This was my first ship before I even knew what ‘shipping’ was. Rikochet is presented as the determined, aspiring superstar luchador. Buena Girl sits somewhere between supportive, encouraging friend and personal angel to the personal demon role the Flea plays. In one episode, she and Rikochet dominate the class ranks as the best tag team in regards to skills, tactics, and teamwork. These two complement each other when it comes to personality, future goals, and career potential. I like to imagine that they drifted together and got married as adults. They’d be the cartoon equivalent to sappy power couples that show up every so often in live action wrestling shows. (I also like to headcanon that BG is always stronger than Rik, no matter how much more muscular he may get).
Manny and Frida from El Tigre
In a world of superheroes and villains, Manny Rivera can’t decide which he’d rather be. Frida, his best friend attached at the hip, can be a horrible influence when the bad guy route sounds like more fun than the morally right one. Though, given a chance at super powers, Frida straddles the fence in the same way Manny does. These two are hard to imagine apart with what kind of energy and chemistry they have together. Her eccentric and wacky personality bounces off of the more mischievous, devious side of Manny. They’re a pair I can imagine keeping a strong connection platonic or romantic, honestly. The on-screen kiss in “No Boots, No Belt, No ‘Brerro” cinches that Frida would clamp down Manny romantically eventually, though.
Alejandro and Heather from Total Drama World Tour
These two roped me in the worst possible way. I loved every minute of their snippy back and forth in World Tour, no matter how corny or facepalm inducing some of Alejandro’s lines or Heather’s arguments could get. Alejandro knew just how to bait and taunt Heather to get a rise out of her or fluster her. When they teamed up, they have that kind of click or connection some people have and know what the other is thinking. Though, it seems like they’ll always flux between the steamy ‘rivals with sexual tension’ template or lovebirds caught in a honeymoon phase until reality steps in. Personally, I prefer them as awkward rivals that don’t know whether or not they want to undermine the other or make out. Their repartee is more fun to watch that way.
Star and Marco from Star Vs the Forces of Evil
Considering that Manny and Frida are on this list, of course their spiritual successors would get a spot, too. Star is hyperactive, mischievous, and eccentric where Marco can be high strung, but more grounded and rational. Their dynamic started out with Marco being the voice of reason where Star encouraged him to be more adventurous. After season 1, their dynamic shifts to a deeper emotional connection and “This is my closest confidant.” Their writing has reached the point that Marco is more confident and assertive and Star is more considerate and conscientious. “Red Belt” showcases Marco’s willingness to take risks to get what he wants. Star’s interactions with Oskar in “Starcrushed” show that she thinks situations through a bit more thoroughly than before. At a previous point in time, Star would have eagerly agreed with Oskar that his keytar drifted off to Mars. Now, she reasons over even ridiculous claims like this and whether or not she should entertain Oskar’s delusions.
Star and Marco have one of the most fleshed out and organic takes on complementary opposites I’ve come across. I’ll admit that the more of them I see, the more I want them to be endgame canon, cliched or not (It doesn’t help that the guy I’m crushing on is a big-time Starco shipper).
Though, I won’t be too heartbroken if they aren’t. I love their dynamic period. It’s the kind I sorely wish I had with someone in real life.
Soul and Maka from Soul Eater
The Book of Eibon arc in the manga was what made me fall head over heels for these two. Soul Eater advertises that the best meister/weapon pairs are complementary opposites. In Soul and Maka’s case, Maka fluxes between friendly and a socially awkward nerd that’d rather have her nose hidden in a book. When it counts, she’s outspoken and aggressive. This side of her is a double-edged sword: Either she’s making a valid point and strengthening morale or making brush-off statements about how horrible men are. The second comes across as a defense mechanism on her part; her parents’ divorce rattled her pretty dramatically.
In Soul’s case, he presents an image of easygoing, snarky and obnoxious fellow. Though, while he seems really colorful and eccentric, it’s a facade. He comes across as stoic and brooding in circumstances where he might have to open up and reveal intimate details about himself. He’s overcompensating for low self-esteem and intense envy of his older brother’s skill and acclaim as a musician. The Book of Eibon arc delves into how both Soul and Maka wrestle with feelings of inadequacy and ineptitude to some degree. Their partnership is mutually beneficial: They strengthen each other to the point they perform better together than otherwise. Soul feels like he can carve out a distinctive role and purpose for himself as a Death Scythe. Maka’s bond with Soul gives her goal of becoming a top meister more meaning and depth than just chasing after a title. The quiet moments between them are what shows their chemistry or mutual understanding of each other.
This is the one pair that I’m sour about not becoming solid, cemented canon. The manga is sprinkled with hints that Maka has entertained the idea a few times. There should have been a kiss scene, dammit…