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Your Pokéani shipping memories

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As I'm sure you're all well aware by now, the current Pokémon anime will soon be coming to an end. In just a few weeks, we'll have to say our farewells to the cast of characters we've come to know over these past two decades.

For many years, shipping played a huge part in the Pokeani fandom — ask anybody! From the explosive popularity of Pokeshipping and Amourshipping, to the long and storied tale of Rocketshipping, and everything in between... the impact some of these pairings have left behind can't be understated. They'll definitely continue to live on even long after the anime has come to a close.
That being said, it's still sad to have to say goodbye. Knowing that pretty soon, there will finally be a true conclusion to all these characters' stories... it can make one a little wistful! It's definitely quieted down in recent years, but I'm sure that for many, even those who aren't as invested in the shipping scene anymore, there are still some fond feelings attached to at least one anime pairing.

So here I invite you to share all your fond Pokeani shipping-related memories from years past! Do you still remember where you were during an important event in your OTP's history? Maybe you made some lifelong friends due to a shared ship? Just want to tell some funny personal stories or in-jokes from back in the day? Whatever it may be, I'd love to hear them all. Reminiscing keeps this stuff from ever being truly forgotten.

Let's make sure that true love never dies!
 
Having been a Pokemania-era kid, I really got into Rocketshipping later, around 2006 which is :lapras: 17 years ago at this point! Given the depth of obsession, that's a biiiig bank of memories stored up now lol. It all took off when I rented a Pokemon Chronicles DVD from the library which contained the episode 'Training Daze'. I remember watching it for the first time with my sister and Granddad and the bottom literally dropped out of my peri-pubertal self when I saw this:

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As a tween at that point I remember diving into the internet's cache of Rocketshipping stuff and feeling like there was endless content on those old Angelfire and Yahoo sites and that I might never stop finding more fuel to my shipping fire. I was going through a bit of an emo phase and I used to love really dark and melodramatic fics. My favourite was The Rift which (hilariously) was my first introduction to the Japanese version of the show because the author used the original names. I still have the Maaya Sakamoto song she uses in the story on my playlist lmao.

Musashi and Kojiro's relationship was a bit of a shitshow late AG/early DP but I had enough backlog of old "evidence" and fanworks to keep me occupied until things started getting interesting around the time Sabonea left the show. I started stalking, then joined and finally the pre-release info for DP 117 compelled me to post on these forums, and the rest is kind of history?! But I can't understate how many wonderful friends I made and how much fun (and drama lol) we had circa 2009 just being happy Rocketshippers. I even made a graph at the time documenting our crazy post count in the old Rocketshipping thread:

rocketshipping cumulative frequency.png

That was a really golden time but I have a lot of really happy memories from subsequent years as well. I totally lost the plot when XY 63 was announced and remember the week between the preview and the episode airing as a form of existential torture :p So many deep analytical chats during SM that elevated my enjoyment of the series sooooo much. Being isolated during the first covid lockdown and subbing the Love and Youth Hoso (Training Daze) where it all began for me...

I said this in the Rocketshipping thread but at this point I'm very much at peace with the idea that the anime isn't likely to canonise my ship, even though I'd held onto that idea for so many years as this aspirational thing. In the end the friends I've made, the opportunity for creative outpouring, the highs and lows... that's what has made Rocketshipping a formative part of my life and I'm in a place where I can allow it to drift away, knowing it's always reachable for moments of comfort.
 
I might say this like only once ever. Or I could embrace it publicly and not be cowardly. Not sure which.

I love shipping. Like, way, way back then I never paid any mind to it because I didn't even understand the concept. I think if I saw the episodes with shipping hints I would've understood. To me Rockets were just friends, or barely friends. it wasn't until much later until I saw the concept and thought of how strange and implausible it sounded. Then I clicked on the Bulbapedia pages that listed hints (looks like it's been changed) and it just made sense with me. It didn't feel absurd when characters within the show had subtleties. I've watched a few different animated shows since then, I think a lot of shipping in general here is animator specific (and occasionally writer/storyboard, of course someone has to approve scenes regardless of who initiated it) which I find to be pretty fun. I really do believe ship baiting is a big part of the show. They may never come to fruition but they feel so natural.

PokeShipping is fun, it's probably getting a massive resurgence now in these last episodes and the small characterization changes over the years I think enhance it. It's like the characters have grown.

PearlShipping is my favorite, when XY aired I thought the lack of references (though I realize Team Rocket carried a lot of the continuity over indirectly with their episodes, love it) meant that sadly, some characters may be left behind forever. Then the announcements in 2021 brought Dawn back, her friendship with Ash is so wholesome. Part of me wishes for even more hints.

Also, RocketShipping is the best. The mention of XY 63 brings back so many memories. I was excited for the episode in lurking days despite not even being a shipper at a time. Or maybe I secretly was and never self admitted to it.
 
Unlike my general Pokemon anime memories, there's not really much to tell here! I didn't do the shipping thing when I originally watched Pokemon as a kid - I was still in that "romance is icky" stage and didn't even pick up on anything remotely romantic going on in the anime. It wasn't until I got back into it as a teenager and started reading fanfiction and shipping discussions online that I was like "oh hey, wait a minute, Ash and Misty are actually super cute together" and "wow, these screencaps of May and the green-haired guy are intriguing, I should watch their episodes" and "ooh wait hold the phone all the Rocket duos are lovely, that's it they're dating" and so on. And that was basically that! I've accumulated many Pokeani ships that I love (or merely like and appreciate) over the years and while there's a bunch that I've lost interest in I still have a pretty lengthy list (Pokeshipping, Contestshipping, Rocketshipping and Neoshipping have been constants pretty much the entire time, I will never ever get over them lol). I've long since branched out and started shipping in many other fandoms too, but the Pokemon anime is where it really all started :)
 
My first ship (period, not just for this fandom) was Rocketshipping, which which led me to the famous Electric Tale Rocketshipping ending. Today, Rocketshipping is probably the closest I have to a "serious" ship in any fandom nowadays, in that I was hoping it would be canonized by the end.

So here's a fun little secret, of sorts; I don't think I ever mentioned or even alluded to this anytime here or elsewhere online, but for a time I really liked Moonshipping (TR's Meowth and Jigglypuff)--a ship so obscure it's mentioned three time on these forums, including this post. All from a single scene in a random Johto episode.
It's a really rare pairing--throughout the years I think I've seen two or three pieces of fanart and a single chapter of a fic for this pairing.

Finally, although I have oddly good memories of seeing Bound For Trouble for the first time, it wasn't until AG I started seeing a bunch of fanart and fics and realized how cute MeowthXPikachu was (though to some extent I consider that sort of a "species ship" in the manner of the various Eeveelution pairings). A lot of them are seemingly gone from the internet now, though.
 
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For me personally, the time in which I actively liked Anipoke (during 2016-2017) was well before I got proper into shipping (which was in 2019), syo I didn't have any actual ships myself. I DO remember looking at ship art on DeviantArt/Google Images and thinking it was all super cute because YAY ROMANCE though, but I still didn't ship any particular couples...
 
For me personally, the time in which I actively liked Anipoke (during 2016-2017) was well before I got proper into shipping (which was in 2019), syo I didn't have any actual ships myself. I DO remember looking at ship art on DeviantArt/Google Images and thinking it was all super cute because YAY ROMANCE though, but I still didn't ship any particular couples...
OMG Are you me?
Edit: Oh wait, never mind. I got into shipping in 2017 then learned about the term 2019 (for me, Anipoke 2014)
 
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