This Week in Anime
What's Really Going On In A Centaur's Life?

by Michelle Liu and Jacob Chapman,

The world of A Centaur's Life is populated with six-limbed wonders like angelkin, goatmen, mermaids, and of course centaurs instead of the four-limbed humans of our world. But is there something deeper going on under the surface of this new slice of life monster girl anime? This week in anime, we intend to find out.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.

You can read ANN's weekly coverage of A Centaur's Life here!

Jacob
I don't know about you Micchy, but I'm finding this summer's anime selection super-educational.

At long last, I know how a centaur would wear a bikini.

Micchy
Bringing a whole new meaning to three-piece suits!

What is the middle part even covering?

...shoulders? Wait, do we know for sure where centaur genitals are located?

THANKS TO THE MANGA WE DO. I checked out the A Centaur's Life manga this week and it uh...starts very differently from the anime.

This is the thing that starts with the vagina talk, right?

There is empirical comparison of monster girl taints, yes.


In all seriousness, A Centaur's Life is surprisingly thick with sociopolitical commentary, which I was not expecting, idk about you.

(or I guess T H I C C with sociopolitical commentary is more accurate)

To be fully honest, I don't know how to feel about its politics quite yet. It's an interesting take on fantasy racism (and disability rights?), I'll give it that.

and LGBT issues! just loadin' it all up

okay, L issues. mostly L. completely L.

I am extremely okay with this turn of events. Especially with the goat (?) girlfriends, boob-grabbing jokes aside.

Yeah, one of the ggfs (goat girlfriends) is a little more stereotypical in her behavior, but her blonde SO handles her nonsense really well. They make a cute couple!

For what it's worth, I appreciate how upfront this show is about her sexuality. They're in a relationship and nobody but the small children makes a big deal out of it!

The children just had to be educated on how great it is to smooch girls first.

"Girls don't kiss" my rear. My large horse rear.

Right after this, the ggfs snog right in front of them, and the kids aren't scandalized, it's not treated just as comedy, it's like "no this is normal, and kids can handle it." It's just not the kind of thing you see in anime.

But you're right in that other aspects of the show's aggressive political commentary are still kinda ???? It spends maybe a couple minutes on cute monster girls doing cute things before lancing into IT'S A GOOD THING DISCRIMINATORY BEHAVIOR OR SPEECH GETS YOU DRAGGED OFF TO THE GULAG IN OUR PERFECT SOCIETY

That scene in the first episode where the teacher goes on about how racism "wouldn't exist" if skin color were their only distinguishing features really sticks out to me. Going by the shadowy government officials observing that lecture, I'd guess we're not supposed to buy into that, but the show sure does a weird job of conveying that. Plinky-plink piano score doesn't cut it, yo.

Yeah, the show has a framing problem, where it's difficult to tell the exact ethos of its government and how the author really feels about it. It's a complex world addressing complex issues in an unusually vague way. Which can be good! The series doesn't feel dogmatic or propagandic like some similarly forceful anime can be. But at the same time, it's hard to know how to respond to its mumblings too.

Yeah, it's totally cool to portray those complex issues without necessarily taking a hardline stance one way or another, but A Centaur's Life just plops them in like no one's business.

yeah it's very

Mermaid girl looking at ads for walking assists when suddenly "BUT WHAT ABOUT REVERSE RACISM?" Or more accurately, "some people believe this is reverse racism" and then leaving it at that.

Right, that's a scene where a mergirl is dating a goat-boy and she wants to buy a robot walking assistant so he doesn't have to princess-carry her everywhere on dates. But there's no government assistance program to help her buy this expensive thing because that would be seen as "reverse discrimination." And to me, that's a potentially powerful sentiment, that enforcing a superficial sense of "equality" at the expense of giving people with handicaps the extra assistance they need to thrive and achieve true equality is, well, bullshit. Just avoiding real systemic problems in favor of making people feel like they're already solved. BUT this is largely conjecture based on what I hope the series is saying, because the execution is so dispassionate.

This feels like the kind of series where people can read whatever they want from it, because yeah, it's so flat in execution. Am I supposed to be put off by some girl's dismissal of snake-people's representation in a magazine? I really don't know what to make of it. They do point out that there is an audience for snakegirl models, so representation isn't just there ~because the government said so~, at least.

Well she's clearly wrong about one thing

They don't teach Rule 34 in Monster Girl World apparently

somebody hasn't seen Monster Musume's 22-foot dakimakuras


The mighty hunters returning from their excursion, fatigued yet fulfilled

Monster Musume at least had the sense to give Miia underwear pasties under her skirt. Centaur's Life has mermaid thigh gaps.


How Do They Put On Their Swimsuit Bottoms

Do they button underneath like a onesie or something?

They've got laces at the sides, so I guess they strap them on like diapers.

oh good that's like at least three fetishes in one

frankly I'm just disturbed by how their legs merge together like those cheap headphone cords that pull apart

How Far Does The Skin Go


Don't even get me started on monstergirl genetics resulting in two angels and three catgirls in a family

Yeah, I guess it's fair to say that the unanswered questions of A Centaur's Life extend past the politics. For a story where so much thought was clearly put into how everything works, I'm still constantly asking how everything works. And that's not a bad thing, I enjoy it! But sometimes just what even.

As a fluffy slice-of-life kinda show I really like it! I dig when shows like this go into the practical quirks that come with their gimmicks (see: Monmusu's house waterproofing; Interview with Monster Girls' dullahan head doghouse). Which leaves me scratchin my head when these bigger thematic things just ~happen~

So if you had to put a finger on what you THINK the show is trying to say, how would you describe it?

Maybe something like, discrimination is lousy but enforcing non-discrimination without considering what people ACTUALLY need is shortsighted? It's hard to say at this point; I wish it would either lay off that angle or dig into it a little harder.

Yeah, that sounds right to me thus far. But since I've seen people from complete opposite ends of the political spectrum finding their beliefs reflected in the material, I'd take that as a sign that it's a little too clumsy about its storytelling to say one way or the other just yet. It's still a fun show, and I'd definitely recommend giving it a try, by far the most watchable Chinese copro I've seen so far. But it's still got significant stumbling blocks up.

Y'know, going off its visuals I wouldn't have guessed it was a Haoliners joint. It's not even listed on the studio's website (but Kenka Bancho Otome is?)

HORSE BUTTS

More importantly though, which set of centaur breasts produces milk?

oh god i hadn't even considered


Or in this case "por que no los"...ocho or something. Many nipples, I assume? why do we do this to ourselves

thanks jake

You're welcome! : D

The answer is apparently two? So cuatro en total. Monster girl shows, I swear :'D

I don't think Magical Girl Pretty Horn would approve of our horse-criminatory conversation.


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