Monday, August 22, 2011

FAN SERVICE: not just for manga anymore

          The first time I noticed the term "fan service," it was on the back of a manga volume in the junior high library, in context like, "rated T for teen because of violence and mild fan service," or something to that effect. I had to ask a Japanese teacher friend to explain it to me. Not just because she's Japanese, she really was the biggest manga fan I knew at the time.
          She explained it in terms of Japanese boy bands, saying that it's when the boys pretend to be "romantic" with each other on stage, even though they're not really gay, or not really involved with each other. They just do it because their fans are mostly teenage girls who WANT to see them kissing or whatever. They just do it for show, to please the fans.
          It also applies to comics, like when they show female characters flashing their panties for no apparent reason. It certainly doesn't further the plot. It's just "fan service."
          Just now I was leafing through the new August 2011 VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates), and noticed a review that stated of a certain book, "gratuitous sexual crudity, female objectification, and fanservice may make this book a hard sell to parents and librarians." There was that damn phrase again! This time boldly smushed into one single word. And it was not even a comic book, it was a teen novel.
          I don't know how long they've been trotting this catchy term out in book reviews intended to help us library folk with collection development. Seems a little pretentious, doesn't it? They drop that term like we're all supposed to know what it means. Drop it like it's hot. Even though I DO happen to know what it means, I can guarantee you that plenty of other library people do NOT.
          In case you're wondering, the book tagged with "fanservice" in the new VOYA is The Robot by Paul E. Watson. It's about teenage boys who encounter a "super-realistic, sex-bomb of a robot, with no underpants..." I'm not even kidding.
Can you believe they did NOT put the robot chic with no panties on the cover? 
         

5 comments:

  1. Interesting.... I wouldn't know what "fan service" is either. Learn something knew everday. As for the robot gone commado a la Britney... too, funny!

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  2. Just realized my spelling errors... I meant to say "new" and "commando." It's late... time for bed. LOL!

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  3. I just got up, and didn't notice your spelling errors at first! "Learn something knew" is kind of funny and appropriate, though. And we can pretend "commado" is Spanish for commando. ;)

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  4. Kind of like how I give "fan service" to going to a gym. I too am stunned that the slutbot is not on the book cover.
    Jules

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  5. funny thing is I have never seen or heard this word before you posted this, which I read the day of; then, last night someone used it (and I actually understood what they were talking about thanks to you xD)

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