Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 10

In a nutshell, Sensei and Machi visit Sensei’s former schoolmate, Souma, who is a physics genius who has one (and only one) facial expression. Souma gives them a PowerPoint presentation about Machi’s neck being in higher dimensional space and her head and body being connected by a wormhole. He also talks about the nature of observation justifying the existence of humans in the universe, which gets Machi thinking about the purpose of her efforts in school and giving a harder look to her future.

Souma’s lack of expression could be read as a thread tying the weirdness of normal humans to the non-weirdness of Demi-chans or it could simply make the exposition feel more empty and hard to connect with. You could read the lack of jokes this week as keeping us focused on the story or it could just drain your interest in following along.

For me, a fine line that separates a slow burn narrative dedicated to the subtle nuances of human experience…from something that is just slow, dull, and uneventful. Despite quite a lot happening this week, I just don’t care about the pseudo-science behind the characters and, as the humor has become more and more sparse, I’ve lost interest in the characters themselves.

So on that unremarkable note, I’m going to let Demi-chans go for the remainder of the season.

Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 09

demichan9bI’m not sure the dog cookies are a joke… but they sure got an oddly specific bit of screen time without explanation!

The Gist: This week is all about Demi-chans taking control over their demi-abilitites. Detective-kun convinces Sexy-sensei that its finally time to make a move on Sensei-sensei, which will require her to actually understand how her effect works. Later, Snow-chan experiments with drama as a vehicle to make the air cooler and summer more bearable. Finally, Headless-chan experiments with… her ability to tell ghost stories where her head can be used as a prop.

In two out of three cases, Sensei-sensei helps the demi in question with the experiment and in all three cases, the experiments are not entirely successful, although they do lift each demi’s spirits. (and, in Sexy-sensei’s case, give Sensei-sensei a boner)

demichan9atalking about sex appeal with graphs is god damn sexy!

The Verdict: what separates this weeks uneventfulness from previously less exciting uneventfulness was probably a matter of subjective taste. Each sub-section had a little bit more variety than usual (both visually, and in that they were not all about a demi trying to join Sensei-sensei’s harem) and the over all theme of taking control was more consistently delivered across the episode. In short, I respond positively to consistent, nuanced and varied structure in narratives and so I responded positively to this particular episode.

Overall, your milage with Demi-chan remains tied to how much you enjoy its quippy humor, which is tightly written, against how much you care that it’s not really about anything, narratively. There are no stakes, after all, and the structure is more didactic/expositional of the world, than it is a true slice of life.

This week’s humor was just a little quippier, such as when Snow-chan’s quips of Headless-chan x Vampi go ignored by the group, or how warmly Sensei-sensei is internally aware of how he should respond to Snow-chan’s terrible acting. Tight, charming, and better than ‘good enough.’ Go watch!

16rating_8

Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 08

demichan8a

The Gist: Headless-chan scores 5th place in the school midterms, which Vamp-chan resents ever so slightly. Meanwhile, we learn that Snow-chan really likes corny joke manga but is embarrased about this fact and tries to keep it a secret from Sakie-sensei, who has found a joke manga book Snow-chan accidentally dropped. Through their conversation, we see how pop-culture has responded to Demi-chans and how the Demis respond to their place in pop culture as well.

Then the Demi-chans hold an arm-tasting contest in the biology office, which Sensei loses, followed by improved scores for all the girls on their national proficiency tests.

It’s probably telling that I no longer retain any of these characters’ names…

demichan8bJust because you are a vampire, it doesn’t mean your exams should all be red…

The Verdict: As always, Demi-chan’s comedic writing is tight, albeit reserved for only two or three jokes each episode. Sakie’s flashback to breaking a bully and making him beg for more anguish was well animated, interesting, and fleshed out her character a bit too.

Unfortunately, the pop-culture segment contained no conflict, which makes its inclusion pleasant, but not compelling. Also, it lacked connection with real-world sub cultures, which deleted its ability to serve as a foil.

Demi-chan sort of laughs at its own jokes, both literally with its characters and more conceptually with its stucture. This makes it feel harmless and inviting, but limits the impact the narrative and characters are able to convey. At the end of the day, this show continues to be pleasant and watchable by design, but that’s not enough for more than a seven in my book.

16rating_7

Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 07

demichan7_2

The Gist: This week introduces Kurtz and Ugaki, a missmatched pair of demi-division police. Kurtz is a half-german high schooler who may be immune to Sakie’s lust-touch. Beyond his inability to lie believably, the only notable thing he does is confront shark-fin-hair kid about a sexy photo of Sakie…

Ugaki is a gruff old detective who sees the world as mellowing out. He father’s Sakie a bit, or pushes her to talk about forming a relationship, but later expositions to Sensei that this is mostly an interrogation technique. Ultimately, he needs to be able to pre-judge if a succubus is guilty of her own public molestation or not… which is kinda creepy?

