Demi-chan wa Kataritai (Re-Watch) (Merry Days of Anime 2022)

This will be the last series I re-watch this December. Upon finishing Dance Dance Danseur a few days ago, my heart randomly leapt out of the chest and pointed at this darling series that I haven’t seen since mid-2017. Figuring there was nothing to lose (except for the overall score), I went back to watch Demi-chan wa Kataritai.

Have you ever encountered something that feels tailor-made for you? This series seems to fit that description for me. Upon first viewing, I liked it quite a bit, though my original post is still smugly within an atmosphere of “I have to be an objective, snarky anime critic to stand out.” Still, I saw the signs of something deeper—a connection bridging who I would eventually become to the gentleness of this series’ writing. Watching it again now, I think I have a better understanding of why this invigorates me so.

Copy-Paste Synopsis

Succubus, Dullahan and Vampire. They are known as Ajin, or ‘demi’s and are slightly different than the average human. They have lived alongside humans for ages under persecution. However, in recent years, they have become accepted as members of society. This story follows a high school biology teacher who has a great interest in demis and his interaction with the various demis in his school, each with their own cute problems.

AniList

Actual Review

In episode eleven, a group of four minor characters are shown sitting at an outdoor table. They have a generally mature, but somewhat contentious talk about the nature of demi-humans and how they should treat them. One character, who was earlier in the series shown to be a cynical, gossiping brat, goes on a long spiel about how it would be detrimental to simply treat “demis” as though they aren’t somewhat different, lest they reap them of the traits that make them who they are.

This sort of conversation is probably the worst thing that can be said of Demi-chan wa Kataritai. At times, the writing comes across as the author simply waxing poetic about the nature of differences amongst human beings and using the characters as soapboxes to peddle those views in a blunt manner. Not to say I disagree with those views necessarily, but it can come across as artificial or arrogant. These situations occur occasionally throughout the runtime.

So with that aside, I am not going to negatively criticize this series from this point, because I legitimately adore it.

No one is allowed to badmouth it from this point forward.

With three re-watches this December, all scores (counting SaeKano‘s two seasons as one series) up to this point have plummeted by three points. 8 to 5, 7 to 4, and 7 to 4. This data suggests that, logically, a fourth re-watch would be the same, if not similar. Instead, my opinion of a series has actually increased, which has not happened with a re-watch since… Katanagatari? In 2014 or something?

Demi-chan wa Kataritai has managed to establish itself as a favorite in my eyes. Nearly every episode manages to entertain and inspire me far better than most others in this medium have. What makes this so surprising is that it doesn’t even do very much to begin with. A series about a teacher who talks to his demi-students about their unique attributes. It’s so… simple. Dull. Yet it is specifically because of this grounded nature that I’m so fascinated by its execution.

There’s something really nice about getting to know people. As I’ve gotten older, my desire to connect with people has grown with me. There are few things more exciting to me than meeting someone new and getting to understand everything that makes them who they are. Humanity is fascinating, as are the differing perspectives that people have on just about everything. It’s both a scientific and personal agenda that I’ve grown accustomed to.

I would probably react the same way.

This entire series basically takes that perspective and crafts it into an episodic formula. With a little flair in fantasy, given the demi natures, it makes for a fun dissection of mythical legends and adapts them to a more realistic interpretation. Vampires die in sunlight, right? Not here; the vampire girl simply burns easily and has heightened visual senses that make the sun too strong to bear. It’s an almost anticlimactic twist to things, yet it makes sense within the context of the setting.

A prevalent underlying message of acceptance also rears itself fairly often. These characters, though different, exhibit the same kinds of anxieties and emotions as most anyone else. Various points are made—some subtle—about how society has slowly accepted them and included accessibility measures to make them more comfortable. Though the nature of how they should be treated is brought up a few times, it mostly boils down to “However they’re involved, at least involve them.”

Demi-chan doesn’t even feel like an anime sometimes. More like a pseudo-documentary, a continuing chronicle of study on the nature of unique individuals. That sort of “scientific” angle even comes to fruition in a later episode, where the dullahan character is taken to a college to discuss the rationality behind her severed head—talks of wormholes and time travel and all that.

Time travel.

It’s rare to find anime where the intention seems so academic. I suppose Hataraku Saibou is a similar example, though this has a little more of a slice-of-life feeling. Of course, the primary function is to entertain, which is easy to do when you have a cast like the one featured here.

Hikari, Yuki, Kyouko (or “Macchi”), Sakie, and Tetsuo. I remember their damn names. Each one of these characters represent a larger picture of curiosity and observation. Each embody a certain personality that helps embolden who they are as demis or how they interact with demis. With Tetsuo as the catalyst, the rest simply show who they are as is most natural to them, and it simply works.

Even years later, I am still completely taken by Hikari, the hyperactive vampire girl whose energy could power a city. She is, somehow, boisterous and optimistic while simultaneously not annoying! Truly magic. Charging forward with reckless abandon, whether to defend her friends or entertain her own boredom, she pushes the plot forward regularly. Kind of spotlighted as the “main” demi, her enthusiasm is always appreciated and is a joy to see onscreen.

Sakie is expressive, too.

Which is what makes it so endearing to see her bounce off of others who are nowhere near as expressive. Kyouko and Yuki are far more reserved, with the former more mature and put together (ha) and the latter more complex in character. Individually, they’re just as great as they are together, even if some receive a little more attention than others. They make up the core of the series, one full of gentleness and exuberance.

Then there’s Sakie, whose place is perhaps a little more loose. A fellow teacher to Tetsuo, her involvement in the demi investigations is somewhat lesser, which is a shame given her position could open up more opportunities for a heavier presence. Then again, she is sort of the token sexual fan service character, given she is a succubus. While this is anime and anime will take advantage whenever it can to show a woman’s body, it at least makes some sense in this context.

Even good ol’ Tetsuo, whom I said was “fine” years ago, embodies his role as scientific researcher wonderfully here. I like him, too. His position as an older man (around 30, per a comment from Sakie) and teacher makes it logical to not place him as a harem lead, even if two characters are clearly infatuated with him and two others are on the fence. Even if he is oblivious, it makes more sense given his position. Also, fuck what I said before; his beady eyes are rad.

Seems cool.

At this point, I feel like I haven’t done a sufficient job of expressing how much I adore this series. Perhaps I should change my approach and be very direct and blunt:

I simply connect with it. Strange as it is, I feel connected to this setting, these characters, the tone of friendly interrogation. As simply as sitting a character down and having them talk about themselves, elevated by the chemistry and trust they have with the person they’re speaking with, just gets me. Demi-chan‘s overall rating on MyAnimeList isn’t terribly impressive, which I actually understand. It’s not going to be as entertaining for everyone. For me, it’s just exactly what I want.

Conclusion

Watch it.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

For more anime reviews, check out the associated archive.

If reading this compelled you to give me a dollar, feel free to tip me on Ko-fi.

Thank you for your time. Have a great rest of your day.

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