How Do You Feel About Anime Fan Service?

Image: Izetta

When it comes to fan service, we all draw our lines differently. Where are yours? We want to hear from you. Do you seek it out? Avoid it?

It's almost impossible to wrap hard moral rules around anime consumption. And we all have our own ways of dealing with it.

Bakemonogatari is one of my favourite anime, but in it, an 11-year-old girl is regularly subject to harassment. Despite sirens going off in my head, I keep watching. It's just such a well-crafted show — from its architecture to its wit.

But you couldn't get me to watch Monstser Musume or Keijo!!!!! if you paid me in double dark chocolate cake. That's because, in their entirety, they feel crafted to turn on straight dudes, of which I am not one.

Admittedly, it makes me mad that women's body parts are plot devices. Commenters on Kotaku have disagreed, arguing that there's no issue with marketing female sexuality to an audience who wants it.

What do you think? What's your line, if you have one at all? Tell me in the comments.


Comments

    If it's something like High School DxD, then yes.
    If the fanservice is there to mask a lack of story or actual plot, then no.

      ^this......and something about the plot ;)

      I want to know some examples of poor Anime that hid behind fan service. They gotta be bad regardless.

        Rosario+Vampire was an atrocious adaptation of a decent manga that turned all the characters into cardboard cutouts and painted it over with fanservice. And then the second season went it's own way and added even more fanservice, ugh.

          Ah yes. I don't really read manga, but I'm well aware of how an anime based on one can mess up its adaptation. Using an over abundance of fan service where there was previously none (I like a little) would really mess with the tone.

        Generally I don't mind a bit of fan service but it generally just slides past me. (Most "fan service" comedy is basically slapstick, possibly the oldest form of humour.) On the other hand there are those anime where if you remove the fan service there's really nothing left.
        - Master of Martial Hearts.
        - Queens Blade
        - Masou Gakuen HxH
        - Keijo!!!!!

        Monster Musume I was OK with; nobody will claim that it's intellectually deep, but the humour (mostly based on the protagonist getting beaten up by overly willing monster girls) is OK if you regard it in the spirit intended, i.e. the idea that people getting hurt (but not really HURT) due to clueless passion can be funny.

        What really hurts are those occasions when a manga with a decent plot is stripped of all of its most interesting elements. Rosario+Vampire's manga includes some VERY nasty side effects for its protagonist which are completely absent from the anime's opponent-of-the-week formula.

    I don't think it matters even a little bit.
    If people enjoy it, great! Power to 'em!
    If you don't enjoy it, great! Don't watch it!

    There's nothing wrong with shows designed to turn on straight dudes!
    There's nothing wrong with not wanting to watch such shows!

    It's a non-issue.

      You don't understand how objectification negatively affects the way young men perceive women. There's absolutely nothing wrong with visual titillation, but when entire characters are reduced to a jiggling set of boobs that barely and meekly protest when other characters casually and abusively grope them, some kids are getting really bad ideas about women.

      I guess what I'm saying is that there are good ways to do it and there's nothing wrong with that. I myself am a fan of some series like that. But there's a significant amount of series that just throw the stuff cynically and thoughtlessly in to help revenue.

    There is a difference between fan service and catering to horny teenagers.

      Am 34, married with 2 and 9/10ths children and am still a horny teenager at heart..

    I don't like any form of fan service, because it always detracts from a story and is a mere gimmick to make money. If the need to use any form of fan service, it's an admission that their story and characters just aren't good enough.

      What's the defining line though? Like, how do you tell the difference between developing the story/characters with sexual traits or imagery and just doing so for giggles?

        Is a character so well developed that it fits? Or is the character developed around the idea of fan service?
        Regardless, fan service is annoying fluff that distracts from annoying good story, and if some thing was essential to the character or story, it wouldn't be classed as fan service.

          So since fan service isn't just focused on sexuality, I'm assuming you dislike any aspects designed just for audience fun? Like a comic relief or adorable pet.

          It's reasonable to not like 'fluff' in your stories. I suppose what needs to be understood is how the pacing and space for breathing it should have. I don't want my stories to be relentless in their packing of plot. Sometimes I need a chance to see everything slow down and become trivial for a little bit.

