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Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

14 min read

Is it safe to live with monster girls … and survive?!

What They Say:
No one expected the government to suddenly acknowledge the existence of demi-human species like harpies and centaurs, but when a careless Integration Agent shows up on Kimihito Kurusu’s doorstep with an attractive Lamia in tow, he suddenly finds himself designated as a “Host Family”. This might not be so bad, except that while Miia’s top half is all girl and quickly develops a crush on her new human host, her snakelike bottom half makes that crush literal with a tendency to squeeze the life out of him! Plus, there’s also the little problem that it’s illegal for humans and non-humans to have THOSE kinds of relationships. With woman-in-black Agent Smith always sniffing about for improprieties, things only get more hectic in the Kurusu household when bird-brained Papi the harpy and master-seeking centaur Centorea need places to roost and stable. As the house gets crowded with even more captivating cuties, can any human male survive under such tempestuous and tempting conditions? Find out in MONSTER MUSUME: EVERYDAY LIFE WITH MONSTER GIRLS!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release is acceptable for the series and available in both English or Japanese subtitled Dolby Stereo 2.0 encoded at 224 kbps. There is a delicate balance between the seiyus’ performances to carry the weight of the show and allowing the ambiance of the Kurusu household to exist within the surroundings, as we hear Darling-kun’s scream in fear or pain from an endless pursuit by the various monster girls. While there are occasional sounds of city life such as cars, ambient conversations or fitting sound effects, you will not forget the main characters are the focus of the animation, allowing them to be the center of any events which happen around the group. And while there is a noticeable absence of the excepted classical orchestral score, its presence is only made known when a brief yet appropriate tune is needed to spice up a moment in which someone stirs up trouble. Silence is predominant, but that does not mean the voice actors can relax as the scenery passes by, they are expected to express themselves as much as possible. It is within this show that their role is essential communicating the essence of every character, allowing us to delve into each personality as we are amused by their daily mischief.

But of course, none of this would be as effective if not for the themes of the series, setting the mood for the show and establishing how the characters feel toward each other and the premise of their positions. However what makes these songs so expressive are the performances by the seiyus, each group pouring the characters’ feelings in the music and allowing it to expand on their insight into the show itself. The opening song Full Speed Fall in Love is sung by Miia, Papi, Cerea, Suu, Mero and Rachnera (respectively Sora Amamiya, Ari Ozawa, Natsuki Aikawa, Mayuka Nomura, Haruka Yamazaki and Sakura Nakamura). It is a charming J-pop dance tune with high energy, sung by the girls and outlining how they all should go after their matching goal – Master’s heart. But what makes it all the more comical are the visuals, showing them chasing him in wedding dresses, and afterwards, the consequences of what happens in the aftermath. Then to effectively close out each episode is the declarative hard rock theme Hey, Smith!!, sung by the MON Girls: Smith, Manako, Tionishia, Zombina and Doppel (respectively Yuu Kobayashi, Momo Asakura, Yurika Kubo, Rei Mochisuki and Saori Oonishi). This rousing tune solidifies their role in the story, helping to defend their fellow monsters and find justice, no matter what rules may get in the way, and seeing all are treated equally. These songs help to round out the show, but with these melodies as the few which are incorporated within the series, I would have liked more music to entertain us, instead of solely relying on the performers, since depending on them exclusively does get boring.

Video:
This comically provocative series is broken down into three disks spanning the breadth of twelve episodes, plus a last disk dedicated to OVAs and plentiful bonus material, all encoded in standard MPEG-1/2 DVD media format and 720×480 anamorphic resolution. The 16×9 aspect ratio playback helps to expand the panoramic views of this series with pleasing landscapes of busy city, frantic domestic life and of course, a variety of alluring monster forms, in all their naked glory. From the beginning you cannot deny this series is undeniably your typical harem show, but with a twist – uncensored. If you happened to see this show simulcast on Crunchyroll, the obvious change to this collection is the removal of inconvenient wisps of steam or strategically placed beams of sunlight, all to block areas they could not show on regular broadcasts. But now you can see what they were censoring, and it is not much of a difference, since most of the time it is offending nipples or an embarrassing upskirt shot which is of course blocked by panties. To think sexy demi-human creatures are that much different than humans is strange, especially when they have all the assets which cause Darling-kun to have the obligatory jetting nose bleeds. And while frontal nudity seems to be mandatory within each episode, if it is not met, then the studio has many other options to go over the limit, such as: see through shirts, hypnotic bouncing from the bustier cast, sexually inappropriate humor scenes, and later on in the show, kinbaku or Japanese rope bondage – which is ever more suggestive than anything else they can imagine. The amount of time they spent in making this series border on the brink of being soft hentai is amazing, considering how many innuendoes are in the entire show.

However if there were any glaring mistakes, it would foremost be within the oversaturation of light sources. While you cannot deny the striking colors of the scenery and characters, especially in making monster girls appear stunning in all their alien beauty, those events are blemished when we see them smothered within too much illumination. Although a majority of the environments are lit in suitable amounts, there are times when a new scene is opened and the viewer is blinded by too much light, thus in turn washes out lighter colors, especially skin tones, giving them a very sickly or alabaster appearance. Although it is adjusted within a minute or so, the number of times it appears on screen makes it all too annoying, breaking any momentum from the show’s progression, particularly when you are staring at someone whose facial features have been bleached out due to the harshness of the daylight.

