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 When is fanservice appropriate?

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RLinksoul
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PostSubject: When is fanservice appropriate?   Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:18 am

I was gonna make this thread on MAL but I doubt I'd get a serious answer out of any of them, so here it is. I apologize if this topic is bothersome to the folks here.

When it comes to the state of modern anime, fanservice is often one of the biggest reasons people see it decaying. It's often the reason people view entire libraries of anime as terrible, regardless of their content. Some would say "Just look past the fanservice" but the question on my mind is "How much can that work?"

I think a lot of my issues with fanservice can be summed up if we liken it to a dessert. A treat. I feel that fanservice should be something sprinkled onto a work as a bonus. The problem (according to me) is that a lot of anime tend to view fanservice as the main course, and make entire anime with poorly written plots that are just riddled with Z-cups swinging around in people's faces. To the makers of these shows, fanservice is more important than decent writing, and so the work becomes shallow and pointless to watch unless you're specifically in it for the T&A.

This is why I don't have a problem with beach episodes, even in a show with a serious plot. It's a breather from the main action and drama, and a chance for the characters and viewers to relax and unwind from the tension of the previous episodes. It can also be a chance for the characters to bond, perhaps through physical contact, though preferably not unwarranted groping.

Another problem is when a show thinks it can have its cake and eat it too. An anime that immediately comes to mind is Cross Ange. Aside from being sexist as all get out, the show has a huge problem with not knowing when to pull back the fanservice. Not only is it thrown in your face every ten seconds with such excessive content that it's laughable, it's also used during highly inappropriate situations.

What should be a somewhat heartwarming talk between a mother and her teenager daughter, is ruined by the mother's laughably over-the-top cleavage exposing attire, and the daughter's translucent nightgown. Several characters are mourning the gruesome deaths of three people? Let's pan the camera in front of the protagonist's crotch as she wears nothing but bandages with blatant underboob.

I mean, just look at the uniforms that the characters wear when they pilot their badly done CGI mechs to battle dangerous, bad CGI dragons.

Now, as much as heavy fanservice shows don't appeal to me, I can appreciate that it's at least being as ridiculous as possible and doesn't pretend to be anything else. It's not promoting itself as a serious story with strong themes that the viewer might expect to have explored. It's not expecting you to invest yourself emotionally in the events taking place. It's just silly fun over-the-top fanservice.

Of course there's always exceptions. I don't even want to know what went into the minds of the people who made Eiken. And of course there's Moetan with its golden rule of "It doesn't matter how much the protagonist looks like a five year old if we justify it by saying they're seventeen. Then we can sexualize them all we want!"

And that's another thing right there. There's a huge difference between sexual appeal and objectification. 
It's one thing to have a female character wear a revealing outfit, but 1 ) It should be her choice to wear the outfit, and 2 ) Her body and appearance should never be treated as more important than her character.

This is why I love Mia Fey of the Ace Attorney series. She has such a well fleshed out personality and story, aside from looking kinda ridiculous when channeled by Maya or Pearl, the series doesn't draw attention to her body, or reduce her to being eye candy. I can actually ignore this aspect and focus on so much more about her.

This next part might get a little iffy, so I'm gonna spoiler it for those who might not be comfortable with it.

Spoiler:
 

This kind of thing is why, as much as I wouldn't watch a show like Yuri Kuma or Utena, I can't be too upset with them, as sexuality is an explored subject in them. It can get a little excessive (in the former at least) but it's not entirely just there for visual appeal.

It really shows how much of a financial crisis the anime industry is in when they constantly churn out shows where perversion and fanservice reign supreme because they know the otaku will give them the most of their profit. It's even sadder when when these shows are so blasted with censoring that it's almost pointless to even watch them. Giant white beams going across the screen are just ridiculous. 

I get that they want to entice viewers to buy the blu ray, but when your show has fanservice so excessively that you can't show most of it, why even watch the TV version? Who's to say the blu ray is even going to have anything worth buying? The way this can be done correctly is to give your viewers a taste of the fanservice, enough that they'll KNOW buying the BD is worth it, instead of having them buy a big question mark.

Wow this went on for longer than I thought.
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PostSubject: Re: When is fanservice appropriate?   Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:12 am

I don't have too strong of an opinion about the idea of fanservice itself. But honestly I can't say that I've seen many good fanservice centric shows. In fact, pretty much all of the ones I've seen are terrible.

I actually sat down and watched High School DxD because of how highly regarded it is among ecchi fans. But I get the feeling that the reason why it's so highly regarded is less because 'it's well written' and more because 'it's an ecchi anime that sometimes takes itself seriously'. But to me the show just felt like two mediocre shows from completely different genres awkwardly merged into one. But as bad as both of those elements are on their own what annoys me the most is when they meet halfway.

If you intend to take the show seriously, the constant panty shots and naked boobies are going to make life very difficult for you. If you have an appreciation for lowbrow raunchy comedy (Or you're there specifically because of the boobs and panties) you're going to have to sift through a ton of subpar battle shonen esque drama.

