Interviews With Monster Girls is a semi-dramatic monster sitcom with one of the more accurate titles in anime. It follows a teacher at a junior high or high school (I forget which) who finds that three of the new students and a new member of the faculty are monster girls, called demi-humans, or “demis” for short. Having an academic interest in such, he manages to get interviews, and form friendships, with each of them: a vampire, a dullahan, a snow woman, and a succubus.
The most obvious expectation for shows like this, featuring monsters in daily life, is humor. In that regard, Interviews does not disappoint, but it is far from a typical comedy. For one thing, it has almost no reliance on slapstick or over-the-top drama. Indeed, the drama was the most appealing part of both the humor at the plot overall, relying on the characters themselves and the story they’re driving. Nothing is really over the top, and it feels far less contrived than other “comedy” shows.
A special note in regards to that: while the content does occasionally refer to some sexual material, I feel it does so rather tastefully. None of the ridiculous antics of harems or “accidents” or anything like that, for which I am grateful.
Indeed, the anime functions much more as a semi-serious drama than an outright comedy. Each of the girls has their own issues, their own quirks and struggles, and the world is not always kind and understanding towards them. However, with their teacher, their families, and each other to rely on, they’re able to handle such unpleasantness in rather admirable, mature ways. In time, they all become more comfortable with themselves and one another, and so find some happiness.
That is something I personally enjoyed. I didn’t think to find myself relating to this anime as much as I did but I saw a bit of myself in the girls. Specifically, it was mentioned, the need for a balanced approach. The monster girls are human, just with a little genetic differences that make them unique and possibly unsettling for others to deal with. Of course there is a danger of taking their unique qualities and dismissing them as being something other than human, something too different from the rest of them, and that is decidedly unacceptable. But one can go too far in the other direction too, and it creates a more subtle danger. The fact of the matter is, the girls are different from the rest, but “different” is not the same as “bad.” It’s just different. To ignore what makes them special is to also ignore the difficulties they face in life and provides nothing to bridge the gap when they respond to any random, everyday situation in a different manner. This leads to awkwardness, isolation, low self-esteem, etc.
So, one must take a balanced approach: to acknowledge what is the same while also acknowledging what is different.
Speaking as a high-functioning autistic, that, right there, resonated very strongly with me. Of course I’m just like everyone else in so many ways, but I’m also different, sometimes in ways which are impossible to deal with if neither I nor anyone else acknowledges the difference.
So, this show definitely struck a chord with me.
And isn’t that what storytelling is all about? 🙂
If there is one thing about Interviews which may count against it, in my book, it’s that there isn’t much tension, because the direction it goes in was not obvious at first, and it moves there very slowly until, suddenly, we find ourselves there, at the real point of things. On the other hand, when we do see the monster girls and their peers together, understanding each other, becoming friends, instead of something more isolated and less healthy, everything leading up to it feels very organic and realistic. Life does not simply start out with obvious goals, but we move towards them anyway, little by little, sometimes without realizing it, until we’ve suddenly arrived at our destination. So, that point also counts in favor of the show.
I also loved how they represented the monsters. They weren’t supernatural things to be feared, really. They were just people, with distinct mutations that happened to be easy to exaggerate as humans told stories about them.
Overall, I simply enjoyed Interviews With Monster Girls. I enjoyed the characters and how they deal with their lives. I enjoyed how simple and genuine they were. I also enjoyed the little twists on the legendary creatures the girls are based on, as well as the examination of them. It was rather lacking anything in the way of suspense, so if you’re looking for something with tension of any kind, especially action, then you may want to hold off on this for the moment. If, however, you like simple, tender stories of unique people finding their way in the world, you will probably enjoy it.
Rating: 8 stars out of 10.