How did Hentai made its way to America?

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Fireminer
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Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Post by Fireminer »

davemerrill wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:20 am
The Brothers Grime example I posted was dubbed. I think a lot of releases like Legend Of The Overfiend were both dubbed and subbed, but I couldn't say as to exact percentages of dub vs sub releases.
Oh, wow, so it was dubbed. I've just read an article on how professional anime voice actors are stepping into the field of dubbing hentai and adult visual novels. If only they know people have been doing this for decades.

I also wonder if anyone would go to such length to preserve these hentai OVAs? Some records I've read talked about the later 1980s and early 1990s as the halcyon days of hentai in both written and animated forms. Maybe there is some worth in preserving these tapes?

Say, beside just letting the customers walk into the video stores, did the publishers do any marketing to promote their licensed hentai? You can't promote porn in the open, right? I wonder if they had any kind of catalogs or promotional tapes.

(On a related question, I have seen in films set in the 1980s America roadside motels that openly promoted they they had porn to show. Was this a thing?)

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Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

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Fireminer wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:49 am

(On a related question, I have seen in films set in the 1980s America roadside motels that openly promoted they they had porn to show. Was this a thing?)
There still adult stores here and there. There is one for example in between Charlotte NC and Greenville SC on I-85 that only has a billboard up on what exit to take to get there, and the rundown shack of a building off to the side of the road that has their sign at the top. You can promote your business, but you can't really show the "content" of what you carry if your business is in porn. Same with strip clubs and gentlemen clubs. Showing too much would cross decentcy laws. In terms of hotels they don't promote it, but very little channel browsing on the hotel tv's and you can order and preview porn films they offer. I think the furthest hotels will promote that they have porn would be "We Offer HBO" or "We Offer Cinemax" because a normal person will associate that they will get porn with those stations if they stay at that particular hotel.

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Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Post by Drew_Sutton »

DKop wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 5:03 am
Fireminer wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:49 am

(On a related question, I have seen in films set in the 1980s America roadside motels that openly promoted they they had porn to show. Was this a thing?)
There still adult stores here and there. There is one for example in between Charlotte NC and Greenville SC on I-85 that only has a billboard up on what exit to take to get there, and the rundown shack of a building off to the side of the road that has their sign at the top. You can promote your business, but you can't really show the "content" of what you carry if your business is in porn. Same with strip clubs and gentlemen clubs. Showing too much would cross decentcy laws. In terms of hotels they don't promote it, but very little channel browsing on the hotel tv's and you can order and preview porn films they offer. I think the furthest hotels will promote that they have porn would be "We Offer HBO" or "We Offer Cinemax" because a normal person will associate that they will get porn with those stations if they stay at that particular hotel.
Another thing to add onto it, specifically during the time period that the movies Fireminer is watching, is that cable television was still expanding in the US, so many residences didn't have access to cable, let alone premium channels like HBO, Cinemax and the like. Advertising that a hotel/motel had HBO (or Cienmax, etc) showed that they not only had cable (that a lot of people may not already) but they had the premium services, it makes it more attractive to a lot of travelers. While the premium channels would show softcore (at most) porn late at night (to some extent), it was more about just having premium entertainment in your room, that you may not have access to at home. To a business traveler especially, one might pick a place like this for a business trip because when the work day is done, you can at least watch a cool movie or two before going to bed.

