You may have heard people in your anime circle "shipping" certain characters together. "I ship A and B a lot but my OTP is Y and Z" for example. This can get very confusing if you're out of the loop but we're here today to hopefully provide an explanation for these complicated terms. For those unaware, OTP stands for "One True Pairing" and is used to connote a strong desire for two characters to be together romantically. We'll talk more about the nuances of the phrase and its variation below!
What is Shipping?
Before we can get onto OTPs, it is important that we learn what shipping is. Shipping is where the viewer of a piece of media sees two characters on screen and wants them to be together romantically. There can be canonical reasonings behind this or it can simply be a personal feeling. For example, we can ship Kaguya and Shirogane from Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen (Kaguya-sama: Love is War) together despite their lack of relationship status, due to the obvious feelings they have for each other. However, I can just as easily ship Shirogane and Chika due to a personal bias for pink hair! Shipping is a way to express your opinion on characters you believe are well-suited for each other.
An OTP, when related to shipping, is your favorite couple—the couple you believe to have precedence over any other ships you make. An OTP doesn't have to be canonical, heterosexual, nor does it have to be in-Universe. If you want to ship Sasuke with Luffy then more power to you! Essentially, an OTP is your definition of a perfect anime couple (whether the characters themselves know it or not)!
What is a BrOTP?
Similar to a bromance and a portmanteau of "Bro" and "OTP", a BrOTP expresses your favorite platonic male relationships. These pairings are not romantic in any nature (they would become OTP ships in that case) and should be examples of strong friendship. Almost as if the two characters were brothers, a BrOTP should either center on established in-Universe friendships or connect characters you think would get along due to similar opinions, histories, or personalities. A recent BrOTP that springs to mind would be Reki and Langa from SK∞ (SK8 the Infinity). Reki and Langa are always there to cheer each other on during races and learn a lot about each other through their friendship. No matter what hurdles are placed in front of them, like a magnetic pull attracting themselves to one another, they cannot stay apart for too long!
Examples in Anime!
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2021 - April 2021
Upon first glance, Miyamura and Hori seem completely incompatible. After all, Hori is both beautiful and excels at school while Miyamura appears meek and remains distant from his peers due to piercings and tattoos making him look like a delinquent. However, after a fateful encounter, the two come together and discover that, despite having judged each other on first appearances, they share a lot in common. Both of these two have been secretly hiding a side of themselves from society and, after opening up to each other, they often hang out at Hori's house laughing and joking. Could romance be in the air for this mismatched couple?
Horimiya is an example of a canonical OTP. Miyamura and Hori stumble over the roadblocks faced by teenage romancers but eventually profess their love for each other. If you enjoyed the build-up and eventual confession of these two, there would be nothing wrong with naming them your favorite couple. Unfortunately, not all OTP shippers will be as lucky as you...
5-toubun no Hanayome (The Quintessential Quintuplets)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2019 - March 2019
Fuutarou Uesugi may excel at his studies but his distant and standoffish personality keeps him at odds with his surrounding social circles. Furthermore, he is left little room for socializing due to his debt-ridden father leaving him forced to pick up the slack. Luckily, Fuutarou is given a chance to privately tutor a wealthy family's daughter with an incredibly high payout. Unfortunately, the same girl Fuutarou had bickered with earlier that day, is the same daughter he is supposed to be teaching! Not only this but she is one of five sisters all in need of tutoring as well! Tasked with teaching this group of students that want nothing to do with him, Fuutatou must try his best to make learning fun and help them on the road to graduation.
The Quintessential Quintuplets is a harem anime. Harem anime is notorious for shipping and OTP wars due to the many love interests available for the protagonist to choose from. While the main heroine (in this case; Itsuki Nakano) is often designated from the first episode, it isn't uncommon for fans to connect with different characters (for example; Miku, Yotsuba, Nino, and Ichika). In such a case, your OTP would pair Raku with Nino instead of the canonical Raku and Chitoge pairing for example. While uncanonical OTPs is a painful road to walk, we respect you for sticking to your guns. Hang in there, maybe your uncanonical OTP will have another chance in season 2...
The Quintessential Quintuplets Trailer
Hunter X Hunter 2011
- Episodes: 148
- Aired: October - 2011
Hunter X Hunter 2011 follows the life of Gon Freecss. Wanting to gather more information about his absent father, Gon sets off to take the prestigious hunter exam and learn more about his dad by following in his footsteps. Along the way, he is joined by several colorful companions including a trainee doctor and an ex-assassin. Gon travels across the globe fighting monsters and gaining experience as a hunter to hopefully one day reunite with his father once again.
Gon and Killua are the perfect example of a BrOTP. Their relationship is purely platonic but they are almost like brothers. They each have the other's backs when it comes to fights but also learn a lot from the other. Killua, for example, was raised by assassins and is understandably paranoid of the world around him. It takes Gon's lighthearted joviality to help him remember he's still a kid at heart. The relationship between Gon and Killua is truly a special one.
Hunter X Hunter 2011 Trailer
OTPs and BrOTPs are fun ways to show your opinion on particular anime pairings, while also expressing your desire for two characters to be together who currently aren't. With almost no limitations on who can be set up, feel free to get a little wild and indulge in some of your craziest cross-world romances! Who is your OTP? Who is your BrOTP? Be sure to let us know down below!