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What Is Ecchi Anime? All You Should Know About The Genre

If we had asked you, what is ecchi? The chances are that you can guess it’s about sexual content. But just how “sexual”?

Is the ecchi genre even as erotic as people make it out to be? In particular, how does it compare to hentai and eros?

Let’s find out!

What Is Ecchi? Getting To The Root Of The Confusion

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Spoiler alert: ecchi isn’t hentai, nor is it eros!

The best way to understand ecchi is to discuss the meaning of the word itself. As Japanese slang, it loosely translates to “sexy.” Now, sexy can be naughty or even dirty.

But in no way does sexy result in a fully unclad show of genitals or odd sceneries. When you find such in your anime, then you’re not watching an ecchi. Those unclad-content kinds are usually eros and hentai.

So, what is ecchi?

Ecchi is a form of fan service that you will find in most harem and shounen animes. This time, however, the elements are dirtier but humorous. In particular, you can expect a show of naughtiness that will still do enough to get your blood boiling.

Here’s the summary of typical ecchis’ offerings:

  • Boob grabbing
  • Cameltoes
  • Flashing of nipples and pants
  • Nosebleeds
  • Partial or full nudity (but no show of genitals or sexual intercourse)
  • Short clothing

However, remember that all the elements of ecchi come with a humorous delivery. And that’s why it’s different from eros and hentai.

ecchi animes

In summary, though ecchi is H-rated (Japanese version of x-rated), it is softcore. More importantly, even the naughtiness in this anime has a spice of playfulness.

So, how did the ecchi genre start? Was it always as popular as it is now?

History Of The Ecchi Genre

Would you believe if we told you the word ecchi was non-existential sometimes back? That would probably sound odd considering how popular the genre is today. But that’s the truth.

Here’s a perspective:

Hentai, the father of Japanese “naughty” slangs, only came to the fore in the early 1900s. Even then, the word wasn’t all-out sexual.

Funnily enough, hentai only describes odd mental behavior until 1910, when it described unusual sexuality. Then, fast forward till 1952: the birth of the word ecchi.

Then, ecchi came to the fore when a Japanese woman described her groping experience at a cinema. Her story gained so much following that the word would go on to represent an anime genre.

And the genre started with the earliest ecchi we can think of: The 1968 “Harenchi Gakuen” by Go Nagai. The adaptation would go on to stir mixed opinions amongst the populace.

However, by the 80s, the ecchi anime as we know it now would take form. The censorship of sexual content had already taken hold. Since then, the growth of this genre remained steady until the 2000s.

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Between 2000 and 2010, the genre experienced a boom. In particular, there were over 600 ecchi shows just within the era. Some of those anime are even just as popular today.

Now imagine such widespread acceptance and viewership!

Undoubtedly, the ecchi genre had gone through a total reface from the hentai times to today. Though it serves viewed fan service content, there are restrictions. And even the sexualities are mainly humorous softcore.

One can only wonder: what made this “curbed hentai” such a sensation? What is unique about it?

Why Is The Ecchi Genre So Popular?

why is ecchi anime so popular

The truth: there’s no one answer to why ecchi had garnered its popularity. We can only highlight a few reasons. And here they are:

Fan Service

“Sexy” always attracts views, and that undoubtedly is the main strength of ecchi anime. This anime serves the fan what they want, and that automatically endears them to it.

Even with the fan service, ecchi works within the confines of morality. In other words, you won’t find obscene scenes. Instead, you will get just enough within the limit of moral standards to delight your eyes.

Check Out: Best Fan Service Anime Of All Time

Comedy

Besides fan service, ecchi reeks of comedy. Its naughtiness is fun. They happen almost always in a playful manner.

Unlike hentai, ecchi doesn’t have unsolicited and demeaning intent. Instead, the plots often revolve around two seeming lovebirds who are intentional about their actions.

So, they have fun. Make playful advances – but the dirty kinds.

