Let’s talk today about fanservice. I’ve always said that fanservice is like… you know, Ravel’s Bolero. You either love it or you hate it. I’ve yet to find someone who’s “alright” with fanservice. It either is “the cancer that is ruining anime forever” or “the most fucking awesomest thing in the history of awesome.” I happen to enjoy my fanservice, albeit in small, classy doses. Unfortunately for people like me, it would seem that animation studios have, well, forgotten this art. Truly deplorable.
This post is dedicated to Yi, my favorite person on the Internet. You should all vote for her blog. Seriously, I tried to find a way to give both of my votes to her. Also, this post, including links, is definitively not safe for work.
The Crassness of Nudity
Nudity is ugly. At least, it is in television broadcasts. It’s no secret that nudity is a huge problem for televised anime. Creatives wrack their brains trying to find ways around decency laws as they try to show us some titties. Commendable, but unfortunately, the result is often disastrous. Sometimes, shows are censored to the point of unwatchability (anyone remember Kodomo no Jikan)? It’s a terrible state of affairs― I see no boobage (until the Blu-Ray release, which I won’t watch) and all I’m left with is rage.
Moreover, nudity itself is frequently limiting. There are fairly few situations where one would be nude: showering and changing, having sex, or having an out-of-body experience. Generally speaking, out-of-body experiences are not sexytimes. You can’t actually show sexual intercourse on anime. So, the only time we really get to see titties is in the changing rooms or in the bathtub. It’s generally pretty hard to work that into the narrative of the show, and often times, people don’t even try. Hence, the hot spring episode.
Let me make myself clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong with lingerie (or bikinis). Lingerie is a wonderful thing, a veritable arsenal for sartorial expression, with something for every season under heaven. It’s when a show focuses too much on lingerie that we begin to have a problem. At some point, it becomes too obvious when shows zoom in on huge cans and play the “boooooing!” sound effect. The cameltoe shot is equally guilty of being overused. Even Strike Witches (AAA+ for effort) can only show cameltoe 30 different ways (believe me, I’ve counted.)
Lingerie naturally attracts attention to itself. When a girl’s wearing a nice bra, one’s eyes are naturally drawn to her chest. That’s just the principle of design hierarchy at work― a good bra stands out when compared to bare skin, at first because it is simply different, but also because it is beautiful. It certainly works better than a naked body for drawing attention, but too often, one’s attention is focused on the same thing, which is a problem if you’re someone like me who enjoys variety and creativity.
The Element of Complexity
I’m all for adding some complexity to our fanservice shots. This isn’t anything new, really, but perhaps it still needs to be said. Clothing provides a great way to add complexity and interest to any figure, accentuating lines that aren’t readily apparent when nude. It adds to the nude form.
A skirt frames long, slender legs, a lopsided top highlights the shoulders, and zettai ryouiki naturally draws attention to the thighs. Such details are generally lost when a figure is nude, as again, our eyes are generally drawn to the breasts and the nether-regions (if we’re
perverts normal people) or we tend to take in the entire figure in its totality (if we’re sexless art historians.)
Moreover, leaving our girls clothed allows room for our imaginations to work. Visualization is a wonderful thing, and I’m willing to bet that our (sick?) minds work much better to fulfill our own fantasies than the pens of some overworked and underpaid animators. Plus, when someone is fully nude, there’s nothing left to discover. That’s it. You’ve seen everything. Suggestion is titilating. (Couldn’t help myself, sorry.) Plus, it prevents me from being disappointed by poorly-drawn tits. Say no to poorly-drawn tits. They’re awful.
Plus, that post-sex half-dressed look? Sinful.