Finally, there is the subtitling to consider created by Sentai Filmworks. Although a majority of the wording is clear and legible on screen, there are times when letters are pixilated, causing confusion in the translations. These moments are rare and excusable considering the amount of text presented at one time, however it does not help matters when it is necessary to comprehend information presented for each character’s background. At the end of each episode, the animators took pages from the original manga called Monmusu Collection – a charming display showing variations within each monster race and how they differ in both appearance and personalities. Since these images only last for a few seconds, it is of course necessary to pause playback, but therein lies the main problem – information organization. While it is not necessary to read these sheets to understand the show, the knowledge they present expands upon humanizing demi-humans, and show how many variations can be within a species. But this is where the problem arises, the size of font and amount of information crammed within limited space makes reading sometimes difficult, and full color illustrations of subspecies are also covered up by text due to space limitations. A more precise layout would have helped legibility, but it might have been better to show newly created presentations without the original black text underneath and white lettered translations pressed overhead in such a sloppy manner.

Packaging:
Sentai Filmworks created a marvelously simple design for this collection’s cover, immediately grabbing your attention with a charming portrait of the female cast, all greeting the viewer with loving appeal, while plum blossoms dance in the breeze. You cannot but fall for this harem, their appealing smiles welcoming you into the fold, but at the same time, covering any chaos they may have caused while pursuing Darling-kun for their own ends.

This muted decoration design continues within as we see the same plain motif used to carefully apply a pastel border via silk screened along the edge of each disk. While they try to differentiate each one with a new color for the edging and accents, every disk is shown the same consideration while adding a new character portrait as the main focus. This straightforward artwork is elegant in its simplicity, using a white background and minimum distractions to allow the viewer to see each girl in her most appealing charm and allowing for the image to show us even monstrous girls are alluring in their own right.

Menu:
The menu for this collection follows the same simplistic design used on the disks, allowing for a captivating image of one of the demi-human girls to distract the viewer as they make their selection. While the display may be static, Sentai Filmworks carried on the loving theme of the series by allowing the same pastel background used on the disk to decorate the left side chapter selection, but differentiating the edging by breaking the monotony with white hearts checkerboarding the surface. Then to continue the charming theme, a bright yellow heart is used for the cursor, allowing the viewer to select what they wish to view with gentle sincerity. However once again, the most discomforting flaw in this area is the first minute repetition of the opening theme Full Speed Fall in Love echoing in the background; though this may have been done to get the viewer ready for the show with its comforting J-pop beat, it quickly gets tiresome once it restarts at the end of the cycle. Sentai should have given us an option to turn off the music, but they might not anticipated the viewer to spend much time in this area by driving us away with this endless, if however charming cacophony.

Extras:
This area is the most disappointing portion for the entire collection. While Sentai Filmworks did a great job decorating it with the same designs they used on the main menu, after that it falls short. Although the set has plenty of extras to continue the nose blood squirting hijinks from the regular series in way of two OVAs and extensive shorts, enough to add more than three episodes, for some reason Sentai decided to include these on a separate disk, thus making it inclusive to the show proper. Therefore, this Extras section is isolated from the whole since it is under a different menu, and thus appears like any other generic materials the studio includes in their other releases, like trailers and clean credits, so it is nothing special. If they partitioned all of these items into the last disk with the OVAs, then this would have been an exceptional addition, but as it is now, it is inadequate in its current form.

Then to add insult to injury, we have the same musical entertainment as in the main menu, but this time the first minute of the closing theme Hey, Smith!! echoes in the background. Although I can understand this appropriateness for the main, why put it in a side section when most other studios usually have silence? The blaring beat quickly gets on your nerves with the MON Girls yelling at you, and does nothing to add to the ambiance. Sentai should have once again given us an option to turn off the music, but they might not anticipated the viewer to spend that much time in the area, which is another mistake.

Content (please note that Content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
It has been three years since the Japanese government enacted the Inter-species Exchange Bill, a law which allows demi-humans to live among normal people and interact on comparable terms. Before this progressive directive, all mythical creatures which one would normally call monsters such as lamia, centaurs, mermaids and harpies were considered to be fiction, stuff of legend which parents told their children to fascinate them before they went to sleep. However with the passing of this guideline, it is now revealed those myths are real and were kept hidden since it was believed normal people would not accept them as equals, and yet those fears are now proven to be false. Ever since that day, humans and their newly accepted kin have now lived side by side, welcomed by all, and if either side brings harm to the other, they shall be severely punished.

