Fan Service News

Fan Service is a anime/manga concept
From Anime Vice
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Me coming into this anime

Role-playing/escapism?
Role-playing/escapism?

Back near the end of January, school was back in full swing. I was kind of depressed with the way life was going and wasn't thinking straight. I was somewhere in between finishing my first playthrough of Mass Effect 2 and starting Mass Effect 3. I was pretty hooked on role-playing as my female Commander Shepard, and my grades suffered.

I almost stopped watching anime. But I wanted to start watching a new anime anyway. Something light-hearted and humorous to take my mind off my more 'serious' studies. It just so happened that Crunchyroll had just acquired Ghastly Prince Enma Burning Up . I didn't give the plot much thought at the time... something about a pint-sized Demon Patrol team who aims to keep Earth safe from Demons.

I remembered hearing about its retro-anime art style (since it is a remake of an anime from 1973) and its fan service. Sounded simple enough, so I gave it a whirl and watched the first episode. And I'm enjoying it so far. The opening should give you an idea of what the series is going for:

There is a noticeable amount of fan service and it uses familiar tropes and situations. But I think Ghastly Prince Enma is one of those anime that uses tropes in a tongue-in-cheek way. It parodies those tropes and exaggerates things to allow the audience to distance themselves from what is being shown. Sometimes this leads to laughter, other times to consternation or indifference. For me, the best case is when I'm watching an anime and I find something interesting to think about. And Ghastly Prince Enma was able to do just that! So in my books, this anime is a success so far.

Children and Playing Make-Believe/Role-playing

Kind of like this except with imaginary swords and magic
Kind of like this except with imaginary swords and magic

Basically what I found interesting about this anime is that it can be interpreted as a bunch of kids playing make-believe! You know how some children play house during recess? Others pretend to be characters from their favorite TV show. I personally pretended to be characters from Final Fantasy games as a child (good times). With that said, children are really smart. Psychologically-speaking, playing make-believe can be very important in helping children understand social roles and also improve social relationships with others.

Children are also incredibly curious, sometimes brazen and fearless. You know that one child who sticks his finger in everything? Or the other child who always says what's on his mind? Or one that always pleads, "let me seeee!" Well the thing is, they're all trying to do the same thing, learn about the world, and they're doing it the only ways the know how.

This also applies to playing make-believe or role-playing. By playing make-believe, children are basically using tropes, stereotypes and archetypes to learn about the world. Tropes can be thought of as guidelines, a brief sketch of types of people, types of events, or even things what is appropriate or inappropriate.

Meet the Demon Patrol!

So this is why I think the characters in this anime can be thought of as children playing make-believe. The whole anime revolves around the "Demon Patrol", which consists of 4 characters. Each of them have their child-like counterparts imo:

L to R: Kappaieru, Enma, Chappeaudie, Yukiko
L to R: Kappaieru, Enma, Chappeaudie, Yukiko
Curiosity!
Curiosity!

Prince Enma: A hot-headed demon prince boy who uses fire magic. He wields a staff that turns into a huge burning hammer. He is also quite the pervert. Remember that kid who always teased girls and was also kind of loud, obnoxious and troublesome? Well, that's Enma for you.

Yukiko: A pale-skinned ice princess, who is childhood friends with Enma. Although it is clear from all his teasing that Enma likes Yukiko (trying to look under her skirt and all that) Yukiko won't stand Enma's perverted antics. Often literally giving him the cold shoulder. Remember that one girl who always seemed to stand up for the trouble-maker in class (in this case Enma), but no one could really understand why she puts up with him?

Isn't he cool??
Isn't he cool??

Kappairu and Chappeaudie: Kappairu is a kappa spirit who acts as the group's "spy". Meanwhile Chappeaudie is a talking wizard's hat who acts as the teams intelligence on demons. However they aren't really that helpful when hunting down demons. Usually it's Enma that takes care of the Demons, with his huge fire hammer. So Kappairu and Chappeaudie are kind of like Enma's sidekicks. They are Enma's "friends" but just aren't as cool or powerful as Enma. But there is one thing the they have in common, they're perverts and wouldn't mind catching a glimpse of Yukiko naked (or other girls for that matter).

