Psychedelic Watercolors of Sex and Revenge

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Belladonna of Sadness.Photo: Belladonna of Sadness © Mushi Production, Japan, used by permission

While Justin Bieber was busy coloring anime porn earlier this year, some slightly more under-the-radar artists prepared to release one of the most underappreciated anime films for the first time in the United States — Belladonna of Sadness, which originally came out in Japan in 1973. The animated film tells the powerful story of Jeanne, a peasant woman who makes a pact with the devil to get revenge on the lord of her village, a man who raped her on her wedding night. Rendered all the more vivid by the new release’s 4K digital restoration, the film’s watercolor visuals draw on ‘60s psychedelia and nouveau artists like Aubrey Beardsley and Gustav Klimt.

Belladonna of Sadness: A Companion Book to the 1973 Cult Japanese Anime Film, out August 23 from Hat & Beard Press, accompanies the U.S. release of the film and features illustrations telling the story, plus script outtakes, film stills, and interviews with the film’s illustrator, composer, and director.

Click ahead to see images the book: a heavily eye-shadowed Jeanne smiling down at a phallic little devil, an evil skeletal figure cloaked in orange and purple, and a simple drawing of the heroine surrounded by colorful flowers.