Spoilers: In the case of Kaiba, much of Yu-Gi-Oh. With Alister, the entire DOMA Saga.
Credits Screenshots from Yu-Gi-Oh Screenshots, Kokoro No Naka , and Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Monsters.
In the beginning, I didn't think much of this pairing at all. I knew that people would SHIP the two of them when I saw their first duel(episodes 149-150), and I thought, "GAH! Not another rival slash pairing! There's no way this pairing could work! They HATE each other! Or, well, Alister hates Seto". So much for that. Both of these characters were an "acquired" taste to me, and the pairing itself was little different. Here, I will show you how Warshipping became my "One True Pairing" over "Chaseshipping" and even "Puzzleshipping".
So fragile inside
The tragedies of life
Have forced you to hide
The pain you suffered
The love you destroyed
Your failure to trust
Has opened this void
So innocent you are
The misery you embody is the pain we share
The world that you see
Through enchanting eyes
Cannot replace the beauty you are
Thanks to other essays involving him, I don't have to give out all that many facts since they should be well known by now. Still, I'll tell you how I see him. Heh.
Battle City episodes were the first Yu-Gi-Oh Episodes I've seen I've seen. I didn't see them in the right order, because I didn't know what went where since WB had a tendency of moving around episodes. Either that, or I just didn't know any better. At any rate, my first impression of Seto Kaiba, young CEO of Kaiba Corp, was "Holy shit! What an asshole!" So, for a little while, I took to calling him "Shito Kaiba" (You know, because that's the mature thing to do). I just couldn't stand him and hoped that he was nothing more than a side character.
I honestly didn't know anything about theme parks, how he defeated his far more ruthless enemies(including his adoptive father), and I didn't know anything about the original version of him. Slowly, but surely, I got sucked more and more into Yu-Gi-Oh. I learned more about Seto Kaiba then(especially in the Noah Arc), and how it was clear that he wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought. In fact, in the unedited version, he's much more respectful and usually more bearable than the dub version of him(course the dub version is a sometimes more fun thanks to his snarkiness). He also never seemed afraid to take responsability for his actions and actually questioned his beliefs when around those with different viewpoints.
Yes, he pisses me off quite a bit, but he's not Voldemort nor is he as bad as his detractors make him out to be(Hell, even 4kids sees him as more of an asshole than he really is) . See, I consider him one of those people that show others that you don't have to be nice to be good. I actually do think he's a good person, despite his mouth and his sometimes not so pleasant actions.
Is he ruthless? Of course, but I think that what seperates him from Gozoboro(his stepfather) and Noa(his stepbrother) is that Seto doesn't take pleasure in being ruthless, except when dueling. He's that way because he knows that he has to be in the business world, and it's pretty much how he managed to survive and win against people far worse than he could ever be. He may not be a saint, but he's no monster. The key to Kaiba is to read between the lines. Sometimes the look in his eyes says it all.
To put it simply, he is one of the most complex characters in Yu-Gi-Oh. He is a stoic, yet capable to intense passion even if it's often internalized. He has a big mouth, but he is a genious and can say things that could strike people with awe. Yes, he can be a gigantic ass, but he has a heart. He's like the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Cold, but beautiful.
My blood wants to say hello to you
My feelings want to get inside of you
My soul is so afraid to realize
Every little word is a lack of me
The Perfect Drug--Nine Inch Nails
Alister(or Amelda in the unedited version) does not exist in the Manga. He doesn't even appear until episode 145 and imo, is shafted in terms of screentime. Yet he is one of the most powerful characters in the entire series. The strange thing about the DOOM Saga is that despite the fact that this is the series that made me addicted to Yu-Gi-Oh, I have yet to see it completely in its proper order(IOW, I've seen all the episodes, just not in order) and I have only seen a handful of the unedited version(thankfully, Yu-jyo.net exists, but I know enough to be able to describe him here.
His ethnicity is uncertain and is never mentioned in canon, but I have him pegged as a "Bosnian Scotsman". I honestly don't know why, except that it just 'seemed right'. Anyway, he grew up in a wartorn country where he basically had "seen hell" (episode 150 uncut), losing everything and everyone he ever loved, including his little brother Mikey(Miruko). For seven years, he blamed Kaibacorp for his brother's death and with Gozoboro gone, Alister's hate and thirst for revenge spilled right on over to Seto Kaiba.
