Nuancing my Views on Fanservice

one piece 819 fanservice

Karandi has also addressed this issue – you should read her post here

I have spoken of fanservice in general and my personal take on it several times on my blog. The short version is that I’m all for it. Generally, I’m prone to speaking in favour of fanservice even in instances when it doesn’t particularly appeal to my personal tastes. Vive la difference and all that.

But lately, I’ve started to see another side of the issue I hadn’t considered before. That is the possibility that the inclusion of fanservice, particularly excessive fanservice, could in certain circumstances detract from the whole. What do I mean by that?

fujiko mine
I get easily confused

I have read many comments along the lines that fanservice makes anime unmarketable outside of Japan. I’m not yet convinced by that. Western media has long been very sexualized, although I will admit that North Americans have some really weird hang-ups about nudity. Still, I don’t necessarily think the at times raunchy side of anime is going to keep it off people’s watchlists. This may have been a lot truer in the days of network TV but in a post streaming world, the rules have changed. Besides the yearly 178% increase in the international consumption of legal anime (mostly in America) would seem to indicate that it’s a highly marketable product on the international market.

This said just because fanservice may not be hurting anime’s popularity, it could be hurting, for lack of a better term, its credibility. Let me give you an example. I was having a little anime chat with the lovely Lita a while ago and she was telling me about one of her favourite series: Witchblade. She loves this anime and talks about the interesting and well-crafted universe as well as the unusual focus on a strong and healthy mother-daughter relationship but she mentioned at least 3 times that the series was very heavy on fanservice, and she did so in an apologetic way. She capped off her sales pitch by saying that “if you can get past the fanservice” it’s a great show. (I have not seen the anime but if it’s anything like the old comics then yeah, there’s gonna be a lot of fanservice).

I’m not sure if Lita just thinks I’m a big prude (I really need to rebrand…) But at the time I was left with the impression that she was just going along with the sad general misconception that fanservice is just a negative in and of itself. To be clear, I do not think Lita believes that in the least, more that she believes the bias is so prevalent that she felt the need to defend a beloved series because of it.

I breath ratified anime blogger air where a lot of the fans I interact with are fanservice aficionados. Some will watch series **only** on the merits of fanservice. There are blogs dedicated to exploring and sometimes imagining lesbian characters, or on praising the merits of the Ecchi genre. I have read more posts explaining why harems are the best than looking into the fascinating differences in cultural beliefs and understanding illustrated through slice of life anime. Or the fascinating potential predictions found in sci-fi and mecha anime… Basically, my first-hand experience leads me to think fans love and appreciate fanservice. But these fans do not necessarily reflect the majority. And even when they do appreciate it, they might still be subconsciously putting it in another category. Maybe not but the notion may be worth sparing a thought.

thinking anime
thinking hard!

I have noticed that people treat highly sexualized material differently. They apply different standards. Some people, I assume, are uncomfortable with sexuality just like I have issues enjoying stories depicting violence towards animals (even animated ones). That’s too bad. Even people that don’t have issues with this type of material will sometimes have these negative assumptions. The storyline and/or characters are probably not very good because it’s relying on being sexy. Or it can only be enjoyed if you find the characters attractive because it’s created for that reason only… Like I said, few if any anibloggers think that way but I have seen some comments along those lines for anything that could be taken as bl.

If this assumption exists in the minds of the general audience, then there’s a risk that anime will always be considered a type of lesser tier entertainment even as demand for it rises. A bit like reality tv for example.

Then there’s a more pragmatic issue. Creating anime is a balancing act. Generally, the fanservice you put in is taking the place of something else. Let me use Magical Girl Spec Ops Asuka as an example because it’s still pretty fresh in my mind.

Asuka is quite heavy on fanservice. That’s not a bad thing. Unfortunately, it’s very hit or miss fanservice. For instance, a lot of the *tragic past* scenes are sexualized and for me, the mix of depressing and sexy took away from both. I’m just not sure how I’m supposed to feel when a character I’ve gotten to know and even bond with a little is completely defeated clutching a dying friend while the camera is focusing straight down her cleavage. Sad for her? Aroused? I can pull of scared or tense and attracted at the same time, but empathy I feel for the character in that situation sort of pushes out the sexy thoughts. As a result, the fanservice distracted from the emotional impact of the drama and the sadness of the scene took away from the sex appeal.

oh good, back to cleavage then!

