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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