Monster girls, disabilities and inclusion in “Demi-chan wa Kataritai”

Every once in a while, the world of anime and manga receive new twists that thanks to some popular work, became viral and explode in a myriad of new series that often seem of a clonical nature.

Monster Girls is one of this cases, apparently trying to satisfy a fetish spot on the market, many authors have tried recently this new “genre”.

But the interesting thing about this is not just how some try to make fresh harem material by adding characters with distinct physicalities that give them personality and originality in a cliché crowded world. Even if I have to praise that (originality not clichés or commercial works), the thing I want to talk about is how they create a great opportunity to talk about minority groups discriminated, especially disabilities.

This shows presents us with characters that, for fictional reasons, have different physiologies, which makes their lives more difficult on a human society constructed for other kinds of bodies. This concept is something relatable to people with disabilities and makes an excellent excuse to attend to this topic.

In this post, I want to talk about a certain series, “Demi-chan wa kataritai, and how it accomplishes to present some ideas about this in a great way.

(No spoilers, more or less, since it’s comedy I don’t think I ruin anything here)

Reality Mirrors

“Demi-chan wa Kataritai” presents us with a cast of 4 main girls with some physical fictional problem, that I believe is used to represent some kind of real life one.

Hikari, the vampire, has problems against sunlight and “Dracula” senses to see in the dark, and also a great smell. In real life, she could be associated with autism (or something on the spectrum), as one of the possible traits of autism is maladjustment of senses. An autist sensitive to bright light and heat but with a hyper good eyesight and smell sense is something very realistic, there are real people with those traits. Also, the necessity to consume blood it’s kinda similar to how some people need to artificially ingest some kind of nutrients that their body doesn’t produce naturally, like a diabetic with insulin, for example. In the end, Hikari has some personal issues that make her life a bit more difficult, even if no one can notice from outside.

Also, the necessity to consume blood it’s kinda similar to how some people need to artificially ingest some kind of nutrients that their body doesn’t produce naturally, like a diabetic with insulin, for example. Hikari has some issues that make her life a bit more difficult, even if no one can notice from outside.

Hikari has some issues that make her life a bit more difficult, even if no one can notice from outside.

Machi, the Dullahan, can be compared to a physical disability. Her head is separated from the body, and although this doesn’t prevent her from any special action, this physical trait makes her life more difficult, and each daily task needs some kind of trick or extra work to be done, on top of extra care, since it’s very easy to get injured. Can you imagine how easy it would be to have a head trauma just because you hand slipped in that situation?

Her head is separated from the body, and although this doesn’t prevent her from any special action, this physical trait makes her life more difficult, and each daily task needs some kind of trick or extra work to be done, on top of extra care, since it’s very easy to get injured. Can you imagine how easy it would be to have a head trauma just because you hand slipped in that situation?

Can you imagine how easy it would be to have a head trauma just because you hand slipped in that situation? In real life, a lot of people need to handle their bodies with the same care.

Yuki, the Yuki Onna, I think would be comparable to a mental illness.

She is the one with almost no physical problems, as the only thing she needs to worry about is not overheating, but at the same time, she is the one with the most social issues and concerns. She freaked out just because someone bad mouthed her, and she would freeze (haha, what a pun) just because someone asked her out. All of this to the point of mental break.

Another thing that makes me think of mental illness, is the fact that it’s so easily hidden. Heck, no one would know if she hasn’t had a meltdown on gym class from overheating. Since they can’t be physically recognized, in real life, to keep a mental condition secret is pretty common, but sometimes, that only makes things worse.

Lastly, the Succubus sensei. I think that more than a medical condition, she suffers from something sadly in actual society: women’s discrimination.

I don’t know if you like this expression, but call it what you prefer, women all around the world suffer from social injustices based on their gender, and even in developed countries, live with the existing fear of sexual harassment, or worst. This show comes from a country with “women exclusive trains”, a measure against this harassment, the succubus character is the perfect representation on how something so simple as public transportation can become so problematic.

This show comes from a country with “women exclusive trains”, a measure against this kind of harassment. The succubus character is the perfect representation on how something so simple as public transportation can become so problematic for women.

Ghost stories.

One of the primary topics of “Demi-chan wa Kataritai”, is what are the girls, have a ghost/demonic origin.

Since they are based on fantasy characters, the protagonist searches old tales, legends and stories about them, and contrast that with how they really are. At first, this may seem just to contrast to the character of fiction for the spectator to compare, but if you think about it, why would a biology teacher search in literary works? It would be more logical to part from zero with the questions, so then, why do we need comparisons?

The answer, is society.

Society constructs a lot of general ideas on people with disabilities or the likes based on pure urban legends or just common thoughts. Since a lot of people find talking about discriminated groups a taboo,  it’s common that they are not really well know on the topic, and since a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to interact directly with one of these persons, when it comes, their knowledge is based on something without any real basis, just common knowdelge (probably, common wrong knowdeledge).

In the show, we are given a reason for the main character to not know about Demis and to not be able to interact with them previously to the start of the action is relatable with this, they are scarce.

And why does he base his question on popular beliefs? Because he wants to deny the urban myths and learn how is the reality, and that’s one of the strong points of the show.

Monster girls are girls after all

Another thing I love about this series is how it makes direct questions.

“How should we treat the demi-chan?”

They are girls, but they are also demi, is it rude to forget their problems to treat them like anyone else? Or is it rude to don’t treat them normally because of it? Do they need extra help for their problems, or is extra help discriminating?

The series takes a good approach to this kind of questions, and show us how it’s necessary a healthy communication to ensure what’s best for the girl itself, as an individual human being, with its perks and disadvantages, each one has its own difficulties in which need a little comprehension and patience, maybe even some help.

But at the same time, they don’t want to feel apart from the rest of their environment, and need to be treated normally, they need to feel like “another girl”, and not like a “strange monster-girl”.

And this last two paragraphs could be used both with monster girls and with any disabled girl (or boy, changing the pronouns), or anyone with a particular problem of segregation.

Inclusion

At the end, everything is reduced to this title: inclusions

Monster girls, people with disabilities, discriminated people, people with problems, or whatever. These people just need comprehension and inclusion. “Demi-chan” is a series that talks about this necessity in a beautiful light hearted way that lets its message sink in you slowly with a good intention and in a fun style.

And even with some script flaws fault of some anime tropes misused, the series manages to deliver this important message at the same time that you see a dynamic and fun anime show.

And we always need more works like this.

 

 

 

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