The story takes place in an age where "Ajin" (demi-human), more casually known as "Demi," have slowly started to become accepted into human society. Tetsuo Takahashi is a biology teacher who ends up teaching three such Demi, hoping to understand more about them while also managing to catch their attention.
“The warm and fuzzy feelings are strong with this one” - Darth Vader
This series fucking deserves to be more popular because it was so much more than just another generic “cute” show. I watch a lot of anime regularly and pretty much hate most moeblob anime, so it’s pretty unusual that I truly enjoyed this series enough to be smiling in excitement when each new episode aired. This is a review without any plot spoilers beyond the first episode.
(Summary at the end)
What if rare and terrifying monsters were actually cute teenage girls that attended school ordinarily like humans? At first glance, this anime may
seem like just another ordinary fun “cute girl” series, but there is something special---something much more unique about this series that sets it apart from the others. This anime distinguishes itself by beautifully conveying some of the different social consequences of being a monster or “demi-human” trying to assimilate into human society, while the series also injects you with a profound dosage of “cuteness” in the process.
Tetsuo Takahashi or Takahashi-sensei is a male biology teacher who has been fascinated by the biological nature of demi-human for a while. He’s well-respected throughout the school for his warmhearted approach to students, but he’s never actually encountered a demi-human before since they are extremely rare beings (like pokemon). By a huge stroke of plot---I mean luck, four demi-human girls end up in the same school as him. The story begins from there while primarily following Takanashi as he works to understand and help the four of them with their demi-human characteristics in this show’s ordinary school setting.
Considering the core elements of this story, the story itself was absolutely beautiful thanks to its primary focus being different from just “cute girl” eye candy, unlike many other similar but trashy anime. There’s a certain degree of realism to the storyline, which makes it more interesting and relatable to watch. I appreciated the fact that there was very little fanservice in this anime because I feel that it would take away from the genuine fuzzy warmth of this series. However, I also feel that any fanservice in this series was timed appropriately to fit the anime’s settings. The pacing was pretty good; I didn’t feel that this anime was too slow or moved too fast. Also, the light-humour in the series was timed perfectly and hit hard, which made even it more entertaining to watch. While everything in this series was really enjoyable, there weren't really any moments that made me “think” or “feel” strongly about something. That quality is what I feel separates a really good series from a great one, so the story can only get a max score of eight from me.
The art is pretty damn simple in general. The color scheme is basic, but they used a lot of light and vibrant colors to give a pretty light-hearted mood. There is nothing particularly unique about the artstyle, but this show did do “cute” really well and, let’s be honest, that’s all it really needs anyways. I like the fact that the characters aren’t just “cute” in the sense that they just look like moeblobs with faces. Instead, the characters’ cuteness comes from various hairstyles and facial expression ranges, that were thoroughly expressed through the artstyle. The background art is nothing spectacular and is pretty average, but the 3DCG blended nicely into the backgrounds. The camera angles weren’t really THAT good because of the plentiful amount of stagnant angles, where only the character moves. The animation’s frame-rate is pretty normal for a series like this. Overall, the art is nothing special. However, they did do “cute” rather well, so it deserves a seven to me.
The opening is really good and perfectly sets the mood for the anime. The ending’s pretty generic, but still fits. The background music in this anime is pretty damn unnoticeable except for a few pieces that really stand out. There’s really only one OST from this anime (that I recall) that I would actually enjoy listening to on my spare time. The voice actors/actresses voiced their roles very well, there wasn’t any particularly unique or powerful about their voices but their voices were all pretty mellow and nice to listen to. Overall, the Sound is only slightly better than average, but the perfect opening accounts for the .5 additional I gave it.
