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John's Fan-servicing Co.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:33 am
by Deepbluediver
Keeping you cool when a cold shower just won't do!(™)

Ok, I would be interested in hearing other people's thoughts on fanservice.

First, we should define just what it is. Any can disagree of course, but to avoid confusion THIS is what I normally think of it as. Fanservice is a depiction of scantily clad people (most commonly female) in a situation where it's not necessary to the story for them to be (un)dressed as such, for no other purpose besides titillation. Fanservice is specifically made to appeal to a broad audience with the most commonly enticing characteristics.

IMO, the eastern styles (anime and manga) tend to do it better than the western (superhero comics). There is an entire genre devoted to fanservice, and the artists are well aware of what they are doing and why. Everyone knows it was done intentionally and it's easily avoidable if you don't want to see it. My experience with superhero comics, by contrast, seems to be that no one ever acknowledges that it's not normal for females to walk around in what is essentially body paint and pose like strippers. The last time I tried to read western comics the fanservice was trying to pander so hard it actually interfered with my enjoyment of the story. I'm not a prude, but I don't like being treated as if I'll lose interest and wander off if I don't get a giant pair of jooblies shoved in my face every 5 pages. My impression is that the western comics are a shady guy in a trench-coat standing in an alleyway going "hey kids, want to see almost-boobs?" and desperately hoping that his target audience hasn't heard about the internet, yet.
And despite being dressed skin-tight outfits, the male heroes never seem as overtly sexualized as the female ones (Batman movies not withstanding).

I intentionally used childish terms for "breasts" in the previous paragraph because that's what how I feel- the plot is so thin that it wouldn't interest anyone over the age of 14, and the artwork is so adult I wouldn't feel comfortable if I saw anyone under the age of 13 reading it.

It's like the whole industry is trying to appeal to a widespread audience by having action, fanservice, and drama in every issue, and instead they overdo it so much that they instead turn off everyone who isn't into being sledge-hammered with gore, sex, and shitty things always happening to the main characters. Cartoons and movies seem to be doing better than comics because they have to dial most of that back, and Black Widow still fights crime in a skin-tight catsuit (I also haven't seen any of the Catwoman movies, though I did watch "Elektra" on DVD; I don't remember most of it.)

Regarding fanservice in Leftover Soup....I feel like it's mostly not fanservice. Most of the other fanservice-y webcomics I can think of are done in an animesque style, whereas the Western ones (LS, OotS, Questionable Content, etc) don't shy away from sexy-times, but it also feels much more natural in the course of the story and important to character development.
For things like the kissing scene, the fact that Max and Ellen throwing up in each other's mouths probably turns it into fan DIS-service for most of us. While I'm sure it's someone's sexual fetish, it doesn't have broad appeal.
The shower scene is probably the closest thing to fanservice- except for a few of Max's observations there's not much in that conversation that couldn't be had elsewhere. But at least it fits in decently with the logical progression of the narrative of after-gym time. The scene of Max after she ran her tabletop game is probably also at least a little fanservice, but it makes sense for her character, and it leads to in-depth conversations between other people.
By the same token, the most recent scene seems to come kind of out of nowhere, but it does at least depict an aspect of Nicole and of John and Nicole's relationship that we haven't seen much of before. Also, if you're going to be naked anywhere, then the most logical place for most people in in their home, as opposed to something like Nicole getting her dress caught in a car-door and yanked off, which would be blatantly fanservice.
Anyone who feels any of Wallace/Trent/Simon's scenes are fanservicy, too, feel free to chime in.

Could the LS story have progressed along it's current course without most of these scenes? Probably, but it would have lost something. By contrast, most thing I consider fanservice could be removed without affecting any existing plot in the slightest. Stuff that's more than 50% fanservice rarely has a plot worth mentioning IME.
Badly-done attempts at fanservice actually INTERFERE with the plot and detract from the story, and most mainstream western comic book authors could use some remedial courses in subtlety.

That's my 200 cents.

Re: John's Fan-servicing Co.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:41 pm
by Bramble.Chappell
Personally, I disagree with the assessment that anime and manga do fan service "better"- in my experience, they do it more, and more openly. And personally, I've often found it annoyingly difficult to avoid while searching for a new anime to watch or manga to read, to the point that it feels almost ubiquitous, as opposed to Western Comics where, while there are absolutely plenty of eye-rolling works- it doesn't feel like I have to dig through masses of it to find one that doesn't have so much of it, or, at least, doesn't do it in such a constant, painful way.

Of course, my experience may be very different from yours, and it's entirely possible the samples of Western comics I read are fairly narrow or that the sites I watch to stream anime are biased toward ecchi. I also may be biased because I have a much more negative view of what I see as haphazardly throwing in attempts to titillate that can worsen a story by detracting from the narrative's emotional flow and from the characters it applies to. And I probably have a looser definition of Fan Service- scanty clothing is one thing, and probably effectively includes things like the "boob socks" common in anime and manga, but what turns me off about fan service-heavy works also has a lot to do with the way female characters get treated, from their personalities to their role in the story.

So, my significantly smaller two cents, with more caveats than content, but there you go. :P

Re: John's Fan-servicing Co.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:30 am
by Deepbluediver
Bramble.Chappell wrote:Personally, I disagree with the assessment that anime and manga do fan service "better"- in my experience, they do it more, and more openly.

Fair enough- the fact that it's more frequent in some ways makes it less jarring to me. With western comics, most of the time whenever fanservice shows up it seems like someone is trying to cram the requisite amount of T&A into a given issue.

Re: John's Fan-servicing Co.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:31 pm
by Pneumonica
On my phone, so no promises of quality.

Entertaining point - entirely anecdote, but a Japanese friend of mine commented that American comics have such widespread fanservice that it is easy to handle, compared to how jarring it is in Japan. The functionally-naked people in western comics are kind of the same thing.

I would say there hasn't been fanservice in Soup. It thus far has fed into the plot. It wasn't needed, but it demonstrated character traits, plot elements, etc.. It isn't always immediate, which might be ghe difference - I was introduced recently and plunged the archive for ghe last two days, so the long term significance of things came to term really fast for me.

Re: John's Fan-servicing Co.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:13 pm
by mustang6172
Do the NSFW commissions count as fan service?

Re: John's Fan-servicing Co.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:37 am
by Deepbluediver
Today's comic (#734) seems to at least moderately support my definition of fanservice. We got to see Nicole naked because she is a conventionally attractive female. We don't get to see John because as a physically unimposing male, he doesn't hold nearly as broad of an appeal.

mustang6172 wrote:Do the NSFW commissions count as fan service?

I wouldn't think so- those are usually specific requests, and you won't see them unless you go looking for them.

Re: John's Fan-servicing Co.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:45 am
by Pneumonica
For certain definitions of "naked" and for certain definitions of "sexy," I suppose. On the other hand, if it's "plotty," I have less of an issue with it. I mean, one could argue that the "my clothed name" joke was fanservice (and you'd have a better argument, given that had actual nudity and a bit more general-appeal sexiness), but it actually did provide a plot element.