Anzu/Yuugi: “You’re just fine the way you are.”
Spoilers: throughout the entire manga.
Notes: I will be citing the Manga for this essay and not the anime, as there are substantive differences between the two versions. If anything you see here does not correspond to your memory from the anime, that would be why. Also, I've exceeded the maximum word count by a couple hundred words.
That said, onto the essay!
Yugioh is the story of Yuugi Mutou, who upon solving the Millennium Puzzle becomes drawn into the strange world of occult gaming, where losing a card game can get your legs cut off or your soul eaten by a hideous monster. He plays these games in order to defend his friends and discover the truth of who the mysterious spirit of the Millennium Puzzle is. While he has many friends who he cares for dearly, there is one for whom his feelings go a little further, a friend who has been there for him since before the beginning of the series. She is Anzu, the other half of my Yugioh OTP, which is known as Peachshipping.
There are multiple reasons why the Anzu/Yuugi pairing is referred to as Peachshipping; one reason is due to an early incident in the manga where Anzu has a digital pet named “Peachy”, which is a play on how her given name means “Peach”. There is also the fact that peaches are small, sweet, just like Yuugi (and if you count his hair, he’s also fuzzy like a peach). Regardless of why the pairing has the name that it does, it definitely conveys what someone should expect from the pairing; something cute and sweet.
Yuugi Mutou: The protagonist of the series, he doesn’t look too impressive at the beginning. He’s short and shy, and has a very low opinion of himself. He’s also very reluctant to fight back, which leads to him being a frequent target of bullies at school. But in spite of all this, he has a strength that can’t be defeated; his kindness, which allows him to not merely endure, but to shine. As the series progresses he gains new friends and with their help he’s able to overcome deadly trials and gain confidence in his worth as a person.
Anzu Mazaki: The leading lady of the series, Anzu was Yuugi’s friend from the time when they were in grade school. She is relatively tall and extroverted, as evidenced by her being class representative. Unlike Yuugi, she doesn’t put up with bullies and is more then willing to defend Yuugi whenever she can. She also has a tendency towards being pushy and selfish. As the series progresses, she stops fighting his battles for him and starts supporting him from the sidelines, giving him the strength and courage that he needs to win. She’s also very observant and analytical, actively finding the meaning behind Yuugi’s actions in the series.
Yuugi and Anzu’s first scene together is telling in more ways then one. First of all is the fact that Anzu comes in to rescue Yuugi from Jounouchi and Honda, who were playing ‘keep away’ with Yuugi’s puzzle box, and while the two of them bluster a bit, they flee rather then risk her ire, and Anzu returns the puzzle box to him. Due to the “day in the life” nature of this opening scene, it is clear that Anzu regularly rescues Yuugi from the bullies at school, which reverses the gender roles that are normally assumed in this sort of scenario, a point which is very clear when you consider that Jounouchi is very pointedly teasing Yuugi for, in his mind, acting like a girl. For me, this gender role reversal is one of the more appealing aspects of Peachshipping.
Getting back to the scene in progress, Yuugi is very impressed with Anzu, who in turn tells Yuugi that he needs to get tougher. She mentions off-handedly that she came back from gym, where everyone was playing basketball, because the boys were taking this opportunity to peek up the girls’ skirts. Yuugi then imagines that very thing, and while we don’t know that he’s imagining Anzu’s panties, the odds for that are pretty good. Anzu then asks Yuugi about the puzzle box, and he decides to share his secret with her, that it was found in an Egyptian ruin, that he believes that whoever solves the puzzle will be granted one wish, and that he’d been working on it for eight years without any luck. She encourages him, telling Yuugi not to give up since he’s put his heart into it, and asks him what his wish is. He adamantly refuses to tell her, saying that his wish is “Super top secret! Vacuum sealed for eternal storage!”
