AnimeSuki Forums

Register Forum Rules FAQ Members List Social Groups Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   AnimeSuki Forum > Anime Related Topics > General Anime

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2004-05-18, 10:34   Link #1
relentlessflame
 
*Administrator
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Age: 32
Excessive Fanservice = Soft Porn?

I very rarely post new threads, but this came up last night in a discussion with my sister, and I am interested in hearing your opinions.

First, backstory. I just got the DVDs for Mahoromatic, and was watching it last night in the living room. My 19-year-old sister was on her laptop in the same room, so she was casually watching it with me (I even put it on dub so she could follow along). She has watched other typically-considered "guy-oriented" romantic comedies with me before and enjoyed them (like Chobits and Steel Angel Kurumi, for example). Anyway, needless to say to those of you have the seen the show, the fanservice and suggestive scenes in Mahoromatic are sometimes a bit much, especially those involving the teacher. Even I was rolling my eyes at those scenes, even though I really am liking the rest of the show. After two episodes, she asked if we could watch something else.

We proceeded to have a discussion about fanservice, which is when she made the statement that I am referring to in the thread title: "Excessive fanservice is basically like soft porn". I had never really thought about it that way before, and I'm not really sure if I agree or not. To me, at least, I don't take fanservice in anime that seriously; it's meant as a comedy, and it really doesn't phase me much. Maybe I'm just desensitized to it - as I said, sometimes even I just roll my eyes when it gets excessive. The thing is, though, I actually would consider some of the suggestive stuff we see in today's popular music videos on MTV to be more akin to soft porn; even though there's less "skin" showing, it is a whole lot more suggestive and provocative in intent.

So, anyway, her assertion was that, in her mind at least, all of these shows could do without the fanservice, since it is entirely unnecessary and gets in the way of the story. Of course, she is a girl, so that doesn't totally surprise me. In a show like Mahoromatic, I even think I would agree with her, at least to a point. It is a bit much. However, we also agreed that part of the problem is likely cultural - in North America in particular, we have a really huge hangup regarding breasts - they are seen and portrayed almost exclusively as objects of sexual attraction, to (in my opinion) the point of excess. My assumption, at least, is that they must not be so uptight about it in Japan - even children's cartoons contain exposed breasts, and I assume that a show like Mahoromatic probably would have been aimed at teenagers. My sister's assertion is that, at least in our culture, any time you see someone naked, even from the waist up, that's essentially soft porn.

In any case, here are my questions to you all. How do you respond to the thread title? Is fanservice essentially soft porn? Where do you draw the line, i.e. when does it become porn? Does fanservice in anime really phase you that much? Are we just desensitized to it, and is that a bad thing? How does fanservice in anime compare, in your mind, to some of the sexually suggestive material we find elsewhere in the entertainment industry?

P.S. We ended up switching to I My Me Strawberry Eggs, which we both found weird but very funny and well done.
relentlessflame is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 10:57   Link #2
zalas
tsubasa o sagashite
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Send a message via ICQ to zalas
Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame
So, anyway, her assertion was that, in her mind at least, all of these shows could do without the fanservice, since it is entirely unnecessary and gets in the way of the story. Of course, she is a girl, so that doesn't totally surprise me. In a show like Mahoromatic, I even think I would agree with her, at least to a point. It is a bit much. However, we also agreed that part of the problem is likely cultural - in North America in particular, we have a really huge hangup regarding breasts - they are seen and portrayed almost exclusively as objects of sexual attraction, to (in my opinion) the point of excess. My assumption, at least, is that they must not be so uptight about it in Japan - even children's cartoons contain exposed breasts, and I assume that a show like Mahoromatic probably would have been aimed at teenagers. My sister's assertion is that, at least in our culture, any time you see someone naked, even from the waist up, that's essentially soft porn.
I grew up in China, and exposed breasts are definitely not as taboo as it is here in the States. I went to a kids museum that revolved around Xi You Ji (saiyuuki), and it actually has a panorama with a topless nymph in it. I don't know about right now, but it used to be that breast feeding was commonplace, so kids/parents really don't care if they see breasts, as long as they are not used in a sexual manner.
Personally, some of the excessive fanservice really does get in the way of a decent show at times, and that's why I wish they could remove ep 2 from Mahoromatic or something -.-;;
zalas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 11:31   Link #3
jennwenn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: good 'ole US of A
I think excessive fanservice is like soft porn. Many fanservice anime goes so far as to have sex scenes. Porn, fanservice. Its all entertainment.

