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.