“Fan Service” in Manga and Anime
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There are titles I steer away from because the “fan service” feels like borderline (if not blatant) pedophilia. And even in the mainstream circles, I still feel like there are a few too many gratuitous downblouse/upskirt shots of school-age girls, and the lustful/embarrassed reactions of the boys and men around them.

Kill La Kill is the threshold of my sensibilities. It is a good adventure to follow, distracted only by the fan service.

Which is bothersome to me, bc we use “fan service” as code for gratuitously inappropriate content.

I grew up on manga and anime, since the 1970s, far before it was popularized in western culture (unless you count the Spanish port of Go Racer Go Go Go! before it was again released in English as the more iconic Speed Racer). There has always been a pervy boyish tinge to the genre, and depending on where you got your manga, the perv factor was broad ranging. Among my Japanese friends, we chuckle at it and move on. It always felt like my American friends lingered on the sexualizations. I didn’t fully appreciate the difference til later, when I realized that I was the only kid in America who actually read the articles in their Playboy stash (yes, I learned to tie my first double Windsor, how Robert Jarvik got inspired to develop his namesake prosthetic organ, and how unfunny Richard Pryor’s substance abuse actually was, among many other things).

So yeah, sometimes I get a little creeped out when my friends banter about their favorite anime characters. Sure, it’s just fantasy, it’s not real, but it still feels awfully creepy to me.

But hey, even in manga, much like academic papers, and newscopy: it’s publish or perish.

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