archie and Veronica get married Twenty Minutes Into the Future. The joke's on him — that particular storyline was but just one of a pair of Alternate Timelines, covering the first half of that storyline. The second half had Archie and Betty getting married also in the near-future.
    • Not actually preferred but Betty x Veronica (and Jughead x Archie to a lesser extent) are pretty popular. Maybe even more popular then Veronica and Archie.
  • Lenore and Ragamuffin from Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl and how. To the point where most fanart and fanfiction involve the two of them. It doesn't help that they have a bucket filled with No Yay and Relationship Writing Fumble, especially in the original comics.
  • Kevin Smith actually devotes a rant to the misguided Superman/WonderWoman shippers in Mallrats. The fact that Clark and Diana are a couple in multiple Alternate Universes (and canonically shacked up during a JLA storyline we'd rather not talk about) does not help the cause of Canon.
    • Batman/TheJoker. Oh. Ye. Gods. This is the most popular Batman Foe Yay pairing. The fact it is canon on the Joker's side helps.
    • Keeping with clowns, Harley/Ivy is a popular alternative to Harley/Joker given their close relationship in canon.
    • There's quite a bit of support for Robin (Tim Drake)/Batgirl (Cassandra Cain). They're opposites in a lot of ways, but they end up complementing each other very well. Support for the pairing got stronger when Tim's official love interest was believed to be dead.
  • Spider-Man/Mary Jane. Yes, you read that right. You have Joe Quesada to thank. MJ actually has more of a history of this reaction: she was--and still is--very popular with the fans, and she's been written out of the books before to have a more "appropriate" love interest brought in to be Peter's romantic partner (like Deb Whitman, or the more recent Carlie Cooper). Problem is, with the exception of maybe The Black Cat, these love interests are as dull as a rock and don't hold a candle to MJ's character. From the very start of their relationship, fans preferred Peter with MJ. If only those silly creators didn't get in the way...
      • Back when Gwen was still alive and Peter Parkers's official love interest, Mary Jane Watson's unexpectedly huge popularity with the readers was a serious problem for Stan Lee and John Romita. They tried a lot of things to tone MJ down and make Gwen more 'exciting', which in some respects only lampshaded their problem as it made Gwen more and more resemble MJ, most notably by changing her original hairstyle into a variant of Mary Jane's. The way Stan Lee wrote about it later, the matter was not helped by the fact that he himself found Gwen less interesting than MJ...
    • And speaking of the Black Cat... you guessed it! Outside of the core MJ/Gwen/Felicia trio, it seems that there are few women that fans would mind pairing Webhead up with. And a sizable portion of them hail outside of the Spider-Man comics (i.e. Jessica Drew, Carol Danvers, etc.).
  • There are a sizeable portion of Scott Pilgrim fans who aren't exactly fond of love interest Ramona and would prefer Scott get back together with Kim Pine. Writer Bryan Lee O'Malley hypothesizes that it is easier for these fans to relate to the dateless, downtrodden, outwardly-misanthropic Kim, which is why they vouch for her and dislike Ramona.
  • In The Mighty Thor, the mightiest pairing is easily the Foe Yay / Ho Yay / Not Blood Siblings-Yay of Thor/Loki. This is most likely becuase they're the two most established charatcers in the series, and have a few really heartwarming moments that the shippers run with. Plus, on the het side, the Thor/Jane (or Don/Jane, it's gotten confusing) Thor/Sif, and Thor/Amora shippers are too busy fighting with each other to deal with Thor/Loki shippers. Even though it's canon, most people regard Doctor Doom xLoki as a joke.
    • Loki originally had a wife, Sigyn, to match with mythology. She vanished due to Chuck Cunningham Syndrome, since she really did nothing except help Loki occsioanlly (and stop helping him just as much when she realized he was evil). No one really thinks about this now.
    • Balder's most popular pairing is not with his actual Dating Catwoman interest with Karnilla, but with Loki (probably becuase Karnilla only ever shows up when needed for very specific plot, so like Jane and Sif she doesn't get much panel time).
    • Official Couple Kelda and Bill are popular with each other, though. Probabaly becuase no one had heard of either before their arc.
    • In the Thor movie fandom, however, Thor/Jane is much more popular (proabbly due to the whole Donald Blake Sharing a Body issues not being present) but Thor/Loki is still very strong, with Loki's main other choices being Tony Stark on the Ho Yay end and Darcy Lewis or Sif on the straight end. Most of the competing ship's stories are fairly similar in number though.
    • It should be noted though, that even with a few clashes, most Thor fans seem respectful of other couple choices and there isn't too much Die for Our Ship or Ship-to-Ship Combat. Weird for a Comic Book, but that's not a bad thing.
  • Many fans prefer Invisible Woman to be paired off with Namor rather than her own husband. Considering the playing-up of Mr. Fantastic's neglectful side AND having Sue and Reed be on opposite sides of the Civil War, it seemed like a distinct possibility. (And, not surprisingly, it didn't happen. But they did tease us with it a bit.)
  • An interesting situation occurs in the Knights of the Old Republic comic since many fans wanted Zayne to hook up with Jarael instead of his more obvious love interest, Shel. The reason this is an interesting situation is because Zayne and Jarael become a couple in the last issue, thus making this a rare example of the Fan-Preferred Couple turning into the Official Couple.
  • Wolverine/Jean Grey, anyone? This originated when Wolverine was a new member of the X-Men, and had yet to establish himself as the Ensemble Darkhorse. Creating a love triangle with him and the existing Cyclops/Jean Grey couple was in large part to flesh out and draw interest to a then-unestablished character, but the Wolverine/Jean pairing (and Wolverine himself) became far more popular than the creators could have imagined.
  • Many Teen Titans fans were thrilled when Beast Boy and Raven got together. Than came One Year Later, during which they broke up. The fans were less than thrilled.
  • Donald Duck and Kay K is more popular than Donald and Daisy Duck for Double Duck's readers.

Film — Animated

  • Quite a few fans think Victor Van Dort from Corpse Bride ended up with the wrong woman and Emily was more compatible with him; at any rate, he'd gotten to know her far more than Victoria.
  • Many Tinkerbell fans think that Tink/Bobble is the better ship, as opposed to Tink/Terrence.
  • The Disney fandom really likes Crossover Ship's with other Disney films. The most popular are probably Ariel/Meg or Ariel (or her daughter Melody)/Jim
  • Kung Fu Panda fans seized on the obvious hints through the franchise and have embraced the PoXTigress coupling, eager to see it progress.
  • Toy Story — canon couples are Woody/Bo Peep (well, at least until Bo Peep was Put on a Bus in the third film) and Buzz/Jessie, but Woody/Buzz and Woody/Jessie are easily just as popular as the canon ones, if not more.
  • Within the Goofy related parts of the Disney Animated Canon, there's Max's love life. In A Goofy Movie he was given a girlfriend named Roxanne. In the sequel she doesn't appear, but she pops up in House of Mouse. Come Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas, and he has a new girlfriend. Undoubtedly, Max/Roxanne is the Fan-Preferred Couple and many fans make Fix Fic's about this.
  • The An American Tail franchise has the Fan-Preferred Couple of Tony and Bridget. Interestingly this was a canon pairing initially, but later Direct to Video sequels wrote Bridget completely out of the story with no explanation, and had Tony swooning over an Indian Maiden.

Film — Live Action

  • Disney's black sheep turned cult classic movie-musical Newsies has a small but rabid fandom that definitely seems to prefer Jack and David, instead of the canon Jack and Sarah, sister of David. It's not hard to see why.
  • Fans of the Britcom film Four Weddings and a Funeral often complain that the main character's witty, lovelorn friend Fiona is a far better match for him than the vacuous American he ends up with.
  • In Pretty in Pink, Duckie/Andie was originally supposed to be canon but test audiences didn't like it, so the ending was changed.
  • In the DVD commentary for Starship Troopers, director Paul Verhoeven says fans wanted Carmen to die and Johnny to end up with Dizzy, proving that it isn't only fans who have preferred couples. Considering that in the original book Dizzy is male and Johnny and Carmen have at most a one-night stand together, this wouldn't have been such a bad change compared to most of the rest of the changes Verhoeven actually did make.
  • Raoul and Christine end up together in Phantom of the Opera, but most fans prefer Christine to be with Erik — especially the ones that go by the 2004 version of it (where the Phantom is portrayed by Gerard Butler). Also see the series' entry in the Theater section.
  • Warren/Layla from Sky High over the canon Layla/Will.
  • A lot of fans of A Knight's Tale aren't fond of William/Jocelyn, instead preferring to hook him up with his hard-working friend Kate.
  • Jareth/Sarah from Labyrinth is quite popular, in spite of Sarah flat-out rejecting Jareth's offer to make all her dreams come true at the end of the film. It probably has a lot to do with Jareth being played by David Bowie.
  • In the Inception fandom, Arthur/Eames and Arthur/Ariadne is this. It's the version where the fandom has no Official Couple, though; the only canon couple involves entirely different characters.
  • Fun fact: on, there are virtually no pairings for Sebastian/Annette from Cruel Intentions. Pretty much everyone was rooting for the bitchy, scheming Kathryn.
  • In Red Eye, many ship Lisa and Rippner, in spite of (or because of?) all the attempted murder on both sides, as well as the intense chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy, especially during the lavatory scene.
  • In Push: Compare Nick and Cassie's number of YouTube videos (over twenty) to Nick and Kira's (none). Yeah.
  • The Official Couple in the Star Trek 2009 movie is Spock/Uhura. There is a sizable section of the fandom for whom Kirk/Spock is the Fan-Preferred Couple, some of whom believe that the former relationship was put in purely to dissuade Kirk/Spock shippers. (Though the movie has also spawned a sizeable Kirk/Bones following.)
  • Fans of the Rupert Grint movie Cherrybomb can generally be split into two categories: devoted Malachy/Luke shippers who simply ignore Michelle's existence; and batshit crazy, foaming-at-the-mouth Malachy/Luke shippers who openly detest Michelle and loudly wish her dead. This is a pretty extreme reaction given that in canon, both guys are seemingly straight and spend most of the movie competing for Michelle's affections. That said, several cast members have alluded to the strong homoerotic subtext of Malachy and Luke's relationship, so it probably doesn't exist entirely in the minds of yaoi fangirls.
  • From Clue, the movie: There seems to be this whole thing about Wadworth and Yvette...
  • For X-Men: First Class, Erik/Charles is the official pairing, even according to certain screenwriters and actors. It's incorporated even in fics that involve the younger X-Men (by having them act as parents), and those who do ship Erik/Raven or Charles/Moira are a small minority.
  • In the Halloween series: Michael/Laurie is the fandom's favorite. Rob Zombie's remakes of the films give this pairing a boost because, apparently, Mikey loves his baby sister.
  • James Bond is, of course, hardly the type to settle down (except that one time, and it's implied he was at least considering it that other time), but with fans who think he should, the most popular pairing, at least among female fans on Live Journal, seems to be not with any of his lovely companions from his adventures but rather with his perennial UST object, MI 6 secretary Moneypenny. The ones that aren't Yaoi Fangirlss, anyway; those typically pair him with Alec. They shared everything, you know...
  • Finn/Poe is easily the most popular ship in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, thanks to their chemistry and that they've only had Implied Love Interests. Helps that Poe's actor Oscar Isaac was a huge Shipper on Deck during the film's production.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • As a result of most fans viewing Thor/Jane as a Romantic Plot Tumor in the first two Phases, Thor/Sif easily outshone it in popularity. Helps that Sif is Thor's wife in Norse Mythology.
    • Clint/Natasha was once the Fan-Preferred Couple of the MCU following The Avengers until Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While the latter film very much tried to push Steve Rogers/Sharon Carter, the chemistry between Steve and Natasha quickly made "Romanogers" the Fan-Preferred Steve Rogers het pairing.
    • In the world of Ho Yay, Steve/Tony, thanks to its large comic history, once held this spot before the two's diverging Character Development and the events of Captain America: Civil War made clear that Bucky Barnes was the most important in Steve's life. As a result, Steve/Bucky quickly became Steve's biggest ship.


