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How much is too much?

I’m a fan of fanservice, let that never be denied, but there’s a little (okay, a lot) bit wrong with fanservice as a bunch of pantsu-shots and a pan up from a girl’s chest and the enjoyment or hatred thereof. It’s an art; it’s all about where you look, and it’s done wrong if it’s all you see.

Now, I’m going to sound like I’m whining for a second, but maybe just a few too many anime per season have pantsu-type fanservice as their main focus rather than the characters themselves recently.

I’d say that that’s wrong, but, as with the camera, it’s about where the viewer focuses that changes the picture kaleidoscopically.

Example: K-on!, as much as I love the moé-blob that it is, is simply not about the characters for me. It’s about the moé, another type of fanservice. For once, stop thinking of Yui or Mio (I know it’s hard) and think about what you actually draw from the anime…. you hear that? It’s the sound of a cricket outside my window (very literally, actually). It’s the sound of your eyes focusing on characteristics rather than characters or plot, on sugar rather than seasoning. It’s the sound of eyes glazing over and thinking about how the characters act, which is a totally Japanese fixation that you’ve, sadly, now been diagnosed with.

Now for the opposite: my sister doesn’t get the moé at all. She just likes the songs and the instruments. So when she asks me to watch it with her, it’s a different experience because she’s in the room.

Anyway, this action of fanservice not necessarily being fanservice boils down to a simple question: what do we get from it?

Fanservice is what you make of it. Detailed mechs are a form of fanservice, but I’m not sure all of you watch Gundam and grin, bare-toothed at the loving care put into the plates of armor. Moé is fanservice, but it’s lost on younger viewers who just think ‘cute’ and look straight past it.

The problem with certain forms of fanservice, though, is that the viewer is distracted from drawing any real value from the anime. Take something like High School of the Dead for example and think about the plot rather than the gore and lingerie. Hard, isn’t it? I think it’s probably one of the better thought-out zombie-focused shows/films/anythings I’ve seen in years and that’s nearly all overshadowed by constant panties and gratuitous violence. It’s making up for something that it doesn’t even need to make up for.*

The fact is, Japan’s all about the service (once I got a free tire from a bike shop as 大サービス [great service] for taking my bike there), and every anime has it, but that leads to the final question: how much is too much?

Well, it’s up to you as the viewer, really. For me, it’s nice to have a soda or even a couple of them at a time, as long as they aren’t overloaded with sugar. The best example of this is ramuné, actually… I can’t have more than one of those at a time just because it’s too much sugar in one place, and it’s the same with fanservice.

Too much service and I kinda feel like I need to do something else for a while.

In the end, I’d rather as a viewer watch something like K-on! with my little sister, who, far from caring about the moé aspect, loves the show itself, than watch High School of the Dead alone in the dark with a Mtn Dew for company, no matter how sweet it is.

How about you? What’s your poison and dosage?

*For the record, I’ve read the manga, and I know it’s the same, but I’m of the opinion that the fanservice there was unnecessary in the first place (even if I enjoyed it).

One Comment

  1. Yeah, definitely agree that there’s a time and a place. Gratuitous fan service where it’s not needed can actually take away from a series for me.

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