More about MHA ships, and what they tell us about our culture.

Another fun post for me, let’s talk about shipping wars in MHA.

I have strong opinions about this, but if you’re not a fan, this probably won’t seem very interesting to you (then again, who knows, maybe I’ll surprise you.)

What I think it intriguing about the “Art of Shipping” (yes, I’m sticking with that) is when Fandoms all agree about one basic aspect of the ship, and the MHA one is perhaps the one I’ve found this trend in the most, though the Naruto one has the same thing.

Bascially, if you take out the ship haters, and the people who ship anything just because they want to see people kiss/bang, you are left with a few groups of shippers who have actual reasons for liking the ship (yeah, salt). And to my surprise, those odn’t usulaly come in differeent flavors. We all agree onw hat we like about a ship.

To take the top canon ship for example, Dekuraka (Deku x Uraraka), many people find it boring, but those who don’t all seem to agree that the nice thing about it is the anime staple of pureness and puppy love. But even more, people like Uraraka trying to respect Deku’s life by not complicating it (I personally don’t agree with her philosophy of love, but it’s more anime acceptable.)

I don’t have much more to say about that one, since it’s not the one I find most interesting.

I could list after other simple ones, like “Kamijiro (Kaminari x Jiro), Kirimina, (Kirishima x Mina), Whatever the Froppy x Tokayami one is called, and more.

The ones I see the most fan stuff made for are Kamijiro, Todomomo (Todoroki x Momo), and usrprisingly, Kachako (Bakugo x Uraraka). I’m not gcounitn the homo ships because I don’t support them.

But I suppose I should say a word about it.

My overall issue with yaoi or yuri shippers (BL and GL for non weebs), other than my religion, is that I find the ships extremely boring. It’s all about the homo part, and rarely about anything deeper, so there’s not much for me to get into if I see it.

Kirbaku fans at times try to accomplish something deeper, and Tododeku fans, but it’s usually no deeper than “They like each other despite have difficult personalities, or trauma” and oddly, the Tododeku people focus on that less, despite the more canon basis for it, while the Kiribaku venture there usually only for humor. If there are exceptions, they don’t frequent the forums I’m on.

I find homo ships to be shallow for the most part, and I have not seen enough counterexamples to change my mind on that. So, I will stick to the straight ships for my point.

Todomomo is my favorite, or my first favorite ship before I learned about the other one. I liked the dynamic after the episode “Yaoyerozu rising” where most of us got on board that ship. but I also liked the CD drama (semi-canon stuff) because it did what I’ve actually never seen an anime do, maybe why it was snuck into a CD drama.

Todoroki, in said CD drama, actually opens up to Momo, in a nuanced way, about his feelings about his family, though he immediately becomes embarrassed about it. I’ve read that that’s a cultural no-no in Japan. Momo seems to be unsure what to say for that reason, but then tells him she’s not just “Someone else” (like a random stranger) but she’s his classmate. Meaning that it’s okay to talk to her because they have a solid relationship as fellow students.

For anime, that’s about as bold as it gets, and it’s cute.

More importantly, it’s what’s at the core of this ship. The theme of Todomomo is helping each other deal with your past, and your insecurities. Mostly the fans make cute stuff about them building each other up, inspiring each other, etc. But the more hardcore AU (alternate universe) writers have tried swapping their backstories. And seeing how Todoroki does with Momo as the traumatized one. I prefer it as it is, but I find the more different the AUs are, the more it tells you about what the fans agree about. As I said, it’s the theme.

More about themes in a second.

My other fave is BakuCamie (Bakugo x Camie,) which hasn’t gotten a lot of love since Camie has barely been in the show, but the Manga fans are more into it.

What my sisters and I got hooked by with this ship was the potential for shared difficulties. I didn’t really like it at first, because I thought Camie was supposed to be an airhead, but after I did some digging and my sister gave me the pitch discussing it, I came around.