  • Alice in Wonderland: Alice and the Mad Hatter. The original book is for children, but some adaptations and sequels gave their relationship romantic traits. Naturally, Alice/Hatter is now the most desired ship.
    • And at Disneyland, two of the costumed actors who play them are actually in a relationship, and therefore the Disney incarnations have a pretty big following on sites like Deviantart as well.
  • Amadis Of Gaul: One of the oldest examples of this is shown in this Portuguese/Spanish (its authorship is disputed) medieval romance. Except that in this case it's not so much Fan-Preferred Couple as King Preferred Couple. To further elaborate: the hero Amadis is inextricably faithful to the princess Oriana. During one of his quests, however, one lady Briolanja falls desperately in love with him, and puts him in jail because he refuses to go to bed with her. Apparently the king of Portugal at the time, D. Afonso, really liked Briolanja and wanted her to have a happy ending, so he himself ordered the book to be changed, and have Amadis get hitched with Briolanja (with Oriana's permission, otherwise he'd die... it's a long story). This is retconned in later editions of the book, where the "author"/compiler himself narrates this version of the story, but immediately says afterwards something along the lines of "but this is just the king's whim and not what really happened". And then goes on with the "original" version. It's bizarre.
  • Artemis Fowl: Artemis/Holly since the very first book. Even when Holly HATED Artemis.
    • Which takes Mayfly-December Romance to an extreme because not only is Holly very long-lived, but Artemis began the series as a prepubescent child.
  • Casteel: For this V. C. Andrews series, a lot of readers preferred Heaven to be Troy instead of Logan, even after Troy was revealed to be Heaven's uncle. This is because, aside from incest not exactly being rare in Andrews' works, Troy was the Troubled but Cute guy female readers swooned over who actually turned out to be more thoughtful and caring towards Heaven than Logan was, making readers wish that he didn't have to be related to Heaven.
  • Clarissa: With Samuel Richardson's epistolary novel, readers wrote to the author before the last volume was released, asking him to give the story a happy ending involving a wedding between the heroine, Clarissa, and the villain, Lovelace. Readers liked Lovelace despite his actions, which included raping the main character, and thought Clarissa was prudish and a tease. Richardson not only refused to change his plans for a tragic ending, he also rewrote parts of the novel for later editions adding 200 pages and making Lovelace even more of a villain. Some readers were so against the tragic ending of the story that they wrote their own versions. Two examples of these shippers are Lady Bradshaigh and Lady Elizabeth Echlin. While Bradshaigh just rewrote the ending, giving Clarissa and Lovelace a wedding on his deathbed, Echlin rewrote her own version of the entire novel.
  • Darkest Powers: Derek and Chloe were the fan preferred couple from the very first book, despite Derek's brother flirting with Chloe and Chloe tentatively reciprocating.
  • Earth's Children: Many — possibly even a majority — of fans of the series wished Ayla had stayed with charismatic Ranec from The Mammoth Hunters. Indeed it seemed like Ayla only chose to go back to Jondolar (who was being a petulant ass throughout the book) because Ranec is black. That... or Ayla's a size queen.
    • There's also those who think Baby ate the wrong brother ship Ayla/Thonolan, Jondolar's brother, who was dead before Ayla and Jondolar ever met.
  • Good Omens: Crowley/Aziraphale easily makes up at least 90% of all fanfics. In canon, they're literally-Asexual Life Partners.
  • Harry Potter: Judging by, Draco/Hermione is the most popular pairing in the fandom, with 46,151 stories. The canon ships (Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione) are at 20,628 and 22,181 respectively. Harry/Draco seems to the most second most popular with 32,898. Harry/Hermione is at 22,863 (all numbers as of May 23, 2012).
  • Ivanhoe: Many readers have expressed a preference for Wilfred/Rebecca over Wilfred/Rowena. This was probably intentional. Rebecca is clearly the heroine of the book (more so than Ivanhoe as the hero); the reason they didn't end up together was that the Canon couple had been in love for a long time and Rebecca would never marry a Christian. It's probably a rare case of the author himself being one of those who preferred an alternate couple!
  • Les Misérables: A large number of fans think that Marius chose wrong in picking sheltered ingenue Cosette over street-smart Stalker with a Crush Eponine. Never mind that he didn't know the latter loved him until right before she dies in the book, and never in the stage show.
  • Little Women due to it being autobiographical: Jo and Laurie become best friends and understand each other better than anyone else, but when the Relationship Upgrade moment comes, Jo uses the old "Like Brother and Sister" excuse, and at some point, she wants Laurie to marry her little sister Beth. The two end up marrying different people (Jo marries her Big Brother Mentor Fritz, Laurie marries Jo's other sister Amy since Beth dies)... and continue to remain best friends and confidants.
    • Alcott had her own reasons for this. Her father had high ideas and forced the family to live in a commune and try and be self-sufficient while he played philosopher all day. In order to prevent her family from starving, she wrote Little Women which actually was only the first half of Little Women as we know it today. It was a great success and so her publishers pushed her for another. Fans particularly pressured her to find husbands for the little women, and to get Jo and Laurie together. However the book was very much based on Alcott's own family, with Jo based on herself. Alcott wanted Jo, like herself, to remain an independent unmarried woman who earned her living through writing. However, with her family still starving, she had no other choice but to write the sequel Good Wives, but refused to let Laurie and Jo get together.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Many readers were taken by surprise by Sam's sudden interest in otherwise barely mentioned Rosie, after a trilogy of obsessive devotion to "Master" Frodo. Compare the amount of Rose/Sam fanworks to Frodo/Sam.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Holmes/Watson — one of the, if not the, most slashed pairing ever. Non-yaoi fans can also promote Irene Adler to love interest.
  • The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries: Despite her having two canon lovers, the majority of the fandom are rooting for Sookie to end up with either her boss, Sam the shape-shifter, or Bill's "boss", Eric Northman.
    • Eric Northman became the latest canon relationship. (They'd had sex before too.)
  • The 39 CluesSubverted. Starting in the third book, fan-preferred couple Amy and Ian (spoilered for those who haven't read the third book) seem to be set up as the Official Couple, but never really get together. Fans reacted by throwing books at the wall when the girl showed an interest in another boy, comparing such boys to the Big Bad, accusing them of being a Bigger Bad, and writing Fan Fiction dedicated entirely to torturing or complaining about said boys. Also deconstructed because the boy is really a Draco in Leather Pants who probably would make a bad boyfriend for the girl.
  • Twilight: Many fans (and even more non-fans) think that Bella would have been better off with Jacob than Edward. A lot of reviewers of the film adaptation of New Moon agreed with them, saying that Bella had more chemistry and believable development with Jacob than she did with Edward.
  • Vampire Academy: The pairing generally preferred by the fanbase is Rose and Adrian, spoiler-tagged for the benefit of those who don't know it's not the end pairing yet.

