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Armchair General

Is fanservice inherently bad?

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So with the reveal of one of the teachers, I noticed how some people were complaining about her design, mainly her form-fitting dress in cleavage. Personally, I'm fine with this kind of stuff; after all, showing a little bit of skin isn't going to kill anyone (although it might raise the ESRB rating). I know that this isn't exclusive to fiction; but come on, some people actually dress that way in reality, so what's the point in complaining about it happening in fiction?

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I'd say it depends personally. There's a time and place for it but teacher characters aren't really something that I'm too impressed to see it on. 

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I feel it largely depends on the tone of the story you're trying to tell.  If you want to do something serious, then a little bit to lighten the mood occasionally is fine.  But too much will be a distraction.  It should also be appropriate for the kind of character you're trying to make.  An understandable complaint about Manuela's design I've seen is that it's not really appropriate attire for a teacher.

I was honestly expecting at least one design like hers to crop up somewhere in Three Houses, but thankfully such things have been relatively scant so far.  That said, I would still rather date Manuela than literally any of the student characters.

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The question in the title is quite inflammatory, in my opinion. What I and another person think is "fanservice" can be two different things, so there's no answer if it can be "inherently bad" because that's not a subjective claim to make. I'm guessing based on the subject matter that the prevailing definition of "fanservice" for the sake of this thread is "female sexuality". And the answer is no. Not until details are presented. Yes, Fire Emblem Three Houses is a work of fiction, but that doesn't mean everything put in the game was put there thoughtlessly. Manuela's design can indicate many things in the designers' headspace. The beauty mark indicating promiscuity, the choker that evokes numerous sexual fetishes from leashes to strangling, and finally the clubbing outfit. If the character serves purposes other than to titilate the player, then these things are easy to ignore after some exposure. But if she is just there for sexual gratification then we'll be rolling our eyes so hard that they fall out of their sockets.

It's not a question of "does this belong in the game" but rather "what is the point of this, in the context of the game". And that's not a question we'll be able to answer until the game is in our hands. For now though, it's just a design that people are within their rights to call "dumb" if they want.

Edited by Glennstavos

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I'm more mad about impractical designs.  I don't mind showing off a decent body, as long as it isn't the point of the entire game.  But when clothing has to defy the laws of physics just to show off said body, then I draw the line.  Fanservice and function don't have to be mutually exclusive!

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The question is structured such that the responses you'll get will be mostly in your favor, if you type a similar like question on google most links there will show you to something that say No and if you make the question the opposite then the same "No" thing happens. So it's a little bit y'know bias-sounding.

Answering the question itself though, not really but most things aren't inherently bad so meh standard opinion. It does get annoying when the character'swhole trait is Big boobs or Muscle guy.

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6 hours ago, Armchair General said:

So with the reveal of one of the teachers, I noticed how some people were complaining about her design, mainly her form-fitting dress in cleavage. Personally, I'm fine with this kind of stuff; after all, showing a little bit of skin isn't going to kill anyone (although it might raise the ESRB rating). I know that this isn't exclusive to fiction; but come on, some people actually dress that way in reality, so what's the point in complaining about it happening in fiction?

it depends on the situation and why/how it's done.

a teacher wearing an outfit like that while teaching to students isn't exactly appropriate, because rather than being just a bit sexy, it gives instead way to lewd thinking.

dressing like that in other situations like going out not to battle but to actually hang out and relax, would be already a whole different story.

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my answer: no

in fact, i'm ok with fanservice if it's done right and not shoved in my throat just for the sake of weebs-pandering

the only female design i really hate in TH for now is female byleth's, i find it so stupid

on the other hand there are mercedes, dorothea, rea and manuela: i'm fine with them

also it sort of makes sense for manuela to dress up like that, since she's so worried about finding her love

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I don't mind it if it doesn't take away from the game's story, themes or characters.

FByleth however looks absurd for someone who's supposed to be a teacher.

Edited by Hekselka

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Depends on Game, setting, moment, etc.

Like good old Prof. Oak says ''There is a time and place for everything''. I don't want to have T&A in a game about War & Tactics or in the middle of a fight *cough*Fates*cough*, for example, while i would be fine with Fanservice in non-serious games/moments.

Also, fanservice should be not Cringey. Fates was really Cringey and forceful with it's Fanservice.

9 hours ago, Super Kempfnna said:

teacher characters aren't really something that I'm too impressed to see it on. 

Except for the Fact that she isn't Fanservicey at all? If we are gonna call every bit of Skin Fanservice, then people should complain about all the Leg that has been shown since FE1.

Edited by Shrimperor

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I'd say that it depends. As a certain YouTube channel (Scholagladiatoria) likes to say, "it all depends on the context". It can depend on the character, the situation, etc. 

