Hentai

hentai

Hentai is a Japanese word that literally means ‘strange appearance,’ but is also used to mean ‘perverted.’ Hentai, because of this, is a word used by countries outside of Japan to show pornographic and sex-related anime, manga, and video games. The word is not used to mean this in Japan. In Japan, terms such as ‘ecchi’ are used. Since hentai is anime, the performers are not bound by physical laws. Makers of hentai often use this in very creative ways.

Censorship is practiced differently in Japan and in the US. Japanese law discourages showing of genitals in hentai, while the United States is more concerned about forbidding the display of sex acts involving people under 18. Hence, there are censoring mosaics in Japan, and scene removals and different ages of characters in America.

Monsters and demons with tentacles are seen so often that ‘tentacle porn’ is its own sub-category of hentai. Most hentai films are based on Ero-Games (Japanese erotic software), where the only actual goal is to date the girls in the game and have sex with one of them. The games feature various character-types, like a bookworm, a tough girl, a younger girl, and a tomboy. Ero-games can include some very disturbing things (like scat or guro) and sometimes also taboo things (like incest, rape, and pedophilia).

The earliest association between anime and adult animation occurred preceding the release of ‘Fritz the Cat’ when American distributors attempted to cash in on the publicity garnered from the rating by rushing out dubbed versions of two other adult animations from Japan, both of which featured an X rating in their advertising material: ‘Senya ichiya monogatari’ and ‘Kureopatora,’ retitled ‘One Thousand and One Arabian Nights’ and ‘Cleopatra: Queen of Sex,’ respectively. However, neither film was actually submitted to the MPAA, and it is not likely that either feature would have received an X rating.

The ‘Lolita Anime’ series was the first hentai original video animation (OVA), released in 1984 by Wonder Kids, which mainly focused on underage sex, rape, and bondage. ‘Cream Lemon,’ which contained many themes found in hentai today, was released later that year by Fairy Dust and contained some in-depth storylines and classic artwork. Following the tentacle scene in ‘Guyver: Out of Control’ in 1986, the ‘Urotsukidoji’ anime series by Toshio Maeda was released on OVA. It is most famous for being viewed as the first in the tentacle rape genre. Tentacle rape was not present in the ‘Urotsukidoji’ manga, but was featured in a series that he would publish years later called ‘Demon Beast Invasion.’ ‘Demon Beast Invasion’ created what might be called the modern paradigm of tentacle porn, in which the elements of sexual assault are emphasized. Its creator explained that he invented the practice to get around strict Japanese censorship regulations, which prohibit the depiction of the penis but apparently do not prohibit showing sexual penetration by a tentacle or similar (often robotic) appendage.

Hentai that features mainly heterosexual interactions occur in both male-targeted (‘ero’) and female-targeted (‘ladies’ comics’) form. Those that feature mainly homosexual interactions are known as ‘yaoi’ (male-male) and ‘yuri’ (female-female). Yaoi commonly features males of ambiguous gender—in both physical appearance and, frequently, mannerism—called ‘bishōnen,’ literally ‘beautiful boy.’ Some feature ‘biseinen’ (‘beautiful man’), males of more adult or masculine appearance. Less common are ‘bara’—larger, often heavily muscled and sometimes hairy males, the yaoi counterpart of the ‘bear’ in gay pornography—as well as ‘oyaji’ (meaning ‘daddy’ or ‘uncle’), featuring middle-aged and elderly men; these types are mainly found in material aimed at gay men, which may be called ‘bara’ or ‘men’s love’ (ML), and is considered to be distinct from yaoi.

Yaoi also extends beyond the hentai genre, since it applies to any anime/manga material that includes male homosexuality, except for that actually aimed at a gay male audience. In Western usage, yaoi is distinguished from ‘shōnen-ai’ (literally, ‘boy-love’), in which two males merely express romantic feelings for each other without actually having sexual relations; however in current Japanese usage this term most commonly refers to pornographic shotacon (material about attraction to young boys) for men. Women interested in Yaoi are called ‘Fujoshi,’ a pun which translate loosely as ‘rotten girl’ or ‘rotten woman.’ Yuri is very similar to yaoi, except that the focus is on female homosexual interactions. The characters in yuri are typically ‘bishōjo,’ meaning ‘beautiful girl’ (this term is not specific to yuri but is applied generally to depictions of attractive women for a male audience; for example, in the term ‘bishōjo game’). ‘Shōjo-ai’ (‘girl love’) is a western term for the female equivalent of shōnen-ai; in Japan these works are also called yuri. Yuri may be aimed at (presumptively heterosexual) male, heterosexual female, or lesbian female audiences.

‘Adult dōjinshi,’ or ‘H dōjinshi,’ refers to a type of work that uses copyrighted characters presented in sexual situations. It usually refers to printed manga. Familiarity with a particular character or setting can add a sense of relating to the character over a generic character used in mainstream hentai, making dōjinshi more appealing to fans of a particular work. Despite not representing characters and licensed properties as intended, companies often view these works as a free form of license recognition and advertising through dedicated fandom. Some manga artists create hentai dōjinshi with characters from their own manga, such as Maki Murakami creating dōjinshi of ‘Gravitation.’

In Western fanfiction circles, hentai-based works are popularly referred to as ‘lemon,’ based on the popular hentai anime anthology series ‘Cream Lemon.’ Fictions referred to as ‘lime’ are ones in which the characters do everything short of having sexual intercourse with each other.

2 Comments to “Hentai”

  1. nice picture,
    “hentai” also means something like “perverse” or “sexually maniac” in Japanese, I think

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