Fan Service: The unnecessary stuff (Part 2) [Not Quite Safe For Work]

Let’s get the bad things out of the way first, yeah?
Oh, and you’ve been warned. It’s nothing major but if your loved one catches you eyeing then good luck finding an excuse.

Covering the baddies of fan service, it’s actually quite unfortunate that bad things usually come from generalizations and this is no different.

Let’s go a little off topic for a while.
Take a look at this popular meme (or say the truth): Muslims are not terrorists but most terrorists are that of Muslim.
Now take that and relate it to the topic of fan service….
Explicit sexual contents are not fan services (ever heard of hentai?) but most of the fan services are that of explicit sexual contents.
Now, I’ll leave you to play the victim blaming game while I get back to the topic. 😛


These guys know they are onto it, but what does anything matter?

When thinking mainstream anime and fan service, you really cannot look past this one studio that’s insanely notorious for getting on top of it.

Kyoto Animation of today.
I have to mention ‘of today‘ because that’s really what they’ve become.

Going back to the original definition of fan service, gratuitous titillation, it shouldn’t be hard even for a studio of this caliber to know that they exists as bonuses, not something that can be easily shoved into the plot.
This is where most of anime went wrong too actually; shoving fan service into 25-minutes-or-so time frame in place of the actual plot, hence the memes revolving around big tits and missing plots.

Though it goes without saying that KyoAni is not the only studio to purposely do this, they however are the biggest culprit of all. J.C. Staff and A-1 Pictures are right behind them on the move.

On top of the baddies, Kyoto Animation also has the best examples neural and good uses of fan service altogether.

Digging into the case…

I’m a fan of KyoAni and have been following them for quite a long time. I’m also going to leave a disclaimer here that I actually enjoyed all of these shows I have listed in this post (Part 2). I even rated them as good or better in MAL. Though, even if you can enjoy them doesn’t mean that they are free from your criticism.

All of their works have been questioned ever since K-On!. However, critical attention regarding fan service didn’t come in until Amagi Brilliant Park and thereafter.

Woah Sento!
Imagine a rep from KyoAni talking to you, “We apologize our dear customer. We do not currently have moe stuff for you, however we do have an airhead of a girl whose name is derived from 50 Cent, in her naked sta- WOAH DAMN! IS THERE A STAFF DISCOUNT FOR HER NUDES?!

Would you look at that? Even for a scene like this, KyoAni paid attention to the details. Sticking to the air headed character that is Sento, if you’re female then you’d probably question her dressing order, haha! There are always exceptions but really, there aren’t many females out there who puts on stockings before inner garments!

Sadly for most, it doesn’t end there…

Reina
Episode 8 of Musaigen no Phantom World is entirely fan service. To many, this easily makes it worse than The Endless Eight.

When stuff like this gets shoved right into the plot (or lack thereof), we are being told that we MUST watch it. If KyoAni wanted Musaigen to be just a rom-com nobody would have actually complained but they did a horrifying job at getting to the core of romance AND comedy.

MgnPW Mai
Kawakami Mai as a character is pretty much a fan service ‘package’. I’ve found her to be a fun watch but that’s probably why!

It may look like I’m bitching about this anime being bad in general so just head over to any review sites (hint: click the link) and you’re guaranteed to see complaints to this anime regarding this very issue; fan service.

Going a little back in time and you will have Free! plus its sequel, Eternal Summer. Though I’m more than willing to put these two away from the bad side of fan service, others don’t seem to agree that much.

Now let’s get to something much more recent; Hibike! Euphonium and its Yuri baits. KyoAni went as far as altering the story and character relationships to be different to that of the original source material. Thankfully, everything else about this anime outweighs the fan service in terms of impact so there you have it. Overall a great show but you can never forget about the things Hibike! didn’t need.

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My heart!

So much trash talks for KyoAni despite easily being my favorite anime studio. I’m going to save the crap about J.C. Staff and A-1 Pictures for later.


You see it here more often than anywhere else

This issue is much, much more prominent in battle shounen titles than anything else. While I’m inclined to leave pictures here I’m also afraid that there will be too many of them simply due to the fact that there are already many titles as of today!
I can see where they are going with this though….

Shounen is a genre for (and literally means) adolescence male. Call me a dick when I say this but if you’re aware at all, most men in their teens really do think (or thought) with their dicks. This really meant easy business for even anime industry.

You’re not going into a battle shounen without seeing at least half of the female characters with overly sized tits anymore. Add ass to that and you get something like One Piece. Hell, even the mangaka of One Piece admitted that he draws females using a base of three circles!