          That said, it gets even harder to please when audience preference or is taken into account or we look at different aspects of the storytelling experience. You say fan service is an admission that the story is poor enough to need it, but those who like it can only say that it improved it, so is it as poor any more? Or is it now worse, but that person has objectively poor taste?

            For example I felt The Force Awakens had weak writing and was packed with tons of fan service constantly throwing up OT imagery, which felt to me like it was always shouting "look it's a REAL Star Wars again! Look! Look!"
            If it fits the story, then it's well crafted and it's part of the actual story rather than fan service.

      I mostly agree but there are a few animes that utilise it just because the circumstances allow it, Neon Genesis, Code Geass, and Gundam 00 from the top of my head. In general I loathe all forms of fan service.

    I reckon fanservice in something like the butt bashing anime is alright, but if tits were to fly out in the middle of something say, like Ghost in the Shell or Death Note then I'd be pissed.

    It's detracting and even in Hollywood it's a horrible mainstay. I never understood sex scenes in movies, am I meant to be aroused? What am I meant to do? Sit there with a boner and/or jack off? It's just weird, because that's really the only end-goal with stuff like this.

      Ghost in the Shell

      The main character gets practically 'naked' within minutes of the opening.

      What am I meant to do?

      Be titillated. Were bombarded each day with constant subconscious messages about sexual attraction but that doesn't reduce us to jerking it on the spot. Seeing the appeal of something that reminds that animal brain of ours of it's most simple purpose is pretty natural.

      The only reason I find sex scenes as bad as you say is that we've spent so long keeping them out of mainstream storytelling that they now insist only upon themselves. Also genre theory: it fits right at home in romantic stories.

        But the main doesn't get naked for fan service reasons, but for reasons revolving around a plot device (if I remember correctly we're talking about the scene where she jumps from the top of the building and uses an invisibility cloaking mechanic to shatter her way into said building?)

          Yeah, but why does she need to be naked for the cloaking to work? Is it because of realism, or because the animators wanted to draw her naked?

            Again, if I remember correctly (I haven't watched the series in many years) the cloaking aspect is built into her artificial skin. So it would only work naked as the tech needed to do the cloaking was not put into clothing.

          Yes that scene (and other afterward.) Arguably yes that scene is not fan service: I think it's a very important aspect of the series as it visually assists the themes of transhumanism, talking about the human body as a shell and demonstrates that the Major doesn't care about the needs of modesty.

          Buuuut... That's why I said in a separate comment - where's the line? The Major getting naked is still undeniably titillating. I'm sure seeing the Majors tits during GiTS on SBS in the 90s was a formative experience for a lot of us as teenage anime fans. The plot doesn't necessarily require her to undress and the maker is outspoken in his desire to make the scenes have a sense of eroticism. You can take it either way.

          What I'm saying is, one animes flirtatious cheek is another's salacious porno. So as far as I'm concerned, if the fan service fails to improve the experience it's either a) personal to the viewer or b) that anime wasn't getting much better than that anyway.

    Harem & Ecchi were genres in anime that had plots that used fanservice for a purpose. There's nothing wrong with that, but unless it's in those genres or has a reason to be in the plot, then no.

    Look at the original Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series, every preview would have Misato saying there'd be fan service, but fan service was never needed in first place for the plot at all. This would be an example of how NOT to use fan service.

    High School DxD on the other hand, is about a perverted guy who gets demon powers that are enhanced by his pervertedness, which would mean you'd be using fan service to move the plot along. This is fine.

    I think a lot of places have become too sensitive to the idea of sexual nature being used in anything and is getting close to Puritan nature in trying to stop it, verging on censorship. Just look at how the Harem & Ecchi genres have died out over the past 5 years as Japanese companies start to include Western "outrage culture" in their ideas. Giant white lights, signs covering half a screen, inverting colour of blood. All things that have increased because of places like Crunchyroll getting anime as it airs in Japan.

      Japan has been censoring their content way before Crunchyroll and Japan also does not give a fuck about western audiences.

      Its mostly because Japan started cracking down on violence and sexual in anime as I believe the mayor of Tokyo made it that if an anime isnt 100% targeted for kids they have to be played after 10pm, and censored to remove some things that are considered taboo in Japanese culture (dismemberment, graphic child death, hangings, under age smoking, and yes, nudity)

      However the real reason why the censorship has gotten so bad is to drive up Blu ray sales. They market the Blu rays as the uncensored and true versions of the anime, were they even will go back and fix up spotty animation. They censor it so much to piss off audiences and force them to buy Blu rays. The censoring is coming from Japan themselves.

