Author: Vanessa (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fandom: Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
Pairing: Ryou Bakura/Yami no Bakura/Malik Ishtar
Spoilers: None unless you haven't seen Battle City, which I'm sure most of you have.
Author's Note: Thank you for Sarith M. for reading through it and giving me critiques on it. ^_^ Unfortunately, only my views are sampled in this, as there are not many other Tornshipping fans I know :-/
Disclaimer: I do not own Yu-Gi-Oh, and Tornshipping is in no way a canon threesome. These are my own views and I am not speaking for the whole fandom.
I. An Introduction
There are some people who can only be described as angels. The pure and innocent ones. The ones who will not harm another living creature willingly.
Then there are some who are the reincarnations of the devil himself. Ones who want ruin the world. The people who manipulate others for their own gain.
There’s also the fallen angels. Ones who used to be angels, living life to the fullest. Until one single moment changes their whole life. When the devil comes and steals their hopes, dreams, turning them into hate and darkness.
Who am I talking about? Ryou Bakura, Yami no Bakura, and Malik Ishtar from the anime known as Yu-Gi-Oh! Yes, an anime. One that most people consider “kiddish”, when in the original, it’s far from it. In my opinion, that series has some of the most interesting characters ever. But that’s just me. I cannot represent thousands of anime fans on that.
While most of the characters in that series are hard to put together except for the near-canon ones such as Mai x Jounouchi and Yuugi x Anzu, I find these characters are some of the hardest to write about in romantic situations. There are only two other characters that are harder in my opinion, and that would be Yami no Malik and Seto Kaiba.
And now I’m sure you’re wondering: Why these three? What appeals so much about these three characters, and why do you think they would work so well together? In this essay, I shall try to clarify that. As stated in many others, there is no way I am saying these are the same reasons every other fan likes them. But I can try my best to justify the most prominent reasons.
There are actually three couples in this I want to cover: Yami no Bakura x Malik, Malik x Ryou, Yami no Bakura x Ryou, and then all three of them together. Before we get there, you have to make sure you know WHO they are.
II. Who They Are
A. Ryou Bakura – Angel Lost In The Darkness
“I made a decision. I don’t want to lose anymore friends. So you shouldn’t get too close to me.”
~Ryou Bakura, Duel 50: Millenium Enemy 1 – The Mysterious Transfer Student
Ryou Bakura is one of the few characters that, even though he has a Yami and a Sennen Item, doesn’t get the much character development outside the manga. With a character such as his, it’s hard to be able to pinpoint him exactly.
A little bit about his family. Ryou Bakura lives on his own. As his father is an archeologist, he is away for most of the time. What about his mother? She died in a car crash when he was very young. Not only did death take his mother’s life, he also took his little sister’s life. Yes, he had a sister, by the name of Amane Bakura.
At such a young age, he has suffered deaths in his close family.
I imagine that him and Amane were very close. In the Manga, Duel 50, he is writing Amane a letter, even though she is dead. In this sense, we know Ryou was very close to her. Not only that, but he’s very much into the occult, which is backed up by the fact his whole deck is made up of ghouls, zombies, and everything in between.
Most people wouldn’t guess those things about him. He’s a very shy boy, quiet, and doesn’t like his friends or anybody close to him getting hurt. Ever since he was given the Sennen Ring, he hasn’t been able to live a normal life.
He no longer can get close to the people he knows he has to depend on to make it through each day. He has to learn to shut himself out, make himself distant, never openly expressing his feelings. He’s had to move from town to town because of his yami. Every time somebody gets close to them, they disappear. You can imagine how hard it is for Ryou to cope with this.
Whenever something unpleasant comes up, he avoids the subject, often covering himself with excuses. This restrains him from truly becoming friends with anybody.
Every day, he has to live through the fear of what his yami will do next.
B. Yami no Bakura – The Devil’s Reincarnation
“However, if there is a guardian of the tomb, there also must be a thief to rob the tomb!”
~Yami no Bakura, Duel 50: Millenium Enemy 1 – The Mysterious Transfer Student
When we first meet him, Yami no Bakura is just the typical bad guy. He wants power and to kill those who have it to obtain it for himself. But as the series progresses, we learn there is more to than what we saw on the surface. Yami no Bakura is brash, rude, and full of revenge. Hate fills his entire being.
Why does he hate so much?
Three thousand years ago, he lived in a village among bandits. He was happy there. A small child curious about the world.
One night, it all slipped away.
Hidden in the shadows, young Bakura watched in horror as troops of the Pharaoh’s wiped out the village, using their remains to make something that he would soon search and use. The Sennen Items were created from the blood of his family and friends. As such with Ryou, he experienced death at a really young age. Something no child should have to see.
