Reading how fanservice can create a blinder effect and cause a viewer to dismiss a show got me thinking about fanservice in general and my tastes in particular. As far as the article is concerned, yes I am indifferent to most harem-type fanservice shows. I never bothered to continue watching Love Hina, I’m oblivious to Key game adaptations, and am totally surprised at myself for lasting 2 episodes watching Akikan. I am actually blind to whatever value the shows may have, or the interesting viewing I may have with them.
I can live with that. It’s not like I think these shows are bad (save maybe for Akikan), only that I’ve come to know myself a little more, and the kind of fanservice that I really get into. Yes, it isn’t just about tits and ass.
I hesitate to say I’m a connoisseur of it, but I do have a taste for certain particular kinds:
1. Nostalgia (and Continuity) Porn
2. Battle Porn (huge bonus points if scene/anime includes mecha)
The two above are actually quite broad categories. I believe that I got OVER 9000% more value out of Macross Frontier than anyone (or at least anyone in the sphere who’s written about it) due to my particular context of being a fan of the franchise since it first came out in the distant ’80s. For most viewers (even for fans who saw the whole franchise, but only due to a marathon over a few weeks/months) it was just ‘what’s next,’ and they’d immediately rank it against the other installments. Impossible for me: it was a long-awaited gift, as if (intentional fallacy be momentarily damned) Kawamori himself was doing the series as a personal favor to me.
For a good summary of what kind of nostalgia service Macross Frontier gave me, check out otou-san’s post on what makes the Macross Franchise so lovable.
Being an older fan and having seen shows and traditions (tropes) as old allows for a particularly intense appreciation when such a trope is used, or a tradition is paid homage to. Try to imagine the kind of obnoxious shouting and pointing at the screen that transpired when I watched Gurren Lagann for the first time. It recalled the most distant of memories – as I watched super robot shows before I could properly speak.
Regarding Battle Porn, it’s not really difficult to explain. I like on-screen violence of all kinds: intensity and graphic value (Sword of the Stranger!), choreography of the actual fighting (Macross Plus!), complexity of strategy and tactics (Code Geass!), among a lot of other things. So hello there Legend of the Galactic Heroes! LOGH delivers the goods very well, and allows for fanboy pursuits that I don’t get to do in other series or franchises.
There seems to be people actually think anime should be fanservice free, or at least think that shows that have explicit fanservice isn’t as good? Well, there are fandoms who demand little else but! And, they do it in the spirit of demanding excellence and quality!
I think the best example of this is the Gundam franchise and its fandom. The Japanese fandom behave as if innovation from the core elements and tropes of the franchise is a bad thing. So they are like me, only that they demand the continuity and nostalgia service. The ‘commentary’ you find around the web re Gundam 00 is quite painful to read. It’s not that the show isn’t bad – there’s a lot of things about it that I find atrocious, and yet I love it and stick with it (and let me be clear that it’s not related to THAT meme that supposedly FORCES people to be unable to stop watching).
Point is, demanding that a show behave in expected ways and whining when it doesn’t is spoiled fan behavior. Perhaps this is the unintended consequence of being pandered to so much and for so long – combined with youth, immaturity, and THIS. Not surprisingly, the same fandom will complain about the presence of fanservice in the show when it’s not pandering to their particular tastes. The manner of complaining can be interesting itself, though it must be a source of consternation for some (explored by Kaioshin Sama here).
So as fans, we can be spoiled. There may be levels of pandering that prevent the majority of viewers to get into an anime. I happen to like Kogarashi a lot but not think much of the Kamen no Maid Guy anime itself. Perhaps this is why we can’t have nice things. We’re schizophrenic when it comes to fanservice, sometimes it may just be that we as viewers aren’t able to distinguish how our sensibilities are being served. This is not surprising, because there’s just so many ways these days.
1. Aside from the obvious, what particular tastes of yours do you enjoy being served?
2. What anime/manga does this for you?