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Fanservice is indeed a bad thing. It worsen everything else. 

The point is, sexiness is not fanservice. Fanservice is both broader and narrower. Fanservice is everything that is done to appease the fans rather than to serve the story. Awakening reference bonanza is fanservice for example. 

Camilla by herself is not fanservice: she is clearly a seductress and it'silky to thing that the mere existance of a seductress is fanservice. But the way she is treated is clearly fanservice. For example, any of the other royals get an introduction scenes where they are established as the strongest warriors of their country, while Camilla... get to show off her assets. 

Manuela is an ex-opera singer that dress like an ex-opera singer. It's possible that they picked that concept because it justified sexiness, but it's also possible that they just wanted to write an ex-opera singer. Some people see clevage and judge intentions by assuming the worst possible motive. It's not like most people prefer drawing atractive people in pretty outfits.

I don't think that a sexy design = fanservice in the context of Fire Emblem, because 90% of the designs were rule of cool in the first place(like half of the classes not wearing armor at all). They just became even more outlandish in the 3ds era.

 

Edited by Flere210

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I like fanservice. The more the merrier. For me, there is no such thing as too much, too inappropriate, too unrealistic, nor too "whatever" fan service. If it is something I find sexy and attractive, I will like it and I will want to be smothered by it.

Obviously, the game, anime, or whatever entertainment medium cannot have fanservice as its sole selling point. The medium has to have other selling points too or else it is not going to hold my interest.

If fanservice is the spiciness and everything else is the meal (icing and cake might be a better comparison, but I am not a huge fan of sweets), then I want my meal to make hell taste like Antarctica. I want to be sweating, coughing, crying, and ideally choking on the heat; I want the spiciness to make me beg for a glass of milk. Obviously, I am not going to eat shit no matter how spicy you make it, the meal has to be real food and edible. However, if I am deciding between two comparable meal options, I am going to pick the one that is spicier.

Edited by XRay

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I don't mind fanservice at all in fact i say we need more fanservice. What I'm not a fan of is being treated like I'm a degenerate idiot cause I don't need an already known fact blatantly shoved in my face constantly unless I ask for it. Here's the thing with fanservice you either go big or you go home ala senren kagura or y'know do it in a way that's subtle, nuanced and doesn't detract from the story, characters, or themes. Like I don't like it when the fanservice is blatantly pandering. Exceptions include beach DLCs and the like as well as games like Senran Kagura cause at that point I know exactly what I'm getting myself into also beach DLCs are a fun way of showcasing how characters act in periods of downtime so in a way it's a decent compromise between blatant fan service and nuanced characterization. 

14 minutes ago, XRay said:

Obviously, the game, anime, or whatever entertainment medium cannot have fanservice as its sole selling point

Senren Kagura would like to have a word with you

Edited by Ottservia

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11 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

Senren Kagura would like to have a word with you

How dare you!

Senran Kagura 2 Deep Crimson has good gameplay (I am not great at fighting games though, so I am probably not the best judge, but the gameplay was satisfying enough for me).

And the anime was good too with great art, nice comedy, and a decent plot about the power of friendship.

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I'm pretty neutral on the fanservice-stuff when in the context of revealing clothes. Sure, I'll dislike a character when their sole reason for existing is largely based on fanservice and basically nothing else (Camilla), but getting your pantaloons jammed just because of some skin is a pretty excessive reaction, I feel like. @Shrimperor has it right on the money when he says that showing leg has been with FE since its inception (and is pretty standard for any Japanese game and most Anime, really), so only raging about it now is pretty pointless.
I'm actually surprised how people aren't getting all hung up on the fact that Sothis (I think that's her name?) is only slightly more dressed than Nowi. I honestly thought that would be the first point of contention, considering the sensitivity people tend to have towards that kind of stuff.

Honestly speaking, I've seen much MUCH worse in real life. I remember back in school, the 6th grader girls would show more skin than your average person during the summer, to say nothing about the girls in my class (was in 12th grade then, which I think is about equivalent to the second year in high school). I wasn't bothered then, I'm certainly not bothered now.

When a design is stupid, however, that's another story (Azura). But that has nothing to with me disliking the fanservice, but with me having a different sense of aesthetics. That isn't to say that only fanservice-y designs look stupid and/or weird. Look at Awakening's Generals or Takumi. Neither is fanservice-y, but both look stupid as hell in my eyes.

Where I DO mind fanservice is what Nintendo and seemingly all Indy games do, i.e. massive amounts of nostalgia pandering and/or following trends without rhyme or reason. Seriously, every Indy game that garners any sort of attention seems to be a "Metroidvania", Dark Souls or Earthbound clone these days.