He was another Yu-Gi-Oh "acquired taste" for me, because like Seto Kaiba, he left a very poor impression on me, so all I could think of while watching the dub episode 150 was "Let me play the world's smallest violin" for you. I just didn't care as I didn't see that as an excuse to go after someone who didn't do anything to him. Later on, I found out that Mikey was actually killed. Alister had led him out of the building they stayed in for shelter. At first, they were almost killed by tanks, but they were saved by another tank troop. Soon, they found themselves in a refugee camp where a soldier invited them inside a tank, where it could clearly be safer. Or, so Alister thought. While climbing into the tank, Mikey droped the treasured locket of his mother and Alister jumped off to look for it. When he jumped off, helicopters suddenly appeared and blew up the tank, killing everyone in it. All he could find was a burnt Dynadude action figure his little brother always carried with him. When he did, he screamed out his brother's name for who knew how long. Right after that, a mysterious man appeared before him and asked him if he had wanted revenge. Almost immedietly, Alister accepted and becaome a Swordsman of DOOM(Or Doma).
In his first duel with Kaiba, he disguised himself as Pegasus and would have won if he used the right combination of monsters at the right time. Instead, the duel ended in a draw. This was the duel where Alister told the Kaiba brothers about his past and how he lost his brother. Mokuba insisted that Seto was not to blame, but Alister didn't hear that. When the duel ended, Alister disappeared and made it perfectly clear that he would return. And he did in episodes 166-167. He disgused himself as a Kaiba Corp 747 pilot and challened Kaiba to a second duel. In this duel, despite almost defeating Kaiba, he finally lost his soul.
Of all of Yu-Gi-Oh, Alister became my favorite character, surpassing even Yami Yugi, Yugi Moto, Duke Devlin, and even Seto Kaiba. I tend to be a sucker for passionate characters with strong, dynamic personalities and imo, he has that in spades. He tries to come across as aloof and unemotional, but he is like fire and wind as he is very expressive and more animated than Kaiba.
I wish you luck, I really do, because you'll need it
You can't avoid reality for too long
And everything collapses into waves of regret
When you finally understand that it was you who was wrong
Maps of Reality--Assemblage 23
One single scene finally convinced me that this pairing might just work:
It wasn't the fact that Seto Kaiba was carrying Alister, it was the way he did it. He just held Alister close to him(right on the KC symbol it seems). In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Alister could hear his heartbeat(ah, romantic me). After seeing that and looking a little more into the unedited version(the last few episodes), I began to think of a little blurb between the two of them:
"Because I said so."
I realized that Alister got to Seto more than anyone in the entire series, edited or not (except maybe Yami Yugi, and that's only because he defeated Kaiba).
In episode 150 dub, there's a lot of snark that goes on, but it's accompanied by confusion of a sudden and forceful enemy that he never knew he had. The confusion is especially evident in the unedited version.
Here's the dub example:
Alister: I've had my eye on you for a long time, Kaiba and I know every pathetic detail of yours life, including your obvious Duel Monsters strategies.
Kaiba: (smiles): I had no idea you were such a big fan of mine. If he wanted my autograph, all you had to do was ask!
Alister: You make me sick!
In the sub version, Alister basically says the same thing and Kaiba still smiles. Only, he calls Alister a "Boor who fears the powerful". Alister shoots back, "You're the boor"! In both versions Seto wonders what on Earth he did to this person and both he and Mokuba are stunned at Alister's answer. Neither one of them have ever seen anyone like Alister, but they all agree that Gozoboro was a snake. In the dub version, Kaiba says that if Alister is lucky enough to win, then he will 'help in out'. In the sub version, he says that Alister has his own way of seeing the truth(Kaiba is most certainly right here) and he will win to show he is right. Neither one of them won the duel and Alister teleported away. Beyond that, Kaiba wonders about the "Fang of Critias". He dismisses Alister as a loon(in the dub). In the sub, he knows and accepts that he will carry Gozoboro's sin and that there's nothing he could do about it. Either way, Alister is still fresh on his mind.
