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.
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