by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Interspecies Reviewers ?
How would you rate episode 2 of
Interspecies Reviewers ?
For those not put off by such bawdy content, this series shows signs of being a very fun and different title, as it delves into aspects of both fantasy settings and sexual humor that even the more fan service-laden titles rarely dare tread. This is not the supremely tame treatment of a Red Light District seen in The Story of Saiunkoku nor the power dynamic-laden treatment of the sex trade seen in DanMachi season 2; the only fantasy title I can think of that even comes close is maybe the succubus brothel episode of KONOSUBA, and even that has a different tone to it. No, this series is all about a pair of adventurers, a reluctant angel recruit, and occasionally others (most frequently a halfling) going around visiting brothels of various races and discussing the merits of the “succu-girls” for each race, and the writing takes every opportunity to make fun of this process. In fact, while episode 1 offers a bit of entertainment value in this regard, episode 2 is even dirtier and vastly funnier. It, more so than episode 1, is what can truly sell the series.
I covered episode 1 in the Preview Guide, so the short version for that one is that the human tends to value appearances, the elf values age and the freshness of the prostitute's mana, and the angel represents the naïve newcomer overwhelmed by the whole experience. They write reviews about their experiences and essentially earn enough coin from doing them (because people and establishments buy their review pages) to help pay for the experiences. Episode 2 continues this by devoting nearly its full first half to the group's decision to visit a fairy brothel, where one of the main features is that the matron has to measure each of the attendee's erect dicks in order to determine which of the fairies – if any – can handle the customer's size and girth – because, you know, the fairy prostitutes are still fairy-sized. (This explains a recent event related to the series in Akihabara where “penis-measuring rulers” were handed out. And yes, the link is NSFW.) This whole sequence is a specific counterpoint to an earlier discussion about how much size matters in the experience, as the better-endowed members of the group find their options very limited, while the halfling is left to lament that having his pick of any of the fairies is also, some respects, a blow to male pride. The bowling analogy used as each of the group writes their reviews is also amusing.
A later visit to a minotaur brothel involves all sorts of milking-related observations and comments (minotaur succu-girls give a whole new meaning to the label “cowgirl”), but what happens in between those brothel visits may be the most interesting part. Election season is coming up, and various political parties are vying for control. Rather than going after real-world targets, the series just makes clever fun of politics in general. The ruling Orc Party is led by a stodgy orc (literally a humanoid pig in a dress suit) who advocates agricultural emphasis, low taxes, support for the Succubus District, and stability; “eat, sleep, and fornicate” is their motto. The Succubus Party's platform, meanwhile, is all about sex, while the Demon Party (led by a giant demon girl) advocates fighting stagnation. It then spins off into a mixing of sex, politics, and a Family Feud rip-off look at the least desirable races for marriage and how the demons are eager to change that image. None of this was an angle that I was expecting to see out of the series, but it's also the funniest content so far because it all hits just the right note of absurdity.
As I mentioned in the Preview Guide, the visual style with the character designs is far from being a favorite of mine, but it is still executed well and provides oodles of fan service, including cases where the subject not being conventionally attractive is part of the point. It's also important to note that the prostitution is never portrayed as exploitative or one-sided; the girls invariably seem to be having fun as well.
Overall, doing a review about people writing reviews seems a little weird, but only if you bother to think about it at all. And that is something that this series is definitely not expecting viewers to do. It's not at all brainless – some of the humor is too clever for that – but it also doesn't have high aspirations. In this case, that's just fine.
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