On paper, a story set shortly after new legislation is signed allowing for humans and non-humans to co-exist in a cultural exchange is an interesting one. Instead, imagine a cast of women characters completely devoid of agency or independence, and reduced to fetish for one desperately dull lead and the slew of teen boys he’s standing in for. The result is summer 2015’s most notorious show – not an easy feat considering it was rubbing shoulders with Prison School and SHIMONETA: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist.
Unlike other shows, Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls is perhaps deserving of its infamy, with its ecchi coming ready-loaded for the meme treatment. The series sells itself as slice of life, with each episode title conforming to the ‘Everyday life with…’ formula, but much of what we see on screen is pure bombast. Though there’s a few core staples – visiting a maid café – most of the plot leans on the fantastical, leading to a poorly structured series strung together with gratuitous crotch shots and boob flashes.
While the female ensemble of a typical harem show sells personality through body size, shape and colour, Monster Musume does so with a rogue’s gallery of fantasy creatures, and at its centre is the poor-guy-with-loads-of-women-attracted-to-him trope – think Familiar of Zero, Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero and any others where a tedious Marty Stu is source of constant love, affection and unwanted advances. In light of the inter-species bill, our lead Kimihito would create a diplomatic issue should he, um, be frivolous with the girls. There’s nothing against the rules about building his harem, though. By the end there’s more characters than can possibly be cared about and that’s assuming we ever cared in the first place.
Ecchi scenes aside, the series’ greatest failing is in treating sexual abuse as a punchline. On multiple occasions, Miia, the now iconic snake woman, tells Kimihito it’s fine if he hurts her, reinforcing some dangerous ideas in the process. Given the series is aimed at teenage boys, it’s cause for concern.
For all that, there are moments of genuine levity, and the gags were sometimes funny. Though these were more to do with references to Durarara!!, Food Wars! and the like and a flashback to Kimihito’s chunibyo past than anything ecchi related.
English dub; OVAs; Almost Every Day! shorts; music videos; promos & trailers; clean opening/closing animation; also available from Sentai Filmworks