A not-so-average school slice-of-life story.

Himeno is a relatively normal high school girl, with relatively normal highschool girl friends. ‘Normal’, however, in this dimension, is a little different to ours. Evolution happened a little differently and humans all evolved from organisms with six limbs instead of four. For some human subspecies like catfolk and goatfolk, these third limbs became vestigal, for others like angelfolk and dragonfolk, they became wings. And then of course, there’s the Centaurfolk, which Himeno belongs to.
In this first collection of this series which explores various occurrences in Himeno’s life, her class put on a play for the school festival where she plays a princess and her dragon friend Nozomi plays the prince – which very nearly ends in disaster due to the set not being able to support a centaur’s weight. Later, along with the third goatfolk friend Kyouko they leisurely go for a jog as part of gym class.

Nozomi looks so gosh-darned cute in that prince outfit.

I was already a fan of the Centaur no Nayami manga, which although questionable at times is mostly incredibly adorable. I love me some monster girls and I utterly adore centaurs. While trash like ‘Daily Lives with Monster Girls’ is too obviously wankbait for me to enjoy (and none of the character designs have any appeal whatsoever to me – especially the centaur), and ‘Interviews with Monster Girls’ is a decent but not quite fantastical enough to scratch a monstergirl itch (the girls all look like regular humans, albeit one with a detached head), Centaur no Nayami is a different beast. While the focus on the other two is monster girls having to adapt to a regular human’s world, here this is their world. Remember, nearly every character in Centaur no Nayami is a fairly ordinary teenager, it’s just that having hooves, tails and wings is also ordinary in this universe. (Also, monsterboys exist too, although not many of them are major characters yet)And that small thing makes a lot of difference when it comes to the worldbuilding and how the characters interact with each other .

The world-building is far and away the series’ strongest point, and it’s surprisingly indepth for something that looks like whimsical fluff on the surface. The manga in particular contains several notes at the back of each volume on the world’s history, and there’s a good deal to be hinted at and stated about racial discrimination. There’s a scene in this episode, for example, where one of the teacher’s is explaining to the kids that if through some cosmic chance they’d all have evolved from 4-limbed creatures and resulted in all humans having the same body structure, then there would never be discrimination, because then they’d only have skin tone to differentiate each other with and who would ever discriminate over something as minor as that? It’s a very interesting scene – especially because the speech is delivered whilst some rather sinister looking government officials visiting the school are watching from the doorway. (We also have another scene where Kyoko refers to the fact that being carried on a centaur’s back in any fashion constitutes a hate crime with serious consequences due to centaur’s being used as slave mounts in the past.) It’s good to see that the anime adaptation is already hinting at the political stuff one episode in, so I’m curious to see how they do it for the rest of the anime.

Anyway, I had actually been dreading that this was going to be a bad adaptation ever since I realized that it’s being done by Haoliners – a little-known studio from China who kind of earned a pretty bad reputation for poor animation. So I really have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far. The whimsical and laid back tone that the manga conveys so well survived the transition intact, and the animation is passable, which is a good sign. Sure it’s not perfect and there are a few wonky moments, but a lot of the scenes were done quite cutely and the ‘wonky parts didn’t stand out terribly. I’m not sure how long the animation will stay at this level – especially with the difficulty of all those horse walking/running cycle animations, but I seriously went into this expecting rock-bottom. The decision to start the anime at the school play chapter instead of the infamous (and frankly awful) first chapter of the manga – which is actually a one-shot made before the manga started properly so technically doesn’t count – is also welcome. (This is because that chapter is literally about the three main girls deciding to check out how eachother’s species’ genitalia compares (somehow more SFW than it sounds), and its so tonally different to the rest of the series that it undoubtedly would have given everyone the wrong idea.

I was pleased with the voice acting – everyone sounds as I imagined they would, and there’s also the added bonus of getting to hear the cute clip-clopping sound whenever Himeno moves. The opening is also pretty cute – but the ending, which features far better animation than any other part of the episode and focuses mainly on Manami, the angel class president, is actually pretty beautiful.

I’m really glad that Haoliners actually put some effort into this, and I hope that it manages to become a decent hit because merch of these girls would be adorable.

I like the pink goat boy, I wanna know more about him.

Out of 5,