10 Animated Sexploitation Features from the Sixties and Seventies (NSFW)

For a brief decade-long period in animation history, between the late-1960s and late-1970s, feature animation filmmakers cast aside their inhibitions and created films that aimed to titillate and shock audiences with the novelty of sexual cartoon imagery. Some of the films incorporated sexual content tastefully as part of a broader narrative, such as the Swedish animation/live-action combo Out of an Old Man’s Head (1968), while others like Once Upon a Girl treated their erotic contents as might be expected of a pimply fourteen-year-old hornball. The diversity of graphic approaches was impressive: some of the films made pretensions to high art (Belladonna of Sadness) while others aspired to match the energy of underground comix (Dirty Duck, Shame of the Jungle).

By the early-Eighties, the West disavowed their experiments with this type of content and returned its focus to producing safe family-oriented fare. Japanese filmmakers, on the other hand, were just getting started, and they have continued to explore mature subject matter and themes to this day. The chasm between Western and Japanese animation has never been more evident than in the feature animation category of this year’s Academy Awards: the four Western nominees are unmistakably geared towards children, whereas the sole Japanese contender, Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, tackles challenging subject matter that acknowledges the intelligence of adult viewers.

The films in this post remind us that there was once a time when Western and Japanese filmmakers shared a common taste for pushing boundaries and exploring the boundless possibilities of animation as a narrative medium. Below you’ll find clips, trailers, and in some cases, embeds of the entire films. Plenty more can be said about each of these films, and others from the period such as the works of Ralph Bakshi, but perhaps the first step is to simply acknowledge the existence of this period in animation history.

  1. Out of an Old Man’s Head
    (1968, Sweden)
  2. Directed by Per Åhlin and Tage Danielsson

  3. 1001 Nights
    (Japan, 1969)
  4. Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto

  5. Cleopatra, Queen of Sex
    (Japan, 1970)
  6. Directed by Osamu Tezuka and Eiichi Yamamoto

  7. Do It! Yasuji’s Pornorama
    (Japan, 1971)
  8. Directed by Takanori Miwa and Shinichiro Takakuwa

    No animated clips from this film exist online. It was based on the comics of Yasuji Tanioka. The most comprehensive English-language description of the film I’ve found is on the Fantasia Festival website:

    Japanese society, in the opinion of Pusu-o, “satisfies all the urges of hunger, but not the urges of the loins.” Then again, Pusu-o is scrawny, awkward and hardly the handsomest guy in town. More to the point, in matters of a romantic nature, Pusu-o conducts himself with an absolute lack of grace, restraint and general respect for women. Not surprisingly, his sex life is an endless succession of obnoxiously over-the-top come-ons and maniacal attempts to get some action, all of which culminate in total strike-outs. Pusu-o’s own father is soon on hand to add insult to injury (the injury being the constant, gushing nosebleeds Pusu-o endures—the nasal blood geyser being Japanese cartoon shorthand for sexual frustration), and the cock blockage continues at Pusu-o’s new job as a car salesman—until a trio of older women misinterpret his advances, intended only to make the pretty Yukiko jealous. The antics continue at a later date, when the married Pusu-o is cuckolded by an horny little birdie. When the humiliated surrogate dad witnesses the sexual prowess of the tryst’s offspring, matters culminate in a finale worthy of the most bombastic Japanese tragedy.

  9. Belladonna of Sadness
    (Japan, 1973)
  10. Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto

  11. King Dick
    (Italy, 1973)
  12. Directed by Giorgio Terzi

  13. Shame of the Jungle
    (France/Belgium, 1975)
  14. Directed by Picha and Boris Szulzinger

  15. Once Upon a Girl
    (USA, 1976)
  16. Directed by Don Jurwich

  17. Dirty Duck
    (USA, 1977)
  18. Directed by Charles Swenson

  19. Historias de amor y masacre
    (Spain, 1979)
  20. Directed by Jorge ‘Ja’ Amorós


  • Maybeeg

    “Yasuji’s Pornorama” was produced at a studio called Tokyo TV Doga. It was a short-lived animation studio that sprung up when the TV anime boom happened in the 1960s. It was only around for 8 years and in that time the studio went through THREE names. “Tokyo TV Doga” was its second name; the first was “Nihon Hoso Eigasha”, and the third was “Nippon TV Doga”.

