Fanservice has always been a bit of a controversial issue. Some love it, some hate all instances of it. There's really no feasible way to please everybody when the reaction can often be likened to a dichotomy, split between 'too much' and 'not enough'. While Bakemonogatari is a series known by most for its unique art direction and character interaction, to say that it's removed itself entirely from sexual themes would be a flat-out lie. It's not much of a surprise then, that these elements are even more prolific in Nisemonogatari, for both better and for worse.
The first thing that should be recognized
before watching Nisemonogatari is this very change and shift in focus. It wouldn't be much an exaggeration to say that at times it can feel like a different series, and certainly not all fans are going to approve of the change in tone and theme.
Despite this though, things are not all that unlike either.
Being that this is the sequel to one of SHAFT's most successful anime, it would be incomprehensible for them to suddenly remove the unique style and flavor that the series became so known for in the first place. Head tilts are still prominent, the scenery is highly stylized, the characters will frequently engage in a playful diatribe and critique of Araragi, and surrealism remains a pervasive aspect in the presentation and overall experience. This is Bakemonogatari in much of its glory, but with the story itself becoming something of less importance than the characters and their interaction with each other.
Probably the largest addition to Nisemonogatari is the new role of Araragi's two younger sisters, Karen and Tsukihi. Both of them form a group known as the 'Fire Sisters', and together they create the main focus of the entire show. Tsukihi is a sharply sarcastic and disapproving sister while Karen, voiced by the beloved Kitamura Eri, behaves as a bit of a tomboy and energetic character who strives to fight for justice and what she feels is the right thing.
These ideals of justice create an interesting problem for Karen as she comes into contact with the antagonist, Kaiki, a con artist exploiting teenage girls out of their money which quickly escalates into a conflict between the two, with Karen focusing on protecting the innocent and Kaiki on using them for his own avaricious goals. Kaiki as a character is quite unique and interesting as he never falls into a generic and stereotyped 'bad guy' persona, instead adopting a very grey morality where neither good nor bad exists. He cares for little else than money, and money is something he aims to attain regardless of who loses out for it. Surprisingly, he doesn't antagonize the main characters very much outside of their first few encounters with each other. As long as they don't complicate matters for him, he generally has no issue. The way his departure is handled is also very surprising and refreshing when compared to the usual conventions in storytelling. It's just disappointing that he loses his role as a main character in the second half and falls much to the side, since his scenes are without a doubt the most memorable and engaging in the entire show. Being a character that stands out so much in a series full of unique characters is a very hard feat to achieve but Kaiki managed to pull it off.
Of course, Nisemonogatari wouldn't be the same without the cast from the previous season playing a prominent role in the story. All of the main characters from Bakemonogatari retain a large role in Nisemonogatari each with their own unique scenes, though unfortunately most of them don't appear anywhere near as much as they did in Bakemonogatari. Senjougahara in particular is largely missing from the first half of the series until becoming a large focus of the story again, which may be a bit disappointing at first for fans of her character. Thankfully, the episodes before that focus on an excellent blend of new and old characters and concepts, bringing just enough to the table to make the series fresh again while maintaining enough of the old that fans will still feel mostly at home when watching.
Focusing on the aforementioned Kaiki as the antagonist, the story itself is largely about his exploits and the characters' resulting intervention for the first half of the story. It picks up further towards the end into a galvanizing climax and battle between Araragi and the two new antagonists, one of which being a character from the previous season. Fans of Bakemonogatari will find something enjoyable in that respect once things start to pick up, but the story itself is not so much the focus of Nisemonogatari as it is what gives a way for the audience to see the characters interact in a variety of new and different situations.
This brings us to the main problem — fanservice.
Do you like fanservice? Do you want fanservice? If not, you probably won't enjoy Nisemonogatari too much. It's not nearly as oppressive or prominent as some screenshots would lead to believe but it's very easily a defining and inherent part of the experience. Characters will frequently try to seduce Araragi which leads to some amusing scenes with him on the verge of cheating on his beloved girlfriend and paying dearly for it. There's also fanservice for the female viewers, with long shots gawking deeply at Araragi's chest. Nude scenes are not too uncommon and the series often plays more with sexual feelings than it does with its witty dialogue and stylized presentation. Though these common elements still do remain a large part of the experience, all one needs to do is take a look at the infamous toothbrush scene to have a good understanding of how Nisemonogatari is often presented.
Whether or not the viewer will approve of these changes comes down to personal taste and what they primarily enjoy the series for. It would be a lie to say that I didn't enjoy the frequent fanservice and sexual themes at least somewhat, but it's just that, perhaps, Nisio Isin and SHAFT went slightly overboard and forgot a little bit about what made the series so highly respected in the first place. It's enjoyable in smaller and occasional doses but being that it's the forefront of the entire experience, it sometimes detract from what is an otherwise very engaging and unique story. Subtle or even suggestive fanservice would have been preferable to the ubiquitous butt-shots and nude scenes.
It doesn't help matters much when the pacing of the anime is negatively impacted by the fanservice as well. As a result of much of the screentime being spent on trying to make the viewer erect, it often feels like the main conflict surrounding Kaiki and the later two antagonists is a bit rushed. Certainly, more time could have been spent developing those characters and the main plotline. Things often shift haphazardly between fanservice and important story events and it feels a bit unwieldy and awkward for that reason. It's hard to appreciate the fanservice much when there's a serious and interesting story going on in the background, and conversely it's also hard to fully appreciate the story when the next scene will transition into more of the fanservice and silly interaction. Had SHAFT and Nisio Isin focused primarily on the story instead of these sexual themes, the main story could easily have been something equal to or even greater than Bakemonogatari. Which is a real shame.
Fortunately, thanks to the success of Bakemonogatari from a few years earlier, a large budget increase is very evident with the quality of animation. This really is one of the best-looking TV anime on the market and the fluidity in each frame is something truly stunning at times. The way the characters move and jump around so freely is something unique to the series when compared to the previous season which relied primarily on transitions and stills. While some complained about the lack of animation and movement in Bakemonogatari -- often comparisons to a slideshow -- this is definitely not the case with Nisemonogatari. This is just as much a visual presentation as it is a verbal one
Nisemonogatari can often verge on the surreal with its artwork. SHAFT loves to play with their scenery in highly creative and interesting ways which serves to immerse the viewer and give personality to the artwork and the area that the characters live and interact in. It wouldn't be strange to see a colorless cityscape with a bright blue-green sky looming above, a room filled with mountains upon mountains of same-colored books, a sudden letterbox effect in the image, a home bathroom with stained-glass windows reminiscent of a medieval church, or a gloomy thicket dyed beneath a red sunset. It's this stylized presentation which creates much of the atmosphere of Nisemonogatari and what makes the viewer feel like they're in a very different place. There's really nothing out there that looks or feels the same way.
And with more effort spent on the series, positive improvement comes to the music and soundtrack as well. The usage of songs and music is a perfect fit for the scenes they are used in, especially those involving Kaiki. They may not all be songs that will stick in your mind and be reminisced for long after, but when used in the anime itself they are an excellent fit. And much like Bakemonogatari, a variety of unique opening sequences are performed by the seiyuu and each styled with their own unique theme. While there's nothing quite on the same level as 'Renai Circulation' here, all three of the openings are very catchy and memorable. In particular, the second opening 'Marshmallow Justice' was something that I felt perfectly represented the series as a whole and its theme. Disregarding my own love towards Kitamura Eri as a seiyuu, it's quite a pleasant song that mixes the quirkiness of the series with the energy of the characters.
In the end it becomes very easy to see where the complaints and negativity surrounding Nisemonogatari come from. While there is truth to be found in the complaints of there being too much fanservice, it's also evident that some are focusing too much on this one aspect instead of fully seeing what it accomplished and did well. It's not quite as good as its predecessor, but Nisemonogatari still manages to be a solid entry to the series and one that paints its own unique character as well. It's certainly different, and different in a way that will be either a bad or a good thing depending on the feelings and tastes of the individual.
Hopefully, with the next animated installment of the Monogatari series these fanservice elements will be toned down a bit. We (well, some of us) have had our fun, and now it's time for the series to go back to its roots. Small change can often be beneficial but in cases like these it's best to know when to leave well enough alone.
Nisemonogatari was certainly one of the more interesting anime of the season, not least for its trait of dividing viewers down the middle in terms of who enjoyed it and who didn't; this show, being the continuation of a well-known franchise, has attracted plenty of vitriol in the last eleven weeks, even though many people have been outspoken in its defence. But now that broadcasting is finished (even if the argument over whether it is masterpiece or merely the latest victim of too-high expectations has plenty of fuel still left to burn), I'm afraid to say that I couldn’t resist the lure dangling so
temptingly in front of me, and so it’s time to tackle Nisemonogatari and hopefully wring a definitive conclusion out of it.
Now, the main sticking point with Nisemonogatari has been the storyline, which was quite slow in its progression; if you’ve recently read about the ‘fast-paced, clever storyline’, and are quite surprised by this assertion, then I shall elaborate; the first three episodes reintroduced characters from the first series, and while the Karen Bee arc was supposedly seven episodes long, it really did drag at points. In addition to that, the resolutions of each arc felt way too easy, and while we’re on it, the almost-complete absence of Tsukihi from the first two episodes of her own arc was bizarre. Although it initially wasn't promising, the story did become more interesting as the series went on, although I believe there will be further episode releases post-broadcast, because not everything came to a conclusion within the eleven episodes (and the Japanese equivalent of 'to be continued' seen at the end of the final episode is a confirmation that we'll be getting more Monogatari one way or another). I think the best way to see Nisemonogatari is as the bridging point which sets everything up nicely for a third series (and if the director is to believed, several more series after that), and in terms of introducing characters who will probably play a part in these later series, it does a pretty good job. Contrary to the impression I might have made, I did enjoy watching this, but I do think it could have been better.
The art style is extremely effective. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it before (except in Bakemonogatari, to state the obvious for the resident pedants here). The background art is most striking, with the use of colour co-ordinated objects and scenery to create scenes which immediately grab the viewer’s attention. The much-debated black and red scenes seem to have been cut down on since Bakemonogatari, now only making a couple of appearances per episode, but the use of talking heads is still common. The background sets the atmosphere much more effectively than a show which is constrained by realism; just watch Kaiki Deishuu’s first screen appearance, and the shadows of the trees stretching out towards Koyomi, and you will realise the brilliance of this art style. And now, the fanservice; how do they handle it? Well, what’s happening on screen and the progression of the storyline are almost completely separate from one another, for starters. It’s nothing compared to an actual ecchi series, and the characters are wearing clothes (cough… most of the time), it’s just the choice of shot and where it focuses on the character’s body that makes it fanservice. And when there are no clothes present, any details are obscured by the production team, preventing the need for masking or other censorship. That was incredibly awkward to write. Moving on…
The sound hasn’t changed drastically from the first series; the episodes start with a blast of heavily distorted electric guitar, and a catchy pop-song opening, which is reminiscent of Staple Stable, to say the least. The lack of background music in Nisemonogatari compared to other series is noticeable, with only the occasional piano melody from the opening or ending slipped in at appropriate moments, but with the amount of dialogue that it has, this is actually a good thing; it would be pointless including any more soundtrack, as it would just either pass completely over our heads or make it incredibly difficult to listen to. The ending is a pop-rock four-chord number which will probably get stuck in your head on an endless loop at some stage, and no amount of purging your memory with your own music collection will dislodge it. If you liked Bakemonogatari’s Staple Stable and Renai Circulation, then this is definitely worth a listen.
