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I have watched the first episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion and at the end, after the credits, there was a short teaser of the next episode, ended with the sentence:

Tune in next time for lots more fan service!

I have watched much more American TV shows and movies than anime, so for me, the word "fanservice" has more bad associations, like some unnecessary things, not connected to the plot. So if fanservice is mentioned in a teaser, does it mean something else in anime, or do people watching anime like fanservice rather than looking down on it?

  • The concept of fanservice has existed since time immemorial. The notion of whether or not fanservice is "good" genuinely depends on one's personal convictions or beliefs, and whether or not people like watching it depends on the former as well. I'm not sure this is suitably answerable without it going kind of everywhere (and I can see a few answers below have done just that). – Makoto Oct 31 at 4:04
  • @Makoto I am mostly interested in what is the general opinion, is the general population leaning more towards it being good, or being bad, or ist it 50-50? – TK-421 Oct 31 at 9:55
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Fanservice is content which is not necessary for the progression of the story but something which pleases the viewer/fan. In anime this is usually sexual in nature, but can also be hints towards ships in the fandom, cameos, or similar. It is something intentional added in hope it will increase viewers/sales.

Reception towards fanservice is mixed. Since it is often sexual in nature, it has a negative effect for the female viewer in a male oriented show (and vice versa). And for more plot heavy shows, extended and repeated use of fan-service can be distracting and end up annoying. For a 'ecchi' show, fan-service is expected and people would complain if an episode goes by without it.

In the end, fanservice is a balance of adding value without distracting from the show. Sometimes this will hurt certain demographics to boost the main one. But it is a balance which is taken to increase viewers.

In case of the mentioned example in Neon Genesis Evangelion, mentioning it so directly in the preview was something I found unusual when watching the show. Since it is not a fan-service oriented show, it appears as a pretty desperate move to increase viewers since it indirectly says there is nothing more interesting coming up in the next episode. Maybe I'm missing a historical context here, but the show was never expected to get as popular as it got.

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  • Can you answer what is the more popular opinion amongst the viewers? Does the general population lean more towards it being good, or being bad, or is it really close 50-50 when it comes to considering fanservice as something good or something bad? – TK-421 Nov 2 at 8:27
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    I think the word itself is not opinionated, it is not positive or negative. It is simply used to describe that type of content. Then people might add their opinion on top of that, but the word by itself does not mean it is good or bad. For the general opinion on fanservice in a show, it is clear that most viewers don't mind. It exists in most anime, which means most people have either a neutral or positive response to the usual fanservice in the shows they watch. Otherwise it would not be there. I repeat, fanservice is intentionally added because it works. – Sebastian Wahl Nov 4 at 17:17
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All though I don't think we really can answer the "do people enjoy watching fanservice" part of the question. As this is left to the opinion of the viewer, lets get into what 'fan-service' entails in anime.

Your definition of "something unnecessary and "not connected to the plot", except when talking about watching it for the plot (definition may be considered nsfw, look it up at your own discretion) is pretty accurate.

Fanservice content's direct intention is to please the audience, which often leads to content of a sexual nature in anime targeting the Shounen and sometimes Shoujo demographic.

These scenario's can come forth through a range of causes. In-universe reasons range from innocence of the character, to accidental walk ins. But it is not uncommon to have scripted 'beach episodes' or 'bathing scenes' where either implied nudity or absurdly small bikini's are featured as a form of fan-service.

Hence the fan service mentioned in the teaser implies that more such scene's will be shown. However, by my recollection of the series, no actual body parts are shown in those scene's. With the exception of the directors cut version, which did feature nipples on certain characters.

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  • Can you answer what is the more popular opinion amongst the viewers? Does the general population lean more towards it being good, or being bad, or is it really close 50-50 when it comes to considering fanservice as something good or something bad? – TK-421 Nov 2 at 8:25
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    @TK-421 Fan services sells to the target demographic where it is applied. With that we can at least say that a majority either likes or condones it. However, this stance will differ per series, per additional demographic, and even per Geo-localization. It is not uncommon for those kind of scene's to be censored when they become animes or when they release it in the USA or sometimes even within Japan itself. So, no, not really. – Dimitri mx Nov 2 at 8:45
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Most TV shows (Anime or not) engage in fan service of some sort. Generally speaking, it means you give the audience exactly what it wants. That can mean anything from seeing a long-brewing relationship brew into a romantic one, or it could mean two characters finally having a brawl that highlights their powers.

In Japan, though, there's more permissive rules about nudity than there are elsewhere, so "fan service" often became synonymous with a nude scene involving female characters. The anime Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (which is the second arc in the US version of the Robotech series) features just such a scene in the first episode, where the main female character is shown topless in the shower (which is why the Netflix version is TV-MA, while the original broadcast TV series merely cropped it out).

As the US markets grew, however, they were toned down to more "acceptable" levels of sexuality involving things like community bathhouses (more common in Japanese culture) or swimsuits. The Naruto series featured the "Sexy Technique/Jutsu" (link may be slightly NSFW), where the main character assumes the form of a scantily clad or even naked woman (with the key parts obscured).

Evangelion was almost certainly using it as a tease to boost viewership, since the original TV series really didn't push those limits very much (if anything, the series revolves around how timid the main characters are with each other). The movie End of Evangelion, oddly enough, went the other way with scenes like

a dying Misato kissing Shinji as a lover and remarking they can "do the rest later".

The Rebuild Evangelion movies have been even more racy with

Shinji entering Rei's apartment to return something to her. He winds up knocking over a very naked Rei and falling on her in such a way as to avoid showing anything.

Is it considered good?

It depends. Kotaku reviewed No Game No Life and noted this

Shiro is 11 years old in No Game No Life. In the first episode alone, we get two panty shots of her. Over the course of the series she is naked several times (though of course it is self-censored in one way or another); and while the only one that young, she is far from the only girl seen in varying states of undress.

And later

But used as satire or not, that doesn't change the fact that the fanservice, while never superseding the plot, is still a constant presence—and 11-year-old Shiro is a part of that.

Some shows lean heavily on fanservice to draw viewers, to the point where the plot can suffer. Most Anime that is considered "good" tends to be those with a solid plot.

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  • Can you answer what is the more popular opinion amongst the viewers? Does the general population lean more towards it being good, or being bad, or is it really close 50-50 when it comes to considering fanservice as something good or something bad? – TK-421 Nov 2 at 8:27
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Anime is entertainment. Fan service exists to entertain.

Just as there is lower or higher quality anime, there will be lower or higher quality fan service.

And as with any form of entertainment, it is highly subjective.


However, with regards to the final words in Neon Genesis Evangelion I'm not sure the translation is correct.

I believe that what Misato Katsuragi says is, "Kono tsugi mo sabisu sabisu". Which roughly translates to, "The next one is on the house".

This would be a reference to her hard drinking.

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