Bakugo and Camie both have the experience of being targeted by the League of Villain solely, instead of in a group. While Camie cannot remember hers, and Bakugo and probably never forget, their victimization led to some of the same things. More people freaking out about the League, and victim-blaming.

We see Bakugo get victim blamed by the media and heroes. Because he is angry so much, they say, the villains are trying to turn him. (At this point, did anyone even know for sure that was their goal? I don’t remember it being stated in the attack). And while typical in anime, it’s pretty sick to blame a 15 year old kid with anger issues and bad parenting strategies, for being kidnapped by villains who already attacked his school once, and who he kicked the rears of so they might very well be out for revenge or to eliminate a threat.

I actually started loving Bakugo in season 3, and I wan’t the only one. Surprisingly, he doesn’t really get mad at anyone for blaming him, maybe since they don’t do it to his face, or because he blames himself too and his mom doesn’t help(I like her, but I would not want to be her kid).

Camie, on the other hand gets victim-blamed by her own classmate, giving us a peek into the very different Shiketsu dynamic than UA’s very supportive class system (pardon my terrible joke). Shishikura is an ass, and I was glad Bakugo kicked his rear in the exam, but he still gloats and looks down on Camie for her “flighty” or ditsy personality, saying she got kidnapped for that reason.

Now, we are presented with a surprising similarity here, Camie has everything Bakugo lacks. She’s subtle where he’s blunt, friendly where he’s antisocial (or shy), and relaxed where he’s a live wire, she’s got all the people skills to be a fan favorite in the hero world, and in the real world, yet… she and Bakugo are both blamed for their personalities.

What the heack is wrong with these people?

I notice that in anime, often it doesn’t matter what the reason was, if you lost, you are a loser. there is no honor in defeat, even if it was the best you could do. If you are wronged by someone, it’s your fault for not being smart enough or strong enough to evade them.

It doesn’t matter that Camie was drugged, and Bakugo was jumped in the woods by a trained magician,

Atsuhiro Sako | My Hero Academia Wiki | Fandom

they should have somehow been able to avoid that if they just weren’t so… them.

Yeah, there’s too many layers of NOPE in that way of thinking for me to even get into without turning this post into a rant, but, it’s very very common for characters in anime to spout that sort of thinking. And it’s very damaging, even in the fictional circumstances.

That being said, the fans have tried to remedy that problem by making Bakucamie about them helping each other heal and gather strength to keep going. Also making each other stronger. Camie smooths Bakugo’s rough edges via humor, making him more friendly, while Bakugo defends Camie from getting attacked by snobs by just being around her. That’s the general feeling…but also, people feel he just gets her, in ways no one else does.

To me it makes sense, Bakugo attracts weird people. Ones who don’t feel like they belong, or are ever strong enough, because just being around him makes you feel stronger. That’s true even for a fan watching the show. We all love Bakugo because he speaks to that crazy side in all of us that we want to be confident about instead of insecure.

See, it’s not about the anger. That’s just the vehicle that makes it funny, also the only way shonen anime know show to do confident characters without making them flat and stoic(prove me wrong), it’s that Bakugo embraces what he thinks, even if it’s not always flawless, and we want to be able to do that.

The reason fans have been drawn to Camie as a shipping partner for him, since her introduction, is because Camie is the same way, only she relied more on humor than anger. But Camie is unashamedly who she is, and blows off Shishikura’s criticism like it goes over her head.

The fans have read into it, however, the suspicion that Camie is not really oblivious, just knows better than to acknowledge priggish slights at her personality, since it only encourages them. We think that her ability to throw shade at Bakugo proves that she is not oblivious, just sly, in a good way.

Actually, Camie is the one who intiatilly suggests the idea that works, jus in the one ar she’s in, and my faoviretie thing about Horikoshi’s wriitng is how he subverts sterotypes. Bakguo is angry, but he’s actually sensitive, Camie is an airhead who’s actuallys mart. It would be in form for him.

I think th emanga has alreayd added to this, but I’ve only watched the show, and manga spoilers woudl be mean anyhow for any fans reading this, so I’ll stikc to fan stuff.

