Interviews with Monster Girls Vol. 1 - Manga Review

Tetsuo Takahashi has always wanted to interview demi-humans, but has unfortunately never met any. Until one day...

The Lowdown

"Demi-humans", humans born with mythical abilities such as vampires and succubi, exist. Biology teacher Tetsuo Takahashi has always wanted to interview one, but never had the opportunity in college. However, this all suddenly changes when he finds himself teaching and working with several of them at the start of the new school term. Can he handle the insanity?

How Was It? 

When I was studying abroad in Japan last summer, I had a habit of taking late night walks to a bookstore in my neighborhood and looking through manga. A few times, I took pictures of series that looked hilariously crazy. Amusingly, one of them was Interviews with Monster Girls, and so I had to give it a shot when it was released in the states. While I wouldn't say it's quite as crazy as the header image initially made me assume, it was pretty close in more ways than one.

The story of the series centers around biology teacher Tetsuo Takahashi and his interactions with demi-humans teaching at and/or attending his high school. The first chapter is a bit chaotic as the series more-or-less drops Tetsuo into the lives of four demis out of nowhere. At first I wasn't sure what to think of the series in this first part, because the comedy was basically entirely hinging on the insanity of Tetsuo's lifelong desire to meet a demi suddenly coming true in four ways at once. Outside of this, most of the humor was fairly limited because the characters hadn't really been developed.

Thankfully, things pick up relatively quickly when Tetsuo interviews the vampire Hikari. Much like other similar series, Interviews with Monster Girls' humor relies on its characters' interactions for comedy, and characters with more intriguing personalities and nuanced quirks will lead to more witty jokes. Hikari herself is definitely a highlight of the book in this regard. Her energy and playfulness are illustrated early on in Tetsuo's "interview" with her as she describes what being a vampire is like, and continues throughout the volume. Hikari is the character who seems to interact the most with the cast members, and her usage is excellent at bringing out the humor in the others. I'm a fan of "troll" type characters, so having an interesting main character who fits the type is definitely appealing to me.

In more general terms, comedic bits seem to be fairly diverse in setup and usage so far. There are several particular moments of dramatic irony that stuck out to me. One example of this was when the succubus teacher Sakie Sato meets Tetsuo and thinks he didn't get aroused by her demi ability, when the truth is that Tetsuo was holding his composure until he was out of sight. This causes Sakie to assume that Tetsuo can handle her charms, and she falls in love with him. Subsequent jokes build on this initial interaction, with both characters at least partially misunderstanding what actually happened. A good comedy manga in my opinion is one that knows how to build on its own jokes, and in this regard Interviews with Monster Girls is quite successful. 

I mentioned earlier that the beginning chapter felt a bit underwhelming at first due the lack of development to base humor off, and if there was one complaint I had about this volume it would be that character development in general can be a bit hit or miss. Sometimes Tetsuo's relationships with the other characters feel a bit stilted because the narrative doesn't really create believable situations for the development to happen the way it does. I wouldn't say this is too big of an issue, however, since once Tetsuo's connection with the demis is established, the only thing relevant to amusement long-term is how the relationships develop from that point on. 

When I first ran into Interviews with Monster Girls, the first thing that stuck out to me was Hikari's amusing expression on the cover. Fortunately, as I had hoped, the illustrations in the volume are in the same vein as the front picture. Characters have numerous facial expressions, and in particular I enjoyed the use of various angles to highlight certain emotions. This facial illustrative boost is what really made the comedy stick out to me sometimes and was much appreciated.

Final Thoughts

Interviews with Monster Girls manages to be an amusing and markedly less ecchi "monster girls" comedy series in its first volume. Characters like Hikari the vampire were funny, and the type of humor and situations it was presented in varied enough to be quite entertaining for the most part. I wouldn't say that this series is a breakout hit, but it makes for some enjoyable reading and the illustrations are well done. 


Interviews with Monster Girls volume 1 was translated by Kevin Steinbach and published by Kodansha Comics USA on November 1st, 2016. It is written and illustrated by Petos and currently running in Japan under Kodansha's Young Magazine the Third

Verdict:

B

Date of Publication: November 1st, 2016

Translator: Kevin Steinbach

Author: Petos

Publisher: Kodansha Comics USA