The plot is all over the place, and it’s never really explained why Kurtz is working for the police. It’s not really explained why Ugaki took such a liking to Sakie either.

demichan7_1

The Verdict: Sakie is Demi-chan’s least interesting character, this week’s focus on her bashful man hunger was no better than usual. Worse, while Ugaki added a bit of world building via his lengthy smoking room scene, he didn’t add anything we would care about as viewers. (no new information about the main characters of the show)

The only item I can praise was Kurtz sudden wall-jump cross-kick to Ugaki. It was well animated, if not unexplained and added nothing to the plot.

I just feel drained, maybe to the point of hatred, forcing myself to watch this show. Unless next week dramatically turns things around, this will be the last review I can muster.

16rating_4

Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 06

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-6-56-29-pm-copy

The Gist: Sensei visits Hikari’s house to meet her parents and eat dinner. Then he inadvertently worries Hikari’s sister when he ponders that Hikari may ask for hair-dressing-help because vampires can not see their shadows.

Then he falls asleep in his office (sorta) and headless-chan pets him on the head while Hikari’s stay-at-home-dad watches. Whee!

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-7-01-35-pm-copy

When all is said and done, this episode’s main themes are family accepting diversity and how adversity can effect a person and the community around them.

In one example, Hikari’s dad gave up his career to make sure a parent could always be there to help her and he and Hikari’s sister both lighten their hair to make her naturally blond vampire hair less out of place amongst the family.

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-6-59-33-pm-copy

That may sound like deep stuff, and Demi-chan actually manages to tackle those topics with a pleasant sincerity, but it does so primarily by showing us two sisters bicker playfully about keeping blood in the refrigerator, eating ice cream, and being lazy.

Also, Horny-chan continues her running gag of thinking Sensei isn’t turned of by her magic horny-maker. Whee!

screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-6-46-33-pm-copy

The Verdict: If not for Hikari and Sensei’s endearing banter, this week would’ve been hard to watch. Not only was it narratively slow, but there was little action. And by little, I mean the characters spent the majority of the episode sitting in place, tightly framed, with not but drab colors around them. That banter though:

“Sensei! Say something to this cold hearted woman!”

“It’s important to question the rules but you should really stick to the rules you set for yourself.”

“The gentle way he worded that stabbed me right through the heart!”

“…why do all your idioms involve blood??”

So good! (editor’s note: your milage may vary)

16rating_7

Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 05

demichan_5a

The Gist: Kusakabe’s hangups are explained. (She feared the power of her freezing abilities because she created ice in a hot tub) Fortunately, Takahashi-sensei determines she simply sweats from her feet when she is stressed out and that sweat is ‘cold sweat.’ After the reveal, everyone is happy and Kusakabe even invites shark-head boy out.

The Verdict: There were a few cute moments, like Hikari obsessively biting people and the conversation about Takahashi being referred to as ‘sensei’ by everyone, but the structure was too safe. Kusakabe’s conflict was especially underwhelming, as it was resolved too simplistically for the two weeks of build up.

Maybe that’s the point? That these are high school students are their ‘problems’ are never nearly as dire as they think but… that’s not a very interesting point to make. It certainly isn’t an interesting point to make with the demi-human gimmick of the show.

16rating_7

Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 04

screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-7-28-11-pm

The Gist: Kusakabe gets this week’s spotlight, although we learn very little about her in the process. Rather, we get a hot honest confrontation between Hikari and the gossip girls, which brings about better treatment for Kusakabe and a better understanding of the demi in general.

Meanwhile, Satou-sensei and Takahashi-sensei continue to feel out the boundaries of their relationship and how to work with the demi girls in general. The result is a meeting in the AV club room, where Takahashi encourages everyone to take advantage of this rare chance to be with so many demi-chans, sharing so many similar troubles and times of life.

Then he gets hugged by Hikari, gets in trouble with Hikari’s sister Himari, and generally answers the questions raised last week: a teacher must be more careful with his or her boundaries with students, lest all hell break loose. Also, creep-kun!

screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-8-01-13-pm

The Verdict: While we tread long and hard on the inapropes side of touchy-feely teacher, I appreciated that Takahashi knows this is crossing the line and was not especially interested. It’s still creepy to frame the show as a harem piece, which it certainly is, but making the teacher not want anything to do with it is a start in the correct back-pedaling direction.

Otherwise, the flow and interactions were all good. Not learning the actual trauma of Ice-woman will make next week feel earned and didn’t rush this week. Seeing Vampire-girl’s family life and personality, which is as much a human expressing vampire traits as a vampire living as a human, was interesting. I especially loved all the vampire bat shirts and accessories as a silly repeating detail.

My only criticism is Satou, who’s man-hungry personality makes sense, but is eye-rolling and not as nuanced or novel as the other girls’. I guess it’s not totally out of place with Hikari’s hugging and Machi’s crush (and neck-flame-splooge) but it downplays her place as an adult. It makes her less equal to Takahashi as a teacher. That feels unnecessary.