I've become immune to it after so long, but I still find it annoying. Excessive fanservice is a sign of weak storytelling and a poor attempt at humour. If the best they can do is show the male lead accidentally falling into a pair of bouncing breasts, they need to go back to scripting and storyboarding because that is lame. Sure, it was funny maybe the first few times I saw it in Ranma, but come up with your own gags now.

Americans do have a hang-up about female nudity. Probably a renmant of evangelical Christians. I'm a girl, but I don't think my gender matters on my opinion of excessive fanservice.
jennwenn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 12:06   Link #4
Secca
nya`
*Artist
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
I grew so tolerant about fanservice after seeing too many anime, it's just unavoidable, anime shows these days always has fanservice or a hot spring episode.

One thing that really bothers me is one those out of place panty shots. I think it's tasteless and a waste of good frames.
__________________
Secca is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 12:22   Link #5
Mr_Paper
Hmm...
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Looking for his book...
I must agree.

Excessive fanservice is no better than soft porn. It's unfortunate but many newer series are starting to depend on it and even abuse it. While Mahoromatic was a good series, it could have been a hundred times better with only half the fanservice content that was in it and there was no need to show the teacher's more graphic fantasies.

Personally, I tend to watch a series for it's story and plot not to be assulted visually by half naked women who have nothing better to do than run around or flaunt their bodies.
Mr_Paper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 12:32   Link #6
hunterx
ore wa kanpeki da
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
you don't know what soft porn is. Soft porn is sex scenes without the explicit parts. Futari no ecchi is soft porn, just showing breasts or panties with no sex is not soft porn
hunterx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 12:59   Link #7
relentlessflame
 
*Administrator
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Age: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Paper
It's unfortunate but many newer series are starting to depend on it and even abuse it. While Mahoromatic was a good series, it could have been a hundred times better with only half the fanservice content that was in it and there was no need to show the teacher's more graphic fantasies.

Personally, I tend to watch a series for it's story and plot not to be assulted visually by half naked women who have nothing better to do than run around or flaunt their bodies.
I have to say that I agree with you here. I also tend to watch a show for it's story and plot, and could certainly live with less fanservice. It makes you wonder, though, do the shows actually sell better/find more audience with the fanservice than they would without it? Why are the animation companies throwing in more and more fanservice?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hunterx
you don't know what soft porn is. Soft porn is sex scenes without the explicit parts. Futari no ecchi is soft porn, just showing breasts or panties with no sex is not soft porn
Yeah, I've gotta say I wasn't too sure of the definitions myself... what counts as porn and what doesn't. But, if, as Mr_Paper says, it's "no better than soft porn", then whether it technically is or isn't doesn't really matter.


I'm still very interested if anyone will choose to tackle the question about how fanservice in anime compares to the sexually suggestive stuff we find in other "mainstream" entertainment media. And also, I've gotta wonder, as I mentioned earlier... does fanservice actually truly help sales? I suppose it must, otherwise why would we be seeing more and more of it?
relentlessflame is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 13:47   Link #8
DistortedRealmS
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: A realm beyond that which is reality.
Age: 32
Send a message via MSN to DistortedRealmS
I refer you now to a series that had a story that seemed good Daphne in the brilliant blue. I stopped watching 4 episodes in, the use of fanservice was puching the edge of rediculous, all i could think of whilst watching was what were these people thinking when making this? Thus it threw me off from enjoying the story. If there is one thing that pisses me off in this world its these marketing techniques ie; beer advertisements and the fact that people are led to them like dogs
DistortedRealmS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 15:07   Link #9
boneyjellyfish
Evangelist of the Kazoo
 
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: AnimeSuki Forums
I wouldn't really call a show with excessive fan service softcore porn. Both "excessive" and "softcore" are just too broad to be able to really fit anything in. For instance, Mahoromatic and Usagi-chan de Cue!! have abnormally high amounts of fan service, but does that make them softcore porn? Ranma 1/2 has complete nudity with the exception of adult genitals, as well as Happosai in a bathing suit. Is Ranma 1/2 softcore porn? Definitely not.

