This kind of yuri shipping has been getting a lot more support lately and I figured now would be a good time to discuss this particular kind of ship in yuridom.
The above ladies, Madoka, Lan and Muginami from Rinne no Lagrange, are the ones who started it all for yours truly. They were the first trio that made me go “Yes. I can see this kind of relationship working.”. Before we go any further a quick explanation of what an OT3 ship is. Basically it is when one person is paired up with two potential love interests. However, what sets OT3s apart from love triangles are that the two love interests reach an agreement where they happily (or sometimes begrudgingly) are willing to share the affections of the one they both love. The two may also develop feelings for each other that, while nowhere near as strong as the feelings for their beloved they can find comfort with each other as well. Now for this kind of ship to work some quota have to be met:
- There must be several instances on the show/manga/game where the leading lady shows both love interests intimacy without it escalating to all-out war among lovers.
- Like with sisterly-love ships/couples, the shipper must be okay with polyamory… at the very least in the world of fiction.
Let us discuss common trends while shipping OT3s:
Image source: http://mylovelydevil.deviantart.com/art/HPBD-475340375
1: First of all the most common trait that sets up an OT3 is a charismatic love interest for both ladies. The girl/woman oozes with charisma, kindness, beauty, cuteness or flirting power (or in some cases all those traits) to make both girls yearn for her affections.
2: Next up is how most of the time there is a varying degree of tension where one of the girls gets more affection from the central cutie than the other but later on Central Cutie/Hottie shows that she loves the girl who got less snuggling initially just as much as the other. The balance remains somewhat similar to when it started but at least both lovers get sufficient snuggle time after the main issue was resolved.
3: The third common trend with OT3 shipping among yuri fans is having fun or intensely debating which of the two girlfriends is superior, meaning which of the two has the best chemistry with the central hottie/cutie.
4: Lastly there is the OT3 trend where fans prefer seeing the two love interests hook up with each other rather than share the Central Cutie/Hottie. A well written OT3 has all three girls/women having great chemistry with one another, meaning there would be no need for the thought of shippers wanting to see the other ladies go off on their own.
OT3 shipping is not a common and like “Sisterly Love” it is for the best that this kind of ship is not commonplace. Like any other good yuri pairing, the writing and chemistry between the three girls/women has to be really good for it to work, otherwise it will be seen as either a love triangle, “the two love interests should hook up with each other” scenario or worse a crack ship. The pairings I brought as examples in this post are more recent ones. Perhaps there were subtle ones in the old days or in other recent anime. Either way feel free to share your thoughts on OT3 pairings and if possible bring up your fav OT3.
I am ashamed for having forgotten these three the first time I wrote this post. They are the epitome of an OT3 in yuridom. Perhaps even more than Madoka/Lan/Muginami…though some will argue it is more a yuri harem revolving around Yui than an OT3. Either argument has valid points.
Check out another post discussing OT3s courtesy of Lena K HERE.