Controversial anime divided opinions even within Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization.

Like a lot of anime TV series that came before it, Interspecies Reviewers is built around a monster-of-the-week formula. What sets it apart, though, is that Interspecies Reviewers actually use a monster-of-the-week-to-pay-for-sex formula. Each episode, the core cast heads to a new fantasy brothel to sleep with a new kind of monster girl, then give their reviews of the experience so that others can make more informed decisions on which species to hump.

Interspecies Reviewers

Last week Tokyo MX, the local TV station that was broadcasting Interspecies Reviewers in the Tokyo area, announced it would no longer be showing new episodes. Because late-night anime like Interspecies Reviewers (which aired at 1:30 a.m.) are paid programming from the anime’s production committee, there’s no need for concern about advertisers shying from the time block because they object to the anime’s content, and so it’s almost unheard of for an anime series to be dropped by a network mid-season.

However, there were signs right from the start that Interspecies Reviewers was attracting controversy. Just three days after its first episode aired on January 12, Japanese media watchdog organization the Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization (also known as BPO) had already posted the following complaints about “a late-night anime with a world with humans, monsters, and angels where the main male characters go from brother to brothel:”

“I am outraged that an anime like this, with such sexual content, is being shown in a manner with no age restrictions and can be viewed by children.”
“There is a late-night anime, and even though it’s a fantasy setting, the male characters go to brothels and review them, disparaging the female characters.”
“Even though it’s an anime, it’s still full of nothing but paid sex and dirty jokes, and so it’s a bad influence on children.”

Fans of the series are likely to take issue with the accusation that Interspecies Reviewers’ male cast “disparages” the series’ female characters, but the series being basically a constant stream of full-on sex and sexual innuendo is a little harder to deny. Evidently the BPO felt the complaints were serious enough to warrant discussion among its internal Youth Committee, whose members presented their own individual opinions on January 28, which included:

“In regards to complaints that the show is ‘digesting’ or ‘vulgar,’ such accusations are related to the concept of freedom of expression, and must be handled extremely cautiously.”
“In the past, late-night TV was watched only by adults. Now, though, it can be watched 24 hours a day through the Internet, and the societal time division is changing. That change is something we must consider.”
“Children are not the sole TV audience, and so I believe the TV station is producing it under the stance that a late-night adult-oriented TV anime can be broadcast withing the principles of freedom of expression.”
“Care must be taken that such extreme content does not gradually creep into regular time blocks from late-night slots.”

The comments seem to show a few misconceptions of how anime is made and distributed. For one, broadcast and online streaming rights are generally separate, so one could argue it’s not entirely fair to blame a TV network for what time of day a program is being streamed. Also, Interspecies Reviewers isn’t produced by any TV station, but is created by its production committee, which fronts the costs for making the show itself.

That said, there appears to have been a surprising amount of dissension within the BPO Youth Committee as to whether or not Interspecies Reviewers poses a danger to young minds by airing on TV, concluding its statement with “We feel there is no further need to discuss this matter,” and the difference in opinions helps explains how even after getting dropped by Tokyo MX, the anime is still being shown on free TV in Kyoto and Kobe, as well as via Japanese satellite television.

Source: Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization
Images: YouTube/mediafactory
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