The One True Paring Fallacy

Artwork made by Rukangel, this piece is called “Asylum” and features Rei and Minako from Sailor Moon. Find more of her artwork on Deviant Art.

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here with another post. Today I want to talk about the One True Pairing concept, and why it’s a fallacy.

When fans of a series gather to form large social groups over a specific type of media, we call this a fandom. In general, fandom tends to be a positive space, but there can be occasions when it isn’t. Discussions can get heated and when fandom takes a a nosedive into negativity people tend to slip off and form smaller cliques.

One of the ways this can happen is when a fandom is overrun with the “one true pairing” fallacy. This occurs when fans collectively agree that two characters belong together romantically, no matter the circumstances, or the outlying opinions of others. I’ve seen this problem occur mostly within anime and gaming, but I’m sure it happens elsewhere too. It’s a rare problem, but it is nearly toxic to a fandom when it does occur.

Now, many people have personal “OTP’s” or a “one true pairing” that they love to sail as a ship. On its own, that’s completely fine. There is nothing wrong with that. As long as the “one true pairing” isn’t forced on others as the only ship to sail, there is no problem at all with having them.

This problem of the “one true pairing fallacy” comes along when a large contingent of the fan base adopts the “one true paring” mindset viciously. This usually happens in less popular media and welled established, fan communities.

A lack of widespread diversity can hinder a fan base. Eventually, that will cause these echo chambers to exist. Particularly in older fandom, where die-hard fans have lingered around for years after the initial hype ended.

A fan simply has to love and enjoy the medium. Weather or not they sail any ship should be up to them. The “one true pairing” ideology shouldn’t need to apply.

I personally never wanted to sail an “OTP”, primarily because I don’t consume media that would require me to have one. I don’t believe having an “OTP” does me any good. I don’t gain anything from the media I care about by having one. In fact, I often think it does a media like anime a huge disservice by having an “OTP”.

Anime has a tenancy to leave an open ending. Several of them are just long running advertisements for its manga counter part. To see the full story you’d have to consume both pieces of media, and some fans like myself don’t have the desire to do both.

At the end of the day, “one true pairings” can be very powerful things inside of a fandom, and its our job as fans to recognize that. We need to be respectful of the ships we sail, and she ships of others. It’s the only way to keep a fan base growing, and all fans should want that. The stronger and more diverse a fan base is, the more fan based content will thrive.

Do you sail an “OTP”? Let me know in the comments below.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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