(This post might be about porn, but it is completely SFW, I promise. No lewd links or images here! If you want porn, go look it up yourself.)
In the world of ero-doujins, porn is art in the most literal sense. Thus, it should come as no surprise that I pick my favourite doujins almost solely on the basis of their aesthetic qualities. Don’t take this to mean that I don’t care about the story – as I’ve argued elsewhere with regards to animation, you can’t easily separate visual art from the storytelling. What I am saying is that a comic’s capacity to titillate is inherently tied up with the artist’s mastery of comic art techniques.
Besides the obvious things like anatomy and perspective, a pornographic comic is most effective when it invites us to imagine the actions between the frames (i.e. the gutter, to use comics terminology). You’ll notice that with manga in particular, the most accomplished artists will portray a particular position through multiple angles, often using closeups to convey the characters’ emotions. Replicating cinematic techniques is a common tactic among manga artists in general, but it’s especially useful when depicting the intensity of a sex act, given that a) a lot of the movements are repetitive, and b) the setting/environment doesn’t usually change between panels. Indeed, the comic form may even be superior at conveying a cinematic sexual encounter than your average low budget porno film, given that there are no limitations on where the artist can place their “camera”, so to speak.
Now, despite the rather academic language in the paragraph above, I’m not terribly immersed in the world of ero-manga. (Why are you looking at me so skeptically?) In fact, the more I think about ero-manga, the more I realise that I typically enjoy the action leading up to the sex more than the sex itself. Once the characters get down and dirty, it’s just… underwhelming? This is not a knock against the skill of all those talented artists. Rather, it seems that a visual representation of sex can’t outdo the imagination. This is probably the reason why I generally prefer ecchi content over outright pornography.
Having said that, I do like some ero-artists a lot. Although the only artist I actively keep tabs on is Tsukako, I’ve followed her since her Code Geass years in 2009, so it’s been a long ride. Thanks to her doujins, I played Tales of Graces and Granblue Fantasy, and I also read the Ore to Kanojo no Moeyo Pen light novel. She does typical vanilla stuff, and despite finding most vanilla plots utterly banal, I’m consistently charmed by her work. It’s hard to explain why.
If I had to pin it down on something, it would be her equal emphasis on the ero and the kawaii. Her female characters might have an innocent moe look about them, but they also have large assets (if you know what I mean).
The way I see it, oppai is the nectar of life. But when it comes down to it, the thing I like most in these manga is the emphasis on female sexual agency. I can name six Tsukako works off the top of my head where the action begins because the girl literally starts masturbating. And it’s not like their sexual interest in the guy exists to convey what a sex god the bloke is. You can generally understand why her heroines are sexually attracted to their love interests because their relationships are given some buildup. It might also be due to the somewhat “shojo” influence Tsukako brings to her artwork, complete with soft pen lines and cute boys.
For those of you familiar with Granblue Fantasy’s original character designs, these ones are clearly quite different, although still recognisable. You can see how Feather in particular is a lot more “moe” compared to his original design (see here). It’s all very cute and non-threatening, which might explain the appeal for someone who prefers a clear distinction between “vanilla” and “exploitation” works. (If there’s one thing that annoys me, it’s sexual coercion dressed up as ~romance~. Rape fantasies are fine, just don’t pretend they’re not rape.)
As you might be getting the impression, there are a lot of things about pornography I don’t care for. By book-ending the sex scenes with cute jokes and lightweight ecchi scenes, Tsukako manages to offset the things I don’t like about porn. Even so, I still end up re-reading the non-H scenes over the H ones, because eroticism is something that artists can express without actually depicting the sex act itself. For me, it’s just enough to know that these characters have sex lives and I can fill in the blanks. Case in point: I didn’t show a single erotic image in this post, but I’m feeling pretty good in my nether regions.
In conclusion, lewd anime girls are great. Praise lewd anime girls!
So what do you like/dislike about erotic manga? Got any favourites? Since I won’t be censoring any dirty stuff, feel free to go wild in the comments. Just keep that in mind if you choose to read the comments. Oh, and no kink-shaming, anyone!
“In conclusion, lewd anime girls are great. Praise lewd anime girls!”