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1 hour ago, DragonFlames said:

I'm actually surprised how people aren't getting all hung up on the fact that Sothis (I think that's her name?) is only slightly more dressed than Nowi. I honestly thought that would be the first point of contention, considering the sensitivity people tend to have towards that kind of stuff.

I thought this did happen, but it burned out very quickly.

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I like Manuela's design just fine. It feels like a good fit. Might look a bit better without so much make-up, but that might just be me.

Fanservice in general is fine or at least not inherently bad. I prefer more graceful designs, but fanservice can work. Camilla pulls of her fanservice pretty well despite all the critism about her.

I only start minding when I feel the character doesn't 'own' their fanservice. A character like Xenoblade 2's Pyra has some very skimpy clothes that draw your attention to certain places. Her personality comes across as someone who does not like to be the center of the attention and she even has a moment where she frowns on skimpy outfits. Mythra's outfit isn't any less skimpy, but I feel like the outfit looks a lot more natural on her.

So to me it becomes distracting when I feel the character and the character design don't match. As if the writer and the designer had never spoken to each other. I can live with the designs just fine, but I usually don't like it when that happens.
 

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Less sexual fanservice is better for FE and most games. I can eyeroll it all off, I have to for all the cases this shows up. Although now I'm in the habit of skipping any hot springs scenes and the perverted ilk in games.

Yet it is unequally applied to the sexes, and therefore misogyny, not necessarily always a great misogyny, but a measure of some size of it. A confident and strong woman can dress as she wishes yes, and seductresses are a thing. But there is little reason the majority of female characters need wear less than men, or why the majority of men must wear more than women.

I wouldn't say every Pegasus Knight in FE's history needs pants, but pantsifying most of them and depantsifying (skirts + tights or short shorts instead?) some males Wyverns or Cavaliers or any class to create gender balance in the lite sexual fanservice department known as skin exposure would be a quietly good move. 

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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If you're defining as sexual objectification (particular of female characters), then pretty much yeah. It's really difficult to find games, movies, etc that don't, which is frustrating for anyone who doesn't want that, which is a lot of people.

19 hours ago, Armchair General said:

Personally, I'm fine with this kind of stuff; after all, showing a little bit of skin isn't going to kill anyone (although it might raise the ESRB rating). I know that this isn't exclusive to fiction; but come on, some people actually dress that way in reality, so what's the point in complaining about it happening in fiction?

There are a variety of issues with this thinking that are worth pointing out:

  • Sexualization of female characters can shape the way the audience views women (and themselves if they are a woman), which in turn can affect how they behave towards women. This includes objectifying real women, valuing appearances over their other qualities, etc.
  • Real women can choose to dress any way they want, but fictional women do not have agency. Video games are largely designed for and by straight men. A real woman's appearance is generally a form of self-expression; a fictional woman's appearance is usually a straight man's fantasy being pushed onto women.
  • Complaining about or criticizing this stuff is a way to get people to think harder about what we're taking in, which has two purposes; one, it makes us more aware of how these things affect us all, and two, it helps promote the idea that we could and should have more alternatives

It's also worth noting two more important things; one, sex doesn't really sell unless it's selling sex itself, and two, the sort of otaku subculture that sustains itself on these kinds of designs is stagnant, and thus any media that panders in this way will not grow. These points mean that it's not just mediocre (at best) as an artistic choice, but as a business choice too.

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No, just needs to be practiced in moderation. I like sexy girls are much as the next guy but in the middle of the serious scene? That's going to be odd. Even callback to previous events applies too. A particular scene in Star Trek Into Darkness pains me every time I think about it. 

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18 minutes ago, Johann said:

Sexualization of female characters can shape the way the audience views women (and themselves if they are a woman), which in turn can affect how they behave towards women. This includes objectifying real women, valuing appearances over their other qualities, etc.

not necessarily. This argument sounds exactly like the whole "video games cause violence" argument and we all know how much weight that argument holds. I mean it's fiction not reality. I'm not saying fiction can't influence reality but numerous studies have shown that fictional depictions of this stuff will not cause these sorts of things in real life or at the very least removing it from fiction isn't really going to change anything because again little to no correlation between the two as far as I've been able to find. It's fiction, it's not real. No real person is being hurt here against their will anyway.

28 minutes ago, Johann said:

Real women can choose to dress any way they want, but fictional women do not have agency. Video games are largely designed for and by straight men. A real woman's appearance is generally a form of self-expression; a fictional woman's appearance is usually a straight man's fantasy being pushed onto women.

This rabbit hole again. Here's the thing. If a guy wants to put a cute girl in his game, movie, tv show, or whatever, I don't see why that should be a problem. I mean he's not hurting anyone so what's the issue? Like if a girl wants to put a hot dude in her stuff would that be an issue? I don't think it would. Especially in the case of video games and animation cause they're just drawings and/or pixels/3d models. They don't exist so again no one is really getting hurt. Why can't we just let people be horny? If it's not hurting anyone I don't think it should be an issue we should concern ourselves with.

