Reviews: Daily Life With Monster Girl
I liked this more than I thought I would. (manga)
I didn't have the highest expectations for this when I first read it. It looked like a standard ecchi comedy that happened to have a somewhat unique premise, and to a degree, that assumption was right. The fanservice is quite gratuitous, the protagonist is bland (especially compared to the rest of the cast), and this being a harem series all the girls gravitate towards him on the basis that he's generically "nice". The series also has a tendency to send characters Out of Focus after their introductions and only bring them back maybe a dozen chapters down the line. The most glaring thing (to me at least) is that the author seems to not have made up his mind about the tone. 90% of the series is romantic comedy and fanservice, but occasionally it makes a hard swerve into serious territory by referencing issues like human trafficking or sexual assault. The latter is especially incongruous, as the comedy thrives on sexual hijinks, making it stick out like a sore thumb on the few occasions it's treated seriously. It doesn't help that any truly dramatic problem that comes up tends to be glossed over within a chapter or two so the shenanigans can resume. This is entirely for the best, because for all the manga's flaws, it manages to nail the comedy well enough that I ended up reading the entire thing in two days. The comedy is apologetically fanservice-driven, but it's so blatant and over-the-top that it somehow manages to work. And it's not just because I like boobs. What really makes it work is the characters. While the protagonist is generic, nobody is going to read this because of him anyway. Everybody is here for the monster girls, and they're the most well-executed part of the manga. They all have their own sets of quirks, both in terms of personality and in terms of their unique physical characteristics, that ultimately drive the series. The series lives up to its name: it's easily at it's best when it's simply dealing with the girls trying to go about their day-to-day lives in spite of themselves and the resulting comedy. For all the pacing and setup issues, the girls themselves are usually endearing and more complex than the "ecchi harem" part of the series would have you believe. In short, yeah, the thing has its fair share of issues, but the girls and comedy make it worth giving a shot.
A Great Adaptation
I must say that I'm very favourably impressed to what Studio Lerche did to adapt Okayado's Monster Musume manga; I'll go on to say that it's probably the best adaptation the fans could hope for. The animation was consistently good and in fact seemed to get better with the progression of the episodes (the last one is a treat), everything was very faithful to the manga pages (save for a couple moments of Character Development) and what little anime-only moments they put in were as sweet, funny and wacky as the original series. Even the censoring was done cleverly, without the usual cheap light rays or dark spots that plague those shows thet need to sell uncensored BDs. The show doesn't disappoint from an aural standpoint either: both OP and ED are good enough (we need more hard rock in anime!), the sound design is definitely interesting (check out little stuff such as Tio lifting the vending machine or the ominous tapping sounds of Rachnera's legs) and most of all, every single VA does a top-notch job. The voices are the strong point of the adaptation: they are all spot-on with the characters and in some cases they add a lot to the usually flat harem characters. Case in point: the transition between Lala's imperious chuuni mode and her normal meek self is hilarious, amazing and says so much more about her than a drawn page ever will. There are also little ways of experimenting with the visual medium (such as the fake film during Rachnera's flashback to her host family, the Nico Nico-esque comments appearing when Miia is cooking in one episode, or the random Art Shift in ep.3) that go well beyond the usual lazy harem comedy adaptations. Not to mention the mockery of "Quality" animation they give at the end of the final episode! In short: Bravo Lerche for keeping the tone of the original manga (weird, lewd, funny, sweet, bizarre and so on) and improving it with many little touches.
- Anime: 7/10
- Adaptation: 9.5/10