Monster Girl Doctor
After a war that lasted a hundred years, the races of human and monster finally settled down and worked out a peace agreement. In the middle of all this, the city of Lindworm stands as the ultimate settlement where humans and monsters live in peace. In that city, Glenn Litbeit works as a doctor specializing in the monster races (upon the tutelage of his mentor, Dr. Cthulhy Squele.) While he is a calm and collected young man, he nevertheless has to deal with the many different problems that can plague so many different races of monster people, never mind the jealous outbursts coming from his assistant, the lamia Saphentite Neikes.
Monster Musume might not be the first franchise ever to feature nonhuman races, but it can probably be credited for really popularizing the.... well, "Monster girls" isn't quite a genre, but it certainly is an element on its own. That being said, I wouldn't normally compare every show starring monster people with Monster Musume, but Monster Girl Doctor shares enough similarities with Monster Musume that some comparisons are probably warranted, as well as some differences.
The main difference can probably be attributed to the fact that Monster Girl Doctor is more of a fantasy series, and for all its (mostly mild) sexual shenanigans, does have more worldbuilding than Monster Musume had. That is not a slight on Monster Musume, mind you, as both of our monster girl candidates focus on what they set out to do, and Monster Musume is mainly concerned with being a sex comedy first. Just one that has a pretty solid foundation about monster girl physiology to build its comedy outt of. Compared to that, Monster Girl Doctor does a lot more with its world, and in fact can probably be considered its strongest point. It's not a deep show, granted, but you could probably argue that Monster Girl Doctor does a bit more with its worldbuilding than Monster Musume does.
It's a bit of a slight, of course, that we don't really learn much about this war. Well, other than that it lasted for 100 years and is the main reason how Glenn and Saphentite got aquaintanced. In a rather nice turnaround, Saphentite was initially a political hostage in some kind of exchange after the war had ended, while Glenn himself was more or less just a child. And yes, that means Saphentite is older than Glenn. Not that the show goes into general lifespan for the races, so we don't really know how long any of the monster people live compared to humans. The only vague clue we get concerns Lady Skadi, who is a dragon of at least a couple of hundred years of age despite looking like a young teenage girl, and a Gigas girl in one of the later episodes. The show does kinda hint that dragons are so long-lived that they might as well be immortal for all intents and purposes, which does set her a bit apart from other races, so it's entirely possible that the show would just like for us to assume that any non-dragon or Gigas races have normal human lifespans.
Also, unlike Monster Musume, the gender balance in Monster Girl Doctor is a good deal more even. This isn't a feminist statement of any kind; just like the majority of characters in Free are very, very fit men for the service of its intended audience, most of the characters in Monster Musume are female for that very same specific reason as well, and that's fine. Granted, in Monster Girl Doctor, the female monster people look a good deal more human than the male, like the minotaurs that the show opens up on, but just as often you'll see female monster races with animal heads as well. Of course, the girls that end up orbiting around Glenn all suspiciously subscribe to the same kind of girls who move in with Kimihito in Monster Musume, at least so far. The only exception being the slime girl; the one we see in the show certainly seems interested in the good doctor, but she doesn't really appear outside of her one short medical appointment.
This does sadly tie into what is probably one of the downsides about watching this show: when it tries to be sexy. And you don't have to wait long either: right out of the worldbuilding gate, we immediately cut to Glenn fondling a minotaur lady's boobs... for medical purposes, before realizing she's pregnant. And that's gonna be the modus operandi from then on, even when it makes absolutely no sense, like when Glenn is inspecting someone's scaly skin, and they react as if he put his fingers up their unmentionables. That's not how this works. I mean... it's not a crime against nature or anything, but I had hoped I wouldn't have to endure Testament of Sister New Devil's dumb attempts at being sexy in other shows. There are two exceptions to this: one being when Saphentite is directly trying to secude the good doctor, and the second when... two of the other girls are doing the exact same thing.
The regular humor doesn't fare much better. While Glenn is bringing the ladies to pleasure city without even noticing, Saphentite is having incredibly stereotypical jealousy fits. And even when sexy stuff isn't happening, the show's attempts to put some levity into the situation just comes across as kind of illogical. One of the clearest examples I can think of offhand is when Glenn travels to a harpie village that has a bit of a problem with a Gigas. As it turns out, said Gigas is a very considerate lady named Dione, who just wants the doctor to perform an examination on her.
