9 Manga Artists Who Totally Drew Porn


?Porn’s ability to kickstart a career is undeniable… in Japan, at least. Sure, in the west, porn is a multimedia industry that’s seen as wrong and gross and something to be generally frowned upon by polite society. But in Japan, porn is a multimedia industry that’s accepted, encompassing games, comics, anime, and, of course, live-action. The end result of this is that the Japanese are far more forgiving of people who started their careers in porn, allowing them to launch mainstream careers at almost any point — indeed, if your “work” is popular enough, porn can be the first step in a long and legitimate career.

If that’s true for Japanese porn stars, it’s extra-true for the guys who draw hentai. Hell, practically all of people in the manga industry have some ties to porn anyway, whether it’s through a shared publisher, the behemoth of doujinshi
(fan-made comics) and of course, actual porn made by the manga-ka at some point in his/her career. No one cares. Many of the most famous and beloved manga artists out there started their careers drawing pornography. Here are 9 of them.

WARNING: THIS LIST IS PROBABLY NOT SAFE FOR WORK. It contains several pictures of hentai artwork — they’ve been censored, so they’re technically safe for work, but only you know if your workplace will freak out if it catches you staring at drawings of naked manga girls, even if their naughty bits are covered.

9) Oh Great!, Tenjou Tenge

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?Oh Great! (seriously, that’s his pen name) is best known for creating non-pornographic manga like Tenjou Tenge and Air Gear, which are so fan-service-heavy (and in the case of Tenjou Tenge, sexual assault-happy) that his many readers wish they were more pornographic. It should come as no surprise that he started his careers drawing the same things, but with more visible nipples. Great eventually realized he might as well give some context to the nakedness and get some mainstream recognition in the process. Admittedly, his work is still incredibly naughty, but the statement still stands, dammit!

8) Rei Hiroe, Black Lagoon

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?Black Lagoon is pretty much The Expendables with tits, so Hiroe’s hentai past is probably pretty obvious. However, unlike many of the artists on this list, he’s still making porn. Seriously. The man could easily make a healthy living drawing Black Lagoon alone — the residuals from the anime adaptation probably aren’t anything to sneeze at, either —  but he still finds the time to openly makes hentai doujinshi of other manga, anime and videogame series (like the Street Fighter one above), under the name pseudonym TEX-MEX.

7) Maki Murakami, Gravitation

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?Gravitation was the first boy’s love — a.k.a. yaoi — manga to hit the mainstream in America.

A little knowledge for the knowledge’s sake: Yaoi is an acronym meaning “No climax, no point, no meaning.” It’s guy-on-guy porn made by girls for girls. The basic formula is this: the seme, the attacker (seriously) sets his eyes on the uke, the receiver (also seriously), and romance ensues. Maki Murakami is one of the many female manga-ka who basically give the fan girls what they want, because she’s made several unlicensed hentai doujinshi of her own characters, explicitly performing the acts that are more tastefully conveyed in the manga.

6) Kenichi Sonoda, Gunsmith Cats

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?If ’80s anime had a face it would be Kenichi Sonoda. The man was the character designer for a number of very high profile anime series hat were big on both sides of the Pacific, including Bubblegum Crisis. He’s probably better known today for his long-running Gunsmith Cats manga, which isn’t afraid to show a few (or more) boobs). One of this other side projects include the character designs for Idol Fighter Su-Chi-Pai, a strip mahjong videogame. Beat the pretty girls in mahjong, they take their clothes off. There was an anime adaptation of the game (of course), which was brought over to the U.S. with the nudity cut out. Go figure.
5) Toshiro Ono, Pok?mon

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?That one Pok?mon manga that was actually good? It was drawn by Toshiro Ono. The Electric Tale of Pikachu was the first Pok?mon manga brought to America during the height of the craze, and Pok?mon comics were all downhill from there.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that he made a living drawing other titles under the name Kamirenjaku Sanpei… titles like… Anal Justice. ANAL. JUSTICE. If it’s any consolation, I’m as devastated as you are.

4) Kouta Hirano, Hellsing

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?Anime and manga fans love Kouta Hirano. The man is a nerd’s nerd, plus he has a great sense of humor, especially about himself. Just look at him. He’s adorable. His series Hellsing is a cult hit in America and Japan… and every single character in the series came from a porn comic he drew first. I’m not kidding, That’s it, above. Google the rest of it if you don’t believe me. Alucard? You guessed it.

Seras Victoria? Yep, and she’s in chains, might I add. Alexander Anderson? Yer darn tootin’ The major? Yes even the major, though to be fair he is called Montana Max. To put this into perspective, imagine if Joss Whedon made a porn flick called Shmuffy the Shmampire Shmayer back in 1995, and the only difference between it and Buffy‘s first episode is that they took out all the sex.

3) Johji Manabe, Outlanders

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?Although he’s pretty much forgotten today, Johji Manabe was one of the forerunners of manga in the U.S., back when manga was only sold in single 32-page issues. The man had, in my opinion, instantly iconic character designs, which struck the perfect balance between cute and sexy. Basically, every manga-inspired, English-language comic like Ninja High and Megatokyo is emulating him to some degree (consciously or not) and those awful Draw Your Own Manga books always have his style in mind.

He was very prolific, capping it off with a 27-volume manga called Ginga Sengoku Guny?den Rai which ended in 2001, and then he just… stopped. And then he started drawing porn, which he’s done exclusively since. Weird porn. Cat ear porn.

2) Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell

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?Shirow is a weird guy. The dude wrote some of the craziest, most prescient sci-fi in all of anime, and is a damn good artist to boot. He is also a huge fucking pervert.

It’s uncanny. It’s like the guy has a split personality between Isaac Asimov and R. Crumb. In fact, the original Ghost in the Shell manga had two pages of Major Motoko Kusanagi engaging in hardcore lesbian shenanigans (why, there’s one above!) with several sexy cyborg ladies, which were conveniently dropped in the original American release. Dark Horse has since put them back in (look for the shrink-wrapped version).

1) Kiyohiko Azuma, Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba&!

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?Kiyohiko Azuma has written two beloved, adorable, all-ages manga series: Azumanga Daioh, a comedy about a bunch of high school girls who become friends that’s funny, heart-warming, and not even slightly perverted; and Yotsuba&, about a precocious 5-year-old girl who is constantly amazed at what the world has to offer. They’re both wonderful reads, and perfect for for young children and adults alike, seriously. So learning that Azuma got his start drawing hentai under the name Jyonokuchi Jyoji is kind of like learning Jim Henson got his start directing porno flicks under the name Rod Banghard. For extra creepiness, ask yourself why both Azumanga Daioh and Yotsuba& are published in a comics anthology targeted at teenage boys.