The next day we learn just what that wish was; “I wish for friends. Friends who I can count on. Friends who can count on me, no matter what.” In other words, if Yuugi were to tell Anzu his wish, he would be telling her that he doesn’t think that she can count on him, that he doesn’t think of himself as a good friend. Considering this, it’s not surprising that Yuugi never tells anyone what his wish was. The fact remains though that Anzu is the only one he ever tells about the wish in the first place.
The Origins of the Triangle
The fourth chapter of the manga sees the first clear evidence that Yuugis’ feelings for Anzu go beyond friendship. Amusingly enough, it happens when Jounouchi suggests that the reason that Anzu hadn’t been walking home from school with them was that she was engaging in “escort service”, a euphemism for prostitution. Yuugi’s face turns beet red as he yells at Jounouchi, declaring that Anzu “Isn’t that kind of girl!” Jounouchi has no problem catching the meaning behind this outburst, despite Yuugi’s insistence to the contrary. As it turns out, Anzu had been working at a fast-food joint, even though if the school found out she would be expelled. She is willing to take this risk to earn the money to study dance in
It’s at this time that a death row inmate shows up, puts a gun to Anzu’s head and takes her hostage. He blindfolds Anzu and then orders “The wussy little one!” or Yuugi, to bring him some booze and cigarettes. It doesn’t take long for Anzu to realize who the criminal was ordering around, so she gets up and yells at Yuugi to stay back, prompting the criminal to smack her back down. This causes the other Yuugi, the spirit of the puzzle, to come out and challenge the criminal to a game. Because Anzu is still blindfolded, she is unable to see what’s going on, and while she first thinks that the voice she heard is Yuugi’s, she concludes that the voice is far too confident to be Yuugi.
Ultimately the other Yuugi is victorious, and the criminal is set on fire as Anzu is pulled away. By the time Anzu takes off her blindfold, the other Yuugi has returned to the puzzle, leaving the regular Yuugi behind to express how thankful he is that Anzu is safe. Anzu then muses on how she’s fallen in love with the voice of the man who saved her, while Yuugi is in the background, complaining how he didn’t get to eat his hamburger and is still hungry. Clearly the authorial intention of this scene at the end was “LOL, silly Anzu, he’s right over there.”
The Lovely Two Test
In chapter 41, just after everyone has learned about the existence of the other Yuugi, we see Anzu in her room, working on her homework, when she finds herself thinking about Yuugi, or rather, the other Yuugi. The next day she comes to his house in order to walk with him to school, something that excites Yuugi a great deal. They chat for a bit about the test scores that are going to be posted in the hallway, and when Yuugi explains the game that Honda, Jounouchi, and he had made of it, she decides to bring out a game of her own, the portable love tester known as “Lovely Two”. She gives one to Yuugi and has him enter his personal data into it, and then with a sly look on her face says to Yuugi “Heh heh… say Yuugi, want to see how well we fit together?” Yuugi activates the love tester, only to get no response from Anzu’s. He sighs, but Anzu smiles at him, reassuring him that their “biorhythms must be off today. I’m sure they’ll ring next time!”
Anzu’s thought process in this scene is fairly clear; she knows full well how she feels about the other Yuugi, but what about the regular Yuugi, the one that she’s known for years? She’s not so sure about her feelings for him, but she’s willing to give him a chance, and even though she doesn’t get the desired result right away, she’s willing to keep at it. After all, in Anzu’s mind, “Yuugi is Yuugi”.
The Worst Date Ever
The course of true love never was smooth, a dictum that certainly proved true in chapter 45. The chapter has only just begun and things are already rocky for the intrepid couple, for Yuugi is reading a newspaper article about a mad bomber, as opposed to paying attention to Anzu, a mild point of consternation for her as she thinks “It’s summer vacation and the one time I ask Yuugi out…” Things don’t get better when they arrive at the amusement park, for just as Yuugi is about to stammer out his question as to whether or not they’re on a date, the lady at the ticket stand asks Yuugi if he is in grade school, causing him to fume that while he may not look it, he IS in High School. All of this mildly amuses Anzu.
