Time for another Anime Diet Top Ten ELEVEN List! Because 11 is one louder than 10.
For Valentine’s Day, we thought it would be great fun to do our picks for Top Ten Fan Service shows.
What’s that you say? It’s April? Really? Damn daylight savings time!!
Anyways, this was a hard list to put together as everyone has a different idea of what exactly constitutes “fan service.” Does an anime count just because it shows a little skin or has one gorgeous voluptuous femme, or does it absolutely have to be a bouncing, jiggly boob-fest? As you will see the list skews from one direction to the other and you may find yourself scratching your head saying “Why the hell is that on here?” Rest assured some of us asked the same questions, but one man’s “too far” is another’s “not far enough.”
So relax, kick back and enjoy the Fan Service Top Eleven. We are also curious about what constitutes fan service in your opinion. Do you agree or disagree with some of our choices? Comment below and let us know!
11- Dirty Pair
Crusher Joe creator and Sunrise darling Haruka Takachiho took inspiration from everything from James Bond thrillers to the hi-jinks of the World Womens’ Wrestling Association to create what can only be described as the ultimate “Girls-With-Guns” show. The galaxy’s most dangerous trouble consultants, Kei & Yuri, are not only two of anime’s most recognizable beauties, they are also harbingers of doom to just about any city (or planet) they come across. Taking collateral damage to new heights, this dynamic duo are not unlike the infamous creatures from the film Hellraiser: “Demons to some, angels to others.” From the tough-as-iron Kei to the adventurous Yuri, it’s easy to see why this franchise can be seen as a shrine to 13 year-old boys. And yet somehow, it never loses its sense of humor, and has a grand sense of nostalgia for a time when Japan was a carnival for partying in, and the ladies were larger than life. —wintermuted
10 – Simoun
Fan Service is Serious Business. But for me, I almost always prefer my fan service in comedies. It’s mostly too ridiculous to take seriously anyway. Simoun is a Serious Business show with the right amount of everything to my tastes. A rarity. From the first kiss to the bodysuits, the relationships… and then to the awesome flying ships and a great story. Though some consider this sacrilege, I think of Simoun as the new Utena. It’s just as strange, just as beautiful, and hits all those taps of fan service that just aren’t really hit that much in the industry. It’s still one of the best shoujo-ai sci-fi stories in existence and a must for any fan of great yuri fan service. —cirno is a genius
9 – Gunbuster
Right from the opening credits as our narrating protagonist bursts into frame, the otaku world had no idea what kind of revelation was about to take place. And then it happened, as the last peppy notes of “Active Heart” played out. A Dual Suspension miracle came to fruition, and the anime landscape was never the same again. Using a parody of a popular shoujo sports title of days long gone as a starting point, the legendary Hideaki Anno’s directorial debut strives beyond mere service, and delivers an OAV event that exceeds expectations at nearly every level. From the absurd training outfits that double as ninja garb, to the astonishing attention to character detail laid out by the always awesome Haruhiko Mikimoto. Every piece of what could merely be construed as unnecessary works surprisingly well within the confines of the star spanning story that unfolds. And all done in beautifully executed, low-budget wonder that finally put Gainax on the world map. Pop Culture History Battering Ram, thy name is Gunbuster. —wintermuted
8 – Girls Bravo
For two seasons, Girls Bravo titillated audiences (for lack of a better word) with its quirky sense of humor, crazy yet likable characters, and its unapologetic use of nudity (and lots of it). Meanwhile they also managed to create a fun, absorbing story, with lots of laughs and a teensy bit of melodrama thrown in for good measure. Girls Bravo also had a girl for each otaku taste. There is the lovable absent-minded Miharu, the shy Koyomi, and the quick-tempered Kirie (personal favorite) just to name a few. There was even Kosame, added exclusively to the anime for a little comedic Yuri spice. Oh, to be Yukinari for a day, surrounded by this harem of beautiful women that is second to none would probably be any lonely otaku’s dream…minus his allergic reaction to girls of course. —dcbebop
7 – Mahoromatic
In the not-too-distant future (or was it the 1980’s?) an android named Mahoro is the only thing that stands in the way of a total invasion of earth by the evil alien organization called Saint. After her service has ended, Mahoro is given the option to spend the remaining days of her limited life span (398 days at the beginning of the series) in any way she decides. She chooses to become the servant of Suguru Misato, the son of her late commander, and hence shenanigans ensue. Many different animes try to blend comedy and drama, but few have succeeded in the way Mahoromatic did. Each episode ended with a grim reminder that Mahoro only had so many days left to live, a fact you tried to push out of your mind as you watched and laughed when she scolded Suguru for his dirty magazine collection, or when you were entranced by the bountiful bouncing breasts of Shikijo-sensei (Suguru’s teacher) as she flaunted them in the petite androids face (literally). Mahoromatic gave us the best of both worlds, hilarious fan-service comedy and tragic drama, and few have done it better. —dcbebop