And lastly, we have Harumi, a human school girl who is technically NOT part of the Demon Patrol. But after a series of events, she is co-opted into the group to help them. Harumi acts as the archetypal stand-in for the audience, the "voice of reason". She's almost like that transfer student who is somehow pulled into a weird social circle, but ends up going with it anyway.

So who are the Demons then? Use your imagination! (that's what children do)

So I've sketched how the Demon Patrol can be though of as children playing make-believe. But then, who are all the demons they fight supposed to represent? Well, they could be anything! What is clear is that the Demons are affecting the world negatively (whatever they are). But one answer is that they might stand for adults. I don't know about you, but as a child I found some adults scarier than others. Heck, depending on how old you are, some adults can be twice your size. You may not understand they're motivations, why they get mad at you. Sometimes they do things that seem clearly unfair, other times they are very kind.

The fun-loving Miss Chiiko
The fun-loving Miss Chiiko

For example in episode 3 Harumi notices that her teacher Miss Chiiko has been acting differently lately. Usually she is fun-loving and enthusiastic, but recently she has been throwing temper-tantrums, going on angry rampages. Eventually with the help of the Demon Patrol, Harumi finds out that Miss Chiiko was infected by a kind of Demon virus.

OMG she's going crazy! She must've been infected by a demon!
OMG she's going crazy! She must've been infected by a demon!

Eventually they track down the demon, Enma defeats the demon and Miss Chiiko is back to normal. Enma tries to grope Miss Chiiko and Yukiko a number of times a long the way, but is unsuccessful. It seems that being a 'demon slayer' doesn't translate to getting girls to like you.

All this is to say that 'demons' are just a stand-in for what children don't understand. If you don't understand something, make things up for it! They don't know why Miss Chiiko got mad, but maybe some demon infected her! Likewise, Enma's inability to control his sexual impulses is almost like a young boy going through puberty. His hot-headed nature and naivete keep Enma from giving up. So what if Yukiko kicked him in the balls for trying to touch her? Enma is a child trying to figure out his place in the world. Playing a role like a fiery prince who hunts demons is like a way of giving himself confidence to explore the world! Sure he might get into trouble along the way and a lot of the times he might be wrong and make mistakes, but that's all part of learning.

Conclusion

So yeah, that's what I think of Ghastly Prince Enma. I am enjoying it more now that I realize it can be interpreted as a bunch of children playing make-believe. Initially I didn't really plan on drawing comparisons to Mass Effect or role-playing games, but it seems rather apt now. I can think of role-playing not as escapism, but as an opportunity to think about the world in a new way. A lot of the times this requires taking a step back, looking at the bigger picture.

In this blog I didn't really show any of the actual demons, or get into any of the underworld mythology. How those are portrayed could provide some commentary on the actual world as well. But on the interpretation I have presented they can be thought of as products of children's imagination. Seeing the world through the lens of a group of kids playing as the "Demon Patrol". In this way I think Ghastly Prince Enma is actually quite charming. I would recommend to anyone interested in watching it to go in with an open mind, and don't take everything so seriously. It's a parody after all.

P.S. Some miscellaneous pictures

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Welcome to Featured Figures; a blog feature highlighting a handful of figures, my thoughts on them, the dents they'd leave in your wallet and maybe even links to sites you can buy them from. Let me know what you want to see from these blogs and I'll see what I can do.

Son Goku SSJ, 1/8th scale, Clear Hair Ver. (Medicos Entertainment)

Screaming, as usual
Screaming, as usual

This is easily one of the most bad-ass Dragon Ball Z figures I've seen, and boy has there been a lot of DBZ figures over the years. Not only does this Goku figure have really great looking clothes--all the folds and highlights look really great--but look at that hair. Dude has glass hair, well... I imagine it's really semi-transparent plastic, but it certainly looks the part.

