Episode 11 of Demi-chan wa Kataritai begins with an ideological challenge to the way Takahashi-sensei supports demi-humans, or colloquially, demis.
It’s a familiar concern, particularly when it comes to personal relationships. “Helping people makes them dependent.” Perhaps it’s even more familiar as rhetoric used to criticize anything from welfare to “safe spaces” in America. But without getting into the individualistic and meritocratic version we hear in America, the vice-principal is moreso concerned that it would be better for the demis to form more relationships they can depend upon other than Takahashi-sensei.
However, the vice-principal’s suggestion is for Takahashi-sensei to stop supporting demis as much as he does, which depends a great deal on non-demis knowing how or wanting to interact with demis to begin with. By shifting the narrative’s perspective to that of the secondary characters, episode 11 is able to put the lens on the rest of society to naturally explore that assumption, and what we find is about as much as we might expect.
The side characters reflect on their lack of knowledge about their demi classmates, cleverly paired with this shot of the demis’ usual hangout spot without anyone present, and perhaps even more cleverly, reframing the other episodes’ focus on the main characters as a lack of interaction on the part of the side characters, stemming from the apprehension that comes with that lack of knowledge.
Non-demis, as the majority, can make it through life without ever needing to confront that apprehension or even be aware of it, but demis will have to do so throughout their entire lives apart from those rare occasions where they can build rapport with other demis. And even then, the demis are so different from each other that all they really have in common is that shared experience of being categorized as demi-human.
In the end, the vice-principal concedes that having Takahashi-sensei support demis allows him to be an important role model, inspiring the other students to get along better with their demi classmates. His position as a teacher, as the face of a social institution, allows him to set a standard for others to meet, and asking him to stop would be lowering that standard.
After nearly half a cour of manga-adapted content that was practically filler, albeit rather relaxing filler, Demi-chan wa Kataritai concludes on a more serious and emotional note (not including the incoming beach episode) in what appears to even be an anime-original episode.
If a beach episode is any indication, this series isn’t without its flaws. For example, after I praised this episode for putting the lens on the rest of society, it might seem a bit strange that the episode is framed primarily around the criticism and personal redemption of Takahashi-sensei (maybe you even felt a bit strange about Takahashi-sensei being the only person named throughout this entire post). But it is still worthy of every bit of praise it receives for the empathy and thoughtfulness it, at times, demonstrates.
(And the beach episode turned out to not be a beach episode after all.)