When hopeless romantic and hardcore fujoshi Pan found herself body-swapped with Kim, a senior in her high school who was top in academics, she decided to fulfill her all-time dream: Set the ship of WayKim sailing. With that, Thai BL powerhouse GMMTV puts yet another surreal twist to the line of Thai BL drama in their latest offering of 2020: The Shipper.
Just when BL fans thought The Shipper was just a drama about a girl who liked to fantasise about shipping boy couples, the producers kept churning out new ships every episode. As of Ep5, 8 ships have officially set sail. Just which of these ships do you ship? Which ship do you think will prevail?
Because stories with body swaps usually makes for confusing storylines, here’s a quick brief of the main characters.
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t watched The Shipper, and are icky about spoilers, be aware that this post contains spoilers up till Ep5!
Characters of The Shipper
Pan was a hardcore fujoshi – sort of. I said “sort of”, because the only BL couple she and Soda ever shipped was Kim and Way (or Way and Kim), who were their seniors in high school.
They spun BL fiction on the WayKim to show support for their ship. No matter what the reality was, Kim and Way will always find themselves in the loving embrace of each other in the alternative world of fiction.
Soda was Pan’s good friend in the same class, who had the same love for shipping WayKim.
In reality, Kim and Way are just buddies.
In BL fantasy, Kim and Way are always finding ways to take off each other’s clothes
Kim was the school’s top student. At the same time, he was also morally righteous. He always stood up to students who are bullied, often getting into fights because of that.
Way always had Kim’s back whenever Kim got into fights. As the school’s best fighter, Way ruled the school with his fists.
Khet was Pan’s classmate and literally sat beside her. He was always teasing her and bursting her BL fantasy bubble. He was right to do so, because he was Kim’s (estranged) younger brother. Surely the kid brother would know his own bro inside out, right?
Strangely enough, Khet always hung out with Pan and Soda.
Kana, as we found out in Ep3, was the Thai word for Kale. As the school’s discipline mistress, she was the nemesis of every student. She was always picking on Pan and Soda’s skirt length and nagging to Khet about his exams. Kim, the top student in the school, was of course her pet. Literally.
Angel of Death
Quite literally the key person of this series, she was the reason why Pan and Kim had a body swap. She mistakenly took their souls, and when she returned them, she made a mistake again.
Ping is Way’s official girlfriend. “Official” because, according to Way, they never did more than a kiss.
Now… let’s wonder why…?
The Body Swap
With these characters identified, the stage was set when Pan and Kim got involved in a motorbike accident.
At the limbo, the Angel of Death, played by the ever loud, but lovely, Jennie, found out she had made a mistake. When the Angel of Death returned them to the real world, Pan woke up to find her soul trapped in Kim’s body, while Kim-in-Pan remained in a coma.
Somehow, the Angel of Death could not right the wrong and even threatened to kill Pan-in-Kim if she failed to live the life of Kim and let the secret out.
After coming to terms with reality, Pan decided that since she’s now in Kim’s body, she could make the KimWay ship a reality. She could either make Kim love Way or make Way fall in love with Kim.
Now that we have set the background of The Shipper, here are the things of the TV series that made us pull our hair every episode.
The Ships of The Shipper
WayKim/Pan, The Fake BL Ship
Although we would be seeing boys, Kim played by First and Way played by Fluke, play out BL fantasies, Kim remained Pan at heart. It means that the WayKim BL that fans are watching are in actual fact, a BG love story.
Yup, technically, BL refers to boys loving boys for the sake of boys loving boys. A girl in the body of a boy loving a boy? Hmmm… We need a BL World Supreme Court to make a decision on that.
But before that happens, fans get to have a say on whether they ship this fake BL ship.
Oh wait… At the end of Ep5, we did get a hint that Way was into Kim. Because he set his wefie with Kim as his mobile phone lock screen. Quoting himself, “of all the million photos, why choose that photo as your wallpaper?” (he said that to Khet when he found out that Khet used Pan’s photo as his lock screen wallpaper).
Now, Way does not know that Kim is now Pan, so if he really liked Kim, he would be liking the real boy Kim.
Way is the real BL character here, then!
KhetKim/Pan, The Brother BL Ship
Spoiler alert: Khet was in love with Pan. Well, it seemed that he could sense her presence in his older brother’s body. Based on the official poster of The Shipper, we can safely conclude that love would blossom between the both of them.
While Pan was in Kim’s body.
So Khet would be falling in love with the body of his older brother. Even though technically, he is in love with the soul of Pan.
Of course, since all BL fans care about is boys
making out falling in love with boys, we would gladly overlook the fact that when Khet finds himself looking lovingly at Kim, he was not smitten with his older brother, but at the Pan underneath that skin. And then we fall back to the previous point: Khet falling in love with Pan is a BG storyline, which makes KhetKim a fake BL.
By the way, is a BL between actual brothers a Bromance, or a BroLove?
KimKana, The Teacher-Student GG Ship
One of the shocks that we got in Ep4 was knowing that Kim and Kana had a non-sexual romantic relationship. Thank goodness they didn’t cross the line!
It is interesting how Thai BL series could get away with so much BL, but when they started showing teacher-student relationships, the producer had to put up a disclaimer in the next episode.
Right after the PG13+ disclaimer.
I wonder who made a complaint. And did the complainant find fault with the teacher-student relationship? Or did he take issue with the fact that Pan-in-Kim with Kana is a GG relationship (that doesn’t fit with the BL theme)?