      Anime has always been coming to the west, blaming simulcasting for things getting censored doesn't make sense. While yes simulcasts have helped the anime fandom grow in the west it is still a niche one and Japan do not care about us as viewers.

      Also before it gets called into question I like fan service in certain shows, Keijo has been super fun this season.

    Looks like Anime fan service is the new Kotaku point of interest.

    My opinion of it is that if it gets in the way of a good anime then either the confidence in the wholistic spirit of that story was shaken, or the production staff did not see eye-to-eye.

    Basically what I'm saying is that I've never seen it ruin an Anime that truly believed in itself.

    Last edited 14/12/16 11:37 pm

    Kill La Kill was bloody incredible, but I feel faintly embarrassed recommending it to anyone because of the fanservice. It's capable of ruining almost any anime in my opinion, but can also be OK (see above) so long as it doesn't break the character, world or plot elements in order to shove the camera up some teenager's skirt (although the whole schoolgirl thing is damn creepy in general, even at times in KLK, even if it does a far better job with things in general) All that said though, it's not the biggest issue I have.

    My biggest problems are that almost every male lead is a psycopath and that's often portrayed as a good thing (at least in a lot of the more recent stuff I've seen). Compound that with some disturbing sexualisation of (typically gratuitous) violence and the harem thing that is awfully popular and half of the big shows are just unwatchable (see SAO for the harem and male psycho lead things and Psycho Pass for the sexualised/gratuitous violence as recent-ish examples).

    Although I liked Deathnote and Cowboy Bebop among others, before KLK I never labelled myself a fan of anime and afterwards, despite one of my all time favourite shows being an anime series, I still don't want to. I know there's a lot of great stuff out there, but the bad reputation it has from those unfamiliar with it is pretty much deserved to be honest.

      For me, if it's because of the fan service that I remember an anime, it's not worth my attention.

      I never finished KLK because of said fan service, but psycho pass is one of my all time favorites because while the anime is full of sexualised violence, it's not really "fan service" so to speak because it fits into and helps form the world that everyone lives in: how no matter how good a system sounds, there are always individuals who find a loophole and become literally untouchable. The ending of season one clouded my psycho pass for sure.

      Another anime I remember fondly is Guuren lagann. That anime is so good that I honestly didn't take notice of the fan service in it until my third watch.

      Seven deadly sins is probably the anime with lewdity that I think gets away with it and I don't understand why. I love that anime for its goofy charm that gives me a similar sense of joy to what I remember feeling watching anime as an early teen

      Last edited 15/12/16 7:11 am

        re: Seven deadly sins. Because it's used as a comedic trait. I also enjoy SDS. If you remove the fan service, it's still a fantastic anime. There is a good plot and the characters are interesting. Plus, Meliodas only ever harrasses Elizabeth. He's respectful to everyone else.

        What KLK did for me was take every trope I felt uncomfortable about in Anime and exaggerate the hell out of it to the point of irrelevance - there was so much nudity that it basically didn't matter after the first 3-4 episodes and it actually used that nudity to criticize a variety of elements of Japanese and world culture - in Ryuko there were frequent criticisms of 'slut shaming', of the notion that anyone has the right to tell someone else what to wear and of the oppressive, but also potentially empowering aspects of fashion in an image focused society.

        Because the whole plot related to fashion in various ways (uniforms literally dictate your rank, nudity and sexuality allows for greater personal freedoms etc.) I think almost all of the fan service was justified in the same way over-the-top violence is justified in a Tarantino film - it sends up the genre it's working in while also being a sort of love letter to the parts most frown on.

        Aside from that KLK was the first anime I'd seen, perhaps since Cowboy Bebop, where I loved every main character and felt invested in their plight. Anime like Psycho Pass though just made me feel ill - I don't want to watch the only likable character in the show become traumatized again and again, and almost always through violence towards women. Don't get me wrong, violence should be disturbing in an anime like that, but when there's a focus particularly on women within a context that seems to suggest that elements of what you're seeing on screen represent some kind of fantasy for the (antagonist) characters - a fantasy that involves bashing a woman to death - no, I refuse to watch any more. It was a shame too, the concept behind everything wasn't bad and the writing seemed solid, but if I end up feeling sick almost every episode it's just not worth it.

