Fanservice: A Love/Hate Relationship (mostly hate)

To be perfectly honest, my disdain for the concept of fanservice in anime can be pretty much be summed up in this little gif:

fantastic-mr-fox-bean-s-rage-o

BUT!!

As much as I would love to go on a mindless rant about my hatred for fan service: A) It’s already been done, and B) It would do a great disservice to the points I’m trying to make with this initial blog post. I think the best way to get my opinion across would be by breaking down the crux of my argument against fanservice: Immersion and the actual Purpose of it in the context of the show.

Whether you are at an outdoor sporting event, a Broadway show, playing a video game or even just listening to the latest schlock by Beyoncé, you are in some way immersing yourself into that particular form of media. In other words, you are momentarily cutting yourself off from the reality around you to enjoy that particular form of entertainment. That is the same experience I get when I watch anime. I want to become lost in both the story and world being portrayed before me. A little cliche and cheesy, but that is what I want from any form of media I subscribe to. Fan service, however, only serves to break me away from said immersion into the material and take me off on an unnecessary tangent.

Really, Gargantia? REALLY?!
Really, Gargantia? REALLY?!

Allow me to give an example of what I mean. Let’s take the movie Frozen, the highest grossing animated film of all time. Great characters, great visuals, fast pace animation. It has the whole package in most peoples’ eyes. Now, with that in mind, let’s say in the middle of the “ Love is an Open Door” song sequence, Anna suddenly falls on top of Hans and ends up in a position where her dress is hiked up and her panties exposed to him. The majority of viewers would be immediately turned off by this scene, and it would ruin whatever sense of immersion they once had. That is  what fan service has done, for me at least, to a ton of anime I would deem entertaining if not for these unnecessary additions.

Did they REALLY need to be made bigger?

This point is further emphasized by my second reason for disliking fan service: it’s purpose within the context of the narrative being told. I’ll try to keep the wall of text small this time around. xD Simply put, if it doesn’t fit within the frame of the anime you initially wanted to make, why have it in there? Or rather, if you have a genuinely unique idea that would garner tons of attention on its own, why taint it by adding uber breasts and gratuitous panty shots?

Take the concept for the anime Basquash. Giant robots wearing Nike branded shoes and playing basketball. The 9-year-old kid inside of me jumped for joy at the mere thought of this idea being brought to life. Color me surprised when I watched the 1st episode and learned the creators were more concerned about the basketballs in the main female characters’ top rather than the ones bouncing on the court. Here’s what I mean:

Yeah, you saw right. I did not edit that clip at all. The camera literally held on her chest for that long. They literally had the golden goose in their hands and let it slip away by playing it safe and taking the eggs that were already laid. BUT, if you think she’s the worst that it gets, allow me to introduce you to Haruka(credit to akiraves for the vid):

But, some of you ask: “ How do you use fan service in the context of the anime”? Easily answered. Here’s a scene from Dragon ball.

Ya see the difference? Yes, it was a pointless panty shot scene, but it’s much more tolerable because the situation in which it occurred was much more believable and made sense in the grand scheme of things.

I’d like to close things by saying that I am in no way condemning anyone who enjoys ecchi series or shows filled with fan service. If that’s your thing, then more power to you. However, as a long time fan, I just wish companies would have more faith in the material they are handed and not fall back on the safe bet of “ Sex Sells” Even if the idea has been done before, that doesn’t mean it can’t be tweaked to be a bit different without relying on breasts and panties.

If you have chance, look up Gigguk on Youtube and check out his rant on the subject. Won’t post the link here cause lord knows this post doesn’t need anymore of them. But, what do I know? That’s Just My 2 Cents

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6 thoughts on “Fanservice: A Love/Hate Relationship (mostly hate)

  1. I just wish companies would have more faith in the material they are handed and not fall back on the safe bet of “ Sex Sells”

    This is a really good point. My own personal issues with fanservice and all the problems I see that raising with regard to gender and sexuality (and disregarding of course those shows that are out-and-out ecchi in genre, in which case the fanservice is the entire point), fanservice generally just doesn’t do an overall story any favours. And it’s a shame that so many otherwise solid shows fall back on this kind of content, because it’s a blatant sign that the money matters more than the art. I tend to blame the audience as a whole for this more than the creators and studios involved, since most shows have to pander to the lowest common denominator if they’re going to make any money, and the anime industry is in a pretty bad place financially as it is – if people didn’t like or want fanservice, it wouldn’t be an issue to begin with. That said, it’s all a cycle, so everyone bears at least some of the responsibility.

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    • Which of why we as fans need to help destroy or at least temper the market for fanservice heavy shows. If there is no market and no money to be made, then there won’t be as many anime with abundant amounts of fanservice

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      • Honestly, I don’t think my opinion matters all that much. With a few exceptions, anime is and has always been made with Japanese audiences and their tastes in mind – whether overseas fans like or not isn’t typically a major concern for the vast majority of anime studios and those that work there. This may well be (veeery gradually) changing, but even as someone living in Japan, I’m under no illusions that my opinion counts for anything in the eyes of most of those involved in the industry.

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      • I’m sure there are those in Japan that share the same opinion. But, given how engrained ecchi, moe and the like are in the anime community of Japan, I doubt there will ever be a shake up big though to change the industry. One can always hope though

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  2. Just saw this as part of The Well-Red Mage’s community event, and I love this. Needless fanservice is why I don’t watch anime despite the fact that I love the art style. It’s frustrating when you are intrigued by a concept but then have to endure mostly fanservice to get only tiny glimpses of the concept that drew you in in the first place.
    Of course, anime isn’t the only medium that’s guilty. Whenever I start watching a new TV show here in the states, I always brace myself for the obligatory first episode sex scene. So many series do it. It’s as if the creators think they need at least a little bit of sexuality in the first episode, and then people will be hooked forever. Even shows that never have sexual content again for the rest of their run time will still have something in the pilot.

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    • I’ve been a victim of that crap too. I stopped watching Jupiter Jones (think that’s the name( right after that sex scene in the first episode. It was so out of place

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