Fan Service Makes Me Sick

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How do you feel about fan ser­vice?  It makes me sick.

I learned the term “fan ser­vice” from my son, who described what it meant from behind a shy­ish grin.  “They’re just giv­ing the pub­lic what they want to see, and appar­ent­ly that’s half naked women.”

Real­ly?  But most of those half naked women are actu­al­ly girls.  Is that what the pub­lic real­ly wants to see?

I’m sure I’m not the only per­son to have noticed a dis­turb­ing trend in much of ani­me with regards to its treat­ment of women.  Typ­i­cal ani­me women whine and sim­per, wear extreme­ly provoca­tive cloth­ing, and the ones con­sid­ered attrac­tive are pop outs from the same cook­ie cut­ter with ultra thin physics and enor­mous breasts.  Even the most seri­ous female char­ac­ters and the most inno­cent are reduced to objects of sex­u­al fan­ta­sy by the unex­pect­ed up skirt shot, or its equiv­a­lent.

My inter­est in Blue Exor­cist con­clud­ed indef­i­nite­ly at episode 12.  Until then, I tuned in online every week to watch a fan-subbed ver­sion.  I liked the art, the sto­ry line, and the unique pro­gres­sion.  One char­ac­ter named Shieme, a shy and sweet school girl, who up until the pre­vi­ous episode wore the tra­di­tion­al kimono, was sud­den­ly redressed in her school’s uni­form.  In this episode Shieme is sup­posed to meet her class­mates at the local amuse­ment park and is run­ning late.  Shieme breaks into a jog to catch up with her class­mates.  In a tiny pleat­ed skirt and but­ton up top, Shiemi’s wild­ly bounc­ing décol­letage is replaced with the image of a plate of jig­gling gelatin.

The objec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women is dis­turb­ing on many lev­els, but in this case, even more so, because Shieme is a child.  Unfor­tu­nate­ly this isn’t an iso­lat­ed sce­nario.  There are count­less oth­er ani­me that objec­ti­fy girls who are even younger, dress­ing them in provoca­tive cloth­ing and plac­ing them in sit­u­a­tions with not very sub­tle sex­u­al innu­en­do that smacks uncom­fort­ably of child pornog­ra­phy.

Allow me to add that in the same episode, anoth­er char­ac­ter named Shu­ra, revealed that she was not the boy every­one thought her to be in a hood­ie and jeans and that she was not a stu­dent either.  When she unveiled her true iden­ti­ty she also unveiled her bosoms and con­tin­ued the remain­der of the series in a scanty biki­ni top.

This type of wan­ton sex­u­al­iza­tion is enough for me to stop watch­ing an ani­me alto­geth­er.  I’m sure that my unwill­ing­ness to par­tic­i­pate hard­ly wor­ries the cre­ators and mar­keters of anime…after all, who am I in the grand scheme of things?  The moth­er of two daugh­ters.

None of this is to say that there aren’t fun, inter­est­ing, and intel­li­gent ani­me avail­able, because there cer­tain­ly are.  My inter­est in this form off art and sto­ry­telling are fair­ly new, so I’m not expert, but I’ve seen a few that I think are great.  My favorites so far are Death Note, Moribito, Mon­ster, and Vex­ille (movie).

What are your favorites?

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Moribito: An Ani­me with a Ful­ly Clothed Hero­ine

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