Manservice. It’s like regular fanservice, but instead of big boobs and moeblobs, it’s studly guys in skintight outfits staring longingly into each other’s eyes. In short, manservice is intentional titillation made for a predominately female audience. At first it can seem like little more than a cheap ploy for ratings, but there’s a subtle art to fulfilling women’s fantasies that a select few anime can nail absolutely perfectly.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the top 10 manservice anime, ranked in order of how much they make fangirls squee with joy. Whether it’s muscly athletes inspiring yaoi fanfiction or bishounen vampires fighting over the heart of one fair lady, these anime are sure to make your imagination go wild.
10. Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma (Shokugeki no Soma)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr 4, 2015 to Sep 26, 2015
Food Wars is a show that’s all about spectacle. It focuses on teenage chefs who compete in over-the-top shounen-style cooking competitions, all lovingly brought to life by a well-known hentai artist – so what else would you expect? Its story and characters are interesting in their own way, but the most spectacular part (and the reason why so many people watched this anime in the first place)... are the foodgasms.
Whenever someone eats a particularly amazing dish, they enter a blissful dreamland where their clothes fly off and they moan delightedly over the flavor. This happens regardless of the character’s sex, so there’s fanservice for everyone! There’s just nothing more entertaining than watching resident free spirit Isshiki shed his naked apron in ecstasy at the taste of protagonist Soma’s cooking, or seeing Soma and his rival Akira clash as a boxer and a knight in the judges’ minds. Even though the foodgasms are played for laughs, there’s plenty of eye candy for everyone in this imaginative anime.
9. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 6, 2012 to Apr 6, 2013
Who says that manservice is only for skinny pretty boys? For those of us who like our men with a little (or a lot) more meat on their bones, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is here to serve. This is a series with decades of history and its source material is considered to be one of the best manga of all time, so we’re already off to a good start with that kind of pedigree. JoJo’s characters all have multifaceted personalities and intriguing motivations, but what they have more than anything is muscles.
Yes, JoJo’s distinctive art design accentuates each fighter’s swole figure with heavy shading and a larger-than-life color palette. A standout example are the villainous Pillar Men, whose Arabian-inspired clothes are valiantly trying, but failing to contain their massive musculature. Everything is so over-the-top that it borders on comedic, but the sheer passion of this anime keeps you invested until the very end.
8. All Out!!
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct 7, 2016 to Mar 31, 2017
How do you know that All Out is a fountain of manservice? Just look at its poster. If those uniforms were any tighter, they’d be too hot for television. And with all of the full body tackling and rolling around in the dirt that rugby provides, it’s no wonder that this anime has caught the eyes of more than a few fangirls.
Although it had the bad luck to come out at the same time as Yuri on Ice, All Out still has its own distinctive features. All of the characters are uniquely designed with different eye shapes, body structures, and other small details that emphasize how much of a ragtag team they are. Tying it all together is the odd friendship between pint-sized punk Gion and gentle giant Iwashimizu, as well as captain Sekizan’s turmoil-filled backstory. If you like a little something different in your sports anime, find your tightest polo shirt and check this one out.
7. Yuri!!! On Ice
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 6, 2016 to Dec 22, 2016
What’s so wonderful about Yuri on Ice is that, while there’s plenty of manservice in every episode, it portrays the gay characters as realistic and well-rounded people. From an LGBT perspective, it’s refreshing to see Victor and Yuri actually grow together as a couple rather than have their attraction only be used as titillation for the female audience. And yet, it’s still delightful for women to watch because all of the characters are so handsome, passionate, and athletic.
Here, you’ll find a colorful cast of guys from all over the globe who each want to claim the top spot as the best male figure skater in the world. The gorgeous animation gives them bright eyes, full lips, flowing hair, and gracious movement during their complicated ice skating routines, as well as when they’re getting to know each other better. Yuri on Ice is a show to binge whether you enjoy digging deep into character relationships or you just like watching beautiful boys skate their hearts out.
6. Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! (Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love!)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan 7, 2015 to Mar 25, 2015
As you can guess from the title, Cute High Earth Defense Club Love doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s essentially a standard magical girl show, but with the genders reversed. There have been magical boys before in anime like Shugo Chara and Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka, but this one is the be-all and end-all of the genre. Even searching online for “magical boy anime” turns up more results featuring these color-coordinated cuties than anything else.
Yumoto and the other members of the Earth Defense Club use sparkly transformations and weapons granted to them by a giant pink wombat to vanquish the evil forces threatening their world. It’s all very tongue-in-cheek and the story isn’t particularly deep, but it accomplishes its goal of being a manservice version of a genre that’s been delivering female eye candy for decades. Topped off with some lighthearted antics and a dose of good old-fashioned gay subtext, Cute High Earth Defense Club Love is a perfectly silly little romp to indulge in.
