Warning: Contains spoilers!
Episode 3 of Interviews with Monster Girls is loosely themed around attraction—suppressing it, coming to terms with it, how your own desires differ from (or are the same as!) others. Unfortunately, any meaningful commentary presented by the first half of the episode is overshadowed by the second half of the episode, whose many awkward and uncomfortable moments serve to further the series’ harem agenda.
Part 1: When you’re the answer to an anime stereotype
Sakie Satou is a succubus, a demon who can make men near her think they’ve experienced “something incredibly sexy” at a mere touch, or have similar dreams if she falls asleep. She’s also a teacher.
Because of her powers, she endeavors to stay away from people as much as possible. She lives in an isolated home and takes the first and last trains to and from work. She covers herself up in a gym suit as much as she can so that she doesn’t show off any skin and accidentally attract an unwilling man. The daily grind only accentuates the struggles she goes through.
Sakie seems the answer to the busty, flirtatious teacher stereotype in anime. She does share some similarities, being older and single and crushing on another person.
But she’s not desperate, nor implying that being a working woman hinders any chance at a relationship. Instead of throwing herself at others and flirting with men like mad, or complaining to others about yet another failed date, she chooses to stay away. She’s proud of her self-control and is herself only when she’s alone at home. Of course, she can throw men into erotic fantasies without even having to try, but she’s looking for something more.
Intermission: When nothing is off-limits for academics
Several minutes of this episode are dedicated to the questions: In vampires, is bloodsucking related to romance? If so, is it like kissing, or sex? Takahashi keeps questioning Hikari about what it might entail, making her more and more uncomfortable. For Takahashi, he’s simply curious and wants to write about it for his thesis, but doesn’t stop when she is visibly disturbed.
This scene comes off as very much out-of-place—why would Takahashi ask this out of the blue, if not for the “setup” about sex and succubi from the first half of the episode? Although he’s portrayed otherwise, it’s hard to imagine that he doesn’t know that he’s probing too much for his own good. He even says “It’s embarrassing, isn’t it? I’ll stop” and plows right on ahead even when Hikari looks highly anxious about the questions. Though she did say it wasn’t a problem at all, nope, and should have stopped him right there, her face was quite apparent about her real feelings.
This scene with Takahashi could indicate the importance of communicating boundaries, or maybe even about how learning about “the other” might entail very personal questions for the sake of knowledge and understanding, but that doesn’t seem to fit considering Hikari blushes and kisses him right at the end.
That final detail forces the harem part of the anime to be featured right at the forefront.
Part 2: When you crush on the same person as your teacher, and it’s okay?
If the ending to the last part didn’t convince you that this episode of Monster Girls deviated from its exploration of discrimination, then this part will. The entire second half of the episode is dedicated to Kyoko and Sakie, who fawn over Takahashi and his gentle ways and manly arms. Kyoko wanted to talk to Sakie about it because she seems so mature and experienced. Sakie doesn’t want to mention she’s never been in a relationship.
Contrary to the first part of the episode, Sakie devolves back into the teacher stereotype expected from harem anime. Kyoko isn’t far off, either. It’s unclear why Kyoko even chooses to tell another teacher about a crush on a teacher when last episode Takahashi explicitly mentioned he would get in trouble if he was seen hugging her head. Furthermore, last episode even focused on Kyoko’s differences and how telling good friends like Hikari could really help out.
This last bit of the episode felt okay, but unnecessary. The series can go so many different ways, so why choose to focus on the harem?
Extras: When you have to deal with monster girls
The ending of the episode closed the theme of “attraction” and looked to put the series back on track, when we see the yuki onna again. She overhears other girls questioning how a boy would even THINK of asking her out—a recurring scene in many series dealing with high school girls. Her melancholy reaction seems to indicate that she’s been bullied for quite a while. Or maybe something else is amiss.
Looks like you can’t get away from the gossip, monster girl or not.