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’ve already seen the boys and girls choices, so today let’s take a look at the gender-neutral, “everyone’s choice” option!
1) Gintama 3rd Season (Ep 131-134)
The Gintama cast spend a whole 3 episodes at the onsen in this hot spring special! Plenty of funny moments make these episodes memorable, and clearly popular with both the men and the ladies, because they grabbed top spot in the “everyone” ranking!
2) Date A Live (Ep 6)
A hotspring episode in an action/battle anime? Yep, it’s as chaotic as you might think!
3) Renkin San-kyuu Magical? Pokaan (Ep 10)
Majipoka is more cute and “moe” than sexy, so there are some mildly sexy moments, but they’re more humous and cute than anything! It takes the bronze in this ranking in the “everyone” category.
4) Total Eclipse (Ep 19)
5) Assassination Classroom (Ep 8)
6) Aquarion Evol (Ep 17)
7) Bakusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan 2 (Ep 2)
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.