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Is Ecchi Borderline Porno? And is Harmful To The Anime Genre?

Is Ecchi Borderline Porno? And is Harmful To The Anime Genre?

Written By Howard Tyrone Smith II

A man once said “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it” See, I take that as, sometimes there is a fine line between seduction, full on porn. The anime subgenre ‘Ecchi’ can sometimes float in between that line. Ecchi isn’t necessarily considered hentai, but by definition is characterized by light, playful sexual themes and imagery, which makes classifying it as pornography a bit confusing.

 

It would be easy to just write off ecchi as the anime equivalent to Skinemax (light/soft core porn), but when you consider many mainstream animes have ecchi elements, its becomes less of an issue of classifying it as pornography and more about what big breasted characters contribute to the actual story. It typically avoids being classified as softcore porn because truth be told shit gets about as sexual as a 90s sitcom. While at times it can be subtle (even legitimately funny how sexuality is played into an anime), but most the time it’s overt, perverse,  and about as subtle as Yusuke Urameshi’s’ spirit gun.

Regular fanservice in relation to anime can contribute to a story in ways ranging from comic relief (Highschool Of The Dead) to having fanservice itself being the running joke of the whole series (Kill La Kill). Ecchi on the other hand can to be pretty passive. A panty shot here, a scene of school girls dressed as bunny girls there. It’s weirdly cutesy fun to go along with comedies like The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya & Dirty Pair. Shows like Ikki Tousen at times go off the deep end with the amount of frontal nudity they show (of course, accompanied by gratuitous violence.) Then you have shows like Love Hina & Tenchi Muyo  that actually try to make you laugh with all that fan service.

The elephant in the room is that a lot of ecchi is inherently sexist and tends to involves girls who we are left to assume are under the age of 18. Sexualizing children is always gross, so why Japanese animators okay with this? Is it because the age of consent in Japan is 16? Why do fans of the genre think this is acceptable? If you’re thinking it’s exploitative, and normalizes the sexualization of children, you’re absolutely right! But a huge question I have is ecchi is more an issue of individual discretion? Or should it be excused because it’s made in a different culture?

I could go on and on about how the  strange sense of sexuality of the Japanese. Things get iffy due to the confusing influence of western religion/sexual repression, and the fact sex is just treated differently in Japan. The truth is ecchi is just one of those things stuck in the grey area. Can it be harmful? Sure when things go overboard and we enter into pedophilia…thats where the problematic but it can also be fun. *shrugs* Just my ramblings.  Enjoy your ecchi folks. just don’t watch it in public.

About the author:

Howard is an aspiring entertainment journalist & lover of anime after years of hearing his hyper religious family call it the devil. He’s 24 & lives in east Lansing,MI and hopes to one day make a living out of And hopes one day to find his blerd waifu.

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About Valerie Complex

Valerie Complex is a freelance writer, and professional nerd. As a lover of Japanese animation, and all things film, she is passionate about diversity across all entertainment mediums.

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