Friday, October 14, 2016

fanservice ファンサービス

NSFW: this article may contain words or images you'd rather not have your boss see.
In anime, fanservice, or "fan service," is a scene featuring a girl in swimsuit, or with clothes ripped apart, or depicting a glimpse of her panties, or naked in the bath, in a shower, in hot springs, or wearing a bunny suit, or nurse costume, or tied up, in bondage, or restrained in a dungeon cell, or something involving tentacles, or... anyway. It's that sort of stuff. Specially when found in an anime that's not supposed to be about that sort of stuff.

Note that fanservice is way more complicated than just that. It doesn't need to be a "girl" in swimsuit, it can be a guy. The content can be something so specific only men of culture would get it's fanservice, most people wouldn't even realize. It doesn't be a scene, it can be a design. It doesn't need to be anime, there's also fanservice in real life.

Akane Shinjou 新条アカネ swimsuit fanservice stitch.
Character: Shinjou Akane 新条アカネ
Anime: SSSS Gridman (Episode 5, Stitch)

vs. Ecchi

There's a big difference between fanservice and ecchi.

The whole point of the ecchi genre is to be erotic, sexy. That's what it's about. You don't go watch an ecchi anime and then when you inevitably see panties all over the screen or something more obscene you be like: "oh no! Panties! The horror!" That's not how it works.

By contrast, fanservice is normally a term used when someone despises panties randomly appearing on the screen, and other blatantly erotic and completely purposeless scenarios. That is, you watch to watch something for the plot, you want to see whether the guy confesses to the girl, but this abhorrent pandering keeps wasting yours and everybody else's time.

Sometimes, fanservice can be so frequent it's honestly distracting. Like panty shots over five times every episode. It gets ridiculous. You don't want to see that. You want to see the plot.

Watch it for the PLOT

The phrase "to watch it for the PLOT" is used sarcastically in the fandom when someone is watching anime for the fanservice or pandering parts rather than the actual plot. The "PLOT" then refers to all such pandering.

This anime has a lot of PLOT. This episode has a lot of PLOT. That was some good PLOT. And so on.

In fact, the reason why fanservice exists in first place is because such people also exist. Authors don't put in fanservice to ruin their sales. Most people don't like fanservice, but, similarly, most people don't give hundreds of dollars to a single anime purchasing expensive blu-rays and merch.

So it's a thing that's mostly for people who are really into anime: the otaku.

Types of Fanservice

There are more kinds of fanservice than you can imagine. We'll start with the more blatant ones, since they're the ones where any sane person would say "wait a minute... why did the author deliberately put a vulgar scene like this in this kids' cartoon?" So it's easy to identify fanservice like that.

Then we'll proceed to higher-levels of fanservice. Fanservice with at level so high you may have seen it and didn't realize it. In fact, you're probably going to think: "come on, that's not fanservice."
By the way, never argue with someone on the internet about whether something is fanservice or not. The only people who can tell something is fanservice is those that like it or hate it. Everyone else can't see fanservice. They're fanservice-blind. So it's like arguing with a blind man their favorite show look ugly. It's futile.

Anime "Stitches"

In anime, "stitches" are images created by watchers by combining various screencaps of a what was originally a large image but was aired with a panning effect, so only one part of the image was visible at a time.

Thus, to get back the original image, you stitch those parts back together. Obviously, if you're one of the anime producers and post the original image, that's not a stitch, that's just the original. Stitches are unofficial.

Why is this relevant? Because anime stitches of fanservice are extremely common. Here's an example of a stitch:

Shinjou Akane 新条アカネ lying on top of trash.
Character: Shinjou Akane 新条アカネ
Anime: SSSS Gridman (Episode 5, Stitch)

And here's a GIF of what the above actually looked on screen. It was resized to 198 pixels wide and reduced to only 4 colors, but it's not cropped:

Shinjou Akane 新条アカネ lying on top of trash, gif.
Character: Shinjou Akane 新条アカネ
Anime: SSSS Gridman (Episode 5)

As you can see, some fanservice images are immense drawings that are very slowly panned in anime, showing off all that PLOT for everybody to see. The specific example above was on screen for a whole 13 seconds, enough for anyone watching to realize it was blatant fanservice.