Live-Action TV

  • The Adventures of Shirley Holmes — Virtually every fan ships Bo/Shirley, and those who don't, well, they don't really mind the pairing either. The duo's relationship was never romantic in the series (save for some harmless Ship Tease); in fact, they both had other relationships. Thankfully, since the fandom was fairly small and the respective Love Interests were very likable, the Die for Our Ship was pretty much nonexistent.
  • Arrowverse:
    • With Barry Allen's historic love interest Iris West initially being Out of Focus, Barry/Caitlin was easily the most popular ship in Season 1 of The Flash. After Barry/Iris inevitably became an Official Couple, Snowbarry lost most of its fire.
    • In the world of Supergirl, Kara/Lena is easily the most popular ship in the fandom. It has more fanfics on Archive of Our Own than any other DC pairing.
  • Battlestar Galactica — Most viewers wanted to see Kara and Lee together, but in the Grand Finale we find out they don't get together after all.
    • Speaking of...Billy. Many viewers found the Dee/Lee pairing came out of the blue, and could never like Dee after what she did to Billy.
  • Better Off Ted — Most viewers ship Ted with Veronica over Designated Love Interest Linda, despite the fact that Veronica is The Stoic who has no interest in a romantic relationship with Ted. It helps that they have already had sex without it getting weird, plus they get along well even though Veronica is Ted's boss and Veronica gets along well with Ted's daughter Rose.
  • The Big Bang Theory — Sheldon/Penny is the One True Pairing, as far as the shippers are concerned. The temporary breakup of the Official Couple, Leonard/Penny, invited some celebration on the part of more than a few fans. Word of God stated that it would never happen. And it never did.
  • Bones — Despite the fact they constantly date other people, Booth/Bones is the fan preferred couple. Which is rather duh and just a matter of "when will they?", but they have thrown in very likable characters as rival couplings.
  • The Brittas Empire — A decade before the term "shipper" was coined, many viewers of the 90s sitcom felt that Gordon Brittas would have been better off with his Hypercompetent Sidekick Laura than his nervous alcholic wife Helen.
  • Chuck — fan writers occasionally ship up John Casey and Ellie, the title character's sister, even though Ellie is Happily Married to Captain Awesome.
  • Community — Jeff and Annie evoked this reaction. The various DVD commentary overdubs indicate that this was planned, when the fandom pieced together evidence that clearly showed that the final episode of the season was produced well in advance of the rest of the later-season episodes due to the availability of one of the secondary cast members. Although the writers would not have expected just how batshit insane and numerous the the Jeff/Annie shippers became.
  • Coupling — All the fans wanted to see Jeff and Jane hook up. They were supposed to in the 4th series, but then Richard Coyle (Jeff) quit the show, and was replaced by the man who would "Mount Jane... I'm not giving you instructions."
  • Covert Affairs — Annie and Auggie, despite so far them being Just Friends without any hint of UST, Annie unable to get over her ex and being tentatively interested in Jai, and Auggie having his own love interests.
  • CSI New York — There's a fairly large and devoted fanbase for Stella/Mac despite the show steadfastly portraying them as Platonic Life Partners.
  • Dark Angel — Max and Alec. Many fans see their bickering as Belligerent Sexual Tension. Others see it just as bickering, and find the idea of them together squicky even if they are Not Blood Siblings.
  • Dawson's Creek — Dawson and Joey in the first season. For that matter, Joey and Pacey in the first two and a half seasons of the show. It's ultimately settled when Joey/Pacey become the official couple in the series finale.
  • Dead Like Me — This was much the story for Mason and George, even though Mason acted like a big brother to George and was interested in Daisy. They ended up, with the end of the series, just being Better as Friends.
  • Degrassi the Next Generation — Despite being infamous for its Dating Do-Si-Do, Jimmy/Ellie was one of the more popular ships that never became official. While writers ship teased it for a season, they ultimately decided to keep Ellie in a love triangle with Craig and Manny. As of late, Sean/Emma are probably the most obvious example of this.
  • Every era in Doctor Who has at least a few of these (such as Rose/Doctor and Clara/Doctor during those companions' tenure) but the show's most consistent one is Doctor/Master thanks to all the Foe Yay/Not So Different/We Used to Be Friends moments they've had over the 50+ years since the Master was introduced.
  • The Elephant Princess — Fans prefer Kuru and Alex over Marcus and Alex or Caleb and Alex by far.
  • Eureka — Jack Carter and Nathan Stark are the Fan-Preferred Couple and keeps being it even after Stark dies.
  • Firefly — One of the most popular non-canon pairings within the fandom is River/Jayne, spurred on by the series' overall theme of Opposites Attract in the three canon romances/relationships and held aloft by more than a little Foe Yay and Belligerent Sexual Tension. The fact that as of the end of Serenity, River and Jayne are the only two characters who are still alive who aren't already paired up ( save Zoe, who is still grieving over Wash) further fuels this reaction.
  • Foyle’s War — Despite a 27-year age difference between the characters, 73 percent of related fanfics found on Fan as of the beginning of 2012 romantically pair Christopher Foyle and his driver Samantha Stewart. Many fans argue that their relationship on the show is more father/daughter, but Foyle on occasion gently lets the audience know he finds Sam very attractive, and although he initially thinks her somewhat intrusive (and over time is often amused by her youthful exuberance), he quickly begins to admire her ingenuity and allows her to be involved with the solving of cases, treating her for the most part in an egalitarian manner unusual for a man of his generation and time. Add to that a lot of chemistry among the two actors, and fans want RST.
  • Frasier — Niles/Daphne was always infinitely preferred to Niles/Maris, even though Niles and Maris were married. To give you an idea of why: part of the reason Maris remained The Ghost throughout the show's run was because her actions were so horrible and psychotic, and her appearance so bizarrely described that the writers deemed it impossible to ever write dialogue for or cast a character of her level of monstrosity. (Niles and Daphne eventually became the Official Couple).
  • Fringe — Olivia and Peter. And while Altlivia gets a lot of Die for Our Ship attitude from fans, most of us prefer her with Lincoln anyway.
  • Gilmore Girls ended with Rory single, but Jess/Rory remains the most popular Rory coupling in the fandom.
  • Glee — several examples:
    • The writers were surprised with the acceptance Puck and Rachel got from the fans, when they first appeared as a one-episode pairing in Season 1. And even though the show is completely driven by her relationship with goody goody Finn Hudson, the "Puckleberry" fanbase is still strong after two seasons. But the Quinn/Rachel (Faberry) pairing could easily make a run for Puckleberry's money as most popular Fan-Preferred Couple. Really though, it's hard to pick just one in the huge and divisive Glee fanbase.
    • Before they became canon, Brittany/Santana were definitely way more popular than Brittany/Artie. It was a joke in the fandom for a while about how Brittana fans were getting so fuming-at-the-ears mad over some plotting mass of Bartie fans who didn't actually exist.
    • Rachel/Finn was definitely preferred over Finn/Quinn and Rachel/Jesse in Season 1, though when both were resuscitated in Season 2, after Quinn and Jesse had been developed somewhat, there was more Ship-to-Ship Combat.
    • Since Season 3 however it seems that Kurt/Blaine(AKA Klaine)is the most popular canon ship right now, having more fanfiction about them than any other couple(over 10,000). In fact, most 'Klainers' go as far as to say Klaine is the only reason they watch the show and if they were to break up they would stop watching altogether.
    • Rachel and Quinn won an E poll for favorite couple. There were so many votes, the site crashed.
  • Gossip Girl — The idea of a Vanessa/Rufus pairing has gained a lot of fans in the fandom (going so far as many people speculating that she is dating Dan only to be close to Rufus). Word of God has sunk the ship but since when has that stopped shippers?
    • For those not in the loop, Dan is not Rufus's brother, as one might guess from that entry; Dan is Rufus's son. Vanessa and Dan are both eighteen or nineteen; Rufus is...well, actually, it's hard to tell, because the timelines are all messed up, but he's the father of a nineteen year old boy, who was conceived in wedlock, so...yeah.
    • Subverted with Chuck/Blair. They were preferred to Nate/Blair until they mysteriously ended up as the Official Couple. Justified as Nate is generally considered to be Too Dumb to Live and didn't treat Blair very well, whereas in contrast Blair and Chuck had some pretty intense Belligerent Sexual Tension.
    • Dan/Blair has also gained quite a following.
    • Nate and Jenny were quite popular towards the beginning of the show. They even became canon in Season 2. However Executive Meddling ended it because apparently the fact that Jenny was played by an actual teenager, unlike the rest of the cast, made Chace Crawford uncomfortable.
  • Hannah Montana — In fanfiction, Miley is rarely paired with Jake or Jesse, the guys she dated. Instead in canonical fiction (as opposed to falsely categorized stories about Miley Cyrus) she more often paired with Oliver, Lilly, or Mikayla.
  • Haven — Nathan Wournos and Audrey Parker are pretty much the fandom's OTP, despite the fact she practically pushed him into another girl's arms, they don't know much about each other's personal life and at least on one occasion she flirted with a man he despises right in front of him. On the other hand, Nathan's curse of not being able to feel anything seems to be negated by Audrey, which led to a bit of Ship Tease when he kissed her doppelganger to reveal her nature.
  • Hawaii Five-O — In the new fandom, Steve/Danny is the most popular pairing by far, despite the fact that the almost universally despised season finale have Danny get back together with his ex-wife, Rachael.
  • Heroes — Peter and Claire had a lot of chemistry, leading to a lot of shipping, even after they were revealed to be related. It turned out to just be the actors though, as they are currently were dating.
    • Nowadays, the most popular pairings seem to be Peter/Sylar, Sylar/Claire, and Claire/Elle, none of which were ever canon. There's also a small fandom for Mohinder/Matt after the two of them acted as Molly's completely straight fathers.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Victoria/Ted was the first. According to the writers, Victoria was going to be revealed as the mother if the show wasn't renewed for a second season and she proved a ridiculously popular love interest, even more popular than Ted/Robin. She and Ted broke up when he (sort of) cheated on her with Robin. She suddenly turned up in an early episode of Season 7 for the first time in six years. And the Fandom Rejoiced. But that rejoicing turned into anger (at the writers, not her) when she was revealed to be engaged to Klaus from her school in Germany. They eventually break it off and Ted/Victoria reunite, only for Victoria to feel sidelined by Robin again and break up with Ted for good.
    • Barney/Robin. They were originally intended as Romantic False Leads for one another but fans quickly latched onto the pairing, appreciating their chemistry and the Character Development they brought to the show as a whole and the new direction. The final season was even centered around Barney and Robin's wedding, much to the joy of the fans, which quickly turned to rage when they quickly divorced in the two-part finale.
    • Ted/Tracy quickly and unexpectedly became one in Season 9. After years of Arc Fatigue, Tracy proved so charmingly Adorkable that everyone latched onto her and Ted's instant chemistry despite being an Advertised Extra. To say fans were displeased when she revealed to be Dead All Along and a Romantic False Lead for a Ted/Robin conclusion is an understatement.
  • The Inspector Lynley Mysteries — In a situation similar to that of Goren and Eames, Inspector Thomas Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers of are shipped far and wide in the (admittedly small) fandom. Although Lynley himself spent much of the series involved with and even married to his university BFF Helen Clyde, when she dies in series 6, all sorts of possibilities are left wide open. Couple that with a not-insignificant amount of subtext — most especially the hug — and there's a good reason Lynley/Havers is, quite simply, the only pairing in the fandom.
  • Jericho — Jake/Heather despite the Word of God's preference for Jake/Emily. (Considering that Jake and Emily were exes at the start of the series, you would think this was the last direction you expected the writers to go.)
  • Kamen Rider Double features Akiko and Terui as the Official Couple. Akiko divides the fanbase between those who like her and those who find her too loud and annoying, and a common opinion expressed on fanboards is that Terui should have got together with guest character Lily, played by fanboy favourite Nao Nagasawa (also known as HurricaneBlue.)
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent — Bobby Goren and Alex Eames blur the lines between this and Official Couple. While nothing romantic was implied to have happened between them, it is made explicitly clear that there is nothing they would not do for each other. That line, however, was most likely crossed when Alex quit her job after having to fire Goren, leaving certain "possibilities" wide open.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit — Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson. Or, considering the fact that, for all intents and purposes, Elliot and Olivia are the Official Couple, Alex Cabot and Olivia Benson.
  • Leverage: There are a lot of Eliot/Parker fics on, despite Parker/Hardison being the Official Couple now and having had the UST massively pushed from at least season 2.
  • Make It or Break It — Payson and Sasha have over four times the fanfiction written about them than canon couple, Summer/Sasha
  • The Mentalist had Lisbon/Bosco as a canonical one-sided romance, which, while having the small issue of Bosco being married, also has the much bigger problem of being universally hated because most fans are Jane/Lisbon.
  • Merlin — Merlin/Arthur. No, really. The couple was popular from the very first episode and it grew more and more until hundreds of fans began to watch the show for the main reason that Merlin and Arthur looked really good together. On every youtube that the two appear together in, most comments are about the homoerotic subtext in their relationship, about how they are secretly lovers/married, etc. Not to mention there's another fanbase, almost as big as the Arthur/Merlin one, that is completely dedicated to shipping their actors, Colin Morgan and Bradley James.
    • Despite the writers appearing to legitimately foster almost any pairing they can, just to keep the fandom harmonious, there are still certain factions of contention between the arguably duller canon pairing of Arthur/Gwen and the buckets of Ho Yay between Arthur and Merlin. A quick check on will show you that there are roughly five times as many Merlin/Arthur stories than Arthur/Gwen ones. Although in fairness, you can't really blame the fans for this one. Since the show began, the writers have invested a great deal of time and effort into the development of Arthur and Merlin's relationship, and a minimal amount into Arthur and Gwen's, to the point where the latter feels like a Shallow Love Interest by comparison.
  • The Middleman — The Middleman and Wendy, despite the fact that the Word of God has stated this pairing would never be allowed as long as the original creator remained in control of the show.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers — Tommy and Kimberly were a fan favorite and the Official Couple. Later on, when Kimberly retired from the Rangers, she picked Katherine/Kat as her replacement. Tommy and Kimberly later ended (by letter, much to the irritation of the fans). Then Kat and Tommy got together and were even shown to be married in the future. A lot of fans HATED this, and loudly sounded their preference for Tommy/Kimberly.
  • New Girl: Jess/Nick, who quickly became the Official Couple
  • The Office — In the US version, nigh everything involving Jim and Pam up until season 4 had been pretty obviously a shameless, cackling gambit to get this reaction out of the audience.
  • Passions: At one point, many fans of Ethan and Theresa got so disgusted with Ethan's behavoir, they began actively clamoring that Theresa be paired with his brother Fox.
  • Popular — Sam and Harrison.
  • PsychShawn/Lassiter used to be the biggest pairing, though following Shawn/Juliet becoming the Official Couple, it's lost some of its popularity. Though sites such as Live Journal still continue to have devoted Shassie followings.
    • Shawn/Gus is also a popular pairing, mainly for thier copius Ho Yay moments.
  • Pushing Daisies — Many fans wanted to see Ned hook up with Olive. After all, Ned had a Dark and Troubled Past and might have been happier if he had a woman that he actually could touch.
  • Robin Hood — The Guy/Marian ship ended with one half of it murdering the other. Doesn't stop the shippers.
  • Scrubs: JD/Cox is the most popular ship in the fandom, despite the fact that JD and Elliot end up together and Dr. Cox has been in a stable relationship with his ex-wife since season 2. It's also kind of ironic because canon-wise, JD and Turk are the ones who have a lot of Ho Yay.
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager has a vocal majority that want Ricky and Amy together. This popularity largely stems from 1. They have a son together from a one night stand that took place before the show started. 2. Ricky is considered a Draco in Leather Pants or Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Despite the show running almost entirely on Dating Do-Si-Do, this is one pairing the writers keep dancing around.
  • John/Sherlock in Sherlock. Hardly surprising considering it's a modern revival of one of the oldest bromances in literature, and both actors are incredibly good-looking. Seriously, the number of romance fics that don't have John/Sherlock as the main couple number in the low dozens, and most of those are Mycroft/Lestrade fics that include John/Sherlock as the Beta Couple. Think Merlin/Arthur Up to Eleven.
  • Skins:
    • Effy/Cook was way more popular than Effy/Freddie ever was, though there was enough of both to lead to Ship-to-Ship Combat.
    • Mini/Franky aka Minky is easily the most popular ship of the third generation (with the possible exception of Rich/Grace), though, like the example above, it's not so universal that there isn't some Ship-to-Ship Combat.... with Mini/Alo. But pretty much nobody likes Franky with her canon love interest, Matty. As a result, there was a huge fan outcry when Word of God said not to expect anything Minky in Series 6.
    • Fans of the US version seemed to prefer Tea and Tony together — at least, those who weren't offended by the Unfortunate Implications of having a "confident lesbian" character sleeping with a boy. But even fans who wanted Tea with a girl had trouble rooting for her with one-dimensional canon girlfriend Betty, and tended to ship her with her friends Michelle and Daisy instead.
  • Smallville has two. The big one is Chlark, the pairing of best friends Clark Kent and Chloe Sullivan, the only two characters to remain main cast members for all ten seasons. Though the characters have kissed, and both have shown to have feelings for the other at various times (often not at the same time), the inevitability of Clark Kent and Lois Lane being the Official Couple long before it happened (or Lois was even introduced) causes some fans to be convinced that Chloe Sullivan really was Lois Lane, and would be changing her name any day now. Though Clark's pairing with Lois became accepted eventually and even somewhat popular (much more so than Clark with his first love interest, Lana Lang) Chlark still seems to be the most beloved pairing of this show.
    • "Seems" is the operative word--there is still some backlash against Chloe's character after her behavior circa Season 8, which arguably resulted in the death of Jimmy Olsen--er, I mean, Jimmy Olsen's older brother.
    • The second is a lesser example. Though the one thing most fans of Smallville can agree on is that everyone hates Lana, the pairing of Lexana (Lex Luthor and Lana Lang) did seem more popular than her with Clark as it managed to imbue Lana with some measure of depth. When Lex and Lana were married, some who previously hated Lana even began to like her as they thought (since Clark and Lana was Doomed by Canon) that Lana may be corrupted by Lex. Eventually this was not the case, Lana left Lex for Clark (who she didn't end up with either) and Lexana was finished--along with the fandom's patience with her.
    • There are also a bunch of minor ones. Clark and Lex shared so much Ho Yay it's practically canon. Additionally some fans seemed to be very on board with the idea of Lex and Chloe hooking up. Others preferred Lois with her original long-term love interest, Oliver Queen, who ended up married to Chloe.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the era of Star Trek: The Original Series, Kirk/Spock was so much preferred to Kirk/Green-Skinned Space Babe Girl of the Week that it's the Trope Codifier for the Slash Fic. By the movies the writers just seemed to give up altogether and focus entirely on Kirk's relationship with Spock, and even people who deny that Kirk and Spock ever had a thing have to admit that Spock was by far the closest relationship Kirk ever had, the only person even coming close being McCoy.
    • Star Trek: Voyager had one in The Doctor and Seven of Nine. The hell of it was that this ship was actually teased at in the show, developed, then out of nowhere was derailed for the universally reviled Chakotay/Seven pairing that capped off the series in its final season.
    • DS9 had a large following for Garak/Bashir. However, once the studio realized that, they forced the writers to phase the Ho Yay out of their relationship and Bashir ended up with Ezri (in the re-launch novels, they break up).
    • Also, O'Brien/Bashir, which seemed to gain the Ho Yay Garak/Bashir was losing.
  • Stargate Atlantis: Despite the writer's early plans for John/Teyla, stronger chemistry and dynamic between other characters and an unclear shipping agenda made John/Elizabeth and John/Rodney two of the most popular 'ships in fandom.
    • Keller/Ronon is generally preferred over Keller/Rodney.
    • Many fans later wished the writers had gone with John/Teyla, after Elizabeth died and Teyla got paired off-screen with a character who'd never even been mentioned before. And who showed absolutely no chemistry with her (or acting ability for that matter) when he finally made an on-screen appearance. Made even worse when the writers passed on numerous opportunities to kill of the character; while nobody cared enough for him to get Scrappy-level hatred, nobody liked him either.
    • Kanaan's very existence was an example of Real Life Writes the Plot. When Teyla's actress became pregnant, it had to be acknowledged onscreen, and then something had to become of the baby. So Teyla's one true love becomes... someone who exists just enough for us to know who's babysitting once Teyla returns to action. The writers felt that retroactively pairing Teyla off with one of her fellow main characters would've been weak, because fans would've wanted to know how they got together.
  • Stargate Universe — The Eli/Chloe shippers seem to be far more numerous than the Chloe/Scott shippers, despite the latter being canon. The single most common complaint about the episode "Light" is that Chloe and Scott's sex scene in that episode came out of nowhere. It doesn't help that Eli is the audience surrogate for the first few episodes, or that Scott had another potential love interest (Lt. James), or that before they had sex, Chloe and Scott had had just one scene with just the two of them, while Eli and Chloe spent much of "Darkness", the episode prior to "Light" together.
    • Most of them have given up by now, due to a combination of three factors: 1) Eli and Chloe's friendship gets just as much screentime as Scott and Chloe's relationship, 2) Any realistic chance of the ship happening vanished sometime between "Incursion" and "Cloverdale", and 3) the rise of Eli/Ginn caused many Eli/Chloe shippers to jump ship.
  • Super Sentai: Most series feature Ship Tease between the Red and Pink Rangers (or Red and White, if there is no Pink) so in any Sentai where they do not get together, they are likely to be the Fan-Preferred Couple instead. The most prominent example is probably Hikari Sentai Maskman, which has a large fanbase in Malaysia and the Philippines because official dubs of the show were aired there. These fans often state on fansites and blogs that they would have preferred Momoko to be Takeru's love interest, rather than the canon Takeru/Iyal. Which is kinda weird since Takeru and Momoko hardly speak to each other or share any screen time.
    • Choujin Sentai Jetman has Ryu and Kaori, thogh many fans prefer her with Gai.
    • On the American adaption of Mahou Sentai Magiranger, the fan preferred couples seemed to be Yellow/Pink and Green/Blue. Both were mostly disrailed towards the end of series, but remain popular in fandom.
    • Back in Japanese fandom, in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, while Ban eventually got a girlfriend from The Movie and Umeko gets on with Sen-chan, the spare-pairing between Hoji and Jasmine is slightly a bit more popular than their other options. It helps that they were both probably the most 'pro' and 'senior' of the team, and they share a past together. Never mind that Hoji nearly got on a relationship with another female (although they kinda broke up tragically)
    • Masumi/Natsuki is universally popular among fans of Go Go Sentai Boukenger, and despite never quite reaching Official Couple status, it gets as much praise and fanworks if not more than the canon Akashi/Sakura. (The ship was later sunk by Masumi's actor, who stated that the characters had more of a father-daughter relationship.)
  • Supernatural: Sam and Dean fan shipping has become so popular that it even was acknowledged on the show. The Winchester Brothers' reactions--especially Dean's--to discovering "Wincest" slash fiction was priceless.