The characters from the first series remain as they are for the most part, with the exception of Hanekawa Tsubasa, who is now short-haired. Hitagi Senjougahara, self-diagnosed tsundere of the highest order, seems to have been relegated to a supporting role in Nisemonogatari, having only made three or so appearances in seven episodes; however, Araragi’s sisters, Karen and Tsukihi, step into the breach, so we have a net gain of characters. Connoisseur of Hawaiian t-shirts and supernatural phenomena Oshino Meme has disappeared, and the role of ‘sole adult in the series’ has gone to the much more evil, scheming Deishuu Kaiki, who looks like one of the creepier film incarnations of Dracula. It’s interesting that they’ve gone for a central villain, rather than having different problems which are unrelated in cause, as per Bakemonogatari. It must be mentioned that in this series, the characters do not merely lean on the fourth wall, they've practically installed a revolving door in it for their convenience. Even the creation of the anime was slipped a thinly veiled reference in one of the characters' metaphors. I quite like it, but you will need to know at least a little bit about the Monogatari franchise to get some of it.
It should probably be mentioned that Nisemonogatari will make some of its audience feel uncomfortable at certain points. Aside from the various Lolita characters, there are incestuous overtones involving Araragi and his sisters, including the now-infamous ‘toothbrush scene’. And I know that people will say “Oh, it’s only here in the West that we’ve got a problem with it, but in Japan, those scenes are seen as the funniest part of the show.” Aside from not wishing to read anything into these peoples’ apparent attempts to justify having relationships with underage girls or members of their own family, they might have a point; our moral values here don’t let us see the funny side. If we look at the source of all this trouble, Vladimir Nabokov’s now-infamous novel, half the time he is mocking us and our values; are SHAFT doing the same thing? Quite possibly. Just be prepared to ignore the screams of moral outrage you might occasionally feel welling up inside you while you’re watching this show, make sure your parents/partner/siblings/friends aren’t going to walk in at an awkward moment and then spend the next three weeks not talking to you, and you should be able to cope.
So, Nisemonogatari does indeed have all the elements that Bakemonogatari was praised for, and at the same time features fanservice, which Bakemonogatari, if I remember correctly, did also have a certain amount of. I don’t think it is possible that it has ruined the series, as some people claim; these claims probably would have been made regardless of the actual nature of the series, and were sparked by its mere existence. Unfortunately for those claims and the people making them, Akiyuki Shinbo, the animation director, has apparently stated his intention to animate every single Monogatari novel, of which there are (or will be, to be entirely accurate) twelve. Now, if the first one came out in 2009, and the second in 2012, I think we can safely say that this series will continue for a while. For my part, I'm looking forward to it, and I hope that it may continue to be as innovative and interesting as it has been up to this point!
Shaft has been on a pretty good run for the last few years churning out some extremely popular and perhaps over-hyped series. Now they have brought us Nisemonogatari, a show that I was looking forward to quite a bit. This is partly because I just generally find their work interesting but also because I did enjoy its predecessor. Now while I would not classify myself as a huge fan of the original show I did enjoy the characters, quirky story, and fabulous artwork. However Nisemonogatari is a pointless and directionless mess that feels more like a cash grab that takes
everything good about the original and turns it to crap.
I am sure people will accuse me of being excessively harsh when I say Nise's story... is one of the five worst things I have ever seen. Maybe that’s because there isn’t any story to speak of. What this series promised us was a story about Araragi's younger sisters and their encounter with the black swindler. It also promised some fill in the blanks of some of some of the other story arcs from Bakemono. I was particularly interested in seeing more on how Senjougahara ended up cursed. What we got instead is what I would consider to be a full length DVD extra putting the various girls in the cast in compromising situations and in assorted states of undress. The anime plods along aimlessly, taking us nowhere substantive. When they do finally get around to something other than panties or erotic tooth brushing, it is crammed in to an episode and a half and then quickly buried to get back to what’s really important. What’s too bad is that when they do bother to tell some story I do find myself interested in it. But also I was pissed off that it was all I got. To be honest the entire "story" could have been more productively told with a 2 episode OVA than an entire TV season. (cough: money grab)
Now I am not going to sit here and rail against service in anime, what’s the point? I am not even offended by it and I find it pretty amusing most of the time. Bakemono certainly had its pervy undertones but it didn't revolve around them or beat you over the head with them either. Nise seems to have just taken those elements and decided to make an anime around them. Frankly what offends me the most about the way the service is presented is that it takes itself way to seriously. It’s like somebody at Shaft just discovered you can put this kind of thing in anime and just completely lost their heads. Then have the nerve to act like it’s somehow smarter than anything we have ever seen before. Just because you inserted some witty dialogue and clever puns in between the breast fondling and skirt flipping doesn't turn it into high art.
Second only to the horrible story is what they did to the series cast of characters. Say what you will about Araragi's but for a harem lead (yes fanboys, Bakemono was a harem anime. Deal with it. It’s not a bad word), he managed to be a pretty interesting and compelling character. Well you can throw all of that out the window after viewing this series. He is a shell of his former self as he has been relegated to an immature perverted lolicon and pedophile who would be a registered sex offender in every developed nation in the world. His world view is that of a 10 year old boy, not a high school senior who is a borderline adult. People might try to say he is being ironic or sarcastic or maybe he's just a bully or a clown. But seriously who in high school, particularly a senior still goes around flipping the skirts of elementary school girls?
The rest of the cast fairs no better. The girls get little in the way of character development and are only treated as objects and tools for service. While you may initially feel some nostalgia as the previous cast is reintroduced and it feels like reacquainting yourself with old friends. However, if you went into this show like I did, wanting to see and learn more about Araragi's two sisters Karen and Tsukihi, then you’re in for a rude awakening. (Unless that is you wanted to learn more about their bust size and figures) For a series that was supposedly based around the two of them they have shockingly little actual screen time.
Well it’s not all bad. As expected from Shaft, the shows artwork and animation is absolutely fabulous. As is customary of their productions the screen is full visual overload of information with innumerable references and puns if you’re able to catch or comprehend them. The styling of the show is very much like its predecessor and has a very unique original feeling about the entire production. Even though the artwork is undeniably stunning, I did not always care for it. Another annoyance would be why they decided to cut the hair of every girl in the show. By the end of the series everyone looks the same. I mean... why? If they had changed their hair colors I wouldn't have even known who some of them were. But if you’re just a general fan of art and animation there is a whole lot to love about this show.
The music and voice acting is also equally brilliant. I honestly think this is the one thing Shaft almost never fails at, is picking appropriate music and animation to open and close their anime titles. Like Bakemono, Nise uses the voice cast to sing the various OP songs but it was the show's ED song which stands out the most. ClariS' "Naisho no Hanashi" is by far the duo's best single to date. Maybe I enjoyed it so much because it meant the episode was over?
Overall only the most ardent Bakemono and Shaft fanboys need apply when it comes to watching this show. Though if you were truly a fan of Bakemono I don’t know how you could not end up being disappointed. The lack of any kind of coherent story mars any sensory satisfaction you may get out of the shows artwork and audio track. You can pour and entire bottle of perfume on a pile of crap but in the end its still, crap.
Nisemonogatari is the sequel to Shaft's 2009 hit Bakemonogatari. It features much of the same cast as the first show, but it includes many new characters as well. The particular focus is on Araragi's sisters, Karen and Tsukihi this time around. The first show broke sales records and this one is looking to do incredibly well as well. However, if you were expecting more of Bakemonogatari you might be in for a surprise.
There is always an issue with sequels when it comes to the story. They always seem to never really live up to their predecessors and sadly Nisemonogatari suffers from this issue as well.
While the story is both interesting and engaging, it just lacks that overall “wow” factor that Bakemonogatari had. This pattern is especially prevalent in Shaft's other sequels other than maybe Hidamari Sketch but that's probably due to me needing a nutbladder replacement every time I watch another one of those. However, that is not to say that the story is not good. It is actually very good but it just lacks that special feeling that the first series had. When it comes to the actual story, it is a similar format to the first series where Araragi goes around messing with the various females in his life and unraveling mysteries. In Nisemonogatari the focus is on his two younger sisters and their issues though. However, instead of spending a significant amount of time on the mysteries themselves the sequel focuses more on character development and character interaction. I will not say that it's particularly a “bad thing” but the overall pace and tone of the story is definitely different from the first series and I'm not completely sold on those changes. Without spoiling everything, if you enjoyed the setup of Bakemonogatari and you enjoyed the characters of the first series you'll most likely enjoy the sequel. There really isn't much to say on the story just because if you're watching this, you must have watched Bakemonogatari as well so I would just be reiterating the facts that you already know. What I must point out is one of the flaws and distractions that was present in the sequel though.
Nisemonogatari essentially translates into “Falsestory” or “Impostory”. However, it should be translated into “Fanservicestory”. If I were to say Bakemonogatari didn't feature a significant amount of fanservice I would be lying, but they really did go overboard with the sequel. They must have put a significant amount of effort into cramming the most amount of fanservice into this 11 episode series and it definitely shows. From the convenient camera angles to half an episode dedicated to a discussion with Shinobu in the bath to the (in)famous “toothbrush scene” you can definitely see that there was a significant amount of work involved. While the novel includes this as well, it certainly is incredibly distracting to the overall tone and mood of the show. This is one of those cases where the source material does not particularly go over well into the adaption. While the original source material did include a lot of fanservice, Shaft also took it a step further with a multitude of compromising camera angles. That is not unexpected of them since it occurs in nearly every one of their shows, but it only adds to the distraction and makes the overall feeling of the show more low brow than the predecessor. Before you get your jimmies rustled, I am not against fanservice. I enjoy fanservice masterpieces such as Queen's Blade after all. I just feel that the second season's fanservice was a bit excessive and detrimental to this show's overall quality.
What wasn't detrimental to the overall quality was the art in this show. Shaft generally has a policy where the TV broadcast looks abysmal but they come up with an absolutely stunning Blu Ray release. In the case of Nisemonogatari, the TV version is excellent and they will be hard pressed to do any incredible changes to the Blu Ray release. The animation was for the most part very fluid and the background scenes were beautiful. They really outdid themselves on this show and it looks great. Likewise, the sound was also excellent in this show. The OST was fitting and the various openings were all great as well. Platinum Disco definitely stole the show this time around, like how Ren'ai Circulation stole the show in Bakemonogatari. I have absolutely no complaints when it comes to the art or sound in Nisemonogatari. Shaft went above and beyond my expectations on making an actually presentable TV anime and the sound continued on par with it's predecessor. Overall I feel that this section is much better than Bakemonogatari since you could only really enjoy it if you watched the Blu Rays due to the sheer amount of fixing they did to it.
As previously mentioned, Nisemonogatari focuses more on characterization over the mystery solving that was most prevalent in its predecessor. We see several new characters such Kaiki who brings up quite a bit of Hitagi's past and Yozuru and Yotsugi who serve as an exorcist combo. We also see Karen and Tsukihi having actual roles in the story as well. Without going into much detail since that would give away the entire show, I must say that the characters are once again a very strong point for the show. There is little character degradation between both shows and there is quite a bit of development as well (some of which I don't particularly like but I guess it can't be helped after all). The new characters are interesting and enjoyable while the old ones are what you knew and loved from before. The voice acting was once again top notch. The cast is filled with veterans that you have heard many times before. The new characters are also voiced by veterans and are fitting for their respective roles. Even Shinobu gets to talk this time around, however instead of Aya Hirano we have Maaya Sakamoto for obvious reasons. The characters are definitely a strong point for the *monogatari series and it continues on quite well in this sequel.