About ten years ago, I worked for a company that did pay-per-view of the in-room entertainment services for hotels. Sometime in the 80s, too, in addition to being wired for cable TV, a lot of hotels did in-room rentals/pay-per-view/on-demand movies (usually much newer than either HBO/Cinemax/Showtime and much, much newer than the rest of cable and local broadcast TV), which also included porn. I didn't work on the TV side of the business but from what I heard, a lot of these systems involved manually putting in tapes/DVDs into players that had switches to room circuits. It is probably more computerized now but there were a few hotels that still had these manual systems when I worked there. By the 90s though, these offerings were pretty standard for most major hotels and hotel chains, so not having any of these put your facility at a major disadvantage.
Fireminer wrote: Oh, wow, so it was dubbed. I've just read an article on how professional anime voice actors are stepping into the field of dubbing hentai and adult visual novels. If only they know people have been doing this for decades.
Chances are, they do know. Hentai's had dub options, at least for the last 25 years when there were hentai labels from major publishers like CPM, Media Blasters, etc. I think there is a cultural shift that doing porn as a voice actor, isn't career suicide. Those 90s and 2000s dubs had actors whose names we'd recognize, but they were usually credited under an alias because the US market is weird that there is a perception that folks who do adult work wouldn't be able to work mainstream titles. Same was true in Japan (probably still is). Famously, I think it was Inoue Kikuko (Ah! My Goddess, Ranma 1/2) who was asked at a convention about her role as the lead in Ogenki Clinic, to some embarrassment.
Fireminer wrote: I also wonder if anyone would go to such length to preserve these hentai OVAs? Some records I've read talked about the later 1980s and early 1990s as the halcyon days of hentai in both written and animated forms. Maybe there is some worth in preserving these tapes?
This is a really good question - I think a lot of anime preservation stuff seems to avoid adult work that doesn't have some tie to a more mainstream thing (like the Cream Lemon episode that is supposed to be a precursor to Project A-ko). It is probably a general reflection of fandom, while I've met or seen online fans of all sorts of genres, fans of hentai as an artform seem to be kinda far between and I've never really heard them talk about preserving older works in that genre. I'll admit, that I probably have a bit of confirmation bias in this observation.
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Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Post by usamimi »

I'm positive that there are people who collect older hentai/adult titles, but with the stigma attached to sex in the English speaking fandom spaces, they probably avoid talking about it publically. I definitely see collectors pay more on Ebay for vintage books and vhs tapes of those older hentai titles, so SOMEONE'S at least buying & appreciating them!

I know in the early 00s, there were a few review sites for adult anime titles that were actually thoughtful & well maintained, but they've long since disappeared. Kind of a shame, as something like that would be a helpful resource, but again, hard to say how those would hold up in today's fandom spaces.

I kinda wish I still had those old Rightstuf catalogs with the tear-out "adult" section, as I'm sure that would be a fairly comprehensive look into what was legally available at the time. I vaguely remember one company advertising actually getting porn stars to dub some of their hentai....no idea if it was anyone worth note, or if they were any good at it lol.
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Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Post by Fireminer »

usamimi wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:36 pm
I'm positive that there are people who collect older hentai/adult titles, but with the stigma attached to sex in the English speaking fandom spaces, they probably avoid talking about it publically. I definitely see collectors pay more on Ebay for vintage books and vhs tapes of those older hentai titles, so SOMEONE'S at least buying & appreciating them!

I know in the early 00s, there were a few review sites for adult anime titles that were actually thoughtful & well maintained, but they've long since disappeared. Kind of a shame, as something like that would be a helpful resource, but again, hard to say how those would hold up in today's fandom spaces.

I kinda wish I still had those old Rightstuf catalogs with the tear-out "adult" section, as I'm sure that would be a fairly comprehensive look into what was legally available at the time. I vaguely remember one company advertising actually getting porn stars to dub some of their hentai....no idea if it was anyone worth note, or if they were any good at it lol.
Yeah, I understand the things with defunct websites. Wayback Machine could only work if you remember the URL, and it does not always work well. It's a saving grace that many Tripod and Firedeen (am I spelling it right) sites are still online, and there is at least one big campaign to archive Geocities sites.

Also, if they hire real porn star, then I wonder if MindGeek has anything related to it. That company basically monopolises the porn industry in America.

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Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Post by Drew_Sutton »

usamimi wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:36 pm
I vaguely remember one company advertising actually getting porn stars to dub some of their hentai....no idea if it was anyone worth note, or if they were any good at it lol.
Haha, I had forgotten about that until you mentioned it! I searched because I couldn't remember much more than what you did - looks like it was the dub of Words Worth and according to the wiki featured Jenna Jameson and Nikki Dial. I don't know Dial's name for anything, but Jameson was well known and had some mainstream success, notably as a presenter for E! Networks' Cannes Film Festival special(s) and some guest spots on WWF (WWE)'s wrestling shows in the late 90s. If it was a gamble to get hentai more mainstream in the adult video community, it's probably safe to say it did not immediately pay off.
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Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Post by usamimi »

Ah that might have been it! I'm sure it might have made an interesting footnote on news sites or in adult magazines at the time, but probably didn't leave any sort of lasting impression, lol.
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Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Post by davemerrill »

Over the past decade I've spent a fair amount of time driving between Toronto and Atlanta, and there are still plenty of "adult stores" in rural parts of the interstate highway system in Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, etc. I imagine it's a business model that still works in some areas.