        I must admit I find it a little strange that you like Gurren Lagann but not KLK, I thought they were basically the same thing (written and directed by the same people too) wherein they take a genre such as 'Mecha' or 'Magic girl' take every trope therein and exaggerate the hell out of them and make the scale of the thing as ridiculous as possible while subverting and poking fun at some of the elements of the genre. Personally I preferred KLK for it's art style, pacing and characters but Gurren Lagann struck me as very similar overall.

        I'm just curious, have you watched / did you enjoy Madoka Magica? I ask because, like KLK, it's a magic girl series that messes with the idea of what that entails and tends towards subverting the genre as a whole, but does so (from memory at least) without any real fanservice (beyond those transformation sequences).

          I know, I can't explain it. I hold TTGL in such high regard, probably because I have a soft spot in my heart for mech anime, and GL had that beautiful ending that made me content that the adventure of Simon was finally over.

          For me- I didn't take notice of the violence in Psycho Pass being primarily to women: I personally think of people as people, irrespective of gender, race, orientation. I just simply don't consider it until it's shoved in my face. Yeah, it was awful what was happening, but what I was interpreting was a different picture to what you saw. I looked at our protagonist as being tortured like that time and time again because she had the belief that the system worked, while slowly discovering the hard way that it did not work the way she believed it to. The second season really hammered that in for me.

          Did I confess to liking Mirai Nikki too? I love the truly messed up anime

          Madonna Magicka came up somewhere in either Crunchyroll or anime lab, but at the time, I went and watched something else. Magical girl anime kind of doesn't sell itself to me. I can't explain why, I just generally watch a handful of episodes and quit.

          Oh, I also just remembered a good example. I did not like Zettai Karen Children, but the unlimited: Hyoubou Kyousuke ended way too soon in my opinion

          Last edited 16/12/16 7:04 pm

        C'mon, finish KLK. By the end the very idea that a naked woman is fan service will be gone.

        If you enjoyed KlK, I recommend you Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Made basically by the same people, it pokes fun, exaggerates and ultimately pays glorious homage to the "mecha" genre (giant robots) as KlK did with fanservice.

      KLK is an anime I would happily recommend. But it's not an entry level anime, too many of its jokes are about anime tropes. If I know someone liked Guren Lagann then I'd recommend KLK.

      You should be able to call yourself an anime fan. I'd still consider a lover of only Studio Ghibli movies to be an anime fan.

    Keijo!!!!!!!! is a great anime. the only people that don't like it are people that haven't even given the anime a chance.

    How dare you even put Keijo!!!!!!!! in the same category as Monster Masume! keijo!!!!!!!! is a lot like those Shounen shows like Shokugeki no Soma or Haikyuu. It's about a diverse cast of characters battling it out to be the best at a given thing.

    Stop being prudes!

      To be fair, Japanese storytellers are able to place a dramatic and highly compelling spin to any kind of story, from golf, to cooking, to tasting wine or playing Mahjong. So I imagine that the series manages to weave a thrilling narrative among the immense amount of jiggling and bouncing flesh. What is suspect is that they decided to tell a story centred about that.

      Last edited 17/12/16 3:18 am

    The world we live in bombards us daily with depressing news and the overly sensitive types that take away a little something that made Australians what they were... their larikan nature and the ability to laugh at the little things.

    If my female friends can laugh and giggle over a fireman calandar then why is it wrong to laugh at fan service absurdity in entertainment? Honestly the women i know laugh at that stuff too, because it is absurd, over the top and when done right, amusing.

    Yeah there are times when it is in poor taste, but the same can be said of violence, language or any pauly shore movie.

    It has its time and place. It really depends enormously on the context and the show itself. Generally don't mind it unless it's tonally out of place with everything else. That said, I often don't actually notice the milder stuff is even there so I'm probably desensitized a bit.

      Context is almost everything. Whether you're talking about sex, violence, gratuitous political discourse, silly walks or pretty much anything; the degree to which it is acceptable entirely depends on the context it's in.
      Statements like "X is bad" achieves nothing devoid of the specific context.

    We have to define fan service as something more than just "flops out her titties". Yes that can (but not always) be a part of it but so are things like the yamcha death pose after baseball or when abenobashi parodies dragonball and so on. We call it fan service when final fantasy 14 add ultross and typhon as a boss or when battle on big bridge plays during gilgamesh too.

