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|| This article is about shipping.|
As hints and evidence for ships are mostly speculation, this page may contain personal points of view.
GracefulShipping (Japanese: ミクナギ MikuNagi or 水鳥 MizuTori, from their expert types) is the belief in a romantic relationship between the two Hoenn gym leaders, Wallace and Winona. It was considered to be one of the more solid Ships in the Pokémon Adventures Manga.
The name, GracefulShipping, possibly comes from the fact that both gym leaders are often being described as graceful trainers, like "The Graceful Dance of the Bird User Who Flies in the Sky" (大空に羽ばたく鳥使いの華麗な舞 Ōzora ni habataku toritsukai no karei na mai) for Winona in the official guide for Emerald; or Wallace's title of the "Water Artist" (水のアーティスト Mizu no ātisuto).
Chapter 231 "VS Masquerain" (Manga Volume 19) marked the earliest GracefulShipping hint throughout the whole Pokémon Specials. There was one scene where Wallace's innocent comment about it was a difficult time to group the Gym Leaders together angered Winona. Although what Wallace wanted to say is that he didn't want Winona to carry all the burden herself, Winona still got defensive and requested Wallace not to say anything more than he should because they were "not related in that way anymore".
Fans speculated that the two had possibly shared a romantic relationship in the past, however, it was not confirmed they did have a relationship all the way until in the Battle Frontier Arc. During Wanda and Ryūji's wedding, Sapphire teased Winona about the latter wishing for something like that too. Winona glanced at Wallace and replied vaguely, 「どうなることやら…なにしろ一度はダメになった関係だからね。」 I wonder...The relationship had failed once, after all.
It was also revealed the possible reason why the relationship failed: When Wallace gave up the title of Hoenn Champion to become the Sootopolis Gym Leader, Winona was feeling pressure from it since she felt her abilities were always checked by someone who was stronger than herself. She stated, "It was especially true when I was appointed as the leader of all Hoenn Gym Leaders," which could be the key reason why they broke up.
The following list is a summary of points in the Pokémon Special Manga that the majority of GracefulShippers believe points to possible romantic feelings between Wallace and Winona. These points have not yet been debated extensively, and the following summaries can at this point only be considered to be showing how GracefulShippers interpret events, not as being a conclusive interpretation agreed upon by all.
- Perhaps one of the best known pieces of evidence in support of GracefulShipping is pages 7 and 8 of chapter 239. As Wallace and Winona prepare to separate for different battlefields, Wallace extends his hand to Winona, and after a moment of hesitation she takes hold of it. Nothing is said and they soon part.
- This could be looked at as a continuation of the events of Chapter 231. Despite the fact that things seem to be over between the two, Winona still has some tender feelings towards Wallace, as the gesture (especially from Wallace's point of view, which was revealed in the event below) had not been purely platonic.
- As the Elite Four headed out to the quest of waking the Regis, Steven found Wallace in the Lilycove Department Store and decided to entrust the position of Champion to the Sootopolis Gym Leader. Steven also explained that he was just returning the position to the one who had once entered the Hall of Fame. It turned out that Wallace was the Champion of the Hoenn League years ago, and Steven was the runner up. However Wallace renounced the title as he expressed the wish to follow his mentor's, Juan's, footstep in become the Gym Leader of his home city. No one but Steven knew that there is a second reason for Wallace to give up that title:
- ...It was during that time when Winona became the Gym Leader of Fortree. By becoming a Gym Leader like her, you hope you can stay by her side.
- As Wallace didn't show one hint of denial--in fact, he only hold up his hands in surrender and replied with a "You're a sharp one Steven"--this became the major clue of Wallace having feelings that were definitely more than friends/colleagues towards Winona.
- Until the very end of the RS Arc, most GracefulShipping hints were from Wallace. Therefore it surprised the fans greatly when the newest hint in the Battle Frontier Arc was more sided towards Winona. Sapphire teased her teacher about having thoughts of giving Wallace a "second chance" and having "fallen in love all over again". To that, Winona only blushed and replied vaguely, "Oh, really. Stop that teasing."