by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Interspecies Reviewers ?
On one level, the incubus (who I don't think is ever named in the episode, though other sources seem to call him Samturn) represents two kinds of individuals that anyone who does professional reviews for long enough is going to run into eventually. One is the reader who cannot accept that reviews are subjective opinion pieces and so insists on chastising the reviewer for rating what they love as anything less than perfect. The other is the person who is so blinded to qualitative differences in what they love that they always give their passion top ratings; if they enjoy it, it gets a perfect score, period. Stunk and Zel, on the other hand, represent those who take their reviewing quite seriously and responsibly, as other scenes later in the episode reinforce.
Of course, all of this is colored by the fact that both the incubus's passion and Stunk and Zel's professional commitment involves sex. We already know where Stunk and Zel stand on this; they're horndogs who gleefully enjoy the side benefits of what they're doing, both in terms of busting a nut and in terms of what they get paid for their reviews, which as they discover in the second half of this episode, is quite a lot for the traffic from spreading around last episode's reviews. (Honestly, I can sympathize with this; even if it's not a lot, getting paid to watch and review anime I enjoy anyway is a sweet arrangement.) The incubus, contrarily, is the ultimate ladies' man; any woman is beautiful to him, and he has such impressive stamina that even the Lilim den from a few episodes back is no match for him. The detail about how he can adjust his penis size – just like succubi can adjust their breast sizes – is both amusing and a neat little touch, as it allows him to do all of the fairies as well. (And bonus points for the added thought that he has a second heart just to maintain his penis!) Of course, the downside to being the ultimate ladies' man is that he's going to aggravate someone, which is how he ends up getting stabbed in the back, but he takes even that in stride as a consequence of who and what he is. Really, I kinda like this guy, even though he should be utterly obnoxious.
It wouldn't be an episode of Interspecies Reviewers without at least one brothel visit for the guys, which involves them going to a “brothel” with the “alcohauns” – apparently leprechauns that like to get wasted on booze? Basically, it's a place where both customers and the girls drink themselves into a stupor, and maybe sex happens and maybe it doesn't; who can remember? The clever touch here is that since Crim can't be poisoned, they also can't really get drunk, so Crim gets to see that the whole set-up is probably a way for the proprietor (who's the only other person not drunk) to fleece customers. At least the guys are professional enough to realize that what they wrote while drunk out of their minds is junk.
There are a couple of other touches here that I liked as part of the world-building. One is the concept of an “adventurer's contract,” which allows for adventurers to be employed when not adventuring but with the right to take off at any time when opportunities for paid adventures present themselves. That doesn't sound like a terribly good arrangement for business owners, though I suppose it could be considered a kind of temp labor or something along the lines of what substitute teachers do. The whole business about how Stunk, Zell, and Banchal's drive to recoup their lost brothel-hopping funds resulted in them inadvertently saving the word from certain destruction was an amusingly ironic note to end on. The title for next episode makes it clear that it will be the last. I'm going to miss this series when it's gone.
Interspecies Reviewers is currently streaming on AnimeLab in Australia and New Zealand.
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