When NTR becomes “Pure Love”. What is Vanilla?

Welcome to Irodori Comics’ first ever blog post!

Love is in the air for Valentine’s Day! But love isn’t limited to “Vanilla“. Today we will cover the ambiguous definition of “Pure Love” in the world of hentai.

What is the definition of Vanilla?

 

  • Do the characters in the story have to be in an established relationship (BF/GF or married couple)? 
  • Is there a need for “romantic scenes” like kissing and hugging? 
  • Is a harem work “Vanilla” if all participants love each other equally? 
  • If two people end up going their separate ways, is it still a vanilla work if the scenes before that were full of passionate sex? 

The questions above aren’t easy to answer. And if you were to ask ten doujinshi readers, you’re probably going to get twenty different answers. 

In the Western doujinshi scene, anything romantic tends to all be lumped into the one genre known as “Vanilla”. Even NTR is divided into sub-genres like Netorare, Netori, and Netorase. All romance works being “Vanilla” does have its limitations.


FANZA tries sub-genres

 

In Japan, adult entertainment platform FANZA, tried to address this “lack of sub genre for romance” problem, by creating 3 sub genres: “Lovey-dovey & Sweet” (ラブラブ・甘々), “Pure Love” (純愛), and “Lovers/ Couples” (恋人同士). 

“Lovey-dovey & Sweet”, as you expect, have a lot of works where characters are exclusive to one another. Although, Sasamori Tomoe’s Living With Succubus” series and Norigorou’s Imaizumi Brings All The Gyarus To His House seem to be included in this category as well, even with its harem coupling.

It doesn’t always have to be boyfriend/girlfriend. FANZA has a lot of incest works in the category as well. A few “voyeurism” works made it in the cut as the couple the MC is peeping at are making sweet love.

*The red circles are incest titles, and the blue circles are Threesome/Harem works. Of the top 22 works in the “Lovey-Dovey” category on FANZA, roughly half won’t fit the “vanilla” category used in the English doujinshi fandom.

Netorase as Pure Love!?

 

But FANZA’s categorization of “Pure Love” and “Lovers / Couples” is where things take a very interesting turn.

As you can see, of the top 3 popular works in “Pure Love”, two of them are Eightman’s “Please Have Sex With My Girlfriend” series (僕の彼女とセックスしてください). Yumeki Banana’s new netorase work and ZUMODAX’s “Crossdressing S&M” work also rank in. 

For the “Lovers / Couples” category, Eightman is in the top row, joined by Alps Ichimando’s “Mother Daughter NTR” work. The thumbnail even has the word NTR on it. 

Love is in the eye of the beholder


This is very interesting because FANZA determined that NTR can still classify as “Pure Love” depending on the context. Heroines entertaining their partner’s netorase fetish is the definition of love perhaps?

With Alps Ichimando’s “Mother Daughter NTR” work, while 75% of the work is cheating sex, both the daughter and the mother “return” to their boyfriend and husband, respectively, so it technically ends with a “happy ending”. 

As strange as it may sound, there is the argument that a woman who is NTR-ed often ends up with a “better/ more compatible man” than their previous partner. If so, this kind of fits the term of “Pure Love”, depending on your definition of pure. 

Because of this, when FANZA held a “Pure Love Sale” in the second half of 2020, a lot of NTR titles ended up appearing on the sale. When NTR authors woke up to seeing their works being part of the “Pure Love Sale”, chaos ensued. Japanese Vanilla fans weren’t exactly happy to see a lot of NTR titles in the sale either.

In conclusion, tagging works isn’t always easy, as some genres aren’t as clearly defined as others. Many have varying definitions depending on who you ask. There are probably ways we can improve our tagging system, but for starters, we’ll try to make sure NTR works don’t get tagged as Vanilla.


I hope you enjoyed our first ever blog post. We hope to keep writing articles that could be of interest for doujinshi fans.

Check out our collection of Vanilla works here!

You can also read other trivia posts here.

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