Still, the date seems to pick up after that, for the next scene features Anzu and Yuugi riding down a waterslide in an inner tube, giving Yuugi a close-up view of Anzu in her bikini. It is implied that they do this a few more times before lying back on a couple of lounge chairs, with Yuugi sneaking a peak at Anzu. After a while, Anzu looks over at Yuugi, who appears to be sitting up with an intense look on his face. For a moment Anzu thinks that she’s seeing the other Yuugi, but when a little kid squirts Yuugi in the face with a squirt gun, it becomes clear that Anzu’s earlier impression was the result of the sun. Yuugi then chases after the kid, despite his earlier insistence that he wasn’t a kid, which leads to Anzu thinking that “The ordinary Yuugi is like a little kid. What can I do to make the Yuugi I want appear?” She then tries to make it appear that she’s in danger so that the other Yuugi will appear, a plan that culminates in the infamous “Ferris Wheel” scene.
This scene is often used as an excuse to bash Anzu, yet hardly anyone ever attacks Yuugi for his behavior, for even though his is not as extreme as Anzu’s, he is far from an exemplary date. He is less mature then he’s willing to admit, and openly stares at Anzu rather then engaging with her. The truth is that I think that the real purpose of this chapter, aside from some Anzu fanservice, was to establish that neither Yuugi nor Anzu are mature enough yet to be in a relationship. Anzu was blinded by her hero crush on the other Yuugi, while Yuugi was too shy and awkward, unable to believe that they were, in fact, on a date. Still, as evidenced by the fanservice shot of Anzu hugging the regular Yuugi after the end of the chapter, this chapter is not the end of Peachshipping.
This, the first major story arc in Yugioh, is full of Peachshipping moments. The first such moment is when we meet Mai Kujaku, who playfully teases Yuugi. This causes much blushing for Yuugi, prompting Anzu to fume “Who is this woman!?” as an aura of fire surrounds her.
Later on, during Yuugi’s duel with Insector Haga, Mai calls Yuugi “Yuugi-chan”, to which Anzu responds by angrily growling “Who’re you calling ‘Yuugi-chan’? He’s not a kid!” And near the end of the day, when Jounouchi can’t find any opponents because they’re all too scared of Yuugi, Anzu thinks to herself “Everybody’s afraid of Yuugi. It kinda feels good.” While technically it is the other Yuugi who’s on the surface on these occasions, I can’t stress enough that as far as Anzu is concerned, “Yuugi is Yuugi.” In addition, during Jounouchi’s duel with Dinosaur Ryuzaki when the other Yuugi has hidden himself within Yuugi, Anzu councils Yuugi to help Jounouchi, saying that this would be “true kindness.” While the other Yuugi ultimately convinces to let Jounouchi duel on his own, the fact remains that Anzu understood Yuugi well enough to know what would motivate him.
Still, Jounouchi wins his duel, and then night falls. For the second time that day, everyone is complaining about the non-existent accommodations on the island when Mai shows up. She proceeds to provide food and then offers Anzu the use of her portable shower. These acts of kindness prompt Anzu to wonder “whether all duelists have two sides two them”, and as she thinks about the two Yuugis, she is surrounded by love bubbles. Later, when Anzu and Mai are in her tent, talking about Mai’s past, Mai says to Anzu “By the way, you have a crush on Yuugi, don’t you?” Anzu engages in a great deal of flustered denial, but Mai is undaunted, and tells Anzu that she told Yuugi to wait at the cliff for Anzu, saying that Anzu wanted to talk to him. After being offered some perfume, Anzu walks out of the tent, her face beet red as her heart goes “b-bmp, b-bmp”.
As Yuugi waits, wondering what Anzu wanted to talk about, Anzu shows up, still blushing and visibly nervous. Searching for something to talk about, Anzu settles for talking about “old times”. They sit down next to each other, and after a while, Anzu starts talking the first time they met. It’s a very cute story about how Yuugi gave her his Game Boy, but she ended up breaking it out of frustration. Yuugi just laughed, and the next day he brought her a new Game Boy, this time with an easier game. Yuugi looks down, and Anzu asks him what’s wrong. He tells her that he thinks that she wants to talk to the other him, so he’ll go away to give her that chance. Anzu is visibly shocked, and as Yuugi begins to call his other self out, she grabs hold of him and tells him “Stop Yuugi! It’s okay. You don’t have to call him, you’re still you!”