  Dean: ...that's sick.

    • Although this pairing is now rivalled by Dean/Castiel.
    • To extrapolate on the above claim — according to The Other Wiki Castiel/Dean actually won the Spoiler TV award for Favourite TV Romantic Couple in 2008. Take that as you will.
    • Crowley even pokes fun at the obvious Ho Yay between Castiel and Dean
  • That 70s Show — Jackie and Hyde. An interesting case since the writers actually made the two a couple in later seasons... only for them to break up and cause them to slip right back into preferred territory with even more fans than before.
  • Oh, 30 Rock and the long, convoluted history of Jack/Liz. Tina Fey has been saying No Hugging, No Kissing since the first season, but the ship remains as popular as ever. The show is just so determined not to put them together, giving both a series of love interests which never last. 30 Rock long ago started outright spoofing the idea of Jack/Liz, but this just came off as extra quirky Ship Teases, at least to the shippers. Eventually, they just went out and gave them an Accidental Marriage, although it only lasted one episode. The whole episode was basically just a big Lampshade Hanging, saying that "we know you want Jack and Liz together, but we're not doing it."
  • Three's Company fans have preferred Jack/Janet to the characters' canon pairings since the series' initial run in the late 70s and early 80s. Even Joyce DeWitt herself reportedly shipped it, or at least believed the show was going in that direction and was heartbroken when they spun Jack off into his own show that Janet wouldn't be a part of.
  • Twin Peaks — Dale Cooper and Audrey Horne. Not only fans, but also writers wanted to develop their relationship further in the second season (Mark Frost, the producer, said that it was gonna be the next big thing in the show after the exposure of Laura's murderer). According to Robert Engels, the producer-writer, the script was changed because of Lara Flynn Boyle, who was dating Kyle MacLachlan at the time. Later Kyle MacLachlan tried to justify the decision, that Cooper would not date a high-school girl. However he hooked up with Annie Blackburn, who was only one year older than Audrey (Heather Graham, who portrayed Annie, is in fact five years younger than Sherilyn Fenn). Sherilyn Fenn was disappointed with the changes. In 2007 documentary "Secrets from Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks" she stated: "I was not interested in Kyle as a man, but Audrey loved him. I was really into being in those scenes and I thought we had fun chemistry, so... I don't know, I guess chalk it up to unrequited love".
  • Two Broke Girls — It did not take long for fans to latch onto the pairing of Caroline/Max.
  • V-2009 Joshua and Lisa. Mainly because the two have a nice chemistry and are very protective of one another and — oh yeah! Lisa's canon Love Interest is Tyler.
  • The Vampire Diaries — Damon/Elena are by far the most popular ship of the show not only among the fanbase but also with the media.
    • Despite her canon relationship with Matt, whom she admits to love, Caroline is mostly shipped with Tyler and Stefan. And the fans who don't like Damon with Elena like him admitting feelings for his onetime girlfriend.
    • Caroline and Klaus was another one of the most popular ships in the show. They had multiple romantic interactions throughout the series, however they did not end up together, despite Klaus insisting that he would be Caroline's last love. It is by far the most popular non-endgame ship.
  • Victorious as a Nickelodeon teen comedy was unlikely to end with canon lesbian or gay pairings. This has lead to a handful of Fan-Preferred Couple variations due to the Segregation rule:
  • Weeds — Andy and Nancy, although their case is a complicated one. It's been made canon that Andy is in love with her and that she may or may not reciprocate his feelings and they have a tendency to act like a couple regardless of whether or not they're in other relationships at the time, but the two haven't gone past a Fake-Out Make-Out and most fans believe they'll never happen on the show. Still, that doesn't stop them from being countless times more popular than any of their canon relationships.
  • The West Wing — Josh and Donna, so much so that they eventually became the Official Couple.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place — Just watch the last movie and you will see that even the producers have become Jalex fans (along with almost every fan of the show). Seriously, Justin and Alex act more like a couple than siblings. This is either due to the creators' inability to portray a "clean" brother-sister relationship or they just did it on purpose. Perhaps they realized that they made a great mistake when they made Justin and Alex brother and sister instead of best friends as originally intended.

