What They Say:
Takahashi Tetsuo is a demi-obsessed researcher who wants to learn more about the demi-humans, aka demis, living in the world. When he starts a new teaching job, he discovers four demis at the school and does the only thing a researcher can do – interview them! But he’s about to learn there’s more to these girls than the legends claim. Nothing’s more complicated than being a teenaged demi!
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English language track gets a 5.1 boost, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The 5.1 side isn’t all the useful here overall as this is very much a school based dialogue driven series with lots of small and close bits of dialogue. It’s not filled with outlandish takes of wacky hijinks on a regular basis and is more subdued in a simple way. But the dialogue is pretty well handled on both mixes where there’s some good placement as needed as well as depth which gives it a good sense of space. The show is clean and clear through both language tracks and we didn’t have any issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes are spread across two discs in a nine/four format that gives it plenty of room to work with. Animated by A-1 Pictures, it has a pretty good look about it but doesn’t go for an overly detailed look. What it does offer is some great color design that stands out well here without being overblown and a lot of great backgrounds. This isn’t a high motion kind of series but the fluidity is good where used and the feeling that it gives off with its overall design is strong considering the simplicity. With a clean look and a good bit rate and plenty of space to work with, fans will be pleased by how this looks.
The packaging for this release has a slightly thicker than normal Blu-ray case with an o-card that uses different artwork from the case. The o-card uses the familiar key visual of the main girls sitting on the bench with the others behind them and with the pink-hued sky behind them it has a really nice look that’s soft and engaging while providing some detailed and sharp looking character designs. The back of the o-card continue the same background and has a nice character visual along with a pretty detailed summary of the premise. A few shots from the show are larger sized and play up the humor and design nicely and the technical grid breaks everything down clean and clearly and plays with color in a fun way – while keeping the important stuff white so that it’s easy to read. The case artwork works from the Japanese side with the main cast standing together against a white background that looks nice but not as engaging as the o-card. The back cover uses a simpler background and a different piece of character artwork but is otherwise the same. It does include artwork on the reverse side with two panels using more of the Japanese artwork with full-color and designed backgrounds with settings that gives it some life.
The menu design goes for simplicity which means a static piece that’s used for both discs. With lots of bright colors used from the packaging with the pinks and greens, we get the case artwork used here with the splatter approach behind it. It ties in nicely with the logo and a sense of fun even while being static. The navigation is kept to the lower left with a big paint splotch that has the selections in large font, a drastic change from most of the usual bottom line strip material we usually get. It works well as the main menu and during regular playback as a pop-up menu selection.
The extras for this release are pretty straightforward with nothing created for it as we get some of the Japanese promos and commercials along with the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga by Petos, which is being released in North America by Kodansha Comics, Interviews with Monster Girls is a thirteen episode anime series that aired in the winter 2017 season. Animated by A-1 Pictures, the show got a strong production behind it that didn’t tax the animators a whole lot with what needed to be done. It’s very much a cute girls doing cute things series but has more than just those girls in it. Of course, those girls are also monster girls so it has some quirks to it but it’s by and large kind of interchangeable with a lot of other series working the cute girls formula. It’s one that simply makes out better with its production values and, for me, by working some adults into it.
The general idea is that this is a world we all know but there has been a slow introduction of demi-humans into the accepted public sphere. There aren’t a lot of them and they’re considered largely harmless, which helps. The series doesn’t tackle the introduction of them into the world, backstory related to how they lived prior to this, or how people may react to them in general. We simply have a trio of girls that go to school and have some fairly limited interactions with others. So it misses out on areas that could give it a bit more depth and richness in favor of the traditional – spending time with the girls being cute. It’s mildly frustrating even if what we do get is fun in that kind of light touch way where it avoids dealing with anything serious.
The focus is on Tetsuo, a teacher (not a fellow student!) that has come to this school because of his interest in researching the demi-humans. This has him getting a bit of a reputation among the other students because he spends a lot of his time with them and over the course of it the girls end up trusting him a lot and coming to him more than others. A lot of his interactions are filled with questions in an effort to understand the girls while also coming up with ways to help them with various issues related to their condition that keep them from enjoying a normal high school life. Tetsuo also gets a bit of a reputation because he’s of a large frame and muscular, but not overly done, so that he stands apart from everyone else even more. It’s definitely an area that I like as it’s not the usual route.
Thankfully, Tetsuo isn’t the only adult regular as we also get Saki, a math teacher who is also a succubus. This could be a series all on its own, and a lot more pervy, because she spends her time trying to make sure that makeup of her body as an aphrodisiac doesn’t end up seducing any students or others. That has her wearing a tracksuit (which, as many will understand, can be hella sexy) and doing her best to be kind of mousy and simple. Tetsuo does his best to help her in some ways as well and the two make an interesting team and certainly something filled with potential in what they could be. Sakie’s story could have been a pretty good story on its own, both serious and comical, and I liked seeing how Tetsuo essentially draws her out of her shell a bit in order to engage with the students more.
Much of what we get throughout the show is focused on the core trio, which is made up of Hikari the vampire, Kyoko the dullahan, and Yuki the snow girl. Hikari’s got a sister in Himari who isn’t a vampire and there’s a neat bit to Kyoko in that there are only three known dullahan out there. Yuki’s a familiar character with what she is with her abilities and personality but she also works hard here to accept who she is more as it’s kept her separate from others for so long. This group slowly bonds well, sometimes in perceived competition for Tetsuo’s attentions, but generally they have more individual interactions with him until it becomes more of a group with Tetsuo as an advisor that they’re all close to. The situations are largely small when you get down to it and partially consumed with the investigation as to how their powers work and similar things through Tetsuo. But there are lighter moments and some cute bits of humor mixed into it as well.
I do like that the series touches on some larger ideas from time to time, such as a police officer that visits a couple of times who is involved in demi-human crime and interacts with Tetsuo about their understanding of these beings. Most of the situations are just the usual cute girl stories with little school based adventures, tests of courage in the summer, some pool time, and adjusting to their powers and abilities as well as the things that hinder them from enjoying what others consider normal activities. These are not deep stories but I think we get a nice handle on their personalities overall and the quirks that comes from it, particularly with Kyoko and the gags with her disconnected head.
I didn’t go into Interviews with Monster Girls with any huge kind of enthusiasm figuring monsters and cute girls and knowing how the last few iterations of it has gone in other shows. The series is cute girls doing cute things but it adds a few more layers to it that helps a lot and combines with a very fun dub that has some real personality to it. The use of Tetsuo as the lead of it rather than the girls in a way helps immensely, especially since he’s not a fellow student but just a very interested research type. Funimation’s release is solid throughout with a good encoding, a clean pair of audio tracks, and some standard but welcome extras all wrapped up in a good package. Fans of the series will be pretty pleased and I think this is one that does fall into the usual traps but executes it well enough so that it’s not defined by them.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Promo Videos, Commercials, Textless Opening & Closing Songs
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: April 17th, 2018
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.