One of the leading trends in manga and anime is monster girls—something I totally didn’t expect to be really into. Between the antics of interspecies integration that defines Monster Musume and the health care concerns brought up in Nurse Hitomi, monster girls of all kinds have stolen the spotlight with their adorable and outright sexy charms. It was no surprise to me that monster girls became the subject of that all-important question, “Can I have sex with them?” Monster Musume would skirt around the issue, in part by the wholesomeness of the main character, leaving the reader to use their imaginations or browse online for user-made content and hentai doujinshi. Interspecies Reviewer answers that question with gusto. Not only does say, “Yes, you can!” but examines what sort of sexual experiences you might expect from the likes of demons and anthropomorphic animal creatures. Easily described as an animated version of Author’s Monster Girl Encyclopedia, Interspecies Reviewer is a steamy adventure in sex work—a series so off the rails that Funimation canceled its simulcast after three episodes.
Right now, a lot of discussion surrounding the animated series is connected with Funimation’s abrupt decision to cease showing the remaining episodes and scrub it from their website and apps. In a statement, the company specified that “[a]fter careful consideration, we determined that this series falls outside of our standards. We have the utmost respect for our creators so rather than substantially alter the content, we felt taking it down was the most respectful choice.” It’s been two years since the last time Funimation was caught in an uncomfortable position after 2018’s Goblin Slayer premiered its first episode that depicted rape and high violence. Goblin Slayer would continue, a warning placed as a buffer for any curious viewers and ward off innocent eyes. Interspecies Reviewer shows up with an unabashed and positive outlook on consensual sex work and people start losing their minds.
But enough of my soapbox ranting, Interspecies Reviewer is based on a similarly titled manga by Amahara with illustrations from masha that presents a sex-positive fantasy world cohabited by humans, monsters, and demons. The large, bustling town where much of the story takes place is home to a red-light district with brothels literally line the streets, where different species of lady monsters, like minotaurs, slimes, succubi, ply their carnal trades to anyone looking for a good time. Our guides in this story are two adventurers, Stunk (a male human) and Zel (a male elf), and an angel named Crimvael who reluctantly goes along with the boy’s hunt for sexytimes. The trio often spends their nights together drinking at the local tavern, shooting the shit with their fellow adventurers.
One fateful evening, they strike up a conversation that promises to rock their worlds. After catching Stunk leaving a brothel owned by elves, Zel chides him for sleeping with a 400-year-old elf woman (who doesn’t look a day over 25). Stunk counters with asking why Zel prefers the company of middle-aged humans (specifically Mitsue who wanders the town in lingerie). The boys argue over preferences until it boils over to interrogating other tavern patrons who share their own detailed thoughts on elves versus humans. The argument fills Stunk and Zel with purpose, hitting on the idea that their days should be spent visiting every brothel in town and reviewing their experiences. It’s a simple presence but as some of the episodes show, it’s full of sexy potential.
Interspecies Reviewer is the kind of show that doesn’t hold anything back, which I suspect was the problem Funimation had with it. This isn’t so much an ecchi series as it is borderline hentai given the explicitness of the show’s content. There are bare breasts as far as the eye can see (so, naturally I love it), the humor is lewd, and what the show doesn’t outright sensor it alludes to with fairly graphic imagery. For example, when Stunk, Zel, and Crimvael visit a barbecue place run by salamander girls, they eat meat as it is cooked on their sultry, fire attuned bodies. At one point, pieces of meat are shown with indentations of the salamander’s nipples and vagina. Stunk and the gang almost always run into goofy situations and complications in their quest to review monster girl encounters. Their visit to a fairy house is cut short as they are turned away because their bodies are incompatible with the clientele. Spending time in a succubus den sounds like an incredibly bad idea, no matter how desperate the girls are, but the boys can’t stop themselves. One of the best episodes of the show so far involves Stunk and Zel wanting time to know how sex feels from the woman’s point of view and imbibe a potion that changes their bodies. Neither can hold back their reactions, breaking out into giggle fits over their new boobs and comparing each other’s shiny new vaginas as if they were new cars. I can’t speak for every guy but if I found myself in the same situation, I’d probably react the same way. “Dude, look at these!!”
Given such content, it makes sense that Funimation felt the need to drop the show. I’d like to think some exec walked in just as Zel, in his woman form, is getting his mouth rammed with a slime girl’s tentacle and screaming, “What the fuck?!” I’ll never understand this industry and Funimation certainly has the right to look after their interests, especially on a platform that doesn’t restrict content. I also recognize that Interspecies Reviewer is not high art and its absence won’t make a huge impact on the world. I had a feeling that the show was not long for Western audiences when the show contained strange censoring despite being marketed on the website as the opposite. It’s annoying to me that violent programs can have a legitimate platform to exist but show off a boob or depict consensual sex and it goes right in the bin.
For me, Interspecies Reviewer was delightful, hard ecchi series that reveled in its carnal delights. It was creative, answering a lot of questions with how sex happens for women with very unique physiologies. I’ve already picked out my waifus—I’d love to hang out with the thicc bison girls, slimes, and hyena girls—and it’s a dire shame that I won’t have a chance to see more unless Funimation decides to stealthily release the series on home video (hopefully without the oddball censoring. It has a good sense of humor about itself, much of it being quite self aware, that compliments the staggering amount of sexual content.