The show also featured several extended scenes of highly sexualized torture. One of the first instances targets one of Asuka’s close friends. And it’s more or less useless, narratively that is. Since there is a little memory erasing trickery happening, the only actual payoff of this sequence is to have Asuka feel guilty (even more so), for putting her friends in danger. Even that is dampened when we find out it’s unrelated to her. Otherwise, there is no effect at all on the blissfully ignorant friend, the bad guys it serves to introduce are either dispatched in the episode or dropped from the show without resolution. Basically, the only reason to have this entire event is to add some graphic fanservice in.

Again this isn’t a bad thing in itself. The problem comes from the fact that Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka is a show that suffers from not having enough time for proper worldbuilding and character development. So having most of an episode on an event that is immaterial to the plot feels like a huge waste. Chekhov would be very disappointed.

This is how I would have changed it, not that anyone asked. Have he torture happen offscreen and Asuka just learns about and is distraught. Moving it to her POV will allow us to bond more with her. Then the other girl with the big chest and obvious obsessive crush on her can drop by and comfort her with her body while reminiscing about old times. There, you have character development in the form of exploring one of the central relationships in the series and sharing some background on both. You have the opportunity for some establishing exposition so the plot doesn’t feel too strong together. And you can have some explicit fanservice and Yuri to boot. Where’s my Oscar?

I got sidetracked, I do that a lot. My point was that the fanservice in Asuka isn’t the problem but the way it’s integrated into the show doesn’t seem all that thought out. It’s not weaved into the story or used to enhance scenes. It just seems thrown in and occasionally wedged in, to meet a sexy quota. And when viewers think it’s at the expense of storytelling, then it can give the concept of fanservice as a whole, a bad reputation.

So what are my current views on fanservice? I still like it! But I think it’s important that it be given the same respect and held up to the same standards as any other element that goes into making a great anime. So I am going to try reviewing it as such in the future. Not just Ganesh them are great bitties… What can I say, I’m just classy that way. Now to watch a whole lot of fanservice. What? It’s research!!!

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

Amazing Stranger Review Episodes 5 + 6


Battle of the Female Figures


Episode 5

As bizarre as it is to say, episode 5 was kind of fun. They kept going with the plot set up last episode where Haruto was drawn into Bellnoa’s game and the two of them travel about before taking on a castle. Some fairly standard things happen (or standard based on the premise of this anime) in that Haruto is attacked by a hot ninja girl and he and Bellnoa get close around a camp fire. Meanwhile Nona is watching on and with the aid of another living figure is ultimately able to enter the game.


What I particularly liked about this episode was Haruto’s realisation that the reason Bellnoa didn’t want to finish the game was because she was obsessed with travelling around and levelling up and part of that was his fault for the way he played the game. Now I feel bad for every character I’ve ever created because I know I don’t exactly go straight to the finish and there are more than a few games in the backlog that I’ve just never made it to the end of.


Now, there is definitely fan-service here as the demon king of karma blows Bellnoa’s clothes clean off of her in a fight (amazing how that happens in anime and movies without injuring the person) and there’s also Haruto’s eyeing off the ninja girl but nothing extreme.

This seems a sensible reaction.

Realistically, episode 5 is about as much as you can expect from this anime. It progressed the plot, continued to set some stuff up for future development, fleshed out Bellnoa’s character, and allowed Nona to play the role of concerned wife. It all just kind of worked even if it wasn’t particularly amazing.

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Episode 6

Episode 6 of Amazing Stranger is absurd, but given the context of the show where figures and game characters have come to life it really isn’t too much of a leap that the two characters fighting over Haruto would challenge each other to a fight and then spend the rest of the run time trying to one up each other in terms of sleeping next to Haruto, whispering in his ear, feeding him and so on. It is most definitely pandering to a particular audience and yet still kind of amusing.

What makes this work is both Bellnoa and Nona remain true to their character types in how they take on each of these challenges and ultimately the back and forth between the two is always kind of energised and entertaining. Haruto remains the dullest of the three as he just gets to play the embarrassed geek while the girls fawn over him.


I will say the scene with the two whispering sweet nothings into his ears was probably the icing on the cake. For my pick, I’d go Bellnoa has the better voice for whispering with Nona’s high pitch getting in the way of really creating the experience, but listen to the scene yourself and see which whisper works best for you.


