In response to Cecilia D’Anastasio’s article on Kotaku about the “wasteland” that is fan service anime (you can read it here), I thought it’d be a great idea to post a few shows that I actually think are really good and transcend beyond the single title of a fan service anime. These shows still have the many cliches out there, panty shots, shower scenes, breast size comparisons, falling on the protagonist while naked or damn near close, all these shows have a good majority of these things and even more. But what they also have, at least in my opinion is more than just sexual content, innuendo and tension, they have either good stories, characters, action, comedy and much more that makes me feel like it’s more than just a show full of boobs and butts.
So let’s take a look at some of these shows, shall we?
I’ve only watched the first season of the Monogatari series, aka Bakemonogatari, something I’ve really got to get on top of by the way, but holy hell is this series amazing and yet it does this with possibly one of the sexiest scenes I’ve ever seen in anime, of course that being what’s pictured above, Hitagi coming out of the shower and dressing right before our very eyes. The show is a great example of having zero issue with sexuality and saying to all viewers “We’re going to have fan service in this whether you like it or not AND THEN we’re going to make you love this show anyway!” and actually accomplishes this.
Bakemonogatari and likely the following seasons of the show (once I get off my lazy ass and start watching them) is a supernatural anime where many gods and demons take form, usually as curses upon another character in the show. For example, the first couple episodes are devoted to Hitagi and the “heavy crab” where due to some personal problems in her life, she comes into contact with a demon that takes the literal weight off her shoulder, making her almost weightless (5kg or 11lbs) until the problem is overcome. The show is part creepy, part dark and depressing and then part completely realistic, minus the gods and demons of course. But the many characters throughout the show have their own demons and personal issues that they need to overcome and no one is exempt from this.
While sure, the show makes use of a female-dominated male cast so the sexual content of the show strays away from guys walking around in their underwear, this doesn’t mean the many girls aren’t unique and interesting. Quite frankly, the show goes out of its way to make each character in the show extremely unique and it’s not even just limited to personalities. One girl is an open lesbian and one is arguably bisexual, something very unusual in anime, as most anime writers try to keep every female straight so there is a 100% guarantee that their male viewers have “a shot at them”, as you notice in almost every anime, no girl is ever in a relationship.
Bakemonogatari is a series that is able to mix the dark and creepiness of the supernatural into a show that just happens to feature girls that sometimes are in compromising positions. However, unlike your typical fan service anime, they’re not actively getting into situations where they’re one step away from a full-on hentai scene. And unlike most anime, this show actually has the protagonist fall in love and actually begin a relationship with a character…HALFWAY INTO THE FIRST SEASON!!! Now that’s unique!
If you know this show, I have a rough idea of what you’re thinking and yes, I am aware that this show does at times feature a 10 year-old girl (Maria) frolicking around naked. For those thinking Kobato is part of this as well, she’s actually 13-14 in the series, which surprised me cause I always thought she was even younger.
But what this anime does to surpass the excessive nudity is have such a diverse cast of characters and some of the best comedy I have ever seen in anime. I’m sure if there’s anything that “feminists” will think doesn’t transcend an anime past its fan service label, it’s comedy, but let’s be honest, these people don’t exactly have the best sense of humour, so what do they know about comedy? As far as I see it, if I’m spending more time of the show laughing my ass off than anything else, the show is a comedy first and a fan service anime second. And the show isn’t just making boob jokes (though it’s not above that either), there’s some really clever humour in there, some that really take some potshots at the usual anime tropes out there.
What really sells this anime for me is a single character, Yozora Mikazuki. This will be a bit of a spoiler, but honestly if you’ve watched even just a little anime, you could’ve figured this out very early on. Yozora ends up being the childhood friend of the protagonist who moved away for some time. The catch though is that when they were friends at a young age, Yozora was not a girl, at least she didn’t look like one, she was dressed like a boy and was in fact going to reveal this fact to the protagonist on the day he was moving away, but chickened out. She also didn’t know he was moving away so because she didn’t confront him, she never saw him again until they met at school once more. So now dressed like a girl again at school (and a gorgeous one at that!), she sees him at her school and in her class and decides to not miss this chance and makes a club specifically to have the two of them alone (Sena ruins that real quick) as she’s always been in love with him. She’s one of my favourite tomboy characters of all-time, she really steals the scene whenever she’s a part of it and by the end of the series, you can’t not fall in love with her as well and her looks have absolutely nothing (maybe 1%…) to do with it.
And then on top of that, you have that diverse cast of girls of different sizes, ages and backgrounds. Hell, you have one girl who for a good chunk of the anime you firmly believe is a cross-dressing guy, but in actuality is just a flat-chested girl with a bit of a gender confusion, which is caused by a family who raised her as a boy because they really wanted a son. Along with her, there’s a brainiac with the biggest libido I’ve ever seen in a female character, your stereotypical busty blonde girl that instead of the usual personality is a girl with a massive fondness of visual novels, including the 18+ ones, hell there’s a girl with chuunibyo syndrome, aka the girl that dresses and acts like an anime character the majority of the time. The anime is one of the best comedies out there, calling it a fan service anime only really taints what is actually a really good show.
I am fully aware how this is going to be the hardest one to sell, because it’s literally a show about high school girls and underwear. But what the show, at least in my opinion offers is a show that takes a very real look into the transition many girls go through as their bodies begin to develop when they hit puberty, the particular change the anime goes into is the transition between kiddie underwear and women’s underwear, especially once girls’ breasts begin to develop.