There are some honestly good plot beats in Monster Girl Doctor. Moaning aside, Glenn's medical examinations mostly make sense, and the show does have a fairly solid worldbuilding foundation to play off on. There is even an episode centered around harpies being rounded up and forced to lay eggs for a group of mercenaries, simply because it was the easiest way for them to get by after the war ended, and they weren't too concerned with who they had to hurt to make a living for themselves. One of the harpies involved in that crime even got an episode all of her own, where her issues with not being able to fly had a pretty standard medical reasoning (molting) that ended up with a nice twist that added an extra layer to her situation. Her being a hotheaded teenager does of course complicate things (mostly for herself), but despite the somewhat trite dialogue that hampers too much of the show, said problem is a pretty "human" one. On the flipside, the ending arc of Monster Girl Doctor are centered around the whole concept of how a doctor -- or, well, anyone else, for that matter -- don't have the right to force treatment on anyone for anything, regardless of how serious. Except that's exactly what they did in the first episode, when they nailed horseshoes on the feet of main centaur girl Tisalia, after giving each of her four legs a proper manicure. Glenn should consider himself incredibly lucky that he didn't lose his license over this, although I guess Tisalia's problems being solved probably helped.
If Monster Girl Doctor had simply been a terrible show, this wouldn't have been so hard. The whole monster girl thing might still be in vogue now, and I'm pretty sure this show was made to cash in a bit on that, with the doctor angle inserted to give it a (hopefully) fresh coat of paint. It goes without saying that the quality of a show is reflected in the effort put in, and Monster Girl Doctor does at least do a pretty decent job at setting up and building on its world, with a wide cast of different types of nonhuman races to play off on. While Monster Musume chose to put the girls' bodily functions to the comedy test (and succeeding magnificently at that), Monster Girl Doctor isn't even close to as cheesecakey as that particular show, so it has to rely on something else to drum up interest, hence the more cultural approach. Granted, most of the monster girl inspirations here -- harpy, lamia, centaur, arachne, gigas -- are Greek/Middle Eastern inspirationwise, but the show still lends them out to other nationality mirrors, which you're just going to have to decide if it's the appropriate thing to do yourself. As in, the mermaids are an aquatic race, so their hometown is basically a bit like Venice, excpet half underwater. The harpies are given a very native american style (how stereotypical, I can't really tell), and they live in villages outside of Lindworm rather than in the main city. And, of course, the centaurs all act like ye olde English knights, which is one of the main reasons why I suspect this show has taken more than a little bit inspiration from Monster Musume.
It would honestly have been a lot better if the show had seen fit to explain less and show more, and I don't mean that from a fanservice standpoint. In some cases, this is natural, mostly when the doctor or Saphentite are explaining medical conditions and treatment methods. However, characters -- particularly ones that just met for the first time -- are speaking as if they're reading pamphlets, or as if they're trying to impress people rather than being straightforward with them. Monster Girl Doctor is hardly as saucy as Monster Musume, but it has its share of scenes that are inappropriate for children, so having its characters talk as if they're talking to children is a bit uncalled for.
On that subject, also don't go into Monster Girl Doctor expecting a complete cheesefest like Monster Musume or High School DxD. There is some fanservice to be had, sure, and Monster Girl Doctor isn't necessarily afraid of having some of its characters tease or even strongly come on to its main lead. The main difference is that this show isn't playing its sexy shenanigans for laughs except maybe once, when Glenn, upon examining the gigas girl, falls straight into her massive cleavage and almost drowns in it. There is no nudity on display here, save maybe a few scant scenes with Skadi, Lindworm's resident dragon girl chairwoman, which are strictly professional by nature. The reason for this is that, while Monster Girl Doctor has mostly been dealing in diseases and wounds that wouldn't be out of place in our own world, her situation is quite different. The episodes that marks the end of this particular season is one of the better ones in the show, and Skadi's situation is one entirely made up for this particular show, but also one that feels completely natural (and surprisingly creepy -- visual representation and all) to this fantasy world.
From a visual standpoint, the show is... OK. The production values are pretty typical pre-covid TV series quality one would expect from a show someone has some faith in, but still don't want to invest too heavily into. The animation isn't often terrible; some stiff movement both through CG or cel animation, it's usually the action scenes that looks the worst. The art style is... fairly stable, a few derpfaces notwithstanding. I am honestly curious whether having a bigger budget would have done this fantastical show a lot of good. At least it might have covered more of some of its other shortcomings and allowed it to come alive a bit more than it is.
In the end, I mostly enjoyed Monster Girl Doctor. There is a lot of potential in this show, and I just wish it played up to its strengths a bit more rather than relying on the things it doesn't really do well. The standout moments in Monster Girl Doctor is the trafficking/egg laying episode arc, as well as the season ending story arc; the former because it not only portrays the consequences of war, but also what might happen once it's over, and the latter because it deals with the potential demise of an otherwise basically immortal character. I give this show a guarded recommendation. If you're into the whole monster girl craze, you'll most likely enjoy this as light entertainment, but given the quality of the production values on display, I kinda doubt we'll ever get more of this.
An alright fantasy show about the medical needs of the monster races. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: There's quite a few somewhat fanserviceish outfits on display, though actual nudity is almost nonexistent. The violence isn't particularly explicit, but the way the show portrays slavery and some post-war attitudes might still be a bit much for the youngest. Should be fine for teens.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Monster Girl Doctor © 2020 Arvo Animation
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