Two recent trends in contemporary culture that have intrigued me have been the rise of the Isekai genre and the tendency for artists to reimagine assorted creatures or characters as cute girls. The popularity of both of these can be attributed to a generation of young men who feel as if they lack much of a place in this world due to the increasing complexities of everyday life and their lack of confidence or experience. Many of these people seem to operate under the assumption that a change in environment and routine would improve their physical and mental wellbeing and that they were simply not meant for this world. Instead, they tend to associate with fantastical locales seen throughout media, preferring them and their minutia to those seen in reality.
Similarly, many of these young men also lack much experience with the opposite sex, and are intimidated, overwhelmed, or dissatisfied with what they encountered in reality. So they take the traits they like about women, project them on something else, and mix in a few basic tropes and personality traits they understand from media, thus creating a mashup of things they find appealing without any of the nasty drawbacks often found in reality. …Anyways, here’s a review of some grabbag visual novel I found that explored these two concepts and bought for a friend of mine who is really into monster girls and isekais.
Dimension of Monster Girls Review
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Mac, Linux
With those two concepts expounded upon, Dimension of Monster Girls predictably begins with the near death of unremarkable 20-something male protagonist Morgan who winds up in a sort of afterlife for males who perish before they have the opportunity to pursue a woman, and are given the opportunity to experience true love by bonding with one of many different varieties of monster girls. But the proceeding story only has Morgan deal with three, all of whom mark him after he wakes up in this brave new dimension, and as is customary, he is given five days to choose one or to spend his life forever alone.
Following the bouncing opening chapter and the proceeding doling out of world-based exposition, Morgan decides the best way to choose between these monster girls by going on daily dates with Beatrice the domineering Lamia, Reina the overly affectionate Kraken, and Iris the demure Alraune in order to learn more about their… fairly basic personalities. But in a move that is actually not too uncommon for dating sims and the like, it is probably best for the player to decide who they want to pursue first. Because the ultimate choice made by Morgan depends on whoever has the most affection points built up, and even if he is on good terms with all of the monster girls, or some share the same amount of points, the player does not get to directly choose who Morgan ends up with.
Somewhat frustrating structural decision aside, the story itself is what one would expect. A cliche and trope-riddled little love story remarkable for the fact that the heroines are monster girls, their entertainingly extreme personalities, and assorted instances where the writer seemingly goes out of their way to expound on this dimension and its inner workings. It is nothing too elaborate, but contains far more work than would be necessary, and has some interesting ideas thrown in. Such as the well established rules that monster girls must abide when around human males, some of the ways in which monster girls go to enrich this society with their assorted abilities, and the development of this world, which carries over much of its technological innovations from Earth.
The last bit of which is of particular interest to me, as the script spends a considerable amount of time detailing certain aspects of this society, such as its population figures, consisting of 7,000 humans and 30,000 monster girls of 63 species. Or referencing assorted results of technological innovations such as television, cassette tapes, home video, plastic bags, and anime. All of which struck me as a bit… unattainable with a population of this scale.
While yes, these things can be scaled down considerably, but it seems remarkably difficult to maintain an industry with so few potential workers, creators, and customers. Yes, the unique abilities of monster girls could very easily trivialize certain tasks, but I found myself questioning who among the 37,000 are mining for iron and steel, who is assembling the materials and supplies for animation, and who is drilling for oil so they can make plastics? This is a very trite thing to get hung up on, and I only do because of how incredibly satisfactory the rest of the game is. It does everything it says on the tin, offering a monster girl dimension isekai story that goes in, does what it needs to, and punches out after about four hours or so.
Similarly, the presentation and visual trappings of DoMG border on the more basic end of things. Character sprites are limited to the three potential partners for Morgan, each of which only have a single pose, but a colorful array of expressions, and the game has a quirky habit of zooming in on the sprites, but due to the dimensions and proportions of these characters, their breasts are shoved squarely into the opaque textbox, which is just needlessly perverted.
CGs are handled by a different artist, so the transition is more than a bit notable, but they do a good job at illustrating these characters in different poses and angles that, given how static their movements are 99% of the time, is appreciated. Meanwhile backgrounds are of a tier that had me questioning if I stumbled across another set of public domain assets, mostly due to how generic they are from a design level. They are indeed well done landscapes, but ones that come off as a touch more realistic than they should with the western anime art overlayed over them, so there is a twinge of visual dissonance throughout much of the game. Also, for some reason the game’s title screen doesn’t have the game’s actual title, which is a very odd oversight since… it’s the bloody title screen.
To be perfectly candid here, the only reason I lobbed a title like this onto my radar is that I am always on the lookout for short quirky visual novels to give my review schedule ample room to breathe. That, and you never know what quirky nuances you might find in oddball titles like this. Though I cannot say that I found much of those in Dimension of Monster Girls. It knows what it wants to be, never gets hung up on any specific thing, and is certainly an entertaining enough affair for those who have a taste for the assorted grab bag of anime archetypes and concepts it borrows from. Or frequents the good ol’ Monster Girl Encyclopedia.