PopLurker Convention Coverage: Hentai-Con 2018

PopLurker would like to thank Hentai-Con for providing us with Press Passes in exchange for event coverage.

 

Bowsette-Con 2018.

Sausage-Fest 2018.

…Bonerland?…

Forget you read that last one.

Hentai-Con is a first-year convention that took place at the Marriott Hotel in Burbank, California on November 2nd-4th 2018. Count it, kids. That’s a three-day expo and it’s only the show’s first run.

Bold decision. Definitely, definitely bold.

Which is something that a convention modeled after animated pornography should be. In fact, as someone who tries to match their T-Shirt to the convention at any show I do press for, I have to admit that for Hentai-Con, I wore my rhinestone studded pink bra and a tank top.

Tits out for Hentai-Con, that’s what I always say!

No really– I wouldn’t shut up with that line. I thought it was very clever. I’m surprised I have any friends left.

Starting with the typical convention nails to hit on the head, Hentai-Con was extraordinarily successful. First off, let me compliment the paper brochures they made. Those were gorgeous. And probably not cheap, but just that little bit of effort and nice paper goes a long way.

The show was packed to the brim with programming and activities. The vendor hall was full with a pretty good variety of wares. Honestly, maybe even over-packed. There were definitely a lot of exhibitors in there and the bulk of them were artists selling their X-Rated illustrations. No big surprise there- its Hentai-con. We’re there to see adult-themed art and products.

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These were freakin’ awesome

Since we’re discussing the vendor hall, I’ll stay deep inside of it for now. (See what I did there? Hentai-Con.) It was (positively) unique in there. By that I mean, not only did you have the obligatory naughty pop-art, but there were dildo/vibrator/sex toy vendors! VR Porn Experience vendors. Dirty comic books for sale. Doujin! Sexy maid costumes. Waifu pillows. These are the exact things that belong inside of a Hentai-Con expo hall.

And keep that in mind, because we’re going to come back to discuss the topic of adult-themed conventions and how successful I felt (based on my own biased opinions) Hentai-Con was.

One thing I learned while scoping out the Expo Hall and talking to different artists and vendors was about trends in Hentai. Now, I’ll be straightforward and say that I haven’t seen a new hentai in a little while. All I need are PornHub clips these days, and I can’t pinpoint when some of those shows were made.

Back in the early 2000s, it was easy for me to watch a whole bunch of stuff. There was hentai released on DVDs and we were in the middle of the Napster/Morpheus/Limewire boom. All I had to do was learn a title, and bam. I could download entire series of shows. And I did! My favorites at the time were:

  • La Blue Girl
  • Venus 5
  • Bible Black
  • Cool Devices
  • Wicked City
  • Legend of the Overfiend
  • F3
  • Immoral Sisters
  • Whatever else my young, sex crazed eyes could get its face on.

And because I came of age in the late 90s, there were tons of anime movies that just had accidental hentai scenes. It’s just kind of the way things were back then. Plastic Little? Sure, throw them tits in there. Ninja Scroll? Yeah, there goes that rock monster with his tongue in her lady parts. Devil Hunter Yohko? Commence booby sucking.

You get the idea. From what I’ve seen in modern anime, these sensibilities are just sort of expired. That said, going back to hentai trends, did you know that tentacles aren’t in fashion anymore? I thought they were a standard, a forever-trope, but not anymore! They weren’t anywhere to be found at Hentai-Con. One artist even admitted to me that he only has one tentacle print available because it was a commission request.

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Tentacles may be out, but Loli sure as hell is in. Commence discomfort…rising…

But let me tell you– Wendy from the fast food chain sure showed up a lot.

Meme Culture is strong, friends.

Now, the convention itself was pretty full. Every panel room (and trust me, there were like, seven!) was full. Each one had a stuffed itinerary and people waiting to go inside for the next presentation. There was also a whole mess of security there, more than I’ve personality seen at most conventions. Although there was no bag check. Not that I necessarily need either to feel safe at a convention, but I’m not going to lie and pretend I didn’t hear someone yelling “I have a bottle of Everclear in my bag!” off in the distance.

Hentai-Con was one of those conventions where there was no way I was going to miss out on the Cosplayers. That’s when the number of Bowsettes really started to rear their heads. Everyone donned their Bowsette best, sex and gender be damned!

Other than the torrent of Bowsette costumes, it was cool seeing some of the scantily clad costumes. But Hentai-Con was a show where honestly, other than a few gender-bent Bowsettes, there were no male cosplayers. That’s not an exaggeration. I don’t think I saw any.

Now, remember when I said earlier that I was going to discuss how successful I thought Hentai-Con was on an 18+ Adult Themed Convention Level? Well, this is that part of the movie. I think the vibe and atmosphere seemed a little nervous. Like all of us accepted that we were here at this Adult Oriented show, and yet none of us were quite certain what to do with that information. How tame or bawdy was this convention supposed to get? What were the limitations of how (safely) rowdy the crowd was allowed to be?

I can’t tell you how awkward it was in that video game simulator room with a whole bunch of dudes surrounding a video screen, watching a disembodied hand tug on a video game character’s nipples while the guy controlling the game sat in a random chair wearing a VR headset. Like, a circle of boners is a no-go for me.

So what is a yes here at Hentai-Con?

Clearly, I’m not suggesting there be some sort of sex show on one of the stages (unless everyone else at the party is cool with that. I mean, tits out for Hentai Con, right?). But what I am saying is something should have been done, maybe by the staff, to sort of guide us into what we were supposed to do with this Hentai-Con information. After all, we were all Hentai-Con virgins! Take the reigns and make it an unforgettable first time!

I do wish there was a better female-to-male ratio. All of the women there, save for myself, were with men or a date. Because of this, all of us ladies there sort of automatically bonded. I think this is a reflection of our society and the unfair rules placed on women that we’re not supposed to enjoy sex, admit to enjoying sex, or have agency over our sexuality. It’s a reflection of the dichotomy between enjoying hentai/pornography as a legitimate sexual medium, or laughing about it because you think it’s ridiculous and weird. I mean, think about it– what’s the first thing someone says when they’re trying to be sexy but they just can’t embrace it?

They say: ‘I feel silly’.

Maybe we should do something about this now. At next year’s Hentai-Con (and I really do think they’ll make it to year two!) let’s have panels about sex, sexuality, different fetishes in hentai, comedy hentai and what that means, dark hentai and what that means, a video room with hentai playing constantly, the history of hentai and sexuality in early anime. And last but not least, and I mean this…let’s have that hentai moaning contest!

Motto. Haiyaku. Kimochi.

Ikku.

 

Loryn is watching some classic echi on Twitter.

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PopLurker’s Hentai-Con 2018 Gallery

 

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