I’ve written a lot of reviews for this site, many of which were developed as treatises towards my obsessive worship of the animated female form (of which I have zero regrets). Every once in awhile, though, I like to shake things up by venturing beyond my comfort zone. I sometimes like what I find and blossom into new and fascinating fetishes. Other times I quickly “nope” out of what I’m seeing and suppress the memory with a few pictures of kitty cats and puppy dogs. So why not shake things up a bit with a little monster-themed horror erotica? Gakuen Shinshoku: XX of the Dead, an animated adaptation of a visual novel, struck a chord because of its depiction of tentacle sex which straddles that very fine line between sensuality and nightmare.
It was to be a day like any other–which is always how it starts. A peaceful day with light snowfall descends into hellish chaos as the students at an unnamed high school fall prey to their former classmates and teachers who have been infected by a mysterious creature. The upcoming scenes at the school serve as a microcosm of a seemingly global threat as society begins to collapse under the weight of this new, violent threat. Students Houichi and Tsutsuji get a front-row seat to the apocalypse as the people around them are turned into mindless creatures that know nothing more than to increase their numbers as violently as possible. Houichi spends much of the first episode in a panic as his sister Touka, whose weakened countenance as a result of anemia, has made her especially vulnerable. His fears are justified as she becomes a victim of a large, bulbous tentacle monster that breaks her will through intense sex before turning her into its thrall. The scene is very much a display of erotic horror as a capture Houichi is forced to watch as purple tentacles wrap, rub, and penetrate poor Touka before devouring her whole. Tsutsuji arrives too late to save her classmate’s brother, forcing them to retreat and regroup as Touka endures more appendage-heavy intercourse while inside the belly of the beast as she is turned into its thrall. Things don’t get much better after for our intrepid survivors who find themselves getting picked off (and got off, hey-o!) by exponentially growing threat. By the time the anime ends on a tremendous cliffhanger, the school will have been overrun, Hoichi is forced to make terrible decisions, and we bear witness to a unique evolution of the strange lifeform that raises more questions without answering them.
Gakuen Shinshoku makes good on its delivery of tentacle sex with a steady stream of scenes in which the creature finds creative ways to get its victims to cum, wearing down their strength in order to make them easier to infect and control. Despite the inherent horror of the situation, the sex scenes are pretty hot as the gals are wrapped up in slimy appendages, many of which take on unique shapes and forms to elicit maximum pleasure. There’s one scene in particular where the creature forms ridges and pronounced bumps on itself before furiously rubbing the poor gal’s nethers. The first episode of Gakuen Shinshoku splits its time evenly between plot exposition and sex but when the second episode rolls around, all bets are off as more and more scenes involving the clever use of morphing, pliable skin reveals creative sexual applications. Houichi is forced to flee the school as more of his female classmates are turned and overtake the school. We’re left guessing the fate of everyone involved — especially Touka who seems to have been chosen as the tentacle monster’s human avatar — because additional episodes have yet to be produced. Talk about a huge, epic bummer!
Strip away the explicit unconventional sex and what you’re left with is a creepy horror experience that has all the classic trappings of the zombie/behavioral infection genre. Survivors are left to fend for themselves against a threat that appears largely unstoppable. With barely any weapons or the means to innoculate against the disease that spreads through direct tentacle-on-skin contact, it is really easy to fear for these students who cannot remotely defend themselves. Just like in zombie movies, there are characters who think they have an understanding of the situation only to be proven wrong in the most comically tragic ways. Coupled with scenes of body horror and some light vore and Gakuen Shinshoku makes for some unsettling viewing. As erotica, the series doesn’t hold anything back. The female characters are shown with their clothes torn, bodies covered in slime, and (my favorite) their boobs wrapped and squeezed by the fleshy, tube-like outgrowths. There are lots of internal shots of tentacles skittering about a woman’s insides which are left uncensored, which might come as a surprise to viewers who might be accustomed to Japanese pornography. The country’s law on obscenity prevents the depiction of penetrative sex so pornographic artists like Urotsukidoji creator Toshio Maeda found a way to skirt the issue by using tentacles, making the argument that they aren’t penises, merely extensions of the creature! Clever!
It’s a real huge bummer that Gakuen Shinshoku XX of the Dead ends with such a cliffhanger, leaving Houichi’s in the air. What will his experience out in the world will be like and other questions such as how can he survive such a terrible menace, will he hook up with any survivors, and what will happen to those that have been infected but retain some level of autonomy and will are anyone’s guess. I suspect those who played the game might have a better perspective than the rest of us. Despite that, if you’re looking for dark hentai that features a boatload of tentacle sex, then this is one not to skip!