Now it’s Yuugi’s turn to be shocked, and to a certain extent our turn to be shocked. Recall back to the amusement park, when Anzu went out of her way to try to get the other Yuugi to show up, yet now that Yuugi is freely offering that opportunity, she stops him. She explains herself to Yuugi, saying “Of course at first I… but never mind. It doesn’t matter which ‘side’ you are! It doesn’t matter if your voice is deeper! It’s all you, Yuugi!”
Next we see what I like to call “the panel of OTP”. Anzu tells Yuugi “You’re just fine the way you are” as she puts her hand on his, a close-up shot showing Anzu lacing her thumb beneath his. Two sub-panels show Anzu and Yuugi blushing as they look at each other, with each of their panels filled with love bubbles, and above them both is the full moon and a shooting star streaking across the sky. This scene is unique in the manga, for while there are many scenes featuring one-sided attractions between different characters, this is the only one that features clear, unambiguous mutual attraction. Of course, before things can get any further Mai screams and Yuugi and Anzu have to run over to deal with the Player Killer of Darkness, but the fact remains that the moment happened.
There’s another little moment after Jounouchi’s duel with Kaiba, where after Kaiba rejects Yuugi’s offer of friendship, Anzu puts her hand on his shoulder and pretty much keeps it there until the other Yuugi shows up. Also, after Jounouchi goes missing the next day, we get a little ship tease in the form of the group splitting up to look for him, with Yuugi and Anzu heading off together while Bakura and Honda look elsewhere. Just a couple of ship teases to tide us over before the next major Peachshipping moment, which comes after Yuugi’s duel with Kaiba.
Kaiba forced Yuugi into a corner, forcing him to kill if he wanted to win, and while the other Yuugi was willing to pay that price, Yuugi wasn’t. This conflict between the two Yuugi’s causes the regular Yuugi to fall to his knees in tears. As he expresses how afraid he is, of both the game and the other him, Anzu puts her hand on his shoulder and reassures him that he did the right thing, telling him “So don’t cry! You’re a boy, aren’t you?” Kaiba then calls Yuugi weak for not being willing to kill him when he put his life on the line, at which point Anzu gives Kaiba a verbal bitch-slap for calling Yuugi weak, declaring him the real loser. Anzu might not be playing cards or throwing fists, but she’s defending Yuugi all the same. Also, Anzu maintains physical contact with Yuugi throughout her entire speech.
That night, the second night of
After Anzu is all done, Yuugi thanks her, and then he tells her how embarrassed he is that he’s always being helped by everyone. He adds to this, saying “Anzu, you told me the other night that I’m fine the way I am.” Anzu looks at him intently. “But I can’t stay this way. The way I am, I can’t protect you.” A quick reaction shot from Anzu before Yuugi finishes speaking, saying “Someday I’m going to be stronger, strong enough to not lose to the other me!” Anzu nods, and presumably returns to her own room, as Yuugi looks out the window, up at the full moon.
Finally, the duel between Yuugi and Pegasus has begun, and things were beginning to look pretty grim until the two Yuugi’s figured out how to work together to counter Pegasus’s mind scan, a strategy that works until Pegasus turns the duel into a Shadow Game, and ultimately the regular Yuugi is unable to endure the unearthly power that Pegasus summoned, leading to Pegasus declaring that Yuugi’s soul is dead. While the others can only offer blustering denial, Anzu remembers that Yuugi had told her that so long as one of his souls lived, the other one would live to. Once again, an instance where Yuugi shares a confidence with Anzu that he doesn’t share with anyone else.
