OP Sequence

OP: 「教えてダーウィン」 (Oshiete Darwin) by Purely Monster

「なんだかんだで、みんな、キスって大好きだよね. マラソンって人生の縮図だって、知ってた?」 (Nandakanda de, Minna, Kisu tte Daisuki da yo ne. Marason tte Jinsei no Shukuzu datte, Shitteta?)
“When All Is Said And Done, Everyone Loves Kisses. Did You Know That a Marathon Is a Microcosm of Life?”

With most of the shows out of the starting gate, not many of the protagonists this season have quite the gallop that Centaur no Nayami has. Mainly because our heroine, Kimihara Himeno (Fukagawa Seria), knows how to gallop. Kidding aside, it balances the nuances of a cozy anime by the virtue of being a slice-of-life about the daily lives of monster girls in a world where being a mythological creature is the norm, and the darker aspects of how the people of this universe got together. In this particular episode, it melds the two evenly through two parts that exemplify both the series’ comfier moments at school and the implications that race have in the law of the land.

The first part of the episode shows us how the kids at school interact like any humans would with each other aside from an instance where class president Mitama Manami (Kamakura Yuna) stresses the idea of reinforcing a vulnerable makeshift staircase so Himeno could walk on it without it breaking. There are also twists of playful yuri when Himeno’s demon friend, Gokuraku Nozomi (Kuwahara Yuuki), gets flustered about Himeno fully kissing her after her script was botched by the original actor in Nozomi’s role who originally wanted the kiss. Only time will tell if they are serious about creating a solid lesbian relationship, especially with the two girls on the side here being hinted as a couple in the OP, but Nozomi and Himeno would be very cute together if they choose to go that route.

The first section about the play as well as the second half’s jogging segment helped me appreciate the trio within the main cast. Himeno comes off as a relatable high school girl who cares about her friends and trying to stand out when she tends to blend in too easily as an average student. So far, my favorite character is Nozomi, who is a cocky trickster that doesn’t take crap from anyone. Seeing her be as mischievous as she is flustered was a good way to tug at my heartstrings. We didn’t see as much of Naraku Kyouko (Shiraishi Haruka), but she established herself well as a girl concerned about her lacking cardio and the race laws that could get her in trouble quickly due to any repercussions.

It’s with this aspect where Centaur no Nayami sets itself apart from other slice-of-life options this season by offering social commentary with its blushy schoolgirls. Not only is there a long, complicated history with some races enslaving or mistreating others, but as a result, there are strict laws for not upholding model behavior that stresses equality over civil rights. It was infodumpy how we got those details since the class lecture and government muscle aren’t prevalent in the episode, but Kyouko’s stress over not wanting to be caught by police riding Himeno explains the extent of the universe’s decency laws in much better detail; anything to undermine or demean another race’s abilities is to be punished. Similarly, learning about different obstacles Himeno has to face such as maintaining a slim figure so she can wipe properly or how races are split off when competing in events like sprinting clubs offer more explanation as to how seriously the show and its universe takes its mythological beings.

Centaur no Nayami is starting out as a promising comfort anime with a sprinkle of social commentary for those who want some food for thought while you watch cute monsters doing cute things. There’s still some fanservice and art hiccups that might factor in on whether you’d enjoy it in the long run, but I had a great time with the first episode, and look forward to seeing whether the scales will teeter towards the cuteness, the heavier themes, or remain at a balance.

ED Sequence

ED: 「Edelweiss」 by Asaka


  1. Himeno comes off as a relatable high school girl who cares about her friends and trying to stand out when she tends to blend in too easily as an average student.

    It’s hard to tell, but Himeno’s grades were near the top of the list. She’s one of the smartest girls in the school, academically, and also tends to be considered one of the most beautiful (according to the boys/girls who track those things). So it’s not like she doesn’t stand out in some ways.

    1. Ah, that’s what it was. I was mostly referring to Himeno’s sports skills compared to other centaur sprinters or the basketball flashback, but she was more booksmart.

  2. One thing I’ve always loved about this series is the way tension is handle. Everything that should be normal is just there, no extra highlights. That way it’s unmistakable when the real strange stuff happens.

    I thought the infodump was done well. It was in a class where you’d expect the students to be learning, and was done fast in a way that kinda told you the teacher wanted to literally dump it out so to get the local G-Men off her back. It was a nice extra step to show the seriousness of these laws and how “active” the government is, otherwise we might’ve just assumed Kyouko was over-exaggerating. And as always I appreciated the jab fantasy took at the absurdities of reality.

    Oh, and weretiger assassins! If you know, then you know.

    1. I also like how alot of the seedier stuff is below the surface. That way, it’s prevalent, but at the same time everything is still normal and chill.

      I know some people had issue with how much information was put in the lecture, but I agree that it works well in explaining what the world is like, and helps place emphasis on why Kyouko was worried about riding Himeno.

  3. I got tired of the manga cause it started to feel more like the author’s soapbox than an actual story, but I’m happy to hear they didn’t water it down for the anime since its really this series defining feature.

  4. The dark undertones of the series is prevalent throughout the source material, like Psycho-Pass as seen through the eyes of those OK with the system.
    Expect to see SOL with plenty of grey shades, especially in regards to worldbuilding.

    1. Aku: “Thirty minutes, or it’s free? EXCELLENT!!” (*evil maniacal laugh*)

      RIP, Mako.

      Also, you just had to remind me of that dragon loli with thicc legs and an overwhelming aura of cuteness, didn’t you?

