Sunday, April 23, 2017

What do I mean by Anime style Fan Service?

As someone who's almost exclusively turning to Anime for my entertainment lately.  The only thing about it I strongly dislike is what I call "Anime style fan service".

I should explain what I mean by that.  Since the term fan service isn't even always sexual, and when it is can apply to anything a horny viewer might enjoy.

I don't have a problem with women dressing sexy, or being sexy, or having sex, or using their sexuality as a weapon, I enjoy that as much as any other straight guy or lesbian.

There is even some fan service that I'm not a fan of that still isn't offensive to me in the way this stuff is.  Like Beach Episodes, Beach Episodes may or may not contain what I'm talking about, but regardless that premise itself is fan service, but going to the beach is something people do.  I don't care for it and wouldn't be likely to include one in a show I wrote, but they don't bother me.

Still it's hard for me to give it all a single common denominator.  But I think I can maybe narrow it all down to three.  DigiBro has also talked about fan service in his K-On videos and in videos specifically about fan service.  I don't quite always agree with his takes on things though.

I want to say before getting started that not all Anime has this stuff.  I don't think it's even safe to say the majority does (especially if you exclude outright Hentai).  And a number of shows unfortunately have it early on to hook people (while turning off others) but then basically drops it.  Nanoha drops it's Loli fan service about half way through it's first season.  And I haven't watched it yet but according to DigiBro Manabi Straight has some awkward fan service moments in it's very first episode that never shows up again.

There are plenty of Anime I've enjoyed in-spite of having these problems.  But they are still a mark against it and the more it has the less likely it is I'll be able to give it a 10 on MAL.  A lot of my fellow feminists really enjoy certain shows that are high offenders of this but being really self aware and meta about it while trying to deliver a message, and some in that category I also like.  But Kill la Kill turns me off from it's very art style so I can't get into it.

Number One:  Is mainly an issue of what the Camera is doing, or since we're talking about animation the hypothetical camera.  The way it seems to zoom in on panties or breasts or butts no matter how illogical it is at that moment.  Like in the second Evangelion Rebuild movie when we are given a close up on Asuka's panties while she's sleeping.  Now I like that animation has the ability to have the camera do things it couldn't in real life, but ogling imagery underage girls isn't the best use of that.

Whether or not I particularly want to see a female character's panties, I can't call it offensive if she is intentionally showing them to someone.  So those kinds of scenes are not my issue really.  You can even justify it if characters are seeing them when she didn't intend to though that'd still be uncomfortable.    But if the audience is being shown a close up on them when no one on the show can see them, that's a problem.

Again it's not them being visible at all that is the problem, it's that being the main thing the hypothetical camera wants to focus on. 

You could say the Magic Skirt trope is the opposite counterpart, that it's a type of teasing fans service itself when they are never visible no matter how implausible it is.  I guess I'm simply the kind of person where that is what I like.  But the 90s Sailor Moon anime did allow what's under the skirts to be visible sometimes (DiC often edited those moments) but it was never what the camera zoomed in on.  Likewise with the live action show PGSM.

Number Two: Is about the physiology of human female breasts in certain Anime.  If it was only a matter of exaggerated size I couldn't call it specific to Anime, we see the same thing in Western Superhero Comics.  What I mean here is a combination of that with them seemingly having the density of Jello.

Now I'm someone who doesn't consider being unrealistic inherently a criticism, I'll be a making a post specifically on that some day.  But the point here is I want fiction to be preferable to reality, and I can't relate to the fact that seemingly some Anime fans want breasts to have the density of Jello.

Number Three: Is the only scenario that is directly from the writing.  The script writer could put 1 and 2 right in the script, but it could just as easily be something a director added along the development process.

I'm referring to the overused Accidental Groping or Accidental Pervert scenario.  But my issue isn't the same as many others you see complaining about it.  It seems to a lot of people what bothers them is the woman "overacting" to it and not immediately assuming it was an accident.

We live a world where a man who bragged about grabbing women by the Pussy just got elected President of the United States.  Women have every reason to not just assume it was an accident or take a guy's word for it.  And Japanese culture still has a much greater fixation on feminine purity then the West has, so no western Anime viewer male or female knows what it's like to be a Japanese woman or girl dealing with that.

As a man I can tell you I don't think I could have a very rational reaction to my nuts being grabbed by accident.

My issue is with it happening to begin with, not cause it's unrealistic, but because I simply don't wanna see that.

So I'm tired of that scene with Rei and Shingi from Evangelion being cited by people like DigiBro as the ultimate Subversion or Deconstruction of this trope.  Cause what they keep saying is that it's soooo much more realistic that Rei doesn't slap him.  But that wasn't Anno's intent, the intent was to show that Rei isn't normal, her indifference to her breasts being grabbed shows that she's abnormal.  It is a Subversion because it playing out differently at all makes it one.  But it does not fix what I see as being wrong with how often this happens in Anime.  That's why SFDebris is the only reviewer I've seen have the correct reaction to that sequence.

The subversion I might be willing to consider subversive is it not really being an accident at all, but a creepy guy trying to play it off as one.  But you'd have to be very careful with addressing that since that is sexual assault.

Update September 2017:

What I want to add to this post, is that what I've talked about above, and other minor pet peeves of mine related to this.  Bother me even when it happens in actual Hentai. Just cause something is specifically about Sex, doesn't meant I'm going to judge the treatment of sexuality differently, the opposite in fact.  Everything above I complained about partly because it turns me off rather then on.

Hentail all being in a world where no skirt is capable of concealing Panties, even when the girl is doing nothing, in no way adds to the sexiness.  It instead just distracts me as being obviously contrived.  Likewise the camera randomly zooming in on naughty bits during a casual conversation does not help build a sensual mood.

And it bugs me that that the Hentai versions of Sailor Moon (like Venus 5) feel the need to make costumes ultra skimpier and the busts way larger.  I looked for a Porn version of Sailor Moon because I find those character perfectly sexy as they originally where, changing how they look lessens the appeal.  It's the same in Western Live Action porn, I think Superheroine Feitishvideos are ruined when th Costume is made smaller or removed to quickly, I prefer it not removed at all really.

For further info see my What do I find Sexy in Anime post.


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