Anzu then takes the lead in attempting to “share their hearts with Yuugi”, culminating in a scene where, just as Pegasus is about to see the card that the other Yuugi drew, Anzu and the others are there to stop him. What’s more, while the others are standing in front, ready to protect Yuugi, Anzu is holding him up, helping him to recover his strength. That is to say, she is literally the one who is the closest to Yuugi in his heart.
Finally, to cap off the Duelist Kingdom Peachshipping moments, when Kaiba takes everyone aboard his helicopter, everyone is tightly bunched together and there’s a close-up shot of Yuugi and Anzu blushing up a storm as Yuugi says to Anzu “I don’t think it’s made for this many people.” Nothing like a little forced close physical contact to generate a cute moment.
In the very first chapter after
Then Yuugi gets shanghaied into playing Dungeon Dice Monsters with Otogi, the puzzle gets broken, and Jounouchi has to carry him out of a burning building after he desperately rebuilds it. While in the hospital, Yuugi makes an offhand comment on how “it was like the puzzle built itself”, driving Anzu to an uncomfortable line of thought; she’s now worried that her belief that the other Yuugi was always within Yuugi was something that she just wanted to believe, and when the time comes that the puzzle has to be taken to Egypt, she fears that the other Yuugi will go with it, quite possibly taking her heart along for the ride.
Still, all is not lost for Peachshipping, for after a long detour involving Seto Kaiba, we see Yuugi getting dressed up to meet with Anzu. The other Yuugi automatically assumes that Yuugi is going on a date with Anzu, but as it turns out, Yuugi has something else in mind. Then we get a brief flashback to the previous day at school, when Yuugi asked Anzu if she would be free on Sunday, to which she responded with an enthusiastic “You bet!” Then she finds out that Yuugi wants her to cheer up the other him. That makes two people who assumed that this would be a date between Yuugi and Anzu. During the “date” itself, the other Yuugi silently complains that Yuugi is making him do this alone, and he also tells Anzu, regarding the outfit Yuugi put on “This morning he spent a lot of time picking his clothes. I don’t know why… he has a tendency to hide his true feelings, even today.” To me, that sounded a lot like “I don’t know why he set me up with you; he’s the one who’s totally in love with you.” Finally, near the end of the “date”, they run into Mai, who instantly assumes that Anzu is on a date with Yuugi and proceeds to tease her about it. This makes three people total who assumed that the date was going to be between Anzu and Yuugi.
To be honest, there’s not much Peachshipping in this arc. During the tournament proper Yuugi and Anzu are in different places and don’t meet up again until after Yuugi rescues Jounouchi from Malik’s mind control. Then there’s a cute moment after the two of them get into Mai’s car as she rounds the corner at high speed, causing Anzu to “smoosh” her shoulder into Yuugi’s face, leading to much blushing from the both of them.
Then there was a potential Peachshipping moment just after the duel between Yuugi and the Dark Bakura, but Malik promptly takes control of Anzu’s mind to keep hold of the Millennium Ring. Really, that’s about it. Aside from repeated declarations from Anzu about how she doesn’t want Yuugi to die, that’s about it for
Memory World and the Ceremonial
The Memory World arc is a little better for providing Peachshipping moments. There’s a quick tease near the beginning of the arc when Jounouchi asks Yuugi if he can get the “tape” that he loaned to Yuugi, and before Yuugi can explain what happened to it, Anzu shows up and pats Yuugi on the back, causing Yuugi and Jounouchi to freak out. She coyly asks what they were talking about, but all she gets is blustering denial that they were talking about anything. A more serious moment comes when Anzu asks Yuugi “If the other Yuugi gets his memories as Pharaoh back, he wouldn’t forget about us, would he?” Yuugi, demonstrating how understanding he is, has the other Yuugi come out to reassure her (and everyone else) that of course he wouldn’t forget them.
There’s another brief moment after the other Yuugi has entered the Memory World, when Bobasa has instructed everyone to hold hands in order to enter the room of the other Yuugi’s soul. As Anzu holds Yuugi’s hand, she blushes. Since the other Yuugi isn’t in Yuugi in this scene at all, this blushing can’t be attributed to residual feelings for the other Yuugi. As a side note, I am also amused at how Jounouchi and Honda can only bring themselves to touch the tips of one finger together, yet Honda has no problem holding Yuugi’s hand.
