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In our popular anime tropes article, we talked about how popular the “onsen” hot spring episodes are in anime and manga. Public baths and hot springs very popular destinations in Japan, where people often go to relax and have fun with their friends or partner. Often in idyllic locations, surrounded by nature and traditional Japanese décor, food and drink, hot springs are the perfect chance for a change of scene!
In anime, the hot spring episode usually has one more important feature… you guessed it – fanservice!
It’s no secret that these episodes are fan favourites, and not just for the scenery. The episodes are so popular, in fact, that Japanese anime streaming service dAnime Store recently released a ranking of top onsen episodes, as chosen by fans! They even include an option to “start watching at the hot spring scene” for all those hot spring connoisseurs out there.
The lists have been split into “boys’ choice”, “girls’ choice” and “everyone’s choice”… we saw the ladies’ choices last time, so today let’s look at which anime the boys chose!
1) Fullmetal Panic? Fumoffu (Ep 9)
The editors of this episode commented that onsen scenes are special in anime, as it gives the audience the feeling that they’re peeking into a world that they wouldn’t usually get to see! They pride themselves on using more inventive ways of hiding their character’s bodies than the usual white mist or light, to keep a sense of reality of their scenes.
2) Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (Ep 9)
Full of chaos, comedy and pretty full-on fanservice (Darkness washing Kazuma’s back for example!), this is a classic harem anime hot spring episode.
3) Hyouka (Ep 7)
Hyouka is a more chilled out series than some of the others, and offers some more classy fanservice, along with some really nice scenes showing off the inside of traditional Japanese onsen. Makes us want to go and take a trip ourselves!
4) Saenai Kanojo no Sotatekata
5) GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (Ep 9)
6) Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? / Is the Order a Rabbit? (Ep 8)
7) Hanasaku Iroha (Ep 15)
8) Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei / The Irregular at Magic High School (Ep 10)
9) Love Live Season 2 (Ep 2)
10) No Game No Life (Ep 2, 7, 10, 12)
That brings us to the end of the ranking! Not only are these episodes great for enjoying some fun fanservice moments and cool the traditional Japanese “onsen” atmosphere, they’re also a great way to learn how to draw hot spring scenes yourself!
If you’re looking for references for your own work, watching other anime that feature hot spring scenes is one of the best ways to expand your repertoire. If you’re going to feature onsen scenes in your work, it will really pay to do your research! Looking up onsen tours or anime onsen episodes on Youtube is a good place to start. Hot springs are a super popular setting, and a really fun one to use, but make sure you are meticulous with your observation, because it will be very obvious to Japanese fans if something is out of place.
Next time we’ll be looking at the gender neutral “everyone’s selection” ranking, so watch this space!