Overall, I must say that I enjoyed this show quite a bit but I was not nearly as impressed with it as I was with Bakemonogatari. Nisemonogatari does well as a sequel since it mostly maintains itself but it just leaves you feeling just a little disappointed. Bakemonogatari is one of my favorite shows due to its interesting dialogue, it's characters, and the overall story of it. Nisemonogatari picks up on much of that but the overall product feels unimpressive compared to Bakemonogatari. I think the issue with this show is that despite being great, it still pales in comparison to Bakemonogatari. The excessive fanservice and some certain “character development” that happened in the last episode really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That along with some of the previous season's characters getting much less screen time and development also makes me feel somewhat frustrated with this series. I will not say that I am platinum disappointed with this show overall, but I just feel that it is not as good as Bakemonogatari. What is good news is that this particular arc of the story is now over and there are plans to continue this animation project with even more. The Kizumonogatari movie should be coming up soon and a suspicious “to be continued” at the end of the last episode shows that this story is definitely not done with. What I can say is that I am still looking forward to more and I hope that the upcoming projects maintain the overall quality. Surpassing the original will be a difficult feat, but I'm optimistic about the upcoming projects and I can't wait to see more. I just hope to the Space Pope that Shaft doesn't decide to release them as online episodes every 6 months.
I will be honest, I hold a certain amount of bias for this anime, a bias that leans towards "SUPAH" positive. I love Bakemonogatari with a passion, and I will always convince myself that Nisio Isin will remain to be one of the greatest writers I've ever seen, at least when dialogue and plot is involved.
So, if I seem like I'm just acting out my part to spearhead the opinion of the fanbase, don't hold it against me. I will do my best to be as unbiased as possible. You have been warned.
To be honest, I thought the highlight of the Monogatari series in
terms of story was found in Kizumonogatari. Nisemonogatari was slightly weaker, but this is a personal opinion. Usually, I would give it 10 and be done with it, but I will stamp it on with a 9 because of the fact that it's the second season of Bakemonogatari.It's not because I think sequels suck, I just feel that Nisemonogatari should've taken the liberty of introducing the setting of the series to potential newcomers.
I've met many people who saw Nisemonogatari a watch, and couldn't enjoy it nearly as much because they didn't understand the story. I feel that some time could've been spent in easing the viewer into the idea of Nisemonogatari. If I were to fix it, I would've introduced Kanbaru and Shinobu, or at least give them mention. Maybe I might've missed them somewhere, but I doubt I did.
Nisemonogatari has the same art style as Bakemonogatari, except a lot cleaner. I don't have much more to add. The art fits the spirit of the series, and to be honest, if comical art was more fitting to a series than a beautiful art, the comical would get a 10 in my book and the beautiful would get maybe an 8. Art's important to set the mood, in my opinion, and Nisemonogatari succeeded on that. Feel free to disagree on my thought in regards to how I grade art.
Again, this series has always been great in regards to making elements outside of the plot fitting. Art works, and so does the music. My only complaint is the OP. It's terrific, but I feel like it was recycled from "Staple Stable", even though it totally isn't.
My take is that the OP is just to get into the musical style Bakemonogatari displayed, so it's not too much of a problem. I'm just going to tack on a 9 there though, but it will probably change in the future.
I will not write anything outside of these three statements, including this one. I cannot effectively review this section because I'm too much in love with the eccentric characters that the Monogatari series has displayed, and although I shall miss Oshino Meme, the characters in the series have never appeared flat to me, and if anything, the characters really makes Nisio's invention shine through.
Dialogue is key, and I shall not comment further, for this is the third statement.
Read the above if you haven't already, please.
Did you now? Sorry...and if you just read it after reading the message above the ellipses above this statement, then thank you for following my directions.
To summarize, Nisemonogatari displays the same strengths that made Bakemonogatari one of my favorite anime series of all times. It could be kinder in setting the mood for newcomers, or doing something new with the effective mood element. Hell, anything with the word "new" tagged in it could be improved on, but it's not going to detract me from waiting for new episodes every week.
Recommend? Very much so.
...And with that all done and typed, my first review on an anime series is done. I shall click this pretty blue button that says "Submit Review" now.
Bakemonogatari was a special anime for me. While it didn't really have any stand out qualities, the whole show ended up being much more than the sum of its parts. It had some nice visuals, fun dialogue, interesting characters and plot. Maybe a dab of mystery/suspense here and maybe a few seconds of good animation there. Ultimately it was an incredibly enjoyable show that was just a blast to watch when all of its elements came together in a dizzying fashion. So you can imagine my confusion when I finished Nise only to realize that I hadn't enjoyed the show all that much. When
I came along for this ride, I was expecting to have a damn good time, similar to all the fun I had with Bake. So what exactly went wrong with this show? A hell of a lot apparently.
The plot itself is more or less the same kind of scenario we saw in its predecessor. The biggest difference between the two however is the pacing. Bake moved along at a brisk pace, it introduced new elements quickly and broke them up with some occasional fanservice bits and exchanges of dialogue. Nise does the opposite and moves along at a snail's pace. Everything is introduced very slowly and is resolved equally as slowly. The climaxes to the story arcs didn't really evoke any particular sense of excitement in me. Which brings me to another problem, and that's the complete lack of urgency and tension. Bake had a lot of mystery and suspense in all of its arcs; it was carefully put together and enjoyable to watch unfold. Nise somehow completely forgets to introduce any sort of tension until half-way through the show and right before the climax of its first arc. Yeah Kaiki was imposing when he was introduced yet he never became a threat until a couple episodes later, the mystery surrounding him wasn't particularly well established. There was an attempt at build up with off-screen interactions between him and the supporting cast but it was all vague. So when the time came for a resolution, I came away thinking "so what?”. There's definitely a problem when you're waiting for something good to happen each episode but nothing ever does. Nise is stunted as hell, there's no real build up and whatever little characterization there is, comes in the form of isolated little moments of plot instead of a subtle constant stream of information. The storytelling is a noticeable step down, and it doesn't improve a great deal. Rather you'll always come away feeling unsatisfied and wanting something more substantial from it. It does manage to get interesting during the course of its run but it never becomes truly engaging, it teases you with some good scenes and moments but it rarely follows through.
Bake found a balance between characterization, fanservice and witty dialogue. It juggled these three elements very well, always managing to stimulate the audience with their juxtaposing. Nise does not have this balance, and looking back, it’s what made Bake as good as it was. It’s what I mean by "more than the sum of its parts". These core elements are what made the original show so much fun. Nise unfortunately decides to throw characterization out the window in favor of more sexual stimulation and dialogue with 60% less charm. I don't have a problem with fanservice but it needs to be well-implemented just like any other aspect. In Nise's case, a barrage of gratuitous fanservice every other minute doesn't really constitute as good execution. An overload on one stimulus just makes it boring when it happens again. Fanservice gets yawn-inducing fast when it’s the only aspect of note in an episode. The dialogue isn't nearly as fun as it was in Bake, it lacks the hints of characterization that was so prevalent in the conversations Araragi had with the girls. It’s like they stripped these elements of what made them good in the first place and threw 'em back in without any substance this time around. With the interesting characters playing support, they don't really offer anything to the audience besides some occasional humor and tips for Araragi. The sisters don't fill this vacuum at all, one is boring as fuck and the other is irrelevant for all intents and purposes. Ultimately this entire story is really about Araragi and his relationship with his sisters, not the sisters themselves. His soliloquies are sparse and aren't nearly as effective as they ought to be, though this is more of an execution problem with the show. There's Kaiki and Shinobu as well, and admittedly, they're pretty cool. Shinobu's bits serve as closure for Kizumonogatari so I imagine that some of its impact is lost on the viewers who haven't read the Light Novels. There's not enough of Kaiki unfortunately, he's probably the best character to come out of this and his screen time is pitifully short. Overall Nise feels like a shallow version of its predecessor, which is saying quite a bit since Bake wasn't exactly down there in the Mariana Trench either. Bake's main theme (Growth/Healing) worked on several different levels of the story and was naturally interwoven into the narrative. It felt organic and refreshing; however Nise's themes (Fake/Imitation) feel extremely superfluous. It felt as though they were clumsily thrown in, as if NisioIsn was trying far too hard to emulate the same poetry of his previous works. Ironically Nise appears to be a hollow imitation of its predecessors which in and of itself could be considered "Fake" on some level. I wouldn't put it past NisioIsin to include such nonsensical meta bullshit in his works but this one is delivered in a half-assed manner so it’s largely meaningless.
This isn't the only area where Nise falls short of Bake either; even some of the technical aspects are weaker. Yes the animation quality is much more consistently well done this time but Nise lacks flair and punch in its visuals. Many of the key staff that made Bake as good as it was are missing in Nise. People like Nobuyuki Takeuchi, Tatsuya Oishi, Toshimasa Suzuki and Shaft's own ace key animator, Ryo Imamura are not present and their absences are very noticeable. Takeuchi and Oishi contributed a hefty amount to the storyboard work; they made the visuals fairly exciting and involving, even if Bake often took the route with less animation. Nise however has less experienced people on storyboarding, so while Nise does have a fairly consistent level of animation quality, none of it is particularly fun to watch or evocative of the imagination. For example, part of the fight in episode 7 was done by Hironori Tanaka, a talented key animator. He was responsible for a good portion of the fight in episode 8 of Bake as well. One had incredibly dynamic, fast-paced and visceral animation; the other was slow, lacked any sort of momentum and was a bore to watch overall. I'll leave you to guess which one is which. The music on the other hand, is actually well done. The new OPs sung by Karen and Tsukihi's respective seiyuus are every bit as catchy and enjoyable as you'd expect from this series. Kaiki's main theme is amazing of course; the music is one of the few aspects that are on par with the other season.
Nise is a decent watch. Certainly above some many other anime but it's heavily flawed and is a clear decline from the first season. On the surface it appears to have all the same things that brought us all to love this series but lacks the gritty details. If Bake was more than the sum of its parts, Nise is in fact the opposite. Somehow its less than all of its individual elements. While some of them might indeed be great, the entire show is pulled down by sloppy writing, bad pacing, a lack of focus and an overabundance of fanservice. It feels directionless, its dialogue more meandering than subtle, its humor more reference-filled than witty, its themes more pretentious than heartfelt, and its characters more pandering-bait than people we should care about. This probably would have worked better as a short OVA series or something. Though at this point I believe Bake was a mistake on both NisioIsin's/Shaft's end and we'll probably never see the Monogatari series on that same level again. Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh but it’s annoying when people don't seem to realize what exactly it was that made a show good, especially if those people are the same ones who created the damn thing in the first place.
You may have read my review for Bakemonogatari, and if you have, you will know that I consider anime to be a legitimate genre of art, as are paintings, video games, and novels. You will also know that my admiration for Bakemonogatari goes well beyond simple fandom and that I regard it as one of the masterpieces that transcends the genre, as is Michelangelo's David to sculptures. If you have not watched Bakemonogatari, much of this review will not make sense. That's to be expected since Nisemonogatari shouldn't make much sense if you haven't watched Bakemonogatari. With that out there, I
begin my review.
