This animated Japanese movie – directed by Eiichi Yamamoto and conceived by Osamu Tezuka – begins with poor travelling water seller Aldin (voiced by Yukio Aoshima) rescuing a beautiful slave woman named Miriam (Kyôko Kishida) from a slave auction in Baghdad.
They fall in love at first sight and have a tryst, but the evil sheriff arrests Aldin and takes Miriam for himself. After being tortured, Aldin eventually manages to escape, only to find his beloved dying in childbirth (with Aldin’s child).
Aldin flees the city and has many bizarre, dangerous and often tragic adventures.
Along the way, he discovers Ali Baba’s cave of wonders, where he meets tomboy outlaw Madia (Sachiko Itô) who has a severe grudge against the sheriff. She and Aldin fly away on a magic wooden horse.
They land on a strange island full of beautiful horny naked sirens who turn into serpents – after Aldin has sex with them!
Aldin escapes and is rescued by sailors, accompanying them to a mysterious island which turns out to be inhabited by a man-eating giant who eats most of the crew.
Aldin survives and finds a sentient magical ship that’s actually a wish-granting genie.
Eventually, Aldin returns to Baghdad as a rich old (but bitter) man, intent on becoming the new king and marrying Princess Jallis (who may or may not be his illegitimate daughter).
But nothing goes as planned despite the intervention of two quizzical shapeshifting creatures.
Although a big hit in Japan, the movie failed to find an audience in the US even after it was dubbed into English. The version screened in the US removed almost 30 minutes of footage deemed too controversial (mostly references to lesbianism and bestiality).
Eiichi Yamamoto and Osamu Tezuka went on to make two further films – Cleopatra (1970) and Belladonna of Sadness (1973) – as part of an “Animerama” trilogy – the first anime films aimed at an adult audience.