In Episode 159, Mokuba comments about understanding Alister and about how he would have done the same thing. He goes on to say that, "Alister is not a bad person", but hopes that Seto doesn't meet him again. Kaiba insists on "knocking down Doma" because otherwise, there'd be no Kaiba Land. He does, however, awknowledge that Mokuba has a point.
Episode 166-167 proved to be among the "watershed" episodes for me. Here is where Seto is less snarky, less willing to talk about his duels against Alister(he gives the Yugi core a dismissive answer when they ask about his duel with Alister and says nothing beyond that), and far more unsettled/weary than usual(the tone of his voice denotes simply wanting the duel to end, especially evident towards the end of 167). In the dub version, it's really easy to joke about them flirting with each other as ex-boyfriends "will you get out of my life once and for all?" and "You're going down in more ways than one!" Joking aside, these two episodes warmed me up to both Seto and Alister while finally starting to convince me that a coupling between the two was very possible.
In 166, I was very impressed with how Kaiba handled a boy(Juan in the sub) he didn't even know. He played chess with him and tried to protect him when the tanks arrived. He even tried to stop the boy from going into the burning building and then seeing Mokuba's face. Could be that the boy reminded him of his own brother(he recalls playing chess with Mokuba), but it could also be that Seto Kaiba's heart, while cold, is actually quite big. Throughout the scenes, he tries to dismiss them as 'illusions and tricks', but they serve as a reminder of how Gozoboro profited from war and it angers him, especially since his inventions were used by his adoptive father.
As for Alister, in both versions, you see that his intent clearly isn't just about revenge, but about trying to create a better world. "A world without war", to put it simply. He rants about how the world is "full of nothing but hatred and greed". He "prays that weapons will vanish from the world. He prays for a world free of war. But that isn't possible, because there are people like Gozaburo Kaiba everywhere. The weapons won't vanish, and people won't stop fighting, so why doesn't the world just perish?"(sub) When Seto Kaiba hears people ranting, he usually just scoffs, rolls his eyes or is flat out contemptuous throughout. Not so with Alister. At least not until the end of the duel and even then, the sole purpose is to put the very forceful Alister on "tilt".
In 167, Ziggurat makes an appearance and it's the only monster to not only overshadow Kaiba, but to completely stun him. Only the most powerful cards in Duel Monsters had a similar effect. Looking at the AP of Ziggurat, it doesn't even come close to the God Cards and certainly not Exodia. Yet, Kaiba is more affected by a Dynadude fortress with 2500 attack points and 3000 when powered by the Orichalchos. He looks absolutely terrified, something seldom seen, if ever, during any duel. Of course, he quickly snaps out of it and continues to duel, but Alister manages to lower Kaiba's Life Points to a hundred. Kaiba has only gone down to a hundred points when he himself sacrifices his points to summon his famed Blue Eyes White Dragon. Alister is the only duelist to get Kaiba down that low through sheer strategy(I have yet to see AE and I missed the duel against Sigfreid in the Grand Prix). What makes this interesting is that Alister is the weakest of the three Doma Swordsman and is similar to Joey Wheeler in dueling strength. Yet he did much better against Kaiba than almost everything else who has ever dueled the great Seto Kaiba.
Anyway, Mokuba tries to appeal to Alister and fails once again. In the dub, Seto says that, "we don't have to defend ourselves against him" and Alister shoots back with, "Right, because you can't." Of course not, Alister is too blinded by rage and hate for anyone to reason with him. In the sub, Seto says that Alister simply doesn't understand and that's reflected back. And no, Alister doesn't buy "Kaiba Land" and believes that anyone brought up by Gozoboro can't possibly bring any happiness to anyone. When the rescue copters arrive, Alister is furious and screams out Kaiba's name like a banshee. The windows are destroyed and plane takes a nosedive. At this point, Sub Kaiba says wearily, "My turn," and reminds Alister that they're still dueling. Dub Kaiba is the same, only he asks, "Are you done"? But, the tone is pretty much the same. He's never been weary in any other duel. Only Alister is capable of doing that and it's not because of the duel itself since Alister simply lacks Kaiba's skill.