While the winner was a foregone conclusion from the start, and the competition was ridiculous and contrived drama for the sake of it, I can’t say I disliked this episode. Amazing Stranger is well aware that it isn’t meant to be taken seriously and so just went with their premise this week and the end result was something that entertained but doesn’t work if you start asking any questions of it.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Amazing Stranger Review Episodes 3 + 4


When sexy anime figures go to war?


Episode 3

Okay, I’d be lying if I said this was a good episode. By itself it doesn’t do much with just two skits. The first being Bouida’s sister interviewing Nona and the second involving Bouida going out to Christmas dinner with an old friend and getting into a fight about anime. Both sections work well enough, although Bouida’s sister seems way too fixated on her brother’s love life.


What this episode really cements though is that there is a potential for the premise to be more than a one trick pony though whether they do anything with this or not still remains to be seen.


Where Amazing Stranger is slightly elevated beyond just being background noise is in the genuinely warm relationship being formed between Bouida and Nona. While it isn’t as heart wrenching as some anime couple’s out there, there’s still a fierce loyalty and sweetness to their affection and that’s probably the show’s greatest strength right now. Where it fails is that it can’t decide if it wants to use sex to sell or stay on the safer side of the line and the end result is something that probably doesn’t meet the needs of either the fan-service fans or those who prefer more wholesome viewing.

That and the comedy is far more miss than hit.


Still, the dinner scene and the arguments between two old friends and anime fans, one who denies everything and looks for faults and the other being a hopeless dreamer, is kind of fun to listen to and while I’m sure most anime fans don’t get worked up enough to flip a table in a restaurant, I’m sure most of us have had sillier arguments with our friends over anime at some point.

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Episode 4

That was actually a pretty good twist at the end of this episode of Amazing Stranger. I’m not going to get into what happens but I kind of hope next episode continues from this point and doesn’t just scrap the plot line and go on to the next set up because that was kind of fun.


Anyway, this week Nona and Bouida are being sickeningly sweet together so naturally another figure shows up and attacks. Watching Nona explain reality to the new figure and the new character’s interpretation of what it meant was fairly good and the fight sequence that followed between the two figures was actually pretty entertaining.


However, the punch line of the sequence was Bouida solving the problem by opening the character’s in-game stat screen and unequipping all their best gear and then playing dress-up with them. Honestly, this is another of those moments that while it is kind of amusing is also kind of creepy. What makes it kind of work is that at least all the other characters point out that Bouida is the worst for his actions even if they were effective and neutralising the threat.


For those who have felt the keen absence of solid fan-service both the dress up sequence and the subsequent bath sequence kind of fill that gap, though quality fan-service it really isn’t, not that I particularly like any fan-service but fairly lazy and uninspired fan-service is definitely worse than just the usual fan-service.

But as I said at the beginning, the episode ending was pretty solid and I definitely appreciated it. I’ll appreciate it more if episode 5 moves on from that point.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

A Review of The Blog – 2018 – Part 2

Bunny Girl Senpai Episode 8 Fireworks

Part 1 of the review of the blog looked at the general stats for the year but numbers are just kind of that. As 2018 draws to a close I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the posts I wrote this year that people read and to wish all my followers a wonderful night and success in 2019.

Most Viewed Episode Review


This one is and isn’t a surprise. It is the post most often hit by search engines so it kind of explains the sheer number of views this post has gotten. Anyway, this one managed to become my second most viewed post ever on the blog: How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 2: Fan Service and Boobs in Fantasy Land. Part of me kind of wishes my most viewed post for the year was one that was slightly better written than this one but still I’m glad that an episode review did get some attention.

Most Viewed Light Novel Review

goblin slayer vol3

Again, not so much a surprise with the anime release, but my light novel review of Goblin Slayer Volume 3 ended up being my most read review this year. Timing really worked in this one’s favour but it is a shame because of the first three volumes, volume three was definitely the weakest and the review meanders because of it (it is always hard to review things you have a luke-warm reaction to). Still, I’ve continued reading this series and I am looking forward to getting more light novel reviews out in the new year (and manga reviews as I continue to work through Natsume Yuujinchou).

