Ahegao (あへがお), also called O-Face also called "Oro-Face", is a term of Japanese pornography describing a facial expression of fictional characters during sex often used in pornographic videogames (Erogē), manga and anime (Hentai).
According to a posting in a forum at Niconico pedia the term Ahegao was used back in the early 1990s. Pornographic magazines used Ahegao to describe the facial expressions of female porn actresses during orgasm. In the same context Ahegao was used in some postings at 2channel and its sister community for adult content BBSPINK as well as in pornographic videos at adult E-commerce platforms in the early 2000s.
Between 2003 and 2005 creators of pornographic manga and animation started using extremely exaggerated face depictions of women's abnormal orgasm by unwanted sexual intercourse, hardcore BDSMs, rapes or other sexual assaults. In another posting, it is stated that ero-guro manga artist Suehiro Maruo used this kind of depictions in some of his works in the early 1980s.
In the mids of the 2000s the term Ahegao formed an increase and an evolution of this drawing style and started spreading throughout the otaku culture. 2008 the first Ahegao-themed doujin comic anthology A-H-E was released and in the 2010s major publishers used Ahegao themed comic anthologies. By that time the facial expression was featured in regular pornographic videos during the popularization of hentai fetishes in the real-life sex industry.
Additionally the Ahegao, Ahegao-like silly faces and its derivations sometimes are featured in normal anime works and used in a non-sexual context.
The second part of the word Gao respectively Kao (顔) is kanji and is Japanese for face while the first part Ahe isn't possible to be build in kanji. In Katakana Ahe (アヘ) is an abbreviation for Aheahe (アヘアヘ) which describes a panting or moaning sound. Ahegao can be translated as moaning, panting or weird face.
Ahegao must not be confused with Ahoge (アホ毛) which is the hair antenna which became popular in the Love Hina anime series. Another term which is similar to Ahegao is called Ikigao (イキガオ) meaning coming face in Japanese. The difference between Ahegao and Ikigao is the more realistic drawing style to depict Ikigao face which are to be found in more relatively mainstream works.
Typical characteristics are rolled eyes, a hanging tongue and blushed cheeks, and sometimes star or heart pupils. The characters faces are drawn deformed in Ahegao scenes. Depictions of Ahegao are often drawn intentionally exaggerated to create a surreal effect. The Ahegao face is used to depict different grades of sexual arousal, whether in a consensual context or more often otherwise.
While Ahegao is often used in pornographic mangas, animes, and videogames it isn't exclusively a term of hentai. A number of non-adult works feature Ahegao faces as well often in a parodying manner.
According to an article from Canadian adult game publisher Nutaku Ahegao in combination with peace sign became a meme in Japan which is known under the moniker アヘ顔ダブルピース ahegao daburu pīsu which means double peace ahegao.
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