I can go on and complain about Fairy Tail and Kill la Kill too but that’d be me hating a lot. Hopefully you get it now that if this was a war, great shounen titles like Fullmetal Alchemist and Attack on Titan are definitely hiding for safety.


One way it serves a purpose, another way it’s just a NO

The case for this is Dragon Ball.

I get it. Most of the time Bulma goes hoe, it’s for comedy. That however doesn’t invalidate the fact that the remaining times, which happened a lot, are just plain unnecessary.

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Umigame gets the dibs on that puss!

Real comedy kicks in with Goku who, for a child, happened to understand A LOT of adult humor. I’m not sure what I’m talking about anymore so here.

Now that’s (bland) comedy done right, not even a fan service. So why pull the Bulma hoe moves, Toriyama?


Hopefully we get to see the brighter side in the coming up part 3.
I actually cringed while typing most of this….

Blasting My Headphones: ALL OFF – リフレインボーイ (Refrain Boy)

The time when anime songs happen to be pure J-Rock is now rare. ALL OFF however managed to save us some time with their great tunes.

 

This seriously bad-ass rock song is used as an ending to the anime Mob Psycho 100.

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Attention to the details

Yes. You did hear fluent English in there!

It’s about time really. Japanese rock bands have somewhat taken the English in their lyrics much, much more seriously than their pop counterpart. If it doesn’t sound right, the singers themselves probably aren’t satisfied either.


Taking it next level

Official English translation has been done, the band also did the song entirely in English.


 

Pluses (honestly I don’t have a single minus for this)

  • That guitar
  • It’s ROCK! I mean come on! Not any hard rock, pop rock or even metal; just pure, clean rock. This very genre is actually dying on mainstream.
  • Japanese and English versions available, go them!

Two episodes into Eromanga-Sensei: I’m in stitches!

I don’t think I can ever avoid talking about OreImo if I’m ever going to talk about Eromanga-Sensei. The two are written by the same author after all. Also, look at it this way; Eromanga-Sensei seems to promise overall improvements that OreImo already impressed you with.


Episode 1

We get the same OreImo treatment here. Introductions like short prologue, setting, characters, situation they are in. None of this failed so A-1 Pictures did the right thing in not fixing what’s not broken.

I’ll even show you the comparisons…

Eromanga-Sensei 1

The prologue : meeting of siblings(?)

Waking up to reality/setting

Getting along with the sibling? I think not


OreImo 1

The prologue: dreaming

Totally NOT MY SISTER!

Waking up to reality/setting

Of course, they are not getting along…

Caught red handed biiiiitch

Both are on the quest to save their little sister from looking bad

One from loving erotic contents, the other from loving AND creating erotic contents.

Eromanga-Sensei:

OreImo:


The stuff I’m more interested in

This one should be clear as day since I’m the one who wrote massive blog regarding seiyuu. In Eromanga-Sensei we are introduced to a somewhat new face in the voice acting industry. Her name is Fujita Akane and she voices the main heroine Sagiri, not her first ever role though. Thank god we no longer have to deal with a tsundere mess that was Kirino! But we do have to deal with a loudmouth that is Yamada Elf.

The opening revealed

Now we know that ClariS has returned from OreImo to do the opening song for Eromanga-Sensei as well, hooray!


Episode 2

This is really when I felt the need to write a review despite the anime not finishing entirely. Voice actress Kido Ibuki returns from OreImo to voice a rather audacious Jinno Megumi, whom now anyone would know for the famous memes created just for her.

Useless dick.
Logic for men from your one and only, Megumi!
She loves dicks
Well then…
Speaking on behalf of all girls
Speaking on behalf of all girls in the world!

Let’s appreciate Tsundere

She’s definitely the Kirino of the series albeit less annoying. But like all tsundere girls out there, two sides need to be seen.

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The tsun
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The dere: takes one word to bring it out!
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Classic tsundere lines

Surprisingly, she actually has ‘tastes’

Literally, I’m talking about food.

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How did THIS start to begin with?

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Let’s also not forget the other characters that will or will not make any huge impact in the series

Given the fact that this is 90% relatable to OreImo, I’m putting my money on THEY WILL.

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There’s always that one girl who gets along with MC well.
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Yamada Elf!

The Ending

Good job on A-1 Pictures for being creative. They actually spent some money into serious animation for the ending credits. A lot of people overlook the fact that ending can be and is mostly more attention-grabbing than the opening!

Here in the ending, Sagiri shows us the three types of party goers:


 

This has been a lot of pictures spamming rather than giving out purely my own opinion/review on the series. Though this is actually what Rom-Com’s are meant to accomplish; make memes.