Romance

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Who doesn’t love “love stories”? Beautifully enough, ecchi features romantic plots. Such ideas always tickle the mind.

Furthermore, the lovebirds are often delightful to watch. They are cute and cheerful. In that way, ecchi animes can even stand in equally for typical shounen and shoujo.

Summarily, ecchi animes capture the hearts of fans with subtle love stories. And they do that better than other genres – thanks to the spicy and “alien” content.

Check Out: 41 Of The Best Shoujo Anime Of All Time: From The 70’s To The Present

Now, we have answered the question, what is ecchi? How about some samples?Let’s show you a collection of the ecchi animes that caught our attention. We believe you will equally get enough fun from the lot. Here’s the list:

5 Most Popular Ecchi Animes Worth Your Time

Highschool DxD

Of the five ecchi animes on our list, the Highschool DxD is the best. It combines the elements of supernatural sceneries, mysteries, and naughtiness. And that’s why it tops our collection.

Besides, this anime has some of the best fan services across any genre. The quality and content of such elements will undoubtedly delight you.

Also, the story of Highschool DxD, like the name, happens around young students. That means you are getting a shot at romance and fan service at the budding level. The characters are sweet and gentle, even to the point of innocence.

About the story: it focuses on Issei Hyoudou. And it started with a mystery where he died. The twist here is even how Issei died. He died on his first date ever. Funnily enough, it was his date that killed him.

The murderer would later bring Issei back to life. But only as a servant who does the billing of demons. And now, he must join a dark and mysterious group: Occult Research Club.

The aim of joining the club is to help Issei reach his potential as an aid for the demon while interacting with angels. Unfortunately, Issei had other ideas. He only wanted to ogle girls and form harems with them.

That crossroads and indecisiveness also make Highschool DxD even more exciting. Watch the anime to see what dream Issei would later follow. 

Check Out: Anime To Watch If You Want More Highschool DxD In Your Life

The Testament Of Sister New Devil

shinmai maou no testament best fan service anime of all time

After Highschool DxD, the next engaging ecchi we have seen is Shinmai Maou No Testament. Huh?

“Shinmai Maou No Testament” is the Japanese interpretation of “The Testament Of Sister New Devil.”

What we love about this anime is the way it combines action, comedy, harem, and supernatural subplots. Even better, The Testament Of Sister New Devil has that subtle softcore appeal.

In essence, if you seek fan service with that bit of action and deep-rooted mystery, “The Testament Of Sister New Devil” won’t disappoint.

The story in this anime follows Basara Toujo. He lived a routine life until his father decided to remarry. Yet, Basara had to relocate. It turned out his father is not only remarrying but also seeking employment abroad.

The sweetest twist yet, Basara must live with two acquired stepsisters. He even barged in on one of them while taking her bath. But that’s not all.

The stepsisters belong to a demon clan, while Basara involves himself with a hero group. Unfortunately, the two communities are enemies. As though things couldn’t get any more difficult for Basara, he must adapt and love his sisters.

By love, Basara must protect his sisters from his other powerful devil clan, his group, and even against themselves. And he must also shield himself. Else, the cute demons might harm him in the process.

From there, the anime would feature exciting fan service. Despite the naughtiness, the story is equally addictive. And that’s why you should watch The Testament Of Sister New Devil.

Check Out:What Is Harem Anime: What You Need To Know About This Anime Genre

So, I Can’t Play H? (Boku-H)

so i cant play h best ecchi animes

The English translation of this anime is a bit subtle. The original Japanese name is Dakara Boku Wa, Ecchi Ga Dekinai. And that means “that is why I can’t have sex.”

Hopefully, such a title will hint you of just how intriguing this anime will be, and of course, the fan service it contains.

In particular, we love that Boku-H weaves comedy and ecchi into a beautiful romance-fantasy plot. Plus, “So, I Can’t Play H?” has an element of magic and the supernatural.