I think from this post, I’ve kind of figured out how to explain my preferences in NSFW material. One point that you bring up a lot is the idea of honesty in a sexual relationship, and how the intimacy of porn is at its best when left to the imagination of the viewers. I couldn’t agree more because I’ve always considered the act of “consuming” porn kinda awkward, but at the same time, there’s this feeling of mischief as you browse through countless NSFW sources. It’s a bit like an adventure, where I’m on the crusade to find the perfect material worthy of my, uh… time? Well, in essence, by being able to feel things such as the emotional weight in the atmosphere prior to, or during sex through the awkward dialogue, there’s a bit of a vicarious feeling that you really can’t get through simply watching people fuck. And that’s true for me regardless of how attractive the characters are… except maybe in the case of cute innocent girls, or as most people would call them, “airheads”…
In other news, I just bought a shirt with the panda from from Exhentai on it. One day somebody will get the reference and I’ll call them a huge hentai baka!
One day, you’ll be telling that story to your kids: “That’s how I met your mother.”
I just started reading the manga “Umibe no Onnanoko” which depicts a sexual relationship between two middle schoolers. When I say I just started, I mean that I am literally on the fifth page of the first chapter so I don’t know if I’m in any position to be recommending it. However from what I’ve heard, the story focuses heavily on the emotional damage that a no strings sexual relationship can have on the two participants and the people around them. Like I said, I’m only on the fifth page so I don’t know if it’s a masterpiece but I have heard great things about it. But I can already tell that it focuses more on the story and its themes than the actual sex. But then again, I don’t know. But there is only one way to find out.
Now I’m done reading it. As said before, the story revolves around a purely sexual relationship between two middle school kids (they are both in their third year so they are fifteen…..and I’m not a pedophile (besides I prefer my boobies big)). Anyways the sex scenes themselves were at hentai quality. It started pretty vanilla but it slightly got more extreme by the end. But what amazed me was that the sex scenes did not overshadow the story, instead it acted as an extra spice to the entree’. It mostly emphasizes on the psychological and emotional damages of the characters, especially the difficulty of dealing with such adult dilemmas at a young age. So yeah, pretty interesting. My only complaint would probably be the emo MC Kun but other than that it goes to show that sometimes you can get more out of a porno than just the sex.
…but just sometimes
This sounds really interesting! I’ll definitely check it out.
This is something that has ended up being true for me as well recently, I have been playing eroges when I get the chance over other erotic content and the parts leading up to the sex are so much better than the act itself, even if the art and sex are well done. Obviously, the line between a good eroge and an amazing one ends up being which does both things right.
Not so much the case with manga, mostly because the buildup tends to be a lot shorter in those (though I enjoy a good buildup as well, ans buildup is important regardless even if short because it affects how invested I’ll be in the characters), and even less in anime.
I end up going for the girls which tend to be the most playful (I also like them comfortable with their sexuality but still retaining a certain level of shyness) before the act because I find that a lot more satisfying than going for a girl which I might like during the act.
Even if the girl isn’t that great in bed, as long as she can keep it up until then, I’ll be satisfied.
Yeah, this is especially true for visual novels. Unless you’re playing nukiges, most visual novels are often more about the build-up to the act than the act itself. People can say what they want about visual novel H-scenes, but I always see them as the perfect climax (heh) of romance development between the MC and the heroine.
Not many reviewers take eromanga seriously, which is a shame. The funny thing is, you can tell that Frog-kun takes it a little too serious. By approaching eromanga on an academic level, its easy to lump everything together and talk about it in general. You can tell that Frog-kun has a hard time not viewing things through his ‘academic-glasses’, which is why there is a certain vagueness when he talks about something like eromanga. Like he doesn’t know or care enough about it to talk about it.
But I totally agree with your view on ecchi. It’s all about the tease. About sparking the imagination of the reader instead of just showing them what happens.
The only eromanga I read is Nozoki Ana, which had both good story and good art.
Frog-Kun is being very very gentle with the “academia”. One could go much much further out into -cough- -cough- the weeds. I will add only a few observations. The sex generally portrayed needs much more foreplay, preferably without too much fetish fuel. One assumes that there are at least two complete human bodies being depicted, there should be more than orifice ramming and buckets of sweat. Even attempts to depict oral are too often perfunctory. One is supposed to get the idea that the 2 like each other A LOT, usually, neh? And build-up that turns out to be all fetish with no consummation begins to look like it is just sneering at certain ex-Tokyo governors. Oh lookee, they didnt really have sex so you can’t bust me. Neener neener nyeh nyeh!
Aside from that, scanlators do not bring out enough new work by Kurogane Ken. I will admit that Dowman Sayman does beautiful ecchi. The Hotel series, especially. And thanks to other posters for the other recs, espec the ones with feels.
