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How did Hentai made its way to America?

Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:12 pm
by Fireminer
I know that back in the 1990s, you could hire porn on VHS from rental stores ("behind the curtains" and things like that, right?). But what about Hentai works? How did they made their way to America? I suppose that some early fans had already obtained some tapes or manga from their Japanese sources, right? And nudity was not a weird sight to fans at the time, given all the OVA they licensed.

Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:08 pm
by runesaint
I recall Cream Lemon tapes being circulated late eighties/early nineties. I even vaguely recall 'fan dubs' of that going around.

Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:57 pm
by _D_
A bud of mine had an LD of the first one that got transferred to tape. That got subbed by other friends. I think I still have the tapes around here someplace. But I started to get things from my penpal (copies anyway) from then on. But mostly not so heavy stuff like Project A-ko, or the Lemon Angel and Cream lemon series. I guess i COULD have got him to get me just about anything, but at the time, why watch animated and censored stuff when you could just watch American Exxxtacy on your BUD?

Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 3:39 pm
by davemerrill
if you're not at work you can look up "Offenders Of The Universe" and "Gonad The Barbarian" - these were two early hentai anime videos that were dubbed and released by an American adult video company in 1986 or thereabouts. I know one of the videos is the Cream Lemon "Star Trap" episode. So hentai anime was getting released in America while it was still relatively new in Japan, which is an interesting thing, I guess.

I know it didn't take long for "Legend Of The Overfiend" to make its way to the US. It was being bootlegged and shown in nightclubs (!!) pretty soon after its Japanese release.

Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:58 am
by davemerrill
found some images of the VHS box art of an early American hentai release:
Gonad-the-Barbarian-The-Search-for-Uranus-very.jpg
Gonad-the-Barbarian-The-Search-for-Uranus-very.jpg (32.99 KiB) Viewed 1142 times

Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:00 pm
by usamimi
Yeah, much like more popular anime back in the day, if someone could get a copy, eventually bootlegs would pass around like wildfire. And if it was "adult" related, then probably even moreso!

I also remember seeing titles like La Blue Girl pop up in even my small mom-and-pop video store almost as soon as it was officially released in the US. Which probably did NOT help the stereotype that anime was nothing but sex and violence, I'm sure! :roll:

Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:19 am
by Fireminer
davemerrill wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:58 am
found some images of the VHS box art of an early American hentai release:
Was this show or other hentai works dubbed in English, or were they subbed only?
usamimi wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:00 pm
Yeah, much like more popular anime back in the day, if someone could get a copy, eventually bootlegs would pass around like wildfire. And if it was "adult" related, then probably even moreso!

I also remember seeing titles like La Blue Girl pop up in even my small mom-and-pop video store almost as soon as it was officially released in the US. Which probably did NOT help the stereotype that anime was nothing but sex and violence, I'm sure! :roll:
Mom-and-pop stores? Were those the places with the black curtains for customers to preview porn? I wonder if hentai was included in that group.

Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:38 am
by usamimi
I think the example Dave posted was (poorly) dubbed, iirc? I haven't seen that one myself, but it was pretty notorious back in the day.

Ironically, that stuff SHOULD have been in the black-curtained-off-back-room-for-adults, but nope...they put it in the "special interest" section right next to the workout tapes, music videos, and non-adult anime lol. It was pretty wild seeing La Blue Girl on the same shelf as Streamline's Secret of Blue Water dub. :lol:

Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:20 am
by davemerrill
"Mom and pop" video store means a locally owned business, usually family owned and operated (hence "mom and pop"). Smaller cities will have mom and pop grocery stores, restaurants, hardware stores, etc. Video rental stores were a good opportunity for someone to start their own business, and while the larger chains like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video might have company wide prohibitions on renting X-rated films, the smaller businesses would not. Many would have a back room curtained off, displaying "must be 18 to enter" signs.

Of course, local laws may prohibit X-rated materials from being sold or rented, so not every video store would carry these films, regardless of their ownership.

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.

Re: How did Hentai made its way to America?

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:58 am
by Drew_Sutton
davemerrill wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:58 am
found some images of the VHS box art of an early American hentai release:

Gonad-the-Barbarian-The-Search-for-Uranus-very.jpg
Haha, holy crap - I never knew these things were that old... One of my college friends had one of these tapes (I think it even made a really early Akihabara Renditions appearance) but I never checked for a copyright or release date on the box. I just figured it was some weird off brand thing from the 90s after other US publishers were releasing hentai. The Brothers Grime stuff was dubbed that I saw; probably everything was as they were probably trying to go after a more mainstream audience than other publishers.
Fireminer wrote: Were those the places with the black curtains for customers to preview porn? I wonder if hentai was included in that group.
The black curtains were for keeping the videos, hentai or otherwise, out of public view and provide some plausible deniability if kids/minors wandered in to tell them to leave. Customers couldn't preview the videos there; some explicitly adult video stores might have booths set up where you could but they were physically separated rooms.

A couple of the adult video stores and sections I've been to would have some hentai there, but usually off in it's own little genre section. By the time I was old enough to get in there, hentai was pretty commonly licensed and not as "shocking" as probably in the 80s or early 90s.