This makes it all the more understandable on why Bakura’s this way. He wants to pay for the injustice done. In his eyes, there is no justice. Just to survive and to get revenge on those who have wronged him. I do not blame him for wanting revenge against Atemu. Sure, it may be the wrong person to blame (as it was Priest Akunadin who ordered the slayings), but I do not blame him for wanting some sort of price to be paid.
Yami no Bakura is the perfect representation of darkness. He is filled to the brim with it, taking hold of his self.
He’s not the only one who has darkness filling his heart.
C. Malik Ishtar – Fallen Angel In Hell
“I bet no one has had a dark and terrible life like mine in this world…To me, even falling asleep seems horrifying.”
~Malik Ishtar , Duel 201: The Final Challengers
Malik was never an ordinary child at all. He was born into the Ishtar clan, the one family that is in charge of protecting the Pharaoh’s Memories and the two Sennen Items, the Rod and Tauk.
His mother died in child birth. His father never really loved him. The only two people who cared about him was his sister, Isis, and his adopted brother, Rishid.
Malik lived underground. He was forbidden to go to the outside world. He never knew fresh air, never knew the sun on his back, never felt the wind in his hair.
At 10 years old, he underwent a ritual. In this ritual, he had to get the Pharaoh’s Memories carved into his back. In this one moment, another side of himself was created. A split personality. Somebody who was the essence of darkness himself.
One year later, Malik and Isis snuck outside to see the world. For the first time, Malik saw the sun. They went into the city, where he was soon fascinated with everything. But when they had to leave, a mysterious stranger came up to them. “Blood will be spilled tonight. It is the Pharaoh’s will.”
When they arrived back at their home, they saw Father stabbing Rishid in the back. Father found out that Rishid let them go outside. And this was his punishment. At that moment, Malik’s other personality came out.
The other personality killed Malik’s father.
When Malik came back in control, he was horrified at what he saw. Blood was smeared all over the walls. His sister was pinned to the wall. Rishid was barely conscious. Hanging from some shackles was his father, dead.
Malik remembered the strange man’s words. Rage filled his being. The Pharaoh caused this. It was the Pharaoh’s fault he was born into this cruel life. His fault that his father was dead. Everything was the Pharaoh’s fault.
Five years later, Malik is carrying out his revenge. He only has one goal in mind: to kill the Pharaoh. He’ll do anything to achieve his goal. He’ll manipulate people, turning even friends against each other. All of this is cause by one misunderstanding.
By this time, hardly anything of what he used to be remains. He abuses Rishid, who he loved so dearly. He defies his sister. He doesn’t care if the GHOULS die or not. He doesn’t care if he ruins peoples lives. Malik is so bent on revenge, he doesn’t notice anything else.
III. Why They Would Work
Right off the bat you notice a similiarity between all three of these characters. All of them were innocent children, but due to unhappy circumstances, were corrupted. Through this, there would be a mutual understanding through out all of this. Though they all have separate goals, this basic understanding could be the basis of some sort of relationship, whether it be friendship or love.
a. Yami no Bakura x Malik – Thiefshipping
This has been the one pairing that has gotten me into Shonen-Ai. I really can’t remember how I got into it, but I was just watching some episodes with them in it, and it somehow worked in my mind.
Not only are their pasts similar, they share a some-what common goal, and they both rely on each other at one point or another.
Malik: Who are you?!
Yami no Bakura: Give me your Sennen Item!
~Episode 68, “Invisible Enemy: Attack Under The Sea II!”
Not exactly the best way to start off, is it? Soon after that, they are against each other, trying to prove their strength. In the end, they begrudgingly admit that both of them are equals.
Yami no Bakura: We have the same goal. Right?
Malik: You’re smart.
Yami no Bakura: To defeat Yuugi, you have to defeat his friends first. I’m waiting for that chance to come.
Malik: That was also my plan, using the power of the Sennen Rod.
Yami no Bakura: Their friendship is strong. We can’t tear them apart. I have an easy host, Ryou Bakura.
Malik: Host? That sounds interesting
Yami no Bakura: That guy…
Malik: I can use him.
~Episode 69, “Legendary Fisherman”
Knowing these two characters, they don’t give information out that easily. They trusted each other enough to start exchanging it, even though they were just using each other. They both knew that. But yet they went ahead and made the deal.
After that, Yami no Bakura stabbed himself in the arm in order to prove to Malik his loyalty, as false as it was. But when you do that, it’s an oath that cannot be broken. So, in a way, Yami no Bakura was lying, but keeping to it at the same time.
