Wesley R. Ball’s review published on Letterboxd:
Belladonna of Sadness is an erotic Japanese animated rock opera that is hauntingly gorgeous through its explicit imagery and spellbinding soundtrack. It tells a medieval folklore tale through almost entirely still images and sublime Japanese voice acting, with the occasional musical number periodically appearing. The sensual theme song resonates throughout the story, crawling into the mind to solidify its entrancing tune that perfectly resonates the melancholy tale.
This is a love story unlike anything you've ever seen and possibly will ever see. Nearly every frame is either covered with brutal violence or explicit sexual imagery, but none of the sexual portions feel stimulating in any way. Rather, the images feel like individual pieces of art, desiring to tell a story all on their own. It is the individuality that each design speaks that makes Belladonna of Sadness so fantastic. The animation and art design aren't like standard Japanese anime, but on a completely different plane. It feels like a genuine work of art that demands to be scrutinized and appraised like any other art you would find in a museum. I have yet to see The Tale of Princess Kaguya, but the animation in this film felt a lot like the style in the latter. It feels haunting and exuberant, vibrant and freeflowing, as if it were a film with a soul all its own.
Belladonna of Sadness is an erotic medieval fantasy that will tear you apart, both visually and spiritually. It will penetrate your soul with its luscious animation and spellbinding rock-fueled soundtrack. A provocative and sexualized masterpiece that achieves what Fritz the Cat tried to attain, and goes far above and beyond the imagination.