However it has not as smooth within a certain household, when a woman in black named Ms. Smith appeared on the doorstep of the Kurusu family, and told Kimihito he was now the host family for a lamia named Miia. Although this was a mistake and the boy never was notified of this situation, the sunglasses wearing civil servant never accepted her irresponsibility and forced her problem onto this poor boy, even as he accepted it with compassion. While the curvaceous snake woman was pleasing to the eyes and seemed friendly enough, her lack of common sense and tendency to get too close often made living with her a trial at times, especially when she started calling him Darling-kun. But once the government made drastic changes to the house to accommodate her needs, there was no turning back now, not that she would ever want to leave.

It was a typical morning as Darling-kun woke up from a fitful sleep, but while trying to stretch and begin the day, it was not long before realizing he was not alone in bed, as familiar coils slowly wrapped around his helpless body. Miia had crept in as usual, her reptilian metabolism not able to warm up sufficiently to make her mobile, either that or she wanted some cuddle time with her favorite human. However in her sleepy state, those same muscular rings were gradually strangling the life from the helpless boy, just as if he were the prey for any other constrictor. With his face now pressed between her ample cleavage and lungs slowly being compressed by tightening tail, it would not be long until he either suffocated or was crushed to death. It is only through sheer will power, determination to survive and a lucky stroke of the right area that he is able to escape, even as she moans from frustration and sadness for their embrace to be broken so soon, before she was able to get her temperature up to manageable levels.

Breathing a sigh of relief and now able to re-inflate his lungs, Darling-kun drew a warm bath for the lamia before heading downstairs to prepare breakfast. After finishing frying up some eggs, it was with noticeable surprise he heard a relaxed voice asking where her meal was, and if she could have another cup of coffee. It was Smith, the Inter-species exchange coordinator who had dropped off Miia a few days ago, expecting a free meal in return for her below average services. But this was not her only reason for the visit, it was also to check if he had done anything against the Prohibited Matters – in other words, any actions which would harm his guest, either physically or emotionally. In an embarrassed state of shock, Kimihito vehemently denied taking any steps against her … including as the woman in black asked rather boldly – any sexual advances. This line of questioning caused him to blush even redder, but he could not deny the lamia was very attractive, but as Smith implied, if he did any such things, the punishment would be very severe.

After escorting the unwelcomed guest out and finishing their meal, the pair went outside to hang the laundry, with Miia taking great joy in being able to do anything with Darling-kun. As she happily spread the clothes along the poles, it was not long before she noticed something was wrong, the missing presence of her guardian … he was nowhere to be found. Seeing a large shadow pass overhead, the demi-human looked up to see a screaming boy being carried off by what appeared to be a bird girl – pale human like legs ending in claws where grasped upon his shoulders as he struggled to be free, the sky blue wings extending from her arms were vainly trying to keep them aloft until, she dropped him. Falling several feet per second this seemed to be the end for Kimihito, but is it or will someone be able to catch him before he painfully meets the hard ground below?

In Summary:
There is an obvious reason why this series is labeled as for Mature Audiences or ecchi harem – and you will soon see it within the first few minutes of the premiere episode, in all her splendid glory. As I have stated before, this series wastes no effort in showing these guests of Darling-kun are obviously female, exposing themselves in every attempt to seduce or vie for his attention. While they never reach this crescendo, there are numerous instances of other perversions: see through clothes or bared assets, sexual innuendoes, suggestive or overt movements, hypnotic bouncing from a centaur who refuses to wear underwear, insinuations of underage partners (although they later are shown to be same age as the others) and most perverse of all – kinbaku or Japanese rope bondage. So in other words, this is definitely not a show for younger audiences. However if you can get over the fact that almost every female character of this show will be shown in one state of undress or another, this series does have some bright points aside from the nudity.

Strangely this series also has one other quirk, the main character of Kimihito is almost never called by his proper name – maybe only two or three times, all other moments he is addressed by something else. Darling-kun, Master or Honey, all of these pet names are how they call him, even Smith who is supposed to be proper civil servant but usually lounges around as someone else does the work. This shows how comfortable everyone are with him, he shows no prejudice toward any who are supposed to be monsters, but accepts them as ordinary, if somewhat overly attentive, girls. Even in situations in which they are confronted by ignorant people who see these demi-humans as abominations, he never tolerates any harm to come to his charges or allows them to cause injury to even the most atrocious of bullies. This is how kind Darling-kun is to all, he sees the girls as equals and never permits them to do anything which might cause to be deported, no matter how minor the infraction.

Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls Complete Collection is a comical harem series in which any girl who lands on Darling-kun’s doorstep, whether if they are dropped off by accident, forced to take in or finds them unexpectedly, they are all accepted by his kind heart and caring nature which is returned by hectic attraction. He treats them all as ordinary girls, no matter how monstrous or dangerous they may be, everyone finds a way into this crazy family and in turn learn to work together. If you can get over the lewdness of the episodes, this series is worth seeing in order to have a good laugh at sacrificing Darling-kun’s dignity and acknowledging everyone should be treated the same, no matter how they look on the outside, all with a loving heart.

Features:
Clean Opening & Closing Animations, Music Videos, Japanese TV Spots, Japanese BD Promos & Sentai Filmworks Trailers

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: July 25, 2017
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 350 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment: Sharp LC-42LB261U 42” LED HDTV and Sony DVP-SR210H HDMI CD/DVD Player


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