I was surpised, whien I was diggin for more Bakucamie content, to find a theme of deep emotional/ menatl helahty issues. I found a comic about crying that remeind me of a depression uote I saw once:

Not the full strip, you can find it on Google somewhere.

This isn’t the only fan creation like this, I found one about bulimia, and another where Bakugo was depressed. I thought those were extreme, but I noted that the theme is still they help each other, they lift each up, and the make each other better.

And I found way more serious ones than humorous ones, which surprised me because Camie is meme gold, and I expected more fan made stuff about that.

The themes can surprise you, but, I think that it’s telling when a ship spareks the imagination in almost hte dsme way.

It leads me to ask, why?

I mean, people come form all walks of life, with different goals. How is it we see the same protential. To me it means that ships strike our core needs, and that’s why, I often find shippers understand the characters far better than fans who stick stirctlyt o plot.

In fact, when I’ve watched reviewers who focus on plot, and think ships are a waste of time, I usually end up shocked by their take on the character and show’s tone overall.

To be fair, shippers can also ignore a lot of important red flags in order to ship. I ignored those because it really has nothing to do with my point, but yes, it has it’s drawbacks.

I guess it’s also fair to mention that Bakucamie’ does have a red flag in that, Bakugo can be qutie mean verbally. Though, he’s not suuallymean to Camie, but if you want to get in deep, you could arug he’s not really suited to being ina relatinship period.

I’d answer that, irl, I might agree, or I’d at least proceed with caution, but that fans only have the present to work with when they ship, and Bakugo is already growing out of his meanness, so in a few years, he could be totally fine, and we can look ahead. Realistically that ship can’t happen until they graduate anyway.

Todomomo has no red flags and is probably the purest ship on the freaking show (I don’t think Dekuraka is as pure simply because Deku is too self destructive to be attentive to a girlfriend, as of now, imo, but I don’t object to it.)

It’s interesting to note that as stupid as most of us find shipping wars, shipping is one of the only things fans go to war over. Other then political controversy, and problematic content, shipping is the top positive aspect of a show that people fight over.

And with a vengeance.

Why do we care aso much about it?

Like I said in my I ship it! post, Love, even fictional love, is powerful. And we can’t help but get involved in it. I sometimes are about couple I really hate, just because I can’t gt away from thinking love is important.

Often shipping is the biggest focus a story puts on love. Stories that focus on different types, like Violet Evergarden, tend to not create as much shipping controversy.

But what the critics of shippin fail to realize is how much it upholds the basic need we have for emotional peth in a story.

If we focus only on action, and plot, and drama, it becomes stale. I get bored of superhero shows that don’t include relationships.

And parent-child stuff is often made the problem, rather than a good example in stories. Friend-friend is usually better, but more rare. “My Little Pony” stays fresh to the very end because Love and relationships never feel truly old, even if you’ve seen it a hundred times. When a show is built around it, you keep people reeled in. A more grotesque example would be classic soap operas.

For the average show, though, shipping is the main exploration of love, and relationship dynamic. And while you can’t build a show on it, you cannot really max out the potential of any character driven story without shipping. At least, I’ve always felt dissatisfied by one.

Before I close this post, I’ll return to why I think these two ships in particular are important to look at.

Whether they become official or not is not really the pint, it’s that they took the direction they did.

People are really hungry for healing right now, especially after last year. They are drawn to ships that center around characters helping each other be whole and happy. It gives them hope.

Sometimes, too much. Just go on Webtoon sometime and see how important people find this stuff. They say they live off of it… literally.

You learn a lot, that’s the truth. When you can’t get out an talk to people, fandoms sure are a great (and terrifying) place to learn about them.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Accidentally Brilliant?: The InoSai ship.

Ready for a post about a couple not that many people care about? Good.

