Ecchi - Western Usage

Western Usage

In western nations, the spelling as ecchi is preferred, although it does not follow the Hepburn method. This has its origin in the foreign fandom of manga and anime, which used a different method (or no method at all) to transcribe the word. In comparison to hentai, which "is anime erotica", it was adapted "among coy fans and distributors who preferred to use a foreign term for their pornography" in the west, the abbreviation ecchi is seen as softer in meaning than the full term. Calling a Japanese boy e(t/c)chi might be flirtatious, as opposed to the more insulting hentai.

Bezeichnet erotische Darstellungen. Im Vergleich zu Hentai weniger explizit.
refers to erotic depictions. In comparison to hentai, it is less explicit. —Sebastian Keller, Der Manga und seine Szene in Deutschland von den Anfängen in den 1980er Jahren bis zur Gegenwart: Manga- mehr als nur große Augen

The term ecchi is used to describe a category of manga and anime with sexually oriented content, that is common in works aimed at a predominantly male audience (shōnen or seinen). But also works aimed at a female audience can contain scenes which are seen as ecchi. Examples are R-18 Love Report! from Emiko Sugi and Oruchuban Ebichu from Risa Itō, which are aimed at the shōjo and josei audience, but contain rather explicit content.

This can be conversations with sexual references or misunderstandings about sexuality in dialogs (double meaning, words taken out of context), misunderstandings in visual depictions (the position or pose of a character is suggestive), clothing (underwear, cosplay, fetish clothing, etc.), nudity (ripped apart clothing, wet clothing, clothing malfuncations, etc.) and the portrayal of certain actions (touch or look at parts of the body). This kind of sexuality is commonly used for comical effect. A typical example scene would contain a male protagonist that accidentally enters a women-only bath or trips over a female character, leaving the impression of sexual harassment.

The concept of ecchi is very close related to fan service. While fan service describes every aspect to please the fans, ecchi relates to sexual themes. A special kind of fan service, that is usually bound or justified by the narrative.

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