***NOTE that the show is still airing, and I have only watched 8 episodes of of the 11 planned. I feel that this is enough to write a review, but, as we learned from Bakemonogatari, when it comes to this series, one episode, or even one scene can change one's outlook on the entire series. I will promptly address any changes that might arise upon completion of the entire season.
STORY - 10
Those of you who have read my Bakemonogatari review will know that I actually gave lavish praise to its minimal and episodic plot, on the grounds that an elaborate storyline would actually distract from the character interactions. I feel differently for Nisemonogatari. This was never intended to be a standalone series; it is basically Monogatari series Season 2 (or 3, if you include the upcoming Kizumonogatari). Therefore, most of the characters were already introduced in Bakemonogatari, and now it's time for some story, some of that actual "monogatari." And I had high expectations because I am currently reading a manga by the same author, which convinced me that NisiOisin is fully capable of writing elaborate, enthralling, and spectacular storyline in addition to the breathtaking characters showcased by Bakemonogatari. Indeed, as I had anticipated, Nisemonogatari is much more plot-driven than was its prequel. Character and dialogue is still very much the heart and soul of the series, but now we have longer story arcs, more plot expositions (as opposed to Bakemonogatari, in which most expositions were character expositions), and something resembling an antagonistic entity, the lack of which turned off many a shounen-lovers from Bakemonogatari. The attention to plot is present in every scene. For example, Bakemonogatari, while not simple by any means, was very chronological. However, right from the beginning of Nisemonogatari, we see masterful anachronistic storytelling, which is hard to pull off unless the author and the director are both focusing on storytelling aspects. This shift is slight indeed (the show is still very much character-driven), but in such a complex and well-balanced show, the effects are definitely felt. It was a very smooth move to allow plot progression to occupy a bit more of the foreground, while the consolidation of the characters we already know and the introduction of only 3 more characters casually take a step back. Svelte indeed.
ART - 10
What can I say? It's Studio SHAFT. They absolutely splurged on the artistic presentation. Much of what I have to say on the art overlaps with the lengthy discussion I provided on my Bakemonogatari review. In short, the art really went for nothing but perfection. Every frame is idealized and perfected, which is really a prime advantage anime has over live action. Whatever isn't absolutely necessary to the scene or the plot is radically minimized, truncated, and symbolized. What I really have to say beyond what I already discussed for Bakemonogatari is that the art style in Nisemonogatari is even more stylized and surreal. The overlaps of realities, the use of light, scenery, the symbolims, the entire mise-en-scène of every scene are much more dramatic than they were in Bakemonogatari, which was delightfully surreal to begin with. This confirmed a conjecture I had upon viewing Bakemonogatari, that the series is just as much what happens inside the character's minds (usually Koyomi's) as it is what actually happens. This accounts for a part of why the series is so inexplicably identifiable. For example, movies like The Grudge horrify the viewers by showing them frightening images. On the other hand, movies like The Blair Witch Project feature no actual frightening image, but manipulates the very emotion of fear in the viewer by evoking the genetically-ingrained terror of the unknown, of being pursued, etc. The series, Nisemonogatari more intensely so, elicits emotion on two different levels in a similar manner. For example, we, as (male) viewers would see Senjougahara and think that she is a very pretty character. However, add to that the viewpoint of Koyomi, her lover, and how he sees her, how he focuses on the way her skirt moves with her legs, the way she tosses her hair; also throw in those notorious symbolic frames that flash by more intensely as the two leads' verbal fencing match intensifies, those shots of Koyomi's rather excitable hair, and the result is a greatly amplified emotional response compared to what would have been had we simply seen Araragi and Senjougahara talk back and forth. Genius, isn't it?
Sound - 9
I actually don't have much to say here. To be honest, I just thought the opening and ending songs of Bakemonogatari were great, and the same goes for Nisemonogatari. But to offer my perfectly honest and perhaps controversial opinion, I don't think OP and ED are really an integral part of an anime experience. As such, I will not offer review of OP/ED titles. I mean, they're like a minute long to look up and watch on YouTube, so no need for me to review them. On the other hand, I actually kind of miss some of the mundane BGM's of Bakemonogatari that were apparently swapped or scrapped for the new series. It seemed that Nisemonogatari is much lighter on the BGM and it being a proactive part of dialogue. Other than that, the voice acting is the same top-notch performance we are familiar with, except maybe Senjougahara sounds even more breathtakingly sardonic. This is one of those things where I really don't have much to say because the sound is just flawless. Only that I miss some of those sound effect/BGM's that really set the atmosphere of surreal absorption.
CHARACTER - 10
Ohoho MAJOR, MAJOR character development from Bakemonogatari. I mean, only three new characters are introduced, but the existing characters are oh so subtly revamped. Again, some of the changes may not be noticeable unless you've seen each episode of Bakemonogatari, like, a dozen times as have I, but even subtle changes are massive in such delicate work. To say to much would lead to inadvertent spoilers, so I will be brief.
Koyomi is a much more proactive and much more of a "main" character in Nisemonogatari. In a way, Nisemonogatari is much more "first-person" than Bakemonogatari was. Most of the expositions come from Koyomi's perspective, and the psychological reality I discussed in ART section is mostly what goes on inside Koyomi's head. Also, I discussed before that there is much more plot now. With more plot, there needs to be more action, and it is mostly Koyomi that answers the call and actually does stuff. Interestingly, he was hinted to be a bit of a pervert (who isn't?) in Bakemonogatari. This is explored much further in Nisemonogatari, and, in my opinion, is actually kind of a theme. But more on that.
Senjougahara is ever so ethereal and psychotic. Both her stationary and her wit have further sharpened since Bakemonogatari. Since the two story arcs focus around the two new characters, she does take a bit of a back seat, but her interaction with Koyomi is still what the core of this show consists of. Some interesting development happens to her in that she finally shows some level of emotional interaction with a character other than Koyomi; she now has a thing (I know not any other way to put it) apparently with Hanekawa, which is currently in the funny, joke-material stage, but I suspect that I will lead to something. Some major, major, MAJOR stuff happens around her, but you will have to watch yourself to find out.
Hanekawa, first of all, looks much better without her glasses and with those ridiculous braids gone. Well, she's no longer the resident maganekko, for those of you who are into that, but she looks much better IMO. And, as is always the case for anime heroines who take off their glasses and/or cut her hair, she has become more assertive, and over all, a stronger character. Her relationship with Koyomi is both more involved and more distant, but more on that later.
Hachikuji is probably the character whose development I most enjoyed since Bakemonogatari. Apart from her actual story arc, Hachikuji was a bit of a comic relief character and occasionally a foil to Senjougahara, but she is now a much deeper (and funnier!) character whose position in Koyomi's psyche is elaborated upon. Her appearances are some of the most entertaining scenes in Nisemonogatari.
Kanbaru is largely unchanged as her brusque, depraved self, but her relationship with Koyomi has progressed. More on that later.
Sengoku.... err.. just watch that episode.
Karen and Tsukihi are Koyomi's sisters that were pretty much nobodies in Bakemonogatari. They each get a story arc. Since they are kind of the main heroines of Nisemonogatari (as Senjougahara was for Bakemonogatari), any in-depth discussion of their characters would spoil the entire season. However, the role they have on Bake/Nisemonogatari as a "harem" show is important, and I will discuss that in the next section.
So that's a brief rundown of the characters, but this show is different for everyone, so the goal of listing my perception of each character was only to show how exciting this anime is, especially if you're a fan of Bakemonogatari. Make you own blissful judgments after you've experienced the unprecedented, mega-witty, mesmerizing character interactions.
ENJOYMENT - 10
This section is obviously highly subjective, and, because of that, it is here that I will discuss some of the more interesting things that have come to me upon viewing the first 8 episodes out of 11. I was finally able to put a handle on what it is that made Bakemonogatari such an experience because Nisemonogatari is more overt when it comes to themes. I've come to realize that the series can be summed up as a meta-fanservice. Really, the show is mild in comparison to the level of fanservice in other mainstream anime, yet it elicits the most emotional response. My theory is that the Bake/Nisemonogatari series touches on not just the sexual fantasies of viewers, but scratches the emotional itches of the viewer, resulting in a much, much fuller experience. Those of you who have seen Bakemonogatari will recall that the climax of Koyomi and Senjougahara's romance, in the TV finale, actually occurred off-screen. An even bigger pivotal event takes place in Nisemonogatari, and it is also off-screen. That is why it's okay for Bakemonogatari to be a "harem" anime. Nisemonogatari is very overt and gratuitous when it comes to fanservice, much more so than was Bakemonogatari. However, all compromising situations Koyomi gets into with each female character (THE TOOTHBRUSH) is rendered moot in a fell swoop by the decision to minimize Koyomi and Senjougahara's romance on screen. The two lovers spend the vast majority of their screentime together giving us those magnificent dialogues, and don't do any of the display of affection stuff we're so used to seeing in romance anime. That is because, to Koyomi, Senjougahara is the subject of love and respect. The ridiculous and often highly immoral (taken to a whole new level in Nisemonogatari THE TOOTHBRUSH) erotic situations he lands himself in with other female characters are meant to be gratuitous fanservice and nothing more. I actually found those fanservice scenes to be the funniest of the series because they were so tongue-in-cheek in absolutely ridiculing fanservice, while actually providing top-quality fanservice. That is what I call meta-fanservice. Koyomi and Senjougahara's relationship has noticeably solidified. In Bakemonogatari, there was always a sense of both Koyomi and Senjougahara playing along with the dialogue for the sake of the dialogue. Senjougahara surely doesn't actually see Koyomi as a worthless human garbage (remember that dialogue?), but she says with her trademark snark, and Koyomi knows this, but he feigns injury. This is much more involved in Nisemonogatari, where the verbal banters are more poignant, yet I could almost hear Koyomi and Senjougahara having a parallel telepathic conversation in which they sweet-talked each other. In other words, their banters are like flirting; that's how they keep their relationship interesting for themselves and the viewers. And, as their relationship has matured and solidified, it became more platonic, at least on screen, and other female "harem" members naturally could get more intensely involved with Koyomi to create those outrageous, delightful, hilarious scenes of meta-fanservice. It is self-aware fanservice for the self-aware viewer. Because I am a very self-aware and meta-cognitive person, I would, to be honest, have been a bit repulsed by the overtly pedophilic and even incestuous situations, but actually found them quite entertaining because the scenes themselves were also self-aware. As is all over my profile, I'm pretty against the whole moe/loli trend, but I did not find Koyomi/Hachikuji harassment situations weird at all. That is why Araragi Koyomi is actually an even more magnificent character than Senjougahara Hitagi: because he, for the sole sake of the viewer's gratification, goes out and gets tangled up with other women, but saves the viewer (and himself) from any danger of guilt by reserving 100% of his real love for Senjougahara only.
I think I've blabbered on for enough now, but that just goes to show how much I appreciate this series. Bakemonogatari was pretty much my penultimate anime experience (along with NGE), so I consciously lowered my expectations of Nisemonogatari, lest I be frustrated. Looking back, however, there was no need at all. Nisemonogatari is subtly, yet significantly of different flavor from Bakemonogatari, but it is just as enjoyable an experience. The shifts in direction may have led some fans to believe that the show has lost its art-house flair and became a bit too mainstream, but I still maintain that Nisemonogatari is a continuation of Bakemonogatari as the culmination of modern anime counterculture (refer to my Bakmonogatari review). I cannot give more praise to this wonderful sequel to a groundbreaking series.
