Did Hyouka deliver the best piece of fan service in anime?

hyouka animeFan service is best served subtle.

I know many anime viewers will be dreaded about the idea of fan service. We know the semi porno To-Love Ru that really takes fan service to a whole new level and making it a part of its plot. Or something. Even if it isn’t, it sure feels that way. The ‘trip-over-and-fall-on-girl’ cliché is becoming an inside gag in the industry I suppose.

Hyouka takes its time to build an emotional connection with the viewer through Oreki who, in the early stages of adolescence and growing interest for the opposite sex, gets attracted to Chitanda Eru. Subtly Chitanda’s story unfolds and her character grows and so does Oreki’s interest, who in this case is the ideal window for the average high school male when confronted with an attractive girl.

Kyoto Animation cleverly uses this biological development within males by not only exploring Chitanda’s character, but also her outer beauty. For example her colorful purple eyes, which are emphasized many times through the episodes. With eyes being the window into ones soul and a huge factor for many on the rate of attractiveness, Oreki aka the viewer, becomes sucked into Chitanda’s beauty.

hyouka chitanda mayaka eyesNote that many camera angles are used to emphasize Chitanda’s femininity, building up to obviously the climax that sparked this post. In the frame below, Chitanda leans over the table with her long black hair slowly waving down onto her back. This angle is used multiple times throughout the show.

Hyouka chitanda

The buildup is set in the first episodes and work towards the best fanservice moment I’ve encountered in anime to date. Before revealing or implying all kinds of sexual attractive elements of the body that trigger certain sexual responses, KyoAni first builds a character from the ground up creating bigger impact when the moment actually occurs.

The best fan service moment takes places during the hot springs episode. Chitanda and Oreki walk into each other along the way to the hot springs. The trigger for Oreki’s brain is set in motion and while the baths are separate, his imagination goes wild by the thought of Chitanda being near him, undressed.Hyouka chitanda

KyoAni teases with scenes of Chitanda without using the regular shades or light beams that will be filtered out when a Blu-Ray release makes its way into the stores, hoping to drive up sales. The actions and scenes in Hyouka are natural, emphasizing attractive features of the human body. Like in the frame below where Chitanda guides a strand of hair along her neck.

Hyouka chitanda

Really clever storytelling on behalf of the studio. Many fanservice moments are so straightforward and detached from reality that the viewer has, in my opinion, become numb for these interactions. The emotional connection is lost, but Hyouka proves that without enforcing what the viewer should feel, it creates a natural instinctive reaction with the male viewer.

4 thoughts on “Did Hyouka deliver the best piece of fan service in anime?

  1. rioshiny says:

    I’ve always thought of Kyoani’s fanservice as of almost “subliminal”, if I call it in an extreme way. In shows like Kyoukai no Kanata, Tamako and Hyouka. I feel like the bedrock of this is the fact that their characters are all very pretty. In a very simple, natural and elegant way. And then there’s the way the animation works with it – the movements of their body, hair, eyes, facial expressions that top it off so perfectly and look so nice. It’s all very beautiful and I’d call this a very captivating kind of fanservice. Nothing that punches you in the face or something that would disgust me like enormous boobs and things like that. The difference between the kind of fanservice that is usually used, and the kind of fanservice that Kyoani uses, is that I would never call Oreki a pervert for the way he’s looking at Chitanda as a man. Quite the opposite – it crossed my mind many times, that it’s actually kinda cute in it’s own way. And very sensual without being vulgar. So beautiful no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

    • ninetybeats says:

      Hyouka was a great example. Their most recent addition Myriad no Phantom World has proven KyoAni is also capable of serving idiotic fan service. I can only imagine they needed a quick buck, but it’s certainly true the designs remain appealing.

      • rioshiny says:

        Yeah, they use both kinds (separately, luckily). But I literally can’t watch these 😀 I’ll just wait for another piece of art and won’t pay attention to them.

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