I know what you might be thinking.
“Fan-service is just a part of anime, right?”
And for some anime it definitely is. Many Ecchi or harem anime basically thrive on it, and it’s why those sorts of anime won’t be a part of that list; because that’s literally the point of the show!
But whatever your stance is, there are obvious examples of anime where fan service takes up too much screen time & even influences the entire plot. That’s where we draw the line and make an example of them.
So let’s look into some of the worst anime for fan-service, as ranked from “best” to worst.
We’ll start this trip down indecent exposure lane with our first entry…
10. Classroom of the Elite
I had high hopes for this show after watching the first few episodes. I really did.
There was mystery, an air of intrigue. The characters had interesting pasts and secrets to be unraveled. I was enjoying it immensely, then BAM; panty shots.
At first I assumed it was a one off. I thought “surely they’re not going to tank a really interesting series by just filling it with exposure and ignoring why the series is actually good, right?”
Before long, there were entire episodes filled with fan-service and nothing else. Two in a row, in a certain case; literally forty minutes of nothing but fan-service.
I never went back to it after that.
9. Fairy Tail
There’s a peculiar sort of line of thinking with the fan service in Fairy Tail.
It’s almost always played for laughs rather than pure titillation – a character’s clothes falling off mid-battle, for example.
But here’s the problem: what is actually funny about that happening? If a character is fighting and their (usually her) clothes fall off, what actually makes that funny and not just gratuitous showing off?
Honestly, I still can’t figure it out.
I enjoyed Fairy Tail, but it got to the point where I just filtered out a lot of the breast-based jokes because there were so many of them that they got predictable, and just utterly uninteresting.
There’s a line when it comes to nudity-based humor, and I think the line is so far behind Fairy Tail that we can’t see it anymore.
8. Is It Wrong To Try And Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon?
With a title like this, you’re bound to be expecting some sort of lewdness right?
But actually the show starts off fairly tame.
In fact, it starts off with a great developing story about the main character needing to overcome the obstacles his new world presents him with, and how he adapts to it.
But slowly, almost subtly (as subtle as any fan-service can be) it creeps in.
A cleavage here and there, then before you know it, there’s a literal harem going on.
What the hell happened?
It started strong, but IIWTTAPUGIAD (I’m not typing the full thing out again!) loses its way over time. And before you know it you’re sandwiched between fan-service scenes.
7. Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta
Here’s another show with so much going for it, that falls down the fan-service rabbit hole and can’t get back out by itself.
Without the fan-service, this is a brilliant show.
It looks fantastic, the story is super interesting, the characters all actually live rather than dumping a bunch of exposition every five seconds.
But then, the absolutely mindless fan-service. It’s just panty shots galore. And while you can kind of ignore them after a while, there will suddenly be four or five in a single scene – and you’re pulled right out of the show yet again.
I’m of course talking about the second adaptation of the manga, by the way.
The 2008 one had much bigger problems than fan-service going on!
6. Food Wars
How much fan service could there possibly be in a show about cooking?
“A lot” is the short answer.
See, in the Food Wars world, whenever someone eats a truly delicious meal they experience something called a “Foodgasm”, which is almost entirely what you think it is.
But that’s not even the half of it!
Some character’s foodgasms are so intense that all their clothes literally explode off of them.
Strangely enough, it seems to be mostly female characters this happens to.
At times it’s honestly absolutely hilarious. The dramatic music, body parts wobbling around everywhere – all because a character really enjoyed some steamed broccoli or something.
But when you take a step back and actually think about it, it’s purely fan-service for the sake of it.
5. Kill la Kill
You might have heard a lot of defense about the fan-service in Kill la Kill, given there’s so much of it that people have tried to figure out why the show is so near-nude most of the time.
And whether it’s actually intended to be a parody or not (Word of God from the creators has been suspicious in its absence clarifying this), there’s no denying that Kill la Kill turns the dial to eleven.
Nudist Beach, anyone?
The main character, Ryuko Matoi, has a transformation which (for lack of a better description) destroys all her clothes and replaces them with very small straps over “key areas”. This happens without fail once an episode – sometimes twice or more.
So whether the fan-service is meant to be a deliberate send-up or not, we can all agree that it’s more than a little gratuitous.
4. Taboo Tattoo
Besides all the fan-serivcey aspects, this is actually a really solid anime.
The action is tight and focused, plus it’s a blast to watch. Its supernatural elements are fun and just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek, plus the violence rivals a small riot in its intensity.
Here’s the “but…”
The fan service here is so utterly tone-deaf that it requires a place on this list, for no reason other than I think the creators might have forgotten what the word “serious” means.
If you’ve seen the anime, you know the scene I mean.
But here’s a quick rule of thumb.
If the tone is supposed to be deadly serious – keep panties out of the shot! That’s a pretty good rule in general life, actually.
3. To LOVE-Ru
Sometimes a show gets so much flak from its audience that the creators deliberately lean in to that aspect, either to wind up the moaners, or to remove any aspect of what the original series lacked.
Case in point:
To LOVE-Ru was so reliant on absolutely unnecessary fan service that they basically threw their hands up and said, “let’s just make that the whole show instead!”
So we wind up with a show that’s got less story than an empty library, but enough soft graphic scenes to almost make it push beyond an R rating.
While they made an effective point, the show itself is practically pointless.
2. Fire Force
We all know why Fire Force is this high up the list.
For those who might need reminding (or to those who have never seen it), I have a single name for you – Tamaki Kotatsu.
Not only is Tamaki constantly burning her clothes to fuel her special ability, but there’s a second “ability” that means she’s just one walking fan-service machine.
The Lucky Lewd Syndrome.
Simply put, it’s a curse of sorts that means people around her are constantly groping her accidentally. No matter whether the moment calls for it or not.
In the heat of a serious moment in a show about firefighting, someone will inevitably bump into her and knock her top off.
It couldn’t be more unneeded in the show if it tried.
1. High School of the Dead
There was really going to be only one choice for the #1 on this list, wasn’t there?
Yes, it’s High School of the Dead. An anime that’s practically famous for its mostly nude approach to zombie killing.
All those other zombie shows that have the characters gearing up so they don’t get bitten? That stuff is for squares!
It’s all just so unnecessary, especially in the setting. I mean, this isn’t a scenario where everyone is going to be running around without clothes all the time.
And the nudity isn’t even all of the reason this show is at the top of the list.
No, there’s one very specific scene for that, which can be best described in the following way:
The matrix boobs scene.
I think that says just about everything you need to know about the true meaning of fan service.