The origin of the term ecchi is uncertain. Ecchi in Japanese is attached to the Japanese pronunciation of the Roman letter "H" which is the first letter in the Japanese word "Hentai", which may be backronym.
The word sekkusu is also used in Japan for sex, and Japanese native words for sex (such as 性交 seikō) are often replaced by words of foreign origin such as sekkusu or neologisms such as ecchi. The nuance of ecchi varies with context, but in general the word itself is comparable to the English words "naughty" or "dirty" (when used as an adjective). The prefix "H-" is sometimes used to refer to pornographic genres: H-anime, H-manga, etc.
In manga and anime
While in Japanese the term can refer to anything perverted, it is also used to describe somewhat gentler hentai or erotic content, which usually is seen as rampant fan service in manga and anime. In comparison to hentai which "is anime erotica" and was adapted "among coy fans and distributors who preferred to use a foreign term for their pornography" in the west, the abbreviation ecchi is seen as softer in meaning than the full term. Calling a Japanese boy "H" might be flirtatious, as opposed to the more insulting "hentai."
Ecchi is meant to be a milder version of hentai and features anime anatomy but avoids explicit content by barely hiding the critical spots. Usually it is used in works that have a focus on comedy and is often described as its own genre, depicting the typical elements.
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