Anime and the problem with disappearing clothes
August 5, 2011 2 Comments
So, anime, especially fighting anime seem to have a significant problem with disappearing clothes. Take Queens Blade for example, Manyuu Hikenchou, or even Ikki Tousen, one minute the characters are peacefully talking, the next minute they are stripped naked or have their clothes in tatters without any warning or even any reason why this has happened. Madness I say!
I don’t really have a problem with this kind of anime in general (there are few exceptions and I still get annoyed at them from time to time), they are basically just fanservice with a little fighting and some sort of plot that is meant to explain why the girls or women are wearing such little clothing. Simple when you look at it really.
On the other hand I find these shows to be quite annoying at times, they seem to be a collection of massive fanservice scenes loosely collected together under what is often quite a weak plot. Also the ways in which the girls clothes disappears and more importantly the startlingly quick way they manage to get brand new clothes can often get on my nerves, I mean if they are just going to get their clothes ripped in the next scene, why bother getting dressed again in the first place?
But now lets get to the fight scenes and the clothes in particular. These anime are in general, about women or girls, the main characters, or more accurately the main fighters are often the women. Very often we have the story take place either in some mystical/fantasy time (Queens Blade for example), or perhaps it is set in modern day but with some connection to the past (Ikki Tousen, Hyakka Ryōran Samurai Girls), and then of course the ones about zombies and such.
These anime seem to be the Japanese way of having strong female lead, there are of course male protagonists in many of them, but they do seem to take a back seat most of the time. I think High School of the Dead may be an exception; Komuro Takashi is essential for the plot and is of course the group leader throughout it, even if the female characters get a lot of screen time (and why not?).
What I find curious about these kind of anime, is that rather than being about the ‘strong’ female characters it is simply an excuse, as I said, to have their clothes tear and to add fanservice. I have found myself often wondering what exactly is happening in some episodes, because the clothe tearing has gotten to such an extreme that everything else seems to have been forgotten.
These series are often quite close to being ‘Hentai’, with some border-line scenes and elements (the infamous acid milk in Queens Blade for example). Then of course we have Manyuu Kenchou a series entirely about the size of a woman’s breasts showing how much wealth and power she has. This series of course is entirely about the fanservice and the breasts (well the name and the description says it all). They are also prone to immense censorship as well, with lots of whiteouts and mist being used to cover breasts and such, although maybe not as bad as recent anime such as Siekon no Qwazer and Manyuu Hikenchou.
Now, I can watch these shows and enjoy them to some extent, Hyakka Ryōran Samurai Girls for example was a fun show even if it ended far too soon (horrendous ending, absolutely horrendous, although I loved the artwork). Fanservice in anime is a fact of life, and sometimes it is fun to watch a show that is a little silly, doesn’t take itself seriously, and for no apparent reason the girls clothing keeps getting torn up or disappearing, light entertainment. But there are other shows that I just end up getting annoyed with, there are always those that seem to even lack a basic plot or any form of story and are simply a collection of fanservice scenes without sense or meaning.
The way these kinds of shows work seems simply to be about selling the series on the fanservice alone, this of course ties into an earlier post of mine about how censorship is used to sell uncensored BDs. And I sometimes find that these shows fall into the same category, they are fanservice for fanservice sake, without anything else, and this can and does get on my nerves. The most annoying part is when the shows take themselves too seriously, no real jokes and nothing to lighten the mood, just more nudity.
So then, torn clothing, love it or hate it, we will continue to see it as part of anime shows. There are those shows where it is ok and at least there is some form of story or even likeable characters. There are however other shows where the fanservice is simply there for fanservice sake, and the lack of any real story or interesting characters makes it a lot harder for me to simply watch the series as a piece of brainless entertainment.
It comes down to what you as a viewer want to watch, if you want to watch mindless fanservice go ahead, however if you want a story with fanservice thrown in then maybe look for something else. It is a personal choice, and my choice is to often watch something else, and if I want fanservice I tend to find a show that is at least a little more interesting.