By Dustin Cabeal
Interviews with Monster Girls is part interesting, part average harem style comedy taking place in high school. It teeters this fine line throughout the series in which it never overly commits one way or the other which is unfortunate.
The premise is that a biology teacher wants to write and learn more about demi-humans and happens to have joined a school that has not one, but four. A rare occurrence in a world that seemingly has less and less demi’s every year. The demi’s have a strange range from a vampire, to dullahan which is like the headless horseman. There’s also a snowman and a succubus. The first three are all students, while the succubus is a teacher.
For the students, Tetsuo the biology teacher becomes their go-to person for problems. He helps them with Demi problems in the modern world that no one has enough information to solve and in turn, he gets to learn more about them. At times his character dives so far into his thoughts that he becomes insensitive to the feelings of the girls he’s trying to help.
As for the succubus, Sakie, she’s strongly opposed to using her powers on anyone. As the story continues, we find out that succubus is the most likely to become frustrated with the world and begin using their powers for personal gain. This means most of them wind up in jail, but Sakie is the exact opposite. She wears bagging clothing that keeps her figure hidden, and her pheromones contained.
The harem aspect kicks in when Tetsuo begins helping the girls one by one and they all fall for him. He doesn’t have any strange feelings in the least bit, but he’s also a bit socially naive in that he doesn’t see how Hikari uses him to appease Machi’s feeling for him. They all have a little crush on him, but only Machi become more and more bold about it. Sakie eventually falls for him too as they make contact and Tetsuo seem unaffected by her abilities. She enters this complex thinking of whether love is possible for her since she can’t know if it’s her or the pheromones. There is truly a great and interesting story right there between these two adult teachers that isn’t explored enough due to the genre this falls in, which is the greatest misstep of the story. You have to take a hard look at the industry and the fanbase to see how disappointing it is that this story is being prevented from following a logical path, just because some fans might like another character more or that’s what sells. It’s a damn shame.
The interesting part of the story is the biology aspect. Tetsuo doesn’t just want to study the demi’s for morbid curiosity. He wants to establish the differences between them and humans and find out why the girls are the way they are and with that how can he help them live better. In the dullahan Machi’s case, he concludes that it’s dangerous for her to carry the required briefcase style of bag and gets her special permission to wear a backpack. With Yuki, the snowman, he figures out that she creates ice when she sweats and shouldn’t worry about freezing. There’s even a great scene in which Sakie is attempting to learn how to control her pheromones and says something that breaks Tetsuo off into a lecture of thoughts which quickly turns to a discussion between the two in which they learn from each other. These little spots and I do mean little compared to the rest of the story, are what make this series charming. They’d be better off with more scenes like this, than fake dates with the teacher.
There are a couple of really series episodes towards the end of the season which are great, but completely break from the tone of the rest of the series. There is no emotional build up towards these episodes which make the shift quite noticeable, but they still manage to be quite good and hopefully establish the new tone the series would have in future seasons. There are some charming aspects here, and real potential for meaningful character development as long as they don’t focus too much on the high school crushes the girls have on their teacher. Thankfully, Tetsuo clears up how he sees the girls on the last episode, but it's too little too late. It’s entertaining, but at the same time, a little creepy and you might find yourself wishing that they’d focus on the charming parts and not on the parts that are clearly just there to appease a certain fanbase. Though, it is done by A-1 Pictures…
Interviews with Monster Girls – Season 1
Director: Ryō Andō
Writer: Masaru Yokoyama
Studio: A-1 Pictures