This is version 2 of the figure, with the original featuring boring not-awesome hair, so clearly this is the version to get. The equally awesome Super Saiyan aura around Goku's feet is also a great touch.

What do you think? Is glass hair cool or weird?

Goku is listed at ¥9,200 on Amazon Japan (approx $112 or £71) and $117 on Hobbyfan but currently out of stock.

Samus Aran, 1/8th scale, Zero Suit ver. (Max Factory)

Sleek Samus
Sleek Samus

I have a weird relationship with Metroid games. I acknowledge that they're great, in fact I think very highly of them, but I don't think I've ever finished any of them. Particularly whenever I take a crack at Metroid Prime, I just don't get on with it, not really sure why. Maybe I'll finish one eventually, in the meantime I'll just admire gorgeous figure renditions of Samus like this Metroid: Other M figure from Max Factory. If it's too hard to tell Samus is a woman with her power suit on, there's certainly no question when she takes it off.

I love how sleek this figure looks, I don't know if Samus normally looks as tall as she does here, but I guess I haven't played Other M so maybe one of you knows better than me. There's some nice detail on the gun, and the Metroid looks great too.

Samus can be pre-ordered for $103 on Hobbyfan (approx £65) or $130 on J-List (approx £82)

Kobato Hasegawa & Maria Takayama, 1/7th scale (Max Factory)

Super cute
Super cute

Okay, I haven't watched Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai yet, but these figures are adorable. These are sold as two separate figures, but as you can tell they obviously go together, which is a classic trick to get twice as much of your hard-earned money from you.

I literally can't find fault with either of these figures. They're cute, the hair looks good (while not quite as glassy-looking as Goku's hair, it's similar) and their outfits look especially great. I appreciate it when sculptors put in extra effort to make the clothes look separate from the figure, you know, like actual clothes. Like the "Zero Suit" Samus is wearing, these playboy-style catgirl outfits are super glossy.

These figures can be pre-ordered for $88 each on Hobbyfan (approx £55) or $105 each on J-List (approx £66)

Chifusa Manyuu, 1/4th scale (A+)

Skimpy Samurai
Skimpy Samurai

For those with more risqué tastes we have Chifusa Manyuu from Manyuu Hikenchou. The biggest figure in this selection at 1/4th scale making it more of a statue than a figurine. Chifusa comes with a katana and completely removable attire that already barely covers her expanding bust (in the show, the figure itself doesn't expand... that would be weird).

I'm not really sure why her hair is so blue, I'm pretty sure it was black in the anime, but I like how... soft she looks. That probably sounds weird, but it's easy for figures to look very solid since they're made of plastic, and this doesn't. If you're looking for something a little lighter on clothing and bigger in size, this may be the figure for you. With that sword it would probably make a pretty good letter-opener too I guess.

Chifusa can be pre-ordered for $210 on Hobbyfan (approx £132) with extra shipping fees.

What do you think of these figures? Ready to order one? Or are you like me, preferring to appreciate them from afar instead?

Daniel Newton is a moderator for Anime Vice and Screened. Follow him on twitter: @Daniel_Newton and @AnimeVicers

Other posts:Oreimo Season 2 Announced!

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Fully titled: Tits N' Ass, but I don't want to be weeded out as mature content on Youtube.

This episode I'm answering Sotyfan16's question on fanservice and my opinions. I had to do this in a rush, so it's not the best, but HAY you guys'll get two this week so yay!! Hope you enjoy, and send your Q&A in any format (AV, youtube, Twitter, Tumblr) and I'll answer them in the upcoming two episodes.

Sorry! I forgot to ask this in the video so.... What's your opinion on fanservice?

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Warning! The following blog contains strong opinions orientated towards Gurren Lagann. Be prepared for a lot of angry/displeased Superevil.
 