16rating_8

Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 03

screen-shot-2017-01-21-at-3-35-30-pm

The Gist: Satou Sakie takes front stage this week, and we learn more about the troubles facing succubuses. Sakie can not touch men, or even doze off near them, least they have erotic thoughts. This means she must live in the middle of nowhere, ride the first and last commuter train, and resign herself to a life without relationships.

Except Takanashi touches her by mistake and does not appear to be effected. Coupled with his generally nice personality, quickly formed and casual relationships with students, and Sakie quickly falls for him.

Little does she know, once around the corner, his legs go to jelly from the experience! A gentleman yes, but a superman poor Takanashi is not!

screen-shot-2017-01-21-at-3-54-17-pm

The Verdict: Another light hearted romp through another character’s personal misery, which is Demi-chan’s running strong suit. This week was a little less interesting, mostly because Sakie’s dilemma IS BOY CRAZY, which doesn’t work as a foil for social issues like the other two Demi girls. However, Hikari and Takanashi continue to have great chemistry in dialog, and the mixture of light and dark hits the right balance.

Next week will clearly delve into snow-woman territory. I’m not really familiar with this demi-type, which is exciting because I don’t know what to expect. Well, outside of unintentional harem building, pleasant interactions, and charm.

16rating_8

Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 02

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-2-08-59-pm

The Gist: Machi Kyouko, the headless dullahan of class 1-B, is the focus of this week. Specifically, how she quickly falls for Takahashi-sensai and, with the help of Hikari, gets him to take her on a bodiless date.

During their date, which Takahashi has been told is just an experiment, Machi identifies some logistical issues. First, while being carried by someone else is very romantic and soothing, it’s easy to get motion sickness. Second, leaving your body behind gives whoever is around it the ability to sense your body language — but also cause disruption by touching and moving that body around.

Last, you’re completely at the mercy of whoever is around your body if you need to use the toilet…

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-2-21-49-pm

While Takahashi is unaware of the true purpose of their experiment, he notices some of Machi’s challenges. He quietly pulls the principle aside and asks if Machi can wear a backpack instead of a regulation hand bag, which will give her an additional free hand for safety. He also asks that the permission come directly from the principal, instead of 1-B’s Demi homeroom teacher…who happens to be watching the conversation covertly at the time.

Mild harem-building, check?

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-2-16-13-pm

The Verdict: Demi-chan continues to ooze a warm charm, while effortlessly info-dumping the audience. Everyone is friendly, playful, and likes each other in a restrained and pleasant way, which makes watching the show relaxing.

It’s smart too. If you assume each Demi serves as a proxy for a type of girl in the real world — Hikari being bisexual and Machi being handicapped — Takahashi’s big brother role is an effective vehicle to ‘answer the audiences questions about those types of girls. His supportive treatment, and their happiness to receive it, shows the audience that they could do the same.

Sure, Demi-chan isn’t remarkable looking, nor is the plot ground breaking or mysterious, but it does what it can very well. Definitely worth your eyes for the season.

16rating_8

Demi-chan wa Kataritai – 01 (First Impressions)

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-20-23-pm

The Gist: Takahashi-sensei is a high school biology teacher who wanted to study demi-humans, but has never managed to encounter any… until now. New teacher Satou Sakie is a succubus, new student Takanashi Hikari is a vampire, and there’s also a headless dullahan and a ‘snow woman’ (yuki-onna).

But this show is less about the magical-ness of these creatures and more about Takahashi-sensei breaking through stereotypes and forming charming bonds with his students.

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-42-28-pm

Takahashi and Hikari are the first to connect, in no small part because his staff room is protected from direct sunlight, which is good for his teaching materials and preferable for a vampire.

In exchange for letting her stay, Takahashi gets to interview Hikari, which is full of playful back-and-forth banter, world- and character-building. The way they repeat each other’s quips back at different points in the conversation was cute and really saved the scene from feeling like exposition.

We get similar scenes between the headless girl and her classmates and, eventually, a cute scene where Hikari convinces her to ask if she can hang out in the biology office too. (she sends her headless body to sensei with a note)

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-37-57-pm

The Verdict: Demi-chan is very efficient with its animation. None of it will wow you but it has some great subtle gestures, facial expressions, and pop. This is especially noticeable in Sensei’s conversations with Hikari, which are lively where a lesser show would be static and dull with the same material.

You’ll like this if you enjoyed the friendly warmth of shows like Flying Witch but wanted a little more pep and humor. It’s not quite Nozaki-kun, because the character’s aren’t that weird, but it gives me that vibe and having it from the adult teacher’s perspective, a perspective that understands teenagers’ quirks and misconceptions, keeps the show fresh from the student POV standards of school dramedy.

This one is definitely worth a watch.

16rating_8