Thursday, May 30, 2024

Leon and Raihan from Pokemon Sword and Shield are boyfriends, right?

When it comes to Pokemon Sword and Shield there’s a lot we can disagree on. Who is the best starter? Which version has the better exclusive Pokemon? Is the lack of a National Dex an affront to Pokemon or a clean slate for a new beginning?

But if there is one thing we can all agree on: Leon and Raihan are obviously boyfriends, right?

Pokemon games have always brought a wealth of new characters for fans to rally around, but it seems a common thread several players are catching onto is that something is clearly going on between the Galar League Champion and the Dragon gym leader. The game even begins with the two in a battle, which Leon apparently wins off-screen.

The two are established rivals, but it seems to go beyond that if you read things like Raihan’s in-game trainer card, which says he’s a skilled enough trainer to be a Pokemon League champion at plenty of other regions, but chooses to stay in Galar to maintain his long-standing rivalry with Leon. Then there’s the way they talk about each other. The awe, the reverence one must feel for Raihan to call Leon, the biggest disaster in a cast of disasters, a “modern hero” and gush about him being a “superstar” to relative strangers can only be true and honest-to-god love. Leon’s also got praise to throw in the direction of Raihan’s selfie-taking e-boy ass, always hyping up his “greatest rival” before absolutely dominating him in front of hundreds of people in the middle of a stadium.

Could this just be a respectful rivalry between two young men who are good at making animals fight each other for the amusement of others? Perhaps. But I, and what appears to be a non-insignificant amount of people have a different reading: Leon and Raihan are absolutely an item.

What does this relationship look like outside the small-minded confines of Sword and Shield’s main story? Raihan and his constantly online self is no doubt Facebook official and often throwing up selfies of him and his rivalmanced boyfriend as they take vacations across the Galar region. Leon is always hyping everyone around him up, so his love language is probably words of affirmation and he is constantly using his gung-ho attitude to encourage Raihan every time he loses. Then, perhaps, they might even kiss.

While this romance is between two rivals, most people who have jumped on this ship are portraying the two exactly as they’re seen in the game: respectful adversaries who also just happen to be madly in love. Viewing the relationship through that lens, a lot of fans have latched onto the ship as something super wholesome.

As with all good ships, the Raihan and Leon headcanon has brought about a ton of great art to go along with it. Some aren’t particularly safe for work, but a lot of it is just sweet and doubles down on the friendly rivalry between the two or how Raihan apparently is constantly out here seeking out Leon’s already abundant love and affection or insisting they be Instagram boyfriends.

Will Nintendo and Game Freak ever have the courage to show these two lovebirds together in an unambiguous relationship? Probably not. It would be foolish to expect it. But the fact that so many people are picking up on these signals shows that they’re basically like a couple who’s trying to keep their relationship on the down-low and failing in an incredibly theatrical fashion.

Leon and Raihan? We ship it and so does everyone else on Twitter.

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5 thoughts on “Leon and Raihan from Pokemon Sword and Shield are boyfriends, right?

  • And is it just me or does Raihan dress up a bit like Charizard? Leon’s favorite pokemon.. With the orange trimmings and similar looking tummy colour on his shirt? Trying to look a bit like a dragon himself. Bit of a coincidence don’t you think!

    Maybe another means of getting Leon’s attention ~☆

  • Omg this is now my favorite ship in the entire universe. They are so cute toghether!

  • I found this while working on a RaiLeon fic and I stopped working to read it and I read the “Then, perhaps, they might even kiss,” and my gay ass just had to stop everything for a minute because GOD PERHAPS THEY MIGHT EVEN KISS,

    • i kin this comment

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