You'll see that a lot of times, when the fanservice is about showing what the character is wearing, they want to show the fanservice in detail, so they'll slowly pan, and then some fan who likes the service will stitch it back together.

In this article, I've added the word "stitch" to examples of fanservice that are stitches. Since I only upload resized images, it'd be difficult to know they're stitches otherwise.

(as for how to make anime stitches: personally I just open the screencaps as layers on Photoshop, set the layers on "difference" mode and align them manually, then set the mode back to normal. GIMP has that mode too. Sometimes you need to use some masking, but that's about it. All the stitches in this article were created using this method.)

Panty Shots

The most blatant types of fanservice are panty shots. Although it sounds simple, panty shots can be divided into three types:
  1. A girl is flashing their panties at someone.
    Probably not fanservice, probably from an ecchi manga, instead.
  2. A guy is spying under a girl's skirt.
    Vulgar, part fanservice.
  3. A guy happens to see a girl's panties by chance, because the wind flipped her skirt or something.
    Refined, completely fansevice.
    Also called panchira パンチラ.

The third case is definitely fanservice, but the second case may not be. That's because a character spying under a girl's skirt tells something about the character: he is a pervert.

By contrast, the third case doesn't depict the character actively doing anything. He just saw them. It's not his fault. So it doesn't tell anything about the character. In other words, it doesn't contribute to the to design of the character, to the relationship between characters, or to anything in the story at all, it just shows the panties, it's just fanservice.

Don't you think camera angles in anime can be a little weird?
Anime: Rosario to Vampire ロザリオとバンパイア (Episode 1)

One example of an anime that includes panty shots that, amazingly, are not fanservice, is the masterpiece known as Punch Line, in which, every second time the main character sees panties, the world is obliterated by a meteor.

Jump panchira from anime Punch Line.
Anime: Punch Line, Panchirain パンチライン (Episode 1)
  • Skirt + Jump = Panchira.

Bathing Scenes

Humans are filthy animals who need to take baths in order to cleanse their bodies, I mean, everybody takes baths, hopefully, regularly, and so do girls in anime. Scenes showing girls in the shower, or in a bath tub, naked, count as fanservice.

That's because you don't really do anything important plot-wise in the bath. You're just bathing. Like you do every day. Ergo, there's no reason to show the character bathing at all. What's the scene supposed to say, anyway? This girl bathes? Why? Would anyone assume she didn't?

Asuna in the bath.
Character: Yuuki Asuna 結城明日奈
Anime: Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale
  • Asuna must use her phone in the bath, as opposed to literally anywhere in the world, because her clothing disrupts the cellular waves, so the reception is better if she's naked.
  • Or maybe it's just plain old fanservice.

Most of the time, bathing scenes are only there to show a girl naked. This is evidenced by the fact that girls are shown showering all the time in anime, but guys are rarely shown showing, because most fans don't want to see the guy naked, they want to see the girls naked. So it's safe to assume that if there's a bathing scene, it's fanservice.

That's not always the case, however. For example, in the 1960 American horror film, Psycho, there's a famous scene with a woman being stabbed in the shower. Likewise, in Inuyashiki いぬやしき, there's a scene where someone enters a house and kills everybody there, including someone who was just taking a bath trivially.

Locker Room

Scenes of characters changing clothes in a locker room, changing room, dressing room, etc. also normally count as fanservice. Sometimes, this includes one character peeking into the girls changing, sometimes it does not.
Girls changing clothes.
Anime: Full Metal Panic! (Episode 1)

Fanservice Episode

Hot Springs Episode

One problem about bathing scenes is that normally only one person enters in the bath or shower at a time. So you can't show the whole cast of 99.9% girls of the guy's harem, or 100% CGDCT female characters, naked all at once.

To solve this: the hot springs episode, or onsen episode, since onsen 温泉 means "hot springs" in Japanese, and Japan has a whole lot of those.

