Yuri Talk: Shipping Material

I mentioned it several times during episodics and reviews but what exactly are shipping materials and which ones do I personally use when “setting sail” “ships”?

Mugi's yuri goggles

Shipping material refers to the little hints sprinkled throughout certain anime/cartoons/live-action shows/games/comics that yuri fans use to justify pairing up two ladies (can also be applied to guys and on rare occasion het pairings) as a romantic couple even though the medium does not depict one or both seeing each other that way. Many nation members have similar materials they use while wearing their goggles, each member having a different brand, some more powerful than others. However, not everyone use the same ones. That is why I figured why not share the shipping materials I use when noticing a potential pairing and at the end of the post have other nation members share their own?

Keep in mind that most of these materials are used when the girl(s)’s romantic feelings are not obvious and merely the yuri goggle wearing viewers’ (Mine in this case though my fans all know I no longer need goggles as I have reached god tier levels of proper shipping) perceptions. Some do count as “obvious” hints though.

Chiya blushes for Yuzuka again

#1: Blushing. To casual viewers when a girl blushes towards another girl’s remarks or teasing it is little more than embarrassment. To me however, depending on the circumstance and if it is followed up at some point, I consider it valid reason to sail a ship.

Memerized stare

#2: Mesmerized stares. Without goggles this is little more than a sign of trust or strengthening friendship bonds between two ladies but as soon as I see girls/women’s eyes sparkle while staring at each other I have what I need.

PB watching Marceline sing

I couldn’t find the right pic but Bubblegum shows an example of both blushing and a mesmerized gaze in this scene while watching Marceline sing.

A combination of materials 1 and 2 could be strong enough to shatter low quality goggles.

Holding hands

#3: Hand holding. A controversial one to some since hand holding is not unusual at all among gal pals. Of the three materials I mentioned so far this is the one that is considered drawing straws for shipping. For example, my best friend who watched Legend of Korra did not detect ANY KorraSami vibes throughout the show. Not even the last scene. I had to tell him the writers confirmed the two dating by show’s end to convince him. Anyway, given the right context and mood it can be justifiable. Hibiki and Narumi here are perfect examples of when hand holding is valid enough reason to squeal in delight.

Himawari and Sakurako's love life in a nutshell

#4: Bickering. Self-explanatory. To me this is more plausible than foe-yay ships where two people are paired up together because their obsession with fighting one another is seen as a curtain hiding their undying desire to mate (mostly applied to two guys feuding).

Yuki, charming even near death

#5: Compliments. People not wearing goggles only see a girl complimenting another girl about her attitude/cuteness/coolness. Unless the one making compliments outright states her attraction to the same sex it is not perceived as anything worth taking seriously. This material’s validity is intensified based on how excited the girl making the compliments is.

Tami's true feeelings

#6: “Daisuki!”. The meaning of the term “daisuki” in Japanese shows is worth a post in and of itself. Long story short, given the right context “I love you” can be a very powerful material when a girl utters those words to her best gal pal.

Damn it all

#7: Closeness. This material is based on how often the girls’ faces are close to one another with no hostile intent.

Ramen, the ultimate hero meal

#8: Cooking. Based on how often one girl cooks meals for her brah.

Look at you blushing

#9: Teasing. An incessant need for one girl to tease another over and over.

Cool Greta X Saga image

Source of image.

#10: Obsession. One girl’s undying desire to show off or challenge one girl in particular over and over and over and over and over and over…

A love buried underneath a strong friendship

#11: The power of friendship-love. Last but not least, if two girls have a bond so strong and neither one has a super serious interest in a guy, that is good enough material for me.

And those are all the materials I usually use when shipping girls together as potential romantic couples. It is something that took me years to master and properly apply as I do not ship willy-nilly. I not only need these materials but the right context as well. Now time for other brave nation members to share theirs. What motivates you all to “set sail” “ships”? What materials do you use?