20/10 will keep tracking the progress!

A-1 Pictures is hitting this season with TWO Rom-Com anime at once!

Haaaaaai! Hai hai!

I honestly first thought that the Fall 2017 season would be absolutely dull since most of what I saw being advertised were mainly shounen series. Both second seasons of Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia were heavily hyped for by many bloggers and anime YouTubers alike, then there is me – getting all excited for (lowly fan service-y?) Rom-Com’s.

Let’s get it to now!


Boring and not so boring girlfriends, continued

First up we have Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata ♭. (♭ for Flat)

This show literally continued the exact same way it did with first releasing episode zero, a pure fan service of laughs and giggles (or fap if that’s your way). Now that the actual first episode has finally aired, we are immediately taken to the past story of two main girls Eriri and Utaha. I can honestly say that the first episode of second season alone is already better than almost the entirety of first season.

Saekano Flat episode 0
Dig into Episode 0 for some of this…

New comer (or you thought so?!)

Second in line, we have Eromanga-Sensei!

New name, same author from the popular sis-con, rom-com series Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (OreImo).

Baka
Dig in for a dense protago- something that exists in pretty much every harem rom-com.

Digging into this, if you’ve watched OreImo then you’ll come to realization that Eromanga-Sensei feels exactly like it. Absolutely no surprises there.
Again, if you’ve watched OreImo, you’ll also be thinking of a meme regarding sis-con protagonist. This time however, Eromanga-Sensei has the ‘little sister’ not being blood related to the protagonist. I still don’t think it will satisfy the fans if the author pulls the same crap like he did in OreImo.

Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s the fact that the author is somewhat fond of ClariS. Like OreImo, ClariS has returned to provide an opening song for Eromanga-Sensei.


For the geeks: Notice the similarity?

Both of these series have the protagonists voiced by the same seiyuu, Matsuoka Yoshitsuguwhom has been given a truckload of roles in Rom-Com/Harem as protagonists lately (you also can’t forget the fact that he voices Kirito from Sword Art Online; I count that as harem).

Blasting My Headphones: Earphones – それが声優! (Sore ga Seiyuu!)

Let me first get a horrible joke out of the way.
Blasting my headphones with music from Earphones, hah!

A personal description to this song would be ‘feeling fancy while kicking ass in Kung-Fu’. That was at least how I felt when my ears got used to the tunes this song provided. I would then find myself listening to this while working to feel absolutely uplift, ’cause you know… happy worker = well done job.

Sung by the voice actress unit Earphones (Marika Kouno, Rie Takahashi and Yuki Nagaku), this song brings in a mixture of good old electro-pop and light music (軽音 – keion).


Attention to the details

This song is packed with more than your average pop tropes. Not only does the name of the song has everything to do with the anime, the lyrics are on point too!
The full version of the song will have each of the three characters doing an insane drop of words within a few seconds (the anime opening version only has Rin/Kouno-san doing hers).

Let’s go through the first one. Please don’t even try to Google translate these since you (should) know how it works.

Rin’s (Kouno-san) line:
“すもももももももものうち すもももももももものうち”
Read as, “sumomomomomomomomo no uchi   sumomomomomomomomo no uchi
Google translates to, “Among plum both thigh peach of plum nor thigh thigh.”
What she’s actually saying is, “Plum pits, peach pits, all stone fruits have pits.”

Got it? Good. I’ll just leave the other two and let the experts have fun.

Futaba’s (Takahashi-san) line:
春シャンソ\ンショー 春シャンソ\ンショー”
Read as, “shinjin kashu shinshun SHANSONSHOO   shinjin kashu shinshun SHANSONSHOO”

Ichigo’s (Nagaku-san) line:
庭には鶏がいる 庭には鶏がいる
隣の竹やぶ立てかけた 隣の竹やぶ立てかけた”
Read as, “niwa ni wa niwatori ga iru   niwa ni wa niwatori ga iru
tonari no takeyabu take tatekaketa   tonari no takeyabu take tatekaketa”

Poor Ichigo, she had to drop the most. If you listen carefully then you’ll notice that she struggled to come back to the same pitch with the others for the last sentence of the song. 😦


Pluses and minuses (art is subjective)

Everything you create is subject to opinion from anyone else but yourself. This song is no different so I’ll go on and say something.