    To the topic though I don't mind the fan service the article refers to. You often either know that you are getting it going in or it is uncommon enough that it isn't totally jarring when it does happen. There are exceptions of course, bleach has an episode wholly devoted to everyone hanging out at the beach in bikinis fighting a giant tentacle monster, it is filler so it gets a pass but it is the embodiment of the potential for abuse of fan service.

    Cant believe there's a discussion about fan service and nobody has mentioned Prison School or Food Wars. That's how you get fan service right. I was able to watch both with my wife and we were cracking up at how over the top it and good natured it was.

    Opposite end of the spectrum would be something like (forgive me, I cant remember the name) but that series about the young girl who lives in the local shrine with a bear protector. That had a steady stream of fan service and beastiality jokes which just felt icky.

      I enjoyed both Prison School and Food Wars but I couldn't really recommend Prison School to any of my friends. I even struggled to recommend Food Wars as I had to explain that the show is really good if you ignore the fan service everywhere. Both of those shows had fan service at the core of what they were doing so it's kinda hard to ignore it.

      Would PS and FW still be good shows without the fan service? I reckon they would but they would be very different shows without it. It would be like removing one leg from a three-legged stool and still expecting a stable seat.

        I dunno. As Food Wars progressed it got lighter and more token on the fan-service and heavier on the food porn (which I feel is exactly as it should be). I have a feeling the juiciest fan-service being in the first few episodes was probably intended to lure folks in.

        Last edited 15/12/16 11:58 am

          I agree that Food Wars got less fan service-y as the series went on but I wouldn't be surprised if people were put off by the amount of fan service in the first few episodes. The first episode was so completely over the top that you have to laugh at it but someone watching it for the first time might be put off by the gratuitous nature of it.

      Food Wars - Yes.
      Prison School - No

      Food Wars used the stripping down of characters to express the removal of inhibitions and getting to "the naked truth" of what they were experiencing. Plus it's funny. The Headmaster of the school is a laugh riot when he suddenly strips off during judging.

      Prison School, not so much. There's the dominatrix female character with huge tits that is nothing more than the personification of sexual desires and restriction. Fan service with her was not needed at all and often played for cheap laughs.

    I only watch anime that I consider to be at least mildly intelligent and interesting. I've learnt to ignore a bit of fanservice, as there's generally only a bit in the anime I like. Even so, it makes it awkward watching it with people sometimes.
    The schoolgirl masturbation scene in Code Geass for example makes me extremely hesitant to watch it with my friends. Surely they could have been a bit subtler with that plot point.

    I dont mind fan service but only if its not unnecessarily over the top like Highschool DxD or Samurai girls which had borderline rape scenes.
    The story draws me in and the fan service gives me a lul

    Is this article just trying to piggy-back on the original, lengthy article, about how anime is trash now because of too much fan service? SMH

      same writer too i believe, probably cause she copped an absolute serving in the comments/twitter.

        An absolute serving of clicks, yeah :-) You see this too with all the 'flavour of the month' UFC articles or similar. If Kotaku can sniff clicks in something, you can bet it'll be posted, sometimes multiple times :-P

          Wow! It's almost as though Kotaku depend on clicks for their revenue stream and need to follow trends in order to remain profitable!

            Yes but they could be less cynical about it. Yes I understand not giving away too much in the article link so that people click to find out more, but running a cut-down version of the same content that's just been covered in another article is pretty tacky to say the least.

            I suppose it's the price we pay for a free website. I don't think it's going away any time soon...

              Do they get the same revenue from clicking on the Comments link next to the title? Because as of recently, I've been completely ignoring the articles relating to this sort of thing (anti-sexuality in everything/SJW articles/whatever) and going straight to the comments. Half the time the comments provide more balanced and interesting discussion, and are so much better to read than whatever I missed at the top of the page...

                Don't know. Some sites measure the amount of time you spend in any section of the page, kind of like a heat map. If the ads aren't visible on your page then it might be that no pay-per-click is paid...

    i LOVE fanservice anime, but with animes like Seikon no Qwaser, i just couldnt do it.
    So thats my line. Heh.

    I'm going to add some video games my part of this discussion because I believe that games can also suffer from an overabundance of fanservice as well, and it's a gaming website.