Alright, I can admit that this is a must watch anime. Everybody's heard of it, most have watched it. I enjoyed it for the first 5 or so episodes but, frankly it's just not doing it. I'm sitting here with episode 7 or Gurren Lagann and I just can't muster up the strength to watch it. But I can admit that it's a good series. Good animation, art, character design, acting (both Japanese and English), fantastic soundtrack, and a decent attempt at humour. But I'm really just not into this series for three main reasons.

3. The "Humorous" Plot

 Okay, I laughed the first few episodes. Kamina made some humorous acts of stupidity, but after a while, I get bored. The comedy is the show is dry, overused and at some points tasteless. I don't see how the comedy enhances the plot. In fact, the comedy sends the plot train reeling off the tracks and into a ditch of dry, dry dirt. I'm sorry, but I need at least a little bit of character development, or some new adventures in this plot. Nothing is standing out to me, I'm not laughing, and I'm just not interested. The anime is simple, too. Far too simple for my tastes. Maybe I'm just too fond of movies such as The Prestige, Inception, Sherlock Holmes, and Shawshank Redemption, or maybe Gurren Lagann is far too simple minded for anybody really. But the simple humour isn't cutting it. Sure it's totally crazy because it doesn't take itself seriously, but maybe that's it's biggest flaw. Gurren Lagann doesn't take itself seriously so it dries out. It runs out of interesting and good jokes and wallows in a pit of unmoving, uninteresting, simple minded, sexist and demeaning excuses for humour.
 

2. Sexism Vs. Strong Women

 Alright, we've got Yoko. She's strong, independent, and demeaning to women.
"But Superevil! She kicks Kamina's ass when ever he's sexist."
I say, that's exactly what I hate. I can't stand it when the anime stereotype for strong women is the fact that they're able to violently abuse men when they make a move. Sure Yoko kicks ass so hard in other departments, but I'm also close to revolted when it comes to the fanservice. I can handle panty-shots. I can handle the occasional bouncing breast, but when boobs defy gravity every time she turns around the joke runs dry and eventually becomes offensive. I admit, it might have to do with the fact that I'm a straight woman, but it's getting to the point in the anime where the fanservice is no longer passable and it becomes offensive. I'm specifically hung up over the one episode where Kamina spends 20 minutes of the episode trying to sneak a peak at Yoko's boobs. All the women are degraded to objects, who can't even try to fight for themselves and have to wait for Kamina to save them........ after he gets a look at some tits. It's gotten to the point where Gurren Lagann is just offensive.
 

1. Kamina

 Sorry, but I can't stand him. Not one bit. It was okay during the beginning. His overly inflated ego was funny at times, and his stupidity was entertaining. But now, he's just obnoxious. It's painful to see how stupid he can act, I literally cringe at every mistake he makes. His ego has gotten to the point where every time I see his face I wish I could punch it, and his chauvinistic, rude, and plain obnoxious attitude is going to drive me around the bend. I don't really see why people like this character. Sure there are plenty of characters that you would hate if they were real, but you love them in the anime. Kamina is not one of those characters. Let's take my obsession with Claire Stanfield from Baccano! He's obnoxious, egotistical and insane. I would hate him in real life, but I love him in the anime. There are redeeming qualities and events through out the anime that make you love a character like that. Kamina has no redeeming qualities, and there's nothing he does in the anime that make him lovable. Every step he takes I find myself disliking this character even more and more.
 

So, that's why I don't like Gurren Lagann so far. It was good, at the start but my patience is running out. I'm not going to watch another episode unless I get convinced by you guys. I don't want any flame from this article. All I want to do is express my thoughts on an anime that I really don't like. I respect that a lot of people like this anime, but it's really not for me. The reasons stated above are personal. I'm willing to discuss my thoughts, but I don't want people hating on me for them.
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yeah... I'm more on GB or tested but I might as well stalk another site.
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Why does anime have so much fanservice? I find a lot of series are fantastic, but the fanservice made them lose a viewer. For example High School Of The Dead. I just watched the first episode. Let's first get this out of the way, I love zombies. So much!! So the zombie part is no biggie. I don't mind violence, I wouldn't say I love it, but I watched the Punisher War Zone and Kick-Ass and didn't flinch. The anime (believe it or not) is really deep, and well done. The CG looks out of place, but in what anime does it look normal? It's just there was so many ass shots, I thought my eyes were going to fall out of my head. Not to mention the jiggling jugs of women-ness hanging off of every female's chest. It's just too much. 
 