  5. If you’re thinking ‘Man, this episode was uneven. I sure hope the rest is better.’ I have some bad news for you. The manga is horrifically uneven, going from chapters about geopolitical situations and systemic racism to “does my pussy look normal?”.

    One of the many reasons we stopped translating it.

    1. Ah, I don’t mind how it’s uneven in whether it wants to be innocent or foreboding because I feel like the dissonance between the two has potential to be interesting when combined.

      Like the jarring transition between exploring systematic racism and comparing mythological vaginas could offer a unique take on how average people cope with living in such turbulent times.

      It feels somewhat realistic in a sense where we’d see horrific atrocities on the news, but then shake it off by enjoying the school life or going to work. Some people might read the news on their tablets while they’re shaving their unmentionables. I think both tragedy and normalcy don’t feel like they’re too jarring or out-of-place if it’s established to be so like with Centaur.

      But that’s just my take on it. I understand it can be different for those who’d get frustrated at how the tonal shifts are handled in a show where it can go between examining Centaur wiping habits and the history of monsters enslaving one another.

    1. All four catagories/races (centaur, winged, mermaid, cat/goat/fawn) <b,are humans. Think of the universe this is set in as an alternate reality where six-legged creatures were dominant over four legged creatures.

      In the manga, it is noted that the cat/goat/fawn folk’s 3rd set of limbs are vestigial, much like in a whale or a snake.

      1. The explanation about the hexapod evolutionary path to explain how such divergent body shapes and types for humans is also introduced more piecemeal in the manga.

        In effect, we learn that these aren’t demi-humans or “monster girls”, but are all humans (and the same species) in this alternate universe. There are chapters of the manga which probably won’t be included in the volumes animated that highlights all of this.

    2. Just as LoliHat said, it’s an “alternate reality where six-legged creatures were dominant over four legged creatures”. Since the diverse races (and thus racism) are based on the positions of where the six-limbs ended up evolving to, it’s thought that if there were only four-limbs, then people wouldn’t have differentiated as much and thus racism wouldn’t have existed (who would discriminate based upon mere skin-color differences anyway?). Ouch.

  6. there are strict laws for not upholding model behavior that stresses equality over civil rights

    This was put more into the background in the manga. It felt a bit to forced and pushed in the anime. The heavier tone, in addition to what I assume are government/school officials’ monitoring the communication of approved opinion, make the anime a bit more ominous than in the manga, IMO. Honestly, the more totalitarian tone they started off with is a bit creepy and perhaps also disconcerting.

    1. I guess they weren’t sure what approach they wanted to take with adapting it, so they tried to combine both tones, but in the process it made the daily routine of these girls much more ominous knowing that government agents are watching over many of the nation’s facilities to make sure everything is orderly.

  7. Wait… so according to that “biology” lesson a cat/goat/fawn persons horns or ears or whatever count as limbs? They really couldn’t come up with an origin for all the different races than six limbed evolution when not everyone has six limbs?

  8. Mainly because our heroine, Kimihara Himeno (Fukagawa Seria), knows how to gallop

    Now that you mention it, I can’t actually recall her galloping, just walking, trotting and cantering. Maybe galloping isn’t considered ladylike.

    But anyway, a strange mix overall – a depiction of a society where political correctness reaches almost Maoist levels but portrayed with crude humour, lesbians and old-school panty-shots. Even so, I can’t see the “I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours” chapter making it to the screen somehow.

  9. What I expected: A “cute monster girl” story (a monster girl and her interactions with regular people and fellow monster girls) in the vein of Daily Life With Monster Girls or Interviews with Monster Girls.

    What I got: An alternate reality where evolution took a different path from real life, with the implication for those living in that reality that if it did went that way, there would be no such thing as racism or discrimination. (Hahahahahaha. *sighs* The grass isn’t necessarily greener on this side…)

    Man, that heavy infodump was heavy. And the serious topics lurking underneath this otherwise C(M)GDCT show makes me wonder if the existence of such anime/manga has opened Japanese to the discussion of things like racism and discrimination.

    Well, guess we’ll find out in the following episodes.

  10. I can’t remember an anime I seen that put the opening sequence in the middle of the goddang episode! This way, it feels like the first seconds of the show are actually mid-day into a scene from Episode 7 or something! It’s very odd.

    That said, this seems like a mostly charming show with some dark undertones. It talks about historical discrimination a lot, and I wonder if thats going to come into play in this story. I wondered if they were just using monster girls as a draw, until the scene after the opening sequence explains that this world is developed, and that every race is treated like they actually evolved biologically and there are entire histories about them! They even go so far to say that humans are now extinct! I am all for cute monster girls doing cute monster girl things, but so far it hasn’t done anything very creative with the fantasy elements other than their physical attributes, like focusing a story about whether or not a centaur can stay on a stage set without breaking it down, or how they can run extremely fast. Plus it seems to go where Interviews With Monster Girls didn’t dare go and have yuri themes too! Nozomi seems to have a thing for Himeno, but I don’t know if that’s gonna go anywhere. Nozomi is immediately best girl to me since I do like tomboys.

    Animation is very derpy, and looks like they drew on 6″ x 8″ pieces of paper, but so far the charm and premise makes up for it. I’ll be following this!

  11. Ep 02:

    Well, it’s “boring”. This is more an light Slice of Life Anime so far. Nothing happen, just talking
    It is more an try to ride with the Monster Musume Wave combined with Slice of Life. But… oh well, lets see what ep 03 will be about


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