Interviews with Monster Girls – Mid Season Review
Interviews with Monster Girls:
Original Air Dates: January 7th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: Genetic Mutations sprouted up throughout the population, giving birth to humans with abnormal abilities or characteristics. These people came to be known as “demi-humans” individuals with traits more closely associated to vampires, or dullahans, or succubi. Takahashi Tetsuo, a biology teacher at a certain high school has been highly interested in studying and getting to know “demi-humans,” but he’s never actually managed to meet them. But all that changes with the new year, as three demi-human girls enroll and the newest teacher is a Succubi herself.
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: As Interviews continues, it only strengthens its exploration of the daily lives and disadvantages of the monster girls, treating them like individuals with unique capabilities or characteristics that seem to be more of a burden or random quirk than a fantasy fulfilling boon. When we’d first previewed this show, we’d mention how it seemed to be making allegories for people living with physical challenges and even midway into its season, it continues to do so sincerely and charmingly without ever feeling heavy handed or disrespectful.
Tom: In particular, Machi, the Dullahan of the series, is especially used as the vehicle for this underlying subtext, with many of her segments focused on the difficulties she experiences in the day to day. It’s important people not come into Monster Girls looking for the more common interpretation of the term. This isn’t a show about super powered girls or anything like, say, Monster Musume. Despite its sparse supernatural and fantastical elements, Monster Girls is very grounded in its depiction. No one has super powers, or special abilities really, instead their monster status is more about quirks or akin to disabilities. It’s tone is so laid back in this regard that you shouldn’t expect anything at all epic. In fact it’s much more likely fans of Slice of Life poster child Non Non Biyori would take to Monster Girls than Monster Musume fans.
Linny: There’s plenty of chuckles and laughs mixed into the more heartfelt tones of the show, making its story both enlightening and entertaining. Interviews does a great job of feeling both like a slice of life and a comedy with a slight supernatural feel. Its jokes aren’t outright sleazy, though sexual topics do get brought up occasionally but never in an offensive manner. For example, its succubus character, Sakie Sato is the source of much of its more sexual humor but never turns her into pure fantasy bait.
Tom: Monster Girls makes real use of its comedy tag, but also does incredible service to its slice of life tag, often utilizing that pace to set the tone and atmosphere for the series. It handles its subject matter in a very mundane, down to earth kind of way, but with such ability to keep its viewers engaged that episodes often end far sooner than you’d expect, keeping you eager for more every time.
Linny: Hikari, our resident vampire, is definitely the star of the show, featuring heavily compared to the other girls. It has to do with her very outgoing and bubbly personality that manages to steal the spotlight in almost episode she is in. That’s not to say the other girls are bland, but unless you dislike the silly and almost irresponsible extroverted archetype, Hikari is likely the first of the girls you’ll find yourself drawn to.
Tom: There’s really a girl for everyone, hyper, cute, shy etc and I think the entire cast generally remains a lot of fun. However, Hikari is indeed the star. She’s lively, silly fun and cute so much so that Monster Girls contains far more segments focused on her than any other girl. Despite Hikari’s silly and sometimes sexual nature, the show manages to straddle the line between her attraction to Takahashi-sensei and keeping the series from becoming a naughty, inappropriate harem. Takahashi himself is a star for the series in his own right. he’s a perfect male lead, with his own flaws, but a heart of gold. You can’t help but enjoy his efforts to try and learn about and make the lives better for girls like Hikari, Machi and Yuki.
Linny: For those left unimpressed by Hikari, Machi is the other lovable character especially for those drawn to the shy, timid but kind type. She receives quite a bit of character exploration and is one of the more visible representation of living with certain physical limitations. Out of the three high school aged demi-human girls, Yuri Kusakabe, our ‘snow woman’, leaves the least of an impression, almost coming off to me as barely more than a more introverted and self loathing or depressed version of Machi.
Tom: Machi definitely embodies the shy and cute type, but I don’t know that I agree that Yuki is just a more shy and depressed version. That said, I think Yuki is easily the series’ weakest character. Her segments, of which there are fewer, feel more serious and laden with teen angsty emotions of fear and anxiety. They offer a counterpoint to the series’ more comedic tone, but make Yuki feel like her entire existence as a character is to provide those brief, more somber moments. The same can be said for Succubus sensei, Satou Sakie, who provides brief, pg moments of erotic centered comedy.
Linny: Interviews with Monster Girls is a must try for fans of the slice of life genre and deserves some extra praise for making the anime fandom more aware of real life issues through a subtle but still educational allegory. Despite the clear attempt to market it for the monster girl sub-genre fanbase, which raises some unfair and unnecessary comparisons to more ecchi type series, Interviews is a much more family friendly watch whose tone and content is as different as can be from the expected. If you only have time for ONE slice of life this season, Interviews with Monster Girls deserves that spot.
Tom: Interviews with Monster Girls is one of the few contenders for anime of the season. While not nearly as emotionally deep and dramatic as Showa, it contains some excellent character and comedy work that really shines. Overall this may be a weak season, but Monster Girls is still an incredibly strong title.