Music Videos

  • Although everything, including pairings, in Vocaloid is purely fanon, the most popular ships seem to be Gakupo/Luka, Kaito/Miku, and Len/Rin.

Tabletop Games

  • For Pathfinder, the human fighter Valeros and half-orc inquisitor Imrijka have somehow become this, most likely for the D'AWWWW factor.


  • Hairspray: Tracy/Seaweed rather than Tracy/Link.
  • Les Misérables: A large portion of fans seem to believe that Eponine is a better match for Marius than Cosette. Admittedly, Cosette doesn't do much in the musical besides hit a B flat and flirt with Marius.
    • In a lot of respects, that suits Victor Hugo's purpose well: Eponine's role in the original novel was a commentary on the unfairness of class distinctions in contemporary French society, which meant that Eponine/Marius was not 'proper'.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: A vast majority of 'phans' prefer the Phantom and Christine to Christine and Raoul.
    • The sequel Love Never Dies derails Raoul into an alcoholic, emotionally neglectful husband just to raise the possibility that the Phantom and Christine can be an official couple. It's revealed that she always loved the Phantom more all along, and they are the official couple at the end.
  • Pygmalion: George Bernard Shaw was annoyed by fans trying to ship Eliza Doolittle and Professor Higgins, and adamantly declared that the two would never be more than friends (and not very close friends, at that) and that, after the events in his play, Eliza Doolittle eventually marries Freddy and they open a flower shop together. He wrote an essay about that, which was included in the 1916 print edition of the play. The musical My Fair Lady, made after Shaw's death, has an ending that implies much more strongly that the two of them do get together. As Pygmalion was written in 1913 and the first film adaptation was made in 1938, this particular Fan-Preferred Couple is Older Than Television.
  • Starlight Express fans are more likely to pair Electra's minions with each other or with other trucks than with Electra himself. Wrench/Volta and Purse/Caboose are probably the two most popular ships.
  • Wicked: Elphaba/Glinda is far more popular than the other couples, eg. Fiyero/Elphaba.
    • There are still a few Fiyeraba shippers, but most of them seem to be straight preteen girls who have just seen the musical.