What he doesn't lack, however, is a mouth and he uses it the fullest, looking beautifully insane while doing so. Finally Kaiba manages to get to Alister by calling on his hypocrisy in both versions(By destroying the world, Alister is killing everyone's siblings, friends, parents, etc). Initially, the question falls on deaf ears, but not this question:
Seto: Would you do it if your brother was still alive?
Finally, Alister is stunned and when Kaiba sees it, he twists the knife counter-clockwise, knowing full well that deep down, Alister blames himself for his brother's death and that reminding him would put him on "full tilt". It works like a charm and Ziggurat attacks, only to be destroyed by Blue Eyes/Tyrant Wing. Now, Alister feels something other than anger: despair. The realization that he is not going to win this duel and that Kaiba revealed what is clearly a form of projection. Using the power of the Orichalchos, Alister shuts off the planes engines saying that all of three of them will "go to hell" together. Soon after that, is a very interesting exchange between the two:
Alister: You were saying that you could save your brother?
Seto: I can.
Alister: Then show me.
Sure enough, Kaiba does and with fusion of the Fang of Critias and Blue Eyes, he wins the duel.
Dub Alister: It worked.
Sub Alister: You're not bad(and it's without the mocking tone he had when he first said it in the beginning of the duel).
Either way, Alister finally realizes that he has been wrong about seeking revenge and his soul is taken.
While Seto is trying to control the plane, he's still talking to Alister about saving Mokuba. In the sub, he says something about a promise. "I will fulfill my promise and I won't let anything happen to Mokuba".
It's obvious he won't let anything happen to Mokuba, but I always thought that the promise was to give Alister a better future.
In episode 168, Alister has been put in the rescue 'copter with Rex. He's on his back and his trenchcoat is draped over him. Clearly, someone carries him inside, removes his coat and drapes it over him. The bodyguards are the first to sit down, while Seto and Mokuba are the last. I think Seto Kaiba was the one responsible for doing all of it because I can't imagine him wanting anyone else to touch Alister, and I can see him telling everyone, "I won't have you gawking at him!" while Mokuba returns the action figure to its rightful owner. After the helicopter lands, Kaiba orders his men to take Alister and Rex to the hospital. Mokuba quietly calls out Alister's name. Kaiba mentions his duel to Yami Yugi while they are fending off monsters in the building, so he is thinking of Alister, even if it is for a practical purpose. He didn't have to mention his name. Yami Yugi doesn't know who Alister is, yet Kaiba mentions his name anyway.
In episode 179, Dartz reveals that he is the one responsible for killing Alister's brother and quite naturally, Kaiba is both shocked and horrified. In fact, he matches Raphael with those feelings and Raphael is closer to Alister.
In Episode 180, Kaiba thinks of his duels with Alister. In the dub version, Kaiba is thinking of their first duel and how he is wrongfully blamed for Mikey's death and then how Dartz is the one responsable. In the sub, he is thinking of the second duel where Alister asks him if he could really save Mokuba. He then thinks, "the future entrusted to him by Amelda, and his own path of glory, must not be destroyed here. He tells Amelda to open his eyes and observe what he does here" (yu-jyo.net). In this episode, Kaiba loses his soul too.
In Episode 183, Alister calls out to Seto for help in the dub version. In the sub version, Seto basically just hears Alister. While he is sinking into the Leviathan, he asks Alister if "he's giving up just like that". Yami Yugi asks everyone to "remember those you've dueled, remember those who've shared your pain, those you care about, what you've faught for, and why you've never given up." Alister thinks of Kaiba and Mokuba and his heart lightens.
And finally, in Episode 184, Alister remembers his duels with Kaiba and after crying a little on his action figure, he stands up and says that he "will live on".
Lyrics from Du Bist Min by Helium Vola.
All of those episodes combined propelled this pairing from being a "not in a million years" to my OTP(One True Pairing) of all Yu-Gi-Oh. I won't use terms like "two halves of the same coin" or say anything about "melting Kaiba's cold heart", but I will say that looking at the characters individually and together, I found them to be very interesting to SHIP. They tend to fall into my favorite pairing sorts: not opposites, but not alike either. They have things in common yet are completely different in many ways.
