Monday, November 2, 2015

[Ended] Monster Musume



Pros: It knows what it is, and it doesn't really pretend to be anything else. It has a good deal of sensibility in it, at least for what it is.

Cons: And what it is, is harem with a lot of erotic appeal, wrapped around a nice guy trying to do the right thing, prohibited by law from doing anything sexual with any of the entourage of women that all want to sex him up.

My Opinion: As the series went on, I started to notice a trend with me. Every single time, after I had finished and closed the tab, a minute or so later, if I remembered I didn't read the ending Species Info Page, I always went back and jumped the video to it so I could read it. Once, I went back and checked four episodes at once, just to be sure I didn't miss a single one. I really enjoyed reading those, and I think that is indicative of something about the show. I can't speak for anything but the anime, but I think the amount of thought that went into the info pages shows that there's a certain minimum intelligence in the show, even if the theme is by far and large one of the most shallow you can find in anime, the harem.

At the end of the day, the status quo hasn't moved anywhere when the series ends, but the journey there was actually fun, even for someone like me who finds harem and fan service grating and irritating, which is saying something.

Certainly, the show is shallow by nature, that's just how harem goes. But I'd like to make the point that, as far as harems go, Monster Musume seems to have their shallow bar set a good deal deeper than the average, and I will happily sing its praises if I think that will help, even in the slightest, increase that trend across all anime. Nothing pisses me off more than a Checklist anime, because I feel like it's a waste of the animators time to work on something with a story and characters that a cheap pseudo-AI could have spit out a hundred carbon copies of.

 [Spoilers] Highlight to see, if you've already seen the show.
I found it particularly interesting that at one point in the show, it is basically decided on that the main character needs to pick someone to marry, and he actually agrees, but for the sake of harem proceeds to hum and um about who. Most of the time you never get to the point where the center of the harem actually realizes anything close to choosing someone, until maybe the end of the show.
[End Spoilers]

The last point I want to draw attention to, is the depth of the characters. While I grant that every single one of them has some kind of Trope pinned to their back, and they display it every chance they get for comedic effect, they are surprisingly not ruled by their tropes. Hell, the show even has really good reasons why the characters have their tropes. They outright say in one episode that a character is bad at cooking because their species is primarily carnivorous, and carnivores have 1/25 - 1/50'th the sense of taste of humans. That impressed me.

Impartial Opinion: At the end of the day, this is still a Harem. A harem with a unique theme, and as far as characters+story+world go, a great deal more depth than any other harem that I've ever heard of. I guess if someone wanted to break a friend into the Harem genre, (I won't even pretend to understand why), this is the best bet? At the very minimum, pretty much anything to do with Harem and Fan Service annoys me, but I still enjoyed this show every week.
If you're looking for, or don't mind (especially if you simply don't mind), Harem and lots of Fan Service scenes, I suppose I recommend this show. There's a refreshing amount of intelligence in this show for it's genre slot. Taken out of the context of harem, this kind of story and setting would be immensely interesting to me in a slightly more serious tone. Especially if it had as well constructed of characters.

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