    Essentially if fanservice is the main selling point of an anime or game (Keijo, Monster Matsume, insert any adult visual novel here) it's not even going to register on my radar. I need a good story and interesting characters to get me through any anime, in the case of games you can also substitute good mechanics and replayability.

    Any fanservice that is out of context will annoy me, although other elements can make me ignore it. Kill La Kill gets a pass because I spent most of my time with a perpetual look of WTF is going on plastered on my face to care about the fanservice, both male and female, which was turned up to 11 in such a way that it was impossible to take it seriously. Food wars also falls into this category for me.
    The DOA fighting games are a good example for games, I find them to be great fighting games that are easy to get into but still require some skill to be a proficient player. I can happily ignore the silly jello boob physics. DOA extreme volleyball however is something I won't touch with a 10 foot pole.

    I have one guilty pleasure in Infinite Stratos, despite the fact that is a trope ridden harem anime. It might have more to do with the fact that I find it to be a well animated mecha battle anime and I find Laura hilarious (I will now make you my bride and I will hear no objections from you).

    I think it's ruined anime and turned it into a playing field for sad, creepy dudes.

      I get where you come from, but it has "ruined" nothing. There has been fanservice in anime almost since the 70s and good and bad series with and without fanservice have been made ever since. The situation today is exactly the same.

    Fan service is... boring, almost insulting. Porn exists... anime porn, so why bother with this condescending fan service?

      Have you seen the stories in porn? Sometimes it's fun to get these aspects and mix em all up instead of separating them.

    Admittedly, it makes me mad that women's body parts are plot devices. Commenters on Kotaku have disagreed, arguing that there's no issue with marketing female sexuality to an audience who wants it.

    I agree with those commenters. Fantasies are what fiction is a huge part of what for.
    That said... I really wish that there was less of it in the things that I find interesting.

    ...Or rather, I wish that there were more things available that I find interesting, which don't have jarringly intrusive fan-service.

      There surely is. My 'anime to watch' list is so huge and growing daily. There's gotta be the right mix of what you want being released.

        I'd be very surprised if there was.

        I've taken to vetoing almost everything that takes place in a high school or focuses on high-schoolers (with rare exceptions for critically-acclaimed titles, which tend not to rely on the tropes of school drama/only children can save the world because adults aren't special enough), which eliminates 95% of all new releases.

        Rule out the 'Magical Girl' genre, 'girls are [object] personifications', and anything that even resembles a harem, and there's actually not that much left. Maybe - MAYBE - one or two shows a season, and even then, there's real strong odds that they might not actually be any good.

          Ah well I didn't know you were ruling out entire genres and archetypes. Also I suppose I'm behind enough that there's enough variety on ye olde anime waiting for me. (only recently watch Serial Experiments: Lain). By contrast I suppose I flock to the shonen-esque high-school variety animes solely because regular live-action TV largely ignores that setting (excepting the likes of Buffy et. al.)

            Yeah, that's why I used the qualifier, "That I find interesting." I'm not that interested in the teenage power fantasies. I like the occasional really well-done one, but most of them aren't, and tend to all blur together into bland sameness.

            It's incredibly unlikely that I'm going to enjoy watching any more series about a bland, milquetoast protagonist who is somehow the only noteworthy boy in an academy of hot girls, established to help gifted teenagers master awesome magical/technological powers. I just can't do it. But there seems to be at least one and often two or three of those come out every season.

              I get ye. Those characters haven't evolved much over what we've already seen. I'm lucky I enjoy character archetype more than character depth. Even if its the same old tired shounen superboy I'm all like: "this one is about robot ninjas!"

              Last edited 15/12/16 4:46 pm

          What do you have against the Magical Girl genre, if I may ask?

          Also, while it's true that many high school series are exactly as you say, the percentage of the ones that deviate from that norm is higher than you may think. Several jump to mind but the one that i'd recommend the most would be Kokoro Connection which uses an interesting conceit to delve deeply in the psyche of the main characters and the nature of their relationships, which evolve believably and organically (and not only in a predictable romantic way).

            Mostly because I hate moe?
            I dislike the 'magical girl' genre for the same reason so many people claim to dislike having 'generic white dudebro' as their video game protagonist: I can't relate, I don't sympathize, I find it boring.

