Monster girls, monster girls everywhere. Imagine if they could be a part of a harem series with one lucky guy forced to take care of them by law. What’s that? The word harem immediately makes you instantly gag just from trying to enunciate that term? I don’t blame you. Great harem shows as of late have been a dime a dozen, besides the ones that were and are already in continuation. When new ones crop up, they do not add anything that is new or exciting, just more and more formulaic as time goes on. So what is to be done to amend this curse? Put in cute and sexy monster girls in it, of course!
It is possible to add a new element to an anime from a specific genre and succeed in giving a new edge to the anime. Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou is a prime example of something like this succeeding at a level that I did not think would be possible. If Monster Musume, hypothetically speaking, did not have monster girls as the harem and it was just normal girls, I don’t think it would’ve had as much as an impact. Unlike human girls, monster girls have abilities from their bodies and state-of-mind that can create all kinds of unique jokes and sexy situations that you wouldn’t find in a normal harem show. This is where Monster Musume has a lot more going for it in its humor and story. New scenarios involving monstrous entities with tentacles, wings, and other strange things all add something interesting that we aren’t used to.
On the topic of story, there is not really much to say about it other than the fact that it involves a slightly interesting world of monsters being integrated in the human world. The only issue I have with it is the fact that it does not really explain it very intuitively to the point where I just kinda nodded off halfway through. But from the way the show portrays itself as a silly harem/ecchi anime, it clearly knows how silly it is and runs with it. Hell, even the title itself is translated as, “Daily Life with a Monster Girl.” Which is what most ecchi/harem anime should try to strive for when developing a story of this nature.
I will briefly go through one by one of each character, since this is after all a character driven anime based on how good the girls and male protagonist are. There are a lot, so bear with me for a moment. For starters, Miia-chan, the lamia snake-like monster, is by far the best one out of the rest. Thanks to the adorable voice of Sora Amamiya, her caring and cute personality is infectious to say the least. Not to mention her “darling” catchphrase is one that I can’t preface about how heart inducing it is. Papi, the bird-like harpy monster, is the bootylicious loli of the group who has some pretty hilarious moments due to her childlike curiosity. Cerea, the centaur monster, is probably my least favorite but she is still quite enjoyable with her humorous attempts at trying to be noble and knightly to her master.
Suu, the humanoid-like water goo-ish monster, has a peculiar essence about her from how she interacts with the characters. Because she can’t speak well to people at first, we see her grow up with everyone and starts to learn how to become an adult later in the show. Her morphing technique and almost drowning the protagonist with her own body is pretty amusing to see. Meroune, the mermaid monster, does get a bad rep as being the worst girl but I would have to disagree with that assessment. I’ve always enjoyed seeing her wanting to get married to the protagonist and her attempts at seducing quite alluring in more cases than one. Finally, we have Rachnera, the giant spider monster, who is easily the 2nd best out of the bunch. Mostly because of her entertaining sadism towards the characters that makes her unique among the harem. One scene involving a dullahan and her is especially noteworthy, which I won’t spoil for those who are not aware.
Our protagonist, named Kimihito Kurusu, is surprisingly one of the highlights of the show. His brash and commanding attitude is a breath of fresh air compared to other harem protagonists who do not have the same level of bravery among females. Not only that but his actions that involve helping the girls from being downtrodden in human society, in particular one scene involving him punching monster bigots so hard that they fly through the door, make him quite likable in this regard. He does have his dumb moments here and there but in context to the situation at hand, they fit well in a comedy scenario where he does not have much control over a bunch of monster girls that are completely different from human girls. He is not even an overly perverted protagonist who we would all root for like Tomoki from Heaven’s Lost Property or Youto in Hentai Ouji, but he manages have a subtle sexual interest that comes up at the right time.
My only big issue with the cast is the fact that we do not get to explore the supporting cast as much as we’d like. Sure there is Sumisu who has great moments involving the supervision of Kimihito’s care for the girls, but I do not get the same feeling with the other characters. The MON (Monster of a Neuro) squad in particular has this problem. There might be one episode where Kimihito goes on a date with all of them, but other than that it was hard for me to actually give them any thought compared to the main girls. It’s obvious that they will explore them more in a 2nd season, and I hope that that is the case. One exception to the supporting cast is Lala, the dullahan monster, who has one of the most memorable moments involving her head and separate body in the entire show. Again, no spoilers, but it’s worth seeing Monster Musume for that alone.
From a technical standpoint, Monster Musume’s art assets are pretty good from how shiny and colorful the character designs are. I also enjoy the funny character face reactions whenever there is something lewd, scary, or surprising happening every time they happen. The backgrounds, however, are not something to write at home about. It is quite plain and average to see on-screen most of the time. There is the issue of the OP/ED music. The OP is okay, I liked the chorus of the girls chanting “Monster! Monster!” at the beginning but the rest just felt underwhelming. Same with the ED, although I tend to question how it fits with the tone of the show at all. I know it features the monster squad, which are the action characters of the anime, but it felt like an ED to an action anime overall, not a comedy/ecchi one.
I had read the Monster Musume manga a little before getting into this, so I was expecting much of what I got. And what I got was enough for me to say it was definitely an entertaining harem that reminds me how harem shows can be incredibly entertaining. All you need is to add a different spin to the genre and Monster Musume proved that you can do that successfully. Is it a game changing spin that will change it? Not at all. There’s so much add to the genre, but so little for it to be anything but an enjoyable escapism.