The +

  • Great classic use of guitars in a pop song (like, the Japanese have always been doing this)
  • Enough bass to keep me happy!
  • Verses are not only straight up singing which is obviously nice for J-Pop
  • Catchy Chorus
  • Seriously good production (you can be the most talent person ever but if your producer is dog poo then your studio album will be only as good as that)

The –

  • Variation in the seiyuu voices; like damn! Rie Takahashi easily makes the other two sound nearly a decade younger than she is!
  • I’ve listened to other Earphones’ songs to make sure of this and I was right; this song really wasn’t up Yuki Nagaku’s (Ichigo) alley. She easily sounded the weakest out of the three.

Last thing (or first thing) to do is listen to it, no?

Fan Service: When do we want them and when do we not? (Part 1)

They are actually rhetorical questions. Do not worry though, as much of a click bait the picture is (it’s Keijo!!!!!!!! by the way), this topic will undergo a huge exploration!

….as we try to find the plot.

That plot!
If the picture above was the first thing that caught your eyes then it just goes to show how fan service works in a nutshell.

Before we even take off

Fan service in its earliest days was only known as gratuitous titillation.

Let’s simplify that; it is saying, “your sexual excitement, on us.”
Well then.

But I also pulled more of the definition straight out of Anime News Network. It states that:
“Fan service does not have to be sexual in nature. Other forms of fanservice include gratuitous amounts of detailed mecha transformation scenes, mascot placings and so-on.”

In other words, practically anything and everything you see and hear from anime can be fan service!


If you still haven’t got the answer to that rhetorical question…

I’ll speak on your behalf!

  • Do you get excited whenever the plot thickens? (No. this is not a boob joke.)
  • Do you get excited whenever your favorite line/catchphrase is being said?
  • Will you be excited if the so called ‘protagonist’ ends up with the guy/girl you root for?
  • Are you excited about your favorite anime which is still up and running, whether it is within the main series or a spin off?
  • Do you like parodies?

So many questions but only one answer.
If there is a yes to any of those then there is a great chance that you are acknowledging fan service. If there are yeses to all of those then you have totally admitted to be watching many genres. Go you!

Now, when do you want fan service?
Obviously, all the damn time!

When do you not want them?
I can really pretend to be your mind reader and give you the answer to that…

…in the next part!

Songs by Seiyuu: What is the deal now? (Part 4)

The deal is what is being represented by the picture above; these four voice actresses, each well known for their roles in anime, have formed an idol unit. They are not the first to do so and they will not be the last.

So I had set myself a criteria for writing this part a long time ago which was to not start writing until I have finished watching Sore ga Seiyuu! at least three times.
About time!
You’ll see why, soon.

Hopefully by now everybody has an idea that a seiyuu is really being treated as an idol; they work hard and play hard at the same time. Surely you are not going to believe that what VA’s do at work is visually a part time job!

Anime has always been the most frequent medium for VA’s to showcase their talent. And there’s no denying that a drastically increasing number of musical art pieces are being done by them than what we traditionally called singers.

Just like how a lot of us would long for a music video, you wouldn’t think that the same idea applies to anime?
Perhaps, the seiyuu while we are on the topic?
Here’s an idea; how about both?


Before we get there…

I’d like to give credits to P.A. Works where it’s due. They really have outdone themselves, engraved their names into the (nonexistent) anime hall of fame with their Shirobako.


It is basically the superior jack of all trades in the educational slice of life genre; a lot of everything (including that dance), perfect at none.


What does that even have to do with seiyuu and music?

Well hell, I hope you haven’t forget that anime is a very important medium! Shirobako literally opened a new path for anime industry to load us with many more new names carrying similar genre; a somewhat educational slice of life.
And damn was I satisfied.


Came the stuff some of us were exactly waiting for!

It did not take long at all for someone else to follow Shirobako’s footsteps. While the anime itself covers pretty much every positive thing anime fans need to know about anime production, came a series that explored this very topic; songs by seiyuu.

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Sore ga Seiyuu!: The English title can’t be any more obvious – Seiyu’s Life!

Again came the moe army because K-On! clearly has left a huge footprint somewhere…


Playing by the rules, snowballing them moe style

As I stated on a previous post, seiyuu will go on about doing almost everything a pop idol would and this anime covers up the positives of it. Here are some examples:

1. Hosting radio show(s)

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2. Screw around in an idol like event

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Haha go away Ichigo. We already have Nico!

3. Actually doing their job!

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Get to the damn point already!

It is the fact that the voice actresses for the main characters have formed an idol unit, preserving the ongoing trend. This is not to be confused with image bands/groups that only do openings/endings/insert songs for specific anime and never be seen again. This is pretty much what sets Sore ga Seiyuu! apart from Shirobako despite climbing the same tree.

