Ah, fanservice. Hate it or love it, it’s the silent, yet omnipresent element in most anime shows. Ranging from in-jokes to jiggling breasts and up-skirt shots, anime shows tend to be rather polarized into shows that contain massive amounts of shout-out content and those which tend towards experimental (Texhnolyze, Lain and Haibane Renmei immediately come to mind). Today, we’ll focus on the sexual fanservice-heavy shows, as frankly these are the shows that you’re mostly likely to see on late night satellite and cable TV.
Many of these sexy fanservice shows are adaptations of H-games, such as Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito and Green Green (Media Blasters). While not exactly hentai, they are certainly very ecchi (not sexually explicit with full-on sex scenes, but much is implied). Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito is a fantasy story involving a tomboy girl on a quest for the girl she loves, who disappeared on her sixteenth birthday. Turns out the object of her affection is actually a god-like being who visits the people she created on all the worlds in the cosmos until her sixteenth birthday, upon which she starts the cycle again in another world. Add into this recipe the fact that the two girls are sisters, and the searching heroine is being sexually pursued by the goddess’ younger sister throughout the series... you can see why this show wouldn’t attract domestic licensing, so check the Internet for fansubs. Green Green is set in a private school setting, where an all-boys and an all-girls school consider joining together, with the expected results from their students.
Comedy, however, is where fanservice calls home. Fan favorites such as Excel Saga (ADV Films), Ikki Tousen (Geneon; the related manga from TOKYOPOP is titled Battle Vixens) and Eiken (Media Blasters) all contain a lot of fanservice, ranging from the required hot spring visit episode to the commercial break of a kilt blowing up to reveal the logo for Ikki Tousen on her buttcheck. The male characters suffer nosebleeds and other physical ailments of naked attraction on a daily basis, while the female characters unconsciously expose breasts, panties and other fringe accessories, such as schoolgirl outfits, kilts, and in the case of Ikki Tousen, eyepatches (different strokes for different folks and all that). Of these three titles, and trust me, I can add a pile of other titles to this list, Ikki Tousen is the most explicit, blending a Three Kingdoms reborn fighter tournament storyline with your typical high school anime, with short skirts, cool boys and tight shirts.
Daphne in the Brilliant Blue (Geneon) is an odd fish, as it is an overly abundant fanservice-based show, yet it is mostly an action-adventure show, involving scantily-clad young women chasing after criminals in a futuristic setting. It also has a rather interesting setting and over-arching plot that I wish they had explored more of, instead of exploring curvy anime chicks. Tenjo Tenge (“Ten-Ten”) is a more serious take on the schoolyard fighter tournament (actually, it reminds me of Volcano High; watch it to see MTV doing a live action dub), but it still features fanservice from the earliest chapters, where one of the main characters falls into the girl’s shower room. (Note: CMX is editing the manga down to a Teen rating, to much online controversy. <a href=”http://www.digitalsin
But wait, where’s the goods for the ladies?! Gravitation (TRSI has the rights to the anime, TOKYOPOP produces the manga) gives us the mysterious and aloof writer Yuki with the fun-loving innocent Shuichi, who soars into the limelight as the lead singer of the band Bad Luck. Yami no Matsuei (translated as Descendants of Darkness through Central Park Media, manga through VIZ Media) tells of the bureaucratic office where shinigami work to avoid and correct wrongful deaths, the main character being a powerful, yet emotionally timid shinigami who can summon gods to defeat their enemies. His partner is a newly-dead boy, who was the victim of a curse and takes the job to uncover why he died and who did it. Only naturally, a bond develops between the two. Weiß Kreuz (retitled Knight Hunters by Media Blasters) involves a group of sexy young men who run a florist’s shop... and work as elite assassins for just causes, or so they believe. Finally, Loveless (Media Blasters) is the story of a boy and his much older fighter companion, who was his brother’s fighting partner until his death under mysterious circumstances. As you can see, fanservice for women dances around the edge of yaoi, with couples who never really make it explicitly known (i.e. no hot hot sex scenes) or their relationship is taboo, or just a pile of hot guys working together in close quarters. Needless to say, these shows have inspired much fanfiction and fanart.
On a final note, you can’t get any more explicit than Lingerie Senshi Papillon Rose. Just let that title swirl around in your brain. Sailor Moon parody. Schoolgirls, fighting evil in lingerie. A little fanservice goes a long way, but too much... now that’s just hentai lite.