The hot springs episode is any episode in which the characters travel to a hot spring, where there are public baths, sometimes divided by genders, sometimes both genders at once. They all enter in the bath at once, so you have all the girls naked at once.

Selesia and Meteora in the hot springs episode.
Characters: Selesia Upitiria セレジア・ユピティリア (left), Meteora Österreich メテオラ・エスターライヒ (right)
Anime: Re:Creators (episode 16)
  • WHAT ARE THESE UNNATURAL SPOTS OF LIGHT???

In such episode, the male characters, often in the male side of the public bath, with just a flimsy wooden wall or something between them and the naked girls, are prompted to peek somehow or by any means necessary.

Simon peeking through the wall in the hot springs episode.
Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann 天元突破グレンラガン (Episode 6)
  • Simon peeks through the wall.

This always ends badly.

Although generally we're talking about one special episode per anime, some anime have multiple episodes featuring hot springs. For example, in Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken, there's a city with hot springs in there, that the characters use in multiple occasions.

Beach Episode

The beach episode is an special fanservice episode like the hot springs episode, except it happens on a trip to the beach.

Beach episodes are peculiar in that they're ubiquitous: literally every anime has one of them. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. But it's true that beach episodes are meme level by now. Every if the whole world was a deserted wasteland, characters somehow find themselves in a beach eventually.

A beach.
Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann 天元突破グレンラガン (Episode 12)

The main point of a beach episode to get show the girls in swimsuits, since, normally, you don't wear a swimsuit, and that's one sort of clothing that reveals a lot of skin.

Girls in swimsuits.
Characters, left to right: Sawachika Eri 沢近愛理, Suou Mikoto 周防美琴, Takano Akira 高野晶, Tsukamoto Tenma 塚本天満
Anime: School Rumble (Episode 12, Stitch)

Obviously, you could just draw a girl wearing nothing but underwear: panties and bra, and that would be more or less the same thing, but that also sounds horribly weird and vulgar. Swimsuits, on the hand, are more acceptable for some reason, which is why beach episodes, and beaches, exist.

A girl in underwear.
Character: Kurokami Medaka 黒神めだか
Anime: Medaka Box めだかボックス (Episode 1, Stitch)
  • Medaka is often seen in the student council room in her underwear. Why? Because fanservice, that's why!

In beach episodes, it's common for a girl that's interested in a guy to worry about which swimsuit to wear, what would look cute, and, specially, whether he thinks they look cute in that swimsuit.

It's also common for flat chested characters to feel envious for big-breasted characters, because they look better in swimsuits. In some extreme cases, a character wears who's too flat-chested ends up wearing a:
  • sukuuuru mizugi スクール水着
    sukumizu スク水
    School swimsuit.
    A blue swimsuit worn in school swimming events, like racing events. It has a white part on the chest, in which's written the student's name.

A wise man shows a school swimsuit.
Anime: Outbreak Company アウトブレイク・カンパニー (Episode 9)

Another common fanservice scenario in beach episodes is putting sunscreen on somebody.

Lucoa gives sunscreen to Shouta.
Anime: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon 小林さんちのメイドラゴン (Episode 7, Stitch)

The word for "beach" in Japanese is biichi ビーチ. This isn't to be confused with bitch ビッチ, which means "slut" in Japanese. In English, we say "go to the beach," but in Japanese the phrase is normally different:
  • umi ni ikou 海に行こう
    Let's go to the sea. (which means let's go to the beach.)

Festival Episode

Episodes with festivals are also one type of fanservice episode.

In festivals, the fanservice comes from characters wearing traditional clothing, like a kimono, which makes them look cuter than usual.

Satania wearing a yukata.
Character: Satanichia Kurumizawa McDowell 胡桃沢=サタニキア=マクドウェル
Anime: Gabriel DropOut (Episode 9, Stitch)
  • Satania is wearing a kimono yukata. That's a yukata.

This is a kimono:

Character: Kanna カンナ
Anime: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon 小林さんちのメイドラゴン (Episode 11, Stitch)
  • Note: do not lewd.

