The week in Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Interviews with Monster Girls), the focus moves to Satou, the succubus who has crab-walked away from Takahashi — and the narrative spotlight — two weeks in a row.
We learn about why she’s so skittish and just how potent her succubus powers are. The external results are comical, but tinged with this constant sad revelation about how hard her life is.
She takes the first and last train to work to avoid the crowds. When she falls asleep her self control vanishes and she subconsciously implants erotic dreams into the heads of other men in her vicinity.
When we take all this in after a jaunt through one of her days accompanied by her monologue, it seems extreme. She can’t express herself aesthetically when men are around, she can’t sleep in densely populated areas, and professional physical contact, like a handshake, is a big no no.
A brief exchange with one of her female students shows that she has the chops to teach high school math, but is it worth it? We learn through the episode how Satou has to behave to keep the society around her functioning. The concession aren’t really for her sake, but for others’. We don’t learn why she chose her profession and why she puts up with the day-to-day hassle.
We empathize with the motive behind Satou’s daily grind
Demi-chan hasn’t dated itself, but if we assume Satou is a 24-year-old woman in 2017, surely there’s a more isolated career she could pursue to go through each day happier. Of course, for every freelancer, a programmer let’s say, working out of a home office, there has to be a teacher in a classroom educating the mathematically minded jewels of the future.
If humans quit every time we encountered daily hassle, our species probably wouldn’t have made it very far in the world. So although its implicit, we can empathize with the motive behind Satou’s daily grind — and also her struggles to find real romance.
“I wonder what perspective demis actually have on romance,” asks Takahashi absentmindedly. The following scene between Machi and Satou about their mutual crush for Takahashi (under the guise of a teacher offering romantic advice) is a good laugh. We get an explicit explanation for the blush-inducing bicep fetish of the pair from last week, too.
But in a episode titled with a focus on what it means to be a good adult, it’s a little surprise that Demi-chan’s adults aren’t bluntly shutting down these romantic taboos. Machi openly confesses she’s worried about being too immature for Takahashi. Obviously! She’s 15 years old — possibly half his age. And in another scene where Hikari kisses Takahashi on the cheek in an attempt to embarrass him, he doesn’t even blink.
The academic theory still holds water for Takahashi as he doesn’t make any moves himself, and none of his actions come from a headspace unbefitting a good teacher. The distant alarm bells still sit in wait though, ready to be rung. When we learn that Takashi does in fact have a libido — he catches Satou when she trips, but suppresses his aroused reaction until he’s out of sight — it’s at once endearing and worrying.
This tension is an undertone in Demi-chan, rather than a focus, though. It serves as a point of intrigue rather than a detractor from the anime’s storytelling capacity. And it demonstrates it still knows how to keep its audience hooked.
Woven through the comedy of the episode are a few cuts of Kusakabe, the ice woman who’s dodged attention even better than Satou. Apparently being called arrogant behind her back by cliquey girls in the bathroom hits her like a punch to the gut. She literally staggers backwards.
Takashi does in fact have a libido, and healthy self control
The stress pushes her demi quirk to the fore, as her mood literally freezes the air around her. When Takahashi feels the cold and stumbles upon her sulking, it sets us up for an episode explaining her peculiar introversion. The two school girls passing comment “Kusakabe shouldn’t be so arrogant” hardly seems horrible. So there must be more below the surface. It’s effectively and succinctly teased and the episode ends.
Then, the episode preview leaves us with some darker skies and more dramatic cuts to go along with the protection theme in its title, “Takahashi Tetsuo Wants to Protect.” The thrust of Demi-chan is hard to pin down at this point, and the pace may be too slow for many, but there’s still enough originality and humour here to pull us through the episode and towards the next.
Demi-chan wa Kataritai is streaming on Crunchyroll. Funimation will also offer a simuldub of the show beginning on Jan. 25 at 9:30 pm ET.
I’m really worried about the general haremesque tone this is taking on as the episodes progress. I don’t actually hate harem but this show has so many other possibilities and it feels like it would be a cheap move to simply end up with the girls revolving around an oblivious Takahashi. Not to mention, a little disturbing given teacher-student relations.
That said, I did like the focus on the succubus and the insight into her life. It would be nice to see more of the genuine struggle for these girls as they try to get through their normal school lives.
Yeah I *really* don’t want to see a harem here. The promised exploration of being an ‘other’ in a normal world is way more interesting to me.