I know here in the modern world VHS is dead and physical media is old fashioned, but there are plenty of folks in the hinterlands who still own & use their VCRs &DVD players regularly; that legacy business might be what's keeping some of these stores solvent. Also, not everybody has decent internet, especially in rural areas. It's difficult to watch or order things online if you have trouble getting online.

It's been interesting to see the ecosystem of adult movie theaters and adult bookstores/video stores just vanish from the landscape. When I was a kid in the 70s they were all over the place, the newspapers would advertise X-rated films alongside Disney re-releases, it was just part of the background. Now they're all gone. Even the venerable Buckhead Art Cinema has been knocked down for condo re-development (along with the rest of Buckhead). I think the last adult cinema in Toronto is now a rock climbing venue (or was, before COVID).

DKop wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 5:03 am
Fireminer wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:49 am

(On a related question, I have seen in films set in the 1980s America roadside motels that openly promoted they they had porn to show. Was this a thing?)
There still adult stores here and there. There is one for example in between Charlotte NC and Greenville SC on I-85 that only has a billboard up on what exit to take to get there, and the rundown shack of a building off to the side of the road that has their sign at the top. You can promote your business, but you can't really show the "content" of what you carry if your business is in porn. Same with strip clubs and gentlemen clubs. Showing too much would cross decentcy laws. In terms of hotels they don't promote it, but very little channel browsing on the hotel tv's and you can order and preview porn films they offer. I think the furthest hotels will promote that they have porn would be "We Offer HBO" or "We Offer Cinemax" because a normal person will associate that they will get porn with those stations if they stay at that particular hotel.

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Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Post by usamimi »

Yup. When I lived in WA, I grew up with Seattle having what was known as "flesh alley" downtown--most of it's all gone now, and a lot of it had to do with both the internet becoming a thing and the general gentrification of the area. The marquee of The Lusty Lady (a 24 hour adult shop and strip show joint) used to be considered a landmark for most folks, since it was bright pink and would cycle through adult puns every few weeks, but they finally closed their doors in 2010. (Fun fact: Nirvana based their smiley-face logo on the one from their neon sign!) https://www.wbur.org/npr/126169558/story.php

There are def still adult stores in rural areas for folks with no internet, but there has been a slight resurgence in adult shops also run by women, nonbinary folks, and queer people in general who want to make sex-positive environments in their communities. I was surprised to find a store run and managed almost entirely by women not too far from me! Sometimes they'll carry books, comics, etc, but not surprisingly most of them focus on the pricier things you'd find in that sort of place rather than trying to sell sexy cartoons. Of course, that was before all this pandemic stuff made everything difficult for everyone, so hard to say how it's effected those types of businesses right now.
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Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Post by davemerrill »

usamimi wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:13 am
Yup. When I lived in WA, I grew up with Seattle having what was known as "flesh alley" downtown--most of it's all gone now, and a lot of it had to do with both the internet becoming a thing and the general gentrification of the area. The marquee of The Lusty Lady (a 24 hour adult shop and strip show joint) used to be considered a landmark for most folks, since it was bright pink and would cycle through adult puns every few weeks, but they finally closed their doors in 2010. (Fun fact: Nirvana based their smiley-face logo on the one from their neon sign!) https://www.wbur.org/npr/126169558/story.php

There are def still adult stores in rural areas for folks with no internet, but there has been a slight resurgence in adult shops also run by women, nonbinary folks, and queer people in general who want to make sex-positive environments in their communities. I was surprised to find a store run and managed almost entirely by women not too far from me! Sometimes they'll carry books, comics, etc, but not surprisingly most of them focus on the pricier things you'd find in that sort of place rather than trying to sell sexy cartoons. Of course, that was before all this pandemic stuff made everything difficult for everyone, so hard to say how it's effected those types of businesses right now.
There's definitely a difference between the old-style sleazy smut shops and the modern breed of cleaner, brighter, more friendly, sex-positive stores. Maybe trying to expand the customer base beyond "creeps" is working!

I spent the 1990s reading indy/alt comics by Seattle based creators, and the Lusty Lady gets namechecked on more than one occasion!

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