It's just like the beach episode, except it covers more skin instead of exposing more skin.

School Culture Festival Episode

A school "culture's festival," bunkasai 文化祭, episode is basically an obligatory fanservice episode.

A beach episode doesn't happen if you don't want to go to he beach. A hot springs episode doesn't happen if you don't want to go to the hot springs. And, likewise, you don't go to random festivals if you don't want to. But the school culture's festival, which happens in the school, happens to happen exactly where you go to anyway.

Thus, the bunkasai episode will inadvertently and naturally happen in anime with fanservice, sooner or later, without requiring a more complex motivation than simply "it's that time of the year."

In such episodes, the most common type of fanservice are french maid outfits. Each class chooses what sort of event they want to do. Those that choose a maid cafe turn the classroom into a makeshift maid cafe. And, of course, the students of that class wear the maid uniforms.

Anime: Nyan Koi! にゃんこい! (Episode 2)

Note that, although french maid cafes aren't really a thing around the world, in Japan, specifically, they're a real thing. There are various actual, real, cafes where the employees dress up as maids. This sort of event mimics that sort of establishment.

Furthermore, although normally the girls wear french maid costumes and guys wear normal waiter costumes, there are also cases where you have a crossdressing maid cafe, with guys wearing the female uniform.

There are also other kinds of crossdressing fanservice that usually happens in culture festivals. Like theater plays where one female part is played by a guy crossdressing. Or events where all characters, male and female, end up crossdressing.

Crossdressing characters.
Characters, left to right: Utsumi Shou 内海将, Takarada Rikka 宝多六花, Hibiki Yuuta 響裕太
Anime: SSSS Gridman (Episode 8, Stitch)

Outfits

Sometimes, characters end up having to wear certain outfits, like bunny girl suits, nurse costumes, french maid costumes, and so on, which are obviously one sort of fanservice.

Megumin and Yunyun in a bunny girl suit and gym uniform.
Characters: Yunyun ゆんゆん (left), Megumin めぐみん (right)
Anime: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! この素晴らしい世界に祝福を! (Episode 11, OVA, Stitch)
  • banii gaaru バニーガール
    Bunny girl.
  • taisougi 体操着
    taisoufuku 体操服
    Gym uniform. (in this case, and also normally, refers to the school uniform.)

The word sugata 姿, literally "form," is used to refer to the appearance of someone wearing a given outfit. It's a bit complicated, but, basically:
  • mizugi 水着
    Swimsuit.
  • mizugi-sugata 水着姿
    The appearance of someone wearing a swimsuit.
  • kimi no mizugi-sugata ga mitai
    君の水着姿がみたい
    I want to see how you look wearing a swimsuit.
    I want to see you wearing a swimsuit.
    • If we remove sugata, we get this instead:
    • kimi on mizugi ga mitai
      君の水着が見たい
      I want to see your swimsuit. (not you wearing it, just the swimsuit. Gimme. Lemme see it. Maybe I want to check if the swimsuit is in the right color or something.)

Crossdressing

In anime, male characters sometimes end up crossdressing. The act of wearing "female clothes," josou 女装, a one type of fanservice that's particularly popular with fujoshi 腐女子, "rotten girls," who like to fantasize about characters in gay relationships.

Character: Urushibara Ruka 漆原るか
Anime: Steins;Gate 0 (OVA, Stitch)

Clothing Damage

When characters fight, or rather, when girls fight, and they get hurt, sometimes their clothing acts a protective layer which rips apart as they take damage. Or at least that's how it goes in anime with fanservice.

Hideyoshi Kinoshita with clothes ripped.
Character: Kinoshita Hideyoshi 木下秀吉
Anime: Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu バカとテストと召喚獣 (Episode 5, Stitch)

Design

Some anime go beyond in their fanservice, in which they don't simply have a scene that's considered fanservice, they have designed something permanent that's fanservice.

I'm talking about the design of characters, their clothes, and, in some very sad cases, devices. They're blatantly pandering and otherwise completely meaningless. They could've been replaced by something less pandering without affecting the plot.