I feel that the characters were the strongest point of this series. Takanashi-sensei comes across as a mature older adult who is a genuine person when it comes to helping the “demis”. He’s a buff science-minded adult who’s kind of like a father-figure to the demi students. The demi girls each have their own unique personality that I truly came to love and appreciate. I don’t bother to remember the names of characters I don’t like, but I remember Yuki, Machi, and Satou-Sensei (sorry Hikari). They were all great with unique personalities, but Hikari was a bit too “generic-cute-girl-extraverted-protagonist” for me personally (I can already see some people’s triggered faces). Don’t get me wrong, her personality is very necessary for this story, but I didn’t really see her as anything "new" or "special" per se. Overall, this series has some really loveable characters; watching them overcome their nature, seeing them grow closer together, and witnessing their group dynamic are probably the most fulfilling aspects of this series.
As I mentioned numerous times throughout this review, I truly enjoyed the entirety of this series this series and actually re-watched some scenes several times!
This series was an unexpectedly entertaining watch as it followed the biology teacher, Talanashi-sensei, as he helps four girl with their demi-human characteristics. The art was nothing spectacular, but the vibrancy of the colors helped to set a light-hearted mood for the viewers. The VAs and music were only slightly above average, but the opening set the tone perfectly for the series. The characters were the strongest point of the series because of their diverse, non-archetype personalities also because of the group dynamic that the characters create together.
Bottom line: would I recommend this to you?
If you like school, cute girls, and/or fantasy, then yes this is a great series to check out.
If you enjoy a nice non-dramatic story, then sure.
If you’re looking for romance, fanservice, super powers, or action, then no. It doesn’t focus on any of those.
Hope this helps you make your decision! Let me know if you agree or disagree~
Demi-Chan to some may look like just another moe, harem or slice of life show. There are girls, there is a guy and they spend their time at school but there is more to it than that. Because deep within the façade that demi-chan likes to present itself at is actually an extremely serious show about the issues surrounding racism and bullying.
You may look at the snowgirl as cute but she actually troubled and feels threatened. The vampire girls looks happy and bright but there is more to her. And the dullahan looks content, but is that true? This show is a perfect look into
the issues or racism, disguising itself as a cute show and presenting itself as something it’s not; allowing it to push an extremely serious message whilst remaining undedicated. The racism is what drives the show and pushes it in the right direction causing genuine concern for the characters. It amazes me greatly that a show can still be brought out that actually has a timely message and isn’t just another vapid moe-fest.
The cast are incredibly cute and endearing, and throughout their struggles you will become attached to every single one of them. Becoming genuinely worried for how they are going about their daily lives. Every time I watch an episode, I get sucked in only returning to reality as soon as the crayons from the ending theme appear. The tales that a 12 episode series can tell about these character astound me. Is this really an A-1 show..?
Well you can tell it’s A-1 by the extremely ‘meh’ art and animation. I do like the brightness of the main characters, trying to make them stand out from other characters much like their personalities and them being Ajin make them stand out normally. This however feels way too synthetic and forced, mixed this with no scenes that have really shown off an ability of animation, it becomes a pretty mediocre looking serious. Relying more on its laurels that its looks.
This show is extremely good, offering a genuine story with a hidden message and themes; mixed with likeable characters with personal stories and a huge amount of development. It’s a shame that this anime is less popular than other contenders this season such as Fuuka as this deserves to have so much more traction
Have you ever wanted to meet a vampire? A dullahan? Perhaps a succubus? Biology teacher Tetsuo Takahashi did! These beings, several species in a class known as “ajin” or “demi-humans”, shortened to “demis”, are scarcely seen in society, though four come to attend the same school as Tetsuo! Interviews with Monster Girls is a cute, heartfelt, surprisingly deep comedy that will certainly impress with its lively cast.
Will you like it?
You may enjoy Interviews with Monster Girls if you…
-- enjoy light-hearted series with a heavy character focus
-- find yourself intrigued by contemporary interpretations of the supernatural
-- seek a “feel-good” sort of experience
You may not enjoy
Interviews with Monster Girls if you…
-- generally stray from character-centric series wherein the focus are school girls
-- expect the series to be anything similar to Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou
Interviews with Monster Girls adapts the ongoing eponymous manga series authored by Japanese mangaka Petos, published under the Kodanasha brand.
