Interviews with Monster Girls

Tagged: TV

Japanese animated tv series (2017); original title Demi-chan wa Kataritai. A-1 Pictures. Based on the Japanese Manga by Petosu. Directors include Ryō Andō. Written by Petosu and Takao Yoshioka. Voice cast includes Yōko Hikasa, Kaede Hondo, Shiina Natsukawa, Minami Shinoda and Junichi Suwabe. Thirteen 22-minute episodes. Colour.

Biology teacher Tetsuo Takahashi (Suwabe) learns that three demi-human pupils and a teacher have joined his school: though he is scientifically fascinated by such people, they will be the first he has met and he takes the opportunity to conduct research into their lives. "Demis" are extremely rare human mutations (see Mutants) and have a history of being persecuted, which led to their being pushed to the fringes of society as a Pariah Elite – until the Government took responsibility for their welfare and integration, passing anti-discrimination laws (see Politics) that resulted in their increasing acceptance and visibility in the world.

The schoolgirls are: Hikari Takanashi (Hondo), a Vampire who receives packs of human blood from the state; Kyōko Machi (Shinoda), a dullahan who carries her (separate) head around and has a blue flame where her neck would be; and Yuki Kusakabe (Natsukawa), a yuki-onna (snow woman), who freezes the air around her. The new teacher is Sakie Satō (Hikasa), a succubus (see Sex) who lives a lonely, isolated life, worried by the effect she has on others; she is attracted to Tetsuo because he appears to be immune to her aphrodisiac effect (actually this is extraordinary self-control on his part). Unlike other demi-humans, succubae still appear to cause public unease and are monitored by the government.

Early episodes focus on Tetsuo befriending Sakie and the girls, conducting informal interviews, learning about their condition and how it affects their lives; the middle stretch of episodes tend to be "slice of life" stories – charming, but of less genre interest, save for how (mainly) Kyōko and Sakie have to cope with everyday situations (demi-humans are clearly being used here as a metaphor for disability). Towards the end of the season Tetsuo takes Kyōko to his old university to meet a physicist friend, who enthusiastically explains that – supposing the link between a dullahan's head and body to be analogous to a Wormhole – discovering the "how" could theoretically lead to Faster Than Light Space Flight and Time Travel.

Interviews with Monster Girls conveys a sense of being the afterword to a bigger tale: details of the past struggles of demi-humans and their fight for equality are dropped in only as occasional backstory. Nevertheless, this is an interesting and engaging Anime – though it could easily slip from a series which includes scientific and Sociological speculation into one that is simply a mundane though enjoyable story of daily life, albeit with unusual central characters. Possibly to mitigate this, season one's final episode closes with Tetsuo meeting an invisible girl (see Invisibility). Moreover, we are told there are male demi-humans, but none have shown up yet.... A second season is expected to broadcast from late 2018. [SP]

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