Japanese games are well known for targeting a straight male audience with their overly sexualized (i.e., incredibly busty and scantily clad or moé) female characters. In some games, this fan service is the entire game’s focus.
Of course, while fan service tends to be aimed toward males, this doesn't mean that there aren't games with a significant amount of fan service aimed towards those who like males. Read on to see some of the most blatant examples of fan service for those who enjoy attractive hunks in their Japanese games.
The Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side series is far from unique in gameplay (as it plays just like any number of dating sims). However, it is the perfect example of an “otome” game. Otome games are traditionally aimed at Japanese female audiences where developing a romantic relationship with one of the male cast is the main goal of the game.
Set up in a reverse-harem situation, you try to balance school life, club activities, and a part-time job—all while pursuing your man of choice in Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side. Along the way you are treated to numerous fan servicey scenes of your chosen man. In fact, you could say the collection of these scenes is almost as important a goal as winning the guy.
Duel Love is another otome game (and honestly, this list could have easily been nothing but otome games)—and one we have talked about before at some length. However, this boxing club-centered title has one major addition to the typical dating sim gameplay found in Girl’s Side: the ability to use the DS touch pad to wash down sweaty, shirtless men. Other mini-games include massages, treating wounds, and blowing away steam while they are in the showers.
Dante. Just Dante. Seriously. The man is ripped, is a pretty boy, and spends the vast majority of the games in skintight leather—except for the third game, of course, where he just goes shirtless. He’s also a brooding loner who rides motorcycles, plays the guitar, and treats the amazingly over-the-top awesome with a practiced nonchalance.
While being not much more than a Dynasty Warriors clone in terms of gameplay, the Sengoku Basara series has a thriving female fan base in Japan. This is in large part due to the series’ several attractive men—not to mention those with abs and/or chests fully on display. Sanada Yukimura in specific is the game’s poster child—and it’s not hard to understand why.
Speaking of going shirtless, the main character, Demi-Fiend, of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne spends the vast majority of the game (aka every part of the 50+-hour game after the 30-minute prologue) without anything covering his chest. Well, other than his demon tattoos, anyway. I think that might qualify as fan service just a bit.
After the jump to the 32-bit era, the Final Fantasy series has been all about its pretty boy fan service. Many of the Nomura-designed male characters from Cloud to Squall to Bathier come with pretty faces. But characters like Sephiroth, Tidus, and Snow aren’t afraid to show off a bit of chest cleavage—while Wakka and Van add a sixpack midriff to the design. Heck, Vice from Dirge of Cerberus simply joins the ranks of the ever shirtless.
That’s why I’m still surprised over half a year later that the Final Fantasy otome game turned out to be nothing but a hoax. It would have fit right in!
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