Blockbuster is a relic of a previous technological age, phased out by Netflix and the convenience of being to stream from the comfort of your own home .  Once upon a time however, it was where everyone went when they wanted to rent movies, shows, or video games.  This is where I discovered a whole new variety of anime outside of my early morning staples like Samurai Pizza Cats, Dragon Ball Z, or Sailor Moon.  They gave me my first glimpse into timeless anime like “Grave of the Fireflies”, “Akira”, and “Metropolis”, but they also gave me my first look into “ecchi” anime.

 ENTER THE ECCHI 

Panty shots were a CONSTANT during Agent Aika: Naked Missions

I still remember waking up on weekday mornings with my little sister because she wanted me to watch Sailor Moon with her (and it became one of my favorite anime), and I had an affinity for the Mahou Shoujo genre because of that.  So when I saw an anime called “Devil Hunter Yohko” and read the description and saw that it was about a girl who transformed to fight demons, I was 100% pumped.  Little did I know this was going to be my first venture into animated breasts and the world of ecchi anime.

The first thing I was surprised about when I got home was that the VHS tape was white, I had never seen this before and thought it was cool as hell.  My mom worked the night shift and only slept a little before picking myself and my sister up from school in addition to taking us by Blockbuster, so she went into her room to take a nap right after we got home. I went into the living room and  popped Devil Hunter Yohko into the VCR.  

Started off as your typical anime, until the main character happened to transform.  Yohko transformed like they did on Sailor Moon, except her body was not glowing and sexy angles were not hidden by conveniently placed skirts or ribbons.  I got to see bare breasts and her butt in all their glory as Yohko twisted her body and held her hands out to complete her outfit.  I had no idea something like this existed within animation, and I found myself rewinding that part constantly as a kid.  I had no idea how this managed to sneak itself in, but someone must’ve read the box and thought it would be fine without actually taking the time to look at the video.  Hell, even in the first episode you had a scene where a boy got possessed by a devil and basically used its power to sedate Yohko to try and rape her; they even stripped her down to only her underwear, sucked on her nipple, and put their hands inside of her panties!

There were also a few times I rented a series called “Agent Aika: Naked Missions”, something I still refer to as the “King of Panty Shot Anime”.  Girls getting knocked out, walking, or fighting were put in angles where you could clearly see their panties and it happened frequently throughout the episodes.  I remember even being so fascinated with it that I began to actually start drawing panties and the angles the legs were at for panty shots, even having to lie and explain to my Mom that it wasn’t what it appeared to be when she actually found a few of the drawings I had tucked away into a binder. For someone who only only manage to steal a few glances at his uncle’s dirty books that he kept locked away in his closet sometime, it was crazy to think something this lewd existed in 2D form while slipping right under adults noses because it was animation.  

Knowing these types of anime actually existed made me look for them as a kid, especially since I knew that my Mom believed wholeheartedly that cartoons meant it was made for children and featured no adult content whatsoever.  This allowed me to even buy my very first ecchi anime VHS, “Variable Geo”, when we went to a store called Suncoast to look around even though it clearly had “18+” on the back of the box (and was that familiar white VHS tape color I recognized from Devil Hunter Yohko).  Variable Geo was about a martial arts tournament that featured waitresses from different restaurants in public matches broadcasted around the world.  These waitresses battled for premium real estate in whatever city they wanted and a prize of 10 million dollars.  However, if any woman were to lose they had to strip completely naked (only their bare breasts were shown in the anime) in front of the crowd as punishment while the world watched.

 FINAL THOUGHTS 

I will always remember Blockbuster for introducing me to ecchi anime, and how someone was not paying attention when putting them in a section most adults were going to believe were for kids.  While I rented things like Berserk, Record of Lodoss War, and Hellsing, those panty shots from Agent Aika and bare breasts from Devil Hunter Yohko will always live fondly within my memory; you never forget your first!

I’m curious to all of you who were also kids who discovered different anime through Blockbuster when it was still alive and well.  Did you learn about ecchi anime through them?  Did you also watch any of the titles I saw or was my VHS of early anime glory one of the few that slipped through the cracks?  Feel free to let me know!