Yami no Malik: Bakura.
Yami no Bakura: I’ve got a companion this time. It’s your surface self, Malik.
Malik: I won’t let you kill Rishid!
~Episode 95, “Tragedy Of The Ishtar’s Unveiled”
This is a major point in this relationship. Malik went to Yami no Bakura for help. He could have just as easily taken over Anzu’s body, stole Bakura’s deck, and tried to banish Yami no Malik his self. But he didn’t.
Another curious thing is that Yami no Bakura helped him. Yami no Bakura could’ve just as easily turned him down and find some other way to get the Sennen Rod. He could’ve let Yami no Malik kill Rishid. What was he to him, anyways? He helped Malik, though.
When you’re rivals with the same goals, you don’t trust the other person that much. But yet these breached them. Malik trusted Bakura enough to help him, Bakura trusted Malik enough not to turn on him.
Bakura: There is one thing. Even if I burn you to ashes, you are ok with this?
Malik: Go ahead!
~Episode 96, Malik vs Bakura
It really is amazing how much these two trust each other. Even though they are rivals, they are putting each other’s lives on the line. The whole basis to this relationship here is trust.
Problems with this relationship? One thing is that Yami no Bakura is dead. Not exactly the best way to start one off, is it? They are both very arrogant, and if they ever got in a fight, none of them would ever admit they were wrong most likely. They can be down-right rude, which also would stand in the way of their relationship. And as they say, “sex in business is never a good thing.” Those are a few of the challenges that make this couple so interesting.
b. Malik x Ryou – Angstshipping
As much as I love this couple, there is absolutely no canon evidence of it. Unless you want to count when Malik was helping him, but as you know, it was only to put up a scene for Jounouchi and Anzu. Even so, they would also be good together. Why?
It’s because they both understand each other. They both know what it’s like to be controlled, to have no will of their own. They can understand each other in ways that Yami no Bakura probably couldn’t. Not only that, but it’s a very pretty couple. At least to me, it is. There’s a certain of innocence to the couple, but a taste of deviousness also. They would open up to each other, reluctantly, but they would.
I have a feeling that if Malik had to talk about his past to anybody outside of Isis and Rishid, it would be Ryou. Ryou has enough grasp on death and darkness that he would be able to understand Malik really well.
Malik most likely is beating himself up after Battle City. Ryou would help him get out more and to enjoy life a bit more. It would also help Ryou, as he would finally have someone to depend on that his yami would most likely not mind.
They are the two outcasts that find solace in each other. They find their own sanctuary with the other. They wouldn’t need a lot of words to know what they felt. They would understand each other that much.
Some problems? Well, I don’t think Ryou would be happy to know that Malik wanted to put Ryou in a potential death-causing situation. Also, who’s to say that they would get along? What if Ryou didn’t forgive him? What if Malik thought he was too girly/wimpy? Due to the fact that they don’t interact a whole bunch, this is where a bunch of fanfic opportunities come in.
c. Yami no Bakura x Ryou – Tendershipping
Do not ask about why they call it Tendershipping, because I honestly do not know. But I can say this is one of the most difficult pairings to explain. What is so appealing about this couple? There really is not a whole bunch of canon evidence either.
In what evidence we DO have, there is a slight connection between the two later in the series. In many incidents where the Sennen Ring is missing, Ryou is obviously worried about it. This may or may not have to do with Yami no Bakura, but it can’t make you help but wonder.
There is the one time where Yami no Bakura shows a little bit of interest. During Yami no Bakura vs. Yami no Yuugi’s duel in Battle City, Malik told Yami no Bakura to force Ryou out and make Yami no Yuugi forfeit.
While Yami no Bakura DID do that, he didn’t keep it that way for long. In spite of knowing that he would lose, he took back control of his body, saving Ryou from Osiris’ onslaught. Whatever way you take that is up to you.
The dynamics of this couple are very difficult to explain, but once you get it, there’s no way that it DOESN’T make sense. You have the angel and the devil, the two forbidden sides that fall in love. Ryou is the type of guy that brings light to Yami no Bakura’s life. Yami no Bakura, in a way, has to bring the harsh reality to Ryou, to tell him to stop living in his dream world. He would be the one who pushes Ryou to make something of himself.
Ryou would be the one who would open Yami no Bakura up. He would be the one who eggs him on, the one who would know Yami no Bakura completely. The one who would probably accept him for who he is, regardless of all his hate.
d. Malik x Yami no Bakura x Ryou – Tornshipping
Now, after going through all the couples, we’re finally down at the threesome. Really, I don’t have to explain a bunch for this. They all understand each other. They know what it’s like to lose people you love, to succumb to the darkness, and the reality of the world. They’re the ones that would stick by each other, no matter what.