Video Games

  • In Suikoden V, while (as is typical to the series) the Official Couple for the main character is never explicitly stated, the game beats the player over the head with indirect implications of a romance between the Prince and his bodyguard Lyon. However, it's popular among fans to pair him instead with his younger sister's bodyguard Miakis, a slightly older Genki Girl who's probably the most popular character in the game (or at least the most popular female character). This is particularly true in Japan, where the volume of fanart and fanfics implies that the Prince and Miakis are preferred over the semi-Official Couple by a roughly 3 to 1 margin.
    • Roy/Lyon also seems to be more popular than Prince/Lyon.
  • Among the Ho Yay pairings in Tales of Symphonia, Zelos/Lloyd is the most popular (opposite the Official Couple of Lloyd and Colette).
  • Tales of Vesperia has a ludicrous amount of Rita/Raven fanart, especially on Pixiv, probably owing to their dynamic seemingly having Slap Slap Kiss potential.
    • Flynn/Yuri and Estelle/Rita have the most amount of fanwork by far on the English side of fandom, but Yuri/Judith makes a very strong showing as well.
  • Almost all Tales of Legendia fans prefer Senel/Chloe to the heavily implied Senel/Shirley. After all, Senel and Chloe spend most of the game getting to know one another and discovering what they have in common. Meanwhile, Senel introduces Shirley as his sister, was in a relationship with Shirley's actual sister, and when he spurns Shirley, she turns into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Jade Empire has a maximum of three romantic options within the party... so, naturally, the most popular pairing is The PC/Sagacious Zu, a character who makes a Heroic Sacrifice right when the canon romances begin to play themselves out.
    • Not to mention he's at least twice as old as the three romantic options, seeing as he was already an adult when he killed Sun Li's wife and "kidnapped" Dawn Star, an infant at the time. By the way, Dawn Star was named for the spectacle the burning of Dirge causes.
  • For a time in the Mystery Of The Emblem fandom, people greatly preferred Marth with Katua/Catria instead of his canon girlfriend and eventual wife Sheeda/Shiida/Caeda, whom they preferred to pair with Ogma. In an aversion of Die for Our Ship, they get along with Marth/Caeda fans (better then the alternatives that originated from the Fan Dumb in Super Smash Bros, which was emphasized in the fanfic "Time Cannot Erase" by Callisto Hime).
    • Atokad11 has pretty much made it clear that he seems to want Katua and Sheeda to have Marth equally (Note: he also states that every FE Lord follows the principles of paedophilia, incest and polygamy), and has made a series of how the two of them, along with Tana from Sacred Stones and 3 girls from the Tales series, go on a crusade to destroy all the fangirls in the world, along with Callisto Hime.
    • Largely as a result of Marth Debuted in Smash Bros, Marth/Roy for Melee and Marth/Ike for Brawl are both much more popular than the canonical Marth/Shiida amongst Western fans.
    • Heck, let's not mention just Mystery Of The Emblem. Every Fire Emblem always have their own batch Fan-Preferred Couple, especially those that have Support System. Such as Eliwood/Lyn over the one with special end Eliwood/Ninian, for one example...
    • For the seventh game, a surprisingly popular pairing amongst the steamy fanart crowd is Dark Action Hot Mom Sonia Reed and her Number Two, Ursula the Blue Crow. It's not hard to see why: Ursula's Undying Loyalty to Sonia combined with Sonia's Alpha Bitch personality and penchant for wearing Stripperiffic black leather lead to obvious dominant/submissive implications, and they definitely seem closer than Sonia and her canonical husband Brendan (part of this may also be due to the fact that Brendan is huge, muscular, hairy, and in his fifties, making him an unlikely choice for steamy fanart).
    • In the Tellius games, Lethe and Mist are far more popular ships for Jill Fizzart than Haar despite the two having an explicitly romantic paired ending and other characters suspecting there's something deeper than partnership between them.
  • Speaking of Super Smash Bros, many fans of Brawl are partial to the pairing of Solid Snake/Samus Aran. The game itself encourages the pairing through Snake's codec transmissions on Shadow Moses Island in which he talks to Otacon and Mei Ling about Samus; he says things like "Sounds like my kind of woman" and "But underneath that metal exterior beats the heart of a woman." The fact that the pairing is technically impossible outside of the Smash Bros. setting (not least because Snake doesn't even belong to Nintendo) deters pretty much no one. Before Brawl it seemed the preferred pairing was Samus and Capt. Falcon. Outside of Smash Brothers continuity, Samus is typically paired with Master Chief from Halo
  • There are loads upon loads of Ho Yay Mega Man X fans who ship X and Zero.
  • Fate Stay Night is an H-game, so naturally the only canon pairings are with the main character (and, well, there's some with the villains). Even so, there are at least as many Archer/Rin fans as there are Shirou/Rin fans, if not more. Never mind that Archer is the Future Badass OF Shirou, making that pairing technically canon.
    • It also probably has a lot to do with the fact that Shirou has two other girls to choose from, one of whom is the main girl of the Fate route/anime (and thus the most popular pairing) or Sakura, who desperately needs him. Plus, the game (particularly UBW) strongly hints that Archer cares deeply for Rin, and the version of Shirou that does end up with Rin is the one who most closely resembles Archer of the three (although a lot more optimistic).
  • The possibility of multiple romances for a male character in Baldur's Gate II means that those who don't like the canonical pairing of PC/Jaheira have hard evidence on their side, not even going into the other female characters the PC can't have a relationship with. And as for female characters... well, Anomen that the most popular pairing with no Anomen in it gets to be the Fan-Preferred Couple. Valygar probably takes that spot.
  • Drakengard 2 has Nowe/Manah as the canon pairing. A lot of fans, however, would have preferred Nowe with Eris.
  • Jon Talbain and Felicia from Darkstalkers have appeared in more fanart than can be counted. This being said, there's not much to link them in the games, though the comics and OVA can be seen as evidence.
  • Super Robot Wars generally avoids this between characters from licensed series, in hopes of preventing any unnecessary Ship-to-Ship Combat. However, female protagonist Setsuko Ohara of Super Robot Wars Z and Shinn Asuka in the same game is probably the most supported pairing, if not, the prime Crossover Ship in existance, as it's one of the few that actually makes a lot of sense considering their close relationship in-game.
  • Kairi from Kingdom Hearts is semi-offically paired with Sora (they both are shown to like the idea of sharing a Paopu fruit with each other, which is pretty much a mythical engagment-ring). Among many fangirls, however, the pairing of Sora with his best friend and rival Riku is vastly more popular.
  • Although Persona 4 doesn't have an official couple (thanks in part to the fact that you can date everyone), the Protagonist usually seems to end up with Naoto in fanworks, to the point that the aforementioned spoiler is practically entering It Was His Sled territory. Yukiko and Rise are in a dead heat for second, with Yukiko apparently winning by a slight margin.
    • Naoto's pretty much head and shoulders over everyone else. The protagonist, Kanji and Rise seem to be the most popular options, but it does go further than that.
    • And while Chie (The remaining female main character) doesn't get shipped with the protagonist, there's a lot — a LOT — of fan material with her and Yukiko. The game helps a lot already.
    • Fans of the older characters in the game tend to ship Dojima/Adachi. A lot. Never mind that Adachi is the Big Bad of the game and tried to get Dojima's daughter killed. And all of this started when Adachi tried to rape two women. It's said that Adachi/Nanako has a particularly big pairing in Japan, also. Nanako is a seven year old, by the way.
    • On the Ho Yay side, the protagonist is popularly shipped with Yosuke, despite the latter not being an actual Gay Option, due to the many, uh, questionable moments he has with the main character.
  • Persona 3 has the option of the hero dating any girl in your party as well, but the fans overwhelmingly prefer him with Yukari, Aigis, or Elizabeth. Mitsuru/Akihiko and Mitsuru/Yukari are also very popular, moreso than pairing her with the Main.
    • Thanks to certain Social Link events in Persona 3 Portable, Shinjiro/FeMC has been reaching this level in epic proportions. It does make a certain amount of gameplay sense, since dating him allows for you to indirectly save his life. Sort of like Zelos. Although he ends up hospitalized for the rest of the game until the senior's graduation day.
  • Metal Gear Solid, my god. Among the people who play this game who care about shipping, Snake/Otacon trumps Snake/Meryl (the CANON) by at least ten to one. The fact that you can actually kill off Meryl in-game to get a Ho Yayish ending with Otacon instead really doesn't help.
  • Nearly every couple in Silent Hill is Fan Preferred, as most characters are either dead, insane, or both. The most popular seems to be Harry, the protagonist of the first game, and Lisa, the nurse he periodically encounters who attempts to help him, which was torpedoed hard near the end when Lisa discovers she was Dead All Along and becomes a permanent part of the town (or something).
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 has Neeshka. The majority of fans seem to prefer her to the canonical Elanee.
    • Neeshka was planned to be a canon couple, but it was cut from the game due to time restraints. It's not too hard to see where they intended to take it, and it's a lot more complete than Elanee's, even though it isn't, you know, complete. In the same vein, Bishop was also a planned but cut romance option that fans seems to prefer; there's a downloadable mod made by fans that adds in a romance option.
  • Khadgar and Garona in the Warcraft Expanded Universe. The novel Warcraft the Last Guardian played them as romantic interests with each other and ever since it was accepted that they loved each other... until recently when the comic series exposited that Garona gave birth to the baby of Khadgar's wizard-master.
  • Aveyond:
    • Most fans think Lars/Rhen is a better pairing than the canon Dameon/Rhen. Dameon successfully flirts with Rhen in the game, but there never seems to be a spark, even when they get gushy. Then it turns out that Dameon is The Mole (though already revealed to the players around the beginning of the game), making even less of a reason for that pairing. And then we have Lars, who was once cruel to Rhen since she was Made a Slave to his family, then finds out she's royalty, and he apologizes to her rather awkwardly. Though it is rather obvious the game tries to enforce the Dameon/Rhen pairing and tries to avoid Lars/Rhen, it is even more blaringly obvious that the Lars/Rhen pairing is far more popular in fandom. Build C of the game throws Lars/Rhen shippers a bone by adding an option to have Rhen go back to Shadwood Academy with Lars, only to state in the epilogue that Rhen did marry Lars... or did she?
    • Aveyond 3 gives us Edward/Mel. While it's possible to put them together in individual gameplay, the canon pairings are Edward/Stella and Mel/a descendent of Lars who doesn't appear in the game. It's not helped that in the trailer to the third chapter, it shows the Edward/Mel prologue, thus implying that Edward proposing to Mel was the canon ending of the second chapter.
    • Edward/Belf is pretty well-received for the lulz
    • Talia/Devin from Ahriman's Prophecy also seems rather popular. Like the Aveyond 3 example, you can put them together in individual gameplay, but the canon pairing is Devin/Alicia.
  • Although ZUN has stated that he likes the concept of his characters paired up, he hasn't bothered to tell us WHICH pairings he likes. So, the rampant shipping of the Loads And Loads Of Characters (particularly with certain characters *coughMarisacough* being seen as a Launcher of a Thousand Ships) goes unchecked by the presence of an Official Couple. However, certain ships are frequently seen calling at port: Marisa/Alice, Remilia/Sakuya (although Meiling/Sakuya is almost as, if not just as popular), Yuyuko/Youmu, Yuuka/Wriggle, Yuugi/Parsee, and Keine/Mokou, to name a few. Of all of these, only Marisa/Alice comes even remotely close to being hinted at in canon, and some of these are of characters who aren't even confirmed to have met in canon.
  • Phoenix Wright, my god. Phoenix/Edgeworth is one of the most popular pairings (aided by the creators' tendency to bait their numerous fangirls), but Phoenix/Maya's pretty close. And Franziska/Adrian, for some reason. You get a decent amount of Phoenix/Franziska too (but strangely, very little of Phoenix/Iris, the one canonical relationship the guy's ever had). And that's just scratching the surface here.
    • The one almost everyone seems to like, though, is Gumshoe/Maggey. Probably because it's pretty much canon, and pairing the two Butt Monkeys together is cute anyway.
    • Almost everyone seems to like Diego/Mia too.
    • Same with Ema/Klavier from Apollo Justice.
  • According to the canon of Final Fantasy IV, The Lancer Kain Highwind is Rosa's Unlucky Childhood Friend and thus, second fiddle to Cecil. Instead, many fans pair him up with Elemental Archfiend Barbariccia, as she has a rivalry with him and simultaneously harbors feelings for him as "a fellow creature of the sky". What was originally a Crack Pairing became considerably popular over time, especially thanks to The After Years. [1]
    • Cecil/Kain/Rosa is a Fan Preferred OT 3, as well.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, a fairly significant portion of the fanbase ships Terra/Locke, despite the fact that Locke/Celes is the Official Couple. Celes/Edgar is also a fairly common ship, and the Japanese fanbase for Terra/Sabin is quite significant.
    • Setzer: Setzer reacts with interest when Terra's name is first mentioned, and Terra is the only person to ask Setzer a personal question during the whole World of Balance; when the world is destroyed,, it's Setzer who grabs Terra from the split deck of the Blackjack,. Setzer will save Celes in the ending instead of Locke if Locke is not present. Celes will also encourage Setzer to fight Kefka and to recover his friends' airship, snapping him out of despair.
    • Special mention for the Kefka/Terra (Japanese) fanbase. There is definitely a good bit of fanart for them. Then again, Kefka was an evil megalomaniac with a very pretty young woman under his complete control; it wouldn't exactly be out of character for him to have a go. He certainly seems to be... excited by her killing skill.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud and Tifa are an Official Couple, and Sephiroth's romantic status and sexual orientation are never mentioned. Still, Sephiroth/Cloud is such an immensely popular fan fic and fan art pairing that newbies have been known to accept it as canon. This is despite the two of them being bitter enemies. Zack is also popularly paired with Cloud or Sephiroth or both, despite being in another Official Couple with Aerith.
    • Right when VII came out, the most popular pairing was actually Cloud/Aeris.[2] The legendary Player Punch had worked, and back then the Square forums were inundated with "please bring Aeris back in the remake!" requests, while the fanfic scene was full of steamy writing starring spiky-haired SOLDIER and Moe flower girl. However, newer players tend to align with Cloud/Tifa if male, or Cloud/Sephiroth if female, and the fanbase in general has turned more and more spiteful towards Aerith. The Compilation torpedoes the ship further; the old guard are happy to ship what they shipped before Crisis Core, but there's fewer every year, and new players who got into FFVII through the Compilation and the internet scene tend to accept Zack/Aerith as holy writ if they accept Aerith's right to exist at all.
      • When it comes to Ho Yay Shipping Cloud and Sephiroth were lets just say very popular (though the majority of the other male characters were far from excluded). On the Les Yay Shipping side Tifa is very popular in this regard as well especially with Aeris (but Yuffie is not entirely exempt from this), on the Foe Yay side there is Scarlet (and to a lesser extent Elena). Tifa/Aeris is generally played for Romance while Tifa/Scarlet is generally played for fanservice (though keep in mind the former can be willing to do fanservice as well).
    • No love for Sephiroth/Aerith (Aeriseph)? There's quite a fanbase to it.
    • Feel free to add something, but ho yay should be more substantial than nothing but wishful thinking. That goes for Cloud/Sephiroth too.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, there's a pretty large Broken Base over the official couple of Squall and Rinoa. This has led to numerous factions that want to see him paired with other people...such as his rival Seifer, his teammates Zell, Irvine, and Selphie, and his former teacher Quistis. That's also leaving out the group that likes to see Laguna and Squall, canon be damned. Saying that any one is really preferred over another is a tough call, but there's enough fighting over the subject that it tends to lead right into Ship-to-Ship Combat... along with the fans that liked Rinoa and Squall. This dovetails nicely with the fans that just fight over whether or not Final Fantasy VIII is actually a good game or not.
  • As for Final Fantasy XIII, large swathes of fandom have fallen for Lightning and Hope. Sometimes they age Hope up; sometimes they don't. This is also one of the most popular pairings in Japan, gaining the portmanteau ship name "hopurai".
    • By contrast another very popular romantic pairing via fandom is Fang and Lightning, which is labelled as "FLight". Aside from being inspired by the minor amount of Les Yay between the two in the game and the common understanding of Girl on Girl is Hot. But on a more thoughtful level, the two are clearly set up as each others Foil (see Final Fantasy XIII page) within the narrative, yet interestingly when Lightning is down it is Fang who props her up and in return when Fang is down it is Lightning who props her up. Finding hordes of pics, fanfics, and vids of "FLight" when simply just searching for just one of the two characters alone via google, deviantart, youtube, etc etc is inevitable.
  • Thanks to Dissidia Final Fantasy and THE VOID!, Voidshipping Exdeath/Cloud of Darkness is huge, despite running on huge dosages of crack. It's kinda easy to see why.
  • From the Final Fantasy series in general, Ifrit/Shiva is a very popular pairing between summons, most likely due to the "fire and ice, Beast and Beauty" thematic they have going on.
  • Fans of Valkyria Chronicles vastly prefers the pairing of Selvaria Bles with Johann/Oswald the Iron. Considering what kind of dick Maximillian (the one Selvaria is canonically interested at) is, it should come as no surprise. Radi Jaeger is sometimes a decent substitute too.
  • Despite being from completely different games, there's a decent number of fans who find something very appealing in the pairing of Dante of Devil May Cry and Bayonetta of, well, Bayonetta. Fans can't figure out who'd win a fight, but they agree that the end result will certainly be sex. It probably has something to do with the fact that both are sexy gun-wielding badasses with a penchant for awesomely stylish action, and that both were in series created by the same person.
    • Alternatively, pairing up Dante with Morrigan from Darkstalkers. It's had a notable following for some time, which was only bolstered by their appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. There is also a sizable number of people who have decided to save themselves the trouble and just turn the above two ships into an OT3.
  • Mother 3 is pretty light on Ship Tease in general, but fans love the idea of Duster/Kumatora. Also Claus/Lucas, thanks to the Yaoi Fangirls.
  • Despite the relative youth of the Alpha Protocol fandom, Mike/ Sis is very popular, despite — or probably because — nothing actually happens between them in-game, just some serious UST.
  • In the Metroid fandom, there are Samus/Ridley shippers. Yes, that Ridley. Then again, the closest thing to a Canon couple is Samus/Adam.
  • Team Fortress 2: Any coupling outside of RED Spy/BLU Scout's mother and possibly Demoman/the opposing Medic's wife is based in Fanon, but the highly suggestive lines the Heavy has leads to Heavy/Medic being the most popular. Valve even shipteases these guys with the Beaux and Arrows achievement, which you get when you pin a Medic to a Heavy using an arrow.
  • Blaz Blue: It's pretty known that Litchi is a Love Martyr for Arakune, but it doesn't stop people for pairing her with Bang. This gets even more prevalent when due to story development, Litchi's love for Arakune was one of the reasons why she pulled a Face Heel Turn, thus if Arakune was not her main love, she would've no need for that. And surprise, Bang is revealed to possess a Nox Nyctores that might be the key to cure BOTH Litchi and Arakune and possibly annulling her Face Heel Turn...
    • While Ragna X Rachel is getting more attention there is a following for Carl X Rachel mainly through their interactions in the first game (and to a much lesser extent the second).
  • Left 4 Dead 2 fans were drawing and shipping Zoey with Ellis way before their meeting and interaction in The Passing. Probably due to them being both the youngest and arguably most attractive looking in their groups. But still nothing compares with Nick/Ellis which has come to dominate the fandom with their Ho Yay. And ever since the release of The Passing, Rochelle/Francis has also been a target due to how the two interact (they both hate stuff).
  • Thanks to a probable Relationship Writing Fumble in Super Street Fighter IV[3], Guy/Rose is quickly becoming popular among the fandom. With the somber atmosphere of their Rival Battle and the Ship Tease nature of their remarks and cutscenes, it's hard to see their fight as anything less than a lover's quarrel. Keep in mind that Guy is already engaged/married to Rena [4]. In their defense, he and Rose would make an awesome Battle Couple.
  • In the Resident Evil fan community, Chris/Jill has the most supporters since the first Resident Evil game's release. The second most preferred pairing is in fact Leon/Claire instead of Leon/Ada, although the latter has a sharp rise after Resident Evil 4. For the main antagonist Wesker, however, he has lots of Wesker/Redfield shippers somehow, with obviously some Yaoi Fangirls supporting the Wesker/male Redfield pairing.
  • Shining Force II's plot is something of a Cliché Storm, complete with a Sleeping Beauty princess who needs to be awakened with a kiss. Everyone tells Bowie that he's the right one to wake Princess Elis, marry her, and inherit the throne. When it comes her turn to talk, Sarah bursts into tears, says that you're the best choice, and runs off, only to be comforted by another member of the Five-Man Band, while you get to go up and wake the princess. Most fans, of course, much prefer Sarah to Elis, who doesn't get more than two lines in the whole game and exists solely to be the Distressed Damsel.
  • In the Professor Layton fandom, it's canon that the professor and Claire were in a relationship, and ten years later, even after her death, he still loves her dearly. Of course, the fangirls prefer to ship Layton with Luke.
  • Prior to Mass Effect 2, the two main fan-preferred couples for Mass Effect were Male!Shepard/Tali and Female!Shepard/Garrus. The two were so popular, BioWare made them both official options, and they still take up the bulk of Mass Effect fanfic. As for non-Shepard pairings, the two main preferred couples are Tali'Zorah/Kal'Reegar and Liara/Feron.
    • Garrus/Tali is also somewhat popular, and in Mass Effect 3, provided you don't romance them both, they hook up.
  • While there's no explicit romance in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, the closest the game has to an actual love interest for Link is Ilia, which is the least popular of the three major ships in the game.
  • There's a few Hunter x Witch shippers out there.
  • Pokémon is a hard series to tackle, due to the numerous continuities and hundreds of shippings. Shippers tend to have a habit of shipping protagonists with each other, or rivals and protagonists, leading to those being the top shippings. Though Hilbert or Hilda/N is quite popular for their games, more so then the two protagonists together. Likewise, Cynthia/Dawn is almost as popular as said protagonist and either her rival or Lucas. Also, Silver/Lyra has a strong following.
  • Mortal Kombat. The closest we have to a canon couple would be that of Liu Kang/Kitana (which was shot down in 4 when Liu Kang reluctantly denied Kitana's offer to rule by her side in Edenia due to his status as Earthrealm's protector and the champion of Mortal Kombat) and maybe Younger Sub-Zero/Sareena, as well as Baraka's one-sided crush on Mileena (whether or not the feelings are reciprocated are left ambiguous). Believe it or not, the occasional bouts of Ship-to-Ship Combat, Die for Our Ship, and Ships That Pass in the Night do come into play among the fandom. However, the one pairing most fans seem to approve of is Johnny Cage/Sonya Blade. It doesn't help that the movie gave them pretty of Ship Tease (an aspect that seemed to have been ported over to the 2011 game) and Sonya's relationship with her CO Jax Briggs is strictly professional.
  • Despite Lux-Pain having a small fanbase, two of the main pairings that everyone can agree on are Shinji/Mika and Ryo/Hibiki. As for the main character himself, while he is shipped with everyone, the most popular pairing by default is Akira/Atsuki.
    • To put it simply, Akira/Atsuki has the most Ship Tease in comparison to the other potential love interests for Atsuki like Rui and Yayoi. Shinji/Mika is popular given that by pairing Mika up with Shinji, it greatly averts her being a victim of Die for Our Ship as well as evidence in the game that shows that she's moving away from Akira and getting close to Shinji. Finally, with Ryo/Hibiki, the fact that Hibiki is already confirmed to be in love with Ryo is one thing but whether or not Ryo has feelings for his best friend is up to debate although, there are some conversations that suggest that the feelings are mutual.
  • The Tales of Graces canon pairing is Asbel/Cheria, but most of the players seems to favor Asbel/Sophie.
  • Spyro the Dragon fans tend to either be Spyro/Ember fans or Spyro/Cynder fans however Ember/Flame has managed to become rather popular despite the two never speaking to each other.
  • Harvest Moon fans typically cling to one or two pairings per game; for example Pony/Skye is probably the most common pairing for the Cute game. However for Harvest Moon a Wonderful Life Nami/Mark is the most popular pairing in the game, for whatever reason.
    • The Mineral Town-based games have a straight example in Carter, the local priest; who is the most popular pairing for Claire.
  • While Frozen Essence lets Mina hook up with no less than five characters, the one who comes the closest to being a "default option" for her is Rune who she needs to pursue to get the True End. Naturally, the majority of players prefer Mina to be with Caius or Zareh instead; the former because All Girls Want Bad Boys, the latter because of him having been in love with Mina far, far longer than anyone else.
  • Assassin's Creed I has Altaïr Ibn La'Ahad with Malik a-Sayf, which didn't stop even after the PSP game Bloodlines paired Altaïr with Maria Thorpe who'd been the unnamed female Templar in AC1. Assassin's Creed II and its sequel has Ezio Auditore da Firenze with Leonardo da Vinci, and confirmed the Altaïr/Maria pairing... not that that, or the fourth game pairing Ezio with Sofia Sartor has stopped the shippers.
    • Ditto for there being far more Shaun Hastings/Desmond Miles out there than the canon-suggested Desmond/the late Lucy Stillman.
    • There's also a fair number of loyal Ezio/Rosa fans, in spite of the official hookup with Sofia Sartor.
  • Notorious fandom shipping wars (and various sunken ships) aside, it's a surprise to replay Golden Sun and realize there is no canon evidence that Saturos and Menardi are a couple.
  • It's pretty telling that PitxViridi is popular when you look on Fanfiction/Net and stories about the two are the only non crossover stories listed in the games section.

