Fanservice has become a commonplace and fairly accepted part of anime but it is still generally maligned. For a lot of us, the very notion of fanservice is associated with cheap tricks meant to cover up otherwise subpar anime, and sadly that’s often exactly what it is, but I think there might be an argument to be made on behalf of fanservice. Maybe even two… Hear me out:

In Defense of Fanservice in Anime
The brilliant interplay of light and shadow really elevates the shot

If you’ve read anything else on this blog, you probably know that I’ve made no secret of my general  appreciation  for being serviced. Wait, that came out wrong. What I mean is, I like looking at pretty things and I enjoy when show creators thoughtfully add them into their work just for me! Anime is not an individualistic art form. By and large, it does not simply exist as a means of pure expression for their creator rather there is a flow between creator and audience and a certain feedback. The shows exist to elicit something from their viewers: joy, interest, some degree of escapism, and as such the desires of the audience become an important aspect in shaping those very shows.

In Defense of Fanservice in Anime
Yes, I do think we can get people to watch a show about  a high school swim team…

Now before we can properly discuss fanservice we need to define it. As generally understood fanservice is material in a work of fiction or in a fictional series which is intentionally added to please the audience. It usually has no bearing on the rest of the work and can even clash with the remaining elements when not incorporated properly. Although we most often think of fan service as visual elements (i.e, scantily clad heroes, characters that constantly find themselves in inexplicably revealing poses, strategically ripped wardrobe or even highly detailed slow pans of glamour shots), fanservice can also include story elements, plot twists or even characters that seem generally superfluous to the story as a whole but are beloved by the audience – or at least are meant to be. It’s easy to understand why someone would be dubious of such tricks. After all, properly crafting a story is a delicate balancing act and throwing all the useless stuff in is bound to make it worse but, it’s short sighted to think that just because a series happens to have a few undeniably attractive characters in perhaps somewhat skimpy uniforms, it doesn’t also have an interesting and deep storyline to offer or exciting action or both. Just like people can be attractive AND smart (I’ve been told) so can animes. If you happen to enjoy drawing beautiful people, you shouldn’t feel obligated to ugly them up just to have your work taken seriously.

In Defense of Fanservice in Anime
No – it’s not!

Look, I know what you’re saying – people can be smart and pretty in theory but in practice… Why try if you don’t have to? There is some truth to the belief that fanservice is a simple and convenient way to distract from an essentially flawed or simply boring product and that resources spent on carefully animating bouncing bosoms with ragdoll physics would be better spent on fixing plot holes or giving characters actual personalities. But the fact that resources are limited can actually be an argument in favour of adding a bit of extra eye candy. Fanservice does sell. It may not hold your interest for long but we can easily **see** which shows are likely to get huge audiences for at least a few episodes, from certain demographics. Anime studios aren’t idiots. They might not be willing to fund your project on fanservice alone but adding some in and increasing your chances at getting a few more viewers because of it, will make your anime that much more attractive to producers and that much more likely to get a bigger budget. In turn, the creators can use that budget to add in actual substantial elements to the anime. Some may lack the ambition or talent to do so but at least those who don’t, will get the opportunity. At the end of the day, anime is a business and financial consideration are almost as important as creative ones.

In Defense of Fanservice in Anime
It’s all about the art

Not to mention that when done right, a bit of fanservice can become an asset onto itself. Carefully thought-out costume designs which are primarily meant to be alluring can lead to really interesting visuals. Since a big part of sexy also has to do with “new”, good character designers will tend to try and make their outfits skimpy in a different way or alluring but functional. This is an extra consideration which can admittedly bog down a design but can also force someone to come up with something truly unique. The same can be said about story elements. Throwing a romantic coupling in haphazardly just to appease the masses, is likely to be boring and could even break you narrative. But weaving it in carefully may actually make the writer discover a new facet of their own universe and breath new life into a storyline. After all, if so many people thought a particular turn of events would be a good idea, there may be a solid and justifiable reason for it that is worth exploring. Some shows have even openly incorporated fanservice as an active part of the narrative. Probably most notable for this is Kill la Kill which gleefully and unabashedly embraces some of the most base fanservice to the point of parody. Ok, now you’re saying, hummm, it’s not the same thing – you said it yourself, it’s a parody. Well yeah, it is, but it’s still half naked…seventh eighth naked girls jumping around, and part of the audience was there for that, at least at first – wouldn’t you think? The show was still awesome.

In Defense of Fanservice in Anime
Yes it was!

