Otaku USA Magazine
[Review] Interviews with Monster Girls

Demi-humans—vampires, dullahans, yuki onna (snow women), succubae—are rare human mutations, but they really do exist! The public has become acclimated to their existence to the point where demi-humans attend/teach high school alongside normal humans, but this integration is not frictionless. There are murmurs in the hallways, hurtful divulgences overheard from the privacy of the girls room, and even an undercover, demi-human-focused policing faction. But one teacher, representing inquisitiveness at its most innocent, wants to understand more about the physiology of these demi-humans and how they go about their daily lives. Through his chats and interactions at Shibasaki High, Takahashi-sensei exposes just how human these “monsters” really are.

Interviews with Monster Girls, an anime adaptation of the seinen manga by Petos, is a very cute show, and it has the potential to be a very dear one to kids in school who feel self-conscious. (So, like, every kid ever.) Even though most demi-humans—demis or demi-chans, as they prefer to be called—in the show look like normal high school girls and are drawn to be perfectly adorable, each has issues due to their genetic makeup that pose specific challenges regarding their time at Shibasaki High. And it’s hard enough being in high school, where every little thing that makes an individual stand out is treated as fodder for teasing, without officially being classified as different.

Hikari Takanashi is a vampire without a dark side who survives in part thanks to a government-run blood distribution program and a very supportive family. As possibly the least physically identifiable demi, she has a lot of confidence and often comes to the defense of or gives encouragement to her
fellow demis but outs herself as one in doing so. Likewise indistinguishable from normal humans under normal circumstances, the
very timid Yuki Kusakabe is a yuki onna whose supernatural effect only manifests when she’s feeling overly anxious. For fear of unintentionally freezing her classmates, Yuki shies away from them and is thereby ostracized for
seeming emotionally distant. Kyoko Machi is a dullahan who cradles her head in her hands and has an emotive blue flame erupting from her neck. She’s a shy girl, though comfortable in her own nature, who can never seem to find someone who doesn’t feel awkward talking with her. Lastly, Sakie Satou is a math teacher who has to isolate herself and hide even the slightest of her sultry attributes lest her succubus nature drive all the males around her into an uncontrollable frenzy. So it’s a good thing the monster girls have each other and Takahashi-sensei, right?

Let’s let the elephant out of the room: yes, every single one of those demis is attracted to Takahashi-sensei. Next, let’s help the monkey off of the elephant’s back: sensei is very much an, albeit unwitting, enabler regarding these high school girls’ affections. It’s an awkward situation but one that’s kind of inevitable. Takahashi’s a rugged/goofy type with a deep voice who offers the girls some much needed empathy, assistance, and earnest attention. That’s an outright recipe for creating a crush, but luckily the show does not head down any path more questionable than an innocent day-shopping trip.

Mostly, and to great effect, the show focuses on each girl becoming more comfortable with herself by talking things out with Takahashi, becoming friends with their fellow demis, and gaining enough courage to be themselves with their “normal” classmates. Experiencing the chemistry between the characters and watching the demis finally feel comfortable being normal high school girls is half of the charm of this show, while watching how Machi is animated is honestly the other half. The attention to detail paid to how Machi manipulates her head while it’s in her hands and involved in a discussion with multiple people really makes the dullahan believable as opposed to cartoonish. If there’s an antithesis to Monster Musume, Interviews with Monster Girls is it, and it’s absolutely charming.

studio/company: FUNimation

available: Now (Streaming)

rating: TV-14