An imposter is one who is skilled at the arts of deception, often using their gifts to swindle unsuspecting victims. While its predecessor, Bakemonogatari, focused on the supernatural forms of five everyday animals and how the heroines of the story had to deal with them, Nisemonogatari shifts the focal point to the effect that imposters can have on the lives of those around them, specifically the two Araragi sisters. The sequel brings back the heavy dialogue to a lesser extent, adding in a touch of fanservice to fill in the gaps. While liking one does not necessarily mean it'll be same for the other, there
is no doubt that both the Monogataris are NisiOisiN's more famous and successful pieces of work.
Anyone who has watched anime for a reasonably long period of time must have come across SHAFT's animation on at least one occasion. Known for their "unique" artwork, SHAFT's approach is often times a risky "hit or miss". For Nisemonogatari, I felt the artwork matched the overall atmosphere of the series. The often comical expressions of the characters fit in well with the less serious aspects of the series. The usage of rapid scene changes and abstract visuals in the other parts were also able to set the mood with relative effectiveness. While it may take getting used to, the overall animation style is much more than decent.
Firstly, Araragi Koyomi continues showing why he is one of the most interesting and respectable male protagonists in anime. Given the opportunity and situation, the words that come out of his mouth are unbelievably moving, even encouraging and true. One can easily empathize with his beliefs and ideals, which he strongly holds onto even in the toughest of times. Unfortunately, such a solid character is a rarity these days. While Bakemonogatari dealt with five of his female friends, Nisemonogatari expands on the two characters that are even closer to him: his younger sisters. The combination of Karen and Tsukihi make for an interesting pair; the two are literally the opposites of each other in terms of personality. Nonetheless, after having their fair share of screentime this time around, both sisters were developed quite well (more so Karen than Tsukihi, in my opinion). This can be mostly credited to the exceptional use of development-driving dialogue.
Although there were fewer OPs used in Nisemonogatari than in Bakemonogatari, I felt they were all quite catchy and a pleasure to listen to. As for the ED, even though I really liked it too, my expectations for it (given that it was written by ryo from supercell and performed by ClariS) weren't exactly met. With that being said, topping "Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari" was hard enough already so I'm not going to be too critical. The BGM was at most times overshadowed by the dialogue. But when it was noticeable, it greatly enhanced each scene. Voice acting was once again top notch, with the cast from Bakemonogatari returning, including some new voices.
Compared to a "Ghostory" or "Monstory", an "Impostory" is slightly more believable. Dealing with and confronting an imposter is no easy task. The main protagonist, Araragi Koyomi, was taught this lesson twice in the span of eleven episodes. With the story taking place over a time period of a few days, the amount of content involved is astounding. The fact that there were only a few episodes that were devoid of plot-development, proves how concentrated and detailed it is. Like in Bakemonogatari, the plot is mostly dialogue-driven. While this may bore those who are used to action-packed stories, I personally found the large number of long conversations, especially their contents, to be really interesting - especially the way they develop characters that, in turn, end up contributing towards the development of the plot. Although I'm certain that I missed many of the implicit meanings behind certain scenes, the fact that the story is still enjoyable is what matters, even if the bare minimum of what was intended is absorbed.
The increased use of fanservice in Nisemonogatari may be a turn off for fans of the prequel. However, I felt it lightened up the series quite a bit, while at the same time reaching out to those who didn't really enjoy Bakemonogatari because of its complex storyline and total dependence on dialogue to drive the plot forward. Personally, I enjoyed Nisemonogatari more than Bakemonogatari. The balance between gags and seriousness made virtually all 11 episodes enjoyable and interesting. Boredom was hardly an issue throughout and it helped that each of the sisters got four arcs for development instead of the two or three that the other characters got back in Bakemonogatari. So even if you watched Bakemono and didn't enjoy it, I recommend you give Nisemono a try. They're more or less the same but the differences do make a noticeable impact. As for me, I'll be looking forward to a sequel seeing as how there was a "To Be Continued" sign at the conclusion of the last episode.
Fake, unreal, an impostor. Story. With even more of a play on words than its predecessor, Bakemonogatari. Nisemonogatari is everything you can believe or disbelieve in when it comes to being a good anime. Directed by the avant-garde-ish Akiyuki Shinbo, Nisemonogatari pushes the boundaries of conventionality in anime and even in our own perceptions in more than a few ways. Like Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari splits itself into two character-centric arcs, focusing on Araragi Koyomi's sisters, Araragi Karen and Araragi Tsukihi.
As a show Nisemonogatari carries surrealist presentation, strong dialogue interactions, characterisation, story, tenets of philosophy and seamlessly integrated 'fanservice'. It is that
final point which I believe draws the greatest strength of Nisemonogatari, not as an anime or show, but in the name itself. The seamless integration of the fanservice in this show brings about discussion whether or not Nisemonogatari delivers a story at all, or whether it is just simply a conduit for the release of morally questionable content, which is a valid point for many viewers and indeed the polarising point. If the latter being the case, then Nisemonogatari has already sold itself strongly as not being a story at all, that the Impostory has always simply been telling us the truth and we refused to believe it wasn't a story and that it was always intent on showcasing various fetishes. However if it is truly a story, then we can say it is a story about various impostors and believe the falsity or fanservice in some aspects of its presentation as being integral towards it. Either way in this discussion, the great power in the name of Nisemonogatari has already demonstrated what I believe to be an excellent show which will leave you reeling one way or the other as a viewer.
The six elements of this show as mentioned above are seamless in their integration together which is primarily why I feel Nisemonogatari succeeds well in encapsulating the viewer in its mysterious world. As a show driven strongly by its dialogue, it is well backed up by the developed personalities and quirks of its various characters. The opening episode helps us reminisce the sharp personality of Senjougahara, her borderline sadism and her 'tender' love for Araragi Koyomi and hammers in what this show is all about, the powerful dialogue and serious yet occasionally comedic exchanges between the often powerful personalities in play. Within this scene, viewers are also treated with the surrealist presentation, the quick scene cuts, the magnified close ups which delivers a powerful intimacy, an almost voyeuristic, teasing approach to observing the relationship between Koyomi and Senjougahara. In terms of the story, this opening exchange would not have seemed significant at all, however the proceeding scenes and the effectiveness of their dialogue allows for seamless transition as the story is revealed to the viewer, bit by bit. Nisemonogatari continues in this vein albeit after this scene, exchanges grow even more unconventional, including the make or break element of fanservice. Combined with the surrealist approach and voyeuristic directing, the exchanges between Koyomi and various female characters have put many viewers on edge and an amount on high. However because these scenes generally carry some story significance or at least are serving as a transitional point, the fanservice slips itself in as a strange necessity almost. It is also important to note that these scenes serve as the intimate observation point of the developing feelings of many of the girls have for Koyomi.
When I discuss fanservice, Nisemonogatari also strays far from the typical conventional ecchi like scenes found in various harem shows. That is to say that the fanservice in Nisemonogatari is different in terms of impact, presentation, time, location and case. One of the first things I should mention is how normalised the fanservice is in some cases. The character Kanbaru Suruga is an example of where her flirtatious personality results in her being intimately nude in her own room. The setting of her room is different to say more traditional fanservice locations such as the beach of hot springs and this also brings me to another point. As is with Shinbo's directing, Nisemonogatari's fanservice brings about this intimacy which is only exemplified by the surroundings and the scene cuts and close-ups. In some cases, the fanservice occurs in the room of the girl, or in one case Koyomi's own room which adds additional characterisation elements and heightens parts of the dialogue. Additionally, the fanservice brings forth extra dialogue which helps to proceed to the next element of the story. Some say you could compare it to Phoenix Wright, with a little more intimate action from examining witnesses in attempting to unveil the mystery. Also unlike other shows with fanservice, I feel that the fanservice here is not forced per se, but as mentioned integrated well into the story. Because the fanservice was done with story intent in many cases, and done seamlessly I feel that this element contributes to the success of Nisemonogatari as a show and to itself as a name. There is also the impact of a certain scene in Episode 8 which will not be forgotten any time soon.
Regarding the core of Nisemono (The Impostor), Nisemonogatari brings forth various intelligent exchanges regarding that topic. Whether it be fake love, fake feelings, lies, families, justice, relationships, Nisemonogatari has excelled at keeping towards its particular core topic. Some of the best exchanges are a result of discussions between Koyomi/Senjougahara and a self described villain and a self described good guy and they have raised interesting philosophical points of things we perceive in society such as good and evil and the power of lies. This is partly due to the excellence of the source material written by Nsio Isin, whose manipulation of language has proven to create powerful dialogue.
Regarding some of the more technical aspects such as music, voice acting and animation, this is probably one of SHAFT's better works in terms of animation. Many will recall how horrible and non-existent the animation for Bakemonogatari was and will notice that Nisemonogatari relies far less on full screen cuts and has much more fluid animation. The voice acting for Nisemonogatari has also been excellent, in particular the voice of Kaiki Deishu, voiced by the experienced Miki Shinichiro. His deliverance of lines which were lies and compliments with sarcasm and scorn enhanced the many scenes he was in and certainly heightened the personality traits of his character. Kamiya Hiroshi also remains excellent as Koyomi Araragi, delivering comedic, serious lines along his character. I felt the OST remained a little under the radar, but proved to be good enough for the situations they were played in.
Nisemonogatari presents a mature, comedic, intimate, emotional rollercoaster of a show with its avant-garde methods of presentation, backed up by its powerful characters and their exchanges and dialogues. As a sequel, it will prove more difficult to watch without watching Bakemonogatari, and as what I would deem a seinen show, difficult for newcomers to anime, especially those unaccustomed to degrees of fanservice. If you enjoyed Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari will be familiar to you and I would recommend you continue even if you don't enjoy fanservice. Fans of SHAFT shows should also explore the Gatari series and watch up to Nisemonogatari. Mystery, Fantasy and Comedy fans should also try watching Nisemonogatari, through watching through Bakemonogatari first. Nisemonogatari for me has few weaknesses as a show aside from it being a sequel and I'd rate it a 9 for enjoyment. Critically, Nisemonogatari also fares very well as a show, I think of it as the smooth, silky tapestry located in an art museum with all the statues and nude pictures, it's captivating, flowing and intricate, yet you don't stare at it for all the naughty bits. It scores a critical score of 8.
Bakemonogatari was definitely one of the most talked about anime during 2009. Whether it was the clever dialogue or Senjouhara Hitagi herself, fascination was aroused among the viewers. Now in 2012 Nisemonogatari, the sequel, rivals the splendidness presented in the prequel. However, Nisemonogatari shouldn't be pressing attention for the same reason, in fact its dialogue lacks the same teasing tone as Bakemonogatari, but it poses an interesting Eastern philosophy which most people tends to ignore while thinking of Nisemonogatari.
