One of the things I love about giving panels/talks at cons is the Q&A component. Sure, every time there’s at least one guy whose question that’s a recitation essay, but you also get a lot of stimulation; observations beyond your field of view from people outside your normal circles of interaction. One of the best questions I got during Ohayocon came after the Myth of Fanservice panel talking about the results of this article. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was to the effect of “I get from this presentation that shallow fanservice doesn’t sell, but fanservice that’s a component of an otherwise good show actually annoys me more, because it makes it harder to recommend shows. What about fanservice as a minor component of a show, rather than the central one?” At the time, I replied that it was an interesting question, but that I hadn’t tested it and couldn’t come up with a way off the top of my head.
After I thought about it for a while, I realized there’s actually a fairly intuitive way of getting at this question. Since exactly how fanservice/ecchi elements a show has to include before being a fanservice/ecchi show varies from person to person, it was very possible that one could get a snapshot of that spectrum by looking at how two separate databases with varying standards classified a show. As fate would have it, myanimelist (ecchi genretag) and animenewsnetwork (ecchi+fanservice themetags)* classify shows as ecchi in ways that are different enough that one can split shows from my original black/white sample into 3 meaningful categories.**
1. No/Minimal Ecchi (Not tagged under either system)
2. Ambiguously Ecchi (Tagged under one system, but not the other)
3. Unambiguously Ecchi (Tagged under both systems)
Theoretically, if a show is really heavy on the fanservice, it’ll end up being in category 3, and if it’s got naked men wrestling behind one-way glass, it’ll end up being in category 1. If there’s room to dispute how much fanservice a show has and/or how central it is, it’ll more likely end up in category 2. And by comparing those 3 categories, we should be able to get some idea of how much fanservice as a component does for shows with other notable selling points. The breakdowns for the categories can be found on this doc, and analysis can be found after the break.