The other day I saw a graphic on Facebook that claimed that the Fire Force anime was trending on Twitter as fans criticize the show’s abundant sexual fan service. I couldn’t tell when the graphic was made or when the supposed Twitter trend happened, but a quick search of past tweets show quite a few fans expressing distaste for the sexy fan service in the show, usually involving the character Tamaki’s clothes flying off, or the main character getting a “lucky sukebe” with her.
You Want Fan Service? Kaguya-Sama: Love is War has Fan Service!
Recently fans were blessed with an OAV of Kaguya-sama: Love is War, the popular anime about rich girl Kaguya Shinomiya and poor but intelligent boy Miyuki Shirogane who are madly in love, but both have too much pride to be the first one to confess to their feelings to the other. The OVA was unique because it was made up of almost pure fan service, from the ridiculous shower scene (which was a fantasy in the minds of Miyuki and Ishigami) to the 18+ manga they find later, which contains females who look suspiciously like Kaguya, Chika, and Miko.
Did you enjoy the recent OAV of #Kaguyasama #KaguyasamaLoveisWar? I did for reasons. It consisted of some great #fanservice moments, a great way to thank fans for loyally watching all these years. pic.twitter.com/aaX9eoTjmO
— Peter Payne (@JListPeter) May 31, 2021
I thought it was great, because of the inventiveness of the situations the characters found themselves in, as well the awkwardness of everyone needing to represent the school’s student council responsibly while being fascinated by the contents of the adult manga because they’re human beings.
Ten Reasons Why Anime Needs Fan Service!
Rather than “killing” anime, I believe appropriate fan service is absolutely important for anime to grow and thrive with fans. Here are ten ways sexy visuals help anime get better!
Fan Service Lightens Up Any Kind of Story
Most of us are drawn to anime because of the unique characters and highly dramatic stories, which include narratives that are properly resolved at some point, rather than endlessly droning on for decades like American superhero comics. But in the same way any story can be improved with an injection of comedy at the right moment, a sudden gust of wind can always make our day better.
It Connects us to Characters We’ve Just Met
When we’re checking out a new anime and don’t know what kind of story it’s going to tell us, sometimes some bouncing “plot” can encourage us to stick around while we wait for the real plot to get going.
It Connects Characters With other Characters
Sexy fan service can heighten the drama between two characters. In the outstanding Blend S, fans are rooting for Akizuki and Kaho to start dating. What could be add some spice to their budding relationship more than an accidental boob grab?
There’s Often a Lot Less Fan Service in Anime than we Think
Remember that confirmation bias makes us see what we expect to see more than we otherwise might, and people who are hypersensitive to sexy camera angles will see them everywhere. In mainstream anime, it’s quite common for the first episode to include a single bit of fan service to pull fans in…then never show anything after that. Other shows like K-On! trick fans into believing they’ve seen Mio’s iconic shimapan, when it was never actually shown on screen.
When Done Well, Fan Service Can be Glorious
Series which are based around sexy situations like Ikki Tousen or Trinity Seven have a difficult time coming up with even more innovative camera angles to entertain fans with. And they usually come through with flying colors.
Fan Service Doesn’t Have to be Sexual
There are many kinds of ways to give fans an emotional payoff that give them the same satisfying dopamine shot to their brain as a frilly panty shot. When Aoba takes Koh’s hand in the New Game! yuri anime, moving their relationship forward just a bit, my heart soars.
It Helps Anime Be Financially Successful
For shows with fanbases that expect sexy visuals, withholding it can lead to negative financial results. Brave Witches was a “side story” in the Strike Witches universe, but for some reason, the creators decided they didn’t want to pander to fans with sexy fanservice this time, which made it less popular among existing fans as a result. The third season Strike Witches: Road to Berlin restored the sexy camera angles, and it was glorious.
Don’t Like Fan Service? There are Many Other Genres
For every fan service-focused show like Agent Aika or Ikki Tousen, there are dozens of series that tell straight, serious stories, like Fumetsu no Anata e. Go watch that now, we’ll wait.
Fan Service has been Part of Anime Since Most of us have Been Alive
Whenever I see people protesting that sexual fan service has “killed” anime, I remind them that anime has always had it, and probably always will. Here’s a blog post documenting 20 ecchi fan service moments, some of which are closer to WWII than to today.
Fan Service is Probably Responsible for the Popularity of Anime Today
It’s easy for some fans to tsk tsk about classic shows like Sailor Moon adding upskirt shots to pull in male fans now, but we should take a moment and realize the sheer genius of Naoko Takeuchi, creating a series that brought boys and girls together by unifying the magical girl and sentai fighting team genres for the first time. Without bold moves like this, who can say that anime would have become the global cultural juggernaut it is today? Anything that brings in more fans is okay in my book!
Besides…you know you love it. Just admit it.
Thanks for reading this blog post on the importance of fan service in anime. Do you agree that some sexy visual imagery is important to the ongoing success of anime? Tell us in the comments, or reply to us on Twitter!
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