Ryuji Sawada erotic manga
Alexandre Rodrigues da Costa
4 min

Ero Gekiga And Cinema: The Cinematic Violence And Eroticism Of "School Of the Holy Beast" By Ryūji Sawada

4 min

Who Is Ryuji Sawada?

Ryūji Sawada, though not a well-known name in the manga world today, stood out in the graphic arts and Japanese pop culture of the 70s and 80s with around 35 books, 72 magazines, and 7 anthologies. His work, influenced by the social context and entertainment trends of the time, is classified within the ero gekiga genre for exploring adult themes involving the depiction of sexual acts.

Ero Gekiga Ryūji Sawada


Ryūji Sawada


The Rise Of Ero Gekiga

The 1970s were a period of great cultural transformation in Japan, marked by the evolution of children's entertainment manga into more mature and complex forms of visual narrative known as gekiga. By addressing themes such as sex, violence, and social criticism, a variant of gekiga emerged, known as third-rate gekiga, or erotic gekiga, magazines. By 1979, more than 60 magazines classified as third-rate gekiga were circulating, including prominent titles such as Gekiga Alice, edited by Kamewada Takeshi; Manga Erogenica, edited by Takatori Ei; and Manga Great Pleasure, edited by Kotani Tetsu. The rule for these magazines was: “As long as it’s erotic, you can do whatever you want.” As Kaoru Nagayama notes in his book "Erotic Comics in Japan: An Introduction to Eromanga": “Under the alibi of the erotic, third-rate gekiga secured its freedom, absurdity, and vanguard character.

Ero Gekiga


Ryuji Sawada's Erotic Manga


Ryuji Sawada  Manga


Ryuji Sawada's Erotic Manga

Within this context, Ryūji Sawada stood out for his ability to create art that not only provoked excitement but also evoked a complex range of emotions. His mangas, though filled with erotic content, were never merely pornographic. Instead, Sawada used eroticism as a tool to explore deeper themes of power, submission, faith, and corruption. One hallmark of Sawada's work is his ability to blend different genres to create something new and original, as he does in his most well-known work, "School of the Holy Beast.

Ryuji Sawada erotic manga


Ryuji Sawada erotic


Ryuji Sawada Ero Gekiga


"School Of the Holy Beast"

"School of the Holy Beast" (聖獣学園) tells the story of a young woman whose mother joins a convent and mysteriously disappears. To uncover her mother's fate, she enters the convent, only to discover a world of flogging, sexualized corporal punishment, and a perverted mother superior. The situation worsens with the arrival of a depraved bishop, who, feeling abandoned by God, decides to brutally punish the women in the convent. The manga is a fusion of genres, combining elements of Japanese pinky violence and European nunsploitation cinema. The story is rife with eroticism and violence, but it is Sawada's artistic approach that truly stands out. His knowledge of the erotic is used not pornographically, but to intensify the sordidness necessary for the narrative. Sawada's ability to convey a wide range of emotions through his art, with minimal expository dialogue, gives the story a cinematic feel that few mangas achieve.

School Of the Holy Beast


ryuji sawada School Of the Holy Beast


Premium teaser

Ryuji Sawada film School of the Holy Beast


Ryuji Sawada film School of the Holy Beast  nunsploitation


The extended Premium edition includes numerous bonus features including more on the film adaptation of "School of the Holy Beast" (1974), what it makes a unique work in Japanese cinema, the nunsploitation subgenre, pinky violence, Sadean influences, the aesthetics of Sawada's erotic manga, and 46 additional images of both his manga and the 1974-movie.

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