Demi-chan wa Kataritai Review

This is review number three hundred and eighty seven. This anime is part of the Winter 2017 lineup, and it’s called Demi-chan wa Kataritai or Interview with Monster Girls. It’s a twelve episode anime about a headless girl befriending a vampire and a cold person or something like that. It’s a pretty solid show, so let’s read on.

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Story

The anime follows Takahashi-sensei, a big fan of supernatural creatures, getting the chance to actually interview a bunch of them in his school. Ajin, as the anime calls them, are actually very rare but three of them happen to be students in Takahashi’s school. He decided to interview them about their unique attributes and maybe even learn what makes them human despite their circumstance.

Taking the Pants Off

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I’ll be honest. After I finished the show, I don’t really know what makes it good. I also can’t quite figure out why I can’t seem to stop watching it. It doesn’t really standout, and it’s actually just another club themed anime where the girls act cute and stuff. If you’ve seen one club themed slice of life anime, then you’ve probably seen them all. It focuses on boring scenes involving the characters just talking about random things and also making fun of each other. I really didn’t find this anime impressive, but I also kinda admire it. It’s not really original, but I guess it just executed its elements perfectly. Nothing about it is really boring, and the characters kinda grow on you. The premise of having the girls actually be supernatural monsters is a strong point of this anime, and I guess it truly delivers one thing perfectly: it has interviews with monster girls.

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When I read the show’s synopsis, I actually thought this was a spinoff of the anime Ajin and it freaked me out a bit. Ajin is such a dark anime, so seeing it get a slice of life spinoff feels a bit upsetting. Luckily, it’s not related to that anime. Instead, Ajin is just a term used for supernatural beings in this show. The characters call themselves “demi”, and it kinda gives you an idea what the show wanted to achieve. It truly just wants to be a slow paced, dialogue heavy cute festival, and I really really hate those kinds of shows. Marshmallow shows killed the cuteness appeal of any anime for me. It’s actually torture on my part now to actually sit down and watch girls act cute to strengthen their bonds as friends. I think it was Yuyushiki that laid it on pretty thick, but the ensuing marshmallows that followed really ruined me. This isn’t a marshmallow show though. It’s not a four panel manga about cute girls. This is more of a club themed show, where episodes mostly happen inside a club room. Think of GJ-bu or Haganai. It also has the staple male character that acts as a straight man to the cast of cute girls. I miss this little sub-genre of Slice of Life, and it’s mainly because most studios really prefer marshmallow shows over it. But, yeah, this anime mostly feature characters in a club. Of course, there is no club and that’s actually the genius part about the show.

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It doesn’t really commit to one idea. It’s very easy to just focus on the male character just being involved with a bunch of cute supernatural girls. It’s also easy to actually just focus on the interviews he has with the girls, and I also would’ve loved to see the anime just focus on the discrimination theme it nicely layered in the first episode. The anime doesn’t focus on anything too strongly though. Instead, it uses each of its potential plot points to actually focus on something else entirely. The show’s elements mainly serve to develop the characters, and I find that crazy. A slice of life show rarely has strong characters, because the show is about their normal routine. In this show though, every interview, light hearted comedy scenes and conflicts about discrimination serves to make the characters look good. They start out generic as hell, but they eventually become a lot more intriguing in the end. In fact, some of the dialogue heavy scenes in the show really only becomes tolerable because of the two characters talking. Their little quirks and display of their bond towards each other fill the entire scene with an entertaining vibe that cancels the overwhelmingly boring aspect of the conversation.  The dialogue scenes can really be a chore to power through sometimes, but you just can’t help seeing the vampire girl act all cute towards the male character though.

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Now, for someone like me that loathes the cuteness and gets bored with the dialogue, the anime really only becomes interesting with its initial premise: the interviews. I love the interviews because it just feels natural the way the scene flows. When the teacher gets a girl alone in a room, I know he’s going to interview her and I know we’ll get something good out of it. The teacher’s demeanor also changes to someone completely neutral asking questions directly to his interviewee, and I love how the other characters respond to his straight forward nature. This direct demeanor of his becomes a lot more interesting because all his questions center on the supernatural aspect of the show. He asks things like if vampires actually hate garlic, or if biting a neck can actually be sexual in a way. He asks this both for his research and also just sheer curiosity. I love how he doesn’t pull punches, because he did ask if a high school girl gets sexual urges. His curiosity actually matches with the audiences though, because there are a lot of things that I personally want to know about the characters, and the interview sessions really provide some interesting tidbits about them. Every character has a unique situation provided by their demi aspect, and the teacher really explores their situation by constantly giving follow up questions and chiming his opinions on certain matters. The interviews really feel academic in its setup, and I really enjoy that. Being a guy that prefers qualitative research to quantitative ones, I just love how the entire scene flows. The interviews don’t stay purely informative though, because it does get personal towards the end.