One of the most brought up issues about Nisemonogatari is its fan service. While rarely noticed in Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari presents its fan service in the most raw
form possible. This claim can easily be justified by the old cliched lifting the skirt up, and touching female private parts actions shown constantly in Nisemonogatari, and if I recall correctly there is one episode where nothing else but fan service exists. These flashy scenes don't bother me, but it's the incest connotation which comes along with it. Although these are just personal ethic beliefs, the fact that Nisemonogatari seems to be promoting incest behavior is definitely nauseating. Also, last season Bakemonogatari exposed just as much body parts in the beginning, but as the series progressed fan service was toned down. While, Nisemonogatari did the exact opposite.
The plot of Nisemonogatari can be split into two parts, each about Arargi, the main protagonist, and his two sisters. It starts out with Arargi's first sister, Karen, who believes she is justice. Karen goes after a character who was referenced multiple times in Bakemonogatari as an evil villain. And Arargi, thinking that he's responsible for his sister, goes after the villain as well, without much knowledge of what he's getting himself into. This conflict eventually gets resolved, but it doesn't end there. Then the story goes on to talk about the origin of Arargi's family's evil, and his second sister named Tsukihi. This is where the Name of The series, Nisemono, which translates to Fakery in Japanese, actually starts sinking in. The rest of this tale proceeds to talk about an Eastern philosophy which basically believes in the superiority of Eternal Beasts and how supreme animal beings can transmigrate their souls into actual human souls.
Now when you think about ancient Japanese tales, that's usually it. The duality between material and spiritual souls was their deity/religion, and it's typically boring when anime are made about these sorts of topic. But what Nisemonogatari manages to do, the industry doesn't successfully do most of the time. It manages to mix religious tales within a modern perspective, specifically in modern Japan.
This isn't the own thing supernatural about Nisemonogatari, though. Many of the characters take in interesting modern outlooks on things. For example, Arargi is half a vampire, and most of the his friends are or were associated with supernatural beasts, mostly animals.
What the Series ended up doing, like many anime does, is defy many laws of gravity as well as physicals. But it does conclude in a very intriguing way. A very interesting quote which went along with its central philosophy is this: “Given the real thing, and an indistinguishable fake, which is worth more? Naturally, my response was that the real thing was worth more. Oshino-kun asserted that they had equal value, though. But here is [his] argument: The fake is of far great value. In its deliberate attempt to be real, it’s more real than the real thing." (ep 11) Such said quotes intrigued many interesting philosophical points which goes through many of its branches, such as idealism conflicting materialism, but were perfidiously introduced and explored.
For many of us viewers who enjoys philosophy over fan service, this anime would seemingly have failed in its attempt. Since, the series only elaborate on this philosophy to the extent of a few episodes while the first half was more on a seemingly pointless fan service session. Unfortunately, the sad fact is people who watches anime these days prefers an enjoyable series such as Bakemonogatari, rather than seriously philosophical works. Thus, I understand why Nisemonogatari went down how it did, but why the directors could have just ignored following the Light Novels, and extended the series, I don't know.
The new introduced characters in Nisemonogatari are really meant to appeal to the audiences. They can't really be considered new since their appearances were obviously present in Balemonogatari, but in this series their appearances are more pro-dominant. What's disappointing to many of Senjouhara fans is that her airing time compared to Bakemonogatari significantly decreased. However, it should be awarding that in a sequel about a whole another story she was allowed any. Other than that, the other two main characters are obviously Arargi's two sisters, and they're only decent. In a sense, Arargi is illustrated as a creeper/pedophile in Nismonogatari, more than in Bakemono. If you're into those kind of things, well here's a plus. If you're not, there's not many explicit scenes shown in this series so don't worry... Too much. Although I should warn you that blood is like pouring rain near the end of the series.
The artwork in Nisemonogatari is the outstanding aspect of the Monogatari series and perhaps even a trademark of the Shaft Studio nowadays. I was not disappointed by the visuals at all through this series, as well as the music. During Bakemonogatari's airing, Supercell was the main focus of the series and they succeeded with many of the Original Soundtracks. You could say it was the apex of Supercell's career. I can't say I wasn't disappointed by their disappearance in Nisemonogatari, but with its creativeness in the OP and Ed, I can't say I wasn't satisfied either.
All in all, this series is the one that could have surpassed it's prequel, with more meaning behind it. However, due to its restricted requirements of having to follow an adaptation, Nisemonogatari ended up emphasizing the lesser important aspects of the show. As a result, Nisemonogatari's more insightful view points were almost concealed. But, the industry needs its money, and if they can manage to get it through other solutions such as fan service. So be it. Despite all its poor qualities, Nisemonogatari was still quite inspirational for a sequel, and I recommend it to any viewers who enjoyed Bakemonogatari's artwork or many of its previous characters.
Now let's just cross our figures and hope all the Gatari series after this one will learn from Nisemonogatari's mistakes, and become outstanding sequels themselves.
It might be a bit premature to say this, as (the infuriatingly-titled) Monogatari Second Season is still airing as of this review, but Nise is definitely the odd bird amongst the Monogatari series, always spoken of as an exception where the other three are the rule. And though I enjoyed it immensely, for reasons both wrong and right, it's an uneven mess from start to finish.
Nisemonogatari starts off sloppily, wasting the bulk of the first several episodes of an already short series reintroducing the cast of the first series, as well as the two new challengers: Ararararararagi's sisters, Karen and Tsukihi. They both fill more
standard harem archetypes that the first series left unfilled - Karen is the spunky, martial arts loving Genki Girl, whilst Tsukihi is something of a yandere (albeit more restrained than many others of her ilk). Both, of course, have a raging brother complex, because for all its good qualities the Monogatari series is still a harem, and therefore every single female character needs to be in love with the protagonist because fuck logic that's why.
It also introduces the first villainous character in Monogatari's canon, Kaiki Deishuu, a supernatural con-man who has run afoul of Karen and Tsukihi's vigilante antics. The Kaiki Deishuu plot is definitely the best part of Nise's first two thirds, but poor pacing leads it to take up a disproportionately low amount of screentime compared to reintroductions and fanservice.
Which brings me this: while the other Monogatari series have plenty of fanservice, Nise is by far the most fanservice-centric. Entire episodes of it amount to nothing more than catering to various fetishes, some of which you probably didn't even know existed before Nise (if you've seen it, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about). As a result, Nise is less substance and more cocktease, and suffers for it.
That's not to say Nisemonogatari is without substance - in fact, it does a very good job of furthering the various character interactions that are the meat of Monogatari. However, most of this is confined to one episode - along with most of the plot. This breakneck pacing immediately following several episodes of slow-burn nothingness is disorienting, to say the least, and lessens the effect of how good said episode actually was.
The arc that follows it is similarly rushed and very underwhelming compared to (the actual plot of) Nise's first arc, and renders Tsukihi one of the weakest Monogatari girls by making her little more than a plot device in her own arc. In spite of its themes of family bonds, it's one of the weaker arcs.
All this having been said, Nisemonogatari is not bad, and the reason for this is that it's Monogatari, so in spite of all its missteps, the directing is still wonderfully off-kilter (and the art has improved on its predecessor, what with being a post-Madoka shaft series and having an actual budget), and the dialogue is still utterly exceptional. With these being constants, it's hard to make anything actually /bad/, but not for lack of trying in Nise's case.
Final Words: Nise is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine and is an entertaining romp, but it's easily the weakest part of the Monogatari canon. Also, toothbrushing.
WAIT. Read. I didn't just unilaterally give Nisemonogatari a 1 because I didn't like the show and I'm thoughtless and spiteful like that. I want to start this review out with a bit of a preface. I've never written a review of something that I've given a 1 before, and that's because I usually don't finish watching them. Why would I? If something is terrible, I turn it off. However, Nisemonogatari is completely unlike any of the other shows I would usually give 1s, and is also the sequel to Bakemonogatari, a show that I am very enthusiastic about. I want to make that very
clear first: this is not an attack on the Monogatari series as a whole, but merely a single part of it. A part of it I very much feel it could have done without.
So why did I give Nisemonogatari a 1? Is it because it has absolutely no merits, a void of any sort of intelligence or engagement? No. Not at all. Nise is actually an incredibly smart show, and there were aspects of it that I appreciated immensely. The backgrounds are stunning, the references are great, the humor is oftentimes on-point and a good portion of the dialogue is insightful and meaningful. There were several episodes (3 in total) that I actually enjoyed from start to finish. The reason I gave Nisemonogatari a 1 is that it aptly fits my description of a 1: It negatively impacted me as an individual and I feel as though it is an unhealthy, detracting experience for people in general. It promotes toxic ideals and actively helps to make the world a worse place.
If you aren't aware already, Nisemonogatari is famous for its fanservice. The entire Monogatari series is, actually, but I wouldn't even call it fanservice in the rest of the series. In Bakemonogatari, for instance, the camera is used effectively as a lense for the protagonist Araragi to show what he is focused on. When he is having lewd thoughts about a person, it will portray them sexually. This is only the case, however, when it actually fits with what is going through his head, and regardless of how Araragi may VIEW various characters, this doesn't change what actually HAPPENS. This is because he is a human not a god and regardless of what his fantasies may be the world is not going to conform around them. Instead, he is often chastised for his perverse thoughts and it's something he eventually has to deal with.
In Nisemonogatari, this changes. Araragi suddenly becomes the focal point of the world, with every straight girl inevitably seeking to erotically seduce him and even the lesbian character wants to tear off his clothes and roll around naked with him. Even if there is no spontaneous sexual tension between Araragi and a character, the show still devises plenty of ways to put them in absurd compromising positions with each other, liking having Hanekawa roll around on his bed or Shinobu take a bath with him. Now I've heard plenty an educated argument for Nisemonogatari, claiming that it actually hates fanservice and is demonstrating the incredible potential of the camera to portray a character's intentions or emotions, and I would agree that the directing work is masterful. There are two scenes; one towards the beginning and one towards the end of the series in which Araragi's sister receives a crotch-shot. The first one is completely un-sexual, demonstrating the lack of tension in their relationship, while the last one is the exact opposite, showing how that has changed. It's extremely well-done. However, that doesn't change the fact that it's just an intelligent way of fan-pandering. This argument can be applied to nearly all of Nisemonogatari: yes, Nise hates fan service; or rather, Nise hates the uncreative and unenlightened way in which most fan service is done. It wants to demonstrate how it can be done more effectively, setting up moments of situational and emotional softcore porn as opposed to just making some tits & ass wobble. It's extremely good at it, too: if your evaluation of a show is ambition vs. result, than Nise is a roaring success. However, it's not the execution for which I condemn Nise, its for what its goals are and therefore what its effect on its audience is.
Fanservice is annoying. At least, that's how I feel. But fanservice alone, ironic or no, is not enough for me to write off a show. Sure it can get irritating at times and it's a little insulting, but I don't consider it normally capable of single-handedly sabotaging a show. It's usually the case that shows that rely on fanservice to entertain their audience do so because they don't hold a great deal of respect for themselves in the first place or because they don't feel as though they have anything especially original to do or say, causing them to fall back on basic, shallow means of engaging their viewers. This isn't always the case, though: Code Geass and Haruhi Suzumiya stand out as examples to the contrary. Nise's not like that though: it takes pride in its ability to absorb its viewers in its carefully-crafted pandering, and that makes it all the more poisonous.
There are three major reasons why I abhor Nisemonogatari. They are as follows.
