Plot: “Succubi, dullahans, snow women and vampires… We’re a little different from humans and called “demi-humans.” Lately, we’ve been called “demis.” This is a stimulating and heartfelt school demi-human comedy featuring those very unique “demis” and a high school teacher named Takahashi Tetsuo, who’s highly interested in learning more about their daily lives and habits”

Interviews with Monster Girls is a slice-of-life comedy that follows the everyday lives of four girls with supernatural features. When I first heard of it I couldn’t help but think of 2015’s Monster Musume, my first encounter into the whole monster girl sub-genre. I mean the same tropes were present, a central male protagonist, a number of cute girls and a hazy plot. But I was wrong. Where Monster Musume went down the ecchi route Interviews with Monster Girls instead focuses more on social interactions, exploring the struggles that come with “fitting in” when you share characteristics with a fairy tale monster.

Demi-humans, vampires, succubus the stuff of myth and legends, in this world are in fact real and as times progressed they’ve now been accepted into modern society and coexist with regular humans. Enter Tetsuo an average biology teacher with a keen interest in “Demi’s” despite never actually meeting one. Fortunately for him starting the new school year are three Demi students and a Demi teacher all of whom he gets to know and asks to interview. The story follows Takahashi and the girls as they try to live an average life which, when you can carry you’re your head by your sides or manipulate men’s hearts unconsciously, is not easy.

The main selling point of the show is of course the cute, lovable cast. There’s a good range of personalities from each of the characters but what makes them most entertaining is their struggles. The new math teacher, Sakie Sato, is a succubus who worries she cannot form a real relationship with another person as she’d be unable to tell whether the others feelings are genuine or if they’re drawn in by her aphrodisiac effect. Kyoko Machi, a shy Dullhan, finds it very hard to make friends as people are put off by her headless appearance. Yuki Kusakabe, a timid Snow Woman (Yuki Onna), is scared that her ice power could potentially harm her fellow peers. The only demi who isn’t really concerned with her monster nature is Hikari Takanashi an energetic vampire, but she’s key in bringing everyone together. She’s always keen to help out those in need particularly her fellow Demi’s and it’s also though her that we see how being a being part monster effects family life.

Finally there’s the only male character in the cast and very human Tetuo Takahashi. With a cast like this you’d probably be expecting this to be some kind of Harem with Takahashi being the average clueless guy all the girls fawn over but that’s not the case. He’s a mentor and father figure to the girls and the normalcy of the character actually makes him interesting. Through the interviews he conduct’s with the girls he learns more about their monster natures and the problems they face, both as teenagers and Demis which makes him strive to help them in any way he can. The conversations are dynamic, some are funny and others are more educational, but it’s these interviews that give the show its charm.

Instead of a continuing story Interviews with Monster Girls is episodic focusing on a different problem for the girls to overcome each episode, and over the course of 12 episodes each character develops at a nice pace. Behind the cute girls and colourful setting though the series actually tackles some darker subject matter. Essentially the running theme revolves around people trying to “fit in” and “adapt” to live a normal life when they have almost like disability. It also explores some of the prejudice these people face on a daily basis. It’s subtly done but it’s a surprise that there are more connections to real life problems then you may not have been expecting. Thankfully the melodrama is balanced with just the right dose of well-timed light humour to keep the story engaging.

There are some harem moments and a degree of fan-service but it’s never goes overboard. It’s actually all cleverly well timed to suit the setting. The energetic, loud-mouthed Hikari is the source many of the jokes, whether that’s poking holes in Takahashi or playing mischief with the other girls and her sister. Everyone though has their own quirks like Machi’s inexperience outside of studying or Yuki’s secret manga tastes. My favourite moments though came from Sakie as she struggles with romantic concepts.

The artstyle is nothing particularly special, I felt the only real standout design was Machi, but the bright pastel colour palette matches the nature of the show very well. The soundtrack for the most part is nice and soothing but not particularly memorable. I sampled a couple of episodes with the Japanese cast and felt there were some good performances but I was drawn more towards the English dub. The voice actress for Hikari I felt was particularly standout, her energetic performance suited the character perfectly.

Interviews with Monster Girls is a pleasant surprise that shows a different side to the monster girl genre. The series is built around a strong cast of characters. Everyone. monster or otherwise, is well developed with unique personalities and good deal of chemistry between them. The designs unfortunately are a bit bland but the bright palette is fitting and the voice casts really bring the characters to life. In short this series is a cute light-hearted slice-of-life comedy that tells an endearing story about being “different” and “fitting in”.

Interviews with Monster Girls is currently available to stream on Crunchyroll.