Die for Our Ship
Shipping leads people to be very mean at totally awesome characters.
Sometimes, a character is hated simply for their own characteristics—because he's annoying, because he came in after the show Jumped the Shark, because she's a raging Mary Sue and gets too much attention, or because he's the replacement of a fan favorite. The list goes on. More often, when Shipping comes into play, though, a character—even one who was tolerated or loved before—can become hated for a plot-related reason outside of their character: interfering with a fan's OTP.
Hate shrines. Death Fics, frequently with a side order of Revenge Fic. Fics where the formerly sweet and loyal character cheats on the heroine with her two best friends and proceeds to murder her teammates, just so she can be with the Jerk with a Heart of Gold, or the Stalker with a Crush, her cousin, or even her brother, or whomever else the fan prefers. They're all over the place. Sometimes it gets so bad that even people who know nothing about the show or even the genre have heard about just how much of the fandom hates the rival love interest.
The fans (and the Fanfic writers) in question often claim some other justification for treating the character this way, but really, let's not fool ourselves here: the core of all this hatred is that the character in question is seen as a threat to a pairing that the fan has gotten rather emotionally invested in. And among the more fanatical shippers, this can get ugly (and in its extremes, quite creepy) very quickly.
Can we get a little MST3K Mantra here, please?
This type of character bashing is usually associated with militant fans of the Fan-Preferred Couple, and indeed some of the most infamous examples do come from them. However, this does not mean that canon shippers are always all oppressed martyrs. Unless the series is totally finished, certain canon shippers have a tendency to be rather territorial. It's common for the fans of the "victim" pairing to commit Die For Our Ship in return, and it can get just as nasty even if it did start out for the sake of potshotting.
This is especially virulent when what the 'ship the fans want is on the wrong side of Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends. Paradoxically, this character is as likely to actually be part of an Official Couple as not. Beware if you're a girl and people ship your male best friends as Yaoi Guys, or conversely, if you're a boy and you hang around girls while yuri fanboys are watching. Not all yaoi/yuri fans do this, but it's quite common; fans of heterosexual pairings, for whatever reason, only seem to strike when characters actually fall in love. It does not have to be mutual however.
All of the main characters in Unwanted Harem series run the risk of suffering this to varying degrees depending on their popularity in order to rationalize an author's 'ship though this usually mainly applies the lead female since they're most often the girl who wins. After all why should there be any hatred for the other characters if the author's OTP has been made canon? The Unlucky Everydude male lead rarely takes take the brunt of hatred since they'll usually compose one-half of the author's OTP. It generally only happens if fans have a preference to a Girls Love pairing with another member of the harem or if there's another more interesting male character around. In series with a prominent Betty and Veronica Love Triangle, the introduction of a Third Option Love Interest will often result in the new love interest getting hit with this hard, as shippers on both sides of the triangle put aside their differences and unite against the newcomer.
The Clingy Jealous Girl is an odd example, as she usually loses but is given the same amount of hate from the fandom. Yamato Nadeshiko aren't free of bashing either, which increases a thousandfold if her love rival is deemed "cooler" or "less girly, therefore stronger" by female fans. Tsundere are vulnerable either way: if she's too tsuntsun she'll be called "Jerkass, man hater, wife/husband beater", and if she's too deredere she'll be seen as a victim of Chickification regardless of it truly happening or not.
One of the most unusual victim magnets is the Chaste Hero, whose simple non-information makes figuring things out mostly guesswork. Any Bishonen, especially tough guys and the Ensemble Darkhorse, will also incite Ship-to-Ship Combat over whom he should be with, whether it be a Betty and Veronica in-series or a Mary Sue in a Self-Insert Fic.
It isn't even restricted to fictional characters either: real-life celebrities' love interests have become targets of hate too!
Ron the Death Eater is often a result of this. This isn't limited to the fanbase either; when the writer wants to get rid of a threat to the Official Couple in a similar way, they're Derailing Love Interests.
A subtrope of both Shipping and Alternate Character Interpretation. Note: although many fans actually believe these types of theories, other fanfic writers may simply use this trope dispassionately as a plot device to enable an alternate pairing in a story.
Beware before you proceed, as the examples are sure to contain spoilers for whoever wins, or be particularly infuriating. But please, remember that like all Fan Dumb, most of these examples are strongly Vocal Minorities and not all shippers of the discussed pairing are "militant" or "rabid".
- Anime And Manga
- Comic Books
- Live Action TV
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Western Animation
- Real Life