1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://anime.about.com/od/hentai/p/hentaiprof.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Hentai

By

The term:

The word “hentai” itself means abnormality or perversion, and can be used to describe a person who exhibits those tendencies. It’s since become used as the catchall term for adult anime, even though the term “hentai” is actually used more outside of Japan than inside. There, terms like “ero-anime” or “AV” (“adult video”) are used to describe adult animation.

Another term used within Japan is “ecchi,” the Japanese pronunciation of the letter H, itself a slang contraction for “hentai.” Ecchi can refer to anything sexual, but can also be used to describe anime, manga, or other products that have a frankly sexual bent.

The origins:

The first genuinely adult animated productions released in Japan are believed to be feature-length films from manga creator Osamu Tezuka’s studio Mushi Pro: Cleopatra, Queen of Sex (1970) and One Thousand and One Arabian Nights (1969). By today’s standards they are tame, but at the time they were provocative stuff -- especially to Western audiences for whom the idea of adult-themed animation was still a total novelty.

The current incarnation of hentai emerged with the advent of home video in Japan in the 1980s, where titles like Urotsukidoji and Cream Lemon (which are still extreme by today’s standards) found audiences and were eventually sold outside Japan as well. Many titles like Queen's Blade, which are more risqué than explicit, have crossed over and found something like mainstream success with the larger body of anime fans.

Today:

Most of the hentai video market is in the hands of a few specialty distributors, such as Critical Mass and Kitty Media, who offer a range of current and previously-issued hentai titles. Some of these distributors have online streaming portals as well.

Hentai games:

Some distributors also offer anime-themed computer games also aimed at adult audiences, typically written for Windows-based PC. These games have a name of their own: erogé, a Japanese contraction of the words erotic games. Some erogé serve as the inspiration for hentai anime titles as well (e.g., Bible Black.)

Packaging:

The most immediate way to identify any hentai title is to check for a warning on the package: “For Adults Only,” “Absolutely Not For Children,” or something to that effect.

Since some hentai titles may not have names or artwork that openly tip them off as hentai, it helps to pay attention to the packaging for an age notice.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.