Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor I
Fan Service in Anime from the American Feminist Perspective
I can’t be the only one tired of the gratuitous fan service in anime. Even the shows with good plot unnecessarily showcase objectified women. For instance, Bleach started as a PG 13 shonen series focused on one teenager’s struggle to protect his friends and the powers he develops along the way. It’s great stuff, and I always really liked it despite the eventual change in female character design. Only Rukia, arguably the leading woman of the show, has semi realistic proportion sizes. Excluding her giant anime eyes of course.
I feel like the industry is pressuring mangakas to create uninspiring, hyper-sexualized, fan service driven characters, in a vain attempt to attract a male audience. I think if they focused on releasing good content instead of click bait, a form of media that has no purpose other than to get your attention, then they would expand their audience exponentially. Women love anime. I can definitely attest to that. But some of these series that are being released are simply unwatchable. The anime industry market is losing half the world’s population in viewers, women. Do any of you other ladies otakus out there find the explicitly sexual fanservice in shows like Keijo!!! or Love Hina to be off putting? Are we just expected to suck it up and let some of our favorite shows get turned into objectifying mush?
One Piece used to be my favorite manga. I liked the show too, but the manga is really what captured my heart. In the beginning of the series the women came in all shapes and sizes. The first villian is actually a rude obese woman. It’s amusing to see women represented visually as having varying personalities. Unfortunately, and I think because of pressure from the industry, One Piece is now just another shonen series that has lost it’s thunder. The overall animation quality is suffering, and it seems the now constant objectification of female characters is just a desperate attempt to keep their audience’s attention. Even Nami has gone from being a kick ass thief, only out to make money, who wore a trademark white striped t shirt; into a crying, long haired, archetypal hot anime babe in a bikini top. I think this treatment is unjust.
We women, or at least this American feminist, want to see female characters they can relate to, or at least are understandably caricatured (not just their boobs are giant) in a way that represents personality, not sex appeal.