Fanservice: To be or not to be?

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Phantom-chan
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Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#1 Post by Phantom-chan » Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:55 pm

Greetings and Salutation, internet! My name is Phantom-chan, and today I would like to talk about a specific topic.
Fanservice.
The reason why I even bring up this up, is because I have a point in my project, "Paper Airplane- Sent from me to You", that has fanservice like potential. But would putting fanservice in the project help it, or ruin in?

Now, a vast majority of people LOVE fanservice. Whether it be a nice shot of rippling abs, or a nice shot of butts and/or breasts, we love it. It was the birth of certain fanfiction genres, like "Anime characters x reader" for example. No one can deny it, it's just how some people are. There are some visual novels out there that pretty much focuses on the fanservice. For example, there are a lot of people who like "Neko Paradise" or commonly known as "Nekopara" because of it's fun nature, cute everything, and fanservice/coitus scenes. The problem is, however, this game is mostly a "feel-good-game". At least, that was my perspective on it...

Anyway, there are a lot of visual novels that like to tease the player with its fanservice, or please them with coitus scenes. My question is: Should fanservice be in everything? Now, there are a lot of people who are about to argue with me right now and say "Phantom-whatever, there are a good majority of visual novels, anime, and manga that don't have fanservice! You don't know what you're talking about!" And yes, they are right. Fanservice isn't in everything, but because of how many people enjoy it creators will soon begin to add little snip-its of it just to gain more attention or views. Visual novels like "Saya no Uta", "Subarashiki Hibi", any of the "Sakura" games, "No one but you", "Speia Tears", "Time Tenshi", "High School Romance", "Kara no Shoujo", "Katawa Shoujo", "G-Senjou no Mou", and lots of others. Which is understandable, because so many people in the anime/manga/visual novel community loves it. So, should fanservice really be in everything? There were some points in visual novels with fanservice/coitus scenes that made me roll my eyes and shake my head. "Kara no Shoujo" for example shouldn't have had those scenes, because all they did was make the protagonist look like a man *cough* *cough*.

I'd love to hear your opinion on the matter. This will help me with my own project, and I get to hear what fellow visual novel fans think about this.

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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#2 Post by SundownKid » Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:14 pm

I feel like there are 2 types of games, ones people buy for the fanservice (e.g. Nekopara, Sakura ___, etc.) and ones people buy for the story. In the latter, I don't think fanservice will boost sales in a massive way. So no, I don't think everything requires fanservice.

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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#3 Post by KittyWills » Sat Feb 27, 2016 4:38 pm

I agree with sundownkid. If I want to buy a fanservice game that's what I expect to see. Whether is has a plot or not; make it clear to your audience what they are buying.

Now I don't mind if there is a smut scene or an implied smut scene in more plot driven / serious game, but only if it earns it. Make it have some value to the plot and don't just throw pantie shots everywhere. It's gets pretty lame after a while and it's distracting.

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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#4 Post by runeraccoon » Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:54 pm

Your examples are BxG games huh... I rarely play those. I agree with people above me, commenting about differentiating between a fanservice-y game vs plot driven game. However, it's not like plot-driven games couldn't use more fanservices as well!

Personally, I think what stands for "fanservice" is different for each person. A meaningful CG showing a character's lovely smile whereas s/he was aloof and hard to crack stands for fanservice for me. You might have heard "Gap is moe!", which indicates that when a character shows you a different side of them meaningfully, they become more interesting. Another example would be hints of BL in otherwise shounen-style adventure setting, haha. :D (But that's my personal interest.)

Anyway, I think whatever is meaningful to your VN and given as a free gift for the players would be considered fanservice. Just don't make it distasteful, like a meaningless coitus scene in a plot-driven VN, I think.

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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#5 Post by Quelcezot » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:25 pm

I had a big post written, but I've decided to write it again in a shorter form.

"Fan Service" in the sense of catering to your readers and deviating from your "artistic vision" is something I wholeheartedly approve of. Not in a commercial sense, but in a give and take sort of way. I like intentionally writing scenes to please certain types of people, and simultaneously playing with the expectations I've set. I think it can lead to an immersive experience where the reader is pleasantly aware that parts of the vn are written "for them", while not being subservient to their expectations. It's weird, but I consider that balance a kind of humbleness.

Blatant sexual pandering majorly puts me off. It makes recommending certain visual novels very hard for me, since I know other people who are even more critical than I am. I can accept that as a commercial decision some creators have felt forced to include such content, and I can look past that when I believe that to be the case - but that's not the same for everyone.

