Original Post: Loving Someone Down: Letter Bee (04)
Seem that among many fans and blogers exists a tendency to call “fanservice” anything that involves exposed flesh, sexual innuendos, etc. Given that when applied to serious (i.e. not Needless type) show “fanservice” has a negative connotation, the audience’s approach becomes “Guilty until Proven innocent”. This puts before the director/writer a dilemma: to limit one’s storytelling and narrative elements to those that will not be labelled fanservice or to suffer the accusations. Self-imposing limitations surely can’t consistently produce a better story than is possible without the restrictions. Of course, Bakemonogatari is a brilliant example of (hypothetical) third choice, but one has to wonder if the success of Bakemonogatari was achieved through design or luck. I personally wish for it to be design.
Of course, there is also, as maAkusutipen guessed, the desire to sell DVDs. However, if that is the intention of the director/writer than one is justified in criticising and disliking fanservice in the same way one can criticise the shallowness of soft cover romance/fantasy/crime/etc novels. These type of fanservice has its place (Needless), but mixing Dostoevsky with Sidney Sheldon is like mixing all the fruits and vegetables in the kitchen in hope that the result would be good since the ingredients are good individually: you may be lucky, but no more than once.
ghostlightning (in response)
As I mentioned to maAkusutipen, it might be helpful to do some genre-based analysis. I’ve only hinted on it there, but I think it’s good to try to get into the bones of it here.
While I can’t say that Dostoevsky (who I love btw) didn’t attempt to be a popular novelist by including tropes and devices that appeal to his contemporary readers (Shakespeare was more blatantly service-y, being generous with innuendo and ribaldry) for the purposes of this comment I will assume that he was aiming for posterity above all things, the kind of timelessness liberal humanist critics love.
Let us assume Dostoevsky never existed. A ‘trashy’ novel writer (those with Fabio covers) can, while risking commercial success, write a Brothers Karamazov of a romance novel… with Grushenka as the lead, torn between Vladimir and his father… while a incestuous homoeroticism simmers between Ivan and Alyosha. The prose is borderline purple at times, and the sexual content is gratuitous.
It won’t win prizes, but I daresay certain mature fans of the genre will be riveted… after all, ‘The Grand Inquisitor’ ended with a kiss between brothers…
Verily this particular novel would be well, The Brothers Karamazov of its genre: a fanservice delivery novel, that has uncommon wealth of material relative to its peers. Should anyone be bothered by the heaving chests, the heavy breathing, and the general lack of clothing in how both Vladamir and old Karamazov himself bare their souls to our Grushenka?
To a (small) degree this is how I feel about Fate stay/Night the visual novel (I’m in the middle of completing the Unlimited Blades Works route). It is an erotic game that has uncanny awesomeness in it.
But this example doesn’t really describe Letter Bee does it?
I sometimes suspect that both the panty shot obliquus and the mounted licking scene are wink wink nudge nudgeto older viewers who may not be interested by the (shonen) story alone, but can be persuaded by the charms of a loli furry and her cute little fang.
Further Reading (because I wrote a fakken editorial in this comment section wwwwww)