A Convenient Metaphor for You Anime Fans to Remember

Fanservice is like chocolate.

Sure you might like it, perhaps even a lot, and sometimes it’s just the thing you’re looking for. But you can’t live off of chocolate alone, and any attempts to do so will only end in agony. Similarly, fanservice can be a welcome addition to anime, but if all the anime consists of is tits and ass, then it’s not going to be a complete, well-rounded experience.

Which isn’t to say you should never watch fanservice shows; it’s just that the satisfaction you get from marathoning To-LOVE-Ru is as fleeting as the one you get from gorging on a box of Russel-Stover.


If you want fanservice and a well-rounded show, go with Godannar.

15 thoughts on “A Convenient Metaphor for You Anime Fans to Remember

  1. What sub said.

    I kind of disagree with the balanced message, because it is a narrow view on individual consumption. Arguably it is no different, by your logic, to watch two shows–one full of fanservice only, and the other is just about plot and srsbzns; as it is to watch one or two shows that are well-rounded. It is merely a matter of preference if you like 99% cocoa chocolate or the average variety of American milk chocolate. Or even white chocolate. To some people, anime is all about fanservice; and undoubtedly, it is one of the medium’s strengths. I don’t see anything wrong with that if it is your preferred kind of enjoyment.

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  2. T & A is too narrow a definition of fanservice. I find the gratuitous manly speech in Sengoku Basara just as empty yet awesome goodness, more than the flashy yet lackluster fight scenes.

    Drawn out Transformation and Gattai sequences are almost ritualistic doses of service for some robot fans.

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  3. I think this is a good enough time to bring up an opinion of mine. It’ll take a bit to get to the point at hand, but bear with me.

    Tentacle rape jokes tend to be some of the most unfunny jokes ever. Is it because tentacles are disgusting and rape is offensive? No! It’s because most of the time when a tentacle rape joke is being told, the joke IS “tentacle rape.” There’s no sense of timing, there’s no wordplay, it’s just there and you’re supposed to laugh at it simply because it refers to hentai.

    Sexy fanservice and reference humor are the same way. Even if you enjoy both (and I for one certainly do), it takes more than mere existence to actually be something worthwhile. Even if you took away all the plot elements and MECHA fanservice from Godannar for example, I think on a pure sex appeal level it just has this sense of artistry where the animators and directors just knew HOW to use those tits properly. Similarly, the reference humor in, say, Zetsubou Sensei works on more than just the reference, generally by adding to the sensory overload which tends to be a part of the series, or by having it in appropriate situations.

    So even in the realm of total fanservice, you cannot live off of fanservice alone, I feel, as there is more to it than what’s on the surface.

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    • I didn’t mean to sound like I disagreed with your core idea, maybe I’m just nitpicking on distinctions. I agree that a simple “Easter Egg” kind of reference is analogous to a “tentacle rape” joke. It’s not very meaningful in itself.

      What exactly are we criticizing here, the mechanics of humor or the ‘service?’ I’m rather unsure.

      Pardon this digression: in the finale of Macross Frontier Alto’s visor broke — and some people accused it of ripping of the TTGL finale when Simon’s sunglasses broke.

      I’m fairly certain that these people are mistaken, because both shows are referencing the finale of Zeta Gundam when Kamille’s visor broke. Both shows are chock full of references, some gratuitous, some complex. But to me, this particular reference isn’t objectively meaningful — closer to your Tentacle Rape joke, and farther from say, Cowboy Bebop’s ‘Cool Hand Luke’ reference in episode 24 (Spike and Jet eat a whole lot of hard-boiled eggs; CB’s execution is arguably layered).

      But personally, both these little references made my day, though your point perhaps is that the absence of these acts of fanservice won’t detract from the overall quality of the episodes, that I can’t possibly enjoy the episodes or the shows themselves on these elements alone.

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      • I think the idea here–correct me if I’m wrong, SDS–is that fanservice, whatever form it may take (be it T&A, excessive manliness, robots punching each other, Intellectually Stimulating Philosophy™, intertextual references, etc.) is basically junk food, which can be served as part of a complimentary dessert or side dish, or gorged upon on its own.

        I think we are all overthinking this here: whatever your conception of fanservice is, there is a difference between the perception of it augmenting a narrative, and the perception of it being the narrative. If that makes sense.

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  4. I was well on my way to agreeing with you until I got to the end.

    Godannar is a terrible show that fails on its own merits. The ONLY reasons people should watch it is either for the fanservice or the terrific mecha designs and animation (which some people argue is another form of fanservice).

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    • I won’t go too long in defending Godannar, as I know it’s difficult for people to even accept the idea that the show has substance, but once you get past the initial reaction that the show is nothing but tits and metal, you will find an anime that’s about the close bonds that develop between co-pilots, a refreshingly different and more personal look at the super robot genre where the real emphasis is on love and relationships rather than beating up villains. That should be made clear from the fact that the antagonists pretty much remain faceless and without personality throughout.

      Another thing Godannar has in its favor is that while yes, all the girls are impossibly proportioned, all of them have strong personalities and are considered the equals of the men on the battlefield without having it seem condescending towards their actual abilities. How often do you find this in super robot shows, really?

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  5. How very true. Sometimes I’m in the mood for fanservice (usually giant robots) and other times I want stories with more substance. I try to swap them out in my viewing schedule. But dang, if I don’t have a hankering for some good chocolate now!

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  6. You know, I like chocolate. I like it more than a lot people. Admittedly, the thought of skipping lunch and periodically grazing on chocolate sounds appealing, but I’d be lying if I said that I could do it every day.

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  7. Pingback: Actually, chocolate sounds pretty good. « Baud Attitude

  8. Pingback: Mapping the Territories of Fanservice (with the Compass of Subjectivity LOL) « We Remember Love

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