6) Women Issues, Tentacle Issues
Case Studies: Wicked City, Ninja Scroll, and Lots of Other Things Directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Director Yoshiaki Kawajiri is known first and foremost for Ninja Scroll, a cavalcade of sex and violence that proved to be one of the biggest cult anime hits among Americans in the 1990s. And yet Ninja Scroll, a film where the female lead is violated several times, is progressive compared to what happened when studio Madhouse first let Kawajiri loose on a project in 1987. Kawajiri made Wicked City, which features a spider-woman with a fang-lined vagina, a blob-woman who tries to suffocate and absorb her sex partner, and a demon-seductress woman who psychically transforms her body into a giant vaginal symbol before she's gunned down by the hero. Oh, and there are plenty of demon tentacles to go around.
Wicked City somehow dodges the label of outright pornography, and for that reason it deserves mention here. It's a mediocre film beneath all of its horrors, but it's also a 90-minute study of psychosexual repression and a journey into the warped mind of Kawajiri, who's basically comic author Frank Miller with a helping of vagina dentata issues. Ever wonder why people stereotyped anime as tentacle porn before Pokémon and Dragonball Z took over? Wicked City has some answers.