For example, making the girls' school uniform into this thing:

School uniforms with bare midriffs, straps and garterbelts.
Manga: Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records ロクでなし魔術講師と禁忌教典 (Episode 1)
  • Welcome to hooker magic school!

One more ridiculous example: in Mahou Sensei Negima! 魔法先生 ネギま! the protagonist, Negima, can use wind magic. Every time he sneezes he conjurers a gust of wind, which either flips skirts or literally rips the clothes of girls apart. Stochastic sneeze-initiated fanservice.
僕どこ行くの? ここから先は中学高校だよ いえ その・・・ ハ・・・ハハ・・・ ハックション! きゃあ いやあっ
Manga: Mahou Sensei Negima! 魔法先生 ネギま! (Chapter 1)
  • boku doko iku no?
    僕どこ行くの?
    Boy, where are you going?
    • boku
      Boy. (and because of this: a first person pronoun mostly used by boys. Also used by some adult men.)
  • koko kara saki wa chuugaku koukou dayo
    ここから先は中学高校だよ
    From here on it's middle school, high school.
    • She thinks the boy is a grade school student, and is telling him the direction he's going are middle and high schools, not a grade school.
  • ie, sono...
    いえ その・・・
    No, [you see]...
  • ha... haha...
    ハ・・・ハハ・・・
    Ah... ah, ah...
  • hakkushon!
    ハックション!
    Achoo! (onomatopoeia.)
  • kyaa
    きゃあ
    *shriek*
  • iyaa
    いやあっ
    Nooo!

Darling in The FranXX

The anime Darling in the FranXX is so crass about how it designed fanservice into irself, that it's worthy of making an entire subsection only about how disappointed everybody is in studio Trigger for being part of this thing.

To begin with, this is what the cockpit of the giant robots looks like:

The cockpit.
Anime: Darling in the FranXX (Episode 2, Stitch)

That's right. It's a girl on all fours, and a a guy sitting behind her putting his hands on these handles attached to her butt.

And if you think that's bad, this is how it looks to the (male) pilot.

Rear view of the cockpit.
Anime: Darling in the FranXX (Episode 2, Stitch)

Even when people say "treating women like objects," they don't mean literal objectification like turning them into a monitor screen! And yes, of course that's a stitch. The lights turn off and on, by the way.

And if you thought that was bad, it gets even worse!

Girls moaning in the cockpit.
Anime: Darling in the FranXX (Episode 2)

Wanna try guessing the context of this image?

According to DarliFra messed up lore, when the pilots, one male, one female, synchronize, FOR SOME UNGODLY REASON, the girl ends up moaning.

That's right, she moans to start the thing up. I quote the guy on the bottom right:
  • hen na koe dasu na!
    変な声出すな!
    Don't let out weird voice!.
    • Don't make weird noises!
    • Don't moan weirdly!

You can't make this up.

This is so bad, but so bad, that they knew it was bad, and you know they knew it was bad because, even though this is an anime about mecha, the cockpit was only shown in the second episode. They did everything they could to avoid showing this obscenity of a design in the first episode. Because they knew fully well it would turn away anyone who despises fanservice faster than you can say "darling."

Tropes

Sometimes, characters are created specifically because they pander to a certain trope and the fans of said trope. For example, a girl that's a tsundere, kuudere, or yandere, or a guy that looks like a girl, an otokonoko 男の娘, or having eyes of two different colors, or an ahoge アホ毛, or liking a weird food like curry or tacos.

None of this stuff is called fanservice, however, because such tropes are deeply ingrained in the anime culture itself. Most comedy and slice of life anime have one or another one of them. Only more serious anime are devoid of tropes completely.

Body Parts

Humans are creatures which are kind of attracted to a number of body parts for a number of reasons. Any of such body parts end up becoming a fetish, and fanservice of them will always eventually exist.

Breasts

The body part that gets most fanservice, of course, are the breasts.

