Fanservice is an inevitable, unavoidable aspect of anime. In most shows, there would always be at least one scene or two with a female character being in some kind of sexually provocative situation, and we bloggers would thus term it as ‘fanservice’.Some bloggers even go to the extent of calling an entire show a ‘fanservice anime’. However, on the subject of fanservice, I have several points to raise.
Firstly, what is fanservice? Fanservice would refer to giving the fans what they want : letting them see what they want to see. However, does it apply exclusively to ecchi-like scenarios? Couldn’t I describe an extended, epic fight between the Knightmares of Britannia and Black Knights as ‘fanservice’? Since it’s what I might have wanted to see, after all.
Clearly, fanservice seems to have evolved into a subset of the ‘ecchi’ genre, as a way to throw in random sexual elements with no relevance whatsoever. For instance, all your random irrelevant beach and onsen scenes. Then again, how could fanservice differ from ecchi in general if in both the sexual elements play no relevance to the plot( if any) and are thrown in simply because the audience likes it? Wouldn’t fanservice equate to ecchi if it was classified this way? Surely, there must be something that differs most fanservice from ecchi.
Of course- fanservice only appears for a few scenes – and not enough to determine the entire genre on its own. Surely, we don’t call a show part of the horror genre if only one scene contains a bit of horror. Likewise, fanservice appears everywhere, even in shows like Code Geass or Puella Magi Madoka Magica (if you treat the Madoka and Homura floating about nude and sparkling as fanservice, of course.) there will be scenes with fanservice, and we don’t call them ecchi because of that.Thus, we can see that fanservice does not equate to ecchi.
Therefore we come to the very puzzling problem: why do people call shows ‘fanservice’? Surely, if fanservice only includes certain, disjointed scenes thrown in because the audience likes watching it, it couldn’t be an entire genre on its own. If the watchers call the show a ‘fanservice’ show, shouldn’t it simply be changed to be counted as ‘ecchi’? How does one differ between fanservice scenes and ecchi anyway? The two are so closely linked, yet they do not equate to one another.
This leads yet again to another puzzling conundrum: so what on earth is fanservice? It’s like a genre, yet it isn’t. It’s like a trend, a fad, yet it isn’t. It’s just like ecchi, yet it isn’t. The most I could say was that it’s merely a blanket term for all the sexually provocative scenes thrown into a show for the fans.
Yet, even that doesn’t seem quite right.