They all fit into the jigsaw puzzle, excuse my corny metaphor. They all fit together in this somehow. Not only do they interact quite a bit in the series, they find someway to make it apparent that there might be something that’s more going on between them.
Yami no Bakura and Malik would be the ones to get Ryou out of his shell and to experience the world. Ryou would be the one that grounds them both, reminding them that they can’t be so reckless as to kill each other.
It all just works.
Another reason why is that in any of these couplings, somebody would be left out. If Malik and Yami no Bakura got together, Ryou would be the odd one out. If Malik and Ryou got together, Yami no Bakura would be left out. If Malik became good friends with the two and Yami no Bakura and Ryou got together, well, you see what I mean. There would always be a third wheel somewhere, especially when Malik is involved.
Also, you have two very hot guys and the cute one. You can at least admit that they all look good together. Even if I didn’t think that there was a shred of canon evidence, I still probably would’ve liked them due to the fact they look very pretty together (like, Ryou x Malik).
IV. Conclusion and Recommendations
This whole relationship is based on understanding and trust. There is no doubt about that. But what you want to make of it is up to you. If you start supporting this couple, great! If not, that’s still good. I wanted to show you how this works, and I think I was able to manage to get the point across. Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out these sites and fanfictions!
Live Journal Communities:
Conspireshipping – Dedicated to Malik x Ryou x Yami no Bakura x Yami no Malik
Kokoro Kawari – A Yami no Bakura x Ryou community
Malik x Bakura
Bakura x Ryou
Fanfictions by me:
No Words: “Our relationship is not all physical and causing chaos to those around us. We love each other. Simple as that.” Written for ygo_challenges, “what is beautiful about your OTP”.
Yami no Bakura x Malik.
Love Lies, Dreams Lie: “Love, it is a lying word. That you love me is yet another lie.” Those words ring true for one teenage boy. One-sided Malik x Yami no Bakura x Ryou. Written for ani_challenge.
Aurora by Mouko: Cursed with a tragic birth and no hope, Malik's life holds only misery. Born in Ancient Egypt, he expects little and receives even less. It was only a matter of time before the darkness itself came for him, with unexpected results. (Bakura and Malik)
One of the best Yu-Gi-Oh fanfictions EVER. Incomplete, but it’s a definite read!
One Hundred by Fate VII: Bakura fights with going back and forth between two languages, the ghost of Amane, and a hairbrush...because two ghosts in Ryou Bakura's life is one too many for his shadow. Bakurae. Strange fluff. And Bakura's hair gets...brushed...?
Also a very good fiction. One shot.
The Life of a Thief by Ryou Bakura by Sage Kaley: Just as Christmas break rolls around, Ryou is given a report to write on ancient Egypt. Everyone urges him to use this as an excuse to bond with his yami. What Bakura tells him scares him, though not as much as the feelings Ryou gets for the yami. (Yami no Bakura x Ryou)
Very very very good. Unfinished.
ANYTHING by Enkidu. You must worship her. Some of the best and funniest Yami no Bakura x Malik/Malik x Ryou fanfictions I have EVER read.
Drawing Down The Moon by Lady Yami Bakura:
Left alone for Yule, a sick and depressed Ryou goes up to the Kaiba lodge for the Christmas season with the rest of the gang - but he when he gets there he finds he wasn't counting on one thing: Malik Ishtar... yaoi, slight angst, wiccanism.
Also very good. Some grammar and spelling mistakes, but very well written.
Could I Just Be You Tonight? By Lady Yami Bakura:
Malik sits back with his troubled thoughts and wonders about what life was like and what it could have been if only he still had the person he loves most. RxM
Very very VERY sad. Don’t read if you do not like angst.
Moonlight Magic by Lfangor: Having returned to Domino after five long years, Bakura is on a quest to find the one whom he let get away long ago. Angstshipping [Malik x Ryou].
Only two chapters up so far, but it is very VERY good.
Heartbeat by Ashes: Malik often had weird ideas... Maybe it was the moment, or maybe it was the tone of his voice... but I found myself paying attention, pulling the cigarette from his fingers and taking a drag. [AU-ish, romatic suicide, angst?]
It’s on AFF.net, but nothing explict. Very very VERY sad. Short, chilling, great romance. One of the most unique ones I’ve read.
As you can see…there is no Tornshipping fics other than the one I’ve written, which I am incredibly sad about. If anybody has any recommendations, please tell me! ^_^ Even if you don’t like these couples, read these fanfictions. You will not be disappointed with these!
So, thank you, adieu, and have a good night.