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Sometimes, the teacher asks really personal questions that affects the character. This gives the show a chance to flesh out the character, but it also provides one more interesting thing about them. The interviews also paint the world the characters live in. When I first watched the show, I hated the fact that we get dramatic scenes out of nowhere. It wasn’t really deserved, but I realized that it’s just part of the show’s subtle storytelling approach. The characters would talk about how demis used to be shunned by society until the government decided to step in. When I heard that, I wanted to learn more. I was completely bummed when I didn’t get to see any flashback that focuses on the discrimination though. I later realized that the discrimination IS being presented but it’s in a very subtle way. The anime wants to keep things light and just slice of life, so giving us actual scenes of demis being mistreated can ruin the show’s main goal. Instead, we are treated to little stories and tidbits about the world the characters live in. I love the thing about the government giving vampires a pack of blood every month. You see, instead of actually giving us conflict, the anime is presenting the compromise that ended that conflict. The interview the teacher had with the policeman actually points it out. The world has gone mellow now, and he’s actually satisfied with that. The show tells us that you don’t need to focus on the conflict, because the world has a way of helping everybody out. The little gestures the characters do are actually a great indication of that, and it’s honestly my favorite part of the show. It reinforces the slice of life while also giving us some strong picture of the world the demis are living in.

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This comes full circle with the slice of life comedy scenes of the show. After the personal and heartwarming interviews, it’ll be spaced out with some funny moments to keep things light. I might hate the club themed elements of the show, but I do understand its purpose. The way the show balances everything is really impressive, and it really makes the viewing experience a really enjoyable one.

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The characters are the strongest aspect of the anime, and you’ll honestly fall in love with each and every one by the time you reach the second half. I’d like to talk about two of my favorite characters though and, surprise, none of them are cute little girls. First off, the teacher, Tetsuo Takahashi. As a teacher myself, I really love this characters because he knows exactly how to handle students dealing with some personal problems. I’ve been there myself. Everyone is different, so you need to find a way for students to confide in you without them running away. Takahashi’s neutral but caring approach actually works for some troubled students, and I love this character for understanding how complicated students can be. I’ve once dealt with a suicidal student, and he kept blocking me off. My last ditch effort is to actually make him cry, and he did. In front of so many people, but he also lashed out at me. My gawd, this convinced his parents to finally seek help for their child. Sometimes, it is tough being a teacher but knowing your students are doing well actually feels very satisfying. People like Takahashi are also very rare, since most teachers honestly do not care. That’s one of the harshest realizations I discovered, but I truly appreciate the rare ones like him. I’d praise them off the bat, and you can often see the relief in their eyes knowing they’re doing the right thing. Also, he kinda reminds me of Kyon from Haruhi Suzumiya, especially with how he interacts with the vampire girl. Their bright interaction is really fun to watch.

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I also deeply sympathize with the succubus. I love this character a lot, because she actually gives us the better glimpse of a demi in isolation. She is wary of her powers, and she hates being able to turn men on with her aphrodisiac. She’s a responsible person with simple longings of being with somebody that understands her. I really feel for this character, because I’m kinda in the same situation as her. There are some complicated things that make you distant from others, and you often feel low because of it. My boss once told me I was too distant and it really bothered her. I can only apologize, because I’m really working on it but it’s really hard to do. The succubus is like this as well, but you know deep down that she is actually an amazing person and she’s really only holding herself back. She is such a cute character, because you also see her try sometimes and it really resonates with me. Also, she is pretty sexy. Even with the jumpsuit, my gawd this character is beautiful. She also has the A-1 Pictures skin color, and I don’t really know if people realize the studio has their own unique skin color you can only see on their characters. It’s also the best skin color for an anime character, and I instantly know this studio is behind this anime when I saw her complexion. Also, boobs. Wait, what am I talking about?

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Anyways, the rest of the cast is also pretty fascinating. Besides just their personality, their interaction with one another is also a great highlight of this anime. With a wide range of characters, you really get some wonderful exchanges in the show. The three cute girls are close and friendly, but they’d be different towards Takahashi. The succubus would be serious to the cute students, but she’d be different with Takahashi as well. This gradually changes though when certain characters bond more in certain scenes. With the show primarily focused on this, I’m sure you’ll feel close to the characters as well so I know it’ll be one enjoyable experience.