            Generally, every Magi-Girl series I've seen has been nothing much more than a suite of tired, cutesy archetypes fighting monsters of the week while the only TRUE conflict and drama comes from them awkwardly misunderstanding the ways in which they all do actually truly love each other. It's a genre stuffed half-full of metaphorical diabetes, half pedo-bait. Probably the only example of the genre that I've actually liked was Dog Days, IF you were to stretch the definition enough to allow it, instead of classing it as sacharrine fantasy adventure. It's simply not my cup of tea.

            And like I said, I do sometimes make exceptions in the high school rom-com/drama/battle genres for high-quality versions. I've recently quite enjoyed titles like Kokoro Connect, Flying Witch, ReLife, Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, A Boring World Without Dirty Jokes, My High School Rom-Com SNAFU and various others that I'd say are doing something DIFFERENT in that space, or deliberately sending it up - just like you mentioned: believable characters and deeper themes, deeper exploration of relationships. Sometimes I'll indulge in some cute rom-com, but rare. (Stuff like My Little Monster, Golden Time, that kind of thing, but it's a rare mood that takes me there.)

            It's simply a case of overdosing on generically-identical bullshit like Hundred, Asterix War, Irregular at Magic High, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, and a bunch of others I can't remember the names of because I didn't watch more than two episodes of before groaning and rolling my eyes at how closely they were adhering to the formula that I'm well and truly bored with.

            I also tend to switch off from any anime which has art styles that mean you can't tell the characters apart if they all got their heads shaved and wore glasses. Choosing different eye-colours and hair-styles is shitty, shitty, moe-blob character design. Eg: the opposite of this: http://imgur.com/gallery/ZgvTG - it's basically a preference for Last Exile over Strike Witches.

            Last edited 16/12/16 10:40 am

              Glad to hear you enjoyed KokoCon. As for Magical Girls, yeah, sure there's lots of cliched, tropey drivel riddled with shallow teenage girl drama and the most vapid romantic plots. But as with everybody else, the genre presents opportunities for incredible storytelling, sometimes in spite of the trappings and sometimes fully embracing them.

              I'm sure you have heard of Madoka Magica and perhaps cannot get past the MG tropes and the moe and the samey faces. MM wears all those trappings proudly as to more artfully conceal the hidden dagger of a rich and dark plot centred around the theme of sacrifice. I'd strongly recommend giving it a chance. It is merely 13 episodes and things start going rapidly down the rabbit hole as early as the third episode. By the end you'll find out whether your weariness and dislike for the genre can outmatch the series capacity to surprise and move or not.

                The WIXOSS anime start cute and get ugly in a hurry. In some ways they are to card games what Madoka was to magical girls - except that the girls don't even get a wish to kick things off.

                Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has some good moments, as does Yuki Yuna is a Hero.

                Basically there are a relative handful of magical girl anime where the characters are forced to grow, not just to power up. Unfortunately it's a minority - but, to be fair, for many such shows the target audience IS little girls.

          High school anime can be a lot of fun, look at assassination classroom. But then again it is basically screaming "I AM SHOUNEN" repeatedly. Girls und Panzer was unbearably cute but then haifuri was just unbearable.

          I still give one of my workmates a hard time over his choice of magical girl transformation sequences, like he pokes fun at my love for dragonball super

    As long as it's not tacky, overt, or completely out of place then I'm fine with a bit of fan service. This includes fan service for female viewers, something that I've noticed is conspicuously absent in the lead in article. High School of the Dead, one of my favourite examples of how to do fan service right. You know it's there, but because it's worked into the action you don't feel like it's in your face as much as a lot of other series. When it's tongue in cheek or self-aware then it generally doesn't feel like too much of an issue either.

    Yūsha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shūshoku o Ketsui Shimashita (Yes that's actually the title) would have been significantly better if they had toned down the fanservice. The setting and premise was pretty cool and the characters were fun despite the fanservice.

    I don't see any problem with fan service. To me it's just a little bit of comedic fun that acts as a cherry on top of a good anime. If you don't like that in a particular show then just don't watch it.

    There are plenty of female oriented shows that have great stories that I would like to watch but don't because of all the half naked dudes with abs and chiseled jaw bones. I don't feel the need to complain about it or say the industry has a problem. I just choose not to watch those particular shows. They are clearly not aimed at me and that's totally fine. It's not a big deal at all.

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