That or just share your thoughts on shipping in general.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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29 Responses to Yuri Talk: Shipping Material

  1. zuneko says:

    Here are some of my criteria for ships (I have been a Yuri lover for over 5 years)

    If there is a character that either consoles, helps another character through a not so important to a very tough situation, gives something the other character never had (friends,someone to talk to, etc.), heals something that another character has been wounded by (mental/emotional trauma or a loss, past or near present), or shows great care and/or concern whether they are flat out or being a dere
    They blush, getting flustered, or gets embarrassed easily from another person
    Bickering a lot, especially if gotten embarrassed by the other person, or over obsessed whether it is bickering or irritating the other person
    Overly clingy, gets along very well, and/or doesn’t show much interest in boys
    Casual kiss on the cheek, saying “I like you”, fantasizing the other person when they do or don’t mean to
    Complimenting someone else whether casually or with blushing

    There may be some things I missed or forgot to type because I might be missing some things for my criteria (I should watch/read some more subtext sometime), but this is my criteria as for what I can think of from the top of my head.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. MarkS00N says:

    An old /u/ (a sub from 4chan) standard would be, “Two girls in spitting distance? Totally gay!”, though of course with the increasing amount of subtext and text yuri recently, the limit on how two character is yuri has improve…

    I think for me, the main reason I ship a certain ship is if I ask, “Does these two people, if they become couple, would improve one another or not?” and the answer is yes, then I’ll ship it…
    A seemingly hard question, but in actuality, an easy one (as can be seen by my pile of couple I ship)…

    For example, as my first ship is Natsuki-Shizuru, I see that Shizuru has done a lot for Natsuki, so I see her improving Natsuki if they become a couple, and likewise, Natsuki is the reason Shizuru can do so well, so I see Natsuki improving Shizuru if they are together…
    And I think for me that’s why I jump in to exclusive yuri viewer, as het relationship usually dominated by question of “producing kid”, while yuri usually is about “that feeling man!”…

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      There was no need for shipping with ShizNat when their arc eventually happened but I get what you mean by asking whether a pairing feels worthy of shipping. It takes sharp eyes and a lot of experience to properly ship.

      Like

      • DUDE DUDE DUDE says:

        With mai-hime shizuru was meant to be natsuki’s love interest bandai producers tried to torpedo the ship by making her a psycho lesbian but that only fueled it more causing them to reconsider, the writer had a nervous breakdown and did not get out of it until he wrote sora no woto writing in that anime what he originally planned would be SHIZNATS arc.

        Like

      • OG-Man says:

        That explains a lot.

        Like

  3. goodboy64 says:

    Pretty solid list that covers most of the bases, good work! I’m not sure how good mine are, but I do enjoy going on a sail every once in a while, especially if the show is really good and the characters are awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. EasyO's says:

    I use pretty much all of the above, a rather comprehensive list of shipping criteria, one i’d add though, is “a dream/fantasy one character has involving the other/both of them” as probably the strongest criteria, recent example being Nene’s “Prince clarion” fantasy in Koukaku no pandora.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Thin is that said fantasy is a dead giveaway that one of the girls has a crush on another so it doesn’t count as material hinting yuri. Nene is as gay as it gets.

      Like

  5. FantasyGirlKanna says:

    Nice! You mentioned pretty everything I use already 🙂
    Though there is one, if they look good together even if they’re not that close, don’t give off any hints whatsoever or don’t have much screen time alone together but if you pairthem up they could work. Like my AoixEma from Shirobako 😛

    Oh! And if they complement each other like YuixNodoka from K-On 😀
    I don’t know I just don’t feel the usual YuiAzu ship. Unlike with Yui x Nodoka, they just seem more natural for me when I imagine them as a couple.

    Not sure if these fall under “The power of friendship-love” lol 😛 If they do then we use the same materials YAY! :3

    Liked by 1 person

  6. cirno9fan says:

    I can’t really get it down to a science like you seemingly have. I kinda ship pretty easily, but I don’t “deep ship” until things have really gotten heated. If it’s not a “deep ship”, then that means if it’s sunk, I’ll be a bit sad maybe (not if a better ship rises in its ashes), but it’s not going to affect me greatly. As I’ll already be really prepared for it to be nothing more than goggles. I guess…it’s kinda how I treat plot. I come up with all sorts of crazy hypotheses, constantly analyzing and testing situations in my head for why something happens. But I’m always open to more theories, and I don’t get angry if I’m wrong. It’s just a hypothesis afterall.That’s the best way I could describe how I am normally.

    Now, for how a ship gets “deep”, it takes many many factors. I take into account how the characters thinks of each other. How the characters support each other. How the characters treat each other, compared to how they treat others outside that character. See, if you have a character that is just really nice to everyone (ala Mana), then you need to find that person that they’re especially nice to to really make something concrete.