Web Comics

  • Shive recently conducted a twitter survey to determine which El Goonish Shive non-canon pairing was most popular amongst fans. The result was Elliot/Justin.
  • Depending on you and your god, Faye and Marten from Questionable Content. Of course, one can say Dora is the better choice for the first five hundred strips, but recent events all but silenced Marten/Dora supporters.
    • Hannelore/Marigold evoked this reaction, especially after the author sunk the ship in a strip explicitly titled "Suck It, Shippers" which just made more people aware of the pairing and thus subscribe to it. Recent events seem to have shaken up the preferred couple for Hannelore, though.
  • Davan/Pee-Jee continues to be one of most popular ships in the Something Positive fandom, despite being repeatedly sunk by Word of God. It doesn't help matters that the majority of their canon love interests are either Jerk Asses or insane, and given R.K. Milholland's fondness for twitting the (according to him) more annoying members of his fanbase and his general lack of concern for collateral damage among the remainder, it's not terribly surprising that the Davan/PeeJee ship sails on.
  • In the few years of College Roomies from Hell, there was considerable Unresolved Sexual Tension between two of the main characters, Dave and Margaret, even after they had sex. Then Mike's little sister, Blue, was introduced. Blue immediately found Dave interesting (why was not really indicated) and set out to pursue him. Fan opinion was strongly divided (but in a friendly way) as to which girl was better for Dave. Margaret was in the lead for some time, with much fanfic and general writings devoted to how and why the two would get together "properly", but plot developments in the strip have at least temporarily torpedoed that ship and Dave is now "happily" (the poor guy is the closest thing in the comic to a Butt Monkey) shacked up with Blue.
  • Megatokyo: Word of God places Miho/Ping squarely in this column. It remains to to be seen whether Piro/Miho will end up here as well, but it seems likely.
  • In The Dreamer, although the official couple in the 18th century is Alan/Bea, there are fans who prefer Alex/Bea, considering that Alan borders on Marty Stu, and Alex doesn't.
  • Practically none of the Boy Meets Boy fans like Cyanide/Ronnie or Skids/Tybalt, preferring Cyanide/Skids. This might have something to do with the way Cyanide spends most of the comic pining over Skids, or Tybalt's tendency toward being a Jerkass (and sometimes an actual villain) who'll sleep with Anything That Moves. The author actually initially planned for Cyanide and Skids to hook up, but changed her mind somewhere along the line and decided to do a Writer Revolt, even outright stating to many disappointed fans that Cyanide and Skids would never get together.
  • The Cyantian Chronicles: In Campus Safari, Chatin has three suitors, Collin, Cisco and Twinky. There have been both forum and Shout Box debates over which guy will get her in the end. As of September 2008, she hasn't made a choice but seems to be leaning toward Twinky. There's no debate on Cilke and Chrome hooking up though; everybody likes that pairing.
  • The Official Couples in Housepets are Peanut/Tarot and Grape/Maxwell, due in part to the Fantastic Racism of the setting, which frowns upon Interspecies Romance (the former couple are both dogs, while the latter are cats). However, a healthy portion of fan-produced artwork and fiction focuses upon shipping Grape with her stepbrother Peanut, for a variety of reasons (the two of them are ostensibly the main characters and share a long personal history, among other things). The author has teased this particular pairing more than once as part of an ongoing Romance Arc, which may eventually lead this couple to become Official, although they certainly aren't there yet.
  • The Keychain of Creation fans have proudly declared their support for the Les Yay pairing of Marena and Secret. Jukashi has been known to tease the shippers on occasion.
  • John/Karkat is probably the most popular ship in the Homestuck fandom.
    • You mean Dave/Terezi, Rose/Kanaya, and John/Vriska aren't?
    • It's often hard to tell when this is going on in Homestuck as there is a very high amount of Ship Tease and relatively few actual Official Couples. However, there's a pretty straightforward example with the Alpha kids — Jane/Jake is clearly being worked towards, but Dirk/Jake (which is half-canon anyway) and Roxy/Jane are much more popular.
      • Hussie is aware of and may have responded to this by having Jane's confession to Jake backfire, Jake revealing he is rather open-minded (and aware of Dirk's feelings), and making "cotton candy" — the Fan Nickname for the Roxy/Jane pairing — an Ascended Meme.
    • A long time ago, John/Jade and Rose/Dave were pretty big. Then we learned they were siblings. This hasn't exactly stopped the fanworks, but it's smaller than it used to be.