Tetsuo Takahashi, hereafter referred to as “Takahashi-sensei” or simply “Tetsuo”, is a biology teacher who retains an inquisitive fascination for demi-humans, beings very similar to humans yet expressing inhuman and otherwise supernatural characteristics. Historically, they have been viewed with distrust by their mortal counterparts, though contemporary movements and cultural shifts have allowed them to integrate well into society. Even so, they are exceedingly rare, and few ever have the opportunity to meet such intriguing individuals.
Coincidentally enough, three demis come to be students at his Shizaki High School: Hikari Takanashi (a vampire), Kyouko Machi (a dullahan), and Yuki Kusakabe (an ice woman). A fourth demi Sakie Satou (a succubus) is hired to be the newest math teacher. As the series progresses, Tetsuo becomes friends with each of the demis, seeking not only to learn more about them but make their lives and integration into human society more comfortable through a greater understanding of what makes them unique.
There’s a certain range of depth Interviews with Monster Girls explores that truly sets it apart from series within its genre. Heavy topics such as discrimination, adaptation, and fitting-in are discussed thoroughly as Tetsuo’s studies of the demis develop. We come to understand how these otherwise normal girls face issues just by existing in, what is to them, a very foreign world, both in physiological and social terms. While, mostly unfortunately, our world is not populated by these fascinating creatures, there are humans that have suffered from the same issues the demis do, allowing for such a real world application to greatly enrich the merit of the story.
Genre & Characteristics
As the title suggests, the existence of “monster girls” or “demi-humans” indicates the presence of supernatural characteristics, though in small amounts as per the rarity of such beings and their willingness to assimilate human characteristics. While at first glance you may be unsure how beings such as vampires can life safely among their supposed prey in humans, the writers impress well in their justification. Mutations in reproduction are offered as a source of the demis in lieu of otherwise mythological origins, and the supernatural characteristics are explained in creative and believable ways. For instance, the intoxicating effect that succubi have on males is attributed to the production of pheromones or aphrodisiacs. Quantum physics was touched up to describe how a dullahan can exist with his or her head “visibly” separated from their body. Much of the series concerns itself with Tetsuo’s revelation of “how” and “why” demis work, turning it into, at times, somewhat of a pseudo-educational series.
Expanding upon a point made earlier, something important to realize about this series is that it is not, as some may initially assume, Monster Musume-lite. While the two series share many similarities, most notably in the “monster girls” aspect, Interviews with Monster Girls is not a harem, nor does it engage in a sexual focus you’d come to expect from an ecchi like Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou. While topics of sexual origin are occasionally discussed, they are brought up as a result of Tetsuo’s wish to understand the demis physiological nature, not through personal interest of the girls (yes, even Sakie). A certain demi does develop somewhat of a crush on Takahashi-sensei, though it’s understood that such feeling is one-sided, and more as a hormonal reaction to his dedication to make the lives of demis like herself easier.
Since no series is perfect, I want to expand upon something that really holds it back in that, at times, the thematic exposition can often come across to the viewer as either preachy or staged, greatly affecting the otherwise genuine feel of the series. No viewer ever wants to feel as if they’re being lectured to, and unfortunately some scenes give off that vibe. I recall a specific event in an early episode where one of the demis confronts a gossiping duo about their actions, and while the message is important and was received, there could have been better ways to execute the dialogue without having the scene seem like a public service announcement. The best way for a series to convey a thematic message is by not shoving it in your face, as masterful writing indicates an ability to teach without teaching. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of the series does not function like the aforementioned, but I can’t deny that there were times where I felt my experience diminish as a result.
There are a few studios out there that are known for always producing consistently quality animation, and A-1 Pictures, much like Kyoto Animation (though subjectively perhaps not to the same extent) is one of them. Interviews with Monster Girls proves no different. The animation is fairly simple, but it’s executed well, and at times there are moments of genuine beauty. I thought that each of the characters were well designed, often accompanied by bright color palettes that not only helped them stand out but greatly underscored their personalities (such as Hikari with the bright yellow and Sakie with the contrasting red-and-purple).
