Interviews with Monster Girls – Review
Interviews with Monster Girls:
Original Air Dates: January 7th, 2017 – March 25th, 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.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: For anyone approaching Interviews for the first time, understand this isn’t your typical Monster Girls type anime. They don’t have super powers, they aren’t part of some lucky man’s harem, or anything of the kind. The localized title is misleading to anyone familiar with the tropes of this particular sub genre. Instead it’s a show focused on the daily lives of girls who have characteristics of classic fantasy tale monsters, like Vampires or Succubi. But few of these characteristics stretch the imagination or give the girls super human abilities. Rather they actually act more so as hindrance, allowing for Interviews to come off as an allegory for the difficulties disabled individuals face in the day to day.
Linny: While Interviews with Monster Girls does regularly address all the various problems these girls face in daily life, the mood generally remains light, with any threat of a dark or depressing development resolved by the end of the episode. The allegories in the show remain subtle throughout, never getting insanely preachy or judgemental, spreading its thoughtful message in friendly manner. That said, the show can rub some viewers the wrong way due to a particular episode where the succubi population in the story are painted as potential predatory sexual offenders, responsible for seducing men into sexually assaulting them.
Tom: Indeed the fan favorite reading of this series throughout the season becomes a hindrance later on down the line. As viewers delve into the series it becomes more and more concerned with exploring its fantasy-esque concepts. This means the initial reading of Interviews as an allegory starts to produce uncomfortable connotations when dealing with Succubi and their sexual power over men as Linny described above. It’s best to realize that Interviews isn’t entirely interested in carrying that allegory comparison going forward. But even if the allegory angle was a big draw, there’s plenty more to love with Interviews laid back atmosphere, yet excellent pacing, making it feel like a particularly strong series to wind down with after a hard day.
Linny: The humour, for example, can be pretty spot on, with physical and facial expression comedy its strongest features. There’s many a reaction scene that will have you cracking up. When it comes to actual story content, be aware that some teased plot lines, particularly ones of the romantic nature, never really go anywhere, so don’t hold your breath hoping for Takahashi Sensei pairing up with Sakie, the succubus teacher.
Tom: Rounding out the excellent pacing, comedy and perhaps making up for a lack of plot progression, are the characters themselves. Hikari, our cute little blond vampire, is loads of fun with a vivacious personality sure to appeal to many. She keeps the show feeling fun and lively, even with its more laid back, low stacks, atmosphere. But for anyone who doesn’t take to Hikari this is where things get dicey. While the show does have several other girls to latch onto, Machi our adorable, crush-on-teacher driven Dullahan, Yuki the shy snow girl and my personal favorite Satou Sakie the tense, love struck, reluctant succubus, none of them get nearly as much focus as Hikari, making her the biggest draw or greatest turn off for the series. Rounding out the cast is of course our male lead, Takahashi who’s portrayal successfully skirts the line between teacher interested in helping his students and forming his own harem. His kind, honest and forward demeanor keeps the show from straying into red flag territory, especially the few times the series explores sexuality. It keeps this tasteful and honestly that’s pretty impressive for a medium often interested in pandering to the male gaze.
Linny: Moving on to animation style and quality, there are definitely moments when it nose dives or changes drastically. These moments are fleeting but more visually sensitive audience might ever so often notice a random dip in a character’s facial expressions or features and in some cases, even in character body type.
Tom: Interviews with Monster Girls is a stand out this season and while the last two episodes feel out of order, with the pen ultimate episode feeling more like the true finale, I can’t help but feel it’s a very wonderful little slice of life that deserves to be remembered beyond this season. If you’re looking for something cute, fun, and laid back, Monster Girls does an incredible job feeling lively and fun without straying into uncomfortable or male gaze only territory.
Linny: Interviews with Monster Girls does a great job of balancing its allegories with innocent, everyday school life fun. There is a small chance that some of its content might rub you the wrong way, but that is a very, very small chance. Overall, it is brimming with comedy, heart and shines with promise for anyone seeking a cute and fun anime from the Winter and deserves to be lauded as one of the best shows of its season.