Five episodes of A-1 Pictures’ Demi-chan wa Kataritai have aired and it is shaping up to be one of the strong anime of the season.
The show is basically about how supernatural beings live in the human world. The four otherworldly beings in focus are a vampire, a dullahan, a succubus and a snow girl. This show treats these creatures in a rather different way than most other shows would and makes for interesting stuff.
The concept itself is pretty intriguing and its execution is pretty neat too, though there is still room for improvement.
The dullahan, Machi, feels isolated because people treat her headlessness as a disability whereas she doesn’t think so. She wants to talk to people normally and make jokes about how her head can’t keep up with her during gym class, but people hold back whenever her detached head or problems related to it enter the conversation.
More things about her include how she gets around daily activities, like eating, taking a bath and sleeping, in a way completely different from humans. There’s also her weird tastes: she likes her head being hugged separate from her body and she wants a boyfriend who would carry her head around… Not the most romantic scene for a human, but this dullahan this shows her stark difference from us.
What irks us regarding Machi is the romance aspect which, frankly, has been wasted. Instead of having her fall in love with Takahashi, they should have shown her romance with a normal boy of her age. There are a number of reasons for a guy to reject a headless girl even in this world where such beings are generally accepted, and seeing Machi trying to pursue a normal love life would have been interesting. It appears they took the safe harem route instead of going in the more interesting direction. Apart from that, a 16 year old high school girl falling in love with a 30 something old teacher just feels wrong.
The romance of the succubus, Sakie-sensei, is relatively more interesting. Being a succubus, anyone can fall for her if she as much as touches them. She has to go through a lot of trouble to stop guys all around from bursting. She must avoid contact with males otherwise it won’t be a pretty sight. For that she takes the first and last train to and from school; lives in a secluded place away from civilization, because sleeping with any males even in the same building can cause them to have erotic dreams; and avoids touching dudes, both colleagues and students. Being a succubus in the normal world is tough.
Her romantic feelings towards Takahashi are understandable because he didn’t give the flustered, blushing, stuttering reaction she usually gets when a guy comes into contact with her. Of course Takahashi was about to die back then, but he managed to keep his cool which made Sakie feel that she may be able to have a somewhat normal relationship with him.
There are some questions which come to mind regarding her life before she started living like she does now. We don’t know for sure when she awakened to her carnal powers, but the time period when she awakened to them without realizing must have been pretty tough for her and those around her, especially her father and possible brother(s), unless siblings and parents are immune to her. It would be interesting to know more about her past too.
Unlike the rest of the demis here, Kusakabe Yuki hasn’t opened up about her demi side and is keeping it a secret from those around her. She even hates her snow girl part at times because she thinks that it is the reason she isn’t able to live like a normal high school girl. She’s too self-conscious and doesn’t have anyone to talk to about this. She probably feels that normal humans might not be able to sympathize with her properly. She also fears she might hurt someone because of her cold abilities, which is confirmed in the fifth episode.
Yuki supposedly turned hot water into ice while taking a bath but Takahashi assuages her concern by proving that it was only her frozen sweat that she saw in the bath. Following that, Yuki apologizes and makes friends with all those whom she had avoided all this time at her school which is quite heartwarming to see.
All these girls are great, but the best character in this entire show is easily the happy-go-lucky vampire, Hikari-chan. Crosses and garlic may not kill her kind; the sun doesn’t instantly vaporize them but they need to cool off from time to time; they need their daily dose of blood but sucking it from a human’s neck isn’t necessary; the vampires here aren’t exactly like those in many other shows.
Hikari is interesting for a number of reasons. She’s the most fun girl in this show with her messing around with Machi’s headless body being the perfect example of her fun side; she really loves screwing with people for her own amusement. She’s even the best character in episodes where she’s not in focus.
What really makes her an intriguing character are the moments related to her in episode 4. She gives the bathroom gossiping girls a good scolding after they were discovered to have been badmouthing Kusakabe behind her back. Everything she says about badmouthing hits home, but she also says that she doesn’t want to do anything she’ll end up regretting as a promise to her imouto and she cries a bit as she says that. Towards the end of the episode, we see Takahashi chatting with Himari and the sensei tells her his opinion about demis. What he says is pretty neat but Himari’s following request to have this said to her parents is what really has our interest.
These two scenes show that unlike Machi’s parents who are quite accepting of their headless child, Hikari’s parents aren’t the same. There are three possibilities here: either Hikari did something she considers bad but was most likely out of her control to her parents and now she regrets it; or her parents are ignorant about her needs as a vampire and treat her like a normal human or only see her as a vampire; or it could be both, as in, they treat her like a vampire because of something Hikari did.
Whatever the case, one thing’s for sure, despite Hikari being so overly energetic all the, time things aren’t all that okay with her family.
Takahashi is also very much unlike the hordes of generic MCs in similar situations. Him casually hugging Hikari, Kusakabe and Machi’s head doesn’t mean that he’s asexual (just look at his reactions to Sakie coming close to him), it shows that he doesn’t see his students as potential romantic interests. He keeps things restricted; his relationship with the girls isn’t anything more than a normal student-teacher relationship. And that is how it should be. Machi falling for him really needed to be changed, but Takahashi not answering in kind is good and we hope he keeps things like this.
Demi-chan wa Kataritai is doing good so far, but there’s still room for improvement. It does look to be going into deeper problems after this introductory portion of sorts; the opening sequence showing the girls in a somewhat depressing atmosphere after their introductions also hints towards this. ¨Machi’s romance really needed fixing but now it’s probably too late, unless we get some plot twist and it is discovered that Takahashi is a married man or something, though we doubt that.
Overall these first five episodes have been great. It’s been interesting and amusing at times to see how these girls get around their daily activities in unusual ways. The show isn’t using its full potential as it’s completely avoided the topic of discrimination, for example, which would have been interesting to show. These episodes have been quite lighthearted which isn’t exactly bad, but they should go into the more complex issues soon. Even then, what we’ve seen so far hasn’t been disappointing and we hope for more of the same quality in the future.
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