Continuing with these series of reviews of the Winter season now we reach the second place. I must say I was surprised not to give Demi-chan wa Kataritai the first place, and well, the name of the site does not help to cover my bias towards the show but it was a difficult decision to make, the other show was slightly better. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy Demi-chan and I’ll be writing plenty about why it was one of the best shows last season.
I have talked before about the main plot of Demi-Chan wa Kataritai on my review of the manga. The anime does not differ a lot of the manga, some scenes are extended for dramatic purposes and the order of some chapters are changed for the sake of continuity. But overall we get the same story: A universe where humans coexists with demi-humans, people who has special features such as vampires, dullahans or succubus. We encounter a biology teacher who is fascinated by demis and encounter them on his school. The story follows the interactions between the teacher and the demi students and how they deal with problems derived by their features or how other people see the demis.
I don’t want to repeat myself with the things I said on the manga review but I want to make something clear: This is not creepy show. It’s disingenuous to judge the show as this label because it does not fit with that. It’s explained in the show more than once that the teacher sees the girls as they are: His students. And, as a teacher, he wants to help them. Conflicts arise in the show where people question if that is true, but there is no indication there are ulterior motives. Even students that are not demi get the relationship between them.
We are so used to believe any show that has one male main character surrounded by girls has to lead to a romantic/sexual relationship. It also does not help that image by having monster girls. This season we had extreme examples of that. One show set in a high school where teachers and students are fucking and they are sucking the shit out of each other. And a monster girl show where all the characters were quite thirsty. Demi-chan is nothing like those. The relationships are built from the curiosity of knowing more about the girls not for romantic purposes but for understanding what a person can do to help them to integrate into our society.
Demi-chan has drawn comparisons to Katawa Shoujo, and while they are similar themes in play, Demi-chan wa Kataritai treats this subject of approaching someone with special features from the point of view of a regular person. For the other students is also difficult to get close to the demi girls. Should they bring attention to the severed head of the dullahan? Or how to talk with the Snow lady when she is sweating ice? Demis just want what any other student: Create everlasting experiences with their friends, comrades and family. The realization from both sides about their goals and dreams is what will lead to our happy ending.
One of the most underrated aspects show is its direction. It takes advantage of the media and does it well. That’s why I’m a strong proponent of the idea of a show to be judged separately from its source material. And there’s no better example that this scene from the fourth episode. A little bit of background without giving too much spoilers, Satou-sensei is a succubus, her life is difficult because she can involuntary stimulate the sexual desires of those around here. She has to dress unattractive and maintain a great physical and sentimental distance from others to avoid running into misunderstandings. Her first contact with Takashi-sensei was unfortunate because he did not how to approach her and she reacted as usual. But now in this scene we first see them together, the complete shot reveals the distance between the characters. And it’s not only the measure but the colors too describe how different they take this situation. Satou-sensei on the red side, putting a stop to any advances towards her and Takashi-sensei on the green side, open to understand and know more about them. It’s brilliant all the things that are condensed in this minute and a half.
Nothing can be perfect and Demi-chan wa Kataritai has its share of problems. The first thing I will point out is that it stops its tracks in one of the last episodes to let us know that Machi (dullahan) is the embodiment of quantum mechanics. We don’t need that, not everything has to have an explanation and more if you stop a compelling story to add a mumbo jumbo quantum mechanics backstory. We already like Machi, if her dullahan quirks were magic that would have been a lot better than this. I’m not complaining because of the inaccuracy of the explanation, that’s for nitpickers, but the abrupt halt the show takes to let us know that. Rushed, unnecessary and can bore a lot of people. The show also feels small, the majority of the scenes occur in the school and we got 7 to 8 shots of the outside world. You can show us how Machi buy her clothes or a day out for all the girls or Satou-sensei. Don’t let the story be constrained by the setting of a high school. You have the material and the characters to do it.
And with that we come to the end of the review, I wholeheartedly recommend watching this show. Demi-chan wa Kataritai is a different take on monster girls and their discovering this world and the people who help to achieve that goal. Also I recommend reading the manga, and if you can, support the author by buying the Japanese edition. The anime is available where anime is.