Though the soundtracks of such series rarely offer much impact, you’d be surprised with this one. Interviews with Monster Girls presents itself as a light, cozy anime, and the soundtrack does well to mimic this in the wide usage of soft string instruments. It’s a lot like background noise or elevator music yet without the negative connotations, rather quite the opposite in how it exists behind the scenes yet gracefully adds to the overall engagement.
The voice actors across the board performed their respective characters flawlessly, as a seiyuu is as good as they can become their character. Much like their animated forms, how they speak should generally represent their personality in some way, and each character does that fully well. Takahashi-sensei boasts a smooth, deep voice, exemplifying his position as the trustworthy, stable man that he is.
In regards to the opening and ending pieces, both are utterly fantastic in their respective roles of initiating and concluding an episode. The opening is particularly creative, introducing each of the demis in a sort of pop-up book style that exudes charm. Over the course of the series, the sequence actually does receive slight changes, making the dynamic nature a nice touch. As for the ending, you receive a very light, introspective progression, with fantastic aesthetics that mimic instances of coloring (or vivifying a blank world, much like the demis do themselves).
There are five main characters in Interviews with Monster Girls, involving two teachers (Tetsuo and Sakie) and three students (Hikari, Kyouko, and Yuki). Some supporting characters appear and become relevant from time to time, all human, though the focus of the show remains largely on the four demis and our inquisitive main character.
Main character Tetsuo Takahashi, full-time biology teacher, part-time demi-whisperer, is perhaps one of the most likable anime characters in the genre. He’s a big guy, much to the credit of his name, but also has an equally big heart.
Hikari Takanashi, not to be confused with Takahashi-sensei, is more or less the primary demi of the series. A vampire that loves garlic, drinks tomato juice, and swelters in the heat, she personifies the hyper, energetic, and friendly schoolgirl image, while also proving extremely altruistic towards her friends. Personally, she was my favorite of the girls.
Kyouko Machi is one of the four dullahans known to be alive, and the only one that lives in Japan. Polite, intelligent, and shy, Machi, as she as most commonly referred to, is the most reliable yet also most insecure demi of the group. As mentioned before, she also develops a strong attachment to Tetsuo, which itself serves as a cute subplot.
Yuki Kusakabe is the singular Japanese demi in her nature as a yuki-onna or “snow woman”. She was often accused of being anti-social, though it was more so because of her inability to control her innate abilities in the presence of others. Much like Machi, Yuki is quite both intelligent and shy, though quite loyal to her friends.
Sakie Satou, objectively best girl, is the only adult demi present in the series. Though she’s a succubus, and a damn attractive one at that, Sakie goes out of her way to conceal her body, as merely touching her bare skin can activate her aphrodisiac effect. Ironically, Sakie is a hopeless romantic, and seeks nothing more than a genuine relationship with a companion, a struggle seemingly impossible until the arrival of Tetsuo. Though wary of him at first, Sakie grows to develop a crush on our brawny biological buff, as he is the only man that appreciates her for who she is, rather than the effect she has. If you ship relationships at all, you will hardcore root for these two.
In retrospect, what truly sells the show are the characters. These individuals don’t exist as caricatures of their respective demi identities, rather they grow and develop just as you’d expect a real person to do so, and this trait serves as an immense boon to any series. Each personality is so unique and rich in substance they stand well on their own, and the various interrelationships present help develop a variety of paths to explore. It’s also worth noting that each character, including Tetsuo, receives a balanced amount of attention, so if you have a favorite (or simply like them all), you’ll be pleased.
It’s a bit disappointing how Interviews with Monster Girls was likely the most slept-on series of Winter 2017, as if it weren’t for the short duration and sparse instances of artificial moralistic dialogue, this series would have been a strong contender for best of season. Combining excellent exposition with an interesting concept and five great main characters, this anime knows how to tug at your heartstrings in all the right ways. Few anime succeed as well at being an uplifting series that will leave you feeling so fantastic and fulfilled following the conclusion, that is, after you recover from it ending. It’s gonna bite, but don’t lose your head over it.