    “Pornorama” was its only theatrical work. The final show produced by Nippon TV Doga was the first “Doraemon” series from 1973. After that, the studio disappeared, along with most of their work. About half of the “Doraemon” episodes they did are lost. By all accounts, they were a pretty crappy studio.

  • Beamish Kinowerks

    The original cut of DIRTY DUCK is fascinating. It was screened at the Cinefamily a while back from Joe Dante’s personal print, which is now in the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

    • Nikolas

      Dirty Duck (aka “Down and Dirty Duck”) featured music/songs by Flo & Eddie (who used to belong to the American rock band “The Turtles”). Mark “Flo” Volman also did the voice of the Duck.

      Dirty Duck was released to DVD several years ago but seems to be out of print now. If you can track the film down, it’s worth seeing and is quite funny in parts.

    • Andrew Kieswetter

      I used to think Dirty Duck was based on the underground comic strip by Bobby London. I found out later it wasn’t.

  • Hankenshift

    Cool. I’ve seen a few of these. Most ultimately not terribly interesting for anything other than historical reasons. Especially that awful Japanese cartoon Cleopatra. Wow—what a mess.

    • Cameron Koller

      I find Cleopatra to be the opposite of awful. A mess, perhaps, but I’ll take that sort of visually and thematically engrossing mess over clearly structured mediocrity anyday. Belladonna of Sadness, on the other hand, I’ll defend as a masterpiece.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Those “Animerama” movies do go all over the map in terms of what visual or thematic ideas were employed in each. I recall watching Cleopatra back in the VHS tape-trade days without subs and found it pretty hard to figure out besides the numerous montages that bridge between the action. Mushi Productions’ Belladonna of Sadness can also be seen as the swan song for a studio that started the whole TV anime tend in Japan from day one.

  • http://www.aceandson.com/blog Richard O’Connor

    It should be noted that the US version of “Shame of the Jungle” was re-written by Michael O’Donaghue, one of the small pantheon of American comedy writers.

    • Beamish Kinowerks

      also the creator of PHOEBE ZEIT-GEIST, which is long overdue for rediscovery among fans of graphic novels.

  • jhalpernkitcat

    I’ve definitely heard of King Dick, and Once Upon a Girl as well as Shame of the Jungle to a lesser extent because Picha also directed Snow White:The Sequel, a 2007 sexploitation film–which I also have heard of.

    However, for me, the most infamous example sexploitation animation I’ve ever seen in my opinion has to be something called “Snow White and the Seven Perverts” (Ger: Schneeflittchen unter die Sieben Bergen) You really don’t need subtitles to understand this one. It was created in 1973 and is from West Germany. 11 minutes of memorable weirdness.

    • Andrew Kieswetter

      Have you seen Bob Godfrey’s shorts ‘Henry 9 to 5′ or ‘The Karma Sutra Rides Again?’

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Oh I remember that (one version though somehow had some odd narration dubbed over to decry the use of pornography as if it was being used as a case example).

  • Nik Leuthold

    The character in number 4 looks a bit like Ren Hoeck :-P

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    This is the first time I’ve heard of Do It!:Yasuji’s Pornorama. But I’m familiar with most of the others. You left out Picha’s The Missing Link.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I wouldn’t put it past them. It was a period led by artistic decadence!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I especially enjoy Bio Woman myself, though “Instant Sex” is perfect as well.

  • Tril

    King Dick is Shrek without the dated pop culture references, and with pr0n.

  • bring down the shadow govt

    Just goes to show how many amazing foreign films never got distribution in the states.

  • Crimson Mask

    What it really comes down to is that Bob Crumb’s work isn’t all that special. Bakshi’s Fritz adaptation makes a better story if nobody has actually seen it (which was usually the case for a couple of decades, as the legend grew).