Every so often an anime comes out that many in the community upon its airing look over because it just does not grab a large audience only for people to, later on, sit down and watch the series and realize what a gem of a series they have stumbled upon. The Case Files of Jeweler Richard is an anime from the 2020 winter season that a lot of anime fans have slept on and to them, I say you are missing out on a true hidden gem of the season.
Maybe it was the slow start that put people off or the fact that this is not your typical mystery anime. You will not find the kind of high stakes battles you see in other mystery series or supernatural elements. Some might have been turned off from the series because on first appearance one might think this is a boys love anime, and though many of the elements found within a boys love series can be found within the series it lacks one of the most important aspects that would make it one. Though a special kind of love does grow between the two main characters throughout the series it is a love born of deep friendship between the two and never falls completely into the realm of romantic love.
So what is the anime about exactly? It tells the story of Seigi Nakata a naive but very kind which at times can be to his own detriment and a chance encounter with a beautiful foreigner by the name of Richard who on that faithful night is being attacked by a group of drunks. Seeing himself as someone with a strong sense of justice, Seigi can not just walk by and helps the beautiful stranger. This begins a journey of friendship between both of them that revolves around Richard’s job as a jeweler at his shop Jewelry Estranger and Seigi gaining part-time employment working for Richard as an assistant. Through his job, Seigi learns about the fascinating and dangerous world of gemstones both rare and common and the people who own them. He also learns the lesson of cruelty that can come from kindness and this lesson helps Seigi grow as a person and in learning this lesson he also learns more about the mysterious Richard and why the man hates his own beauty.
This anime will cause a roller coaster of emotions, whether it is from one of the individual mysteries of an episode hitting close to your heart or the overarching mystery of the series that is Richard himself. It is a slow and steady ride that will surprise you in many of the subject matters in dives into including societal prejudices of many different kinds and a powerful lesson in not only finding one’s place in the world but then learning to fight for that place you want to keep.
Interspecies Reviewers is a fantasy anime about adventurers visiting brothels with different species of humanoid creatures and reviewing their time at the establishment and the girls they spend time with. What more can be said about Interspecies Reviewers that has not already been said? This series has after all been one of the most discussed anime this year within anime communities. From Funimation pulling its simaldub because by episode three they realize ‘oh dear, this series goes against our guidelines for content’ to the series not only being pulled from every legal streaming site (for once I am happy I have access to Animelab here in Australia cause we got to keep it!) and the show being pulled from broadcast in Japan. There is one subject about the show I have not seen discussed which I would like to write about here in this blog post. Interspecies Reviewers is the first sex positive ecchi anime I have ever seen and that is something really important worth talking about.
But what do I mean about sex positive ecchi? By that I mean this is the first anime I have seen that has a completely positive attitude towards a healthy sex life while exploring many aspects of sexual discussion and education and the best part all the characters in this anime are consenting adults! This is a really important factor that has not been brought up in any of the discussions for this show. Now being a yaoi fan I know my genre of choice is not perfect in this aspect and a lot of ecchi series are even worse than the average yaoi anime. I myself don’t find any hilarity in the groping and sexual harassment of underage characters being played up as comedy. It’s one aspect that turns me off a lot of popular ecchi and harem anime.
The trope of the young anime girl getting ‘accidentally’ groped or falling in such a way that she ‘accidentally’ exposes herself is a running joke within ecchi I really dislike. Yes, there is a character in this series that the characters does get harassed by one of the main cast and there are also moments when they make lewd comments towards her and disrespect her, but these moments are balanced out with said female character stepping in and telling the other characters that it is not OK to treat her like some sex object and she punishes them for doing so.
What I love most about this series though is the characters frank and open discussions about all things sex. From sexuality and gender (one of the main characters is even intersex!) to fetishes and the pleasure of your partner during the act. Some of my favourite moments from the show actually come after the ending credits of each episode where they show some of the working girls hanging around after work just chilling with each other and swapping stories. I really wish we had more ecchi series like this one in the future, hell I would absolutely love to see a yaoi anime or manga with such a positive sex message behind it.
If you have given this series a miss because of all the controversy around it or because you think it will just be like every other ecchi anime out there trying to push the limits of what can be shown in anime and have an open mind you owe it to yourself to check this series out if you can.
Giving this Kickstarter a signal boost because it looks like this amazing visual novel might not get funded which would be a real shame, I played the demo and loved it and if you want to know my thoughts on the demo you can read it here and of course support the Kickstarter here.