7) Invasion of the Teenage Panty Shots
Case Study: Real Drive
There are many elaborate ways to derail a potentially intelligent science-fiction TV series, but Real Drive goes straight for the throat. A recent show based on concepts by manga author Masamune Shirow, Real Drive begins with a diver lapsing into a 50-year coma after he's caught in a mysterious undersea phenomenon. Though science could give him a cybernetic body, our hero prefers to be a bitter old man who stares at the sea all day. Fortunately, he gets another chance at life by diving into the Meta Real Network, a futuristic virtual Internet that's a lot like the ocean.
The producers of Real Drive apparently looked at this premise and realized that something was missing: a teenage girl in a really short skirt. Not long into the first episode of Real Drive, we're introduced to Minamo Aoi, assistant to the show's grumpy hero. She's cute! She's ditzy! She blushes all the time and shows her underwear a lot!
Gratuitous twaddle is always part of Masamune Shirow's work, though the anime adaptations often add a twist: for example, nudity in the first Ghost in the Shell takes on an aptly artificial tone once it shows the heroine's naked form assembled in a factory. Yet there's nothing particularly ironic or insightful about Minamo's rear end.