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Our hero certainly spends a lot of time rescuing that princess, so he must really care about her. And it's a safe bet that she really cares about him, so it's only natural to assume they're more than Just Friends, right?

But wait...had anyone actually said that the two of them are together, or are you just assuming? Is the character denying the truth or stating it when he says "She Is Not My Girlfriend"? Is it Not What It Looks Like - Or is it? We could ask questions all day.

Either way, in a serial work, this allows the author to gently cover their bums when it comes to either Ship Sinking ("Hey, the ship never set sail in the first place") or Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends ("The potential was there from the start"). Expect there to be some fans who pair the couple up regardless - and the writer may state that they Hooked Up Afterwards, or leave it to the reader's imagination. Naturally, this goes hand-in-hand[1] with Ship Tease.

If the characters are of the same sex, it's Hide Your Lesbians.

Examples of Implied Love Interest include:


Anime & Manga Edit

  • Tower of God: Baam chooses to follow Rachel where ever she may go, even if that includes fighting sea monsters even though he had to be taught why people would use violence at all few months prior. Many note that this has a romantic notion to it and the author (of course) hasn't said a thing about their relationship status. She could be a mother figure, big sister, best friend or love interest.
  • Fairy Tail does this a lot: Natsu/Lisanna, Gray/Juvia, Lyon/Sherry, and Gajeel/Levy to name a few.
    • Lucy has multiple potential love interests, the most prominent being Natsu and Loke.
      • Lyon and Sherry has been busted for Sherry and Ren
    • Erza/Jellal gets this too. When they almost passed the point of being implied they suddenly backpeddled, so it's still a big if.
    • At this point though, Natsu/Lucy, Erza/Jellal, Gajeel/Levy, and perhaps Gray/Juvia are fairly solid, as far as Shonen goes. The only thing to be seen is if Lisanna is gonna do something about it.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has an interesting variation: despite the tons of Unresolved Sexual Tension between Shinji and Asuka, it is heavily implied in Rebuild 2.0 that he chose his half-sister Rei over Asuka (both had a close encounter with an Angel: Shinji didn't even try to save Asuka yet when the same happened to Rei... it turned out to be Shinji's Berserk Button). It is clear that Rei reciprocates his feelings (her monologues; the fact that when Zeruel attacked, she carried his SDAT player into battle instead of Gendo's glasses), yet S/A shippers argue that the S/R ship is not viable due to obvious reasons. A counterargument: any kind of romantic relationship between Shinji and Rei is NOT incest because while she is a clone of Shinji's mother, Rei is also a human-Angel hybrid and as such, dodges any moral barriers regarding the matter. Of course, Your Mileage May Vary; especially since Shinji doesn't have the slightest idea about Rei's origins.
  • Romance between Tai and Sora of Digimon Adventure was taken for granted back in the early days... to the point that you'd get more flames than My Immortal for not putting them together. However the second season pairs her with another character. The rage still hasn't died over that one.
  • In Pokémon, Misty was this, to an extent, for Ash in the Original Series. It varies between translations - the original writers stated that the two are too young to recognise their feelings, and most of the dialogue implying attraction in the Japanese version leaned more towards Platonic Life Partners than romance. In contrast, the English dub pushed this to the point of writing a song about Misty's feelings for Ash. The latter is a point of controversy, and not merely among shippers - many instances of dialogue were rewritten in an attempt to push the couple, and even more notoriously, Misty's farewell sequence had the scenes depicted in the flashback completely changed (the original focused less on her as a Love Interest, and more on her as a trainer and as a friend).
  • Setsuna F. Seiei of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has two; Rebellious Princess Marina Ismail and Bridge Bunny Feldt Grace.
    • This leads to a hilarious moment in the second season when one character asks Setsuna and Marina if they're in a relationship, which causes them to deny it simultaneously in a perfect, disinterested monotone.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia is a confusing case. While there are undoubtedly several potential pairings who get enough Ship Tease to justify calling it this, some characters are involved in more than one of these pairings, which leaves a situation where a character can have numerous other characters where a hook-up would have received enough subtext to not come as a surprise.
  • Inuyasha: Sesshoumaru and Kagura. Rin's observations and Kagura's thoughts imply Kagura's in love with Sesshoumaru. Sesshoumaru's confirmed to have feelings for Kagura, but Takahashi leaves their exact nature open to interpretation. The manga confirms the following: after rescuing her from a river and staying with her to make sure she was ok, he watched her depart with a deeply worried expression. He was openly trying to protect her from Mouryoumaru. He sacrificed the chance to destroy Naraku's heart to rush to her side when she was dying and attempted to use Tenseiga to save her. It failed but he stayed with her to the end and was touched by her smile. When Mouryoumaru mocked her death, he lost all control and attacked, ignoring Inuyasha's warnings the sword would break, and the force of his assault shattered his sword and cracked Mouryoumaru's armour (both had a reputation for being unbreakable) - Mouryoumaru was flooded with Sesshoumaru's compassion through the breaking blade. Toutousai then reforged Tenseiga to be a weapon because an empty hole in his heart had been (for the first time) filled leaving him full of anger and sorrow for Kagura. Sesshoumaru vowed over the new blade to make sure Kagura hadn't died in vain. Shortly afterwards, he began protecting Kohaku - the child Kagura had died to save.

