Hentai: slang for the Japanese term “hentai seiyoku” which literally means sexual perversion. A word used by Western fans of anime to signify anime/manga as being of the pornographic variety.
It was 1990 and I was in my Junior year of high school studies when I was first introduced into the savagely perverted and darkly magical anime world that is hentai. This particular genre of anime existed years before this particular pick of anime, but it wasn’t until the release of the anime adaptation of mangaka Maeda Toshio’s manga series, Chōjin Densetsu Urotsukidōji that this anime subgenre reached cult status and has gained more and more fans since (though some would shout very loudly to no one and everyone that they never go near such things).
Chōjin Densetsu Urotsukidōji (translated in the West as Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend) was adapted by anime director Takayama Hideki in the late 1980’s and his version of Maeda’s manga was much darker with a heavy dose of violence and sex. In Japan, scenes both in live-action and in animation would get censored if it involved male genitalia penetrating female genitalia. This is where the famous Japanese mosaic censorship becomes the bane of fans worldwide. Takayama was able to get around this particular censorship through the use of prehensile tentacle-like appendages to sit in for male genitalia. Thus the anime/manga term “tentacle rape” was born and that description pretty much explains it all.
While Maeda found Takayama’s adaptation as repugnant, cruel and sadistic he still had much admiration for the anime director’s darker vision of his manga series. Maeda would soon incorporate more sex and violence in future installments of his many manga series (Yōjû Kyōshitsu Gakuen, Adobenchā Kiddo and, the quite popular classic hentai series, Injuu Gakuen La Blue Girl). While later manga in Maeda’s body of work became more humorous in tone they still shared a common foundation with his most famous work, Chōjin Densetsu Urotsukidōji, through the themes of horror and the paranormal combined with sex and violence.
I would best describe Chōjin Densetsu Urotsukidōji as a melding of H.P. Lovecraft with Larry Flynt with a major dosage of Aleister Crowley and Marquis de Sade.
To say that as a high school Junior this particular anime shocked me to no end would be an understatement. If the term “WTF?!” was available for usage in 1990 I probably would’ve shouted, uttered and rambled it aloud through the length of the OVA. This was anime that was very different from what I was used to. It was like suddenly watching favorite childhood anime such as Robotech, Starblazers and Voltron suddenly showing its XXX side.
While a flood of hentai anime has since been widely available to anime fans since the release of Chōjin Densetsu Urotsukidōji in the late 1980’s the granddaddy of the genre will still remain Maeda Toshio’s manga and Takayama Hideki’s anime adaptation of said manga. From the most die-hard hardcore anime fan to the newest noob tot he genre there’s one common denominator which link the two groups of fans and that’s they’ve all seen or, at the very least, have heard of the famous (infamous some would say) Chōjin Densetsu Urotsukidōji. If I had to get all Peter Travers and bring out my hyperbole pen I would say that this anime is the Citizen Kane of hentai.