Most Viewed Inquiring Minds Post

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 13 Rimuru

Turns out there are some topics all bloggers are a little bit interested in and one of those is how to gain followers. I wish I knew the answer to that one myself but I did my best to answer the question about how I gained the followers I have. Of all the post series I’ve started on 100 Word Anime, I really enjoy the Inquiring Minds Posts because the topics are so varied and they usually force me to think about things I would otherwise be writing about or just think about something in a different way. They have been some of my most challenging posts to write and I certainly don’t always get them right, but I’m really glad I started the series and hope my readers continue to send questions my way in 2019.

Most Viewed Series Review

Noragami Aragoto Yato

I was absolutely thrilled to see that this post that came out in early January ended up being my most read series review of the year. It is an anime that is so close to my heart and I just love it (and where is the next season already). Noragami Aragoto was a delight to watch and I had a lot of fun writing the review. Given the responses, clearly a lot of my readers love it as well.

Most Viewed Feature

How Not to Summon A Demon Lord Episode 9 Shera
The magic of anime hair, and sparkles.

I’m noticing a trend with this and my most viewed episode post. When you write a feature about fan service in anime discussing the currently popular fan service filled anime that is already blowing up your views because you used ‘boobs’ in a post title I guess it is to be expected it will get views. I’m not big on click bait so while I get that these sorts of topics get views, I’m not about to start filling my blog with them because while they have their place it isn’t my main topic. Still, this feature may have garnered some click bait views but it also gained some fairly decent discussion in the comments and that was something I was really delighted about. My most viewed feature of 2018: Is Anime Doing It’s Fans a Service?

Most Viewed Top 5 Post

Sword Art Online - Episode 4

My most viewed top 5 post was looking at my favourite dubbed anime. I’m not much of a dubbed anime viewer (and having recently watched the Yuri on Ice English dub now that I’ve finally got the DVD’s I’m standing by my usual stance of sticking with the Japanese versions of most things), but occasionally there are English dubs I quite like. Clearly lots of people have opinions on this one as it is one of my most commented posts and it remains a post that regularly gets found by search engines.

So that is my look back on 2018. I’ll be looking at my plans for 2019 very soon as Irina has asked me a fun question for my first Inquiring Minds post of 2019. Once again, I hope all my readers have an excellent night and get to welcome in the new year.

Thanks for joining me in 2018. See you next year.

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Is It Wrong To Expect a Hot Spring in a Dungeon – DanMachi OVA Review

DanMachi OVA

This one barely needs reviewing really because to be perfectly honest between what people already know of the DanMachi (Is it Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon) series and the title, it kind of tells you everything you need to know. This OVA was released on HiDive and I was happy enough to return to watching Bell and his friends given I’ve been reading the light novels and feel like I’ve been waiting forever for a second season of the anime, but even I didn’t have high expectations going in. Simply put, it was obvious from the beginning that this is strictly filler and won’t be advancing the plot in any meaningful way. I did have some minor expectations that it might fill in some of the character development I’ve come across in the light novels that wasn’t present in the original series, but sadly that is lacking as well. Still, if you are a fan of DanMachi then you’ll probably know more or less what to expect here; just keep in mind the title is not lying.

DanMachi OVA

We catch up with the characters directly after the events in the series where Bell has just slain Goliath and they are making their way out of the dungeon. After the usual Lily and Hestia antics fighting over Bell (wait, you guys know you are still in the Dungeon right and should be paying attention) they are attacked and in the process Hestia ends up finding a new tunnel which leads to a hot spring (because anime).

Now we all know DanMachi has never been afraid of fan service and so behold Hermes preparation of swimsuits for the girls to change into, including one too small for Hestia that eventually snaps while trying to dress and an ‘improvised’ version is constructed. I will point out that while lingering shots of the girls (and guys at times) and various camera angles are simply blatant pandering to fans, but the banter going on between the characters as they relax and unwind from their adventure is genuinely enjoyable. The chemistry between the group is pretty solid and if you like the show then you already like these characters and so listening to them here will be a genuinely good time.

DanMachi OVA

Of course though, they are in the dungeon and DanMachi is aware that fan service is not its only selling point. Introducing monster fish that use the hot spring to pray on adventurers for a few minutes of exciting action toward the end works well enough to let Bell do the hero thing, and I’m only going to vaguely mention the whole water suddenly melting their swimsuits off but somehow not dissolving Lily’s back pack when she drops it in the water at the end. Basically, whether you are into this show for the girls, the action, or the character interactions, this OVA actually delivers on all 3 and about the only thing it doesn’t do is deal with the overall plot (and no one ever really expects and OVA to do that).