Luna ルナ
Character: Luna ルナ
Anime: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! この素晴らしい世界に祝福を! (Episode 5)
  • munechira 胸チラ
    Chiralism of the breasts. (like panchira, but for breasts instead.)

There's way too many ways this can happen. Check the tropes section of Oppai おっぱい if you're interested.

It's worth noting, however, that not everything that's breast-related is actually fanservice. There's always an unbelievable possibility somewhere the breasts aren't PLOT but just normal plot.

Basketball GIF from anime movie Your Name, Kimi no Na wa. 君の名は。
Anime: Your Name, Kimi no Na wa. 君の名は。
  • noobura ノーブラ
    "No bra."
  • This character isn't wearing a bra, but, amazingly, that's not fanservice pandering anti-bra fanatics.
  • It's a movie detail highlighting a fact about the character: she doesn't know how to put on a bra, so she doesn't wear one.

Feet, Legs & Thighs

Feet, legs, thighs, and so on, are rather common body parts of attraction, which also make them target of fanservice.

Characters wearing thigh-highs, for example, usually pander to this.

Character: Shinjou Akane 新条アカネ
Anime: SSSS Gridman (Episode 2)
  • Podophilia: attraction to feet.

The space of bare thighs between the skirt and the high knee socks of a girl, also known as zettai ryouiki 絶対領域, can be one type of fanservice embedded in a character's design.

You can tell it's a fanservice when the anime switches to the space of bare thighs between the skirt and high knee socks of a girl for a brief moment, specially when she's introduced, which is telling "hey, fans, look! A zettai ryouiki for you! (buy our blu-rays!)"

Examples of Zettai Ryouiki
Anime: Outbreak Company (Episode 4, Stitch)

Nape

The nape is the body part behind the neck. It's also a body part people are attracted to, which also means it's a kind of fanservice.

You probably don't believe this, do you?

Nape fanservice, from a geisha character.
Anime: Ninja Slayer From Animation (Episode 24)

Sleeping Face

Another unbelievable thing is that negao 寝顔, "sleeping face," can be one kind of fanservice. Since it's completely devoid of purpose to show it most of the time, and yet so many people like to see it.

K-On!! girls sleeping.
Anime: K-On!!, keion!! けいおん!! (Season 2, Episode 20, Stitch)
  • Was this really necessary? No.
  • Did the fans like it? Without a shadow of doubt.

Scum Face

Similarly, gesugao ゲス顔, "scum face," is another type of fanservice. This one is normally associated with evil, female characters. Because evil characters tend to be scum, and female characters tend are the ones who're normally featured in fanservice.

Quinella gesugao.
Character: Quinella クィネラ
Anime: Sword Art Online: Alicization (Episode 23)

Extreme Fanservice

Some examples of more extreme fanservice:

BDSM

There are various situations in anime that reek of BDSM fanservice.

Characters: Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière (top), Hiraga Saito 平賀才人 (bottom)
Anime: Zero no Tsukaima: Futatsuki no Kishi ゼロの使い魔 ~双月の騎士~ (Episode 1, Stitch)

In scenarios where a girl has to wear a french maid outfit, it's a common trope for them to also call somebody their "master," goshujinsama ご主人様. Although this term can indeed be used by a maid, a servant, of a house, it also has a dozen of other connotations, including the term used to refer to one's "master" in a BDSM relationship.

Sometimes, characters are restrained by bad guys. When this happens, it regularly turns into bondage fanservice. You can tell by the fact such scenes don't simply show the character is bound, they spend time showing all details of how they're bound.

Nancy Lee tied up.
Character: Nancy Lee, Nanshii Rii ナンシー・リー
Anime: Ninja Slayer From Animation (Episode 12, Stitch)

In Japan, words like do-S, do-M ドS,ドM are supposed to mean sadist and masochist, but are generally used as personalities rather than in sexual context. Maybe related to this is the fact that some fanservice depicts BDSM acts such as whipping, wearing slave or pet collars, and so on.

Violence

Scenes depicting unnecessary violence against female characters, or even against male characters, can be ryona リョナ fanservice.

