My Wife and I Met While Writing Gundam Wing Fanfic and Have Been Bonding Over the Same Ships Ever Since
Nearly 20 years later and we're still crying over fictional characters together
Once upon a time, I wrote about how fanfiction helped me come out. Back in the days of Geocities, mIRC chat rooms, and AOL CDS, the fanfiction community was one of the few spaces where I felt like I could openly say that I was, at the very least, questioning my sexuality. A lot of the media back then (assuming you could find it) focused on hate and discrimination with nothing that really portrayed queerness as something that could be a positive.
So? I found fanfiction, a space where we could take our favorite stories and recreate them in a way that represented us.
I also found the girl who would later become my wife.
Meeting my partner in the fanfiction community gave me a safe space to explore my sexuality. I was 18, off on my own in college, and while working on a fic together I realized that I had feelings for my coauthor. I freaked out because at the time, I didn’t think it was possible for me to be attracted to a woman. To my knowledge, everyone around me was straight, and the expectation was for me to be the same way. Even worse? I didn’t really have many examples of queer content in 2001 — especially as a Black woman.
But when it came to fanfiction? Queerness was everywhere around me.
That alone gave me the nudge out of the closet because seeing a community cheer about queerness — even if the characters weren’t canonically queer — was more positivity than I’d ever seen for the LGBTQ+ community at the time.
What’s kinda amazing to me about our relationship is that I thought that we’d, eventually, stop connecting through fanfic, fandom, and shipping. That might be because you always hear that you’ll “grow out of it” as you get older. Also, there has been a steady rise in canonical queer content and more of a push to give us more diversity within the community.
However, today is our two year wedding anniversary, and, well:
I wonder what fandom we’ll be in when we hit 5 years married and renew our vows. The wedding itself was BakuDeku, what will happen in 5 years? 🤔🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/lpsFdWRjqg
— Bri trying to hook up with everyone in Hades (@BrichibiTweets) September 9, 2021
So, to recap: we met in 2001 by writing fanfic together (Gundam Wing was the fandom of choice), got married in 2019 in dresses of our obsession at the time that my wife altered for us (My Hero Academia), and as of today, I have flowers sitting in my office with a note from Draken, one of our favorite characters in Tokyo Revengers.
Nothing has changed between us and, if anything, we have even more fandoms and ships than we started out with!
So I thought it’d be fun to highlight a few of the ships that got us here. I’m vastly limiting the number because going through twenty years of fangirling would take a LONG time, but these are the big ones we had, so much so that we occasionally look back at them fondly, like we found an old photo album in the attic from back when we first started dating.
- You Never Forget Your First: Heero and Duo (Gundam Wing)
The ship that started it all, the one that led me to fanfiction and pages dedicated to pointing out the evidence between the two characters. Fun fact: I thought these web pages were canon! The Internet was still pretty new, there wasn’t any sort of social media, and anime wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it is today. Eventually, I’d end up on a mailing list dedicated to Heero and Duo, who I totally shipped because “Wow Heero was gonna kill Duo BUT HE DIDN’T!”
My wife and I ended up writing a fic together. It was a crossover with Resident Evil (lol). We were long-distance at the time, attending two different colleges, but we’d chat on mIRC on a nightly basis to the point that we’d started roleplaying as the characters. At one point, she told me about a girl she liked in her class.
I got jealous.
Then I realized I was jealous.
Then I panicked because “I’m gay what do?!”
I tried to stop talking to her, but I ended up really missing our nightly chats about Gundam Wing, anime, and how we had a zombie dog try and go after Quatre, only for Trowa to shoot the dog dead (we also shipped Trowa and Quatre, who somehow became the sweethearts of the fandom even if they have a lot of angst in the series). The rest, as they say, is Just Wild Beat Communication.
- The One That Snuck up on Us: Hiei and Kurama (Yu Yu Hakusho)
Shortly after Gundam Wing, we ended up stumbling into Yu Yu Hakusho because someone on our mailing list wrote a crossover fic. Eventually, when the series started airing on Toonami, I realized that I recognized the characters from the fic. My wife recognized them because she used to work at Blockbuster and in the slim pickings anime section, the movie was available to rent.
We had no idea it was based on an entire series.
While we already knew Hiei and Kurama thanks to the fic we read, seeing them in the series interacting with everyone was a delight. Hiei’s short-tempered nature paired with Kurama’s cool resolve was perfect.
