What’s the manga? Interspecies Reviewers, Volume 1.
Hmm, okay, and what’s it about? Guess.
Sorry, what? You want me to “guess” what this manga is about? I mean, this is you we’re talking about so something perverted no doubt… is it about reviewing the attractiveness of monster girls? Good guess, and pretty close to the correct answer. Specifically its a fantasy series about a group of guys who go around to the various red-light districts in this fantasy world and partake in the pleasures of the flesh and then post their ‘reviews’ of the unique girls they sleep with on a bulletin board. Basically, its trip advisor for a fantasy brothels with an emphasis on the particulars of the girls employed in said brothels.
That’s somehow more perverted than I could have imagined. You musn’t have much of an imagination then…
Wait, isn’t “reviewing” women kinda, pretty sexist? I mean that’s a surface level interpretation. All the women who get “reviewed” are prostitutes who are providing a service, are being paid for it and benefit from being “reviewed” not only by exposure but by getting a more tailored clientele as the result of said reviews. It’s not like this is scummy classroom ranking list of the ‘hottest girls in class’, our reviewers take their job seriously!
Right. So what’s the appeal of this manga then? Is it just a smorgasbord of fan-service related to non-human looking women? You’d think so but visually this series is pretty tame, all things considered. I mean sure it’s got a smattering of nudity (mostly towards the end of the volume) but the majority of the ‘erotic’ content comes in the form of the dialogue and situations. Our protagonists aren’t afraid to talk about sex and the various physical differences between humanoids and the various fantasy inspired women (and sometimes men) they sleep with. Truth be told this series is a lot denser than I expected both in the sheer volume of content per manga volume and the elaborate detail and world-building it employs. I’ve read full-blown Isekai that don’t commit this much time to character building and that in-of-itself is impressive.
I… I’ve got so many questions, I don’t know where to begin… Well try because I’m willing to answer any and all.
Okay. So what about the protagonists then? We have a sort of rotating roster of male protagonists who journey together to one particular establishment per chapter usually four at a time. Though the three prominent figures in the series are the human Stunk, the elf, Zel and the angel Crimvael. Stunk being the human acts as the audience analogue to terrific comedic effect, especially early on as we see him exit an elf brothel having slept with a cute and spritely elf girl, only for his friend Zel to admonish him for sleeping with “an old hag”. It’s at this point we learn the differences between priorities when it comes to desirability in a sexual partner. Stunk (and the audience) sees a cute elf girl as a cute girl and therefore desirable but Zel, a fellow elf sees that she’s actually 500 years old and therefore stinks of “rotten mana” and instead preferences a 50 year old human woman, remarking how “humans are the best because you’re never going to find one over a hundred [years old]”.
So it’s a comedy then? Didn’t I make that clear? It’s absolutely a comedy first and an ecchi (or whatever) second. I’m not the first to make this comparison but it’s got more than a little bit in common with the anime ‘Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt’ in that its main characters are perverted and crude and obsessed with sex. The only difference is that ‘Interspecies Reviewers’ 100% commits to format and contains pages and pages of detailed descriptions that almost makes it feel like overkill.
Do I sense a negative incoming? Not a “negative” but rather an ‘unexpected’–in that I didn’t expect to be reading so much in a sex-comedy series. It’s all good stuff, it’s all interesting and entertaining but there’s a lot of it so just prepare yourself for it. That’s all i’m saying…
Anything else you wanted to add? For me the most interesting character is Crimvael the angel–not just because of the idea of a fallen angel frequenting fantasy brothels is inherently funny to me–but because this character actually possess both genders (something the other two protagonists don’t know about) and so his experience with sex is very different to the almost painfully heterosexual Stunk and Zel. There’s a great scene where the three of them go to a brothel that has a spell that turns its customers into the opposite gender and while Stunk and Zel decide to go for purey lesbian experiences, Crimvael picks a hyena woman who we later learn are a species who have penises (and ones larger than hyena men for that matter!)
Right, so a bisexual trap character? I mean, sure, if you want to put it that way.
What? What’s wrong with that I said? Probably a lot, but what I mean is that this series highlights just how ridiculous the fact that gender and sexuality is something some people consider to be absolutely binary. It’s not, and the sooner people realise that gender and sexuality is fluid the sooner we can get rid of pointless labels that are used to persecute and minimise those who are perceived as “different”.
Well this review took a turn… Yeah, they tend to when I’m involved…
Anyway, final review and recommendation for ‘Interspecies Reviewers’ Volume 1? While almost entirely focused on sex, its presented in such a cartoon-y and “rounded” visual style that I think even people who aren’t traditionally “into” ecchi manga could enjoy this. Yes it’s still sexy but it’s also silly and funny but with an exhaustive attention to detail that draws the reader into the world. Certainly not for prudes, as there’s discussions of genitals and orgasms and sexual fluids aplenty but likewise it’s never truly gross–it’s just honest. But then maybe I’ve spent a bit too much time reading actual hentai doujins so this just seems quaint by comparison…
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