That's not to say sex should never, ever be brought up in anime. I really like Ikuhara's stuff and he's dealt with sexual themes on more than a few occasions. I've also got no problem with raunchy comedy (I think Seitokai Yakuindomo is one of the funniest shows I've ever seen). What I do have a problem with is the fact that one of the biggest trends in anime is shows that rely almost entirely on fanservice to sell discs.

It's not really what I'd call a trend at this point, but this season brought with it an ecchi comedy series about dirty joke terrorism with a title so long I can't be bothered remembering it. What I didn't like about the show is the fact that it seemed more concerned with either shocking or arousing its audience than making actual jokes. And this isn't shock comedy for the purpose of making social commentary either. It seems like the only reason it even exists is to draw attention to itself like some obnoxious Internet troll.

So while the general idea of fanservice doesn't bother me, I really don't enjoy fanservice centric shows. I can accept something like Rosario Vampire as harmless generic fluff but for the most part I think it's a really awful trend that needs to stop already.


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PostSubject: Re: When is fanservice appropriate?   Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:03 pm

Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai is a rather well done social commentary on the dangers of being overprotective of children. It did nothing to shock its audience but rather used dirty language and imagery to illustrate the absurdity of trying to deny that people have sex and think about it a lot. (A minor consequence of being a sexually reproductive species) 


As far as I can tell fanservice comes in a few varieties:
-played up for laughs (Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou) 
-handled by the designated fanservice character (Jitsu wa Watashi Wa) 
-there in the background, kinda muted (Gate: Jietai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri)
-nonexistent (Non Non Biyori Repeat)
-there to cover up weak storytelling (Venus Project: Climax)
-okazu (Well, this one is self-explanatory)


None of this seems like a trend upward; if anything it is just the status quo that has been in place since the 80s.  I find that there are many more titles that fall under the nonexistent category than any other. The next largest would be the background category. These titles have a few scenes or maybe one episode that could be considered fanservice. True, the more fanservicey ones get more marketing and are easier to come across online, but that doesn't make them more numerous. 


A better question is when does the depiction of a female become fanservice? Is a bath scene where you can only see the head and neck of a female more or less fanservicey than a fully clothed female splattered with cream? Is a business suit utilitarian or fetish fuel? What about a bikini? A school uniform? 



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PostSubject: Re: When is fanservice appropriate?   Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:35 pm

I agree with OP almost to detail.

Except from Utena being considered fanservice, Some things might be considered fanservice but I don't think they are.


here is why (spoilers)
Spoiler:
 


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PostSubject: Re: When is fanservice appropriate?   Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:10 pm

Chopstickman wrote:
Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai is a rather well done social commentary on the dangers of being overprotective of children. It did nothing to shock its audience but rather used dirty language and imagery to illustrate the absurdity of trying to deny that people have sex and think about it a lot. (A minor consequence of being a sexually reproductive species)
But that concept doesn't exactly lend itself to the long running Light Novel series format. If the guys behind South Park decided to tackle a subject like that they could probably get the message across in one episode and with much better jokes.

If the author's main focus was social commentary, I don't see why he couldn't have done it in one episode himself. All it really needed to say is right there in that first episode. But that's clearly not the focus. It's less social commentary and more a raunchy sex comedy made for the otaku by an otaku. And trust me when I say there's no shortage of those around.

I haven't finished the series yet, but every episode I've seen after that point has mostly just been repetitive Light Novel humour that either tries to hammer in the exact same point that's already been perfectly clear since episode one or shock the audience for no other reason than to get a reaction. At least there's an attempt to shock. My personal reaction to the jokes in the show have ranged from mild disgust to completely apathy which I can pretty much guarantee was not the intended reaction.


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PostSubject: Re: When is fanservice appropriate?   Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:32 pm

Hlove wrote:
Except from Utena being considered fanservice,

Oh sorry, I actually lumped those two together in the wrong place. When I mentioned Utena I was specifically thinking of what I was talking about in the spoiler in the first post. Utena has some... uncomfortable things that despite being explored and not treated as a good thing, I still wouldn't watch it.
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PostSubject: Re: When is fanservice appropriate?   Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:55 am

RLinksoul wrote:
Hlove wrote:
Except from Utena being considered fanservice,

Oh sorry, I actually lumped those two together in the wrong place. When I mentioned Utena I was specifically thinking of what I was talking about in the spoiler in the first post. Utena has some... uncomfortable things that despite being explored and not treated as a good thing, I still wouldn't watch it.

aaa it makes sense then ^^
and yes a lot of things can be uncomfortable in Utena, but that's Ikuhara I guess.

Another thing Ikuhara has put his hands on bringing a little bit of fanservice but always tactful and never too much is Sailor Moon

you would get a panty shoot here and there, but never in your face, and you could easily drop it in the pool of silliness in many episodes of the classic


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