What Is The Meaning Of Fan Service In Anime?

For fans to enjoy any style of entertainment, there has to be some factor that attracts them. Fan service means content that draws fans towards the show, movie, sport, or any form of entertainment. However, the usage of the term is quite different from the literal meaning. In this generation, fan service has a sexual background to it. The first usage of the word was noted in the 1981 cinema- Otaku no Video. Let’s get into the meaning, history, and categories of the term in detail.

What Is FanService?

Like I have mentioned before, the word means content that attracts its viewers. Another way to put it is by providing the fan with something that they might want to see. However, in anime, the meaning is not quite what it may seem like. In this generation, fan service refers to sexual scenes or moments which give the watchers what they want. There are many anime series where the main component or selling point is its so-called fan service. It might include sexual visual features.

Moreover, it has nudity or physical moments between two characters. When female characters wear swimsuits, an awkward moment between the main characters, yaoi scenes can all be considered fan service. However, it is sometimes unfortunate for U.S. fans since many displays are censored or excluded when translated from Japanese. The reason behind this curriculum is to make the specific anime or manga more appropriate for its viewers. Sometimes, the show might contain sexual scenes that have nothing to do with the original plot, making it completely unnecessary. Surprisingly, that attracts the audience more! Therefore, fan service is a significant feature in anime or movies, and the factor mentioned above makes it very clear.

Famous Examples Of Fan Service

Image: Quora

Throughout the different eras of film and culture, many famous fan service scenes mark the word’s definition. Let us look into a few such examples below:

Manina, The Girl In Bikini

This movie is a typical example of the term. After reading the name, you must be thinking the film is about the girl Manina. However, it is not! The name is given just for the sexual appeal so that it can attract viewers. The character Manina doesn’t even appear for the first 40 minutes of the film.

Return Of the Jedi

The very famous scene of our beloved Princess Leia in a metal bikini is another example of the word. Like I have mentioned before, some movies or shows have given meaning to the term. The scene starring Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia wearing a metal bikini soon became an iconic sex symbol.

Marvel Swimsuit Specials

Marvel comics started publishing a series exclusively for fan service. The comic series was called Marvel Swimsuit Specials.  It contained nude scenes of famous characters throughout the comics. There was also a special She-Hulk edition, where there were loads of nude scenes. The issue was mainly made for providing extra fan service. However, the nude scenes were covered by a blurred line to make it a tad bit appropriate. This is an example of genius marketing!

Neon Genesis Evangileon

The director, Hideaki Anno, of Neon Genesis Evangelion‘s famous show intended to add some fan service in each episode. At first, he did act on that intention; however, it slowly got removed in the later episodes. He also added some form of emotional background to any such fan service scenes.

Types Of Fan Service

While the fan service mainly includes sexual scenes, sometimes it might be referred to as action scenes that the fans want. Going back to the literal meaning of the term, it means sets that might please the fans. Hence, it doesn’t always have to be sexual.

Anything that pleases the audience is fan service. For men, that might include girls in revealing outfits, accidental nude scenes, or women in bikinis, for women into male eroticism, that might consist of homosocial encounters between two men, shirtless bodies of men, or accidental sexual contact between men. Many ideas of such scenes are taken from yaoi hentai.

Image: Kotaku Australia

Now, let’s look into the other aspect of the term. While watching an action series, you must have wanted to see a fight between two characters. That moment when you finally see the long-awaited conflict between two characters can also be called fan service. Other than that, Cheerleading or musical mascots while a sports game can also be called fan service.

Criticism Regarding The Term

However, in modern anime, there aren’t many full nude scenes due to active criticism. Dont get me wrong, many people don’t support fan service primarily because it might be inappropriate for many viewers. They do have a point. It often reveals vulgar fantasies or aspects which are offensive to the community. A large number of feminists are strictly against the concept since it sexualizes gender. It can be considered highly problematic at times.