For non-anime fans, there are a lot of things about anime that they really don't understand, especially when they see something without much context given. And admittedly, even for anime fans, there are parts of hentai that they don't quite understand either. One of the most famous of these unique phenomena is shokushu or tentacle erotica. Many people know that it exists, or have seen bits of it whether they wanted to or not. It's brought up as the butt of jokes sometimes or is the first thing your non-anime watching co-worker assumes you spend your evenings watching when they hear you like anime. But what exactly is shokushu? Where did it come from? And for the curious, what one should I watch?
First questions first, what exactly is shokushu? As previously stated, it is tentacle erotica, and quite often, tentacle rape. Shokushu refers to hentai where girls are penetrated by any sort of tentacle-like object, whether it is a creature like an octopus or an alien, a demon, or even a machine. The variety that the tentacles can take is limited only by the imagination of the writer. Most of the time, tentacle sex is nonconsensual, but sometimes the girl is okay with it however rarely. Shokushu is often found in the horror hentai category because of how extreme it can be, sometimes involving body horror elements or graphic rape.
So where did this terribly unique concept come from? Shokushu, as a concept, has existed in Japanese culture long before anime. The most famous historical example is an illustration from a novel called The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife in 1814. It started showing up in hentai in the 1980s. With how strict Japanese censorship laws can be about what can and cannot be shown in animation, shokushu made its way into hentai as a loophole. The girls were not depicted in a usual sexual situation - such as in a bed being penetrated by a man with a penis - but rather were with a gender-less, tentacled creature. Shokushu made it around the censorship laws and into hentai, and it's still around today.
So do you want to give it a try? Just how extreme do you want to go?
Shokushu Alongside the Plot
Hentai tends to have varying levels of actual plot and character development depending on the show. Sometimes there is very little and it's all just a small backdrop in which to have sex sequences. But sometimes, especially when a hentai has more than one episode, there can be quite a complex story just like in regular anime. Shokushu hentai is the same way.
Sometimes, the tentacle action isn't actually the focus of the hentai at all. The hentai may have another story entirely and the sex is just supplemented by some tentacles, too. The shokushu might be how all the sex is, but often it's in addition to other, non-tentacle sex sequences as well, just to add some variety. If you want to see a bit of shokushu but don't want it shoved down your throat (or the character's throat, for that matter), this is perfect for you.
Mahou Shoujo Ai
- Episodes: 5
- Aired: Aug. 2003 – Feb. 2005
In Mahou Shoujo Ai, there have been a number of mysterious attacks happening to the town residents that have been attributed to some unknown supernatural force due to the strange nature of them. One night when the main character, Akitoshi Akishima, is outside he hears screaming coming from a nearby material yard. Going to investigate, he discovers the most beautiful girl from his school, Mikage, suspended naked by creatures known as Yuragi that are attacking her - and then begin to attack him! Lucky for them, a powerful girl named Ai Kagano, a new student from their school, shows up to fight the monsters, but who is she really? There's definitely more to Ai than meets the eye!
Mahou Shoujo Ai is not lacking in sex scenes amongst all the fighting - it is a hentai, after all! And when it comes to the supernatural Yuragi and their attacks, you can expect some shokushu action for sure. When they suspend the characters up with their limbs, there's going to be some tentacle sex to follow. However, Mahou Shoujo Ai is not a purely shokushu sex hentai. It also has plenty of more traditional sex scenes that make it similar to a more usual hentai. The shokushu is there and it does happen for sure, but it happens alongside other sex and in support of it rather than as the focus. It makes anime like Mahou Shoujo Ai good bridge for a hentai fan who wants to try out watching shokushu but isn't sure how they feel about it yet. It lets you get your feet wet without jumping in the deep end.
Shokushu Supporting the Plot
In our first category, whether or not shokushu was a part of the hentai was not important - the story could stand with or without it. But if you're looking for something where tentacles are a bit more important, look no further! Some shokushu hentai do still have a pretty developed story and intriguing characters, and that story is driven forward by tentacle action! You can enjoy an original story that actually centres on shokushu sex while not losing the storytelling aspect itself. This is a great style of shokushu if you're intrigued by the idea of it and how it would really affect characters.
Tentacle and Witches
- Episodes: 4
- Aired: May 2011 – Nov. 2012
Ichirou Tachibana knows his homeroom teacher Yuuko's secret in Tentacle and Witches - she's a witch. And so is his classmate, Lily. When Ichirou takes to spying on Yuuko, Lily decides it's time to teach him a lesson by casting a spell on him. However, the spell she was sold is actually corrupt and broken, and she accidentally turns Ichirou into a purple, tentacled monster! And the only way for Ichirou to maintain any of his humanity is to gain sexual gratification from none other than witches; lucky for him the spell also has given him the power to control Yuuko and Lily to fulfill his desires. But who sold Lily the bad spell and why? What larger plot is unfolding for the trio?
In Tentacle and Witches, you can already guess that tentacle sex is going to be present - after all, it's central to the plot that Ichirou as a tentacle monster must fulfill his sexual desires through Lily and Yuuko. That means you can expect a lot of shokushu sex throughout the hentai. However, instead of just having tentacles for the sake of it, the shokushu is actually part of the plot of Tentacle and Witches. The trio wants to find out who sold Lily the bad spell that turned Ichirou into a monster after all and that mystery leads to an even bigger one.
Tentacle and Witches definitely had a plot and solid characters, while keeping tentacle sex involved directly in the point of the story and how it is being told. If you like your hentai still having plenty of plot to follow, anime like Tentacle and Witches is great for enjoying shokushu.
What Plot? It's All About Shokushu!
Okay let's all be honest with ourselves - a lot of times when we watch hentai, we couldn't care less about the story and the characters. We just want great sex sequences that can really get the blood pumping. Thus we present our final category for shokushu - where that tentacle action is all that is important, and the plot and characters simply provide a backdrop for it without being very important. You can expect this kind of shokushu hentai to be hard-core, with tentacle scene after tentacle scene with little time to breathe in between.
These hentai also are usually the most intense as far as having BDSM and body horror aspects, so they aren't for the faint of heart. But if hard-core shokushu is what you're looking for, you've come to the right place.
Kuro Ai: Hitoyozumakan Inkou Rannyuuroku
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: Apr. 2005– Jun. 2005
Gojo Tetsuya knew the hotel known as the Gekkokan he is sent to in Kuro Ai: Hitoyozumakan Inkou Rannyuuroku was corrupt, but he could never have guessed just how truly dark it was. Beneath the silk sheets and luxurious rooms where the rich and powerful go to play is a brothel of horrible orgies run by yakuza. The sexual acts that occur in the hotel are anything but ordinary and enough to turn any man into a monster - which is exactly the plan. It turns out that the whole thing is a cover for a cult set on making pacts with very evil purposes, and these monstrous sexual acts are all part of the plan. Can Tetsuya make it out without being turned into a demon himself?
Kuro Ai is the kind of shokushu hentai where the tentacles are all that matter. There is a plot somewhere in there but it's not extremely important and mostly paints a backdrop to explain why sex is happening, and that there are tentacles because demons are involved. Kuro Ai is extremely hardcore like a lot of shokushu can be. The tentacles sometimes penetrate the girls to the point you can see their abdomens deform, or the tentacles even come out their mouths.
Some of the tentacles in Kuro Ai are different shapes too, branching into other smaller tentacles or having hooks on the ends. It means that Kuro Ai is not for the faint of heart - the point of it is to see extreme shokushu action without limits and without boundaries, pushing the idea of tentacle sex as far as it can possibly go. If you're looking for the most intense shokushu experience, check out hentai like Kuro Ai - but be warned it's not for the faint of heart.
When it comes to hentai, there are legitimately no limits and shokushu really proves that. Surprisingly it has started to show up minimally in some live action films on the West, but whether it will ever really take off outside of Japan is unknown. It's definitely not something for everyone, but it's good to at least know where it came from and what it is. And who knows, maybe you want to check it out now - and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! Hentai lets us explore strange fetishes and new ideas, and that's part of what makes it special and fun. So are you ready to check out shokushu?
How do you feel about tentacle erotica in your hentai? Have you ever watched any and how did you feel about it? Do you have a favourite? And are there any other hentai terms or phenomenon you would like to see a similar article about? Please let us know with a comment!