Ooops, forgot: anything smutty by Rendou Kurosaki – even the odd little “gay” thing “ON”, possibly the only bit of m-m smut that ever moved me rather than annoyed +/or set off ‘phobe reflexes. RK has a way with hot sweaty louche physicality and emotionalism that works for me and I really like RK’s female characters. The one where the annoying sister tries to freak out the guy and his girlfriend is priceless.
Well, I only read one eromanga, so I’m not an expert on it, but I do know quite a lot about stuff like eroge, ecchi, nukige, hentai and all that.
When Frog-kun talks about things like Oregairu or Hyouka, I feel like I can relate to it. I’ve seen these series and read about halfway in the light novels. I mean, I can see what he wants to say. Obviously, I can’t relate to his examples about eromanga because I’ve read none of them. But his observations about eromanga and by extension, other things like hentai, seem very vague to me, like I don’t really get what’s he trying to say. In Oregairu, you can talk about the physical distance between the characters being a metaphor for their emotional distance and it will make perfect sense, but if you try to apply things like this to something like eromanga, (and it looks like he’s doing that when talking about anatomy and perspective), I think you’ll hit a dead end. It’s not about anatomy and perspective, but what is actually happening, perspective is simply a means to an end.
But well, that’s just my opinion.
Well, you’re talking about a massive problem in the ‘otaku world’. If you don’t know Japanese, you only have access to translations, which aren’t always available.
Tune in next time to see which devil will Frog-kun sell his soul to!
Oh, how far has a good man fallen!…
Anyway, you know your stuff, that I agree. What seperate a good ero mangaka from a bad one is how they present the story leading up to the sex – That is, except the “NTR-ed by old men” type.
This post actually make me want to draw up a comparision with the ultra-violence mangas. Most of them are like the ero mangas, which put a heavy emphasize on the characters outside of battle (as in most shonen fighting ones, anyway). But I can say that there are some that really do away with it and stun the readers with the fights themselves and nothing else.
NTR is another thing altogether. There’s certainly a lot one can say about the cuckolding fantasy, and NTR adds an extra sadomasochistic twist to that. Out of all the hentai fetishes, I’d say it’s one of the more “interesting” ones…
Tbh, I prefer smut to porn, dunno if it’s because I don’t have a D to rise to the occasion, but if there’s too much sex it gets pretty tiring and repetitive. Smut brings the sexy without overwhelming the story or character growth. But eh, I can’t say I read much hentai/hetero sex things, so my perspective is different perhaps.
Smut is definitely the spice of life~
Eeh, rape…rape is far too used in manga/Japanese stories to “start” love which actually really is tiring. If it’s used I want it to have gravity, and not just pushed under the rug /sighs deeply
Good art definitely raises interest for manga, smut specially needs good art, I tend to be more forgiving if a manga is beautifully drawn 😂
“I don’t have a D to rise to the occasion”
I burst out laughing when I read this. That was amazing, thank you <3
I aim to please (○´3｀)ﾉ
Well…recently I`m interested in a mangaka called kosuke haruhito and his last work Futari. Wow this is really strange since I don`t talk about eromanga very much haha.
Hey hey, no shame talking about eromanga! Thanks for contributing!
[…] A friend of mine recently said that the circumstances of eroticism intrigue him more than the actual…. If that’s the case, then this anime will bore him by the first fucking frame. […]
Incidentally, one of my pet peeves is the fact that so many people who draw H-art don’t understand how to convey eroticism with the form. In a medium where you can pretty much exaggerate the human body in all sorts of ways, they always choose the most prominent and generic areas to exaggerate. The masses of flesh always feel stuck on – like they’re just being voluptuous for the sake of being voluptuous without having a proper body structure.
If only H-artists actually bothered to study crazy artists like Egon Schiele (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Egon_Schiele_-_Zwei_sich_umarmende_Frauen_-_1911.jpeg), the artistic landscape out there would be a lot more interesting.
It’s even more irritating when you consider that Japan has an entire artistic history of creating subtle eroticism in woodblock print works:
Thankfully, for Umibe no Onnanoko, Inio Asano has his godly art skills and has no problem using the bodies to create beautiful moments like this:
The artist I can think of closest to capturing that Schiele-esque eroticism is the guy who wrote Sundome:
That perfect curve of the back is absolutely luscious.
By the way, the best H-manga I’ve ever read is probably Seihonnou to Suibakusen written by Sayman Dowman. Mainly because it’s a H-manga but it’s written in the surreal comedy vignette style that he uses for all his other works.