Less sex-joke-packed than Monster Musume but somewhat uncomfortable nonetheless, Interviews with Monster Girls is the story of human high school teacher Tetsuo Takahashi and his “demi-human” (monster) students. Once a biology major, Takahashi now teaches biology at Shibasaki High School. Takahashi has longed to meet a demi-human for years and it just so happens that his class has not one, but three “demi” students, as well as a succubus math teacher. He takes it upon himself to befriend the girls and even start a support group for them at school.
The creepy part here is that all the demis seem to have a crush on the teacher and he hugs them way too much. Despite the fact that Takahashi is a cardboard “nice guy” and doesn’t have any bad intentions, the feel of the book is close to a harem manga, and it doesn’t help that Takahashi is just about the only male in the entire book aside from a couple of throwaway classmates. He also asks them questions that are way too personal for a teacher to ask a student, but that’s where the title comes into play. Takahashi wants to interview them to find out about their lives. It’s an interesting idea in theory, but in practice, the whole setup seems inappropriate.
However, looking past that, the book reads well. It’s a decently paced slice-of-life story that deals with things like siblings, crushes, and school gossip. Hikari Takanashi, the vampire, has trouble with her sister and family but she’s basically a perky girl who speaks her mind. Kyoko Machi is a dullahan who carries around her severed head and takes every opportunity to ask people to hug it. Yuki the snow-woman is uncomfortable with her “demi” status and keeps her distance from other students, a move that prompts a lot of gossip about her. The most interesting and well developed character is Sakie the succubus teacher. In order to repress her supernatural powers of seduction, Sakie dresses in a track suit to hide her figure, takes the last possible train home to avoid crowds, and lives alone in the middle of nowhere. She too develops a crush on Takahashi because he manages to act normal around her and treat her like a person. It’s all touching and a little sad.
The art is pretty modest. Petos has a sketchy pen-and-ink style but not much in the way of backgrounds. A litte too cartoony but never overtly goofy, the art looks like a mediocre shonen book with a shojo plot but without any pretty flower screen tones. The girls are cute, actually looking like realistically awkward teens instead of the moe stereotypes you’d expect. Readers looking for monster action (of whatever kind) are advised to look elsewhere, but those with a soft spot for school drama might want to check it out.
publisher: Kodansha Comics
story and art: Petos