Beyond the fan service, Boku-H handled character and plot development beautifully. We can assure you that you will lose track of time watching this anime.

About the plot: it centers on a high school student: Kaga Ryousuke. Like most teens that age, Kaga lives off fantasies. But admittedly, Kaga’s ideas are borderline pervert-esque.

Fortunately for Kaga, luck will smile on his fantasies. He would soon meet a girl (Lisara) on a rainy day. Kaga tried to help the wet stranger and welcome her into his home.

Now, here’s the twist: the wet girl is a goddess searching for “the singular man.” After entering Kaga’s home, Lisara would later stab her helper. However, it happened mistakenly.

Kaga and Lisara would later make a deal. The latter will help Kaga fulfill his perverted ideals. And in turn, he will help her get rid of “the singular man.”

However, Lisara took the devious approach. She exploited Kaga’s fantasies to fulfill her means, only to deny him the satisfaction of what he craves. And that’s why Kaga can’t have sex or play H.

Check Out: What Is Shoujo Anime: What You Need To Know About This Popular Anime Genre

To Love-Ru

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Undoubtedly, “To Love-Ru” has the most comedy of all the ecchis on our list. So, if what you seek is rib-cracking scenes even while you delight in “fan service,” this anime is for you.

Like most of our collection, “To Love-Ru” also has a high school premise. Other than that, you can expect the usual romance and budding alien stories.

The story focuses on Yuuki: a shy high school who couldn’t talk to girls. Now, he loves a girl: Haruna. And with more reserved boys, Yuuki can’t seem to confess his love.

Imagine contemplating making a move on the girl of your dreams. Then, suddenly “another girl” entered the picture. The new attraction is Lala: an alien who appeared stark naked to Yuuki while he was in the bathroom.

to love ru best fan service anime of all time 2

Now, here’s the twist: Yuuki must marry Lala instead of his “first love.” He must, so to help Lala to chase off the enemies from her alien planet.

Despite the conundrum of choosing between two love interests, Yuuki would still worry about another girl. Lala’s younger sister, Momo, also wants Yuuki. She even has a plan to share and be part of Yuuki’s harem – if possible.

Check Out: What Is Slice Of Life Anime: What You Need To Know About This Anime Genre

Sekirei

The outstanding feature of Sekirei is the beautiful characters. In particular, the female acts exude jaw-widening beauty. And for the “fan service” part, these delights also possess voluptuous shapes and figures.

However, the plot does project the female characters as somewhat of an object. If you don’t have any reservations about such backgrounds, you will enjoy Sekirei.

The storyline of Sekirei, like most ecchis, features the usual supernatural and romantic backdrops. This time, however, you will enjoy a series of actions too.

About the plot: it centers on a high school boy: Minato. Though not the typical dullard, he could hardly get good grades. Worse: Minato failed his entrance exams twice.

sekirei best fan service anime of all time

Minato’s academic struggles were puzzling to his friends and family. They had already even given up on him. Luck would shine on Minato; he met a Sekirei.

Beautifully, Sekireis are aliens who can unearth hidden abilities with just a kiss. In other words, Minato got a kiss from a Sekirei girl: Musubi.

However, there’s more to the kiss from Musubi than meets the eyes. Now, Minato must pair with the former. Together, they will battle with other units. But Minato can’t complain, the kiss was good!

Final Thoughts

Ecchi anime can be exciting breaks from your usual series. Perhaps you worry about the “fan service.” The sexual content in this genre is softcore and nothing above your age grade.

Beyond the naughtiness, ecchis are comedy series. And laughter is always worthwhile. So, pick any from our list and crack your ribs!

Written by Charlie

I've watched a lot of anime in my days, but that doesn't stop me from watching more. Whether it be new or old, I'll give it a run-through and tell you what I think about it. We're currently living in the golden age of anime with so many great shows out there to watch.

Some are better than others for sure, but they're all worth checking out at least once. My beautiful daughters also love watching animes...well not as much as their dad does!

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