Sometimes fanservice is just a touch more subtle. A few years ago I read up on how creators of sports based mangas (and the eventual anime adaptations), in an effort to gain extra readership among female audiences, had simply started incorporating bishonen character designs to their titles. This way, they would not be alienating their established male audiences with romantic subplots or female centered storylines, and as long as the art was not overly shoujo, most men would not care. But girls would start buying the mangas to drool over their husbandos. I’m sure the sales pitch was much classier. It did work though. Today a much larger share of the average sports anime audience is made up of women. This has ensured a more steady and continued popularity for the genre, making studios much more comfortable in greenlighting new entries and as a result we can count on at least one new title per season making it all the way to north America for our enjoyment. YAY. Fanservice made the world better! We can also see a melding of shoujo and sports genres bringing us fusion titles like Free and Yuri on ice, both of which enjoyed huge popularity on their releases. I started talking about sports anime and forgot my point… I do that… The point was that subtle concessions to the audience can be leveraged into longevity and ultimately allow an entire genre to flourish and grow.

In Defense of Fanservice in Anime
Oops – too far

This said, I’m not saying fanservice can’t go wrong. It can, and does, frequently. I can’t tell you the number of perfectly ok animes that are rendered unwatchable because they insist on sexualizing children or putting them into predatory relationships with adults. Why so much pedophilia?? Really? The best you can expect from that is mild squick, the very best. Even when not openly criminal (child pornography is illegal in lots of places you know), it’s pretty easy to fall into one of the many traps I’ve mentioned above and it has proven the downfall of many a titles.

In Defense of Fanservice in Anime
Can you go get me that thing over there…please?

So what about it you say? At the end of the day, the only thing I really wanted to say is don’t discount a show just because it seems to offer up some fanservice. There is a way for it to be done right to be enjoyable, and there is a reason for its existence. After all, pretty people need love too…..

What – you thought I was going to do this sober?

Suggested drink: Slippery nipple

  • Every time there is a beach/hot springs episode – take a shot
  • Every time there is strategically ripped clothing – take a shot
  • Every time there is comedic underwear exposure – feel a little awkward
  • Every time you see absolute cleavage – take a shot
  • Every time there is a butler or a maid – take a shot
  • Every time there is homoerotic subtest – cheer
  • Every time there is a clumsy cute girl – roll your eyes
  • Every time there is a sweat covered body – take a shot
  • Every time there is romanticized abuse – complain!
  • Every time there is shoulder up nudity – take a shot 

In Defense of Fanservice in Anime

17 thoughts

  1. we later see the woman who serves lord leviathan is revealed to have gold piercings she also later puts on gold ankle bracelets as well she later sells all her piercings to buy new items including her gold ankle bracelets. she later gets pregnant with the child of lord leviathan a daughter who comes out of a huge egg not coming out the womb but out of the anus her daughter is a giant. she has horns, fangs, claws, pointy ears, a long forked tongue, a demonic tail looking like a arrowhead and demonic bat like wings that are small at birth but grow larger when she is a teenager she later becomes a 16 year old teenager quite quicker than most normal humans and has big breasts that have long extended stretched nipples that are also enlarged and a big permanently prolapsed ass.

  2. we also see the woman who serves lord leviathan wear a thin white sumo style loincloth that has her butt sticking out and the loincloth digs into her pussy the front side of her loincloth is very short and it barely covers her pussy she wears this along with a thin transparent plastic food wrapping that is twenty times forty centimeter in length it is wrapped on her chest and she uses see through tape to make sure it sticks on her body she also has a red similar loincloth, a blue similar loincloth, a black similar loincloth, and a yellow similar loincloth to wear as well. she also has a purple/ violet one, a orange one, a pink one, a cyan one, a green one, a gray one, a magenta one, and a brown one as well.

  3. the woman who serves lord leviathan later buys white thigh high stockings and black stiletto heeled shoes she is a expert in using judo and karate like moves plus wrestling and boxing moves as well often exposing her breasts and her butt when she fights her opponents. she has big breasts and a big ass she has dark brown skin long black hair and green eyes.

  4. we also meet a woman whose the member of a cult that uses white holy magic and worship the god of goodness and love she wears a purple catholic nuns style habit that has a miniskirt and white garter belt stockings she wears white panties and a white bra the god of goodness, love, and the supreme creator deity of Elysium is named lord Marduk she also joins the elemental hunters. we also meet a woman that serves the god of evil, war, destruction, and death in this world known as lord leviathan she wears a ragged torn Japanese style schoolgirl uniform that shows her midriff and the underside of her large breasts she does not wear any bras or panties or even shoes or socks she has on piercings on her eyebrows, ears, tongue, nose, lip, her clitoris, her anus, her navel, and her nipples she also has on a slave collar looking like a dog or cat collar. she also wears white rubber gloves and has a whip as her primary weapon along with a magic wand that use dark magic.

  5. we also meet a woman who wears a indigo kimono with a white cotton cloth bandage chest wrapper and a white loincloth she is a expert in swordsmanship and archery along with using a pole, a spear, a Japanese style war fan, a staff, a pointed prong shaped metal baton with two curved prongs projecting from the handle, a stick with a perpendicular attached a third of the way down the stick, a sickle, a pair of chained sticks, a steel knuckle, a shield, a weighted chain, a short staff, a half staff, and a boat oar like weapon she is also a expert in using blades and darts from a blowgun she joins the elemental hunters.