Kim/PanSoda, The GG Ship
Speaking about GG, Pan, while in Kim’s body, also kept looking out for Soda. Pan-in-Kim consoled Soda when the latter was depressed at not having Pan around.
Basically, Pan-in-Kim kept sending Soda the wrong signals. She had the right intention, but the wrong execution. The worst part? Pan-in-Kim wasn’t aware that she was giving the wrong signals!
So, unlike Khet, Pan-in-Kim had yet to stop Soda from falling for Kim! And we’re ending up with a GG ship in BG bodies. What would Soda think if she finds out she was “in love” with her best friend? Goodness gracious!
KhetSoda – The Friendzone Ship
Way before Soda had wild thoughts about Kim, she had crazy thoughts about Khet.
Yes… After she was bullied by Ping, Khet went to console her. However, Khet was being nice to her by virtue of her being Pan’s best friend. However, Soda did not know he liked Pan and therefore thought he was nice to her because he liked her.
Luckily, Khet was very focused on who he liked. And he also promptly stopped her fantasies after half an episode.
WayPing – The Official BG Ship
WayPing was set way back in Ep1. They were the official couple in the school. The boy was the manly fighter and the girl the attractive biatch. They undoubtedly make a very good couple – visually. Unfortunately, Ping seemed to be only using Way as a way to flaunt her womanliness, while Way was not active in making progress in their relationship.
Considering The Shipper is a BL series, and that Way is one the main characters, this is a ship that’s meant to sink.
But that does not mean fans cannot set this ship sailing, just for the fun of it!
AofPing – The Fictional BG Ship
Because of their disdain for WayPing, Pan and Soda created AofPing in their fiction. Aof, in real life, was the school bully who was at loggerheads with Kim and Way. In fiction, he abducted Ping to get back at WayKim, only to end up being with Ping.
If you ask me, this is a potential ship. There’s a strong potential that they might end up sailing outside of fiction!
KimAngel – The Ghost Ship
Just kidding. The Angel of Death had no relationship with the other characters. She did have a web of relationships with her supervisors and managers, though.
Ah ha! There was this moment when there was a ship sailing between Kim and Angel of Death. Here’s the evidence:
But yes, this is a literal ghost ship. Though I know there would still be BL fans who would ship them both.
Other Possible Ships
Since we’re at Ep5 at the point of writing, and the producers are shipping 1 ship every episode, there is a possibility that more ships will start sailing in the next few weeks. Here are the possible ships:
KimPan – The Accident Ship
This ship was actually hinted way at Ep1. Right before their accident, Kim was riding Pan home and hinted to her that he liked her.
Because the scene cut to their meeting with Angel of Death, we never know what that meant. Was Kim secretly noticing Pan way before the series started?
Also, what will happen when Kim-in-Pan wakes up? What will happen when they undo their body swaps? Will Kim go back to chasing after Pan? Will he reciprocate Way’s love (since I suppose he won’t be aware that Way chased after Pan-in-Kim).
This is definitely one ship that will sink all other ships!
WayKhet – The Suspicious Ship
Surprise! We got a bit of sexual tension at Ep5, when Way and Khet were resitting for their exams together. It could be the way the director wanted to tease fans, with the false signals of a ship sailing. If they do get together, they’d also be a REAL BL couple of the series!
One thing for sure, Way will start to go after Kim (with Pan’s soul) and Khet somehow knows Pan is in Kim’s body (my guess is it will take place at Ep6), so both of them will be fighting for Kim eventually. Which means they would be rival in love, and perhaps that was what the tension was hinting at.
However, I somehow feel that there is more to them in the teasing in Ep5.
The title picture I used was screengrabbed from the official MV. They were the last to appear at the intro, which was weird.
Additionally, in the series’ opening song, the order of intro for the characters were: Kim, Khet, Way, Pan, Soda, Ping…
Kim should be the first, since he is the central character. However, if Kim and Way were to be the final ship sailing, why wasn’t Way introduced right after Kim?
And if Khet will be with Pan eventually, why wasn’t he introduced right before or after Pan? What was the logic of this order?
Anyways, here’s the collage of WayKhet looking at each other suggestively to whet the appetite of BL fans.
This is it, 8 ships that have sailed so far and 2 more on the horizon. There are so many ships in this series, it should be renamed “The Marina”.
- WayKim/Pan, The Fake BL Ship
- KhetKim/Pan, The Brother BL Ship
- KimKana, The Teacher-Student GG Ship
- Kim/PanSoda, The GG Ship
- KhetSoda – The Friendzone Ship
- WayPing – The Official BG Ship
- AofPing – The Fictional BG Ship
- KimAngel – The Ghost Ship
- KimPan – The Accident Ship
- WayKhet – The Suspicious Ship
Which ship do you ship? Which ship do you think will sail to the end? Are there any ships that aren’t on this list, but you think is possible?
Let me know what you think!
And while you’re at it, enjoy this side by side comparison of The Shipper’s opening song’s official music video with the opening song of “The Full Time Wife Escapist” (逃げるは恥だが役に立つ Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu). Yes, they’re uncannily alike, notwithstanding all the other J drama elements peppered throughout The Shipper!
Disclaimer: All the pictures used in this blog post belonged to the relevant studios and publishing houses. Original creations / edits to the pictures are also credited to the owners, in the form of the links to the tweets and social media posts made by the owner. This post is made to show support for original productions of Thai BL genre, and to expose these enthralling creations to the more people.