“You can’t look at things in only one way. You should look from both angles.”
Imagine being a vampire not allowed to sink its fangs into humans, a dullahan that has to carry its head everywhere it goes or a succubus who's occupation forbids sexual temptation. Interviews with monster girls is a social commentary on how difficult - and often scary - it can be to ingratiate oneself into a foreign society. Four Demi-humans have to overcome their own biology for the sake of living in harmony, and it proves to be a difficult adjustment for them to make.
Satou Sakie is convinced she will never have a genuine relationship when every man she touches is reduced to a puddle of
lust. The 24 year old succubus lives in total isolation, takes the first and last trains each day, never applies makeup and wears a jumpsuit all to limit the chances of influencing her students and innocent bystanders with her aphrodisiac effect, often to no avail.
Yuki Kisakabe also struggles with controlling her powers, preemptively isolating herself from others in fear of accidentally freezing them to death. Underneath her cold facade is a personality no different than your usual perverted high school kid, but she's too insecure in her own self control to trust anyone around her. ""If I weren't a Demi...I wouldn't feel like this" whimpered a tearful yuki, who broke down in the hallway after overhearing a mean spirited conversation about her.
Machi Kyouko's head is detached from her own body. She is in CONSTANT need of attention from others around her, much more so than any other Demi, to help assist in basic movement but is painfully shy about asking others to help her. She finds it difficult socializing with those who don't have the same struggles she does.
The only Demi unconcerned with her nature is the energetic vampire Hikari who is always the center of attention and serves as the source of most comedic moments in the anime. She is often finding herself in mischief and proudly states "I am, and always have been, just that negligent!" - much to the chagrin of her younger sister. Despite these flaws, Hikari is a sincerely kind person and sticks up for her friends in times of need. A particularly awesome moment is when she defends Yuki from bullies that were gossiping in the bathroom. I felt like playing a DMX track in the background when she stepped to those girls and exclaimed "If you want to hang around and badmouth people, you'd better do it where I can't find you". Hikari also has a subversion to her mythical trope - she loves to eat garlic and can see herself in mirrors just fine.
It would've been easy to make these characters a carbon copy of their supernatural legends. Instead they're the opposite attempting to live in spite of their oddities. These girls are as lovable can be, but also very sympathetic figures who you're made to root for throughout the anime as you quickly forget that they're monsters, and every bit as normal as the kind hearted teacher who tries his best to help them succeed.
Takahashi sensei brings the cast all together. While the biology teacher may look unremarkable, he sincerely cares about helping the Demi's live comfortable lives and stops at nothing to come up with creative solutions to their complex problems. The way that we become excited about a favorite anime getting greenlit for a second season, he does about learning more about the Demi's biology and adding notes to his research.
Machi is infatuated with Takahashi sensei's kindness and gentle approach to helping her adjust to life in a human school. This is sweet, but also uncomfortable when they're decades apart and in a teacher/student relationship. I'm all for a well portrayed forbidden love story (i.e Koi Kaze, segments of Revolutionary Girl Utena) but Interviews With Monster Girls does not establish the proper platform to even tease that development. Sakie on the other hand is a perfect ship for Takahashi. I'm actively rooting for the two to wind up together.
I would've liked to have seen more monster girls. There are so many different legends that can explored in this setting. Imagine a werewolf that has problems with controlling transformations or a siren who refrains from speaking because the dangers of her voice. It also would be cool to see some monster guys. That would be the best avenue to introduce romantic partners for the girls rather than using Takahashi sensei as a harem ringmaster. It's doubtful this anime will get a second season anytime soon with the manga already being fully adapted, but hopefully the sales from this season encourage the production committee to make a continuation when there's enough material.
AI pictures has taken a lot grief over the past few years for being too formulaic, but Monster Girls is a welcomed addition to a genre that needs more variation than just Moe blob. Cute monster girls doing cute monster girl things is literally all I thought this anime would amount to. Was pleasantly surprised to find a fascinating social commentary using supernatural characters to frame real life issues that all human beings can relate to. "No two people are the same, are they?"