Hey Hey Guys, as many of you know, The Animanga Festival is in full swing! But, if this is your first time hearing about the festival, here’s the cliffnotes explanation: Auri and Nairne over at Manga Toritsukareru Koto doing it big for their third (second) Bloggiversary, by hosting the Animanga Festival. This month long celebration will feature themed posts, events, and games that the entire Aniblogger community is encouraged to participate in throughout the month of October. I just happen to be one of the many bloggers participating in the event and everyone has been putting out a lot of great content and it’s only the second week. I’m a bit behind with my Animanga Festival posts, but I just couldn’t pass up on writing something for the October 9th prompt: Set Sailing!
Ever shipped two characters that were non canon but would actually make a great pair? Well, now’s your chance to shine. Head out, explain your stance to support your ship and set sailing!
-Set Sailing Prompt
And of course anyone that knows me knows that I am a huge fan of one particular Haikyu ship…. KuroTsuki is my OTP Haikyu ship! You can keep your TsukiYama and I don’t wanna hear about KuroKen, for me, Kuroo Tetsuro and Tsukishima Kei are a match made in heaven. So of course, it only made sense that I’d write about KuroTsuki for the Set Sailing prompt, it’d be criminal not to share my love for the BEST SHIP IN THE SERIES!!
Okay, so for those of you that have no idea what KuroTsuki is, I wanted to start at the beginning and give a bit of background on the ship and the characters. Haikyu has a lot of characters, and with each new rival team Karasuno takes on the cast just seems to keep expanding. Most of the pairings in the series are between characters from the same team and stem from the relationships between the characters in the show. For example, Iwaizumi and Oikawa are canonically childhood best friends so they share a deeper bond with one another and can be seen spending a lot of time together both on and off the court. Then there’s Daichi and Suga, who serve as the Captain and Vice Captain of Karasuno, among the fandom they’re the team mom and dad, usually having to deal with the antics of the rest of the team. With these two ships there is actual in series context for these pairings, heck I you can even throw the TsukiYama ship into the same boat, since Tsukishima and Yamaguchi are almost never seen without the other in the series AND they’re each other’s best friend…
On the other hand, the KuroTsuki ship doesn’t really have nearly as much in series context. Kuroo Tetsuro is a third year and the captain of Nekoma, a rival school and Tsukichima Kei is a first year from Karasuno. Kuroo is already established as being close with Kenma and Tsukishima is never seen without his freckled shadow Yamaguchi… and even in the series, they don’t really spend all that much time together, save for the Summer Training Camp. The training camp arc is the biggest justification for the ship, since it is the one time in the series where we actually see Kuroo and Tsukishima “hanging out” together. Kuroo takes Tsukki under his wing and teaches him how to be a better middle blocker. Of course, Tsukki isn’t enthusiastic about getting unwanted attention from Kuroo, but he reluctantly accepts the help. It’s implied that he does look up to Kuroo as something of a mentor, and he does use Kuroo’s tips during the Shiratorizawa arc. But, aside from that, Kuroo and Tsukishima don’t really spend that much time together and the newest chapters of the manga support TsukiYama and KuroKen as more solid ship options (not that it means much to a shipper).
With shipping time and proximity mean absolutely nothing! If two characters make eye contact for five seconds it’s still grounds for shipping… Really it’s about the quality of the interactions that matters most, not the length. Season 2 was a period of growth for the members of Karasuno and saw them each finding their volleyball stride. Everyone was coming into their own, honing their skills and working hard to contribute something new to the team. Even Yamaguchi, who up until this point was a glorified extra, started training as a pinch server, which left Tsukishima as the lone holdout on the team. It isn’t until Kuroo and Bokuto invite him to practice blocking with them in the third gym that things start to change for Tsukishima… and it’s all thanks to Kuroo!
But, what I love most about the ship is the chemistry between Kuroo and Tsukishima. In general, Tsukki can be a bit prickly, even with his BFFL Yamaguchi. He’s usually seen throwing shade at his teammates (especially Hinata and Kageyama) or saying something to rile up his opponents. Then you have Kuroo, who is known as the ‘Scheming Captain’ and is an expert at provoking people, which he uses on Tsukishima a lot during their early interactions. He seems to enjoy teasing Tsukishima, and is shown to be one of the few people to really get under his skin. But, even with his teasing, Kuroo genuinely cares about others and takes the time to help anyone with potential, as shown when he invites Tsukishima to practice with him and Bokuto, despite both being from rival schools. On the other hand, Tsukishima is respectful towards Kuroo and actually listens to him when he offers advice about volleyball (something he had yet to do with his own teammates).
Most of the fanfics I’ve read go with the whole opposites attract premise, setting Kuroo up as someone who is outgoing and attractive, while Tsukishima is most often snarky and withdrawn or just a straight up tsundere, who is constantly rebuffing Kuroo’s advances. This isn’t completely out of character, since this is pretty much how they interact in the anime, but the biggest draw for me about the KuroTsuki ship is that it allows for some great character growth. In the KuroKen and TsukiYama ships, there is an established status quo for the characters that doesn’t allow for change. But, with KuroTsuki there aren’t any set roles, so Kuroo and Tsukishima have to work to make a relationship work, they have to change for one another. In most KuroTsuki fics, Tsukishima learns to become more open and honest about his feelings, whereas Kuroo shows Tsukishima that it’s okay to be vulnerable and admit when he is hurt (something that is touched on in season 2 with the Akiteru reveal). Also, who doesn’t love the idea of an older, attractive senpai taking an interest in a salty first year?