The bar to call it fanservice is extremely high. That's because in any anime with bad guys in it, a bad guy is going to eventually hurt a girl, cementing his position as scum. And people into ryona, scenes depicting characters being harmed, are going to like that, but that doesn't mean it was made for them.

It could simply be made to show the character is a scum who would hit women. So most of the time it isn't fanservice.

But sometimes you can tell it's fanservice, because the scene is too over the top, goes on for too long, and seems too out of place.

Nancy Lee strangled by Basilisk.
Character: Nancy Lee, Nanshii Rii ナンシー・リー
Anime: Ninja Slayer From Animation (Episode 12, Stitch)
  • Nancy Lee was strangled by Basilisk and kept moaning in agony over 90 seconds. The cut stitched in the image above lasted 30 seconds. That's right. That image up there was shown for half a minute with just a slight animation of Nancy struggling.
  • It panned up and down twice, zoomed in and out twice. Absolutely over the top.

Vore

Characters being "eaten whole," marunomi 丸呑み, is one type of ryona リョナ. Needless to say, when it happens in anime it might be fanservice, too.

Aqua about to be eaten by a frog.
Character: Aqua アクア
Anime: Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! この素晴らしい世界に祝福を! (Episode 2)
  • kaeru no naka tte, kusai kedo ii kanji ni nukui-n-desu ne
    蛙の中って、臭いけどいい感じに温いんですね
    The inside of a frog, is stinky but is warm so it feels good, [doesn't it]?
    • Inside a frog, it's stinky, but it sort of feels good because it's warm.
    • —Megumin sharing her newly gained frog knowledge.

Infantilism

Probably the weirdest example of fanservice I can provide: infantilism, role-playing as a baby or young child.

Satania infantilism fanservice.
Character: Satanichia Kurumizawa McDowell 胡桃沢=サタニキア=マクドウェル
Anime: Gabriel DropOut (Episode 9, Stitch)

This scene was so weird and out of place that one of the characters actually broke the fourth wall and asked what kind of fanservice was it.
  • doko muke no saabisu?!
    どこ向けのサービス?!
    Service facing where?!
    • Fanservice toward where?
    • Fanservice toward whom? What audience? What niche?
    • For reference:
    • shoujo muke 少女向け
      Facing girls. Toward girls.
    • Means that something has a target demographic of girls.

Cameos

Surprisingly, cameos are one type of fanservice. That's because, like every other type, they don't really add to the story, they're just things to entice the fans.

Yugi making a cameo in Yugioh GX.
Anime: Yugioh GX (Episode 1)
  • In the first episode of Yugioh GX, Yugi shows up out of nowhere to give the protagonist of the series, Jaden Yuki, a Kuribou card. Given that Kuribou isn't even that rare of a card and Yugi literally does nothing else, it could have been anyone else instead giving the card, so Yugi was chosen out of fanservice.

Yes, that's right, you've probably seen fanservice of Stan Lee a dozen of times, and never noticed it.

Bonuses

Some works include fanservice as omake おまけ, that is, as a "bonus." This can be, for example, a few "four-panel" stories, yonkoma 四コマ, at the end of a tankoubon volume, or some extra scene at the end of an episode.

Some episodes have an "end card," which is an illustrations added at the very end of an episode. This end card may contain fanservice.

End card of the second episode of Gamers! ゲーマーズ! anime.
Anime: Gamers! ゲーマーズ! (Episode 2)

Anime aired on TV are generally have a commercial break in the middle, dividing it in two parts: part A and part B. An illustration shown before the commercial break starts or after it ends is called an "eyecatch." Some eyecatches contain fanservice.

Eyecatches of Gamers! ゲーマーズ! anime.
Anime: Gamers! ゲーマーズ! (Episode 2)
  • Eyecatch at the end of part A (top) and at the start of part B (bottom).

Fanservice included this way is peculiar because it doesn't distract from the main story, so most people that would complain about it normally, do not complain in this case.

In Black Lagoon, there's one episode featuring genderbending, but nobody complained about that because it was a short side-story bonus completely detached from the otherwise very serious and dark anime.