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Inherently bad? No. Would I prefer less of it in games that I'm supposed to be trying to take seriously in situations which don't make sense? Yeah.

Either way, I'll live.

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2 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

not necessarily. This argument sounds exactly like the whole "video games cause violence" argument and we all know how much weight that argument holds. I mean it's fiction not reality. I'm not saying fiction can't influence reality but numerous studies have shown that fictional depictions of this stuff will not cause these sorts of things in real life or at the very least removing it from fiction isn't really going to change anything because again little to no correlation between the two as far as I've been able to find. It's fiction, it's not real. No real person is being hurt here against their will anyway.

It would seem like that argument at first glance, but it's a mistake to confuse the two. The "video games cause violence" argument is indeed easy to prove wrong, but this argument is that the media we are exposed to influences how we think, consciously and subconsciously. You're not going to commit violence because you saw violence on TV, but you will probably become less sensitive to violence, and depending on the context it was shown, you may be more likely to consider it as a solution to a conflict (like if a hero uses violence to save the day).

2 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

This rabbit hole again. Here's the thing. If a guy wants to put a cute girl in his game, movie, tv show, or whatever, I don't see why that should be a problem. I mean he's not hurting anyone so what's the issue? Like if a girl wants to put a hot dude in her stuff would that be an issue? I don't think it would. Especially in the case of video games and animation cause they're just drawings and/or pixels/3d models. They don't exist so again no one is really getting hurt. Why can't we just let people be horny? If it's not hurting anyone I don't think it should be an issue we should concern ourselves with.

The problem is that straight men have overwhelming creative control in all media forms, and overwhelmingly cater to other straight men. If you're someone who doesn't like sexually objectifying stuff (for whatever reason and to whatever degree), you're out of luck because it's extremely difficult to avoid. Women deal with sexist shit every day of their lives, is it so much to ask for to give them the same escapist fun of games, movies, etc without subjecting them to even more?

It's also a problem when people get defensive about this stuff without listening to the complaints and criticisms. "Well, I like it"-style takes are a really bad way to engage the conversation because it's saying you'd rather ignore not just the issue, but the people who are trying to voice their thoughts on it.

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32 minutes ago, Johann said:

It would seem like that argument at first glance, but it's a mistake to confuse the two. The "video games cause violence" argument is indeed easy to prove wrong, but this argument is that the media we are exposed to influences how we think, consciously and subconsciously. You're not going to commit violence because you saw violence on TV, but you will probably become less sensitive to violence, and depending on the context it was shown, you may be more likely to consider it as a solution to a conflict (like if a hero uses violence to save the day).

A fair enough point I suppose but I still think it’s a bit more complicated than that. Like I know this isn’t really much evidence so take it with a grain of salt but my sister can look at mortal kombat all day but the minute I get a paper cut she avoids me like the plague just to not see it. Again I feel it’s way more gray than you seem to be making it out to be

32 minutes ago, Johann said:

e problem is that straight men have overwhelming creative control in all media forms, and overwhelmingly cater to other straight men. If you're someone who doesn't like sexually objectifying stuff (for whatever reason and to whatever degree), you're out of luck because it's extremely difficult to avoid. Women deal with sexist shit every day of their lives, is it so much to ask for to give them the same escapist fun of games, movies, etc without subjecting them to even more?

It's also a problem when people get defensive about this stuff without listening to the complaints and criticisms. "Well, I like it"-style takes are a really bad way to engage the conversation because it's saying you'd rather ignore not just the issue, but the people who are trying to voice their thoughts on it.

True but does that make fanservice an inherently bad thing? No, not really. That just means some people are uncomfortable with seeing it and I don’t know about you but that sounds more like a personal subjective problem than it is an objective criticism. Like just because you don’t personally like something that doesn’t mean it is objectively bad. I will agree that more diversity in the creative fields is a good thing and that people deal with distcrimination a lot which is bad. Nothing wrong with more people engaging in escapist video games and such(even though good art is a reflection of reality rather than an escape from it) but fanservice is not inherently mysognistic and neither is it misandranistic. I mean would you say the same of porn? cause they’re effectively trying to do the same thing that is titilate the audience. Different media appeals to different people cause we all have different tastes and if you find one thing that doesn’t appeal to you then you can just go find something else to engage in. That’s the beauty of art. There are so many different creators creating all different kinds of art and experiences that appeal to all kinds of people. If you personally find it it uncomfortable just simply engage in something else that better suits your taste.

Edited by Ottservia

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