1. The fan-service actively detracts from, and oftentimes takes the place of the plot and characters. The show constantly goes out of its way to create appealing situations, turning its characters from the previously multi-dimensional beings that they were into absurd blobs of either hormones or obliviousness. Characters are made conveniently unaware of their situation to allow other characters to up their advances, taking the believability out of them. Entire episodes are spent on contrived erotic situations that devour any meaningful character interactions and replace them with characters making excuses to the audience to touch each other and calling it development. The actual story is condensed to the ends of arcs, becoming rushed and crammed into single episodes of extremely belated exposition rammed back-to-back with resolutions. This makes the show itself far more simple than it could have been, substituting the difficult truths of Bakemonogatari for childish moral taglines and replacing the meaningful personal revelations that were a result of conflict that was internal with physical villains who are either stupidly irredeemable or blatantly hypocritical. This is a very steep and very sickening price to pay for the constant fan-service.
2. Nisemonogatari is part of the Monogatari series. As a stand-alone, it could just be written off or dropped. However, as is, Nise is an active part of a pretty incredible series, one that it actively detracts from. It would be one thing if it were merely boring or slow, but it's more than that. No one's character motivations are consistent: Hitagi, who used to be over-protective and possessive of Araragi, suddenly decides instead that she's fine with him sleeping with whoever he wants as long as he loves her. Suruga, who used to be many things: athletic, energetic, envious, self-loathing; becomes defined exclusively by the trait "she is horny". Hanegawa, who was previously sharp with Araragi for being perverse despite her feelings for him, starts cracking jokes about him feeling her up. Araragi himself is the worst offender. While initially he was characterized as selfless to a fault, self-aware, and endearingly thoughtful of people's feelings, he's now decided to be conveniently oblivious and remorseless as he tramples on whoever-the-fucks emotions to cop a feel whenever possible. What once were entirely believable fantasies have manifested themselves in far-less believable actions. It's a lot easier to control what we do than what we think, and Araragi has aptly demonstrated an incredible willpower many a time. That he would so casually revert to this without any sort of triggering event or internal conflict is entirely unbelievable. All of this is a result of the show warping its characters to create the erotic situations it wants to, and it bends everything too far. Nisemonogatari breaks the illusion of the Monogatari world. Its inconsistencies, indulgent depravity and unfortunate placing in the middle of the series cause it to do hefty and irrevocable damage to the series as a whole. With a series as generally impressive as Monogatari, this is a real tragedy.
3. This is the big one. So far, I've described why I believe the show is bad, but internal sabotage and series sabotage are not enough to warrant a series a 1. What makes Nise so irredeemable is the impact is has on society's perception of sexuality. There is already enough of a problem with media portraying sex as very different than it actually is, glorifying it, creating false expectations of what it is supposed to be like, and taking the messiness and humanity out of it. This is actively damaging to impressionable youths and has a negative impact on social behavior and body image. Nise actively promotes these portrayals, portraying characters as young as 14 in erotic situations in ways that are meant to, as obvious by the expert camerawork, glorify it. This creates a false impression of what sex is like and pushes people to feel as though this sort of behavior is what is expected of them. If they aren't indulging in it too, they're missing out. Look how fucking hot it is, right? This is not to mention the fact that she show uses incest and a vampire trapped in an 8-year-old's body to draw out the appeal of a 'forbidden love' in its viewers. The worst part of all this is the way that Araragi is portrayed: not as the sleazy womanizer that he is, but as a gallant hero who all men should aspire to be like. He's shown as a kind, protective, morally-sound guy who gets to fool around with lots of girls as a result because he's earned all of their affections. In addition to this, unlike similar shows Nise has a very intellectual and mellow vibe to it that makes it much easier to justify enjoying. It's not in-your-face trashy. If you're looking for ways to make entitled monsters out of lonely and insecure young boys, then you've found a pretty sound bet in Araragi.
Inevitably, the show's final flaw is that it never addresses any of its choices. For a season that's essentially about fanservice, it sure never tries to make any contrasting points about why perhaps this kind of media and the ideas that it fosters are unhealthy. No, right up to the end Nisemonogatari is detrimental to itself, detrimental to the Monogatari series, and detrimental to society as a whole. For all of its gorgeous art and witty conversation, I can't think of anything I've actually finished that has been more deserving of a score of 1.
Well it may only be the first episode but the sequel to Bakemonogatari does not fool around!
Only one episode in but just from the synopsis and what happened this looks to be a very very interesting anime. The first episode really grabs you making you wonder whats happening then completely throwing you off and making you laugh and the very unusual and non-cliche jokes.
Same art as the first season and there's nothing wrong with that. Very nice animation and if you don't like the art style try watching a few episodes and you will come to enjoy it.
There was only an OP in the episode
I watched and the song was very catchy, kind of song you can listen to over and over and not get bored with it.
Nothing really changed her but the first episode just seems like a reintroduction episode to the characters but it was very fun to watch.
Very very nice anime, looking forward to the rest of it and seeing what they do with this show.
Had to take off a point for story ep. 1 only seems like a kind of "catch up" episode, reintroducing you to the characters but in a nice relaxing enjoyable way. This season looks like it is going to be pretty awesome.
I really, really wanted to review Bakemonogatari way back when it aired, since the show seemed to captivate the anisphere but because of the fact I only just joined, that was of course wasn't possible. Here’s the thing though: I was never quite sure what I watched. To me, the show was overly complex when it didn't need to be, a continual tease, and only “intelligent” in the way two teenagers up late talking about life can be. But I held my tongue. I could never form a set of arguments that satisfied me. Nisemonogatari, on the other hand, I understand and was prepared for.
This time, I get it, because if the prequel was everything people said of it, the Spring 2012 show is definitely worse.
Story (5/10) - Nisemonogatari’s TV run picks up shortly after the end of its prequel series and sees Koyomi Araragi spending time shirking his studies and visiting his various friends. While the anime starts off touching base with its characters and serving up the meandering conversations for which Bakemonogatari gets so much praise, eventually a pair of incidents surrounding Araragi’s “Fire Sisters” become the show a semblance of a plot.
Sadly, Shinbo gets in the way more in this season than the last. He turns the fanservice meter up to to eleven, exchanging the clever banter for lovingly crafted shots of his underage beauties. Sure, the first season had its awkward moments of lingering on jailbait, but this time, we spend significant portions of the plot watching Araragi oggle, fondle, and play twister with teenage girls with very little story-related payoff. The infamous toothbrush scene--during which Koyomi and Karen play a punishment game in pretty explicit imitation of a sex act--in particular drags on for an uncomfortable amount of time and doesn't do much more than provide cognitive dissonance with Araragi’s later explanations of filial relationships.
Animation (10/10) - In contrast to the scattered storytelling bringing down the anime, the visuals deliver precisely what the audience has come to expect from Shinbo at the top of his game. While the direction remains avant garde at times, the animations ensure that the characters and settings appear as lovingly rendered as possible, and the juxtaposition works. The constant cuts work better in the more intimate setting of this series and either work to intensify the action (the few times when it does come up) or create an almost tactile understanding of a scene in his viewers (see: the pencil or toothbrush scenes).
The character designs help Shinbo in his quest to provide the best visual experience. Each character can flow between eerie, moe, and attractive almost at will without damaging the coherence of a scene, and again the disjointed direction helps ease the transition between the silly and the serious. The mercurial and flexible portrayals work best with Koyomi, Kanbaru, and Kagenui who work hard at hiding multiple sides to their personalities and identities. But it also helps to add surprising depth to Hachikuji whom the script treats strangely.
Sound (8/10) - For all that Renai Circulation should still be banging around in some of your heads, Platinum Disco manages to raise the bar. Its combination of traditional sounds, upbeat vocals, and a pop baseline makes it one of the best offerings of the year.
Once again, Hiroshi Kamiya gives us a super-plastic Araragi who really saves the show. Since he’s in just about every scene and spends a good portion of the time wandering all over the emotional spectrum, this performance determines whether the narrative holds together at all. That he succeeds frees the rest of the cast to stick to caricature. Of these, my personal favorites are Maaya Sakamoto’s Shinobu, Emiri Katou as Hachikuji, and the delightfully petulant Tsuhiki played by Yuka Iguchi, although my preference for those characters clouds my judgement. Fans of aloof tsundere should still find Chiwa Saito’s Senjogahara easy on the ears and the newcomers playing Kagenui and her familiar provide excellent ‘otherness’ so needed for the roles.
Characters (7/10) - Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari play with the shifting space between characters as tropes or ideas and characters as interesting, layered personalities. The earlier show’s meatier conversations create a wide-open space for exploring each characters’ quirks as he or she (mostly she) banters with Araragi. Here, however, something seems off. Araragi spends too much of his time alone in the first half of the show or beating around the bush as the first conflict winds up. Moreover, Suruga and Nadeko, who had displayed their personal conflicts and quirks prominently before, flatten into their single defining traits for their brief appearances which feels disappointing after their humorous arcs in the first season.
Even so, some characters shine through the odd direction choices. First and foremost, Hitagi’s moments near the end of the Karen Bee arc show a vulnerability and depth of emotion to her that works well at complementing the sensitivity shown near the end of the first season. Retreading her weakness provides some much-needed cracks in her cool tsundere. Shinobu gets a similar treatment that has her bounding between violent legendary vampire and lonely little girl. Isin binds the two personalities together using her condescension as glue, which allows her to be aloof, ironic, and earnestly concerned about Araragi without stretching the limits of her characterization.
Overall (8/10) - Its prequel straddles the line between self-importance and brilliance. Nisemonogatari, however, distorts the formula sufficiently to lose some of its shine. The top-notch visuals and exceptional sound direction don’t entirely excuse Shinbo’s explosions of fanservice and stuttering plotting, but fans of the first series should still find lines of character development worth following and many of the same themes on display. If you liked Nisio Isin’s first installment, you should take this second bite, just don’t expect it to blow your mind.
Nisemonogatari is the most disappointing thing since Barack Obama.
I mean what the hell was that, this wasn’t a sequel, for the most part it felt like a really long OVA that you’d get for buying a special edition of Bakemonogatari, because nothing happens in this series at all, except we are introduced to Araragis sisters but that’s all, there is virtually no character development for the sisters at all in a series that is almost entirely about characters.
Now Bakemonogatari was good, i didn't love it or anything but for the most part i enjoyed it, the visuals were a pleasure to watch, the music was good, the dialogue was sharp as a blade and the characters were mostly interesting because it was a pleasure to see them interact with each other and see what happens. But if you’ll recall Bakemonogatari also had something that called a story, you know things happen in it, characters are introduced and develop and grow, problems arise and our characters try overcoming them and maybe learning something along the way you know shit like that. But Nisemonogatari has nothing, the characters are boring cardboard cut outs and the most shocking thing of all is that nothing happens in this series at all unless you include implied incest as something but if you do then you need take your brain medicine and get back in your toll booth.
Okay so let’s get into this shit and start with what’s wrong with the story, as if I even need to say it because it so obvious Ray Charles could see it, and he doesn’t even know anything about anime. Okay so I’ll be brief there is no story, it’s just a bunch of stuff that happens to give us an excuse to see girls in compromising situations and yes I know Bakemonogatari is a harem but we still need something or else we don’t care about the characters and it gets boring. And thats what Nisemonogatari was, boring, uneventful and ultimately pointless you could watch the episodes in any order and it wouldn’t make a lick of difference because there’s no story. The whole series just comes off a sequence of colourful crisp images played in a sequence to trick people into thinking there watching an anime when in fact they’re just being scammed. That’s right I said Nisemonogatari is just a big scam to trick idiots who liked Bakemonogatari into thinking there watching the same thing when in fact they be better off watching a strobe light while listen to music from Bakemonogatari because that’s basically what this was. I mean I know Bakemonogatari was no Citizen Kane but it was fun to watch, the show struck a great balance between comedy, fan service characters and story and even threw in some nice visuals and music to boot while Nisemonogatari is like its retarded little brother which fucked up everything from pacing to character development to my brain, ahhh it hurts, make it stop!
