Why is Interspecies Reviewers so Controversial?

With anime as big as it is these days, and with its greater breakthrough into pop culture, that means more series are being licensed in the West. This also means that the process has changed overall, and some controversial series have made their debut outside of Japan over the last few years. Series such as Goblin Slayer, The Rising of the Shield Hero, and more seem to grab attention early on for their controversial elements, and the Winter 2020 anime season is no different. Getting pulled from Funimation's selection, Amazon Prime Video, and even some TV stations in Japan, Interspecies Reviewers has made a major name for itself.

But why is this series so controversial? At first glance it looks like just another wild type of ecchi harem anime series like Monster Musume, High School DxD (even getting produced by the same studio), and even Prison School. But what makes Interspecies Reviewers so different, and so much more controversial? To put it bluntly, it keeps towing the line so much it got too hard to take a chance on.

Licensing anime has gotten pretty competitive, so much so that the process has been streamlined to the point where many anime are licensed for an English release on faith alone. It varies by company (and by reported accounts), but there are some scenarios where an anime will be licensed for an English release with only a small bit of reference material to go on.

It's pure conjecture, but Interspecies Reviewers might have been picked up for legal streaming in the first place because it's not only produced by a notable non-hentai exclusive studio, but the original manga isn't all that wild. Written by Amahara with illustrations provided by masha, Interspecies Reviewers is a series set in a world full of succubi. Because so many of them exist, and with so many varieties, sex work and the use of such services are common place.

The main crux of the manga sees a group of individuals taking part in these sexcapades and reviewing them afterwards. But in the manga, each review is presented as you were reading them in that world. It's blocks of text that are explicit in various ways, but not exactly as much as you would expect. But that's changed for the anime as Passione has gone through the effort of bringing these reviews to life.

Initially beginning with censored naughty bits (with both a censored and uncensored release in Japan), censoring the anime got tougher as its visuals became more overtly erotic and borderline pornographic. The anime has yet to cross the line completely into pornography, but there are a few sexually explicit scenes that do cross that line.

It's tough to elaborate on completely, but its sexually explicit content would have to be completely removed (or covered with a completely black screen) for the censored broadcast. Meaning that the "reviewers" part of the series' title would make zero sense. It was the abrupt cancellation of Funimation's English simulcast and dub release that sparked the majority of this controversy, but it was a fair choice to make.

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Each episode at this point is a gamble to produce given how much more explicit the anime has gotten with each new entry thus far. With it being so close to the edge of actual pornography already, there are just too many variables. The easy answer to why Interspecies Reviewers is so controversial is its sexually explicit content, but that's not all to the story. With the series no longer legally available to stream for fans outside of Japan, that's all we'll know about it for now!

What do you think of this controversy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!