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Animerama: 1001 Nights / Cleopatra
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(Jun 18, 2018)
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Animerama ( ) is a series of thematically-related adult anime feature films originally conceived and initiated by Osamu Tezuka and made at his Mushi Production animation studio from the late 1960s to early 1970s, perhaps intended as animated counterparts to the then-emergent pink films.
As well as the erotic themes, they are also defined by mixing more typical traditional animation with sequences of UPA and Y ji Kuri influenced experimental use of modern design, limited animation, and still paintings akin to Tezuka s experimental short films and like those largely were all directed, sometimes sharing the billing with Tezuka, by Eiichi Yamamoto. The first, A Thousand & One Nights, was the first erotic animated feature film and, at 130 minutes, remains one of the longest ever animated films. The first two are also notable for having scores by famed composer and electronic rearranger Isao Tomita.
A Thousand and One Nights ( Senya Ichiya Monogatari) (1969)
Cleopatra ( Kureopatora) (1970)
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Both films are interesting to watch because the art style is really not what you're used to from modern anime -- I found it quite European but with some fascinating technical touches including incorporation of live action and models (slightly nightmarishly at the start of Cleopatra).
The first film, 1001 Nights, is by far the better -- its music is cool, the story's intact and the animation is fun to watch in a limited way. Cleopatra is just bonkers and not in a good way -- there's misplaced comedy interrupting an incoherent story and it's not a surprise that there were no more after this. Neither film requires repeat viewing although you might be tempted to watch 1001 Nights twice.
I wouldn't regard either of these as essential viewing -- certainly not at current prices. Buy Belladonna of Sadness instead if you want something form this series or La Planete Savage if you want a bizarre early-70s animated film.