A relaxing tale of monsters and their school lives
Welcome to Play or Pass, a new segment to help review and recommend anime at a more consistent pace. In Play or Pass, the first three episodes of a particular anime are reviewed and then chosen if they are decent enough to “Play” the rest of the season, or if they should be get “Passed” over and only get picked up again after everything is all said and done. The three-episode process allows for stories to progress more than their first episode premise, while also not wasting enough time on a plot that may not be worth it. With that in mind, let’s see which anime gets a Play or Pass!
Starting off with a slice-of-life show may have been one of the harder choices to begin a series of articles, but Interviews With Monster Girls is one of the better shows to relax this winter season. The show follows Tetsuo Takahashi, a new biology teacher who has a fascination with studying rare humans, dubbed “Demi” who are normal people that have traits with monster archetypes. For example, Tetsuo meets an energetic young lass named Hikari Takanashi, who is a vampire, a quiet girl who carries her head around and wants to make friends, Kyoko Machi. and a snow-woman who is literally falls into the “cold as ice” trope in Yuki Kusokabe. Each of these demi-humans are extremely rare outside in the world, so Tetsuo makes it his mission to , like the title says, interview and study his students.
One of the better parts of the show is that the main guy that all of the demi-humans want to end up with doesn’t fall into the “pretty boy” trope that so many of these types of shows try to shove down your throat. Tetsuo Takahashi, while clearly being the male protagonist who is extremely nice and attentive of his students, his physical appearance isn’t the immediate heart-throb like one would expect. Instead, we are treated to a slightly husky male with stubble and would rather get information about the demis that are around his school than flirt around or be so immune to the female’s advances as to be extremely infuriating.
In fact, in these first couple episodes he both talks candidly with the vampire about if sucking blood has any connection to any potential sexual feelings, while also showing enough class to not immediately fall head over heels when he accidentally touches Saki Sato (a succubus who worries about finding a mate without her powers being in the way), and instead waiting until he’s alone to have his own feelings come out. He’s not at all a creep, nor is he void of personality. Tetsuo is both a teacher and a scientist and both sides reflect in him immensely.
The other characters, while all fine so far in the show, also play out their tropes to a tee. Its not really a bad thing in this case, and its fun to see the various ways being a demi affects them in the real world compared to normal humans. The headless girl (Kyoko is a a dullahan) has to get permission to carry a special backpack since one of her hands is always busy with her head. Hikari, too is pretty fun, as she loudly says everything on her mind until its time for her to be interviewed about more personal information. Interviews with Monster Girls is full of adorable moments that work extremely well in the anime itself.
It also doesn’t hurt that all the female designs are great and reflect their personality. They are all human-shaped as well, so those that were creeped out by the strange, kinda creepy designs that was in the last big “monster-girl” anime, Monster Musume, don’t have to worry. The voice acting in Interviews With Monster Girls is pretty standard fare, with Tetsuo and Hikari being the clear standouts. None of the voices are particularly bad, though I do wish that Kyoko had a bit more energy in her voice.
The animation in Interviews With Monster Girls is pretty standard for a slice-of-life show. While I usually rant about the studio, A-1 Pictures, for being among the worst in terms of consistent quality, I was surprised that so far, the show has kept its look up well, and while not being amazing quality, the show doesn’t need that for the plot to work well. As stated above, everyone’s design is adorable, and while its hard to mess up a school background, this show does it pretty good as well. One of the better background scenes of the show is when the love-starved Saki is putting away books in the literary room, all of them have to do with being single and suffering, though the show at least doesn’t make the characters annoyingly point it out to the audience. Small scenes like this push the show just a little further in quality to the myriad of slice-of-life anime that come out every year.
If only the music in Interviews With Monster Girls would fare as well as everything else. Despite there being three episodes out at the time of this writing, I cannot remember a single piece of music in the entire show. That includes the generic opening song, which while not surprising for this kind of show, is disappointing. The song works, I guess, but if anyone can find something special about it or the boring ending song, please enlighten me.
Overall, Interviews With Monster Girls is a good time if you are not wanting something fast paced or are looking for a quality slice-of-life show this season. While it doesn’t do too much to separate itself from every other show in the genre, what it does accomplish is pretty well done. If it keeps up the pace for the rest of the show, I can say that Interviews With Monster Girls deserves a watch through the end. Interviews With Monster Girls is currently streaming on Crunchyroll, and will soon be simultaneously dubbed by Funimation starting on January 25th if you like dubbing.