Western Animation

  • The Zuko/Katara (aka "Zutara") fanbase for Avatar: The Last Airbender is legendary.
  • The Scooby Doo fandom is overwhelmed with Fred/Daphne supporters and a sizeable deal of Shaggy/Velma fans, mainly because these are almost always the pairs who end up together during "let's split up, gang" moments. There are some other shipping groups, but these two are the most popular ones by a huge margin. It also helps that they became more-or-less official in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
  • In spite of the fact that the Happy Tree Friends is a show about cute critters that die horribly and painfully, the amount of fanfiction is quite big. Most fans prefer Flippy and Flaky together, due to the fact that both seem to have mental problems and Flaky appears to be Flippy's closest friend and it has been hinted several times that he may like her, because he stopped killing her in recent episodes, for an unknown reason, even though she has developed a phobia of him. They even have their own very large section of Photobucket images.
  • On Total Drama, Duncan/Gwen was this to Duncan/Courtney, but that dynamic has switched due to canon changes.
  • Reef/Fin from Stoked is easily more popular than any other pairing on the show, even though Reef/Lo is the Official Couple as of season two.
  • Despite both Ben and Gwen receiving love interests in Ben 10: Alien Force (potential or otherwise), support for Cousinshipping has not waned in the slightest. Why should it? Gwen herself says Julie should find Ben attractive because he's "funny, sensitive, and well-mannered... unlike some people I know." Not to mention Julie being widely seen as a Shallow Love Interest; Gwen at least was fortunate enough to get officially paired with an actual character.
    • Same deal with Kevin/Ben; it's sometimes hard to believe that all the Ho Yay with them is unintentional.
  • South Park: Stan has a canon girlfriend, but the fandom seems to like his Ho Yay and Heterosexual Life Partners status with Kyle as a better romantic alternative. On the other end, his canon girlfriend, Wendy, is usually paired with Cartman, who some people would rather see be paired with Kyle...
  • Much of the Daria fandom dislikes Daria/Tom and would have preferred that Daria's one-sided crush on Trent eventually been noticed and requited. To say nothing of the Daria/Jane shippers.
  • Even after Angela got with Broadway, many Gargoyles fanfic authors insisted on pairing her with Brooklyn.
    • There are also those fans who think Goliath should hook back up with his Psycho Ex-Girlfriend Demona, despite the fact that she's tried to kill him several times for not agreeing with her. Apparently, that's Goliath's fault.
  • Beast Boy/Raven shippers in Teen Titans. The creators of the show repeatedly stated that Beast Boy/Raven would never happen, yet it was an increasingly popular and a preferred complementary ship for Starfire/Robin shippers. At the very least, a substantially large amount of people preferred it to the official canon couple of Beast Boy and Terra (the difference on is about twelvefold in the romance category).
  • In the Batman Beyond fandom, the majority of the fans go for Terry with his best friend Max or one-time girlfriend Melanie. Few actually pair him with his on-and-off canon girlfriend Dana Tan, as she's the least developed character of the three. As a matter of fact, in the Season One DVD Behind the Scenes featurette, it is discovered that Alan Burnett actually wanted to write an episode where Terry and Max ended up together, but Bruce Timm refused, and Terry ends up getting hitched to Dana in the future as shown in the JLU episode "Epilogue".
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! has a weird case of this. Hints dropped in the series originally seemed to show Otto/Nova as canon, but it seemed like almost everybody in the fandom shipped Sprx/Nova. Then hints of that started to show and eventually it became the canon. A comment from one of the voice actors mixed with that the creator does pay attention to the fandom seems to hint that the coupling was changed because of this, making the FPC the official couple.
    • And ironically, though Sprx/Nova is still the main fandom ship, there are now more Otto/Nova shippers around filling the FPC bill.
  • Kim/Ron, before they became an Official Couple for Kim Possible.
  • Rob Renzetti confirmed that, had My Life as a Teenage Robot continued, Jenny would have ended up with doubt upsetting a majority of the fandom, who are Jenny/Brad supporters. Though in fairness, Jenny/Sheldon does have a pretty large fanbase too.
  • Professor Utonium and Ms. Keene from The Powerpuff Girls has a strong fan following. Though it's dwarfed by the pairing of the girls with their Rowdyruff Boys counterparts.
    • This pairing was actually the subject of one episode late into the series, and it was thoroughly deconstructed and eventually annulled by Ms. Keene's cat, with the Professor having an aversion to cats due to one being the Big Bad of an earlier episode.
  • Chip/Gadget in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, to the point where Portmanteau Couple Names aren't necessary anymore because the only terms needed are "pro" (for being in favor of Chip/Gadget) and "anti" (for explicitly opposing this ship, regardless of alternatives). Well, okay, and Dale/Foxglove.
  • Despite Word of God stating that Jessie from The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest was not created as a love interest for any of the characters, an overwhelming majority of the fandom ships her with Jonny. There's also a smaller group that ships her with Hadji. This is probably due to massive amounts of Ship Tease for both ships.
    • That's the second season. According to the Word of God from the first season, Jonny and Jessie were to be romantically linked just around the corner. It's in the first season writers bible [1] and on the DVD extra, oddly enough.
    • It goes a bit beyond Ship Tease when you have the characters kiss while possessed by a pair of ghosts, then keep kissing for ten seconds after the ghosts leave. Of course, Jonny and Jessie proceed to pretend they didn't realize they'd regained control of their bodies until Hadji pointed it out.
  • On Tiny Toon Adventures, Fifi la Fume's occasional official love interest is Hamton J. Pig, mostly because of Pair the Spares. However, a quick search on Deviant ART reveals that a sizable portion of the fandom prefers to ship Fifi with either of her one-time love chase victims, Calamity Coyote or Furrball Cat, the latter likely due to her predecessor Pepe Le Pew being officially paired with Penelope Pussycat.
  • There are no pairings in The Zeta Project, but fandom loves Zeta and Ro together as a pairing. It's actually a challenge to find fanfics that aren't Zeta/Ro.
  • Numbuh 1 (Nigel)/Numbuh 5 (Abby) from Codename: Kids Next Door are a significantly more popular ship than the canonic Numbuh 2 (Hoagie)/Numbuh 5 and seems to be on the same level of popularity as the canon Numbuh 4 (Wally)/Numbuh 3 (Kuki).
    • Nigel and Rachel (Numbuh 362) has a reasonably large fanbase that overshadows some of the canon ships.
  • Although Fillmore was created as a No Hugging, No Kissing series, Fillmore/Ingrid have a fanbase of a rather impressive size. The shippers have a lot to base off of, since their buddy-cop conversations can often be taken as a subtle Double Entendre, sounding somewhat flirtatiously on more than one occasion.
  • Characters didn't pair off into romantic couples in Storm Hawks, but the fans love to pair them up. The most popular pairings seem to be Aerrow/Piper, Aerrow/Dark Ace, and Stork/Piper.
  • Even though Rocket Power was mostly No Hugging, No Kissing, there's a large following for Twister/Reggie. It's the most commonly encountered pairing in Rocket Power fanfiction.
  • Although the show often dabbles in Ho Yay and Ship Tease, The Penguins of Madagascar doesn't really have any canon pairings that last. However, Skipper/Marlene is by far the most common pairing among fans, which time and again proves unsinkable. The two episodes (three if you count "Otter Gone Wild") where one of the pair gets a trial run with another romantic interest act, if anything, as fuel for the fire for Skilene shippers. Not that there's very much canon at all to support it.
  • X-Men: Evolution: Several fans would argue that Kurt and Kitty make a better couple than Lance and Kitty or Kurt and Amanda (your mileage will vary on whether or not the Ship Tease between Kurt and Kitty was intentional). Also, there are many who would rather have Scott be with Rogue rather than Jean.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: The pairing of Ilana and Lance (dubbed Ilanca by the shippers) has been favored since the very first episode, despite the fact that in the show they're posing as siblings and have other potential love interests. Not to mention that the show's creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, has stated in interviews that he wants their relationship to be a platonic one.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Ahsoka/Rex (or Rexsoka, if you wish) remains the most popular Ahsoka pairing, even though she has a canon love interest in the form of Lux Bonteri. This is probably because Lux is comparatively new on the scene, and Rexsoka was already well-established in the fandom before his episode premiered in Season 3. Karen Traviss and Karen Miller's teases towards Rexsoka in the novels did not help things.
  • Despite it being nonexistent in the series, some My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fans like to pair Fluttershy with Applejack's older brother, Big Macintosh. Naturally, when a plot for the show's Valentine's Day episode involves the Cutie Mark Crusaders trying to hook up Big Macintosh with Cheerilee, FlutterMac supporters weren't too thrilled with the development.
    • Also, Lyra/Bon-Bon. The episodes often have little references to this pairing, so it's almost canon. It's so fan-preferred that whenever someone writes a story that ships Lyra or Bon-Bon with some other character, someone will joke that "Lyra is cheating on Bon-Bon!" or vice-versa.
    • In canon, Rainbow Dash has zero interest in romance but the running joke among the fandom is "Rainbow Dash ships with everything". If fanfiction posted on the main fan website is to be believed, the most popular of these ships is Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie.
      • In Season 2, Spike's crush on Rarity resulted in a sizeable jump in fanart and fanfic devoted to pairing the two. This doubled with the events of the episode "Secret Of My Excess", in which the two have a substantial amount of affectionate scenes together
  • Caleb/Will has a fairly strong following in WITCH fandom, due to the circumstances of their meeting and the interactions that followed, which are exclusive to the Animated Adaptation. This never went beyond Ship Tease, though, and the series ended up sticking with the Official Couples of Matt/Will and Caleb/Cornelia.
  • The "Klance" (Keith and Lance) ship took off almost immediately in Voltron: Legendary Defender fandom, for better or for worse. To this day, it's the most commonly-written pairing on AO3.
    • Lotor/Allura is decidedly more popular than the canon Allura/Lance ship (though Allura/Lance also has its share of fans).
    • There is also "Sheith" (Shiro/Keith), whose fans are incredibly vocal and pushy on how Shiro and Keith belong together and should never ever be paired with anyone else. Leading to massive tantrums whenever another character (like Lance, James, Adam or Acxa) approached either of the two mains in-story. Ever since the ship was sunk in the Grand Finale via Shiro marrying Curtis and Keith staying single, massive meltdowns have been had through all the Internet.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Nedna (Ned Flanders/Edna Krabappel) is literally a fan-preferred couple: FOX held a vote to decide whether or not they should become an Official Couple, and the fans overwhelmingly voted "yes" (Sadly, Marcia Wallace died not long afterwards, leading to Edna being killed off and poor Ned becoming a widower once again).
    • Nelson/Lisa is generally considered a better future outcome than Milhouse/Lisa by both fans and voice actors alike. So much so that in the Simpsons Tapped Out mobile game, Nelson and Lisa spend significantly more time referencing their relationship than Milhouse does expressing his crush.
    • Bart/Laura Powers from Season 4's "New Kid On The Block" is a fan-favourite pairing due to the chemistry between the two's rebellious and fun-loving personalities, as well as Laura's promise to date Bart once he grew up a bit more. It helps that many of Bart's future love interests are considered to be bland and uninteresting, adding even more support to the pairing.
    • Milhouse is often shipped with One-Shot Character Samantha Stankey from Season 3's "Bart's Friend Falls In Love" as a result of Milhouse's canon crush Lisa being shipped with Nelson instead and Samantha being one of the few people who's actually nice to Milhouse.
  • The Loud House: Luan Loud/Maggie (a minor character from the episode "Funny Business") quickly became an immensely popular pairing, even though Maggie hasn't appeared in any other episodes and she and Luan are practically incompatible. The Opposites Attract appeal of the couple is probably one of the biggest causes of the pairing's popularity.
  • Jack Darby/Arcee in Transformers Prime. The show went for a Like Brother and Sister dynamic but more than a few Accidental Innuendos quickly led to them becoming the most popular of Prime‍'‍s pairings. It's actually supported by quite a small segment of the overall fanbase but it's easily the most ardently supported of the ships thanks to the show largely adhering to No Hugging, No Kissing.


  • Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton is a surprisingly popular politics ship.
  • There is a staggeringly large demographic that ships Thomas Jefferson/John Adams, despite them having both been married and Jefferson's long-term relationship with his dead wife's enslaved half-sister, not to mention the decades-long hate-on where they never saw each other (though that may only have encouraged said demographic) plus Adams and his wife having written some of the spiciest, raciest love letters ever to come out of American politics to each other. This example probably more properly belongs under theater as it's likely an outgrowth of 1776 the musical.
  • As per the introduction, Alice and Bob. Probably because canon keeps using them to illustrate concepts instead of mining for the obvious romantic potential.
  • Although they've been broken up for several years and have moved on to other relationships, Miley Cyrus and Nick Jonas still have a large fanbase with a large of percentage of the Hannah Montana stories on consisting of this pairing (despite it being against site rules)
    • Similarly Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez have a massive fandom.
  • Oddly, many Let's Play viewers seem to think Lucahjin and Nintendo Capri Sun should be together.
  1. In a bit of irony, it should be noted that in the DS remake of IV, Rosa and Barbariccia share VAs: Yuko Kaida (JPN) and Kirsty Pape (ENG).
  2. Aerith was not a common spelling in the English-speaking fandom at the time.
  3. see the main RWF page for more details
  4. Maki's older sister, introduced in Final Fight 2, which Capcom seems to be regarding as Canon Dis Continuity alongside Final Fight 3 in respect to SF.