Yes, the anime is chock full of undressing scenes, panty shots, boob groping and all the trimmings you’d expect from a fan service anime. What I feel the anime does however to make it worthy of watching, is how it handles the many problems many girls do face during their teens and in particular, when they hit puberty. There’s a lot of realism in the show, despite how it constantly goes over the top to make in entertaining. The show handles topics like the fear of being considered a slut for wearing certain kinds of underwear, being comfortable with your own body and even dealing with “weird feelings” about another girl. Granted, it handles these topics with a little bit of comedy and sexuality, but the issues are real and matter.
This is easily the hardest anime I’ll sell in this article, because even I can admit that a major part of this show is literally an endless supply of panty shots. But in my honest opinion, the show has enough realism and a legitimate message that while it doesn’t override the fan service, at the very least it makes it bearable.
This show is literally about how dull, boring and absolutely ridiculous the world would be if SJWs and feminists got their way and all sexual material was basically removed. Need I say more?
What this show offers is some of the best sexual comedy I’ve ever seen in anime, some of the best characters, both good and evil I’ve ever seen in anime, some of the most insane, ridiculously random shit I’ve ever seen in anime and yet one of the best plots I’ve ever seen in anime. While the show is concentrated on the resurgence and liberation of sexuality and sexual content in basic society, Shimoneta is able to balance that along with some of the most clever jokes I may ever see in anything, let alone anime. The amount of innuendo is downright insane, there are more puns than you can shake a dick–I mean stick at!
As a commentary on the overly regressive nature of the left nowadays when it comes to the censorship of sexual content as it’s either demeaning to women, barbaric, disgusting, worthless and all the other shit these “intelligent people” spew constantly about this kind of content, Shimoneta never stops bashing the regressive left and the idiocy that is the world that they seek to create with their endless campaigns to ban everything rather than ignore it. The Japan we see where all sexual material is banned isn’t even remotely close to the ends of these people’s battles. As any level-headed individual knows, once you give these people an inch, they’ll seek to take a mile. After all erotic material is collected and either hidden away or burned, it doesn’t stop there, it goes as far as all the kids are re-taught about how babies are formed, aka they’re not actually taught. The concept of sex isn’t an existent thing in this show, except for the few people out there who are considered “terrorists” by this regressive left party. The only thing I wish the show had gotten into was how low birth rates had to have been in Japan during this time.
If there was ever a show to showcase the ridiculousness of the fight against sexual material, this show has the best commentary on it and does it with the utmost of insanity. For those who think you have to be classy to get your message across, grow the fuck up. Not only that, but your tactics and words are far from classy either.
Lastly, there’s the myth, the legend, the foodgasm. Food Wars aka Shokugeki no Souma is the show that takes fan service and completely turns it onto its head. Normally, a fan service anime is a more basic high school premise that features a cast of girls in short skirts that often fall over and reveal their panties. Or maybe it’s a sci-fi show with girls in skin-tight battle suits who often get caught changing in and out of them. Nope! It’s a show based around the concept of COOKING SO GOOD YOUR CLOTHES BLOW OFF!!!
I mean, I could talk about how this show has quite possibly the best drawn food you will ever seen in anime, maybe for the rest of eternity. The show actually has made me want to learn to cook more and try things I’ve never thought of trying before. Granted, I don’t expect my clothes to blow off in a single stream of orgasmic taste, but what this show has done has certainly awakened a desire to cook when I’ve never had that before.
What the show really does though is completely take off the chains of a traditional anime and tread its own path. The show mixes various elements and melds it into an entirely new kind of anime, one that is able to successfully take the over-the-top fighting prowess of a show like Dragon Ball Z, the classic shounen anime story of a show like Naruto and then extreme sexuality of a show like Highschool DxD and apply all these elements and meld them into a single show and of all things, it’s about cooking!
The characters are of all different walks of life, some from rich families and some from poor small town families, some from Western countries, some from Eastern countries. They have different looks, personalities, tastes, interests, even their abilities are different. For example, one girl is a meat-only cook, while one guy has the gimmick of cooking with the ultimate skill in the sense of smell. There are a few characters who are forgettable, but they usually act as the background cast, or an easy foil for either the protagonists or the main villains. The characters who actually matter in the grand scheme of things are all treated with the utmost importance, get their screen time, use it well and continue to stay fresh. Not only that, but the show isn’t afraid to have the main character who you expect to win all the time, constantly lose or come damn near close.
Food Wars is the show that I use as the ultimate example of a show that transcends the fan service label. I’ve gotten so many people into this show as it’s not the nudity that gets their attention, it’s the pure insanity and uniqueness of the show. They’ve never seen something like this before, you can’t help but be interested in it.
So that’s the article, thank you very much for reading this. I could’ve gone with so many more shows, but this was the five shows I felt fit the best for this, at least the shows I’ve actually watched.
Here’s a list of shows that I feel also are better than just a fan service label, but just don’t make as strong as case as the five shows listed in the article:
- Anne Happy
- Demon King Daimao
- Highschool of the Dead
- Infinite Stratos
- Monster Musume
- Outbreak Company
- Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
- Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches
You’re probably wondering why I’m not listing Keijo!!!!!!!!, a show that I’ve talked about extensively as not being sexist. Here’s the thing, while I do feel that the show is above the fan service label, there’s no denying that what the show is, is 100% fan service and the show makes no bones about it either. By putting it on the list, I feel like I’m mislabeling and misrepresenting the show, because honestly Keijo is a fan service show. And I’m okay with that.
So what shows do you think transcend the fan service label? Do you think I’m right in defending the shows I picked and the topic as well? Let me know in the comments below!