Anime Lovers Have Mixed Feelings About Fan Service


Anime’s fan service can be a minefield. Some fans scroll through each season’s offerings looking for the show with the greatest ratio of panty shots to plot. Others will turn off an anime and bury their face in their hands after even one lingering shot of an ice skater’s butt.

But fan service means a lot of things – anything from references to Dragon Ball to making a popular fan ‘ship canon. And over time, it’s evolving.

At New York anime convention Anime NYC, we interviewed attendees about what they think fan service is, whether they dig it, and what their personal fan service preferences are.


  • The sillier and more outlandish the show, the more I can ‘stand’ fan service before losing my shit over it.

    However, (and whilst I know it acts as an important strategy for popularity in the Japanese market), I really do wish it’d f right off.

    • My thoughts exactly. Shows that set themselves up to be silly doesn’t phase me however when you are watching a show that looks like it is taking itself serious or the premise is serious and then BAM panty shot my eyes roll so hard.

  • While I agree with both of your thoughts and mine are the same. I disagree with the it should go away statements

    Remember Anime is Japanese, we borrow it from their culture, IMO this means we don’t have a right to say what it should and should not be.

    • I disagree. You and I are anime fans not tourists. We belong in the anime fan group just as much as anyone else. Most of us like the Japanese culture that shines through with anime but fan service isn’t cultural. I’ve been reading and watching for over two decades. I’ve seen how fan service has changed over the years. Modern fan service has abandoned sublty and hijacked most genres. It’s really set anime back.

      • Fair point, to be honest I just don’t get to watch much anymore. Maybe four to five episodes a week and I tend to stick to the older stuff.

      • I dunno about setting anime back but totally agree about the lack of subtlety being common these days. It was played out cleverly before, like when nick, cartoon network, warner bros, etc. used to sneak in innuendo and adult humour but in a way where only adults would pick up on the full meaning of the joke.

      • I disagree. That’s not to say that I don’t think the amount of fanservice in current anime is not problematic. However, I don’t think we are worse now than before, nor that it’s becoming ever-increasingly worse as time goes. It’s just that we tend to idealise with nostalgia the “good olden days”.

        There have certainly been tamer times in the past (especially before mid-80s) but I myself place the lowest around the time when the blasphemy known as Eiken was released. I vividly remember the frustration back in those days trying to find a decent anime where misshapenly humongous boobs with super weird gradients were not constantly breaking tone and narrative cohesion.

  • I personally don’t have a problem with it provided the context is right, it just ends up being a bit of silly fun then. Admittedly it can also set up a nice establishing shot of a character if it fits said character.

    Outside of that yeah it does feel a bit weird.

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