    Course, there can be complications. I normally always stick to one ship, and never to crossed ships. But, then there is Yuru Yuri. KyouAya – KyouYui – AyaChito – ChitoChizu is the single most difficult love thing out there for me to deal with. Like..seriously. I can normally always pick sides, but I just can’t with those five.

    Lastly, I am nowhere near bound to “yuri shipping”. I hetship all the time. Including one ship which probably wouldn’t be very popular on here >>

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      You say you don’t have n actual science in regards to shipping and then proceed to jot down just that. I find that amusing.

      I don’t het-ship because it’s not as fun for me, especially in love triangles/squares/octagons.

      Like

      • cirno9fan says:

        I also yaoiship sometimes >.> (Read: Free…so much Free. There are other examples tho)

        But I dunno. For me the fun is in pairing up characters. It doesn’t really matter their gender (I DO lean yuri for sure), It’s just something I really enjoy (until Ships get sunk…).

        Liked by 1 person

      • OG-Man says:

        FREE is a yaoi shipping hotspot. Reminds me I need to finish S2 and wait for the movie to get subbed.

        Like

  7. makotachi says:

    Interesting read!

    I’m a shallow man, so what matters most to me when first start pairing up two girls or two guys is basically, do they look good together? Do their colors match each other? Then it gets into whether their personality compliments each other, how they interact, and then some stuff whether they’re close in age, or if they come off more as siblings than possible love interests.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Yuri Talk: Shipping Material | Just my guilty pleasure reblog.

  9. bcy says:

    Don’t forget adopting a child, living together and sleeping in the same bed.

    Like

  10. yurimylove says:

    whenever i hear the word “onee-sama” spoken, i start shipping like crazy XD

    Liked by 1 person

  11. JimJiminy says:

    Fantastic list. Though I can’t seem to categorize Tomoyo’s obsession over Sakura, or does that add a sacrifice category. (only thought of that since i finally watched the sub)

    Like

  12. DrAnimaniac says:

    I pretty much use all of these myself and I can’t think of anything specific to add. I can say that I get better and better at proper shipping every time I watch something with potential, so that’s a good thing. I’m sure I’ll reach your god tier one day, but until then, I’m still going to enjoy shipping pairs I like.

    Like

  13. That list of yours matches up with mine pretty well. Though I too, have the Mystic Eyes of Yuri Perception (Kara no Kyoukai reference I stole from a fellow Yuri fan who comments on my FB pages that I admin kek). My Yuri Goggles are more like my Yuri Corneas (by God that was corny) The female bonding (especially in two-shot frames, though that’s a given in a show with few or no male characters in the cast) and female gazing are definitely a big factor.

    In the Fall I took a Queer Studies in Film and Media course, and I read an essay by Chris Straayer called “The Hypothetical Lesbian Heroine”, from her 1996 book Deviant Eyes, Deviant Bodies: Sexual Re-Orientation in Film and Video. I could send it to you if you want, especially since it’ll be hard to track down and I don’t think its necessary that you get the whole book either. But basically it put heavy emphasis on the idea of female gaze, female bonding and the existence (or lack thereof) of a male intermediary driving the two women together. It basically gives a queer interpretation of film theory 101 and really only focuses on avant garde French lesbian films. But I found that it helped support a lot of my thoughts and feelings toward shipping and subtext as well as what I consider to be ‘canon’. We read it around the same time we watched a movie with Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers called Stage Door from 1937, which is widely regarded as a queer cult classic. And with everything I knew at that point about how to construct and display queer relationships on film but also get things past the radar, I could definitely see why too.

    Great write-up as always, G. Look forward to more from you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. kakikitsune says:

    Well, I have a history of shipping behind me but not all of it is Yuri as I do have some hetships from the past like Naruto and Hinata. However, I definitely lean more towards Yuri now with the shows that I watch. I can’t really say that I have it down to a science though I also use everything in your list to identify potential ships. Usually though I just sort of get a vibe from the characters overall behavior around each other and I tend to focus on characters that have interesting dynamics. Like with Haruki and Isuke from Akuma no Riddle, since their first scene together they were on my radar. Haruki easily accepts Isuke’s attitude and Isuke seems to be drawn to Haruki in a subtle way for her caring and laid-back ways. Their personalities offer something to the other character and it creates a type of chemistry between them. Its sorta just a feeling (so its hard to explain at all) and they naturally fit together and thats how I ship.

    Like

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