Who Would Like this Anime?
If you remotely have a thing for either romances or comedies, you should watch this. There’s just enough drama to keep things interesting but it’s not so much that it’d make the story “hard” to watch. It’s just a setup for happy endings. The only thing that could dissuade you from watching Monster Musume is the amount of bare titties it’ll throw at you. It’s ecchi. Although it doesn’t overdo it, it doesn’t make an effort to be a family friendly anime either.
I’m somewhat sure I watched this release and encountered no problems with the subtitles. Maybe them naming “Smith” just “Sumisu,” but it kinda grew on me (enough to make me go with it too) since Smith is just supposed to be a pun on a stereotypical American name anyway and “Sumisu” sounds pretty cute. Considering the anime’s visual quality, getting the 1080p release probably won’t hurt.
Humanity has signed a cultural exchange bill with other species to encourage more tolerance and respect towards among each other. Consequently, representatives of the different species are having homestays in human households to familiarize themselves with human culture, then sharing their experiences with their own kind once they’re back home. Kurusu, our protagonist, is one of those households picked for homestay and has a species representative or two staying at his house. Easy enough. However, it is strictly forbidden to have sexual relationships or harm other species in any way. Shouldn’t be too hard, if the girls at his place wouldn’t make it so hard on him. And as such, Kurusu’s struggle to protect the girls, their chastity, and his chastity begins…
In my opinion, the visuals are stunning. There’s a fair amount of detail in the scenes, it’s sharp, and the animations are smooth. I also appreciated the fact that Monster Musume injects different styles to strengthen the comical effect now and then: For instance making scenes look like an old RPG or stylizing certain explanation charts to keep the experience fresh. If this was the standard in rom-com anime now, I’d be super happy.
I’ve very little to say about Monster Musume. The reason’s simple: Monster Musume is just so good, that I don’t have much – if anything – to complain. But I’ll try to explain why Monster Musume is one of the, maybe the, best rom-com anime I’ve seen to date, anyway. As a side note: It’s not as ecchi as my screenshots would make you believe, it’s mostly out of context and I just like to put the goods on display.
First of all, the pacing. It’s just brilliant. At no point did I have the feeling that the plot was dawdling about to buy some time or that the episode was stretched, it was fun and/or action nonstop – either by being cute during the romantic scenes or funny in its comedy sequences. That might sound like it’s too fast-paced or rushed, but that’s not the case either. Somehow Monster Musume manages to pace itself just right, scenes end right after you feel satisfied and just before you get to ask yourself whether this isn’t dragged out.
The character cast is pretty diverse. You get your tsundere, your loli, your ojou-sama, your onee-san, even a sadist. Now, when I watched the first episode, I was pretty indifferent about the girls. I’m just not into half-human, half-monster girls. However, it’s hard not to grow to like them. After all, they’re not just a bunch of half-assed monster characters whose monster trait is just for show and the sake of catering to certain fetishes; Monster Musume won’t just let the mermaid grow legs or something whenever she wants. No, much thought went into the setting and it is attentive to details. Continuing with the former example: The mermaid has to be pushed around in a wheelchair because, well, she has no legs but a fin. How else is she gonna move on land? She’s also covered in some greasy secretion to keep herself from drying out. Monster Musume is committed to its monster setting and very smart about it. And when a show is this committed and passionate about its unique setting, I’m very much willing to appreciate it. Even if they’re “monster girls,” they’re just lovely and cute to watch.
A little less optimal is the what and why. The explanation why there are all those kinds of different monster species and how they’re conveniently half-human isn’t too convincing or just not there. Is this bad? In my opinion, no. I mean, it’s a crazy setting, you go and try come up with something convincing. The series isn’t trying too hard to come up with something either, and I’m glad it doesn’t. It basically just says, “It is how it is, just roll with it.” As I said, not a problem for me. I’d be more annoyed if it try-harded to explain the unexplainable only to fail miserably. This isn’t the kind of series that needs a scientific background.
Moving on. Monster Musume is brilliant comedy. There isn’t really much to add to this point, so I’ll just share two small details that I noticed and which I found helped make the anime more hilarious: The protagonist, Kurusu, most of the time has those “empty” eyes that make him look like he’s in a permanent state of utter confusion or carelessness; really funny. His eyes do go “real” during the more serious scenes, though. Also, Sumisu, the federal agent, always talks with a seductive, out-of-breath kind of voice, and I mean always. It’s hilarious when she’s throwing around serious threats with this erotic tone in her voice.
Character development is present but rather short-lived. Basically, each girl gets her episode or two, and within its course they usually change a bit in attitude and grow more affectionate towards Kurusu. It’s fair enough and helps keeping up the pace and the anime interesting. Story-wise, Monster Musume is more of a slice-of-life anime without a big underlying plot. Although adding girl after girl does give you the feeling of something progressing. It’s also smart about utilizing the monster setting to implement small, quickly-resolved drama to keep the anime spicy which then smoothly connects to the next girl taking the stage: Harpy egg leads to greedy creep leads to new character leads to resolving her trust issues. The progression feels very natural and without “cuts.” Even though there isn’t necessarily a big picture that unravels itself, the slice-of-life bits mold into a homogenous whole.
I was a bit scared for the anime’s ending. However, even the ending was smart. Usually, anime adaptions of ongoing works goes the “original ending” path to create an artifical dramatic climax and go all out on the “by the power of friendship” bullsh*t that anime studios seem to love so much. Now, I won’t say there’s no power of friendship stuff here, but it comes just so much more natural and believable. If you don’t wanna be spoiled at all, just skip the rest of this paragraph. The end isn’t really anything major, to be honest. It’s just another arc like all the episodes up until here were about something that I kept wondering about throughout watching Monster Musume: How the hell does he pay for all the groceries and stuff? They could’ve easily ignored this kind of problem ’cause, let’s be honest, who cares? There’s monster girls, budgeting is the least of the issues in terms of realism Monster Musume has. However, it does shed light on it and yeah: Kurusu does go kinda broke and they have to go get some freebies. Even better, how is the issue ultimately resolved? Sumisu tells Kurusu that he can just write those expenses off since the girls are at his house for homestay! Of course!
The only issue I have with Monster Musume is its amount of ecchi. It’s yet another anime that overdoes it with the anime titties. It’s kind of dumb to nag an ecchi series for being ecchi though, so I decided to ignore it.
What’s there more to say? Monster Musume is gorgeous, well-written, well-paced, hilarious, smart, attentive to detail, and leaves you with a very satisfied feeling after every of its arcs. This is pretty much what I expect from a great anime. I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about it. It’s not Shakespeare, probably not even an epic masterpiece anime, forever to be remembered. However, it does everything it wants to do perfectly, in my opinion. I’ve no reason to take any points from it, so I won’t. Even though I’ve no thing for monster girls, I was greatly entertained by Monster Musume and its endearing cast and story. Full points, would and will watch again.