  Sesshoumaru: 'Whether or not her death was in vain... is for me to decide.' (And whether or not his feelings were platonic or romantic... is for the fans to decide!)

Comic Books Edit

  • Vic Video from Yoko Tsuno is this for Yoko. Roger Leloup has apparently stated that the big reason for the lack of a Relationship Upgrade lies on him not wanting to upset or alienate male readers, rather than Vic and Yoko being a bad couple.

Film Edit

  • Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in Star Wars: A New Hope. The original advertising even said that she and Luke were "in love", which, given how that worked out, is now Hilarious in Hindsight. Even today, people who haven't seen all the Star Wars movies tend to assume that she is Luke's girlfriend.
  • In Megamind, Roxanne mentions that she was never in a relationship with Metroman, despite the public assumptions and the way he kept saving her from Megamind's schemes.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Having arrived on and departed from the TARDIS at the same time, and already sharing something of a history, the Doctor Who fandom generally assumes this about Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. Ben Jackson and Polly, while not knowing each other as well before their travels, is also on the receiving end.


Video Games Edit

  • The best example would have to be Princess Peach from Super Mario Bros., and it may extend to Princess Daisy from Super Mario Land. No romantic connection was made explicit, yet everyone assumes.
    • This is actually lampshaded by Luvbi in Super Paper Mario, and it's shown that the other characters seem to be just as clueless about whatever's going on between Mario and Peach, which leads Luvbi to think it is an unrequited crush.
      • The various games and other sources seem to go back and forth with how "official" Mario/Peach is. Some outright confirm their relationship, others only imply it.
      • The Paper Mario game before that seems to have NPC's throw out plenty of Ship Teases and the things Peach says while in captivity seem to imply that she thinks of Mario as a lot more than a friend, however the interaction with Luvbi is probably the only time where Mario and Peach's relationship is explored beyond the two knowing each other, unless you count Bowser accusing Mario of "trying to get between he and Peach."
  • The eponymous Princess from the Legend of Zelda series of games. Note that technically this is more than one princess and more than one Link. The romantic connection between varies greatly depending on the game from strongly implied (like in Spirit Tracks and Skyward Sword) to practically non-existent (like in Twilight Princess).
  • In Kingdom Hearts, it is implied Riku has feelings for Kairi. Nevertheless, he lets Sora and Kairi be together.
  • Disgaea has a few of these, the most telling is the ambiguous relationship between Laharl and Flonne. While Laharl repeatedly claims to not like her, his actions in the game suggest otherwise, going as far as to attempt a Heroic Sacrifice. At the time, she was Not Quite Dead in the canon ending while in the normal ending he really does go through with it.
  • Persona 3 is quite heavy with two of the Love Interests, Yukari and Aigis. Yukari gets quite a few scenes with the Protagonist in the begining of the plot and Aigis is a full-blown Stalker with a Crush, justified that she sealed Death into the Protagonist but doesn't remember. Aigis is worse in that even when playing as a female in Persona 3 Portable she still gets subtext.
  • Yellow Thirteen and Yellow Four in Ace Combat 04 Shattered Skies. It's heavily implied after Yellow Four is shot down by you.
  • Thanks to the continued non-existence of the sequel to confirm or deny their theories, fans are still debating what Double H means to Jade in Beyond Good and Evil. On one hand, he's extremely devoted to her, treats her with chivalrous kindness, and even gets to kiss her once. On Jade's side, she even gets in a He Is Not My Boyfriend moment. One could even interpret certain parts of the ending as him moving in with her. On the other hand, he's more than a decade her senior, and while they do grow very close, the lack of any real statements on the nature of their relationship (Battle Couple, or just Fire-Forged Friends?) will leave fans debating until the sequel actually arrives.


Western Animation Edit

  • Rai/Kim from Xiaolin Showdown is a very popular ship on FF.net, and while there are indications that they might like each other in the series (Rai dreaming about being on a date with Kim, Rai being the only one of the guys that Kim kisses on the cheek), it is never outright stated that they like each other, and they aren't an Official Couple by the end of the show.
    • The third season episode "Dreamstalker" confirms Rai does indeed have feelings for Kimiko (making a thousand shippers go squee). However the Kimiko half has never been stated.
  • On Fillmore, Fillmore and Ingrid.
  • Did anyone ever watch Handy Manny and not assume he and Kelly had a thing for each other, despite no real evidence?
  • Arguably, Raven and Beast Boy in Teen Titans.
    • Bumblebee and Cyborg come at a close second.
  • Spongebob and Sandy from SpongeBob SquarePants.
  • Mac and Goo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. Admittedly Goo's first appearance was filled with She Is Not My Girlfriend and a few bits of Mac accidentally Ship Teasing himself with her, but throughout the rest of the series their relationship seems to be completely platonic.

Notes

  1. Though whether palms cupped or fingers laced, we couldn't tell you