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10 Anime Characters Who Are Always Reduced To Fanservice | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

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While it’s certainly not for everybody, anime fanservice isn’t always a bad thing. Still, there are plenty of cases where fanservice goes overboard.
While it’s certainly not for everybody, anime fanservice isn’t inherently a bad thing. Sometimes it’s justified through the writing, while it’s shown tastefully in others. That being said, there are some cases where it can go overboard.
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Because these characters provided so much sex appeal, they were reduced to fanservice to viewers. Although this may have been unintentional, overusing fanservice can be a detriment to these characters’ otherwise compelling personalities and stories.
As the seventeenth Angel, Kaworu didn’t have a full understanding of humans and their social norms, despite his obvious affection and love for all mankind — especially Shinji. Kaworu had no problem with professing his love for Shinji, so much so that he felt comfortable being naked in front of an obviously surprised Shinji.
This was intentional on the part of Neon Genesis Evangelion‘s creators, as they wanted Kaworu to be so handsome and perfect that he immediately caught Shinji’s eyes and heart. Kaworu’s merchandise also reflected this and, despite his own complex arc and backstory, he was remembered mostly for his nude flirting with Shinji.
While not the first anime to deliver fanservice, a straight line can be drawn between the 1973 Cutie Honey anime to the way anime shows fanservice today. Everything from Honey’s revealing outfit to her naked transformation was imitated and exaggerated by future anime, and this trend even changed the way her franchise evolved.
In the manga, Honey was an otherwise normal high school girl who sometimes became a magical girl. In every succeeding adaptation, Honey became a naïve girl who found herself in fights and hijinks that resulted in nudity. For better and worse, Honey’s later incarnations dropped her depth and turned her into a comical fanservice action star.
Though it has a sizeable fanbase, the first Fruits Basket anime was more of its own magically realistic romantic-comedy than an adaptation of its more serious manga. Without the story’s later, darker chapters, the Sohma family’s (especially Kyo, Yuki, and Shigure) curse of turning into animals was used more for hijinks than drama.
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Whenever a woman made full-body contact with a Sohma male, they magically transformed into animals. The more lighthearted Fruits Basket used this for humor, where the boys would revert to their naked human forms in front of a shocked Tohru. These also happened in the more faithful 2019 reboot, but they didn’t define the anime’s overall tone and story.
Besides her godlike powers unconsciously making her every desire a reality, one of the reasons why Haruhi forcibly conscripted Mikuru into The SOS Brigade was moe. Haruhi figured out that her newly founded group needed some fanservice to get attention, and she quickly decided that Mikuru was the girl for the job when she saw her passing by.
Mikuru’s character arc and hidden depths didn’t stop Haruhi from forcing her to wear suggestive costumes of the fanservice variety, like a maid and bunny girl. At first, Mikuru half-heartedly went along with this because the fate of reality itself rested on Haruhi’s happiness, but her older adult self later admitted to enjoying the hijinks.
Gray is known for many things. Besides being one of the Fairy Tail guild‘s strongest members and one of the most powerful ice magicians in the realm, Gray is also known for stripping whenever he felt like it. Without any warning, Gray could be shirtless one second and completely naked in the next — much to female characters’ joy.
Apparently, when Gray trained how to use his ice magic, he did so while only wearing his underwear to train himself to withstand the cold. This became a habit and, soon, Gray saw any kind of clothing as an annoyance. While Gray thought this was normal, everyone else was either freaked out or excited by his odd quirk.
One Piece is known for its seemingly bottomless line-up of attractive female pirates and/or Marines, with Nami being one of the most popular of the bunch. Besides being the Straw Hats’ money-hungry navigator who’s always looking for the next big score, Nami is also known for being one of the anime’s most frequent providers of fanservice.
Along with Nico Robin, Nami is recognized as one of the most beautiful women to ever sail the high seas. Besides the usual fanservice moments, Nami also flashed others either as a distraction or for some quick money. Although Nami’s story still keeps fans invested, she’s mostly known and marketed in merchandise for her fanservice.
Kyoto Animation’s teaser for Free! in March 2013 went down in history for being one of the most viral anime trailers of all time. The commercial showed Iwatobi High School’s swim team posing and swimming, and viewers couldn’t wait for the promised fanservice. Fortunately for fans, Free! did just that and so much more.
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Free! season one was basically a cheeky parody of sports anime, with Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, Rei, and Rin finding the most hilariously transparent excuses to show off their bodies. Even if the five core swimmers and others became more serious in the less comedic follow-up seasons and movies, they never stopped giving fanservice.
Highschool Of The Dead was always a juvenile and raunchy zombie apocalypse, but the anime ramped up the fanservice to compensate for the toned down gore. Regardless of the situation, every woman in Takashi Komuro’s group found an excuse to either show some skin or get naked. Said scenarios even included zombie attacks.
To say that the women were one-dimensional is an understatement. Whether it was Takashi’s love interest Rei, the stern Saeko, or the airheaded school nurse Shizuka, they were only there to provide fanservice. This was taken to the extreme in the OVA Drifters Of The Dead, a beach episode that took the anime’s fanservice to the breaking point.
Kallen is arguably one of Code Geass’ most popular characters, but not for the reasons one would expect. The daughter of Britannian and Japanese parents, Kallen was one of the most integral Black Knights and one of the anime’s most fleshed out characters. That being said, fans only really remember her for her moments of fanservice.
In the first season, Kallen’s fanservice was mostly unintentional nudity. This was dialed up in the second season, where she wore revealing attire (or just a towel) while the camera showed as much as it could within TV censors’ confines. Although her character development wasn’t affected, Kallen was reduced to a fanservice model in fans’ memories.
As a shonen anime aimed towards a primarily teenage male fanbase, Fire Force having fanservice wasn’t all that surprising. What caught viewers off-guard (and even angered some) was how excessive it got. This was especially the case for Tamaki, who was stripped naked or humiliated in some way in almost every episode she appeared in.
This was justified in-universe through her “Lucky Lecher Lure,” meaning she has magically imbued bad luck that frequently left her naked. Whatever characterization Tamaki had was usually interrupted and overshadowed by the contrived fanservice, so much so that even Fire Force‘s biggest fans found it annoying and distracting.
NEXT: 10 Anime That Never Topped Their Original Opening Themes
CBR Staff Writer Angelo Delos Trinos’ professional writing career may have only started a few years ago, but he’s been writing and overthinking about anime, comics and movies for his whole life. He probably watched Neon Genesis Evangelion way too much, and he still misses video stores. Follow him at @AD3ofc on Twitter, or email him at delos3nos1992@gmail.com.


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