Later, after Yuugi and the others have made their way into the Memory World, Jounouchi and Honda declare that since they’re invisible, they can sneak into the other Yuugi’s harems. Anzu then yells at them, telling them that Yuugi is not a pervert, leading to much blushing on Yuugi’s part.
There’s another very brief cute moment when night has fallen, and the group is resting just outside the Pharaohs palace. It’s not much, but Anzu is sleeping with her head against Yuugi’s shoulder. True, everyone is asleep and grouped together, but I’m going to count this as a sleep cute moment.
During Yuugi’s duel with the Dark Bakura, Anzu is very analytical, and realizes that the silence in his soul has led to him becoming much stronger. Anzu is, of course, the only one who could realize something like that, because she’s known Yuugi since before he ever solved the Millennium Puzzle. Afterwards, when they deliver the other Yuugi’s true name to him and Zorc is defeated, there is a poignant moment when Atem tells everyone that they can still call him “the other me”, but Anzu insists, saying that his true name is Atem. I would imagine that she’s trying to separate the two Yuugi’s in her mind, to better prepare herself for Atem’s inevitable departure.
Then, after everyone has returned to the real world, Anzu has her hand on Yuugi’s shoulder, for no readily apparent reason.
Later on, everyone is on the
This confusion in her is manifest during the Ceremonial Battle, when she misunderstands Yuugi’s motives on a grand scale, and it takes Jounouchi to point out to her how Yuugi had always been following behind Atem. This seems to hit her pretty hard, and then she just looks at Yuugi. That’s pretty much the last bit of the Manga that can be interpreted as a Peachshipping moment.
But, as a super special awesome bonus, when the Yugioh manga was being reprinted in
I’ll let that one speak for itself.
So Why Ship It?
First of all, they are childhood friends. Yugioh as a series is all. About. The friendships. The fact that they are childhood friends means that Anzu is the only one who can really appreciate the way Yuugi changes from the beginning of the series, all the way to the end. Furthermore, without her friendship, it becomes questionable whether Yuugi would have had the strength to stand up to Ushio at the start of the series. He might not always show it, but Yuugi needs Anzu just as much as she needs him.
Second, the Anzu/Yuugi pairing inverts the heteronormative standards. What I mean by this is that were they to be in a relationship, Anzu could easily be considered “the man” of the relationship. Even their appearances reflect this deviance from the norm, with Anzu being taller, more extroverted, and just a bit rougher then Yuugi, not at all afraid to throw a punch or two when the situation calls for it. There’s even the fact that Yuugi was initially teased for being too girly, and given that he is soft, gentle, and always kind and supportive, it’s not as though those accusations are entirely baseless.
Third, they are very devoted to each other. Early on in the series, Yuugi changes into the other Yuugi most easily whenever someone hurts Anzu. They don’t even have to hurt her directly; just making her cry a little would be enough to drive the change. Similarly, while Anzu is usually the voice of reason, she is willing to face down psychotic child billionaires and stand alongside her friends against dark gods of death and destruction to protect Yuugi.
Fourth, they’re just really cute together. There’s just no other way to put it. They are easily the most adorable pairing in all of Yugioh.
Hardly anyone ships Anzu/Yuugi, so there’s a relative dearth of fanart and fanfic for the couple. Combine that with Sturgeon’s Law, and there’s hardly any good fan made material at all. Still, given the sheer size of the Yugioh fandom, that still leaves us with some good material.
This is some of my favorite fanart:
In addition to the fanfiction I’ve found, I’ve written some of my own. My fanfics can be found here: http://www.fanfiction.net/~cypsiman2
And here are some of my favorite fanfics:
And of course, the works of MyAibou, found here: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/852008/MyAibou
Finally, there is this page from the Yugioh WikiFic website, which should serve as a helpful guide to finding more Peachshipping material for those that are looking.