Gratuitous Titillation: Issues with “Fanservice” (Part 1)

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Fanservice is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days in the anime and manga industry, and many are quick to either defend or castigate it when depicted in one specific form: Gratuitous titillation. Usually synonymous with “beach episodes” in slice of life shows, as well as any other needless portrayal of primarily female bodies, gratuitous titillation is often a target of disgust for a handful of reasons. While I can see merit in some of these views, I mostly believe that fanservice and gratuitous titillation are okay, in a loose sense. One reason for that is because fanservice is a very broad term, one that often gets misconstrued as just “giving the fans what they want”. Another reason would be that something being unnecessary does not have to equate to being undeserving to exist. And then there’s the whole “objectification” debate that tends to come hand in hand with gratuitous titillation. Before I jump into all this however, I’d like to bring to attention that most of what you are about to read will focus on gratuitous titillation alone rather than fanservice as a whole, because like I said earlier, “fanservice is a very broad term”. Also, I realize there are other terms I can substitute for “gratuitous titillation”, such as: “needless arousal” or “superfluous stimulation”. I just think “gratuitous titillation” is a fun phrase, and I’m going to keep saying it. Continue reading