And puts in the “cute.”
Anime that revolve around “monsters” like snakes, slime girls, and other various creatures that you wouldn’t expect to see a human torso on (like a T-rex) usually have an overtly sexual element. That’s fine, but it’s interesting to see what said monster girls do when not seen through the lens of “random guy’s harem” or something to that effect. What they’re like when they’re just regular, everyday people.
And most of the time the “monsters” in question aren’t actually what we’d call monsters, at least in the most classical of terms. So Interviews with Monster Girls offers an interesting twist on these beings–including a vampire, dullahan, succubus, and Japanese folklore figure Yuki-onna (snow woman). It’s a lot like taking Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and the Mummy here in America and turning them into women–then interviewing them about what it’s like to live as “demi-humans” in a world where their kind is feared and looked down upon.
The story is built in Interviews with Monster Girls so that each monster girl “loses her scary” or what makes her frightening in the first place. This is in stark contrast to the classical interpretations of these characters, especially when you consider how terrifying each monster could be if you met them alone in a dark alley somewhere–without the humanizing aspect the anime provides, anyway.
Sakie Sato, the first monster you meet in the show, is actually a succubus. Succubi are are female demons who haunt dreams and take the form of women to seduce men. Essentially, they tend to have sexual intercourse so violently and so often that they take the lives of their sexual partners. They feed on this energy. Sakie herself is actually a math teacher and tries her hardest not to let her powers get out of hand. She dresses herself as dull as possible and doesn’t wear makeup so she can keep from “seducing” the men she works alongside.
If she accidentally touches someone, they immediately become sexually aroused. As you can imagine, this could be quite an issue working in a school, so she goes to great lengths to make sure she downplays any sort of physical contact or any manner of behavior that could be seen as sexual. Her track suit is inherently utilitarian as well, so it seems like she’s much more of a bookworm or mousy girl than the succubus she really is. If she were to “unlock,” as it were, however, all the men in her way would be in for a world of hurt.
Hikari Takanashi is a vampire, so there isn’t anything difficult to understanding why she’s a force to be reckoned with. Generally vampires are frightful beings that prey on the blood of human victims, sleeping in coffins and avoiding sunlight–you know the drill. Some are able to turn into bats and flutter away while looking for their next victim. They’re also immortal, and can turn victims into vampires if they choose to do so. However, Hikari is a vampire who simply doesn’t like to bite the necks of others. She’ll sip on tomato juice or blood packs provided to her by the government.
There’s nothing scary about helping others, which is also something Hikari likes to do instead of preying on the helpless at night. She also really enjoys garlic, which is something that can staves off and/or harm vampires according to regular mythology.
Kyoko Machi is a dullahan, more commonly known as a Headless Horseman/Rider. The mythological creature is Celtic in nature and usually rides on a black horse while carrying his or her head under one arm (like Celty of Durarara!! if you’d like another anime example). They’re also meant to be quite hideous, with disgusting flesh on their head and sometimes using a human spine as a whip. And whenever a dullahan stops it’s a wild ride, someone is supposed to die soon. In contrast, Kyoko is shy and cute, and the fact that she must carry around her own head is no big deal. There’s literally nothing scary about Kyoko herself and, in fact, she just wants to make friends.
It’s unsettling to see a human girl carrying around her own head, but Kyoko is such a sweet and adorable girl that there’s no reason to run away screaming from her when you get to know her.
Lastly, Yuki Kusakabe is a yuki-onna, or snow woman. These creatures of Japanese mythology are kindred spirits with the snow, harming humans in despicable ways. They might freeze unsuspecting travelers in the cold with their icy breath, lead those wandering around in the snow to their death so they die of exposure, and act as a combination of succubus and vampire in some tales. In other words, they’re not creatures you want to see appearing in the snow when you’re alone. Yuki’s body is always cold, but she can only really freeze her own tears and sweat, so she’s really not a threat at all. In fact, Hikari, the aforementioned vampire, enjoys hanging onto her because the cold gives a nice, pleasant feeling.
All of these “monsters” would normally be creatures you’d avoid if they existed in their “real” forms, but Interviews with Monster Girls does a fantastic job of making them personable, relatable people who have lives to live just like we do. I’m eager to see how the girls relate to each other beyond the first episode as the show marches on, especially if there happen to be additional personalities added into the mix.
Top Image Credit: Twitter