I really like it when sex is explored as a theme or used in a non sensational way however. I even think eroticism can be explored in a way that isn't pathetic, and can even be intentionally arousing while still being of high quality and interesting to read - but at that point I'm not sure if it could be called fan service.

I guess it's long again. Feel free to ask me to expand even more.
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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#6 Post by runeraccoon » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:32 pm

Quelcezot wrote:I really like it when sex is explored as a theme or used in a non sensational way however. I even think eroticism can be explored in a way that isn't pathetic, and can even be intentionally arousing while still being of high quality and interesting to read - but at that point I'm not sure if it could be called fan service.
I couldn't agree more, and I'm really interested in this topic in depth. In many dating sims, sex (or in a more PG rated games, kiss) is used in a very sensational way. It's the goal, even, the climax of a relationship. When you say "non-sensational", does it mean casually? What about characters who're more than prude, does it mean sex becomes the theme instead?

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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#7 Post by Quelcezot » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:55 pm

fuicchi wrote:I couldn't agree more, and I'm really interested in this topic in depth. In many dating sims, sex (or in a more PG rated games, kiss) is used in a very sensational way. It's the goal, even, the climax of a relationship. When you say "non-sensational", does it mean casually? What about characters who're more than prude, does it mean sex becomes the theme instead?
Possibly casually, for example sex between a couple in a long term relationship. It can be tender, and they can both enjoy it but it doesn't have to be given huge emphasis.

It can be the emphasis as well, but still not be sensationalized. Having sex with can be pretty significant, and sometimes by blowing the idea of sex out of proportion that can actually diminish the reality of it. In a strange way, getting too worked up about the "idea" of sex or the build up makes the individual case and relationships involved more trivial.

When working with characters for whom sex is difficult for them to enact or talk about, I guess it would naturally become a theme like anything else. Or so I would think.

There isn't really a right way to do any of this, but I'm just saying there are ways I would be happy to write about it and would like to read others writing about sex with the same kind of approach.
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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#8 Post by Doodled » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:23 am

It really comes down to tone - does the fanservice fit the tone of the game and, more importantly, does the fanservice fit the situations it is used in?

In silly comedic romps where you expect to see it, then yeah, you could plop fanservice just about anywhere to positive effect. However, if your work has more serious elements to it, then you have to be more careful: Either place the fanservice during the more light-hearted moments, or make sure the fanservice has a deeper reason to it - thematically, narratively, emotionally, etc.

Few things are more off-putting than a poorly-timed fanservice shot, even in games where you anticipate seeing some eyebrow-waggling stuff. I'm looking at you, Corpse Party.

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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#9 Post by trooper6 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:13 am

Fanservice as sexual pandering is something I don't like at all. Often because it is used to obscure a poor quality game. You know, I'm so ruled by lust that some shot objectifying women will make me ignore that the writing is crap.

I don't mind erotic games. I don't mind nakedness. I don't mind hot people. But that is not what I think of when I think of fan service. I think of things thrown in a work that don't really make sense just because fans want it (or the author thinks fans want it).

Don't pander. Don't insult me with your pandering. Make something of quality where all the elements are organic and make sense.
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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#10 Post by Ghost of Crux » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:20 am

Considering the OP, I'd assume that fanservice is in reference to pictures where characters are played up sexually because it's a common thing to happen regardless of the content, and not in the sense that the creators refer to other works that might please old time enthusiasts. So, on that...

I agree with some of the sentiments above: does it fit the tone and the message of the game?

There's nothing I dislike more in a game than fanservice where it just. Feels. Like blatantly pandering with boobs/butt/abs shots, when that is not the reason why I downloaded said game. Especially when I'm not pursuing a character for a romantic, sexual relationship. Especially when I'm playing a serious game. Especially when the main character reacts to it in a creepy way, a la ecchi games. Especially in public, where tripping and flashing everyone your panties is more humiliation than sexy. And most importantly: Especially when it's not consensual, and the main character acts creepily to boot. (this goes both ways. just because it's a girl doesn't make it a-ok) (barging in on bathing scenes. ugh. Non consensual, gratuitous, AND the victim is played up to be a raging bitch in some cases, and all that for a trope)

I would say that serious games can have fanservice where it makes sense and adds to the narrative, but fanservice is gratuitous by definition. IMO so long as it fits the tone and message of the story, it's not fanservice. It helps if it's NOT treated as such, as well.

Don't hurt your narrative for a fanservice shot. Few might like it, but you'll probably going to get punched for punching the player out of the immersion.

