Interviews with Monster Girls has been a delight since its first volume released in America a few months ago. Since then the characters have been developed and their powers have been explored. They are demi students and their rarity has sparked a professor’s interest in how their abilities work. Call this a high school drama with a twist.
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
FATAL ATTRACTION From making sure Hikari the vampire has what she needs when the urge to bite hits, to helping Kyoko the dullahan get home in the rain, high school biology teacher Tetsuo Takahashi is doing everything he can to make sure his demi students are comfortable and confident. But what about a demi who is forced to hide her abilities? Fellow teacher and succubus Sakie Sato is used to living an isolated life so her overwhelming sexiness doesn’t harm others, but now she faces a new situation. Touched by Tetsuo’s compassion for demis, Sakie has finally found a man she wants to be close to. Can she be honest about her feelings without hurting him with her power?
Why does this book matter?
Aside from this manga, it’s also a popular anime. It’s quite good at capturing each character’s differing personalities and is good for a warm and cozy sort of laugh.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I didn’t see this relationship coming.
This volume has a bookend sort of feel which makes the read a more complete one. Opening with succubus teacher Sakie Sato, creator Petos brings us a bit closer to this character’s internal struggle. We learn she has a handler of sorts, a man who has the job of monitoring demis, though now that most are upstanding citizens his job is rather easy. Sakie is one of the good ones, but maybe too good. Petos explores how her fear of attracting others is inhibiting her ability to have a fulfilling romantic relationship. Not quite the end of the book, but close to it, Sakie and fellow teacher Tetsuo have an interaction that progresses their relationship, but most importantly highlights Sakie’s courage to open up a bit. If you’ve ever felt nervous about interacting with someone you’re attracted to, you can relate.
Which is the strongest element of this series, as it allows multiple types of folks to relate to these characters. Each demi has their own social awkwardness due to their powers and Petos uses these powers to show even supernatural beings have anxiety over seemingly simple things. Hikari’s vampirism is becoming more normalized amongst the characters, but she’s still high energy and tends to wear her emotions on her sleeve. Kyoko’s issues stem from having to hold her head (known as a Dullahan) and Yuki is still trying to get past her fear of freezing others (though that was tackled in the last volume).
A major new element was introduced at the end of the last volume and teased in this one which concerns the demi-detectives. Sakie’s friendship with the main detective helps clarify the type of relationship, but the fact is they’re still snooping around and keeping an eye on the characters. Given the more innocent nature of this series I don’t suspect it’ll get too dramatic with violence and whatnot, but it adds a layer of tension. A new detective known as Kurtz adds an additional wildcard as it appears he may have powers all his own. Petos however, keeps a tight lid on what those could be.
Overall the art suits the calmer more soap opera like narrative. It’s clean, with a great use of white space to further focus in on the characters. Emotions are enhanced well with shadows and colored backgrounds too.
She has a serious conundrum on her hands.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It is somewhat annoying Petos dangles the new detective in our faces and does not further that subplot. Clearly, that will be tackled later, but it was frustrating to have time spent on it only to tease we’ll learn more later.
This might be my American sensibility, but I’m once again getting awkward vibes from the student’s crush on their adult teacher Tetsuo. It’s becoming more clear now that Sakie is a budding love interest with Tetsuo which dampens those vibes, but Kyoko still wants to kiss the teacher badly and that just seems wrong!
Speaking of Sakie, though it’s nice to see more of a focus on her, the conversation she holds with the detective in the opening pages seems to go on too long. The pace is slow–we get some good information, but it drags.
This is yet another solid entry in a series that’s very good at capturing the awkwardness we all feel via supernatural characters. The art, story and characters have a gentleness and a calm that’s special all on its own.