Another way fanservice can be included as a bonus is as OVA. Some anime have a shorts, like 1 or 5 minutes long, included in purchased blu-rays. These may be in a format different from the rest of the anime, and can include fanservice the rest of the anime didn't have.

An OVA of Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka ダンジョンに出会いを求めるのは間違っているだろうか, is actually a hot springs episode.

Tomoko Kuroki 黒木 智子
Anime: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い! (Episode 5)
  • An ahegao アヘ顔, "panting face," that showed up for a fraction of a second in the middle of the ending song of the fifth episode of WataMote. This was more like fantrolling than fanservice.

Male Fanservice

Although fanservice often features a female character, male fanservice also exists. After all, just like female characters have fans, male characters do also.

Characters: Kaidou Shun 海藤瞬 (top), Nendou Riki 燃堂力 (left), Saiki Kusuo 斉木楠雄 (middle)
Anime: Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan 2 斉木楠雄のΨ難 2 (Episode 8)

Similarly, if female service is made for male fans, then male fanservice is made for female fans.

Except when the male character in question is a "trap," because, as far as anime, or rather, the entire anime fandom, is concerned, traps are girls who are guys.

Character: Hasuta ハス太
Anime: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 這いよれ!ニャル子さん (Episode 9, Stitch)

ファンサービス

The origin of the word fanservice is actually from the Japanese word fansaabisu ファンサービス which is Japanese-made English word, wasei eigo 和製英語, made from the phrase "fan service."

This means fanservice is not an English word. It's a Japanese term. The term "fan service" didn't mean anything in English until Japan started using it in Japanese. And then, much later, it started being used in English, too, importing the word from Japan.

In case you're skeptical: the term "reverse harem" is another term that sounds like it's English, but it's actually a literal translation of a Japanese word that means the same thing: gyaku-haaremu 逆ハーレム. A reverse example: waifu isn't used that way in Japanese.

Furthermore, although fanservice in English is only used toward manga, anime, games, and that sort of fiction, fanservice in Japanese can be used toward real people. When a celebrity, idol, or famous voice actor, does something outside of her obligations in order to pander to her fans, that's fanservice.

サービス

In Japanese, saabisu サービス means "service," but it's also used in a way that's different from English: something given for free, a bonus.

This isn't used when someone is making a donation. It's used in business. A saabisu is something extra added to make the deal more appealing. I'll do that as a saabisu, I'll do that for free, because you're one of my good customers.

お詫びと言ってはなんだけど一杯サービスさせてくれないかな
Manga: Gabriel DropOut (Chapter 17)
  • Context: the shop owner is trying to make amends.
  • owabi to itte wa nandakedo
    お詫びと言ってはなんだけど
    [I know it's weird for me to offer] an apology.
    • to itte wa nandakedo
      と言ってはなんだけど
      Expression used to admit something you're saying is off. That you have no right to say it, for example. Used to preemptively excuse yourself before saying it.
    • In this case, it's used because the shop owner is about to offer an apology, but the customer might get mad at him for doing it: "I don't want your apology! Your service sucks! I'm never going back here!" so he's excusing himself beforehand.
  • ippai saabisu sasete kurenai ka na?
    一杯サービスさせてくれないかな
    Won't [you] let me offer one [cup] as service?
    • Won't you let me offer one free cup, as an apology?
    • ippai 一杯
      One drink. In this case: one cup of coffee, etc.
      Also means "to be full" sometimes.


Many terms for fanservice in Japanese actually don't include the fan part, only the service part. For example:

サービスカット
Anime: Mahoujin Guru Guru 魔法陣グルグル (Episode 21)
  • saabisu katto サービスカット
    Service cut. (clip of a video)
    • The picture above is being sarcastic, by the way, since you normally expect fanservice with a girl coming out of water, not a guy.
  • saabisu shotto サービスショット
    Service shot. (still image)
  • saabisu shiin サービスシーン
    Service scene. (same as clip, perhaps storywise)

Further Reading

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  1. Your earlier article about fanservice was better.

    ReplyDelete