Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Is Fan Service a Bad thing in Anime

Fan service, It is something  that seems to go hand in hand with the word anime. I was reading a few articles written by feminist gamers on the subject that came out against the practice lately. I must admit I do agree with them for the most part. The main question is then, Why write an article when there are others already in existence? The answer is quite simple in the end and that is that many of these articles are written by women and avowed feminists. Many men automatically turn this off and dismiss this as biased in the reporting angle. To Me a straight male perspective on the issue can be useful in discussing the subject and may be less likely to meet with automatic defensiveness.


Now before we continue I want to make things clear. This article is going to contain a lot of examples of fan service and therefore viewer discretion is advised. I am going to try and be mostly tasteful in this article but I don’t want people coming at me complaining afterwards about the fan service pictures in the article about fan service.
What's worse is this is her battle outfit for the series.

The first thing that we should discuss is what is fan service. I mean it is talked about all the time after all and seems to pretty much be in all if not most anime to one level or another. Fan service is typically what it says it is, Fan Service. As the primary anime viewing population is male you can guess what kind of service it is. Pretty much anything that might excite the young male, such as panty shots, low cut shirts, bouncy breasts. Whatever might turn a young otaku on is pretty much all fan service is about.  
Your Typical Harem Anime

I want to first get into the pros of fan service. When you get to a series that is pretty much aimed directly at the young male audience for sexual purposes such as the harem genre (GXP, Heaven’s Lost Property, DearS). This becomes a useful tool within the series to draw the viewer in. In some cases the fan service is so over the top that the series becomes known purely for it (Oni Ai). In these instances I have with age stopped finding it as amusing it has its demographic and doesn’t really go beyond it (and doesn’t care).
Why!? What purpose does this have in a Zombie Apocalypse story?!

In reality the above is the only place I see fan service being useful. I will talk about two other types of fan service that I find as offenders. The first type is the type that makes me sad and that is the one that includes it in series that don’t even appear to relate to it at all. In these series there is an intriguing storyline that pulls you in but the fan service sends the story to a screeching halt, at times not belonging at all (I mean who looks for fan service in Corpse party for goodness sake). I can also say that fan service has a way of ruining a series in full (High School of the Dead) where the series showed such potential but they decided to dedicate episodes to women feeling each other up in the bath or giving odd boob physics. This to me is meaningless and therefore pointless.
Yes, They constantly show up skirt shots of this grade schooler. No, I will not post pics of it.

The second type is the uncalled for type. There are some fetishes in Japan that really need to stop. The loli fetish is one. I mean do we really need up skirt shots of 7 year olds?! This just isn’t about feminism in this angle as young boys are also given a sexual context in some area (Yuta Fetish anyone?) To me this is just wrong and though in some cases I have tolerated it in the past I do not believe it should exist in the first place.
Even for series like Hellsing this stupidity is a common occurrence and further degrades this character.

So in the end does fan service demean women. In short the answer is yes it does. This to me is not much of a reach and is no different than the scantily clad women selling beer on a Sunday afternoon. At the end of the day I feel that fan service is much like boys love in the since that it exploits something in order to appeal to a particular audience. Fan service can ruin series it can lead critics to looking at anime as being worthless and smutty and they have a point. I think that once fan service goes back to its proper place the world will align and things will be happy for all.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DVD Movie Review #191 Black Butler: Book of Circus

There are a lot of good anime series out there, and there are a lot of hit or miss anime series out there. There is no clearer case of this than the series “Black Butler” (Kuroshitsuji to those of you who only do the Japanese). This is a series that had an exquisite first season and then an un-needed and series tarnishing second season leaving it as a hit or miss for me. When I found two more series (Book of Circus and Book of Murder) were coming out I had my doubts but as an anal retentive person I took the plunge and made the purchase. So now without further regard I introduce Black Butler: Book of Circus.

This series is about Ciel Phantomhive, a Noble born child who had his parents slaughtered and his estate burned. In his darkest hour he managed to cry out to a demon to come to him in his time of need. Establishing a contract for service the Demon offered to stay in Ciel’s services until he has fulfilled his revenge and Ciel promised the most valuable thing he had left…his soul. This series appears to be a side story in the timeline of the first season even though reports say it is a sequel to the second season (no chance of that). This story is an arc where Ciel is ordered by the queen to investigate the disappearances of children from the streets of London. Their investigation brings them to a mysterious circus that may or may not be the at the center. This series follows the investigation from the beginning to its thrilling conclusion.

I loved the first series for many reasons and disliked the second for additional things. This series, though short is very much at home in the first half of the series. The plot is very exciting with the colorful cast of characters interacting within the intricate web that eventually leads to the revelation of what has happened. The characters are really the driving force in this series for any male viewers (Sebastian for some of the female ones). These characters are colorful and have rich well stocked back stories that make even the bad guys sympathetic. When you add to this the actual mystery story and dark undertones this makes for a great watch. One of the other aspects of the series is where you see Ciel out of his league in places and that gives his character added surprising depth. The music as always is one of the stars as well with a vibe that leaves you falling through the darkness into the depths of the London Underworld. The animation continues to be very well done and action incredibly fluid. Lastly the voice acting is on point (love the dub, thanks Funimation).

So we are also looking into the negative aspects of this series. I feel that they had to rush things over the 10 episode run making some aspects of the investigation come to a conclusion a bit…too quickly. I mean they search around and then they are done! I mean really! I think with a full season order this could have been much better done and the series could have been allowed to shine much brighter. I am also under the notion that the series tries to be too dark, I mean the violence to children may or may not have had that much justification.

In the end this is a very good series that fits very much within the folds of this series first season. I think as a stand-alone story it could have been longer but in the end this shows the series when playing to its roots can still stand on its own.

Rating:  8/10