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I haven’t had an A-1 Pictures anime since I saw Erased, and I really miss watching their work. They did a fantastic job with this one, and you can’t really go wrong with an A-1 Pictures anime. They’re just so damn good. I’m particularly impressed with this anime, since it has a lot of chance to really fail. Balancing the elements of this anime can be daunting to other studios, but A-1 really pulled it off. This anime is directed by Ryou Andou, and it’s his second directorial work. His first one is Love Live Sunshine, so that’s magical. I can’t believe they did more Love Live stuff. Are they really that great? Ryou’s directing work is pretty impressive though. He doesn’t quite capture the tone shifts of the manga, but he does capture the pacing to a tee. In fact, the manga is literally just animated panel per panel and he really did a great job of it. He did a more ambitious storyboarding of the manga, but the spirit of the original source certainly stayed strong in the adaptation. I’d also give credit to Takao Yashioka’s script work, because he really captured the dialogue heavy appeal of the manga. The original source is littered with monologues and expositions that actually become a lot more tolerable in the anime. It’s also pretty boring in the manga, but the anime had a great way of overcoming this particular weakness of the manga. I guess animation really helped a lot in delivering some of the great scenes of the source.

Sight and Sound

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The manga is written and illustrated by Petos. His style is actually a lot grittier in the manga, and it’s actually a way to capture a more different tone than the anime. The show is light hearted, but the manga needs a lot more elements to properly establish the characters and the complex themes it has. Petos pulls it off though with his really impressive designs. It’s inconsistent at times, but some panels truly capture the beauty of the characters. A-1 Pictures heavily improved on some of the characters though, but it’s only a slight deviation from Petos’ vision. I actually think the anime actually helped convey his vision more clearly than he could, and I appreciate the studio for understanding. The characters are pretty much the same in both versions, but there are a lot more details in the anime. The inconsistent design of the manga does help convey the comedy though, and it also gives us a different side of the characters you really can’t convey properly without animating them. Although, the designs in the manga actually gives off a more supernatural vibe if that makes any sense. Petos’ manga is surprisingly complex, and that’s ignoring the huge amount of dialogue and exposition he also crams in his panels. It’s pretty genius.

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The animation is pretty outstanding. You can’t really expect anything less from A-1 Pictures. I love the way they captured the personalities of every character. The fidgety nature of the vampire, the reserved facial expressions of the dullahan, the nervous movements of the succubus and the timid actions of the snow girl are all wonderfully presented in the anime. I love how the animation is able to really make the entire experience enjoyable. The director is also smart to employ different angles and close ups to some boring dialogue heavy scenes, including the interviews. The animation moves with the conversation as it shifts from one character’s point of view, wide shots and close up shots to match the flow of the exchange. It’s impressive considering how tedious it can get to think up so many angles for a room with just two characters in it. The cute scenes are also pretty well done, since it does punctuate really well, which makes me want to hate it more. The simple scenes of characters eating ice cream or playing at a pool look really well done. I personally space out watching them now, but I do admire how much effort is put into it. Of course, my favorite aspect of the animation would have to be facial expressions. They actually carry the conversations, and you often pay attention just to see the other person react.

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The anime’s OP is “Original.” by TrySail. They are an idol group composed of established voice actors, and I think the snow girl is one of the members. I actually thought all three girls are members, but it’s actually just one of them. The song is about the powers of friendship overcoming the problems you have, and it’s a nice song that fits the idea of the anime. It has lines like classmates not wanting to make you feel left out, and it does kinda relate to the demi characters. The OP sequence is pretty great. It introduces all the characters and their unique personality, including Takahashi with his academic approach to things. It ends with the three girls though celebrating their power of friendship, so that’s nice. I must admit though, it took me a while to get used to the headless girl. She just freaked me out at first, but I did get use to her odd design.

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The anime’s ED is “Fairy Tale” by Sangatsu no Phantasia. They’re actually youtube artists, and they eventually got some major deal thanks to their videos. Their band name sounds like a weird VN game though. The song is a bit stupid, but you shouldn’t trust me on that since I suck at song critiquing. It just has some deeper meaning I don’t really understand. The lyrics states of life like a fairy tale book though, and the hero wants to break away from it. It’s something stupid like that. I do like Mia’s voice though, and she reminds me of Nagi from Supercell.  Her voice really just gives the song a nice personality that covers up the ambiguous lyrics. It’s accompanied by a fairy tale style ED sequence as well featuring the four demi characters. It’s pretty cute, especially with the color book style animation.

Overall Score

8/10 “Interviewing supernatural girls can be both cute and informational, but also a guaranteed enjoyable experience”

The anime has a lot of complex elements to it, but they are all balanced nicely. The pacing of the show never really gets boring, and the characters really make the experience special. Again, it’s a club themed show but it doesn’t really feel like anything you’ve actually seen before. It has an original appeal to it, despite being familiar. It has some comedic moments, some personal ones and heartwarming ones as well, so there’s something different to enjoy every time you go back to it. It’s one of the most watched show of Winter 2017, and for good reasons. I recommend it.

3 thoughts on “Demi-chan wa Kataritai Review

  1. I didn’t know you were teacher but seeing I know the profession it is great a show using supernatural elements to actually show that students need a lot of caring after.

Thoughts~

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