Back when I lived in my home state of California, I visited every now and then a national big chain entertainment media store (which shall remain nameless) where I bought my anime.
In the same aisle as the anime DVDs were the adult DVDs. I do not lie. The anime was shelved on the wall, and facing the wall where display racks holding the adult DVDs. Placards covered the rows of adult media. For example, placards with the Playboy bunny logo, with its pointed ears and iconic bowtie, shielded the Playboy DVDs.
I always hated this arrangement because every time I browsed the anime section I felt the uncomfortable aura of the adult DVDs behind me. My discomfort worsened when children perused the anime wall, looking at the “Pokémon” or “Naruto” DVDs. I always feared their parents would think that I had been looking at the adult section.
Fast forward to the present in Washington. Nowadays, I buy my anime at a national big chain electronics store (which shall remain nameless).
Fate mocks me again. How so this time? The anime is in the same aisle as the adult DVDs! Rather than placards, black barriers bar the DVDs and on the barrier it reads that one must be at least 18 years of age to view. I feel self-conscious when I peruse the Blu-Rays because of their close proximity to the black barriers. And when I want to visit the video game section, I have to walk around the DVD aisles. Why? I can’t walk up the aisle because then people will think I had been looking at adult DVDs.
Why must anime and porn share the same aisle? Is some higher power, whether it be Fate or the corporate machine, saying that otakus are perverts? Yes, there is a sub-genre of anime called “hentai,” which is adult anime and stores shelve these DVDs with the adult media, of course.
I harbor no animosity toward the adult entertainment industry. Back when G4TV transformed from a video game to a men’s interest channel, I always looked forward to its annual coverage of the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas (for curiosity’s sake, of course), and I usually watched its half-hour “Rated A for Adult” documentary series about the porn industry (for curiosity’s sake again). I don’t have a problem with people watching porn, as long as it’s legal.
And think of it like this: By shelving the anime with the adult DVDs, porn aficionados will be characterized as anime geeks.