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"Simply put we need to go lewder. Miniskirts, swimsuits, low-angle-shots; you need to put in as many of those as you can without breaking the law."

The use of sex or sexualized situations to reward or entice viewers. While the specific term "fanservice" arose from the anime community, the concept is far, far older. Most fanservice is seldom explicit or graphic—that is the territory of pornography. Instead, it uses sexuality or hints at sex often in a funny or comedic way to tease and titillate the audience. This is traditionally associated with female characters, but fanservice of male characters isn't uncommon either.

Some shows may have designated fanservice characters: characters who, even if they are main characters and have a role beyond fanservice, are likely to end up in a fanservicey situation. Some shows have characters for both male and female fanservice.

Although some fanservice can increase the appeal of a show, too much can become very distracting, and in some cases can put viewers off completely, especially if the fanservice is directed towards people with a sexuality sufficiently different from that of the viewer. However, fanservice can lure in viewers easily. At the other end of the spectrum, Crossing the Line Twice, hard as it may be, can also occur at some point, thus using the fanservice for the advancement of the plot. Negima! is a mild example of this, whereas something like Strike Witches goes further and Seikon no Qwaser may be the definitive example of the phenomenon.


Fanservice of female characters is often called "cheesecake"; fanservice of male characters is often called "beefcake". Homoerotic fanservice directed at the LGBT Fanbase or Yaoi Fangirls also exists in quite a lot of media. Within the Visual Kei subgenre of music, for example, "fanservice" and Ho Yay are almost synonymous due to bands being almost Always Male, and an above-usual population of bisexuals early on followed up by the recognition of the Yaoi Fangirl as one of the primary audiences.

"Fanservice" is also sometimes used in a more general way, referring simply to any crowd-pleaser thrown in just because. When this is something non-sexual, like needlessly flashy attacks in a Humongous Mecha show, long guitar/bass/drum solos in a concert, or throwing in lots of obscure continuity references in a long-running work, it's Pandering to the Base. Sexy fanservice is considered the default form, because it is the one everybody seems to remember, and the easiest to add to any kind of show.


It is worth noting that the desire to create fanservice characters actually stems from physiological instincts that seem to have been understated in an age of studying everything through a social lens: men want women with big breasts and wide hips because the child needs to be able to feed normally and the pregnancy needs to occur without any difficulty; women want strong, chiseled men because of the fact they should defend the family from predators. Of course, the development of reason subsumed these urges, and today these desires are mostly reflected in our own fantasies.

A Sub-Trope of Sex Sells.

See also Nudity Tropes, Partial Nudity Tropes.

For its Lighter and Softer counterpart, see Rule of Cute.

Not to be confused with Fan Flattering.

A Super-Trope to


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Playing To The Fetishes, Fanservice Tropes


Max and Chloe

Of sorts in Episode 3, during the scene at the pool. Granted, it's a great character scene, but Max and Chloe strip down to their bras and panties to go swimming with a Fanservice Faux Fight.

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Example of:

Main / Fanservice

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Main / Fanservice