Fan-service - A Black Mark on Evangelion

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Fan-service - A Black Mark on Evangelion

Postby J_Faulkner » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:27 pm

So, I've been reading a bit about Rebuild and it seems there is a fair bit of "fan-service" in the new films. This got me thinking about the whole issue of fan-service in Evangelion, about why it is such a stain on what otherwise could have been a much better series and set of films.

Now, scenes that have characters flaunting their sexual prominence are fine if they are somehow necessary for plot advancement. But when we come to Evangelion, we have all these scenes with characters revealing themselves for little reason other than to titillate the viewer, as a very cheap way of gaining popularity.

For example, we have Asuka messing around in the bathroom, Shinji walking in on Rei finishing a shower and then falling on top of her (what are the chances of that happening eh?), the pilots stripping naked together to do some hygiene tests or something, Misato offering "fan-service" to viewers at the end of the episodes (unbelievable), etc. In fact, I'd go as far to say it wasn't even necessary to have a naked Rei in the EoE to get the underlying message across at the end.

So what it boils down to is this: these scenes insult the intelligence of viewers like myself. As a mature adult, I don't need any gratuitous, revealing pictures of anime characters, especially teenagers. These scenes at best disrupt the flow of the story and at worst clouds the underlying messages with a thick odorous stench. They cheapen the characters and contribute towards their status as sex symbols in the eyes of some fans, something which I would say is a terrible tragedy.

To read about it in Rebuild is doubly disappointing because Anno no longer needed such gutter tactics to promote Rebuild, and furthermore, Evangelion is not about the characters offering their bodies for ogling eyes.

Fan-service is a black mark on Evangelion.
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Postby Lucretius » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:32 pm

The whole premise of the show smacks of fanservice, so it's a little odd to complain about a few panty shots. :ehh: The characters were pretty much designed to be sex symbols; they could just as easily have made an anime like Wings of Honneamise with plain-looking female characters and minimal sexuality.
Last edited by Lucretius on Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Sachi » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:40 pm

By your arguments, then what at all is really necessary in Evangelion?

Just because Evangelion is an intelligent show it does not mean it cannot have a little bit of fun here and there. Fan Service is good ol' Gainax fun, and it's hardly obnoxious at all in Evangelion. And I would argue that most of the examples you pointed out are indeed crucial and necessary to the plot of the show.

J_Faulkner wrote:Fan-service is a black mark on Evangelion.

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Re: Fan-service - A Black Mark on Evangelion

Postby honsou » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:05 pm

J_Faulkner wrote:Fan-service is a black mark on Evangelion.


Fan-service is just a part of Anime. The way its done in Eva does not take away from anything else in the show. It never really became the focus of the show, just a very small element (especially after the first half).

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Postby Merridian » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:34 pm

J_Faulkner wrote: So what it boils down to is this: these scenes insult the intelligence of viewers like myself. As a mature adult, I don't need any gratuitous, revealing pictures of anime characters, especially teenagers. These scenes at best disrupt the flow of the story and at worst clouds the underlying messages with a thick odorous stench. They cheapen the characters and contribute towards their status as sex symbols in the eyes of some fans, something which I would say is a terrible tragedy.
:) That was part of Anno’s point, actually. If you take his commentary on the Otaku culture and run with it (especially the rather blatant “escapism is bad” message), the overabundance of fanservice fits right in like a piece of the puzzle. The way it disrupts the narrative is both a cheap-shot at the fact that fanservice literally contributes nothing to character dynamics & plot development (and any attempts at justifying the necessity of the scenes almost always lack any real substance), and yet, part of the reason NGE became so successful was because of how it cleverly played into the intended audience’s expectations only to subvert the hell out of ‘em later on. By the time the series started its downward spiral, the fanservice was completely gone.
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honsou wrote: Fan-service is just a part of Anime.
:ehh: That’s like saying explosions are just part of movies. Not all anime has fan-service—Miyazaki and (most of) Oshii’s material completely lacks it, and shows like Serial Experiments Lain tone it down to the point of being almost imperceptible. I think it depends more on what the intended audience is in order to determine whether the anime has fan-service or not.
honsou wrote: The way its done in Eva does not take away from anything else in the show.
:shrug: It disrupts the narrative without actually contributing anything substantial. And there are ways that shows can ‘have fun’ without catering to the lowest common denominator, but again that really ties into the ‘escape from reality’ meta-theme that Anno piled on.
Last edited by Merridian on Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby chaosakita » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:35 pm

Maybe...gasp...Anno found the fanservice appealing to himself? Who could've thought about that?

And look at the huge amount of merchandising Eva has done. I doubt that it's all against Anno's will.

Personally, if I were to create a widely-received story, I wouldn't mind putting in fanservice, especially the kind I would find appealing. Maybe I am the "lowest-common denominator", but then you'd be hard-pressed to find people who really view Eva as it "should be."
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Postby MatrixRefugee » Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:35 pm

Anime without some amount of fanservice would be drastically different, and I think it would lose some of what makes it what it is. I can't imagine Evangelion without Misato being her cutely vixenish self. For that matter, the fanservice quotient seems to diminish as the series moves into darker and more serious territory, so by the time it gets to the last handful of episodes, with the world going quite literally to hell, I'm almost grateful for those naughty giggle-inducing moments earlier on.
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Postby DIDDY » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:45 am

J_Faulkner wrote:Misato offering "fan-service" to viewers at the end of the episodes (unbelievable)


I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "unbelievable" but anyway...

I always thought Misato's offers at the end of episodes were tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps I've been desensitized by other anime to the point where I need copious amounts of fan-service just to notice it, but I don't think that's the case; in many instances in NGE (especially later on), fan-service was promised, and none was delivered.

