Lines of Temptation

Oh, come on guys, you have to TRY!

If this is what Hyouka is about, I might have to watch.

Let’s talk today about fanservice. I’ve always said that fanservice is like… you know, Ravel’s BoleroYou 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

Oh, come on guys, you have to TRY!

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.

Lingerie Laments

Mayushii knows where you’re looking. Mayushii is sad that you’re looking there.

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

Oh, those lovely shoulders.

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.

19 responses to “Lines of Temptation

  1. Man… I couldn’t make it fast the first image because it’s too good. I can’t believe a poster that nicely drawn even came out of Megami (Assuming it did) since they almost always fuck up the designs, but oh my god, just look at Mio. Maybe the legs aren’t perfect, but then I shift my eyes and bam, perfect legs on Perrine. I even prefer the mist for once here if only because this particular drawing style won’t lend well to nipples. But Mio’s chest and abs, fucking a. That’s all I need in the world.

    For me, it’s really all about the line work. When girls are being drawn by the right artist, I want to see those lines, whether it’s in the nude or tight clothes, or indeed peeking out of the clothes… but it makes little difference to how hot I find it, and more often than not, I do prefer the nude.

  2. Then I read the post, and realized you were talking about animation. Oops. Yeah nudity sucks a lot in anime… except of course in the better ero shows. Or Quaser. Shit I actually have interest in fapping to. For me, fanservice outside that context is largely meaningless.

  3. Nudity (and everything erotic, really) is good when it is the point. Having for sole objective to pander to the lowest common denominator just adds useless stuff to your anime. I mean, Nyaruko-san, with all it’s overblown pandering, has more legitimacy that that stupid bathroom scene in Steins;gate (partly because it’s so obviously exaggerated and not just forced into the narrative).

    Though now with all the inescapable obligatory panty shots we’re used to in anime today, it’s more and more difficult to recognize legit erotica (and even those tend to follow the same rules of presentation as the pandering ones, which if not used for satirical purposes makes it even more confusing)

  4. I’m pretty okay with fanservice. Not something I actively look for, but at times it is something you can think about rationally and process what they’re trying to accomplish.

    In anime it’s sort of a tricky thing. over time it has evolved. at one point in time fanservice was a defining hallmark of any particular show. now it has jumped the shark and some.

    where fanservice intersects with morally defined boxes is where things get interesting, but unfortunately that has less to do with anime and more to do with how real life limits the art form and how it allows for creative workarounds to those limits. part of that is what you’re saying here, and it’s something worth thinking about…well. maybe.

    • Yeah, fanservice moving outside of morally defined boxes is definitely interesting, but there’s not enough of that. Just your average boob/vag shots, ad nauseum. I don’t really think it’s worth thinking about too hard. I’m just making a case for non-nude fanservice.

      • Well I think nudity is one of those Real Life limits. That’s why we have the whole “buy these $$$ DVDs for uncensored!” business model. It drives online screening of shows that no TV station would take. It gives people a headache trying to put steam or light on the video.

        I think from one hand you have these relatively broad rules–no nipples or whatever, etc. But coming from the side of someone who wants to provide fanservice yet still work with the TV station/public demands, there’s a lot of little details and tricks and stories to be told.

        I think you can make a case for non-nude fanservice easily. It’s more interesting to hear about the stories behind it.

  5. I’m not quite sure why I don’t like fanservice, but if I had to guess it would be that I don’t want to fall into that stereotype of an anime fan ogling over 2D girls. I just fear that awkward moment when my roommate walks in on me watching what appears to be a half naked teenage girl. I don’t mind when it is subtle because I’m not so petty as to get angry over something that can be easily ignored. Some genres just don’t need fanservice, and it can certainly be detrimental in my appreciation of a show.

    I do give some credit to Nisemonogatari’s use of fanservice. While you could push it off as sensationalism to boost interest, I’d like to believe Nisio Isin was trying to emphasize people’s irrational discomfort when it comes to possible sexual imagery. The whole toothbrushing scene was hilarious because there was nothing inherently wrong with it; the viewer only perceived something to be wrong with it. To put it simply, the fanservice aspect was in the eye of the beholder.

    To sum it all up, I don’t mind fanservice, but it has its place in anime, and it should primarily stay within those bounds.

    • You can read my previous post on Nisemonogatari if you’d like an opinion on how I view fanservice in that particular series. I really enjoy your interpretation of the toothbrush scene though; haven’t thought about it that way. You learn something new every day!

      • The part where Koyomi tries to fondle his sister’s breasts was the part that really sparked my interest. Why did that matter? When it comes to sex, groping a boob is foreplay, but in that scene it was the climax. Most viewers were freaked out about that because what had happened prior wasn’t actually that bad. It only appeared that way because of some suggestive cinematography. I hate to admit it, but I get the feeling that Nisio Isin was laughing at us the entire time.

  6. Pingback: Gender, Nudity, and the Power of Characterization – aloe, dream·

  7. I don’t think people have as much problem with fanservice as would be expected, but only when there’s a obviousness to it that distracts from all else. All the same, fetishes focusing on things like feet, zettai ryouiki, and so on can be in our face as well. I think it’s less the nakedness that’s bothersome, but more of the “nakedness = unmentionables” aspect to it.

  8. “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.”

    This sentence got a good chuckle out of me because its whiplash. In honor of that, here are similar sentences you have inspired me to write:

    I’ve always said that fanservice is like… you know, Barack Obama. You either love him or you hate him.

    I’ve always said that fanservice is like… you know, a racist joke. You either love it or you hate it.

    I’ve always said that fanservice is like… you know, warm mayonnaise with ice cream. You either love it or you hate it.

    I’ve always said that fanservice is like… you know, your boyfriend shitting on your chest while masturbating in your face. You either love it or you hate it.

    In the spirit of saying something constructive so you don’t throw me out, I’ll add that novelty is an under-appreciated factor in fan service. It’s part of the reason I respect Nisemonogatari, despite nearly… everything else. It’s a big reason that the Toothbrush Incident caused such waves. Even its fiercest critics couldn’t deny its power.

    PPS: I love Ravel’s Bolero. You reminded me to listen to it again.

  9. very nice post. Hyouka’s fanservice is brilliant- a must check out. It’s the first time I see a boy fantasizing a girl without being silly or overdone. It was really classy and sensual.

    Clothes can really do a lot, if they’re chosen properly. Skimpy clothes that cover almost nothing and instead of embracing the figure, they destroy it, suck. As simple as that.

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