Warning: This review contains mild spoilers and discusses rape and sexual assault. And also tentacles. Seriously, you have been warned.
Japan has a (somewhat unfair) association with rapacious tentacle monsters in the Western popular consciousness. I say somewhat unfair because while tentacle hentai is certainly a thing, to associate it with Japan as a whole is rather like associating America with Dinosaur erotica, given the sheer plethora of it published on Amazon. Even if Chuck Tingle is popular enough to achieve recognition outside of literotic circles, the fantasy of fucking (or being fucked by) a dinosaur is still a pretty niche one in America. And yet, this image of tentacle porn being mainstream and distinctly Japanese persists, which raises the question of “Why?”.
Part of the answer is simply that if you associate an entire country, culture, or race with something “weird” or “unnatural”, it’s easier to other them. But as for the question of why Japan and tentacles specifically, the explanation lies with a single piece of adult anime, that being Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend.
This work was simply scandalous. Getting an NC-17 rating in the US and making the Video Nasty list in the UK, parents were utterly baffled, because how could this movie possibly be adult-oriented when it was animated? Everyone knows that animation is only for children! But Urotsukidoji defied everything your no-fun parents told you about cartoons, which made watching it an act of rebellion. As such, the anime quickly spread like the penis tentacles of its titular Overfiend, to wreak havoc on the peace of mind of parents throughout the 90s.
I myself was too young to experience this wave of popularity. I do remember at least being old enough to hear its name in hushed whispers as part of the scary, horny anime you could find at Blockbuster, but I was far too young (and honestly too disinterested) to try and watch it myself. And yet, as someone who considers himself a kinky anime nerd, I rather owe it to myself to give Urotsukidoji a watch. So, does this anime deserve its title of classic, or has it aged as poorly as most overly edgy media from the 90s?