Sore ga Seiyuu!‘s unit, Earphones, kept on going for quite a while after the anime airtime ended.
Shirobako‘s unit, Doughnut◎Quintet, pretty much only released the ending song single and that was… really it.

Oh and by the way, the very first paragraph of this post is being referred to the idol unit Sphere.

Now let me go on about Earphones a little more because thankfully, it took so long for seiyuu to have come this far in anime industry. We are basically at a point where voice actresses feel comfortable enough to sign a contract and appear in person when doing jobs related to voicing for anime. Some of you will probably go ‘wtf’ after watching this and trust me, so did I on my first watch. This is Japan after all, right?

I present you the full opening to Sore ga Seiyuu! with the voice actresses!

Just a little fan trivia: the one in yellow is Takahashi Rie, the voices behind Emilia of Re:Zero and the more recent…

Megumin in flesh! ❤


Too much moe for you? Then worry less! (You still have to worry though)

Only a year later another take on educational(?) slice of life with seiyuu being the focus happened and we got ourselves a cynical sister to Sore ga Seiyuu! that is Gi(a)rlish Number. Unlike both Shirobako and Sore ga Seiyuu!, this piece of art explored the seiyuu career in a new way; a way some of us critics love to jump the gun and call it reality. Trust me it is not.
Girlish Number did give us a funny idea of how seiyuu felt less ambitious voicing for anime that are adapted from light novels, therefore low key spat on light novels as a source material despite the anime originally being sourced from a light novel.

Two fictional units were formed upon the making of this anime, Girlish Number the main casts unit (out of ideas, really?) and Kohaluna the two character unit.


Idols need their work to be seen

Remember the old times when some of you dared to upload anime openings or endings onto YouTube? Even with the purest of good intentions, you’d almost certainly got yourself copyright strikes because the anime industry in Japan really thought that anime music were not so important back then. However, now it is different. Anime openings and endings are being done by seiyuu; they are being done by idols. The worst thing any producer could do to an idol’s work is to not let it gain exposure.

Lantis has been upping its game for a long time now, TBS likewise. I’m looking at you now Pony Canyon.

So here are the works by Girlish Number:

Special Opening

The Actual Opening

The Ending

Let’s not forget the ‘beach episode’ insert song

Unlike Sore ga Seiyuu!, the girls didn’t show up often but here is a look at the cast anyway!

Girlish Number Seiyuu
Cast for Gi(a)rlish Number.

Could you imagine if both Sore ga Seiyuu! and Gi(a)rlish Number did not have seiyuu doing the openings and endings?
That would have been hilariously disgraceful for anime about voice acting, especially when the theme in question is seiyuu as idols.


Huh? The deal is not over!

Seiyuu became popular, nice.
Idol units formed, nice.

Though it is easy to forget but we really do live in an era where everything is being regarded as intellectual properties, even your 5-10 seconds meme is too! What does this even mean?

Well technically it means that for every new unit formed, a name gets taken first come first serve basis. Why do you think Love Live!‘s unit is literally written as µ’s instead of Muse? (µ’s is literally pronounced ‘muse‘ by the way)

One word that causes all the ruckus; Copyright.

The whole thing is usually being joked about even in anime. Gintama seemed to have shown us those, countless times via fourth wall breakages.

Anime studios really do struggle to win over desired names for whatever projects they work on. The process is visually no different to reserving a name for your character in any online games. So if you happen to come across some witty names that make you giggle or downright laughing out loud, just do yourself and the studio a favor by supporting them in whatever way you can.


The good things that will carry on

Having seiyuu to sing an opening/ending for anime increases efficiency in anime producing for studios as they don’t have to go look around for a famous anisong artist. Then there are lyricists, music composers, etc.
In other words, it takes a lot of effort to make a fitting music for any given anime.

Sure, there are some artists who can do all of those in one but that will come at a cost as nobody works hard for little.

Another good thing I can think of on top of my head would be about how just by listening to the opening song (or in some cases the ending), you basically learned a little about each of the main characters, especially their personality. I’d be lying if I tell you that it wasn’t intended by the anime/music producer.

Now I’m not going to type in a lot of nonsense without backing it up, so here:

The most recent anime that has got me thinking about this very idea; Gabriel Dropout.

Try listen to the opening and have a guess on what each characters’ traits are.

Got it? If you think you do then you can try watch the actual anime opening and see for yourself ^_^

Well it has indeed been a long ride, especially for I who has been procrastinating for nearly a month. Good thing I did not make any promises on schedules, haha!

I hope the 4 parts of this journey have at least answered some of your wonders!

Until then, see you next time on a different topic! ^_^