In 2020, before COVID-19 turned the world into a complete dumpster fire, Funimation unleashed an irreverent and incredibly lewd series called Interspecies Reviewers, a release that now lives in infamy for the company. Not since Goblin Slayer has there been a situation where Funimation nervously clutched its collar as audiences were shocked to see such a flagrantly sexual cartoon broadcasted to Western audiences. Whether or not Funimation knew what they were getting into, the reaction was swift. Many people were pissed because the show was censored, despite Funimation saying it would be uncut. After a few episodes into the series, the show was dropped from streaming services, and the only way to watch the whole thing was to visit some of the more unscrupulous anime sites on the Internet. Not gonna lie, that shit really sucked. Setting aside the fact that I am a pervert and will watch anything with tits in it, Interspecies Reviewers was a legitimately fun, good-natured comedy series that portrayed sex – and sex work – in a positive, safe light.
With nothing to do but track down issues of the manga, Right Stuf Anime announced that they acquired the distribution rights for Interspecies Reviewers and promised that the show would get a physical and truly uncensored release. I pre-ordered it on the spot. It may have taken a long time but my copy finally arrived and I was thrilled to finally watch the series from start to finish as it was intended!
The show is set in an unnamed and somewhat generic fantasy realm where humans live alongside anthropomorphized humanoids of all shapes and sizes. Instead of following characters as they go out and adventure for fun and profit, the action centers on a large, bustling city that serves as a major hub for heroes to kick back and relax while they wait for their next quest. Although most folks partake in food and drink, the real action occurs within a hopping Red Light district, where women of all species (known in-universe as Succu-girls) ply their sex trades to those looking for some quality time with gorgeous monsters girls. Our guides in this fanciful retreat are the human Stunk and elf Zel, friends who go on adventurers together but also are at odds over the women they choose to spend time with. After getting into an argument over which type of woman is best – a 500-year-old elf or a 50-year-old human – they come upon an idea to visit brothels and provide detailed reviews of their experiences. This earns them a few curious looks at first but by the end of the series, Stunk, Zel, and their fellow reviewers become nothing short of local legends.
Interspecies Reviewers know exactly what it’s about and have fun doing so. It is completely shameless in its pursuit of showing how fantasy monster girls have sex and I loved every minute of it. Each episode follows our heroes as they visit numerous themed brothels and document their sexual experiences in vivid detail. As their fame slowly precedes them, Stunk and Zel are offered contracts by people in town to sleep with different species of women for one reason or another, be it for coin or to prove that people really do love cyclops women no matter how big their eyes are. Over time, we get to know the past lives of Stunk, Zel, and the angelic Crim but make no mistake, this is a show less interested in narrative arcs involving hostile takeovers, evil invasions, or even the purity police. Sex is the name of the game and it is depicted healthily as an activity between consenting adults.
The scenarios this show comes up with are clever, ingenious, and great erotic fun. While sent out to the volcanic lands to acquire fire crystals to fuel kitchen stoves, the boys visit an erotic BBQ joint where they fry all kinds of meats on (and inside) the writhing body of a sexy fire salamander. When asked to review a demon brothel as a favor to a local demon mistress who is campaigning to be the leader of the town, everyone gets super distracted by a pair of large-breasted cowgirls instead and the campaign is comically doomed. One of my favorite episodes involves the crew visiting a shop that brews potions that can change a person’s gender. Stunk, Zel, and the angelic Crim are all turned into women (and are absolutely ticked by their new breasts and genitalia) so that they can experience sex from their perspective. With so many monster types represented in the series, there’s no shortage of creativity when it comes to depicting how different species express all kinds of physical lovemaking.
Interspecies Reviewers is a judgment-free zone and I find it really refreshing to have a show that doesn’t treat sex as a cheap gag or the result of a comedy of errors. No one is looked down upon or judged by their sexual preferences or appearances. Even the 50-year-old Mitsue, who is drawn to look like Betty White in a see-through negligee, is never treated as a punch line. She has her admirers (Zel being her biggest fan) and she’s often shown to be a mentor to the other women in town. I was worried that Crim, an angel who has both sexual organs, would end up the butt of the “he or she” kinds of jokes but that doesn’t happen. No, what you’ll get here is a lighthearted and fun take on sex. Granted, you won’t see full-on penetrative sex here (though it comes super damn close) but the methods in which the show skirts and dances around it with suggestive yet strategic camera angles and cartoony stand-ins are pretty funny and often creative.
But what of the Blu-Ray itself? The special edition steel case is nice and comes with a few fun features. The twelve-episode series is split across two Blu-Ray discs and offers a small handful of extras including clean opening and closing themes and a couple of alternate scenes. The set also comes with a soundtrack and an art booklet featuring key art from the show, though it focuses more on storyboards and layouts. I was hoping for a nice collection of character art, considering the show spotlights a lot of pretty monster girls. The video quality is excellent and teh captions are easy to read. And that’s…pretty much it, really. The only downside to this collection is the price. Right Stuf Anime lists it for $100, but as of this writing, the set can be yours for $80. That’s a lot of money for two Blu-Rays, a CD, and a small book – especially on a website where you can purchase Blu-Ray sets for other shows at more than half the price. I know anime fans are used to having to pay a lot for content but…yikes.
If your love of super cute monster girls and copious amounts of cartoon coitus runs deep, then Interspecies Reviewers is a must-see. It’s creative, sexy, hilarious, the characters are great, and best of all, it has a great attitude towards sex work. Right Stuf Anime has put together a nice package to celebrate a show that was hastily brushed under the rug. The only uncomfortable thing about the release is the price but if you’ve got money to burn, then this show should help satisfy the monster girl lust in your soul.