Every-so-often, creators like to throw their fans a juicy bone–putting favorite characters into high-action power fantasies, or allowing an emotional build-up “just for the feels.” Fandom pandering can certainly lead to a watered-down story if creators cater to every imagined whim of their doting followers, but, sometimes, a little sprinkling of fan service can go a long way.
In the anime world, however, the term “fan service” often goes by a different connotation–one playfully associated with dakimakura, waifus (and husbandos), shipping, and beach episodes, but which often stems from, as Neighborhood Otaku argues, a much darker place: pornography.
In a piece as vulnerably honest as it is well-researched, Neighborhood Otaku dives into the heart of fan service and examines its self-gratifying agenda and social impact in Japan and abroad, asking: Does consuming fan service threaten our sexual purity? Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, I encourage you to carry on the conversation over at his blog, or here in the comments below, as this is a topic which affects–I will argue–every otaku who enjoys the anime medium.
Read Neighborhood Otaku’s full article at Otaku Collision:
>> The Truth About Fanservice
And now for a plethora of ponderous posts:
Despite its focus on science, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood implies that when we use our innate desire to create as an ultimate end, rather than in service to a greater end, we lose something priceless along the way–our humanity. [Christ and Pop Culture]
“Adopted into God’s family” is an oft-recycled metaphor that perhaps few Christians truly internalize. Giving Bunny Drop a watch might just help the concept sink in, though. [Geekdom House]
Sunday Without God may look (and sound) like a humanistic story at first glance, but it’s got enough spiritual truths to make Nietzsche a very unhappy philosopher. [RishRaff Anime Reviews]
>> Fear is a natural response to the unknown, and Blue Exorcist filters fear through the religious beliefs of its characters, suggesting–by accident or design–that Christians have the least of all to fear from the demons (and reapers) encountered in spiritual warfare. 
Christians may very well find familiarity (and a challenge) in Vash’s passionate philosophy of love. After all, the book of Matthew called it long before Trigun’s messianic gunslinger ever flashed his first peace sign. [Geeks Under Grace]
Tsunderes like Taiga in Toradora! might be considered the anime archetype of tragically-comedic romance, but perhaps Christians know better than anyone the very real phenomena of being needy and stubborn toward the One we love. (B-baka…) [Unsheathed]
Looking for an anime series that won’t overly-compromise your Christian values? A Catholic otaku puts together her list of must-watch series for discerning Christians–and agrees with many of our own recommendations! [Late Rose’s Corner]
Secularism is the only “religion” with any meaning in the abysmal world of Berserk, and no doubt Nietzsche would enjoy the Conviction Arc most of all. [My Anime List]
Illinois’ daily newspaper recently covered NatsuCon, and Christian voice actor, Vic Mignogna, gets quoted on the subject of morality’s role in timeless storytelling. [The Telegram]
Last, but not least, the Manga Bible is making waves in China as part of the China Christian Counsel’s publication efforts to distribute the Word of God in the local language. [China Christian Daily]
As part of the Something More series of posts, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality. If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please contact us to be included.
Featured art by 小喵 | reprinted w/permission (Pixiv Illust: 56701556)
3 thoughts on “Something More: Fan (Dis-)Service, Tsundere for Jesus, and “Playing God” until you Run out of Chimeras”
equating fanservice and pornography seems a bit much, doesnt it?
That’s the question on the table! The Something More column’s role is to link to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality, regardless of whether they follow what I, or anyone else on staff, believes. It’s a broadening of horizons and brings attention to good discussion topics.
I do encourage you to read Neighborhood Otaku’s full article over at his site. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, he makes a good case for them. And you are free to make conclusions of your own and debate them (civilly, of course ;]), if you’d like. That’s what we’re here for–open discussion and examining that intersection between spirituality and Japanese pop culture.
that’s kinda my point…that’s the question that should be asked, but the article takes it as given and moves on.