DanMachi OVA

This is not your introduction to the series though and will make little to no sense if you aren’t familiar with the world and the characters. Even for fans of the series, this is decidedly something that can be ignored. But, if you are in the mood for twenty minutes more of Bell and Hestia, then its worth a shot.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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Anime is Full Of Fan Service But Is Anime Doing Its Fans a Service?

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 2

Fan service: Essentially something added to a work of fiction for the sake of pleasing the audience.

Now that means fan-service isn’t limited to nudity, groping, and other things of a sexualised nature that most people immediately think of when we talk about fan service, but it does include those elements. I’ll hopefully get back to what else fan service is in a future post, but today I’ll probably just be discussing what we mostly think about when the term fan service shows up.

This season brings us How Not To Summon a Demon Lord, The Master of Ragnarok, Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, Free, Harukana Receive and the list of anime that would immediately spring to mind when someone mentions fan service just goes on.

Now before you think I’m about to launch into a rant or a tirade against the various half-clad girls flouncing about the screen (or equally shirtless men who are striking a pose while flicking their hair about), I’d like to reassure you that while I’m not a fan of fan service, nor do I deny that there is an audience for it and that it serves a purpose within stories.

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 6 - Is toe licking fan service?

Let’s move the discussion momentarily away from the current season of anime.

Fan Service isn’t just for anime.

We all know Hollywood movies have used these kinds of gimmicky moments forever to draw the audience. There’s little reason for the various Bond girls to be shown so often in swim-wear, formal wear, or wearing very little while in bed (or for the Daniel Craig scene where he emerged from the water).

There’s practically zero reason why Amanda Hunsaker (Lethal Weapon 1) makes her only appearance in the movie wearing an open robe that is blowing open in the wind before she takes a dive off the balcony. And anyone who watches a lot of bad horror and slasher films will know that there’s definitely going to be a sex scene at some point and inevitably the girl who participates in said scene is going to die fairly soon after. That’s been done so often it is now a running joke in self-aware parodies of horror.

But while I say there’s no reason for these scenes, we all know the reason. Even if that isn’t the part of the film appealing to you, someone out there was waiting for that scene and they enjoyed every second of it. Whether that girl or guy was hot or not will make or break their enjoyment of that film.

And while sometimes these scenes are fairly well integrated into the plot, Amanda’s death worked because she was working as a hooker, she was on drugs, and the whole scene played into the tragedy of her death, others are clearly there just so they have something to put into the trailer to get audiences to watch.

If you were advertising a movie, wouldn’t you want the shot of Daniel Craig walking out of the water wearing that?

Daniel Craig - James Bond - Swimwear - fan service

It plays great for the trailer, gets people talking online, gets images shared, and while no one is talking about the plot of your new Bond film, everyone knows there is in fact a new Bond film and Daniel Craig looks hot (if you are into that kind of thing – personally I’m all for Antonio Banderas in the Mask of Zorro, but to each their own).

Now anime may take things to a whole new level, but it more or less does the same thing (save for when a show is entirely built around fan service moments and the plot is entirely jettisoned – there’s a commitment there but I’m not sure I’m interested in the end result). This season I’ve been watching How Not To Summon a Demon Lord and The Master of Ragnarok.

Both are essentially isekai stories and as normal they are both filled with fan service moments. And this is something that in individual episode reviews I definitely take a negative take on but this isn’t actually condemning the existence of fan service itself but rather speaks of what I’m looking for in an episode.

For me I’m looking for moments that move the plot or help flesh out or develop the characters and the issue with the way fan service seems to be delivered in these kinds of shows is it not only doesn’t do either one of those things, it actively eats screen time which could be used for parts of the show I’m actually interested in.

The other issue I find, and the reason I probably seem fairly negative when I discuss fan service as part of a review, is that so often it is females being seen in this light and it is regularly extremely sexualised content even if it is played for laughs.

The boob grab, the rubbing breasts against the guys arm, the low camera shots, touching other girls; I’m clearly not the target audience for this kind of content so while such sequences don’t make me instant drop as they would some people, they certainly aren’t adding to my engagement of the story or helping me to actually care about the characters as people. That doesn’t necessarily make the show or the fan service bad, but it does mean that I’m less likely to really be drawn in as a member of the audience.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6 - fan service characters
I’m certain someone somewhere is thinking ‘damn she’s hot’. I’m mostly just wondering why her skin has random glowing patches and whether or not she’s used double sided tape on that top.