Of course, I'm aware that there is some fan-service in NGE; I'm also aware that most of the fanbase would probably disappear if Shinji looked like Anno, and if Rei and Asuka were fatties. For the audience to get hooked, attractive character designs and fan-service were a necessary evil, and IMO the tongue-in-cheek comments ("Service, service!", "Watch it with all your friends!") indicate Anno viewed it exactly as such.

EDIT: Relevance: I didn't think Anno insulted my intelligence via Misato's offers, and neither should you. :sweatdrop:
Last edited by DIDDY on Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Uriel Septim VII » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:48 am

NGE seems to deconstruct even the things that are meta-qualities of anime. Some of the things in the last act and EoE are the opposite of fanservice, if there's such a thing.

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Postby Taekmkm » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:52 am

What, the bodies of girls 4 years older than they should didn't tip you off? If every little fanservice "insults" your intelligence than Earth isn't the best planet for you.

That’s like saying explosions are just part of movies. Not all anime has fan-service—Miyazaki and (most of) Oshii’s material completely lacks it, and shows like Serial Experiments Lain tone it down to the point of being almost imperceptible. I think it depends more on what the intended audience is in order to determine whether the anime has fan-service or not.


Except those are exceptions, not enough to say anime in general isn't riddled with fanservice. The majority of anime, in fact, has fanservice especially back then.
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Postby cojax8 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:58 am

I agree with quite a few of the posts about fan service being a necessary evil, I think that there’s a couple of reasons, at least for Eva in particular. One, since rebuild is trying to hook new people fan-service is a good way to do it, I mean common, you gota show off the hotties somehow. And two, have fan-service, get people to like the characters, then...Bam! When Anno screws all the characters over in the end, it hurts that much more to the people who grew attached because of the fan-service.
I personally don’t mind fan-service every now and again, its just gota be, tasteful, and at least it keeps things interesting whether you love it or hate it.
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Postby AuraTwilight » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:34 am

Who cares? Intellectuals and philosophers need boob shots too.

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Postby zilluss » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:38 am

I do understand your point but I don't agree. Don't bother with it too much. Evangelion wasn't only created to deliever a message but to be entertaining too. Those scenes are just meant to be enjoyed, don't think too much about them.

And for the people who just watch Animes for the fan-service: Why should they care about the story at all? They could stop watching the Anime any time.

For the rest just as cojax8 said it gotta be tasteful. I don't see the Rebuild movies being distasteful but sometimes it can be a very small borderline between those. It's also different for every person.

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Postby Otakon 08 Ikari » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:57 am

The fan service was just a way to get perverts to watch the show and hey it worked.
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Postby AVman9 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:31 am

:boohoo: Its anime. Fan service happens. Deal with it.

I actually found most of the fanservice scenes to be rather humorous. (Misato leaning over the table, Shinji falling on Rei, Asuka inquiring about what thermal expansion would do to her chest, etc.)
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Postby THE Hal E. Burton 9000 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:25 am

you need comic relief of some kind with such serious things going in a narrative, PERIOD

without any "fan-service" in Eva (which is ridiculously minimal considering the animes that succeeded it where there are whole series that are only fanservice), the tension built up in the narrative would border on being compelling, unwatchable and nearly impossible to follow
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Postby toe mash » Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:34 am

I like to think of the fan service that was plentiful in the first half of show as a good way to draw in many viewers... Then BAM crush their hopes and dreams of any more fun when they least expect it :toothy:

After episode 15 how many stereotypical anime behavior do we see? Like, only 1 I remember (Asuka having a huge bead of sweat behind her head, ep. 17 or 18).
Maybe another one thats there somewhere. (Not including AU..)

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Re: Fan-service - A Black Mark on Evangelion

Postby master_lloyd » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:21 am

J_Faulkner wrote: Shinji walking in on Rei finishing a shower and then falling on top of her (what are the chances of that happening eh?).


It could be argued that scene was more than fan-service. After all, it does tell us a lot about the characters; Shinji's coyness when it comes to the other sex, Rei not caring about herself, stuff like that. If it were really just a fanservice scene Rei would've nearly drowned in Shinji's nose blood, then preceded to beat him half to death with a randomly appearing mallet.
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Postby skikes » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:00 am

I think fan service is a welcome addition to all the angst and psychoanalysis. Takes the edge off of all the seriousness.
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Re: Fan-service - A Black Mark on Evangelion

Postby VoidEater » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:41 am

J_Faulkner wrote:As a mature adult, I don't need any gratuitous, revealing pictures of anime characters


I have no qualms regarding your preferences; however, service seems to be an ingrained part of the cultural phenonon of anime. It seems you may be asking an elephant to be, I don't know, say, less gray or have a shorter trunk? Or, perhaps less splosions or breasts in Transformers?

J_Faulkner wrote:something which I would say is a terrible tragedy.


I would disagree that some examples are just service. I think we see a bit of Shinji's "lost at sea" youthful perspective on sexuality in the "OMG, there's a bra on my butt" scene, not to mention Rei's lack of affect.

Otherwise, I find service an interesting aspect of the the milieu. I have zero interest in Misato, et al, as sex symbols, perhaps that's why I don't see how it could distract me from the story. Meh, must be me.

J_Faulkner wrote:To read about it in Rebuild is doubly disappointing because Anno no longer needed such gutter tactics to promote Rebuild, and furthermore, Evangelion is not about the characters offering their bodies for ogling eyes.


Hmm...I guess I think Eastern viewers would say, 'WTF, where's the service' if it were missing...?

EDIT: Or, what Merridian said.
Last edited by VoidEater on Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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