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What really is Ecchi Manga?

ecchi manga

The Ecchi genre, in simple words, is a term for adult or sensual themed manga and is pronounced as “Etchi”. But in broader terms, ecchi covers so much more than “sensual” themes.

In Japanese, the word has come to define works with sensual overtones, mostly the ones which are considered offensive, crude or against the basic morals of the society, but these works have a wide range that is covered by “ecchi manga”. However this is what the genre originally meant. Nowadays, it has been modified by the Japanese fans to mean “playfully hot” or soft-core and is not to be confused by “hen-tai”.

The works that fall under the Ecchi genre do not show sensitive content like sensual inter-course but those themes and actions of those natures are either mentioned or referenced. Ecchi itself is a part of several other genres like the harem, shounen or seinen manga because of the nature of the themes it brings to the table.
Ecchi themed mangas are mostly targeted at male youth or teenagers because of the soft-core sensual representations. Nevertheless, the extent of the sensual references depend on the type of series i.e the level of nudity or the sensual activity exhibited depends on what the storyline demands.

The manga that are ecchi themed do not show explicit sensuality but the lingerie in those mangas are often important for the description of the female characters.

What does it really show?

To summarize, the Ecchi genre features soft sensual arousal themes like sensualised clothes and/or wet clothes along with flirting, sensualised double ententes and misunderstandings at a comical level whose demographic audience is mostly male youth. Even though, exceptions exist that sometimes target female teens.
Ecchi manga is not to be confused with or even associated with hen-tai manga because they are completely different. Hen-tai is more hardcore and adult when it comes to its sensual themes. Unlike ecchi, it exhibits explicit sensual and pervy behavior and therefore, targets a more mature audience for its manga. Ecchi, comparatively, is more romantically playful, cute and hence, more fun to read for light entertainment.

Manga like Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san are considered ecchi as well.