Of course, I’m certain there’s a writer somewhere who is now all upset and about to lose sleep because Karandi isn’t interested in his content (heavy sarcasm there). Because of course, for every viewer that determines that the weight of fan-service is just bringing the story to a screeching halt there are clearly plenty of viewers happily checking in.

If I ever needed evidence of that (and I didn’t mind you), then this season really did prove it to me. In the last 30 Days, How Not To Summon a Demon Lord episode reviews have been my most viewed posts. Also most searched for terms to find my blog via search engines.

Top Posts 30 Days

However, even looking over the last three months, the first three episode reviews which have only been up for perhaps a month and a half at most, are the most viewed posts.

Top Posts 3 Months

Then if I look back over the entire year, the first episode review of the show is now the second most viewed post, surrounded entirely by Killing Stalking reviews (and I don’t have to wonder what fan service that particular title was delivering).

Top Posts Year

So here’s a show I started watching out of curiosity because I don’t mind isekai stories, but wasn’t really thrilled about. It delivered two episodes that had me sitting on the fence before it finally launched into its actual plot. Episode six took us back to nearly sixty percent of the episode being fan service focused moments rather than plot and I wondered once again whether the show was really worth my time or not. But it most definitely appeals to its target audience. It has left the other isekai fan-service filled title, The Master of Ragnarok, for dead.

Which of course made me wonder why?

In terms of actual plot, both stories are more or less the same. They both have an interesting idea, potentially interesting directions they could go, and both have regularly come to a screeching halt because they’ve wanted to show off the numerous girls in the show in various states of undress.

How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 6 - Diablo and Shera - fan service outfit

In this at least How Not To Summon A Demon Lord tried to come up with a semi-plausible explainer linking all that grinding on the bed action to some kind of magic that may or may not eventually free Shera from being a slave (I’m not sure I buy magical boob gropes, but whatever). Still at least they tried.

If the scene had been a little shorter and there had been a little less orgasmic panting, I may have even not felt distinctly uncomfortable while watching it. Master of Ragnarok didn’t even really bother. They just had another character tell the MC to take a break and go to the hot springs where the girls then pounced upon him.


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Live a Live – RPG Game

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 6 - hot spring fan service

It was thinking about this where I realised the difference in these shows really lay. Even with its non-fan service moments, The Master of Ragnarok isn’t subtle. The main character always just explains his battle plan to someone, usually waving his phone around to remind us he’s from the future, and usually making a reference to the fact he’s a cheater using future knowledge.

And it delivers fan service in an equally blunt and matter of a fact way with the girls just coming straight onto him and declaring they want to be his wives. Its very much like they have a tick box list of events that they need to shove into the narrative and so they’ll just have the character say whatever is needed to progress us from A to B.

As such, despite the more interesting setting, the Master of Ragnarok is actually a fairly sub-par show even when compared to How Not To Summon a Demon Lord, even if it does have more girls of more types and so far a lot more nudity.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord - Episode 5 - Diablo - main character fan service

How Not to Summon a Demon Lord has several advantages. Firstly, Diablo as the main character also provides some fan service as he has been shown on more than one occasion to be shirtless or posed very dramatically. While there are less girls (so far – the harem has been growing however) the characters of these girls are infinitely more developed and entertaining than the girls in Ragnarok.

For instance I even remember Rem and Shera’s names and what their motivations are and the why they hang around the protagonist. While the story isn’t all that rich and deep, it is logical enough and there’s a lot of fun to be had with the idea of a socially awkward over powered demon lord who is role playing his way through his current life.

And then the fan service itself has often been used to build connections or tension between the characters, and while there are plenty of other ways the show could have gone about it, we all probably have to admit that Rem’s ‘torture’ session where she ended up confiding in Diablo definitely kicked both the plot and character development into gear.


Though I think we’ll just leave aside the whole issue of slavery and ownership for a whole other discussion because there’s a lot of that going around this season as well.

So I’ll get back to the question from the title about whether anime is doing its fans a service through the inclusion of fan service? The answer, whether you individually like it or not, is probably yes. It sells and there’s clearly a market for it. Does that mean everything needs these elements in it?

