Monster Girl Doctor
by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 4 of
Monster Girl Doctor ?
We open on another flashback, this time confirming that Glenn and Sapphentite did reunite when they were at medical school. We then return to where we last left our heroes, which was Sapphentite revealing that she was shockingly pregnant. Dr. Glenn says that's impossible because Lamias are oviparous - a word I absolutely did not have to look up because I am very smart and know many big words. But for those of you out there who, unlike myself, do not use this word daily, oviparous essentially means egg-laying. Sapphentite confirms this by pulling out an egg, saying that a friend found it on a street corner.
Before our duo can analyze that too much, a random encounter appears! Those ruffians from last episode have returned and ambush them in their practice. Sapphentite uses Tail Whip, it's super effective, and they exit stage left. Turns out these are slavers, the same group that was after Kunai last episode. Kunai's ears must have been burning because she shows up too. She mentions how these goons have kept the pressure on and it would be best to get our medical duo to a safe place where they could be more easily protected.
Kunai leads the pair to a small raft where Skadi and Lulala are waiting. They begin making their way out of danger with Lulala pulling the boat. There's a brief discussion of Skadi potentially exploiting Lulala's poverty but Lulala tells Glenn to drop it. As they are escaping, brigands on the bridge ambush them with bows, but our good buddy Tisalia appears and centaurs them viciously. In their conversation we learn that these mercenaries are only into trafficking for the money, and hey they actually have honor, which Tisalia (rightfully) has none of.
Our main party continues battling and running and eventually run into the harpies who have been trafficked. However, one of them is in immense pain – an egg is stuck in her oviduct. Dr. Glenn provides his “This is purely a medical procedure pay no attention to the framing” brand of medicine while the monster girls fight off the goons. The egg is delivered, but in the ensuing fight Sapphentite not only reveals via internal monologue that she has an incurable illness, but also that she was stabbed with a poison dagger! She collapses…
…only to wake up in the hospital with Dr. Glenn by her bedside. She confesses her deepest darkest secret, that her clan is famous for its
assssssassssssinssssss assassins and she was sent to kill his family but couldn't pull the proverbial trigger. He admits that he a had known it all along, and once when she was sick that was actually the result of a servant poisoning her. Young Glenn tried to save her and she was essentially his first patient and inspiration.
Sapphentite is overjoyed by this display and scoops him up for monster girl fun hours. However, the residual poison in her system saps her energy and the deed goes undone. Still, Glenn holds her tail and comforts her as the curtains close.
Lord, talk about another conflicting episode.
First off, we have to tackle the “monsters as racial/ethnic group metaphor” trope. It is one of those things that is particularly common to the fantasy and sci-fi genres. I won't try to unpack the nuances of it because, truth be told, it is absolutely not my place to discuss the nuance and impact of this trope.
I'll try to keep it short and sweet by simply saying this: while I very much appreciate that the show is textually against human trafficking and close-mindedness, the use of monstrous “races” as analogues for real world racism carries with it a lot of baggage that is not unique to this show but is hard to ignore. That discussion goes beyond the scope of a single episode review for a monster girl show, to put it mildly.
In terms of the action, I have to say I was pretty pleased with the segments in this episode. None of the fighting is going to make a “best of anime fights” top ten list or anything, but the sequences were choreographed well and had strong enough animation to be enjoyable. We even had a decent amount of variety in staging the action scenes, with alley fights, bridge centaur duels, and arrow ambush on an open-topped boat. I also have to give kudos to the show for letting the lady warriors do their thing – plenty of other series pay lip service to the female cast members being “strong fighters” but never actually show it. Almost the entire cast got a chance to shine at least once – Kunai tanking the arrows in her arms, Tisalia one-shotting the gang of goons, and Sapphentite and Skadi throwing around some fierce tail whips. I have to give props across the board here.
Another episode, another discussion of fan service. Once again, I am conflicted. If you are here for the titillation, I fail to see how the amount provided is sufficient. There's very little to speak of and long stretches of world-building and fighting and so forth. What is present – the scene with the harpy delivery and Sapphentite jumping Glenn - is far less provocative than the past few episodes, implied or shown. Sapphentite's sudden “Dr. Glenn I must have you!” moment is over the top and played for laughs, but is relatively tame by anime standards.
I think the harpy scene is perhaps the most egregious for me. Again, the content is not overly gratuitous at face value, and within the context of the scene it's all very dramatically appropriate. Dr. Glenn is helping deliver an egg to save both mother and child in the midst of a battle! This is the stuff high-octane pulpy stories are made of. However, the framing of all this is once again meant to be an awooga awooga kind of scene and I feel like maybe we shouldn't right now? Like not only is she in the middle of giving birth, she and the other harpies are literal victims of human trafficking. We are mid-rescue from the evil trafficking cartel… maybe we don't try to make this a tantalizing scene? Please? Timing, folks, it's all about timing.
I would like to make special mention of Saori Onishi's performance in this episode. There's a moment where she says a line that includes a long snake-like “hiss” and Sapphentite sticks her tongue out. Her delivery with the exaggerated hiss noise is truly hilarious, I got a genuine belly laugh from that scene. Hats off for that performance.
So all in all another mixed bag of commendable high highs brought down by a few specifically low lows.
Monster Girl Doctor is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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