From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Holding hands is often used to show attraction
Shipping (short for "relationshipping"; カップリング Coupling in Japanese) is the belief that two characters in the Pokémon universe are in a relationship, or have romantic feelings that could potentially lead to a relationship. It is generally used as a suffix attached to a word related to a pair of characters (like in PokéShipping).
For example, a person who would like to see Ash and Misty as boyfriend and girlfriend would be a PokéShipper, and as a PokéShipper, he or she would support PokéShipping. In addition to "shipping," and "shipper," there are "ship," which is a word for the pairing itself, and "shippy," which is used as an adjective. For example, if Ash and Misty kissed, that moment would be considered PokéShippy. A basic rundown follows:
- ship (pairing) : Example: "I support that ship." means "I support that pairing."
- shippy (supports a ship) : Example: "That hug was shippy." means "That hug makes them look like a couple."
- shipping (action of supporting a ship) : Example: "I enjoy Pokéshipping." means "I enjoy supporting Ash and Misty as a couple."
- Verb (infrequent use)
- ship (action of supporting a ship) : Example: "Do you ship?" means "Do you support a/any pairing(s)?"
- shipper (supporter of a ship) : Example: "We are all shippers of that couple." means "We are all supporters of that pairing."
The term "shipping" originated in the X-Files fan community 1. At that time, a Shipper supported the prospect of a romantic relationship between the series' main characters, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. The term crossed over to the anime community when Maria Rocket and other Team Rocket fans from TRHQ used the term to describe a relationship between Jessie and James. Thus, RocketShipping was born. It is to this day still uncertain if this was an independent development of the term (as a play on words of the word Rocketship) or not. Regardless, soon the term was applied to dozens of other Pokémon pairings—today, there are over 9,000 formally named and recognized pairings, but only a vague 5% are actually used in common and regular practice. The method is considered both helpful and unnecessary by various parts of the fandom today.
Once popularized in the Pokémon fandom, soon it spread to other fandoms frequented by Pokémon fans and former Pokémon fans, such as Digimon, Dragonball Z, and Harry Potter. These days, however, only so many fandoms keep serious track of its many Shippings, such as the Golden Sun, Warriors, and Yu-Gi-Oh! fandoms.
Japanese anime fans have their own form of naming couples, and this applies to the Pokémon fandom as well. The names of pairings are determined by combining the first two syllables of each character's name to form one word. In heterosexual pairings, the male character's name comes first. For example, a pairing between Satoshi (Ash) and Kasumi (Misty) would be called サトカス (SatoKasu). When naming a couple this way, in homosexual pairings, the seme (tachi; dominant) character's name comes first. For example, a pairing between Satoshi (Ash) and Shigeru (Gary) would be called シゲサト (ShigeSato), if Shigeru is the seme and Satoshi the uke (neko; submissive), but if Satoshi were considered the seme in the relationship, the denotation would be サトシゲ (SatoShige).
Some popular ships include:
For a complete list of ships see List of shippers.