Not really. Does it mean you have to watch them? Also no. There’s plenty out there without these sorts of scenes, and yet, I know that there are some people who haven’t watched Dan Machi because of Hestia and I can’t help but feel that perhaps they missed out on a fairly extraordinary adventure because of one element.

And while there are plenty of shows I have dropped because the balance of fan-service to plot tipped too far away from plot, provided I’m getting some decent character moments and plot development, fan service isn’t likely to make me turn something off.

Though depending on how loud the girl is moaning I may end up muting the episode.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 6 - Shera - pure fan service

What are your thoughts on fan service in anime?

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Kaze no Stigma Series Review



Kaze no Stigma focusses on Kazuma Yagami who was previously expelled from the Kannagi family when he failed to develop any fire magic. He’s returned to Japan after an absence and he’s no longer the weakling a lot of the family took him for. Having become a contractor for the spirits of the wind, he’s got a few new tricks up his sleeve. Throw in tragic back story and meddling family member trying to set him up with his cousin and you have the basics of this story.


Kaze no Stigma is one of those very weird anime where it actually has some really great ideas and parts of it and individual stories are actually quite good, but you have to sit through some real groan inducing moments to find them. The overall enjoyment of the action and magic (which are quite enjoyable) continually gets disrupted by completely unnecessary (and fairly poorly executed) fanservice, obvious comedy moments that seldom hit the mark, or just random character interactions that don’t really seem to contribute much. What you end up with is a series that as a whole is watchable but can’t really be well recommended.


The basic consistency issues are most clearly highlighted through the two lead characters. We meet Ayano Kannagi first and she’s an arrogant and hot headed fire magic user from the Kannagi family and destined to be its next head (after she beat down Kazuma way back when). However, despite some raw power she’s pretty useless most of the time. Also, despite continuous evidence throughout the series that Kazuma is now way out of her league, she continues to belittle him verbally and pick fights with him, even while blushing and getting jealous every time he even interacts with another female character. Basically, Ayano’s character is such a cliché character. She doesn’t come off as authentic in the slightest.

While that would be bad enough, the show also continually uses her for its fanservice elements (though she isn’t the only female character who gets put through this). Her clothes are regularly strategically torn during figths and we and other characters get some interesting angles when she’s in combat. They don’t even make it through the first sequence in episode 1 before the wind blows her skirt up with her declaring “I hate the wind” which is nice for setting up her love/hate relationship with Kazuma but pretty horrendous as an introduction to the show.

Despite that, Ayano does get some cool moments. Her jumping off the building to intercept Kazuma when he lost his senses was pretty reckless but as she herself pointed out it was the only thing she could do in that situation. There are other moments in battle (usually after a pep-talk from Kazuma) where she manages to not be useless but these are few and far between.


Kazuma on the other hand goes from being cold to pretty much everyone in the Kannagi family (except Ren, his younger brother) to being cold to pretty much everyone except Ayano and Ren. Ayano however he mostly teases and torments. However, Kazuma’s basic personality feels far more realistic than Ayano’s given his history and we learn throughout the series that he has very real reasons for his anger toward his family and for keeping his distance from everyone else. His insistence that he get paid (even by the Kannagi’s) when helping out is explained by his uncle in that it allows him to help his family without losing face if it is a paid job. So while he might come off like a jerk, his actions mostly make sense. And he’s about the only character in the series who gets any development. He’s still a jerk to Ayano, though, and given she’s set up as the semi-love interest (though it never really goes anywhere) that’s a bit problematic.


None of the other characters really do much of anything. They are there, but they are really quite forgettable (with the exception of Ren who has nailed being cute little brother but not a pushover).


The story also is fairly inconsistent as it weaves from hunting down a killer, to some random youma fights, to American magic user showing up and challenging Ayano, to the mage family that are supposed to stop the volcano erupting, before we finally get to Kazuma snapping and seeking revenge for a past wrong. None of the stories are bad in and of themselves (except the American magic user, could have done without that) but the don’t really create a cohesive narrative either. It’s more we just kind of drift from idea to idea with characters who don’t really change much or have much in the way of a goal. Possibly this could still be interesting, but the stories are pretty predictable.


