In 1907, the Japanese Penal Code Article 175, was written. For us normal folk, we know of it as the "Obscenity Law" (in Japanese: "Waisetsu Butsu Hanpu To" which roughly translates to Distribution of Obscene Objects), and it is the one and only law that Japan has that restrict the freedom of speech within its borders. The law is written as: "a person who distributes, sells or displays in public an obscene document, drawing or other objects shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not more than 2 years, a fine of not more 2,500,000 yen or a petty fine. The same shall apply to a person who possesses the same with the purpose of sale" ... Well, some guy named Toshia Maeda (the "father" of modern hentai) found a loophole in that law. Tentacles (which technically isn't gentials). And he did it in 1980s, causing and changing the way we have our anime, fanservice and hentai forever. And since the rise of the online community of anime, we have had ourselves a divide in opinions on the subject of Fanservice. One side says that it's here now and it's here to stay, because boobs! XD The other says that it is destroying anime, by using boobs instead of plot. ("plot")
Today, a hefty amount of anime have some kind of fanservice. And it can be all from the "accidental" boob grabbing to the zooming in on those perky and bare tits. This has the caused effect of making a tease for the male viewers as the majority of all anime-viewers are males and can therefore draw more popularity from another anime that has zero (scratch that: minimal) fanservice but with a great overall plot. How many times have you seen the "wind" blow on the skirts upwards and revealing a small moment of heaven or how many references to hentai have you bumped into during your watch-time in anime? Probably more times than I can count... This is how the situation is. There's no denying it. But there's also a quite HUGE misunderstanding in what we are talking about, both made by the both sides of the war...
(No. Not Water, Earth, Fire & Air...XD)
Let's first take a step back and focus on the broader term of "anime". Every anime you've seen has elements, which can figuratively be summed up in the specified genre it has. "Ecchi" has the element of boobs. But take it a step further. "Action" has the element of fighting or at least intense moments of screen-time (crucial to the plot). "Romance" has the element of love and relationships (and what comes in-between). "Supernatural" has the element of the stuff incomrehensible to the human kind. These are all "fanservices", as they are tailored to a specific genre, using a specific element that satisfies a specific audience. This is simply saying that e.g. blood & gore is just the same as boobs! The problem is the community's reaction and overexaggerated feelings towards ecchi in particular (blood and gore take a toll as well), and with good reason. But it's fundamentally unfair to just complain about fanservice as the complaint is technically put upon the entire elements of genres that anime have. The problem here isn't the presence of the element "boobs". It is the showcasing and execution of the ecchi-element that sparks a war in the online community.
The "Correct" Fanservice
The Ecchi Fanservice can be displayed (no pun intended) to us in various formats, intensity and purpose. The way, however, it is executed in contrast to the overall context is the most problematic part that has been inflicted on the ecchi part of the audience spectrum. Every genre has a place on the "serious-to-nonserious" scale-ratio, like action being on the neutral side, comedy of course being on the more "nonserious" side and horror/thriller being on the "serious" side. Ecchi in particular stands not directly on the "nonserious" side, but at least it is above the neutral point in this regard. From this, every series that uses ecchi as their element has to consider these four factors: - Format (boobs, panty-shot, etc) - Intensity (uncensored, suggestive, etc) - Purpose (Main-focus, detail, etc) - Nonserious (Meaning that you can't mix a fully serious tone of a show with ecchi).
Of course, when this happens, there's really nothing else that you as a viewer can do. What the animation studio has to remember is keeping it consistent throughout the show's progression. We can't start from using panty-shots and ending it with borderline hentai! The formats themselves serve as a way to set the limit for the show itself, as when crossing that line may or may not be appreciated by everyone (who's at least watching it).
This is also a way for the show to set itself a limit. Here, the amount of screen-time and how it's being used as to the ratio on what format it has plays a role. For e.g. a story is set-up so that in most episodes, shit happens from minute 1-20 and something ecchi with bare boobs are shown the last few minutes. Another would be consitent panty-shots throughout the entire episode.
Is the main point for there to be boobs in the animation, like a key plot-point? Or is it just a detail? Well, the answer can incredibably be BOTH yes AND no! There is a show for everyone, meaning that it might be focused JUST on the fanservice (in which, to all of you who don't like fanservice: maybe not for you) or it's there as a fun and easy way to break (or stiffen) the ice.
Here's an example: Can you have ecchi-fanservice in Attack on Titan? Well...no. That would be horrendiously stupid and ruin the epic story as we know it. There is already another type of fanservice there, which are Action and Gore. On the "serious/nonserious" scale, neutrals can mix with polarities, but polarities cannot mix with each other (in most cases: Highschool of the Dead managed to pull of horror and ecchi together...)
Why Ecchi-Fanservice upsets a wider audience
As I said before, most of the anime-viewers are males. And a bunch of them are quite horny (I'm just being fully honest here...). So, in order to attract more popularity and focus on the anime itself, ecchi-elements might have been added on the hopes that more people will watch it. This as a take-one-leave-one effect, as you gain a bigger audience for the sake of the ecchi but a portion of the audience leaves because of the distruption of focus on the other elements. You gained a big audience but sacrificed the loyals (and some might like both, which is a win-win). It also gives the taste of assorting to cheap and over-used tricks to do that. This has mostly become a standard nowadays. The pressure to stand out and make money to make the next anime is tight to the bone in the industry and all tricks are used to make that happen, including the good ol' ecchi-card. But the sad part is that you don't need one. Look at One Punch Man. No ecchi whatsoever, yet it is basically the most beloved and epic anime of 2015 (if not this goddamm decade...)!
Simple. It's a two-party-solution, meaning that it cannot be done if one party doesn't succeed. The animation-studios need to keep the elements separate and other factors into account (see the "The 'Correct' Fanservice"-card). And we ourselves need to filter on what to watch and what to enjoy. If you like ecchi, go for those anime that have that as a focus. Don't like ecchi? Stick to what you know and hope for the best... There's really no way around it, honestly. I wouldn't have made this card otherwise...:)
I LOVE ecchi! It's one of my favourite genres out there and the best show I know off with ecchi is High School DxD, featuring both a plot and a "plot". I want to enjoy as much anime as possible, and there are some types that just doesn't suit me. Horror isn't my usual go-to anime but I've watched and enjoyed some. Note that a majority of this post contains only pics of girls (there are only TWO guys), hoping it would reflect the industry as we know it when we talk about ecchi...;)
This Card was made as a "competition" for my profile and the "Why anime?" collection hitting 100K views. As such, I gave you guys (well... it was rather ONE guy) the oppertunity decide the topic for my next card (which is this one). Thanks @VinMcCarthy for suggesting this topic! :* Now, this Card is a part of my own series where I put up more anime-related posts such as discussing, analyzing and showing you parts of Anime that makes an Anime an Anime! Every topic from the technical aspects, core elements and even entire shows are collected there so make sure you check out and follow "Why anime?" collection for more posts about and around anime! :D Please feel free to comment your thoughts on the topic or suggest one! :D And if you want to leave a direct feedback, you're more than welcome to message me :)
And a like on this post would be very much appreciated :* And send your happy blessings and wishes in the comments below as well :* Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Jolly Wishes from VoidX