*Sexually-explicit content discussed*
Ever since I began watching anime three years ago, fan service was a recurring theme that I knew would not be going away. “Giving the fans exactly what they want” is what I was told it was, but I soon realized that it was much more than that. Men and women coming back again and again to Japanese media filled with sexually-charged content is what I saw and it soon became acceptable in my mind, a part of anime that would never disappear. I can openly admit that in my past I had consumed a lot of sexualized anime in the form of fan service, both softcore and hardcore. I had done it all and seen it all: every fetish, trope and outfit. Most importantly, I am a living testimony that breaks the common misconception that a “good Christian man” like myself would know nothing about fan service. In fact, I know more about the sexualized subsection of otaku culture than most people.
Fan service, whether you know it or not, tries its best to give people expressions of sexuality that were only meant to be experienced with a partner of the opposite biological sex. In anime, these are seen through common tropes and situations that are a staple to the media like panty shots, boob grabs, bikini scenes, etc. Some may see these actions as innocent pleasure to the viewer, harming no one and thus being justifiable. However, there is a lot more going on under the surface with our hearts that works to destroy intimacy with our future spouses by stealing sexual purity. Based on what I’ve seen fanservice do to myself and being a follower of Jesus, I can never agree with it and try my best to avoid it when watching a show. As a man who reveals the truth, let’s start calling fanservice by the beast that it truly is: pornography.
Pornography in anime shows it’s face in one of two ways: ecchi and hentai. Both are genres in Japanese media that include sexual content, but their differences are found in the specific situations and the dosage. Ecchi, for instance, deals with sexual scenes that are not explicitly graphic such as groping, frontal nudity and inappropriate outfits while hentai goes into literal sex, the joining of two people in intense passion. These two genres have their distinct differences, but together share a desire to appeal to the fans with whatever turns them on.
Sex through fanservice becomes a business that sells its products to please only one person: you! Want a half-nude black-haired teenage girl with giant breasts and cat ears, kimono revealing cleavage? You’ve got it! A blondie with a small chest and tight workout clothes, ready for supernatural shonen battles? Have that too! Fanservice works to please the fan’s sexual tastes from the softcore bikini scenes to hardcore sex between multiple partners. By looking at the demographics of anime fans that watch ecchi and hentai, it becomes apparent that men are the primary targets of fanservice, thus being the fans that the media is aiming to please.
One of the biggest issues that fanservice causes is that it lowers the desire for actual sex in people that consume it. There are dozens of scientific studies that show that because men have set a standard in their first pornographic image for what they want sexual experiences to be like, they will have less pleasure with an actual partner in the future. One of the most popular studies that is often referenced for this subject was conducted by the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine, where they interview 28,000 men who viewed pornography on a regular basis, and concluded the same results. Overall, men that do get married and have sex with their wife have much less enjoyment if they have consumed pornography in the past, which can lead to relationships falling apart and less fulfillment in marriage.
“As many men are painfully discovering, real sex involves touching and being touched by another person, not simply touching a mouse and then yourself.” (Tyger Latham, Clinical Psychologist)
In fact, this has become such an issue in Japan that they have had one of the lowest populations of any developing country in the world and continue to decrease when looking at recent population trends. Men are settling for fake images of half-nude anime women to settle their sexual desires instead of real women, and this is their destroying culture as we know it. For Japanese women, most are forced towards prostitution to even have a chance at reproducing and continuing the Japanese population while men hide behind their cat girls and anime bikini models. The same problem has the potential to reach the United States and other major world powers with their easy access to pornography, not just from fanservice in anime, and population decreases are a real threat.
*Population trends from 2009 show that Japan’s larger age groups do not reproduce to support the next generation*
Most importantly, pornography from fanservice steals something much more important than sex drives and populations, something that can never be given back. Purity is this priceless commodity that men throw away for a few seconds of masturbating pleasure with fantasy anime girls and they don’t even realize the high value in what they are giving. God, when he created man and woman, intended for them to have close intimacy together and experience the gift of sex the way that He created it to be. However, when we decide to take our sexuality into our own hands we are misusing and distorting sex into something commonplace, when in fact it deserves the upmost respect.
So if it hasn’t already been made clear, fanservice can quickly turn into a pornography addiction that is more powerful than alcohol or drugs. The draws come straight from your mind and consuming fanservice literally changes your own brain chemistry. Essentially, the addiction places sexual highs on the same priority as food and water, and forces you to continually indulge, even if the sexual experience does not fully satisfy you. The worst part about addiction from fanservice is that it is near impossible to overcome. Shear willpower can be used to obtain victories for short periods of time, but having no true purpose for those actions will only cause you to stumble again. Those who attempt to defeat pornography in their own strength will sadly find themselves exactly where they started, wondering how they ever got there. This cycle of constant sexual experiences from unhealthy outlets has many negative side effects such as depression, low self-confidence, social anxiety and objectifying women, all of which take a toll on everyday life.
I cannot speak for the girls, but for males I know that they capitalize off skimpily-dressed anime girls through masturbation to stimulate sex. The first time always gives such a rush of adrenaline and testosterone, newfound chemicals rushing to the head, which gives men the incentive to try it again and again. They always work to have the same effect or greater the next time they fap and see their first dive as a sort of benchmark. However, the irony is that no other experience ever compares to the first, no matter how many girls you experiment with. God’s design for sex truly is the best, an intimacy between a man and woman of the opposite biological sex within marriage, and guys will be stuck in a cycle of trying to beat their first high when in reality it will never be fulfilled.
The apostle Paul even writes about the importance of staying far from sexual immorality, which is anything done sexually that is not between a man and women in marriage. Fanservice falls easily into this category and consuming that content, as he says, is murdering your own body. We are ruining our future relationships with our wives and dishonoring Jesus Christ who died for us and paid our debt of sin with His own life.
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 18-20, NKJV)
Overall, fanservice is a distortion of God’s design for sex that aims to pleasure us with sexual highs that will only harm ourselves. The innocent boob grabs, panty shots, and skimpy outfits that can be found in anime not only decrease the enjoyment of real sex with a partner and cause population issues, but also takes away sexual purity, something that can never be regained. Only Jesus Christ can restore healing from sexual experiences and He will always take you no matter how far you have gone.
Jordan. “What the West Learned About Japanese Culture from Anime.” The Artifice. N.p., 14 Dec. 2014. Web. 21 Aug. 2016.
Latham, Tyger. “Does Porn Contribute to ED?” Psychology Today. N.p., 3 May 2012. Web. 21 Aug. 2016.
“Nursing in Japan.” Japanese Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2016.