The art and animation is probably another part where this anime lacks consistency. While some scenes are quite well done and some fight sequences are really entertaining, others just seem lackluster. They serve their purpose but that’s about it. particularly around the mid-way point it all just seems very half-hearted.

Overall, this is a watchable series and if you like urban-fantasy you will probably enjoy it well enough. However, there are certainly stronger series out there.

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Karandi James.


Fuuka Episode 4



It’s hard to really care about Fuuka and Yuu’s romantic plight in this story (and we kind of need to given how little else is happening) when they manage to drag out the not speaking to each other/fighting for most of the episode because Yuu happens to have been seen with his childhood friend (admittedly, the childhood friend went out of her way to create a misunderstanding). What’s even sillier is both that either of the characters could resolve the situation but choose to take offence and be prickly about what is essentially a non-issue.


Given they are the ones continuing the conflict the fact that both characters ask ‘why’ just irritated me. Why did it turn out like this? Because you chose to make an assumption and get annoyed and then you chose not to talk to them about it, and then you chose to not accept an apology, before choosing to continue to ignore them. That’s why it turned out like that.

On a brighter note, we kind of have a band by the end of this episode. Too bad only one member is actually willing.

Fuuka is available on Crunchyroll.

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Karandi James.


Big Order Series Review


Big Order Overview:

This anime has a very promising write up, telling us the story begins after the world has ended. A world where a fairy named Daisy grants wishes (or orders) to people and because of this there is conflict. We follow Eiji as he tries to live a normal life after causing a ‘great destruction’ but soon gets swept up in events beyond his control.

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Big Order Review:

I’m going to try to keep this brief because I’m really not the ranting sort (okay, that’s a lie but we’ll move on). Let me make my position clear. This show is terrible. From start to finish it is just a complete and utter mess of a narrative.

Look, that’s coming from someone who unironically enjoyed King’s Game so please understand this series is not good.

And yet, even after proclaiming that I’d dropped it, I continued to watch week to week and actually watched to the end of the show. To keep it as simple as possible I’m just going to do a simple positive and negative list.



  • It is short. At 10 episodes this wouldn’t even take an afternoon to watch from start to finish. And that’s probably all the time it is worth.
  • Some of the powers and visuals are kind of cool. Inconsistent and horribly used (wait that’s a negative), but cool.
  • Fast pace. Much like it being short, the pace at which this races around makes a lot of the nonsense tolerable.
  • It doesn’t seem to want to be taken seriously. While this show does not go in the so bad it is good category, it actually is saved by the fact that it seemed to realise it was rubbish as well and just kind of embraced that.


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  • Eiji is a horrible excuse for a character. That probably doesn’t need much more explanation. The more they explain his motives and the more we see him react to things, the less consistent, sensible or likeable he seems.
  • Rin is a horrible excuse for a character. Her ridiculous fascination for revenge, the way she interacts with Eiji, her being shunted to comic relief for half the series before being painted into the cliché of traitor before being painted into the worse cliche of girl who stands by her guy even when it is entirely pointless and let’s be honest, he wasn’t her guy so why does she even care? Wow, I hated Rin’s character.
  • Sena is a horrible excuse for a character (I’m just going to end that line of thinking there – all of the characters fail to stand on their own merit when you look at their motives and actions).
  • The plot undermines itself and twists and turns and runs frantically here and there and glosses over plot points before finally babbling at you in the hope that if they say it fast enough you won’t notice it’s rubbish. When even the set-up villain of the show says he knew it was foolish, you have to wonder who they were trying to convince.
  • The ending. It is such a cheap way to resolve all of the conflicts. I’m not going any further into this but it is akin to having the whole series actually be a bad dream.
  • Excessive fan service and not even fan service done well or in an interesting way. Just the usual bath scenes and bouncing breasts all covered by glorious rays of light that come from nowhere. These scenes aren’t sexy or engaging, they are just there because I guess they decided they needed something.

Okay, seriously my biggest problem with Big Order is wasted potential. If they had slowed it down and actually dealt with Eiji as a person, the set up for this show could have led to a really interesting story. However, they wanted to show us powers and people with powers fighting and the occasional naked girl so that’s what they did. Which means you get the occasional fun moment or interesting sequence but it is surrounded by muck in every direction.

I’m sure there are some Big Order fans out there who will rush to defend this series, but having made it to the end, I really think I should have stuck by my original decision to drop this.

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Karandi James