And kanji with manga
Sunday, March 24, 2019

panchira パンチラ

NSFW: this article may contain words or images you'd rather not have your boss see.
In Japanese, panchira パンチラ refers to an accidental glimpse of panties, which is a common type of fanservice in anime. Although it's often a "panty shot," panchira doesn't mean panty shot, and there are panty shots that aren't panchira.

Panchira from anime Punch Line
Anime: Punch Line, Panchirain パンチライン (Episode 1)

Not a "Panty Shot"

The term panchira doesn't mean "panty shot" in Japanese. A panty shot is, literally, a photo shot showing panties. The term panchira refers to a type of chiralism, thus, it's only panchira if you accidentally catch a glimpse of the panties.
  • chirari to mieru チラリと見える
    [Panties] glimpse-ly seen.

This rather strict definition isn't unwarranted: panty shots are considered vulgar, gross, crass, and target of a lot of criticism from a lot of people. In an attempt to make them less vulgar, they're done inconsequentially and accidentally in anime, creating the refined art of chiralism.

For example, a girl flipping her skirt at people is vulgar. If a female character does this in anime, flips panties on purpose and deliberately, it's then part of her character to flip panties at people. Which means now she's either a slut or an idiot or both.

Yoshiko from Aho Girl lifting her skirt.
Manga: Aho Girl, Aho Gaaru アホガール (Chapter 1)
  • orei ni pantsu misete ageru!!
    As thanks, [I'll] show [you] panties!

Similarly, guys actively trying to peek into a girl's skirt is extremely vulgar: only uncultured swines do that. If a male character did that in anime, he'd be considered worse scum than the villain, and surely enough female readership would drop like catastrophic-event meteor. So it's also a bad idea business-wise.

Boys from Nichibros peeking up skirt.
Anime: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou 男子高校生の日常 (Episode 9)

Not to mention anyone who does something like this may end up regretting it.

取り返しのつかない事をしてしまった・・・・・・!!あんな馬鹿な女の子を騙してパンツ見るなんて人として最低だ よくわかったろ
Manga: Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou 男子高校生の日常 (Chapter 59)
  • torikaeshi no tsukanai koto wo shiteshimatta......!!
    I did something [which can't be undone]......!!
    • Phrase used when someone regrets doing something they can't ever fix.
  • anna baka na onna no ko wo damashite, pantsu miru nante hito toshite saitei da
    Tricking a girl stupid like that and seeing [her] panties, as a person [it's] the worst [thing I could have done]!
  • yoku wakatta ro
    [You did] well understanding [that].

Except, you know, when vulgarity happens to BE the business of the anime. That's still not panchira, though.

IyaPan skirt lift.
Anime: I Want You To Make a Disgusted Face and Show Me Your Underwear, Iya na Kao sare nagara Opantsu Misete Moraitai 嫌な顔されながらおパンツ見せてもらいたい (Episode 1)


Authors, wanting to draw panties, but faced with all the unwanted consequences and plot side-effects, are forced to go for the third option: accidental glimpses. The girl doesn't want to show her panties. The guy isn't trying to see. But he accidentally ends up seeing it anyway.

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

Since this could affect the relationship between the characters, adding an awkward event to their story lines—on chapter 99, page 11, main-character-kun saw heroine-chan panties, leading to her hating him even though it wasn't his fault—panchira has evolved into only showing the panties to the viewer, from an angle that the main character can't even see them.

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)
  • Don't you think camera angles in anime can be a little weird?
  • What do you mean?

Anime: Full Metal Panic! フルメタル・パニック! (Episode 2)

In the same fashion, harem anime, one guy surrounded by girls, are inferior to CGDCT anime, only cute girls doing cute things. By removing the guy from the equation, there's less problems with panties randomly showing up, as there's no male character to lewd on them.

By becoming completely inconsequential like that, panchira was cemented as a form of fanservice. It does absolutely nothing to the plot or the story. It's just panties for panties' sake. Or rather, for the sake of fans that want to see panties.

At one time, panchira fanservice had morphed into monster. Authors were putting panchira literally everywhere, thinking that fans would enjoy it so long as there were panties.

All panty shots in episode 2 of Rosario to Vampire.
Anime: Rosario to Vampire ロザリオとバンパイア (Episode 2)
  • Seventeen panty shots in one single episode.
  • 0.7 panties per minute.

This even included designing some ridiculous character details only for the sake of showing panties. For example, Negima can use wind magic, so, every time he sneezes, he accidentally conjures up a wind that either flips the girls' skirts or destroys their clothes completely.

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?
    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
    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...
    Ah... ah, ah...
  • hakkushon!
    Achoo! (onomatopoeia.)
  • kyaa
  • iyaa

The Anti-Panchira Cultural Movement

All this blatant panchira made fans honestly sick of it. With such frequent, constant, "accidental" panty shots everywhere, there was no refined chiralism in it, it felt just as vulgar as if the shots were deliberate. And a counter-culture wave of no panchira was born.

The trope "iron-wall skirt," or teppeki skirt 鉄壁スカート, refers to a skirt which never lets panties be seen, never lets panchira happen. No matter what ridiculous angle the camera is at.

Iron-wall skirt of Kuro Usagi.
Anime: Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo? 問題児たちが異世界から来るそうですよ? (Episode 8)

The trope haitenai はいてない, for example, refers to when the camera is at an angle where you should be able to see the character's panties, panchira, but you can't see them, making you question whether she's "not wearing" panties at all.

That's not to say that panchira disappeared altogether. It simply evolved. Today, authors are faced with a problem of moderation: fans like seeing panties, but they don't like seeing a lot of panties. So panchira has become even more refined, infrequent, less blatant, subtle. A rare thing that will make the non-savvy watchers fail to notice it altogether, just as intended.

Subtle panchira from anime Gabriel DropOut.
Anime: Gabriel DropOut (Episode 1)

In Japanese

It's the combination of the katakanization for "panties," panthii パンティー, and chirarizumu チラリズム, or chiralism, a Japanese-made English word, wasei-eigo 和製英語, referring to the adoration of catching glimpses of underwear and skin and so on by accident rather than being deliberately shown them.

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