Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Interviews with Monster Girls) firmly establishes itself as lighter fare this episode, something that some viewers might have pegged it for weeks ago.
Lilting comedy doesn’t mean a show is all bad, though. The first half of this week’s episode leans into one of the more interesting relationship dynamics in the show to great comedic effect.
Takahashi’s bear-like arms materialize it Satou’s drunken fantasies as a teddy bear who abides by her wildest S&M fetishes using geometry tools. It’s a great cold-open to the episode that sets the tone when the succubus’ mentor calls to give her love advice. Ugaki seems to use his smoke breaks to moonlight as a great actor within Demi-chan’s world.
His energetic faces and righteously enthused voice really sell the setup while goading Satou into pursuing her love. And the way Satou childishly responds is splendid, too. When she moves to put her seduction plan in action, things follow the trajectory you’d expect between her and Takahashi.
Takahashi’s pokerface is still stellar in front of Satou
His pokerface as she doffs her jersey and lets down her hair is stellar, and he holds it long enough through the scene that when we finally get a peek inside his mind, the punchline of his mental shift is perfect.
This is scene that couldn’t be told as believably in another show without these characters, so it shines far better than most of what we saw last week. It doesn’t stop at just the smart scenario, though.
As Takahashi regain’s his composure, he pulls out the expo marker and dives into a thoughtful lecture about love and lust, visibly wowing Satou and letting the pair speak together on genuine terms.
When things are going well, the pair communicate as a great human pair, when things hiccup a little bit, their reaction faces sell the joke amazingly. You know it’s coming and you still can’t help laughing.
Unfortunately, much like last week and a few episodes before, the second half of this Demi-chan episode falls off, engagement-wise. The core interesting conflicts of the three demi students have been solved for a while now, so any entertainment we get from them falls more into the mundane category than the exciting.
The students’ conflicts have been solved for a while now
This isn’t an entirely bad thing, but it’s a departure form the expectations that Demi-chan set in its first four episodes. There are still laughs to be had in the show’s new focus, but I’d anticipated more than just petty jokes to keep driving the show forward.
Accepting Demi-chan for what it is and not what I thought it would be, the show is OK. For example, even though Yuki and Satou’s geek session last week doesn’t lend itself to their unique character traits, the writing this week ties each scene together, while smoothly referencing the earlier bit.
It’s a transition technique that Demi-chan uses regularly. In this case, an illicit manga exchange in the staff room between the teacher-student duo is played up with some sharp animation that concisely conveys the joke visually. It bridges two separate sections of the episode nicely, moving from Satou’s romantic development into the demi student’s summer woes.
Sharp animation concisely conveys Demi-chan’s jokes
Watching Machi’s head wheezing on a pillow while her body is running around a track in the distance is a good example of Demi-chan’s continuing ability to show off its character’s quirks visually, even if the writing only supports these cuts, rather than meaningfully advance the story.
Yuki’s attempt at image-training to consciously exude cold air has some cute moments too, but what she calls “nostalgia” with the washbasin used to catch her ice, I call retreading old ground. It’s a fine line, for sure. Why does the manga call back work, while the washbasin doesn’t in the context of summer heat? In my view, one was a joke, and the other was a more serious part of character development that already played out. It’s not offensive repetition, but it’s not impressive either.
Hikari and Yuki arguing about who has it worse with the summer sun is another example of Demi-chan’s new penchant for petty pleasures, rather than broader commentary. Their affected verbal-jabs before cracking mutual smiles show their relationship growth to an extent, but it’s mostly just funny in the moment.
This anime is much like Seiren, a show I initially wrote off this season; Demi-chan slides into a narrative balance that’s just bizarre enough to keep watching, and if you’re just looking to unwind with some comedic scenarios around characters you’ve probably come to enjoy thanks to their introductions and their vocal performances, then Demi-chan can still be the show for you.
Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Interviews with Monster Girls) is streaming on Crunchyroll. Funimation is streaming a simuldub of the show.
The first half of this episode and the interactions between Takahashi and Sakae were great. Everything else kind of bored me a bit this week. Then again, I’m not really into this show so I have very little tolerance for the girls sitting around chatting or retreading old jokes.