I really really liked Interviews with Monster Girls. I’m still very much hoping it will get a season 2 that remains just as lovely and wholesome. I think I’ve also mentioned a few times that I wanted to do the math on the Dullhan localized wormhole theory from that show. I bet it would be an awesome post and will give me a chance to put all the random Star Trek techno trivia I’ve memorized for some reason to good use. But I still haven’t written it!

So when Anime Science 101 asked me if I had any anime science post ideas, the biology and physics of these monster girls was one of the first things that came to mind. He decided to start off with everyone’s favourite spunky little vampire, Hikari. I’ll let Anime Science 101 take over now.

         While I might be the one writing this, make no mistake this is actually Irina’s idea.  She has graciously allowed me to guest post on her blog, and we got to talking over our shared love of anime during which time she brought up the idea of what would the potential medical risks a monster girl from Interviews with Monster Girls might face when compared to a normal human.  I have to say that this is not something I ever really considered looking into.  That said it is a really cool idea, and one that I think is worth looking into.  So, without further ado, we have the medical problems of Monster Girls.

What is Risk

         When discussing medical conditions like cancer with my students, the topic of risk comes up and I always have to remind them that having an increased risk of cancer is not the same as actually having cancer.  So please remember that I am not saying that these characters will have these conditions, but that they have a higher risk of having them as a result of being a monster girl.  Now given the near-human nature of the Monster Girls from Interviews, I think it is possible to make some relatively accurate predictions on possible medical conditions they will need to look out for.

Hikari- Vampire

         Hikari is a Vampire girl with many of the traits associated with vampires and the two most important traits for today’s purposes are pale skin, and drinking blood.  Hikari does have pale skin, but you can not tell from the anime if she has a very pale complexion or if she has a condition like Albinism.  Personally, I think that Hikari’s Vampirism causes a skin condition similar to Albinism considering that Albinism is a genetic condition and is thought to have influenced Vampire myths.  The light skin color of people with albinism is due to a lack of melanin in the skin.  Melanin for those of you who are not aware in addition to skin color, protects the skin from damage due to ultraviolet light.  As such a lack of melanin would put Hikari at a higher risk of skin cancer.  Other than wearing sunscreen and staying out of the sun, something we see Hikari do over the course of the show, there is not much she can do.  Now a small study using nitisinone, did show an increase in melanin in patients with Albinism, but it is not a treatment of Albinism at this time.

I think I would worry more about Yuki in this regard

         What about the drinking blood?  Do not worry I did not forget about it, and while yes, Hikari laughs at the idea of drinking blood, she does enjoy liver and onions, along with tomato juice.  This is actually a large clue at the second condition Hikari is at risk for, and that is iron deficiency anemia, of which one of the older treatments for was, liver and onions.  Anemia is a condition caused by a lack of functional red blood cells in the body and it has a wide variety of causes.  Iron deficiency being one of them.  Iron is the key component of hemoglobin, which is the protein that carries oxygen in the red blood cells, and without iron it can not function.

As such individuals with an iron deficiency are logically at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.  The question becomes what causes iron deficiency?  The answer to that can be quite long and includes diet and a number of conditions that decrease the body’s ability to absorb iron.  Thus, for simplicity’s sake let’s just assume that Hikari’s vampirism comes with a decreased ability to absorb iron.

Conclusion

         Yes, being a demi-human vampire does come with the added benefit of an increased sense of smell, and night vision, but let’s not forget the downsides of an increased risk of skin cancer and anemia.

Author: Anime Science 101 is an American science teacher with eight years of experience working in high school and middle school classrooms. His last teaching job was overseas in Mongolia, where he had easy access to the home islands of Japan, which went to twice for a total of 9 weeks spent travelling the country. While his main background is Biology, specifically all things related to medicine due to two years of medical school, he can teach all aspects of science, including anime science.

Like any form of fantasy science, it’s up for debate. I’m not sure what cell division is like for vampire girls. If we go by traditional lore I would think both cell death and cell division are much slower so that might even things out. In any case, it’s interesting to think about! What do you figure? Do the changes in metabolism cancel out the intolerance to sunlight? Let us know! And for other posts like these, make sure to visit Anime Science 101.

5 thoughts

  1. For someone whose work has something to do with biology, such a post is nothing but a delight.
    I might only add that the argument also works in reverse – some scientists think that such problems with haemoglobin led to the formation of the very idea of vampirism.

    1. Thanks and you are correct. I expand on that idea in a post I did explaining the science behind vampirism.

    1. My mistake on that but the explination still stands she needs to drink blood for the nutrients that I listed in said explination.

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