However, "excessive" is just too broad a term. Does something need to have nudity, or at least revealed breasts, to be included in "excessive"? Does that mean that Eiken isn't excessive? Even if it isn't excessive, it's one of the few anime series that I would classify as softcore porn. The reason I count it as softcore porn is because Eiken completely revolves around fan service. There are no parts to the story that aren't affected by it.

So in the end, how do we judge whether or not a show has an excessive amount of fan service? If you've read any of the threads about Midori no Hibi, for instance, people complain about the high levels of fan service simply because it shows nipples. However, to me that's not really fan service at all (I'll explain why later). To me, it's the anime that relies on keeping everything exposed that is more heavy on the fan service. Having a nipple exposed in, say, a bath scene, is more realistic than having it completely obscured by regular bath water. Yes, showing the entire torso is sometimes completely unnecessary, and when it is unnecessary is when it becomes fan service.

Then again, there are shows that rely on upper torso nudity that I wouldn't classify as fan service. Hanaukyo Maid Tai, for example, has three maid characters that run around Taro all the time while undressed. However, there isn't any sort of jiggling all over the place. For that same reason, I don't think Midori no Hibi has much fan service at all. Yes, it shows exposed breasts, but really, what's the big deal? Ranma 1/2 has much more nudity than Midori no Hibi, and I definitely wouldn't call that fan service (with the exception of the second movie, of course). In other words, shows that show nipples simply because nipples are a part of the human anatomy are NOT examples of fan service, no matter how much people want to make them out to be.

For me, there are really only three levels of fan service. The first level is a rare one. It looks like a perfectly normal series with only an occasional moment of fan service, but those moments of fan service are huge. Series such as El Hazard: The Alternative World that are normal throughout the series then have a giant mass of fan service in the end that would fall into this level. The second level includes anime series such as Divergence EVE, Popotan, and Mahoromatic. These are two series that feature nudity and partial nudity simply as a filler for the actual story. The third level is, in my opinion, what I would classify as softcore porn. Series like Eiken, Mouse, and Golden Boy are what I would put in here. They are series that cannot survive without fan service, have no story other than things that revolve around fan service, and require no brain power to watch. They're series that exist only to stimulate men in an erotic way (with an almost possible exception to Golden Boy).

In summary, "excessive" is just too broad a term to use in this argument. You need to draw the line somewhere.
boneyjellyfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 16:02   Link #10
Griffith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Softcore porn, imo, is like the stuff they show on HBO, Cinemax, etc. Basically, sex scenes that don't show genitals/penetration. I don't consider lots of fanservice to be softcore porn at all since it's usually for comedy value alone.
Griffith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 17:18   Link #11
relentlessflame
 
*Administrator
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Age: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by boneyjellyfish
However, "excessive" is just too broad a term. Does something need to have nudity, or at least revealed breasts, to be included in "excessive"? [...] You need to draw the line somewhere.
Very good post, and you hit on one of the key points I was asking in the main post: "Where do you draw the line, i.e. when does it become porn?" My sister would argue that any exposed breasts are erotic, and therefore would fall under the soft porn category. In fact, I have to admit that I editorialized her original quote a bit - I believe her original comment at the beginning of the discussion was that all fanservice was soft porn. In other words, my sister would say that all exposed breasts are "excessive", regardless of the way they are portrayed. I suspect that attitude is at least partially cultural, but I'm not sure.