1. Both are intense in their passion. However, Kaiba is most often internal. Even in duels, he does his best to keep a very stoic face and it only crumbles in extreme situations. Alister, on the other hand, is very external in his intensity and could easily be considered shrill. It's all in his expressions and his voice. He's the sort that lays out all of his cards. You will excactly how he feels whether you want to or not. Kaiba is the sort who sees such show of emotion as "weakness", but Alister wouldn't quite see it that way. Kaiba barely shows any physical affection, except towards Mokuba. Alister seems more demonstrative in his affections(I sensed it when he gave Mokuba the Dyno Dude figure and smiled). It's a clash of philosophies, personalities and possibly culture, but at the same time, both would find it fascinating.
2. Both are very intelligent. Kaiba is a genius and Alister is brilliant. Both are also very articulate and afraid to say what's on their minds. The potential banter/snark between the two of them would be limitless. Here, I'll give you an idea: Just an extreme roughdraft. Clearly, that's not all, but I believe that a lot of interesting (not to mention enlightening) arguements/conversations can erupt between these two.
3. Both are pilots, but Kaiba seems to specialize in jet-type flying. He does pilot a helicopter, but that doesn't seem to be his aircraft of choice. With Alister, I believe the helicopter is his specialty as he is seen flying in a desert without any kind of headset. The desert is known to be treacherous as it's mountainous and the weather is very unpredictable. He can also clearly fly a 747 jumbo jet and possibly Raphael's plane too.
4. Both ride bikes, but Kaiba only does it in the Virtual World and even then, he eventually crashed. Alister does no such thing, even as he jumps from a plane. I believe both also drive, but only Kaiba is seen doing that. The car he bought was an automatic, while Alister seems the sort who would drive nothing but a stick(manual) shift.
5. Both have interest in machines, but Kaiba is more electronic oriented while Alister seems more interested in the fuel injected sorts.
6. Both are orphans, but Alister actually has it much worse since he is never in the safety of an orphanage nor would he have been as adoptable as Kaiba. I'm well aware of the abuse that Kaiba had gone through, but with or without Gozoboro, he stood a chance to not only make it, but to become very powerful. Alister had no such chance as he simply wasn't a business person, much less a genius in that area. Besides, I have no doubt that Alister would have killed Gozoboro rather than put up with him for a single second or just run away.
7. Both actually hate war and desire a better world. Kaiba wants to build theme parks for children and would like conflict to be replaced with games. Yes, he is a jerk bastard, but like I said, his cold heart is actually pretty big. In fact, he is willing to sacrifice nearly all aspects of his life to achieve those dreams. Alister is also someone who I consider big-hearted under all that bluster and ranting. I'm pretty sure he's doing his best for a better world too.
8. Both have a great sense of style, only Seto is more conservative while Alister isn't afraid to show some skin. Even when he isn't showing skin, Aliister has a more "street" style than Kaiba ever would in a million years. They are also both smoking hot, which is always a plus. Just that Alister is simply beautiful and more feminine.
9. Both are strong. Alister is strong-spirited, full of desire, energetic, and fierce. Seto Kaiba is strong-willed, one who can surpress desire easily(with few exceptions) and is generally able to maintain professionalism and respectfulness(at least in the sub).
10. Both have the potential to either last forever together or destroy each other.
And I tell myself, I keep repeating
that your ways are bringing you to me,
that I will find my true salvation,
that these ways of mine are bringing you to me.
The fandom is very small compared to other Yu-Gi-Oh SHIPs, but it exists and it's not going anywhere anytime soon.
Sky Union (Seto/Alister FST)--by me. A collection of songs I thought suited each one individually and then as a pairing. More commentary is there, but you'll find of some of it is used here. Watch out for falling swear words!
warshipping--Quiet for right now, but contains nice fanart, fanfics, commentary, etc. This community is part of how I started to SHIP these two.
Best Served Cold--Yours Truly
The Art of Suicide--Zhu Chan
Like Flies in my Champagne Bottle--Huajun Chen
An essay in a story--Clarysage
And that's it. This ended up much longer than I thought it would be, but I considered important to be thorough. I'm not out to convice anyone, I just wanted to explain why I ended up SHIPPING them. If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed it! Thank you for viewing this.