‘Fan service’ is a stupid term. In anime, it’s mostly used as double-speak for T&A by fans embarrassed about their own love of cheesecake. When it’s borrowed by the ‘norms,’ it’s a too-broad term for winks, nudges and Easter eggs. Ask for an explanation of what it actually means, and people will stammer out some explanation about it being “when a show… uh... gives the fans what they like,” as if that weren’t the basic aim of all entertainment.
You know what ‘fan service’ really is? Watch this episode. You won’t find Nami’s boobs bouncing or obscure references to arcs from long ago, no, but you will find a non-stop series of scenarios designed (almost tenuously sometimes) to make our heroes look as cool as they possibly can be…
Sanji gets to play White Knight when a woman’s in peril!
With fiery purpose, Luffy gives ‘the master’ a spoonful of his own medicine!
In other words, scenes that insistently give you everything you look for in a heroic escapism, and none of the boring little moments you don’t want. Fan service.
Of course, as I’ve stuck with the show over the course of this arc, I’ve come to realize that one byproduct of weekly airdates is that show really just ebbs and flows between the exciting stuff and the drier stuff. If there were more time to reconsider, re-edit and re-balance, we might have a more even distribution of the goods - - but that ain’t the name of the game here.
Put simply, this was one of the good ones (although Vergo’s cool super moves still couldn’t salvage how stupid his food-on-the-face gimmick is).
About the Author
|Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk|