When you’ve been watching anime for a few years, you begin to notice things that happen in multiple series. It could be anything from a character running out of the house in the morning with a piece of toast in her mouth, or that every teen series has at least one beach/swimsuit episode where characters get to strut their stuff. One of the weirder tropes in anime, and perhaps even the weirdest, is that of the tentacle rape scene.
Regular anime viewers are probably well acquainted with the tentacle, but for those who aren’t as well-versed, it starts off with a beautiful young woman that may or may not be wandering into a dangerous area. Suddenly, a pair of red/pink/green/blue tentacles lashes out of nowhere and bind our unsuspecting victim in the air. More tentacles appear and start wrapping themselves around the woman, especially around the chest, legs, and mouth. This is the beginning of the tentacle rape scene. Don’t worry though, tentacles usually end up getting sliced into bite-size pieces by the end of the ordeal. Ever wonder what was in your takoyaki? Now you know.
Tentacles can originate from various things. The most common source of tentacles in anime are octopi, black holes, demons, monsters, and sometimes hair. Tentacles have enjoyed a long relationship with anime, appearing in anime as early as the 80’s, but how did such a bizarre scene come about, and why is it so popular? While there is one example of tentacle rape in Japanese literature going back a few centuries, it did not become widespread until a few decades ago. This has often been debated, but the most common reasoning for the prevalence of tentacles is due to Japan’s pornography laws. Unlike most countries which either permit pornography or ban it outright, Japan is somewhere in-between. Pornography is legal in Japan, but showing genitalia is not. To get around this, someone somewhere thought about what most resembled the male member and discovered tentacle rape. Naturally, the first anime to embrace this idea were erotic anime for adults, but it has now become commonplace in mainstream anime as either fanservice or a joke.