Your three categories of fanservice in anime look about right to me: shows that have moments of fanservice, shows that have fanservice "filler", and shows that are built around fanservice. And, as you said, I consider it different depending on the intent behind it - is it supposed to simply catch your attention (like the panty shots that Secca hates), is it supposed to make you laugh (like most of the stuff in Mahoromatic), or is it supposed to make you arroused (like every single ero anime, obviously). I would agree with Griffith - I personally don't consider fanservice that is meant to make you laugh to be porn, but that may just be a label of convenience that I chose to apply.

Ultimately, the labels are not what is important here, though. I suppose it really comes down to a sort of moral judgement that each person has to make. As jennwenn said "Porn, fanservice. Its all entertainment." So, I guess each person has to decide for themselves whether they have any moral issues with the stuff they watch. I suppose it is unspoken, but as jennwenn mentioned, coming from an evangelical Christian cultural background, there is a lot of uptightness about sex and porn. I suppose that if some I know saw that episode of Mahoromatic, they'd probably send me for counselling for a porn addiction. It makes me question my morals a bit, because either I'm desensitized to it, or it's really not that bad.

I suppose that fanservice is one of the things that will probably keep anime from reaching mainstream acceptance, for better or worse. Plus, the fact that it is often heavily advertised in the promos doesn't help dissuade the "anime=porn" idea. If my sister's notion that all frontal nudity in anime is pornographic regardless of context reflects the opinions of many, then it'll definitely be an uphill struggle for the anime licensors to expand the market.
relentlessflame is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 19:39   Link #12
Green²
It's Magic
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Up and to the Left
Age: 34
It really depends on how the fanservice is used. Even when excessive, it can build on as character development. Thus giving you an idea on what the character could do next, yet building to the story and plot. One would likely call it soft porn,.. but a true soft porn IMO usually doesn't build much to the story & plots, and usually involves character extras and not those that would be considered as the main characters.

But if the main/only characters don't build a partial story, than that would be best call soft porn.

Yet fanservice can be a broad definition, from a very small amount of skin, to completely in the buff. Most wouldn't consider just a small amount of skin, such as a leg, as soft porn.

Thus I use three definitions to classify fanservice:

Ero: Beyond 55% heavy skin, to hard core acts for the series or episode.

Hentai: 20% - 55% heavy skin amounts for the series or episode. Hard core acts must be below 20% for the series or episode.

Ecchi: Light amount of skin, to about 20% heavy skin amounts for the series or episode.

Soft porn however, can fall within either of the three categories. But that is left to the eye of the beholder.
Green² is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 20:12   Link #13
Muir Woods
Disheartened and Retired
 
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 加拿大
Age: 28
If there's one thing I've learned in TOK, it is that there is no definition for pornography. What is pornography? Our TOK class wrote an essay on that. We all got it wrong. We all missed the point. It is pointless and futile to define it, for everyone has a different definition of what it is. Now here are some tougher questions: What is pornography, and what is (erotic) art? Is pornography a subset of art? Or (erotic) art a subset of pornography? Or is some materials both pornographic and artistic? Or is some materials solely pornographic or solely artistic? How do you distinguish between the two? Does pornographic materials have an intent to arouse? (it's what I wrote in my essay). These questions will help you draw the line of what is pornography and what isn't. Remember, you can only define your own definition of what pornography is, not the definition, because there isn't one. It's like that cliché Green² said: "(Something...whatever...etc...) is in the eye of the beholder".

EDIT: It is why some people see a painting of a naked female as pornography, and some see it as art, because of the different definitions that people see through. Definition also changes in a person as he/she changes/matures. The same person who sees that same painting as pornographic when he/she was 20, could see it as art when he/she is 65.

My definition of pornography is what I wrote in my essay: Materials that has the intent to arouse someone. Let's define it even more. I'll define softcore porn as materials that has the intent to arouse someone, but does it in an indirect (implied) way (eg. A girl eating a banana in a paculiar way, naked. Just being naked, to me, isn't softcore porn, because the intent has to be there). Hardcore porn would be materials blatantly intending to arouse someone (eg. Your typical porn videos, gangbangs...etc.).