I also find it slightly offensive. I'm not going to go into a huge rant, but why so much female fanservice? Why not a little man-fanservice in an anime, eh? (Please keep in mind I am a girl) A guy would feel awkward seeing, say man-ass, in an anime, but it's the same for girls. I'll watch an anime and feel really awkward with boobs jumping around. It's PE class all over again. 
 
Now if fanservice is worked in so that I don't mind it, fantastic! Akira did a good job of that. I barely remember the boobs, and I loved it. Neon Genesis Evangelion had a lot of fanservice, but it didn't make me feel uncomfortable. I found that in some ways it made the anime a bit deeper. More thoughts on human nature. But currently, I'll stop watching an anime because I don't feel comfortable any more.
 
It's hard to find a new anime these days. So many of them make me feel way too uncomfortable. I think all the female fanservice is offensive and over the top. What do you think? 
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Super Duper Mini Review

 Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu
 Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu

 Haruka on the left and Milan from seeason 2.
 Haruka on the left and Milan from seeason 2.
  Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, aka Haruka Nogizaka's Secret, is an anime adaptation of the ongoing light novel series created by Yusaku Igarashi.  There are two seasons both produced by Diomedea (previously known as Studio Barcelona) and directed by Munenori Nawa.  Both season consist of 12 episodes.
 

Genres:

comedy, romance
Themes: fanservice, high school, otaku, harem, moe
 
 
 
Plot Summary
 

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu centers around Yūto Ayase and Haruka Nogizaka. Yūto is seemingly ordinary, but Haruka is attractive, intelligent, and rich, which prompts other students to idolize her and even give her French nicknames like "Nuit Étoile" (The Silver Star of the Night) and "Lumière du Clavier" (The Shining Princess on the Piano). One day, Yūto wanders into the school library in order to return a book and accidentally stumbles upon Haruka's deepest, darkest secret: she is a diehard fan of anime and manga, in other words, a regular otaku. Promising Haruka to keep this a secret, Yūto becomes her advisor and confidente of some sort and hangs out with her more, though earning some viciously envious glares from his fellow schoolmates.

 
Pros:
  • A really bright and colorful world.
  • A very cute/charming/fun tone to the show.
  • A lot of the cast are common character types, but that doesn't mean the cast isn't enjoyable.
  • Enjoyed the lighthearted take on the otaku world.
  • Speaking of otakus, some references to other anime like Evangelion and Shakugan no Shana.
 
Cons:
  • Some of the episodes are from the romantic comedy/harem check list.  Hot spring episode?  Check.  Beach episode?  Check.  School festival episode?  Check.
  • The animation can be stiff a times.  It could have been a little better.
  • The ending has no real conclusion.
 
 While it's not most original show in the romantic comedy genre, I still had a fun time with it.
 
 
If you are looking for a fun/charming/lighthearted romantic comedy and don't mind fanservice, I say give it a go and see what you think.
 ................moe!
 ................moe!

 
Want to give the show a try?  Crunchyroll has both season available to watch.  LINK TO EPISODE 1
 
 
Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nogizaka_haruka_no_himitsu
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=9012 
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=10619 
 

Don't forget to check out my ongoing blog for my Super Duper Mini Reviews and my written reviews.            :)   
 

What's a Super Duper Mini Review? Well, since I'm taking a break from written reviews, I decided to put a short list of what I liked and didn't like about the shows I review and from time to time, put down some notes and fun facts. For some info about the show like genre, plot summary, etc., I borrow some info from Anime News Network, Wikipedia, and of course our wiki here on Anime Vice.

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My are Harem, Mecha, Action, Comedy and sometimes Drama
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