Cleopatra 1970 animerama
Alexandre Rodrigues da Costa
4 min

Animerama: The Influential Erotic Animations of Osamu Tezuka

4 min

In addition to being known for having redefined manga to the point of being revered in Japan as " the Father of Manga" " the Godfather of Manga" and " the God of Manga" (Manga no Kami- sama), Osamu Tezuka also ventured into animation for cinema and television.

thousand and one nights osamu tezuka

Fig.1. 'A Thousand and One Nights ' (1969)

'A Thousand and One Nights osamu tezukaFig.2.

animerama osamu tezukaFig.3.

Full of Explicit Violence

If he began his career publishing manga for children and young people, in 1967 he created COM magazine to compete with Garo magazine and the gekiga movement. Upon becoming editor of COM magazine, he changed his stories to more realistic approaches, aimed at an adult audience. Thus, his mangas began to explore the ambiguous nature of human beings with stories full of explicit violence, erotic scenes and crimes, as we can see in Dororo, published in 1967, and whose anime adaptation was televised in 1969.

animerama osamu tezuka animationFig.4.

thousand and one nights osamu tezuka animationFig.5.

thousand and one nights osamu tezuka animation 1969Fig.6.

Unlike Disney Films

By founding the production company Mushi Productions in 1961, Tezuka entered the animation industry in Japan. His first production was the film Tales from a Certain Street Corner (Aru Machikado no Monogatari), which, unlike Disney films, was an experimental animation that stood out for being a denunciation of militarism and wars.

cleopatra osamu tezukaFig.7. 'Cleopatra ' (1970)

cleopatra osamu tezuka 1970Fig.8.

cleopatra osamu tezuka 1970 animationFig.9.

Arabian Nights

In 1969, Osamu Tezuka continued to produce films for an adult audience, when he started Animerama trilogy, consisting of the films Thousand and One Nights ( 1969 ), Cleopatra (1970) and Belladonna of Sadness (1973). With a thematic erotic, Thousand and One Nights, directed by Eichi Yamamoto, is an adaptation of the ancient Arabic anthology One Thousand and One Nights, also known as the Arabian Nights.

animation Cleopatra 1970 osamu tezukaFig.10.

animerama CleopatraFig.11.

Cleopatra 1970 animeramaFig.12.

Flying Carpet

The film begins with the adventures of Aladdin, a traveling water seller, who falls in love with Miriam, a beautiful slave on auction in Baghdad, who ends up being bought by Havasalakum, the son of the chief of police, and goes on to show various characters taken from the anthology such as twojinnisi on a flying carpet, green Gin and pink Ginny, who have been married for 500 years, and keep having sex every night in the form of different animals. In the animation, there are many representations of naked women and scenes with simulated sex, but all according to Japanese censorship, that is, without exposing female or male genitals.

belladonna of sadness Osamu TezukaFig.13. 'Belladonna of Sadness ' (1973) 

Belladonna of Sadness 1973Fig.14.

animerama trilogy osamu tezukaFig.15.

280 Million Yen

In addition to exploring eroticism, the film mixes traditional animation, still images and a different character design than was common in Japanese animation at the time. Thousand and One Nights was a critical and public success in Japan, reaching more than 280 million yen, unlike what happened in the rest of the world, where the film went almost unnoticed due to its limited release as it happened in the United States.

belladonna of sadness1973 Osamu TezukaFig.16.

In the Premium edition of this article much more details on the films Cleopatra and Belladonna of Sadness the failure of the first and the allegorical aspects of sexual violence in the latter. Also including more striking imagery.

Click HERE for the sex and satire in the anime Kaifuku Jutsushi No Yarinaoshi.