5. B-Project: Kodou*Ambitious
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 3, 2016 to Sep 25, 2016
The realm of idols is traditionally dominated by adorable girls and their moe exploits, but this anime is determined to show that guys can rule the idol-sphere as well. Based on the multimedia franchise of the same name, B-Project brings us a huge lineup of men who’ve been working all their lives to be the best idols ever. Their character designs come courtesy of the same artist behind Uta no Prince-sama, so, of course, they’re bishounen perfection.
But the wish fulfillment doesn’t stop there. The guys are constantly flirting with their new manager Tsubasa, who stutters and blushes at their charm, but understands them at their core and ultimately brings the group closer together. And after the credits of each episode, the boys whisper sweet nothings directly to the viewer while lying undressed on a bed. B-Project’s manservice techniques may be obvious, but we can’t doubt that they’re effective.
4. Gakuen Heaven
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 1, 2006 to Jun 24, 2006
Ah, boys love. Where would manservice be without it? Gakuen Heaven is an adaptation of a visual novel from the far-flung year of 2002, so it sports a more old-school shoujo art style that complements its story of love in a school for the impossibly rich. The anime significantly tones down the sexual content from the original game, but luckily, there’s still plenty of aristocratic romance to be had.
Taking place at the cheekily named Bell Liberty Academy, Gakuen Heaven focuses on average kid Keita and his quest to prove himself worthy of the stunning and sophisticated men he meets at this luxe all-boys school. The plot reads a bit like a soap opera with all of its kidnappings, amnesia cases, and mysterious backstories, but it honestly fits well with the premise. It’s melodrama to the bone, which is sometimes exactly what we’re in the mood for.
3. Vampire Knight (Vampire Kishi)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 8, 2008 to Jul 1, 2008
Okay, we’ll be the first to say it – it’s still a better love story than Twilight. Vampire Knight is a supernatural high school love triangle romance that takes its deeply ridiculous plot way too seriously, but it’s so earnest that you can’t help but get sucked into its dark world of vicious vampires and those who hunt them down.
Main character Yuuki’s two suitors are Kaname, a longhaired princely pureblood with a strange connection to her past; and Zero, a tattooed half-vampire who resents his own kind and hunts them down with a magical gun called “Bloody Rose”. These impossibly handsome men are constantly at each other’s throats to win Yuuki’s heart, perfectly feeding into our own self-indulgent fantasies. Kaname or Zero – whose team are you on?
2. Miracle Train: Welcome to the Oedo Line (Miracle☆Train: Ooedo-sen e Youkoso)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 5, 2009 to Dec 28, 2009
Continuing with the theme of gorgeous men fawning over a woman’s every desire, in comes Miracle Train. As possibly the most shameless anime on this list, Miracle Train’s gaggle of guys exists only to solve troubled women’s problems. And since the female protagonists change every episode, the focus is much more on watching these charming lads work their magic to make these ladies’ lives a bit better. It’s kind of like Makura no Danshi, but without the creepy undertones.
Each of the six men represents one of the stations along the Oedo subway line, which runs through Tokyo. There’s a boy for every taste, plus a cute dog and little girl to round out the cast. Give it a watch if you’re enraptured by the idea of falling in love with a kind and beautiful stranger in the unlikeliest of circumstances. As the narrator says, will you be the next passenger on the Miracle Train?
1. Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 4, 2013 to Sep 26, 2013
All rise for the prince of pecs, the earl of abs, the sultan of swimwear and undisputed king of all manservice anime – Free! When this sports anime exploded in popularity after just one promo video, it laid the groundwork for similar shows like Haikyuu and even All Out!! to expand on the “gorgeous young guys playing sports” niche. And although Free certainly wasn’t the first to dip its toe in those waters, it’s definitely the one selling the most merchandise at anime conventions.
Free! is the number one manservice anime because it delivers exactly what girls want while still having value outside of that. Everyone can appreciate the expertly crafted animation and emotionally resonant story of this group of swimmers who all have something to prove. Their diverse personalities also make it easy to choose a favorite who appeals most to you so you can follow their journey to success. And maybe write some fanfiction about them while you’re at it, too.
Traditional fanservice still far outweighs manservice in the anime world, but these 10 shows give us hope that more sexy men are in our future. And when those men are bundled with a well-crafted story and lovely animation to create an even more perfect package, we can’t seem to praise them enough.
What did you think of our list? Did we miss any manservice anime that you love? Who’s your top anime husbando? Be sure to let us know in the comments and thanks for reading Honey’s Anime Top 10s.