6 – Aika
When a show has 128 panty shots in the first episode alone (yes, I counted them) you know that you’re in for something spectacular. Agent Aika literally redefined the term ‘fanservice’ when it broke onto the scene in 1997. No longer did you have to wait through twenty or more minutes of story and exposition to get a brief glimpse of cute panties. In this show, panties were thrown in your face with a ferocity that rivaled that of a drowning man gasping for air. It’s as if the creators thought that if viewers went twenty seconds without seeing panties (or girls falling towards the camera crotch-first) they may actually get bored and stop watching…and that’s just unacceptable. You may not be a fan of the story, but you gotta applaud the show for just trying so dang hard. It’s like a pretty girl who’s terribly insecure perpetually asking you, “You like me, right? You like me right?” After a while, all you can do is smile and say, “Yes, Agent Aika… I like you.” —mikecrichlow (guest)
5 – Strawberry Panic
What do you do when the most beautiful, silver haired oneesama beauty that you’ve ever met falls for you? Well, first, you’d better be a cute girl who just got transferred to an all-girls, Catholic school! It’s yuri and girl’s love without drawn out sentimentality and doesn’t have to span four seasons to get what you want (as a viewer, you’d be a guy or a lesbian that likes action). It’s not an “action-packed” show but there are things that deliver. No classic talk for 5 minute silliness but enough tender moments and GL stuff to keep a person with a pure heart but a gently ecchi mind entertained. —ray
4 – Love Hina
Oh boy, oh boy. Has it really been out this long? Hard to imagine the landscape being anything different before this Ken Akamatsu adaptation busted blocks like nobody’s business, but it really was. Place the ultimate ronin student within a beautiful little inn located in the outskirts of Tokyo, surround him with one of the most diverse casts of cuties this side of Urusei Yatsura, and throw in a gob of violence that may even make Kenshiro nervous, and you have a formula for some groundbreaking service. Of course, the whole series plays on the delicate balance between dreams and reality, but it’s merely an excuse for our protagonist to find inspiration in a most unlikely neighbor. All character types explored, and twisted upon like a mad version of a bishoujo dating sim, Love Hina is a landmark series. Oh, sure, we had our fair share of “harem” comedies before, but nothing to this level of sheer gall. A true guilty pleasure. —wintermuted
3 – Cutie Honey
In some ways, the Cutie Honey franchise may be the great granddaddy (grandmommy?) of modern anime fan service. Go Nagai, Cutey Honey’s original creator, is known for work in multiple genres of manga–from giant robot shows to other ecchi works. What puts this on the list is not only its obvious fan service-ness–look at the opening credits of the original 1970s TV show, and I (Mike) recall a scene where Honey’s clothes come off for no apparent reason after going through a traffic tunnel–but for its sheer endurance over the years. It’s been made, remade, and remixed so many times over the last several decades, not least into a live action movie by the unlikely Hideaki Anno. It is, surely, a signpost and a symbol of the power of service. —mike
2 – Kanokon
Kanokon is a series that debuted in the Summer 2008 season that basically seemed like just another harem show. However, this one had a slight twist. Instead of five or more girls eagerly desiring the dim-witted protagonist (Kouta) there are only two: Chizaru, a young buxom beauty (that’s actually a 400 year old fox spirit) and Nozomu, the deliciously flat chested jailbait (whose actually a 200 year old wolf spirit). Both girls are eager to get in Kouta’s pants and go to many lengths to make themself the most desirable, which would include walking around naked as much as physically possible. The show also seemed like it was an unending series of “set-ups”, creating situations that undoubtedly lead to somebody ending up naked and making Kouta terribly uncomfortable. It’s fun watching the show traverse the tightrope of playful sexuality with out falling off and plummeting into full-blown hentai. —mikecrichlow (guest)
1 – Queen’s Blade
A relatively new show claims the title of queen of the ecchi anime. Because of its content, Queen’s Blade was one of the most talked about anime of 2009. Some called it sexist, others called it blatant pandering to a specific audience, and others (who obviously didn’t watch it) simply called it trash. People are allowed to think what they want, but those who watched both seasons of Queen’s Blade were surprised to find there was actually a good action/adventure anime underneath all the bouncing, jiggling, obliterating fabrics, and pantsu peeking. With characters for all tastes (from loli to MILF and everything in between), Queen’s Blade traps you into watching with its eye candy and then hooks you into coming back for more with an engrossing story of tyranny, family, honor, friendship, and love. There are moments in Queen’s Blade that will break your heart, something that you don’t expect from an anime that bares this much skin. If you haven’t seen it simply because you can’t get past the fact the show has lots of boobs, you are sorely missing out.
Hail to the Queen baby. —dcbebop