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Ecchi vs Hentai: How To Tell Your Sexy Anime Apart Once And For All!

Learn what to expect from your waifus when watching sexy anime!

Lewd scene from Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, Season 1, Episode 2 || Credits: FanCaps.net

Ecchi or Hentai? Sometimes authors get so carried away with fanservice that telling them apart is tricky if you’re new to lewd anime.

Sure, a few spicy jokes or panty shots (panchira) aren’t enough to classify an anime as hentai or ecchi. But how far can a show go before it can't be aired? How far can YOU go with your self-published work without crossing the limits?

Let’s find out.

What is Ecchi?

Erina Nakiri tasting Soma's dish
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, Season 1, Episode 2 || Credits: FanCaps.net

Can you believe the word Ecchi comes from Hentai? Around the 1950s, the word hentai was shortened to the first letter in English writing as slang, and the pronunciation with a Japanese accent is "ecchi."

Around the same time, the word started to be used in sexual contexts, and nowadays, it translates to "sexy" or "naughty."

As a genre, ecchi is a Western classification for titles aimed at male demographics (shounen and seinen) with a considerable amount of erotic content. Sexuality has its importance for the flow of the story but is explored in a soft and often comic way.

Censorship is another characteristic that sets ecchi and hentai apart! In ecchi productions, nudity is strategically censored by parts of the scenery, usually with beams of light, steam, or anything else that can be teasing but still cover nipples, especially genitals, which are never seen.

An alternative is not having them as part of the character’s anatomy.

What is Hentai?

Anna Nishikinomiya lewd scene in Shimoneta
SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist, Season 1, Episode 4 || Credits: FanCaps.net

We often hear waifus calling male protagonists "hentai" in embarrassing situations, but the term can be used differently in Japan daily!

It means "strange," "mutation," or "transformation" and doesn’t need to refer to anything sexual. So, like "ecchi," using the term "hentai" as a genre is a Western practice.

In Japan, those productions are mostly called "adult," "ero," or "18-prohibited". Be it games, manga, or anime, sexuality is the main point here!

Hentai anime works are pornographic, with full nudity and sexual content. Most of the time, the plot is an excuse or leads to intimate moments.

However, censorship still applies to hentai, and it’s done in a way that puzzles many Westerners! Japan bans the display of genitals even if it’s a production aimed at an adult audience.

Those areas are hidden with mosaic censorship or blurred, though a loophole makes tiny little black bars enough covering for some works.

Choose Your Anime with Confidence!

Now that you can tell the difference between ecchi and hentai, you can choose what you will watch next without disappointments or shocking surprises.

What do you like best? The teasing sexiness of ecchi or hentai’s intense boldness? The Otaku Community is a safe place to share your opinion about this and everything else about anime!

And for recommendations on ecchi anime, what about these shows with very lewd moments?

Images from FanCaps.net

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