  6. we later meet a hillbilly woman who wears blue overalls has big breasts white skin blue eyes and blonde hair she does not wear any bras or panties under her overalls and also does not wear shoes or socks she has the power of fertile feet and a very powerful green thumb giving her the ability to create and control plants. then we meet a native american woman who can manipulate fate itself from past present and future they all join the elemental hunters.

  7. we also meet a sexy gypsy woman who wears a red flamenco dancer outfit with white garter belt stockings with a white bra and white panties underneath she also wears a orange two piece micro thong bikini for the beach or pool she also joins the guild she has the powers of using magical songs and dances to seduce any man or any evil villain she encounters. she also joins the elemental hunters guild.

  8. we also meet a female ghost of a girl who died from suicide by hanging who is now a servant to a evil demonic sorcerer named lord leviathan a female former young castaway orphan also joins the elemental hunters she does not have any magical powers expect she is a master of Chinese martial arts when she is found and adopted by a Chinese martial arts master named master Yangon. she leaves master Yangon at age 16 to join the elemental hunters.

  9. we also meet a woman with superhuman intelligence, a woman with superhuman toughness, a woman with superhuman reflexes, a woman with superhuman senses, a woman with superhuman speed, and a woman with superhuman strength they all are members of the elemental hunters which is a magical guild. they must stop the evil lord leviathan from taking over their world with his army of evil sorcerers and sorceresses who use dark magic.

  10. we also meet a woman who can nullify powers with her touch, a woman who can bring to life her imaginary friends by drawing them and adding colors to them and control them, a demonically possessed woman, a woman with a physic radar, a woman who can warp reality, a woman who can see using other peoples eyes, a woman with a shatter point tap, a woman who can use a shock wave like clap, a woman who can use tornado like moves, a woman who can talk to animals, a woman with spider like senses, a woman who can create and control spikes growing from her body, a woman who can create and control weapons like guns and swords from her own body, a woman with acid spit, a woman with a super powerful breath, a woman with unbreakable bones, a woman with a vacuum like mouth, a woman who can drain energy like a vampire, a woman who can walk on water, a woman who can crawl on walls, a woman who cannot feel pain or any emotions due to being a robot, a woman who can become wreathed with flames covering her body, and a woman with x ray vision are also members of this magical guild the guild is named the elemental hunters.

  11. we also meet a woman with the powers of the moon, a woman with the powers of the stars, a woman with space based powers, a woman with time based powers, a woman with a super sonic scream, a woman who can create and control gas, smoke, and mist, a woman who can create and control hellfire, a woman who can create and control dark matter, a woman who can create and control antimatter, a woman who can absorb and donate energy, a woman who can eat just about anything, a woman who can create and control beams of powerful energy from her hands and her eyes, a woman who can create and control faux flames, a woman with fake memories due to being a robot, a woman who can fly, a woman who can jump in a single bound, and a woman with natural night vision all live in the world of Elysium. we also meet a woman whose skin can become a instant armor, a woman who can create and control chi and life energy, a woman who is a living lie detector and can detect evil, a woman with the kiss and touch of death, a woman with healing abilities who can heal any physical injury or illness with her touch, a woman who can make any living thing rot with her touch, a woman who can open and shut any door and also create and control portals, a woman who can create and control paper, a woman who can manipulate animals, and a woman who can copy powers by touch all are members of this magical guild.

  12. we also meet a woman who can manipulate probability, a woman who can transmute any element , a woman who can stretch like rubber, a woman who can change size at will, a woman who uses a always accurate attack with her bare hands, a woman who uses anti magic, a woman who can reflect any attack and can create and control force fields, a woman who can astral project and enter peoples dreams and spy on along with changing them to her will, a woman with aura vision, a woman who can transform into a ball of light, a woman with very good luck, a woman who can bounce like a rubber ball, a woman with chameleon like camouflage, a woman who can charm and seduce any person or any living thing, a woman who can create and control cold flames, a woman who can create and control razor like winds, a woman with a deadly gaze, a woman who can create elemental barriers and absorb elements, a woman who can create and control crystals, a woman who can manipulate love and emotions, a woman with poisonous hair and skin, a woman who can create and control lava, and a woman with the powers of the sun all are members of this magical guild in the world of Elysium where the story takes place in.

  13. i have a brand new harem anime or manga concept featuring a male sorcerer/ wizard named Harold he is the leader of a magical guild featuring a woman who can create and control illusions, a woman who can turn invisible, a woman who can use telekinesis, a woman who can create and control darkness and shadows, a woman who can manipulate gravity, and a woman who can become intangible.

Leave me a comment and make my day!