- The Fandom Will Never Let Us Forget: Sasuke and Naruto (Naruto)
Have you ever had that one ship that you thought you got away from? Because you stopped watching or reading the series they’re associated with? But they pop up on your timeline because, surprise, there is still content coming out for their series?
Now I know both of these characters go on to have their own families, but SasuNaru was the first time I felt like a series really wanted us to pair two characters together. All the talk about forever bonds between them, Naruto’s ferocious determination to bring Sasuke back, the number of openings where they’re staring at each other or walking toward each other.
still wanna know what the fuck was going on in kishimoto’s mind when he decided to draw sasuke and naruto like this pic.twitter.com/XJEaSnGJsq
— 🔆🌙 (@wlwsasuke) June 10, 2021
Neither of us has been in the Naruto fandom for years, but boy, fandom will NEVER let us forget these two.
- Our Most Underrated Ship: Kanji and Naoto (Persona 4)
Persona continues to be one of my favorite JRPG series. My wife isn’t as much of a gamer as I am, but she does enjoy watching me play the hell out of whatever I’m into. The Persona games are probably our most extensive playthroughs, the kind of game I HAVE to play with her in the room because she doesn’t wanna miss any of it – even if it’s easily 100+ hours of gameplay.
Persona 4 is probably our favorite (though we LOVE Persona 5), mostly because we got really attached to the characters. As soon as Kanji got flustered about his crush on Naoto it was over for the both of us, but neither of us knew how the game would handle those feelings. Kanji faces a metaphorical shadow version of himself who questions what it means to be “manly”, as he’s often made fun of for liking “girly” things. We hadn’t expected to get that kind of conversation in a JRPG back in 2008, nor did we expect Naoto’s storyline about gender, either.
To this day, these two are our “buy on sight” ship, as in, if we see any merchandise for them we buy it immediately.
- The Wedding Ship: Bakugo and Deku (My Hero Academia)
I did NOT mean to fall for My Hero Academia as hard as I did. This is one of those series that I was told to watch and I resisted because I didn’t wanna get sucked into another long-shonen anime.
Five seasons, 300+ manga chapters, two movies, two video games, and two themed wedding dresses later… here we are.
This ship is a good example of a moment where one of us “inflicts” something on the other. My wife, for a while, was my main source of anime. Like a Suncoast employee telling you how edited that anime you watch is, she was the one who knew about series I hadn’t heard of (a big one is Revolutionary Girl Utena, which I’ll get to in a minute). My Hero Academia is one of the rare examples where I got to be the one to pull her into something first.
I’d watched a grand total of TWO episodes before I knew that 1) she needed to watch this with me, and 2) those rival boys were gonna take a toll on our hearts. I was right about both.
- Bonus: Sk8 the Shipfinity (Our 2021 Pick)
Every year, we manage to find a new ship to add to our favorites. The year isn’t over but I already know it’s SK8 the Infinity.
It just is.
It was my birthday cake.
My wife tries to get me a themed birthday cake for whatever fandom I’m into and this year we have both been so in love with SK8 that SHE GOT ME THIS 😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/Ntb9sxVnMU
— Bri trying to hook up with everyone in Hades (@BrichibiTweets) July 16, 2021
- Bonus the Second: Utena and Anthy, the Ship With the Dream Dresses
Revolutionary Girl Utena is probably one of the most important anime in our relationship. While we knew about the queerness in Sailor Moon, it had been edited out, so Utena was the first time we’d seen unedited queer content. The fact that Anthy was also a brown-skinned anime character who played a central part in the story also added to my immediate interest.
My wife and I watched the series together + the movie, and it continues to be a beloved treasure in our house.
Someday, we plan on cosplaying Utena and Anthy, but the two of them are kinda our “we gotta go all out” cosplay picks. It’ll happen someday, I’m sure of it.
To my wife, who I know is reading this, thank you for all the years of Yuri and Victor, Galo and Lio, Haru and Mako, Flick and CJ, all the queerness in Card Captor Sakura, the emotional masterpiece that is Kids on the Slope, the upcoming Hades ships we’ll run into, all the bookstore trips for a ridiculous chunk of queer manga and graphic novels, and whatever we end up dressing up as when we renew our vows.
I look forward to the next ship that comes sailing through.
(Image: Yasunao Aoki/Katsuyuki Sumisawa/Sunrise)
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