Erotic art...I don't know how to define it, for I am still inexperienced in erotic art.

Last edited by Muir Woods; 2004-05-18 at 20:42. Reason: So many grammar mistakes...
Muir Woods is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 20:54   Link #14
Guts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: ...
Send a message via AIM to Guts Send a message via Yahoo to Guts
"Hey sis, you don't like my softcore animation, *^%(&%$#(*&%.. oh n0es". Why would you watch something ecchi in the same room w/family in the first place? Thats the default Q. It's the softest quality porn out there.
Guts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 21:45   Link #15
OutPhase
Lord Chairman God King
 
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Do you really give a damn?
Send a message via AIM to OutPhase
I'm sick of the negative stereotype of people thinking anime is all about sex!

It's the same battle about manga! We got a long road ahead of us to make these doinks think differently. Anime fanservice is fanservice. NOT PORNO! Just seeing two peopple think manga equals porn in all ways saddends me to an unparallel point, and we're the losers with no lives? No, some of us have lives.
__________________

Last edited by OutPhase; 2004-05-19 at 16:59.
OutPhase is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 22:21   Link #16
hunterx
ore wa kanpeki da
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame
Very good post, and you hit on one of the key points I was asking in the main post: "Where do you draw the line, i.e. when does it become porn?"
there is no western or for that matter any other culture that loves showing bouncing boobs and girls underwear. Fanservice is a japanese thing, there are no equivalents around here. If you're going to enjoy japanese pop culture you just need to take the good with the bad. I don't mind fanservice, it doesn't do anything for me. The last time I remember looking at girls panties being a big deal was in kindergarten.
hunterx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-18, 22:22   Link #17
relentlessflame
 
*Administrator
 
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Age: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guts
"Hey sis, you don't like my softcore animation, *^%(&%$#(*&%.. oh n0es". Why would you watch something ecchi in the same room w/family in the first place? Thats the default Q. It's the softest quality porn out there.
Well, you know, my sister isn't that uptight about it; she's watched anime with ecchi in it before, and she is 19. She's certainly not a child. I don't think she's all freaked out that her brother is a pervert on account of this anime - we actually had a serious discussion about it. Obviously, she doesn't see the point of it and, to a certain extent, I agree with her. But, the show does still have good characters and a good plot besides the fanservice; anyone can appreciate a good story. And, besides all that, I really don't see anything about it that's so shameful; I don't have anything to hide. It's not as if it was rated Adults Only or anything... If I had to hide in my room just to enjoy anime, I think that would suck. Her bottom line was that she just really wasn't impressed - I don't think she was offended.

Muir Woods, you make a good point about the definitions - there is no one right definition. It's a matter of personal opinion and feelings, and that's why I think it makes for an interesting topic for discussion, especially given the different cultures represented. Personally, I think I agree with your definition; it at least seems sensible.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Razer_2mb
Just seeing two peopple think manga equals porn in all ways saddends me to an unparallel point, and we're the losers with no lives? No, some of us have lives.
You know, I'm at the point where I sometimes wish I could be a "loser with no life". Life is just way too busy!
relentlessflame is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-19, 02:51   Link #18
kj1980
kaii~...kana? kana?
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Age: 33
Pornography is what an individual deems him/herself to define as pornography.
kj1980 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-19, 03:49   Link #19
LK_LoA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
You missed the hyprocrisy of an ecchi anime where the female protagonist says, "Ecchi na no wa ikenai to omoimasu."
LK_LoA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2004-05-19, 06:46   Link #20
Secca
nya`
*Artist
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
I don't mind if just one panty shot or two, the one I mind is those out of place or excessive amount.

I'm talking about Najica, I consider it soft porn already just because whatever the maker hobby is, he just went overboard in that show.

Spoiler for this is what I call excessive fanservice:
__________________

Last edited by Secca; 2004-05-19 at 06:57.
Secca is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:26.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
We use Silk.