Alternatively: have fanservice to be entirely optional. Show that it's heading that way, and that the player can opt out of it. Heck, I'd rather take a screen at the start that says: "Do you want to see fanservice? Yes/No" than have my immersion ruined.
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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#11 Post by trooper6 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:32 am

Ghost of Crux wrote: Alternatively: have fanservice to be entirely optional. Show that it's heading that way, and that the player can opt out of it. Heck, I'd rather take a screen at the start that says: "Do you want to see fanservice? Yes/No" than have my immersion ruined.
I agree, but even better, if it is just a series of gratuitous panty shots of shiney-Boobed girls, drop the pretense of it being a game at all and just release a gallery of CGs. I won't buy it...but then I'm never going to buy any of those Sakura games either.

But again, erotic content that isn't gratuitous, and that is organic to the story is not what I consider fanservice, and I think is fine.
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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#12 Post by gekiganwing » Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:30 am

Ghost of Crux wrote: I would say that serious games can have fanservice where it makes sense and adds to the narrative, but fanservice is gratuitous by definition. IMO so long as it fits the tone and message of the story, it's not fanservice. It helps if it's NOT treated as such, as well.
I read this and agreed. If you're writing a story, then consider *what you want to say* to your audience. When your story is about depressing topics, or when it asks the audience to think about complex problems, it will probably not make sense to introduce a sexy man in the third scene. If your visual novel is an action/adventure story, then there might be a few moments when a shower scene or a sex scene is justified. Think about whether it makes sense, or whether it seems tacked-on.

Do you want to entertain your reader by presenting several attractive women as romance options? Do you intend to create a story with multiple couples or romantic shipping possibilities? If that's your goal, that's fine. Think about how you want to present the characters. A few things to consider...

* The main character's thoughts and actions. There are many ways to portray the MC's interest (or lack thereof) in sex. This person might be constantly thinking about how attractive guys are. Or this person might turn away on seeing a girl wearing just a towel.

* Whether non playable characters' actions make sense. Think about what might motivate a guy to be constantly shirtless in public. Or what might motivate a girl to repeatedly tease the main character.
Ghost of Crux wrote: Alternatively: have fanservice to be entirely optional. Show that it's heading that way, and that the player can opt out of it. Heck, I'd rather take a screen at the start that says: "Do you want to see fanservice? Yes/No" than have my immersion ruined.
Interesting idea. If a writer chooses this option, it could allow the reader to skip scenes, or see alternate outfits.

An alternative: tell two or more versions of the story, using two characters' perspectives. Let the reader choose which point of view. Maybe one of the POV characters is an asexual person, and the other POV character keeps seeing hints of BL when men interact.
Ghost of Crux wrote: ... not in the sense that the creators refer to other works that might please old time enthusiasts.
I would use the term shout-out to refer to mentioning another work of fiction. On a somewhat related note, I would use the term spectacle to refer to things such as:

* special effects
* portraying science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror to make them seem awesome
* detailed depictions of scenery, fashion, food, real world technology, wealth, and so on

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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#13 Post by Fuseblower » Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:29 pm

IMO, fan service changes the tone of a visual novel (or movie, comic, etc.).

In the 80s fan service was quite prevalent in comedies and horror movies (it wasn't called "fan service" in those days but T&A). It catered to the intended audience (of teenagers) and was played for entertainment.

For example, a high school girl being chased in the forest by a typical masked, machete-wielding maniac. Her blouse gets ripped off by a mere twig after which our, now bare chested, heroine trips over a root and falls straight into a puddle of mud. All filmed from appropriate angles, of course. Ah! That was entertainment back in those days :D

Now they're remaking all those old 80s horror movies but without the fan service. As a result : the remakes can't stand in the shadow of the originals. The originals were meant to entertain, the remakes are serious about the story but there never ever was a story to begin with.

I don't believe fan service boosts sales. Tastes have changed over the years (for the worse IMO)

I do believe that it should be made perfectly clear from the beginning what the tone will be of the visual novel else customers might feel cheated, especially when it comes to erotic content.

Here's the pencil sketch of the title screen of my NanoReno project "Doomed Diner" (I'm working on the painting today).

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I don't think the fan service in it will be coming as a surprise :wink:

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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#14 Post by trooper6 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:21 pm

Fan service just seems to be a nicer way to say "the sexual objectification of women." I can do without.
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Re: Fanservice: To be or not to be?

#15 Post by PyTom » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:04 pm

Since no actual people are involved, there seems to be little harm. It does change the tone of a game - it would be hard to take a game full of fanservice (targeted at women or men) seriously, unless your goal is to subvert peoples' expectations. So it's really up to the tone you want to set.
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