Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Interviews with Monster Girls) presents a slower episode this week. More awkward than enlightening, a few jokes string it along, but the most interesting images come in a six-second preview at the end.
Just as he promised the Takanashi sisters, Takahashi doffs his lab coat, tightens a neck tie and makes a home visit to their home. Unlike in some slice of life shows, it wouldn’t make sense for the parents to be invisible here.
The Takanashi parents are cast well, and animated as believably as the rest of the adult characters in Demi-chan, so they’re a welcome addition to the childish arguments between Hikari and Himari over missing desserts, and grappling sessions with Hikari’s elastic hairdo. Outwardly, the only thing the sisters agree on is what to eat for dinner.
When it comes to getting it’s jokes across, Demi-chan frequently uses hard-cut vignettes to illustrate its characters’ narration. Just like when we got a glimpse of Machi’s head left behind while a bullet train sped away with her body in episode two, we get to peek at Hikari’s idiocy here. Her immature ploys fall right in line with the thinking of Homer Simpson.
The Takanashi parents only have to deal with teen goofiness
The teenage vampire is afforded her own mini fridge to store the transfusion packs of blood she uses for periodic sustenance, but that’s not all she uses it for. In a sequence with the camera positioned inside the fridge, we see her hoarding dessert and leaving the door open to take advantage of the fridge’s unintended A/C capabilities — no doubt racking up the energy bill for her parents in the process.
The Takanashi parents relish only having to deal with teen goofiness (“How do you mistakenly eat the last ice cream!?”) rather than painful differences born from Hikari’s demi nature, but small hints show they probably haven’t always been immune. A close up of her mother squinting into a camera’s focus shift and some simple framing of the parents’ wedding rings, hint at the depth of their family relationship.
It’s subtle. Actually, it’s likely to go unnoticed unless you’re looking for it. If you miss it, the scene feels like a boring throwaway. If you catch it though, it passably expands the understanding of the Takanashis’ relationships.
A much more effective way of doing this exposition follows the setup of Takahashi’s home visit. In passing, he mentions to Himari the slim possibility that Hikari might not be able to see her reflection, just like vampires from legends. In a display of sisterly compassion, Himari dashes through the halls at school, rushing to apologize to her sister whose hair problems she may have minimized as mere laziness.
Unsurprisingly, it is laziness that that motivates Hikari to ask for hair help every morning, but the melodramatic presentation of Himari’s concern works comedic wonders for showing us how much she cares. Takahashi’s voice fades away, a soft piano plinks away on even downbeats, Himari’s inner monologue is framed by reflections of her running body in the rain-streaked windows, and a single tear flies behind her in isolated slow motion.
It’s ridiculous, and the punchline shows Himari’s embarrassment from her assumptions as well as her frustrations with Hikari’s laziness. It wraps the theme of the episode up nicely in a relative high point for the week.
The last eight minutes of the episode really drag on
The last eight minutes of the episode really drag on from there. In a joke we’ve seen before, Sakie pulls the Japanese equivalent of a subdued bend-and-snap to confirm whether her aphrodisiac abilities have an effect on Takahashi. The gag serves more to get Sakie into the episode, and Takahashi through the hallway and into his office than anything else.
Inside, Machi is asleep on a couch. Takahashi throws a blanket on her and soon also dozes off at his desk while reading, and then it get’s awkward. Thinking her teacher-crush is asleep, Machi walks her body over to Takahashi and starts patting his head. The low viewing angle that her head has from across the room doesn’t let her see the perplexed teacher wakeup, so the head-patting continues, and continues, and continues for nearly a full minute.
It’s a fairly vapid sequence that stalls the small amount of momentum built in the episode’s first half, so when Machi’s ride home arrives to pick her up, still thinking he’s asleep, it’s a relief for both Takahashi and the audience.
Overall the episode struggled just enough that I can see anyone who may have been very lukewarm on the series calling it quits here, but if you liked what Demi-chan was putting forward before, this episode pulls you along.
It also teases some new faces in the preview. Titled “Succubus-chan is Inquisitive,” it shows a grey-haired man with a red glint in his eyes, a new blonde student, and a younger Sakie in a school uniform. Demi-chan, doesn’t seem to have much to do going forward right now, so perhaps a look back at the past of one of its characters is just what it needs to get the ball of interesting storytelling rolling again.