After watching Naruto, I, like most fans, had my favorite pairings…there were not many I actually liked. ShikaTema was the best, NaruHina was…not what is could have been, but cute…kind of…we try to ignore how disjointed the movie was…

Kishimoto, the author of Naruto, did not give a flip about writing good romance, as two of his MCs are still in an abusive cycle relationship on the current Boruto show. He admitted to not being good at it…however, he was fine at writing good couples moments between Naruto and Sakura to troll the audience with, I call BS.

(As a writer who struggles with romance writing also, let me just say, you have to push through it and be willing to experiment until you get it right, but it’s possible to overcome the difficulty.)

His indifference or straight up meanness to the female characters also did not help, the poor things barely get to be likable half the time, let alone the type of chick any self-respecting guy would date…and I would not date any of the men on Naruto either, so they are not much better.

Seriously, what girl dreams of  guy who will neglect her half the time, and spend the other half not understanding her feelings?

Luckily, the fandom is nicer to the characters than the show is, and has endeavored to fill in the blanks with imagination (and also there’s a video game that does it better than the show, for some reason.)

That is why we somehow have this thing where we like the ships, but hate how they were executed, and there may be no better example of this, for the side characters, than the InoSai ship.

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Yeah, that’s how we felt at first.

I talked about Sai and how much I like him in my review of the show, and he is one of the best boys, and the only one with a real excuse to be bad at relationships.

Ironically, he is not that bad at them. Sai puts so much effort into figuring things out that he usually stumbles his way into finding a right answer. Which is pretty much how he and Ino got together, after Ino developed a crush on him off screen and apparently between the war and the wedding timeline.

At first, I though InoSai was a terrible idea. Sai was introduced as the more foulmouthed substitute for Sasuke when he first came on the show,

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Personally, I say Sai was a step up.

and Ino was always the sloppy seconds when Cotton Candy Hair couldn’t be around to be the annoying twit.

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Sorry Sakura, you’re usually comic relief.

But I did start to like Ino a little bit after the Chunin exam…I liked everyone for a little bit after that…We find out she’s actually not a carbon copy of Sakura with blonde hair.

Ino was, at one point, that one girl all the others girls tend to want to be friends with, the one who know how to do cool feminine stuff, is good at school stuff, and is always wone for girl talk.

She and Sakura initially became friends because Ino felt Sakura needed someone to help her deal with getting teased about her face, and then they ended up having common interests, it was a sweet little friendship.

Then Sakura violated girl code by liking the same guy as Ino, and it all went up in flames.

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To be fair, Ino was part of the reason for that…

However, one gets the vibe that Ino would probably pick up the friendship again if Sakura, the ever toxic example, was not so dead set against it. During their slap fight at the exams, it’s revealed that Ino still thinks of Sakura as a friend who needs her help.

In typical Ninja fashion, instead of encouraging the traits that would save their society from the hatred and preying upon the weak that plague it, the show and Sakura both stomp on this display of Ino’s softer side by telling her it is bad and unnecessary. Ino accepts this…she really has no choice…but is never quite the same girl after the exam. Her confidence seems to be gone.

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Ninjas: Who the frick needs emotional support?

Later she becomes a bit of a sad, rather passionless older teen. One who has accepted she will never surpass Sakura. Whose progress is really do more to having people actually “expect things” of her, rather than any greater talent, initially she had less talent than Ino.

It was nice to see Ino and Sai get together because for once, Ino was able to care about someone and not have them throw it back in her face. She actually seems hesitatant to believe Sai actually does care, which carries into the future when they (SPOILER) get married and have a son.

There is not a lot to go by, but the ship that no one wanted, and no one thought would ever work, ended up becoming one of the best. Even the former haters admit they have a good relationship.

At first I didn’t understand why, it was just discount SasuSaku wasn’t it?

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Oh heck no!

But upon closer inspection, I realized that Ino and Sai are actually a very good match.

It’s one of those very rare cases in media, where the relationship makes more sense if you think it out then it does when you just watch them interact.

Sai and Ino work because their flaws actually compliment each other.

