My Hero Academia Backlash and the Art of the Bad Faith Take

#WeSupportYouHorikoshi is a nice sentiment, but the threat is mostly imaginary.


The My Hero Academia Twitter fandom is up in arms against the evil SJW portion of the My Hero Academia fandom over their brazen attempts to cancel the popular manga series' creator, Kohei Horikoshi...Or at least that's what some bad faith actors want you to believe.

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Why Funimation Removed "Interspecies Reviewers" (an Anime About Rating Monster Girl Prostitutes)

Did Funimation actually acquire a series that they didn't know anything about?


Funimation holds an awkward, complicated position within the larger anime fandom.

Best known for licensing and dubbing the Dragon Ball franchise in the US, Funimation is a powerhouse entertainment company that played a large part in changing the American anime market from an uber-niche medium into something close to mainstream. They continue to license, dub, and simulcast (airing subtitled episodes of current anime series at the same time that they air in Japan) popular series like My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan, all of which are available through their massive anime streaming service. The vast majority of anime fans, especially the heathens who prefer dubs over subs, will inevitably interact with Funimation.

Considering how vocal the anime community tends to be, that also means Funimation seems to be under constant scrutiny. Some faction of fans are always angry at Funimation for one reason or another, be it a poor translation, a botched merchandise release, or their failure to understand that their favorite voice actor was fired because he actually did make women feel uncomfortable, regardless of whether or not he realized what he was doing, and his countersuit failed in a court of law. Point being, people are always looking for a reason to jump on Funimation, and most of that criticism is undeserved.

But when it comes to Interspecies Reviewers, well, there's kind of no excuse.

Interspecies Reviewers is a new anime series that asks the question: What if there was an entire show centered around a group of men who have sex with giant-tiddy monster girl prostitutes in the red light district of a fantasy world...and then post their reviews of the sex?

So yeah, that's the show, and each episode is pretty much exactly what you'd expect. The main characters go to a different monster prostitute, have sex, and then review the experience.

Technically, Interspecies Reviewers isn't hentai. While the monster girls' boobs are drawn in full detail, genitals are never explicitly shown. Categorically, it's billed as shonen (manga for boys) with a strong ecchi (anime with sexual overtones) bend, meaning its main draw is fan service. But let's be clear here: It's closer to hentai than a lot of hentai.

Not that there's anything wrong with liking that. We're not here to kink-shame, and people are welcome to enjoy whatever gets them off (presuming it's consensual and doesn't hurt anybody, of course). But Funimation is not an adult content streaming service, and while they do have a good number of ecchi shows, none of it comes close to Interspecies Reviewers––again, a show that is explicitly about men reviewing monster prostitutes.

Funimation's decision to not only license and simulcast the first three episodes, but to actually dub the first episode in English, was a little bit jarring. Then, after three episodes, they pulled the show, stating:

"After careful consideration, we determined that this series falls outside of our standards. We have the utmost respect for our creators so rather than substantially alter the content, we felt taking it down was the most respectful choice."

The title of this article is a bit of a misnomer. The real question isn't why Funimation removed Interspecies Reviewers,but why Funimation acquired Interspecies Reviewers in the first place when it so obviously "falls outside of [their] standards."

We're not talking about a show that buries the lead. The very first episode revolves around the two main characters, a human man and an elf-man, ragging on each other for having sex with older women of the opposite species. The human man has sex with a 500-year-old elf who looks like a 20-year-old, and the elf man has sex with a 60-year-old human woman. Both think their partner is hotter and a better lay, and they proceed to debate the women's qualities.

This is the episode that Funimation dubbed. They brought voice actors into a studio to say lines like, "If you think of them like plump orc girls, older humans are pretty damn sexy, plus they're way softer than orcs, which is a big time boner bonus."

Oh, and there's also a manga which is significantly further along than the anime, and if anyone at Funimation did any vetting, they would have realized that yeah, it only gets worse. A lot worse.

All of this begs the question: Did Funimation actually acquire a series that they didn't know anything about?

On one hand, it's understandable that Funimation might be scrambling for content. They have more competition than ever before, with Crunchyroll still standing as the most prominent anime streaming platform and Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu setting their sights on anime audiences, too. But if they're going to claim they have standards, they really should have someone at least reading a series' description blurb before acquiring it.


How "Demon Slayer" Went From an Okay Manga to the Best New Anime of 2019

The Demon Slayer anime takes its source material to new heights.


