Brethren are we, I salute you
I like to fashion myself as a connoisseur of fanservice. An…ass aficionado perhaps? Or, as Blissmo artfully put it (while spelling my name wrong *tear), “I likes boobies.” What a similarly inclined person is bound to notice about fanservice, is that what constitutes it tends to change. While contemplating the other day the rampant censoring designed to get you to buy DVDs with nipples in them, I came up with the idea for this post.
Warning: This post will obviously be NSFW, although there will be no explicit nudity until you click the links labeled as such.
Coverups- Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu
In addition to being one of the most hilarious anime episodes of all time, the onsen episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu provides a good example of what I guess you could consider the most “artful” type of fanservice?. Rather than copious amounts of lens flare or bath steam, the animators at KyoAni manage to much more subtly cover the naughty bits. It’s far less distracting and much more pleasing to watch, as you will usually notice the sensuality of the scene rather than how bright the lens flare is.
They also make good use of “camera” movement and cutaways, which is rather difficult to show in a screenshot but can easily be appreciated by watching it. This techique often involves last second cutting away before showing at all, or moving around the edges of what they can’t show. I find that it preserves fluidity in the animation and helps accomplish the same ends I mentioned above: less distraction and more sensuality. You also find some “strategically placed” objects, but they aren’t at the same levels of glaring and obvious like some of the examples later on in this post.
Censorship- PLEASE BUY DVDs
The other side of the coin to the less distracting examples of censorship I described before is this. The recently released Sekirei DVDs provide a great example of the recent trend of over-censorship designed to get you to buy the DVDs. When I first watched the show, I found large giant bars and other really obvious covering up of nipples and the like rather unpleasant. It’s something that is really quite obvious and jarring to the viewer. Now the first DVD of Sekirei has far, far more examples of egregious censoring, which can be viewed here (18+, exposed nipples). As you look through those examples, some are more egregious than others, and range from blurring, to bath steam, to flowers. All in all though, I wouldn’t say that the draw of Sekirei was merely that you could buy the DVDs and see nipples, it fell more on the side of just a Pokemon for lovers of large racks. However, it seemed to me that by making these obvious cover ups and then baring it all on the DVDs, there is a certain underlying drive to push you into purchasing them.
Nipple Strike Witches takes this concept a step further, basing nearly it’s entire DVD drive on underaged nipples. You can get further examples of how far they went for this one here (18+, exposed nipples). This show is a great example of waaaayyyy too much bath steam, once again prompting people to think to themselves “wow if I buy the DVDs I can see them nipples!” This was made especially clear during the recent release of Volume 3, to which thousands of otaku rushed to buy to get a glimpse of Sanya’s nipples. What I’m curious is, that if you are a Gonzo employee, do you ever think to yourself “wow, my company was saved by underaged nipples and panties.” If you’ll recall, Gonzo a couple of months ago was in deep shit, but since it sold OVER 9000 Strike Witches DVDs, it was saved by an infusion of cash. As you will note in the blog post I linked, they even pushed the nipples in the extra materials that came with the DVDs.
Another offender of the bunch, which just so happens to be another Gonzo show, is Rosario + Vampire. The bane of this show is those goddamn bats, which sporadically cover up parts of the females. The first couple of episodes there was at least a satellite station showing it without the censorship, but then they all went heavy censorship, even on mundane things like bras. Now, they apply censorship to some panty shots but not all, and the censorship is all together a mess. It just makes me think they are trying to push DVD sales to save said company.
Pantsu- Someone Explain This To Me
This is a long running observation of mine that really isn’t as recent a trend as BUY DVDs, but it is interesting to note regardless. Now, I’m not really an expert on Japanese sexual preferences, but it appears to me that at least Japanese otaku really burn for panty shots. Now, contrast that to most American males, who come in two categories. When it comes to 3D girls, most men in the States are either boob guys or ass guys. Personally, as many of you probably have figured out, I’m generally a boob guy. Now that’s not to say I can’t appreciate some prime junk in the trunk, but I just have a preference. And in general, when you consider sexually-oriented American entertainment, it tends to be either ass or breast focused, mostly breasts. For example, at Mardi Gras guys ask for girls to flash their jugs, not flash their skirts for a panty shot.
Manservice- We Be Packin
Manservice is a category out on it’s own, but a I believe it deserves some brief notation. Now, let me first define what I consider to be manservice. It has nothing to do with yaoi, nor any of that bishounen drivel some of the other blog authors seem to enjoy. I’m talking about men wearing Speedos who are packin, like the above illustrations. Enjoyment of manservice comes not out of arousal, but of a combination of disgust and humor.
When speaking of humor-based manservice, it warrants pointing out two distinct categories. One, manservice that is intentionally funny, such as the previously discussed episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, as well as another show, Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho. The latter is a show you definitely need to see if you haven’t, because the team captain is a personification of hilarious manservice. Being a show about swimming, the Captain proudly wears his bulging Speedo, often wearing masks over his junk for added effect, if I recall correctly. In both of these shows, the manservice is done in moderation though, as the time scantily clad women are on screen tend to out number the manservice.
On the other side of the coin are shows such as Dragonaut, which is rife with unintentionally humorous manservice. I found it humorous, because as a show, it seems intended to be some sort of serious mecha/dragon show that appealed to men. To most, it is most memorable for grotesquely large breasts that defied all laws of physics (I’m a boob guy, but they went way beyond my ideal size), but I really remember it for copious amounts of manservice. Now, I didn’t watch the whole thing, picking up episodes here and there, but it often seemed to me that there was a very high ratio of manservice to fanservice.
On one side, you have some subtle covering up but with no resulting nipples on the DVDs. On the other side, you have obnoxious censorship but on the DVDs you get a lot of nipples. Generally, I find the first to be more pleasant to watch and generally reflective of a quality show. But there is something to be said for the latter, they do serve a purpose. They aren’t made to become the next top 10 show of all time, they are instead meant to appeal to those who like nipples and panties, something they are quite effective in doing. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with entertainment through sexuality and in fact I often indulge in such, my problem lies more in how they go about it. They could have spent the time in making it artful and more subtle, but as a cost saving measure and I suppose a DVD sale promotion measure, they decided upon the quick and easy job. Would this be solved by having all shows have nipples on their DVDs? I don’t know, I think that some of the most talented folks in the industry may balk at such pandering. In the end, I’m often torn between the two.
That being said, I will continue to watch a good amount of fanservice shows, because just like Kuruz Weber I am openly perverted. I do find it interesting how things change over time, and that was the motivation behind writing this entry. However, I will be the first to say that I do not watch shows such as Sekirei for the plot (and I didn’t actually watch more than a couple of episodes of Strike Witches), for the same reason I didn’t watch American Pie for the plot. I think it obvious that you can put them in a separate category from plot and character driven shows that happen to also have fanservice.