While Temari and Shikamaru function because they make up for each other’s weaknesses, Sai and Ino bring out each other’s weaknesses, but in such a way that it would be a good thing.

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Cloak and Dagger anyone?

Sai is emotionally stunted and unable to read signals. At first glance, the hypersensitive and insecure Ino seems like the worst possible combination with him, and some do hate the ship for that reason.

But if you are like me, and think one of the main things a relationship does is grow you, then it’s actually a good idea.

Sai is ignorant, but he is not at all cruel or neglectful on purpose. When Ino gets worked up, she generally calms down after reaching a certain point where she knows she is being ridiculous (I have fights like that with my sister all the time.) With Sai, one could infer this would happen much sooner, as he cannot really be said to be being a jerk on purpose, as with the other people Ino fights with. Gradually, one could assume, Ino would learn not to have such a short fuse, because it’s clear that Sai is not actually trying to make her mad.

The sad thing is generally Ino is being provoked deliberately when she loses her temper, and seems cooler headed than Sakura when she is around people who do not push her buttons.

On the other hand, Sai is unable to pick up on subtleties, but he wants to change that. His problem is that he cannot guess what is really bothering someone.

In some ways, Ino, who complains more than anyone else usually, is the perfect match for him. She does not take long to start saying what’s annoying her. Sure, usually it’s something stupid, and the real reason does not even come out till later, but eventually it does, and then communication happens…or could happen, if the other person cared to know.

What really galled me about her and Sakura’s friendship was that Sakura realized what was going through Ino’s head, and didn’t show her any mercy. Like it’s the worst thing ever to have someone actually care about you and not want to whale on you for that reason…well, I guess the record shows Sakura doesn’t mind people trying to hurt her.

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This is what we call Vicious Cycle

It is unlikely this situation would ever repeat itself with Sai, because Sai is grateful for people who care about him, and tries to learn about their feelings.

While one could forsee plenty of fighting between them during the first few years, some fans have pointed out that it would likely subside after that, once they got used to each other.

They really have no reason to fight, once that is understood, above the petty argument now and then.

What is even better than that is that the strengths of their personalities actually do compliment each other, along with the weaknesses.

Sai’s devotion to his friends is one of his best point, even if he pulls it off very clumsily, he is not half way about it. Unlike many of the characters on the show.

Ino’s tenancy to take care of people and show them the ropes, while not given much attention, is a rare quality among the negligent shinobi culture of adults who really couldn’t seem to care less about training their students most of the time. (Except you Iruka-sensei, love you.) It would go perfectly with Sai, who gets ignored by the rest of his friends and would probably love it if someone would try to help him learn.

To be sure, the show never demonstrates this happening, as a fan, you have to be willing to look at their personalities as a whole, not as what they are reduced to for convenience/comedy’s sake.

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Back when we thought Ino might actually be relevant, she was interesting, and if you choose to belief that person is still present in her as an adult, it makes for a very cute ship.

More importantly, it makes her different form Sakura, and makes her dynamic with her team make more sense.

Now, what does this half-baked ship that the fans have made valid have to do with real life?

It’s actually a great example of how the perfect person for you does not have to be the one who would cause the least friction in your life. It could be you need someone who would cause plenty of friction, but ultimately would be doing their best to love you, and in the end, it could be worked out.

I guess the lesson here, if you want one, is that Ino and Sai work because they fight together towards a point, and do not fight just because neither of them really wishes to be bothered with the other.

There is a huge difference between fighting with your significant other because you can’t stand them and want to get away form them, and fighting because you value them and want things to be better, for both of you.

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Whether InoSai perfectly represents that or not, there is that germ of an idea in it, and it is rare to find fictional, or real life, examples of it.

It’s hilarious that we all know it was 100% an accident. The ship was the most lazily written ever…but it works.

Well, that is all for today, till next time, stay honest–Natasha.

PS. (If you’re interested in fan fiction about anime, maybe check out my Wattpad page, I have the first few parts of my own work there. If you’re into it. At https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj)