Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Interviews With Monster Girls) strikes an excellent balance between portraying normalcy with its snappy dialogue and letting the unique aspects of its world shine.
Testsuo Takahashi is a high school biology teacher who’s always wanted to meet a demi-human, in order to ask them about their daily lives. After struggling to meet a demi-human (also called Demis, for short) he stumbles across four of them in quick succession at the start of the new spring semester. A succubus, a vampire, a snow woman and a dullahan.
In Demi-chan’s world, these creatures that are typically the domain of myth and legend appear occasionally in everyday life. Each one’s idiosyncrasies can appear as a genetic mutation rather than as something passed down through lineage, making things like vampirism just another quirk that contributes to a person’s identity. Hikari Takanashi’s sister Himari, for example, doesn’t share her vampire sister’s aversion to direct sunlight, despite the fact that they’re twins.
Little details like this emerge throughout the episode as Tetsuo interacts with the Demis as if they were regular people — a candidness that some of the other students at the school also attempt while getting to know their new classmates, to varying degrees of success. Kyouko Machi, a dullahan, tries to ignore the disturbed look of her classmates when they look directly at her disembodied head, and they try to brush it off by looking at cat photos on their phones. The students’ approach to the situation is well-intentioned, but it’s not genuine. So when Hikari breaks the mould with frank and empathetic inquiries for Kyouko (“You have it pretty rough, huh? I mean, you have to carry your head everywhere you go, don’t you?”) it shows that Demi-chan is prepared to tackle xenophobic ideas that are all too common in our real world. And with how much fun it is to watch, this is exactly the kind of entertainment that so many people need.
Demi-chan’s face game is absolutely on-point
Demi-chan’s face game is absolutely on-point. The expressive Hikari, excellently voiced by Kaede Hondo contrasts with the mature Tetsuo throughout most of the premiere to great success. Sakie Satou, a succubus as well as a new math teacher at the school, was also a joy to watch in the episodes first half. Constantly trying to avoid any sexual provocation of those around her, her skittish behaviour in the face of Tetsuo’s polite and welcoming advances made for some great physical comedy. Things like Kyouko’s neck-flame simultaneously flaring up while her surprised head blushes make for great touches that feel true to the world. And all the while, Demi-chan’s dialogue moves smoothly and naturally.
I feel it’s important to differentiate Demi-chan wa Kataritai from another hugely popular monster-girl franchise, Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou (The Daily Lives of Monster Girls.) While the monster girl similarities between the two are clear with both featuring some of the same creatures, the two are very different shows. I’d hate to see Demi-chan immediately dismissed by a viewer who might assume that the fan-service heavy scenarios from Monster Musume are also the main attraction in this new work.
Demi-chan wa Kataritai is streaming on Crunchyroll, and marks my standout favourite debut of the young winter season so far. Funimation will also offer a simuldub of the show beginning on Jan. 25 at 9:30pm ET.