With its first season having just finished airing and a new movie (Mugen Train) on the horizon for 2020, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has never been more popular.

Although initially released to little fanfare, the anime picked up major steam around the latter third of its 26-episode run, generating massive hype within the anime community. Now it sits in the top 20 best anime seasons on MyAnimeList. Even more telling, Demon Slayer manga sales in Japan have recently started gaining on the all-time top-selling manga, One Piece (at least in terms of weekly sales during October). All this is to say that, as far as newer anime series go, Demon Slayer is having a real moment.

Demon Slayer Mugen TrainShueisha

But that wasn't always the case. Unlike fellow Weekly Shonen Jump darling My Hero Academia, whose manga volumes had been selling out even before the anime premiered in 2016, the Demon Slayer manga was well-liked by people who read it, but it wasn't necessarily generating buzz. The most obvious reason is that, while a series like My Hero Academia felt especially fresh with its Western superhero tropes-meet-shonen hook, Demon Slayer's story is a lot more standard within the realm of shonen: After his family gets slaughtered by a demon and his sister, Nezuko, turns into a demon, Tanjiro, a kind, empathetic young boy, must become a Demon Slayer in order to prevent further tragedies and, hopefully, find a cure for his sister.

Hunting demons (or any other supernatural monster, for that matter) is a pretty common story basis for shonen, and Demon Slayer doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. Moreover, the actual art in the Demon Slayer manga by first-time artist/writer Koyoharu Gotōge, while still very good, is arguably less polished than a number of other mainline Weekly Shonen Jump series. As such, Demon Slayer gained a large enough popularity to continue publication but not much else.

Demon Slayer MangaShueisha

Then the anime hit.

Produced by Ufotable (an anime studio best known for their adaptation of Fate/Zero), the Demon Slayer anime kept everything that made the manga enjoyable (likable characters, a solid plot, and creative battle concepts) while cleaning up and building upon all of the weaker points. Most specifically, the Demon Slayer adaptation features an incredibly strong, unique aesthetic that oftentimes resembles flowing ink paintings. Coupled with complex camera movements and brilliant battle choreography, every battle in Demon Slayer becomes a gorgeous, memorable event.


For example, take the battle between perpetual coward, Zenitsu, and the Spider Demon from Episode 17 (Chapter 34 of the manga)––a relatively minor fight within the context of the story.

In this battle, Zenitsu needs to cut off the Spider Demon's head before succumbing to a heavy dose of poison with which he's been injected. But the Spider Demon is high above the ground, and Zenitsu has only one chance to attack before inevitable doom. The Spider Demon believes that Zenitsu is weak and that the battle has already been won––right until he realizes that Zenitsu is preparing for his final move. Here's the build-up in the manga:

Zenitsu vs Spider DemonShueisha

The Spider Demon witnesses Zenitsu gearing up for his attack by stating its name. Then we get this single panel shot, tracking Zenitsu's attack path, from tree to tree, up into the sky, through the Spider Demon's den:

Zenitsu Thunder Clap FlashShueisha

Now, watch how the battle plays out in the anime:

Zenitsu vs Spider Demon ~ Demon

Instead of simply watching from up high as Zenitsu states the name of his attack, the anime builds up Zenitsu's total body shift with a multitude of interesting shots. The camera moves in close as the air around Zenitsu bristles with electricity. His eyes glow white as the screen gets doused in yellow light. Then as he names the attack, the electricity intensifies, shaking everything around him. We see Zenitsu's footwork as he leverages a taut string of web to gain air before following him as he soars into the sky. Then we move through a recreation of the single panel shot from the manga, tracking Zenitsu's actual path to the Spider Demon's decapitation. Finally, we land on a gorgeous shot of Zenitsu airborne in front of the moon.

The single lightning track shot from the manga, in context, was a very cool battle moment, but not an entirely memorable one––the Spider Demon isn't even a major villain. But in the anime, it's the kind of battle scene that sticks with you, an absolute visual spectacle.

And things only get better from there. Just two episodes later, Demon Slayer features what might be the single most incredible battle animation I've ever seen in an anime. It's no wonder that Demon Slayer has become such a hit when episode after episode delivers such phenomenal animation. In doing so, Demon Slayer proves that not every great series needs to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes, greatness means building the same old wheel better than anyone else ever has before.