My Fan Service Story!
I was hanging around on the CCW*TV Blog one evening when I suddenly decided I wanted to read some Manga comics. I had thought of this numerous times before but I had never been so serious. Luckily, I was in the right place and received some excellent recommendations from CCW*TV Blogger Jose Melendez and other posters.
As I was making note of all the good suggestions coming my way, someone took issue with one of the titles floated on the board. “That series has got quite a lot of ‘fan service’ in it.” he said. Someone else replied, “Yes, it does– but it’s not overdone and it’s actually integrated quite well into the storyline.”
“Fan service?” I asked myself. “What is that?”
Coming from a long line of curious fuckers, I latch onto the term like a 3-year-old who’s just heard the word “shit” for the first time.
I had only been on the CCW*TV Blog for a short while– so I was hesitant to actually ask what “fan service” meant… Preferring to just keep reading the posts. Whatever in the hell “fan service” was– it didn’t sound like a bad thing. It didn’t sound particularly offensive… It just sounded like a personal preference. “Lots of things are a personal preference!” I thought. “Certainly someone would just come right out and say this “fan service”stuff disturbs them if it’s bad.” I thought.
So rather than look like an uninformed dick online– even though no one knew the “real” me from “Adam’s housecat” on the Blog– I decided to go to my local Barnes & Noble and inquire about this wondrous thing called Manga and see what other firsthand knowledge I could acquire.
I walk in the door. This attractive clerk asks if she can help me. I reply, “Could you direct me to your Manga section?” Better than pointing, she offers to take me there.
MANGA, MANGA EVERYWHERE
We arrive at double shelves over-stuffed with all kinds of books of various heights and bright colors.
Having never really looked at any bookstore’s Manga section before, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer number of books and different titles on display. (For some reason, even though I wrote down a lot of book names– the numbers had seemed much smaller when I was getting all those suggestions complied online.) The pretty clerk (I’ll call her Shari– mainly because I love the name) senses my initial shock and sweetly asks, “Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for? Maybe I could help.”
“Well, I have this long list…” I say, as I pull my CCW*TV Blog notes out of my pocket. I could start just about anywhere, I guess.”
“Wow! That IS a long list!” Shari laughs. “Think you can narrow it down for me, just a little? Maybe pick a particular genre or something?”
Then, as if struck by the most profound thought ever conceived by anyone in the universe– I am at peace. I understand the word “GENRE”! I actually KNOW a Manga Genre! I won’t look like a FOOL! This is GREAT!
“How about FAN SERVICE?” I ask– giddy as a schoolgirl going to Justin Beiber concert. “Do you have any books with FAN SERVICE in them?”
“Uh, yeah.” she confirms, a slight frown starting to form on her face. “I believe we do.”
“OH GREAT!” I exclaim, “LIKE WHAT?!? I’d really like to see some FAN SERVICE!!!”
“Well, we have this book.” Shari stammers, timidly pointing at Strawberry 100%. “Maybe you’ll like this one.”
Sensing I was finally circling my prey, I announce, “I don’t care what it is– as long as it has LOTS & LOTS of FAN SERVICE!”
Visibly uncomfortable at my hulking fan-service-infatuated presence, Shari begins to back away from me at a polite clip. “Well, I’ll be up at the front then.” she says. “Just come up there if you have any more questions. Any one of us will be glad to help you.”
Halfway ignoring her– figuring she was just spouting mandatory canned corporate lip service– I reply with a quick and happy, “Thanks!”… At the same time grabbing my first copy of Strawberry 100%.
I quickly skim the book. Then I flip through another. And another. And another. All I see is a comic book. Nothing more, nothing less. Puzzled, I pick up a different title. And then another. Finally I realize that I have leafed through at least 50 Manga books and I am no closer to understanding fan service now than I was when I first walked in.
As I turn to leave, I run into the clerk again. Shari asks, “Oh Hi. You’re still here. Did you find anything you liked?” Still not wanting to come of as a complete newbie dick, I replied, “No. But I have faith I’ll know it when I see it!”
Get home. Go on the internet(s). Do what I should have done in the first place and type “Fan Service” into Google.
To my abject horror and dismay, this is what I find on Wikipedia:
“Fan service (ファンサービス, fan sābisu), fanservice, service cut (サービスカット, sābisu katto), or simply service (サービス, sābisu), is a vaguely-defined term primarily used for anime and manga to refer to elements that are unnecessary to the storyline. Fanservice explicitly refers to material that is designed to amuse or excite the audience with sexually-derived content. When such content fits within the storyline, it would not usually be considered fan service, but excessive content is usually considered gratuitous regardless of its justification.”
Now what was so hard about that?
The next time you put your foot firmly in your mouth or stick your head up your ass– please don’t despair. Just bookmark this post now and refer to it often. Your shame can never be as great as mine.
And just in case, I haven’t made clear what “FAN SERVICE” represents– and why my faux pas was so utterly massive– please feel free to inspect the following images– reproduced here for no reason other than the scholarly pursuit of knowledge:
My apologies to any and all Barnes & Noble employees that may have been harmed in this innocent pursuit of geek knowledge.