Anime Expo® just finished, taking place in the Los Angeles Convention Center on July 4th-8th, is the de facto largest anime convention in the United States. It’s large enough to attract Japanese artists, bands, and even movie premieres! Over 110,000 anime fans endured the 100F+ weather to do things like see what anime studios like TRIGGER had to say or check out Fate/Grand Order’s VR simulation demo. Of course, there’s something else that takes place in the heart of every anime convention that we set our sights on this year – the Exhibit Hall!
If you ask the average anime convention fan what they go to a convention for, the Exhibit or Dealer’s Hall will be one of the frequent top picks for fans. At a convention like Anime Expo, an attendee could spend an entire day wandering the halls and seeing all of the merchandise for sale. Even in the era of internet stores, a convention like Anime Expo is a rare opportunity for fans to get a real-life look at merchandise from Japan. Deep in Anime Expo’s Exhibit Hall, though, our favorite topic has been growing and expanding every year, resulting in this year being Anime Expo’s biggest year for hentai!
Years ago at Anime Expo, you’d infrequently find a couple of dealers selling hentai merchandise (usually doujins) with subtle ’18+ ONLY’ signs around their booths. With hentai’s boom in popularity, Anime Expo has been changing their rules around selling hentai which has helped these heroes’ booths reach even greater proportions! Now you’ll find hentai behind the closed walls of larger booths such as Fakku & J-List spread throughout the Dealer’s Hall, and a brand-new addition of a walled 18+ area has let booths like Nutaku really embrace the lewd with their wall art!
Enough with the preamble, though – let’s get into what you really want to hear, and that’s the lusciously lewd merch being sold at AX!
Fakku ran one of the most popular hentai booths at Anime Expo this year. It was hard to miss; entering the exhibit hall you could see their classic ‘F!’ logo high in the sky over their booth. Lines to get inside Fakku’s booth were enormous; it took us about an hour to get into the booth after lining up just minutes after the Exhibit Hall opened. The line would cap frequently with line control asking people to come back in half an hour to see if there was space to line up. Many fans weren’t deterred though, as every time we walked by the Fakku booth we’d see the same long line circling the booth.
Fortunately, to pass the time they had menus of available merch to buy being passed through the line. The menus didn’t do the booth’s interior justice, though. As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted by a wall of incredible ahegao faces drawn by ASANAGI; this wall was a tribute to Fakku’s own ahegao shirt which is the first shirt produced that has all art of it provided by and commissioned by the artist! That means that every purchase of the shirt put some money in the artist’s pocket, unlike other ahegao shirts that use art without the artist’s consent. Good job, Fakku! Fakku also had a variety of other shirts, skate decks, and – of course – hentai manga to purchase! We may or may not have snagged a copy of Koume Keito’s School Love Net (among other things) while we were there – look forward to our review of that soon!
J-List, much like Fakku, had their own walled garden outside of the 18+ area at AX. The lines to get in weren’t as bad, but even during less busy periods you could expect to wait at least 30 minutes to get in. Even if you weren’t familiar with J-List’s name, though, you knew what you were getting in line for as soon as you saw the entrance’s curtains (which were unfortunately not for sale!). J-List has a huge assortment of items to sell, though. Everything from hentai manga, (usable) hentai pillow covers, shirts, wall scrolls, boobalicious mouse pads, and even sex toys! Everything was reasonably priced, and even some things cheaper than you could find online!
MangaGamer ran a smaller 18+ area on the general show floor, but they really went at lengths to show that size doesn’t matter! Even though their 18+ area was about the size of a hallway, they had so much amazing stuff for sale! Did you know that they produced a physical copy of HuniePop that they sold at AX? That’s a hentai collector’s item if I’ve ever seen one! On top of that, MangaGamers sold a variety of different hentai games, merchandise, and, of course, lewd body pillows for days! The staff at the booth were very friendly and happy to give recommendations out of the games they were selling; we got some great recommendations to purchase after the convention (mostly because CD Drives are getting harder and harder to find these days!).
After hitting up all of the obvious 18+ areas above, it became to hard to miss the giant sign in the back corner of the convention hall denoting where all of the other lewd action was at. Lines to get inside Anime Expo’s own 18+ area in the Exhibit Hall was bonkers; we heard stories of 2+ hour waits at times to get in. Once you got inside, however, a whole new land of hentai opportunities awaited you that made every second you spent in line worth it!
Walking inside the 18+ area you’re immediately greeted by a giant banner from Nutaku of their fully nude mascot! This was the first sign of all of the potential the 18+ area had to offer. Nutaku was at the convention representing all of their games. One of their featured games, Custom Order Maid 3D2, would have never flown on the main AX Exhibit Hall. It shows the realization of what we’ve all wanted for virtual reality since it came out – VR fucking! Nutaku even brought some of the staff of Custom Order Maid 3D2 to the booth to talk about the game and they were demoing it all throughout the convention. On top of that, Nutaku had plenty of free goodies, like stickers of their adorable mascot, to get if you were there early enough!
Other booths at the 18+ area ranged from booths like ImagineVR showing off some of their own VR porn games and DLsite showing off their own selection of hentai games to a fully stocked sex shop with all sorts of wonderful toys! A lot of the booths in the 18+ area would have been hard to pull off with the same flair on their own. There was something about walking in and immediately being greeted by all sorts of hentai visuals and merchandise by a variety of companies that made it feel incredibly special. For Anime Expo’s first year at attempting something like this, we think it was a great success! In the future, it would be nice to see a larger space incorporating all of the Exhibit Hall’s 18+ merchandise. This would make it harder for booths like J-List and MangaGamers that had merchandise to sell outside of their 18+ sections, but as it stood you would spend an entire day waiting in different lines to get to all of the hentai in the Exhibit Hall. Grouping everyone together in a space with more capacity would really help avoid this, and of course we’d love having a bigger space to have even more hentai at the convention next year!
Outside of everything else, there was plenty of lewd art and hentai themed merchandise outside these 18+ areas to feast your eyes on. Be sure to check out some of our favorites in the image gallery below! If you didn’t go to Anime Expo this year, did we convince you to go next year? If in just a few years we went from sporadically placed hentai booths to the utopia of hentai merch and booths we have now, imagine what Anime Expo will have in store for us next year!