Good day class, today is going to be our lecture day and unfortunately I’ve chosen a bit of a heavy topic for us to start with. It’s the meaning of “Fan Service” or more what it should be called “Fan Exploitation”. I know, I know, this is something everyone has an opinion on and everyone wants to discuss what to do and what not to do, but please pay attention to what I have to say. It’s one more opinion for you to hear and to think on and the faster we go over this, the sooner we can move on to something a little more light-hearted for us. So get comfortable and lets get this over with.
I gotta get something off my chest here, it’s been a long time coming and I need to say it now: I love fan service. I love seeing bouncy breasts, bubbly butts, cleavage as large as the grand canyon and of course frontal shots that put real models to shame. Hell I’ll throw the occasional boy on boy action as well, it’s 2016 after all and there was nothing wrong with it in the first place. That being said there needs to be a line on how much is too much. Look, this is something I’ve been wanting to write but I’ve been holding back on it for a while now as I don’t know when would be the right time to say it: too much fan service can ruin an anime. However it isn’t fans service, not really, it’s more like what I want to call “Fan Exploitation”. You know what though? I still love it, and I think it’s great to have in the medium. It’s when it gets a little too much and bogs everything down is where I have a problem.
Let me state this first though: Fan-Service/Fan-Exploitation and Hentai are two different things. Hentai is supposed to be porn. It doesn’t have to have a plot, it doesn’t have to have to be any more complicated that “two people have sex, the end”. If a Hentai does have a plot, then that is an entirely different subject I’m more than happy to discuss when I’m not living with my parents, who will definitely ask why I’m watching a women in a high school uniform being violated sexually by an array of penis shaped tenticles. For now though, let’s just keep this simple with Hentai is meant to be hard core porn and Fan-Service is meant to be borderline soft core porn at worst. One other thing I need to get out of the way: Fan-Exploitation is also not a bad thing. Again, I freaking love it. It’s something that is almost entirely unique to anime and manga; and before anyone mentions Western style of animation and comics, yes fan-exploitation exists there too but we’re not talking about those today. Today we’re just focusing on anime and manga to a certain extent.
The biggest problem I’ve been having with anime lately, especially new anime, is that fan-exploitation seems to have gotten a bit overboard lately. Series like “No Game, No Life”, which had a great premise, fantastic animation, and likable characters; was soured by the fact it really relied on the fan-exploitation. I didn’t hate the series because of it, but I was just disappointed in it by the fan-service overload. I liked the series, I wished it got a second season, but no the anime has only twelve episodes to it’s name and that is all it sadly is going to get. I won’t say the anime was deliberately canceled by it, because it wasn’t actually. From what I heard and could find, turns out the company producing the anime wasn’t doing so well and unfortunately had to pull the plug on the whole thing. Another series that I really enjoyed, and really wished they had tone down the amount of unnecessary fan-exploitation was “Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”. Now, the series does have another problem with gender bending some of the gods; seriously why the hell is Vulcan a woman, worse why isn’t she peg legged? Would the eye-patch and peg leg had made people assume she was a pirate goddess? Anyway focusing back on this, the series had some problems with overdoing boob shots, crotch shots, etc. now of course it was played for comedy and I am definitely willing to overlook a good portion of that because it works when it does but man, at some point the titillation needed to be dialed back a bit. When characters were actually being developed I was even more interested in the series, way more than if I would have been watching it for pure titillation.
Really it’s easy for anime to dress itself up as something that is pure titillation and little plot, but you know what? That’s okay. There isn’t anything wrong with that so long as the show is flat out honest about itself. Don’t say you’re trying to tell some high concept story half way through the last twelve episodes of your first season when you’ve been doing nothing but going over the top with the gratuitous amounts of ass and boobs. If you did it for comedy and used that time to establish characters? Fine, in fact I’ll respect it more as you clearly planned everything out in the first place. No problems with this line of thinking in honesty, in fact let’s encourage it for future anime creators. This is where “My Wife is the Student Council President” comes in and kind of proves my point. The show relies on it’s fan-exploitation, and while it’s not necessarily bad it really does feel a little too much. The fact it’s also so short makes me wonder if the anime was really meant to be made into a hentai, which hey I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it was one. Maybe I’m just getting too old for anime that insists fourteen or fifteen year old women are sexually attractive, which fine I’ll admit I am. That doesn’t necessarily make the problem go away though, and it doesn’t change the fact that the anime really has no substance to it. It’s a typical and boring love story, that is also a Harem anime on top of it. Not a very good Harem anime with comedy that has a constant punchline of “TITS GET IT!?” Yeah. I get it, I ain’t laughing but I get it. Look the anime is relatively harmless in the end but come on we should want something more interesting than just “titties everywhere”.
It isn’t wrong to want T&A in your anime, however it is wrong when your anime has nothing else going for it outside of that and you still insist that it isn’t porn. Look, as I said I love seeing boobs and butts, and everything to do with them. In fact I genuinely laugh when it’s a well timed joke. It also can be really uncomfortable when you’re watching underage characters with large busts doing sexual positions but hey, the medium is normally meant for teens and not adults but hey, My Little Pony is meant for young girls but look at that fandom…. just keep the safe-search on just so that you don’t see all the horrors of that. You can be a smart anime with fantastic ass shots, no one is going to hold that against you, in fact we’re all probably going to enjoy it. I mean have you seen Kill la Kill? Have you seen how popular that anime got and still is? Kill la Kill is going to be well remembered, not just because of how much fan-exploitation it gave viewers but because it told a story that was better than what it could have told while using said fan-exploitation as commentary. If you just wanna make porn, make porn, even good porn has a decent plot outside of “everyone fucks”.
Anime has gotten quite the awkward reputation among the “normal people”. Even in Japan, it’s still considered a little creepy to see grown adults fawn over some two-dimensionally drawn characters, or obsess over statues that are incredibly detailed. Heck, how many of you still find it hard to watch anime around people who aren’t fans of the medium? I mean, whenever I watch something like One Piece or Fairy Tail near my dad, he gives this condescending attitude and rolls his eyes at me and whatever I’m watching whenever the female characters come on screen. He knows that I’m not thrilled about stuff like that either but it does make me feel ashamed to watch stuff like Nisekoi or Kiznaiver, series that have actual plots and characters but tend to have fan-exploitation with them. To be fair we’ve had series like Tenchi Muyo, Love Hina, and others that really were a mix of focusing on Fan-Exploitation to get dvd sales (like Love Hina) and some that were a good genuine mix of plot and T&A. I can’t fault the medium for having something that literally is unique to it, but at the same time I can fault when the product has nothing of substance in writing or voice acting, but does nothing but show off unnecessary exploitation.
This was something I wanted to talk about for a while now, hell I’ll probably keep talking about it down the road as it’s something that is going to stay relevant to me as a viewer. Next time, I’m going to talk about something a little less preachy and more entertaining. Until next time, watch those crazy chinese cartoons with the big boobs and enjoy them more than you probably should! Class is dismissed, and we’ll look at something a lot more fun for everyone and not just another preachy lecture. See you all next class!