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.

Senior reporter at Kotaku.

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Shocking development: video game audiences have mixed feelings about gratuitous violence. “Maybe we really don’t need to see their intestines tumbling out. Or maybe just not their colons, can we draw a line at colons?”

I’m joking, mostly. On account of my upbringing, I’m one of those people who rolls their eyes at panty-shots, but is honestly severely more disturbed by gore (which in my experience in the United States over the last decade, seems largely uncensored and uncontrolled on anything that isn’t children’s programming). Sure, I don’t see panties out on the street on a regular basis (in fact, I’d say I might go out of my way to avoid that), but I would say that if I ever saw someone disemboweled or beheaded in my daily routine, that would be substantially worse, and a great deal more upsetting.

(I’ll give you a moment to make an underwear-related joke at my expense.)

Thinking about it, I suppose I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t be more concerned about useless titillation in anime or anywhere else for that matter, so much as I’m left wondering why very few people seem to give the same regard to fountains of blood and detached eyeballs in video games or anime, though it does seem a lot worse in the former (and of those who do, some of them are unlucky and possibly opportunistic lawyers who get to spend the rest of the year dealing with hate mail and death threats from consumers—as though that were somehow a proportional response). On the other hand, I really like Gears of War 4...but I’d say I’d be just as self-conscious showing it to a relative as any episode of Sailor Moon.