Anyway, another glaring problem with this faecal matter was the characters, much of the original characters return but they feel like shadows of their former selves and don’t do anything to the point where I wonder if the people who made Nisemonogatari even watched Bakemonogatari or have any idea of what made it good. They come off as cardboard cut-outs just there to further the illusion that what we`re watching is a sequel to Bakemonogatari and not crap. So anyway the whole point of this I think was to introduce us to Araragi`s sisters and then have something involving them happen or whatever but does that happen…… no! Jack shit happens except scene after scene after scene of Karen and whatever the other sister was called in provocative positions and some half assed plot about some guy who’s doing something to people at their school but it goes nowhere and the bad guy just leaves when confronted. Jesus Christ are they trying to bore the audience to death, I think the people that made this thought that as long as it looked like Bakemonogatari then they put whatever the hell they wanted into it and get away because idiots can’t tell when their being scammed.
So anyway there’s about a million other things wrong with this series but I’ve wasted enough of my time on this shit, when you’re 147 years old like I am you can’t waste your time so, you know, watch it, don’t watch, I don’t really give a flying fuck but if you’ve got like cancer or something that’s like killing or something then you then you probably shouldn’t watch this because it sucks balls and is just a big time wasting scam.
Shaft... just words can't describe their magnificence. If you have seen Shaft's works, they are truly amazing and one of the best animation studio. Bakemonogatari was the first anime I've watched when I came back to watching anime in December 2012. I've got to say that Bakemonogatari was a genuine work of literature and it was my favorite. The monogatari series focuses on mysteries of each character and explains them in a beautiful way. I kept telling myself that this series isn't the best, but I was sadly lying to myself.
Nisemonogatari is a continuation of Bakemonogatari and focuses on the sisters. Araragi-Kun has two
sisters: Karen and Tsukihi. As we already know, Araragi is a vampire and he has to the decency to help other people with weird problems. Who knows that the sisters even had supernatural problems? The plot was creative and wasn't cliche. Give a hand of applause to Isin Nisio, the author of the Monogatari series. I couldn't tell what this intelligent man was thinking, but I had to agree that his literature was one of my favorite. Nisemonogatari shows the relationship Araragi has with his sisters since it wasn't focused much on Bakemonogatari. There has to be some background knowledge if you introduced a character into an anime. It would be vague if the sisters weren't explained, but introduced in Bakemonogatari.
The art is absolutely amazing. I loved the way Shaft animated it. It is truly convey the cinematic. I'm glad that Shaft is going to animate Monogatari: Season 2 in the summer. To add more, their going to animate the movie, Kizumonogatari! The head tilt is what Shaft was known for and it was unique in its own way. The characters were well drawn and the background was good. There was a bit of action in Nisemonogatari and it was amazing. It was just the literature which makes Monogatari series stand out.
Since this anime focuses on the sisters, there are only 3 opening. The beginning is Senjougahara, but the rest focuses on Karen and Tsukihi. The music for Shaft is amazing and I love the way they animate each one. I have to say that Tuskihi's opening was my favorite. It was cute and it reminded me classical music. The ending was made by ClariS and it was pretty good. Other than that, Nise was well made.
The huge change I've seen was that Nisemonogatari added too much fanservice. I can say that it was hilarious cause I believe it was intentional and it has a significance in the anime. It isn't those ecchi anime without any meaning. I mean I can just sit here and watch oppais bouncing around, but the ecchi here is creative and symbolic. It is also to approach siscons and brocons. The monogatari series have a broad genre that it appeals to most viewers. You don't have to be a mystery lover to enjoy this anime, nor a ecchi fan to enjoy it too.
At the end of the day, I just want Shaft to take my wallet and my car and my clothes and my computer and yadda yadda. This is one of the anime I was interested in buying figurines and stuff to support the author and the company. The story was great, the art is superb, the music was soothing, and characters were likeable and I enjoyed the anime throughout. It touched the goal where Araragi wants to save everyone who he cared deeply for.
"It is impossible for someone to replace someone else." - Araragi Koyomi
Ka, ka, so this 11 episode anime has just ended, as far as I want to give it a good rating, it simply doesn't deserve any, in fact the story doesn't apply fully to the plot and the plot is often accompanied by a lot of symbolisim and metaphore usually in conjuction with art, so for the story it is a "Poor" number 3. And as for the art, I'll give it a "Good" number 7, since the illustrator puts more detail into the art than the story.
Sound: Fair 6.
Character: Fair 6.
Frankly this is no longer about Koyomi and Hitagi rather this is
on Koyomi and his relationship with his fire sisters, namely Karen and Tsukihi, with Shinbo on the sides. It won't be fair if I'll just focus on the wussie Koyomi if I don't inculde his fire sisters and his vampire familiar. But I cannot discount the antoagonist Kaiki Deshi who at first we are expecting to have some fight against the protagonist. Sadly, the expected fight didn't came instead it the fight is between Koyomi and Shinbo vs Yosuru and Yotsuga. Oh, and Koyomi is one big loser compared to Shinbo who was able to beat the crap out of Yotsuga, so this part only deserves a 6.
Enjoyment and Overall: Fair 6.
Ok, first of all this anime's genre is comedy and supernatural, the thing is the comedy part is pretty lame, only the supernaturaln thing is one that carrys the overall of this anime, the enjoyable part is mostly on the incest play that Koyomi does with his fire sisters and all the blah, blah, blah that comes with, also there is the art which were exhibited as metaphore that more likely serves as fillers to elaborate the anime's overall make up, so at this point, it is clear that this is simply not for those who don't see the symbolisim that goes with the plot, ka,ka.
"The series was first created by Nisio Isin as a series of short stories for Mephisto magazine." -Wiki
It seems quite a few people who watch this series are unawares or only partially aware to the fact that this series was originally a light novel. I'm writing this review thinking of the viewers who do not know quite as much about the series as they could, and may want to learn a bit more after seeing Bakemonogatari.
Let me start off saying that the author of this series has captured my heart, be it translated bits of light novel or the animated adaptations that have
sprung fourth from this series popularity, the Monogatari Series has awed me in many many ways.
Nisemonogatari; even though this is my only review written for the Monogatari series at all so far, I will attempt to focus on Nisemonogatari itself.
Nise~ is a continuation of the Monogatari series. It is indeed a sequel. It is the 2nd volume in the light novels as well as the 2nd season in the animation. It picks up after Koyomi has successfully saved 5 different girls and now allows us to see him developing his relationships with the characters now surrounding him rather than completely focusing on the mysteries surrounding spirits and the people they attach themselves to.
From a sharp-tongued ex-vampire who lives in Koyomi's shadow to a pair of younger sisters attempting to exact justice on the world, even at the expense of their older brother's peace of mind, Nisemonogatari is here to help us grasp what is happening to the characters since the first volume/season ended.
One very unique aspect I love about this series is that it frequently uses a psuedo-fanservice to drive many of it's scenes and conversations. The way the characters talk with each other, the concern or lack of concern for delicate situations between characters, these vague ideas express specific instances that occur throughout the series where when you are watching these scenes; you are able to grasp just what kind of relationship certain characters have without much needing to even be spelled out for you.
(One example those who have not read the light novel will not get is; when Koyomi is taking a bath and Shinobu comes out of his shadow to bathe with him. This is done in a non-sexual manner, but also with a lot of sexual tension.
In the LN Volume titled "Koyomi Vamp" Book #4, we get a LOT of back-story to his VERY intricate relationship with Shinobu, which is a reason as to why she is likely my favorite character in this series as of now)
The story, albeit confusing for newcomers, is amazing. Though it is isn't told in complete chronological order, they keep the story & the dialogue they do have in the animation true to form. After reading bits and pieces of the translated light novel I am truly impressed with how well this was adapted into an anime.
The art in the anime is effing awesome, and not only just for it's attention to detail, but also for how expressive it can be do the mood-changes in a conversation. The rooms that Araragi Koyomi is in, and the paths he travels from place to place upon while conversing with a character ~ will only resemble a real room or path 50% of the time. Our characters surroundings are frequently used in the animation to project certain emotions to the audience with the characters themselves hardly needing to say a word.The art is extremely symbolic as well as being some of the most quality animation I have seen.
The sound is great. Nothing seems distorted or out of place. The character voices are clear and do not distort. In fact the music in the background used throughout the series is fantastic at setting certain tones. We know when the story is being playful, as well as when it is getting relatively serious. And the voice actors do a fantastic job of delivering our characters and their personalities. Nothing seems forced, it all simply flows.
Our characters are numerous and their personalities voluminous. So many unique interactions ensue that even though each episode is mostly dialogue, it feels as though they pass in a matter of minutes. From a Tsundere girlfriend to a quick witted ghost child we are never left wanting with each person Koyomi stops to engage. And these interactions pop up so frequently it sometimes takes half an episode for Koyomi to simply leave his house.
Personally, every episode is a treat for me. I am never opposed to a bit of fanservice, and I feel this series is far less random with it. In fact I think the fanservice effectively moves the plot forward and makes the characters stand out even more. The humor is subtle most of the time, but it makes the story even more endearing than the constant outrageous outbursts some anime rely on to entertain the viewers. The supernatural aspect is so intriguing alone that we never know what route exactly Koyomi will need to pursue to shed light on the matters he deals with.
I know giving a 10 is always fairly ridiculous for any anime, because nothing is perfect and no viewer is exactly the same, but I really do love this series. This is simply one of those series that make me wish I knew Japanese so that I could dive into the wealth of novels and games created around it. After reading the translated Koyomi Vamp installment and rewatching this series, I understood this series so much better, and thus fell in love with the many characters all over again. Shinobu, who at first only was able to thoroughly confuse me as a presence, easily became my favorite character for Koyomi to interact with in the anime.
I highly suggest that if you watch this anime, you at least read some of the translated Light Novel as well to fill in the gaps. I cannot wait for the movie based off Koyomi Vamp to be released~
The cryptic occult mysteries plaguing Araragi and those around him, continue into this second installment of the highly reputable "Monogatari" series...
As a chronological continuation of Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari is the controversial follow-up to significantly alter the production's overriding tone and focus. In the books of many "Monogatari" fans, there was little "wrong" with the first season; and so we turn to Nisemonogatari with hopes that it would principally further our knowledge, understanding, and in turn our admiration for the vivid and supernatural world that Bakemonogatari presented us with. While it appears to have retained the distinct presentation style
and curious atmosphere that the initial season adopted and shaped... Nisemonogatari seems to have upstaged (but by no means removed) the focus of "overcoming personal demons", to touch more on the delicate topic of morality: the concepts of evil and justice.
Fortunately, Nisemonogatari has stayed true to its branding by gracing us again with the brilliantly expressive and abstract presentation methods; exclusive to the "Monogatari" series. We are again plunged into a clean, colourful, well-defined, vivid, and yet minimalist-styled landscape. An establishment of atmospheric and otherworldly virtual lands; the epitome of surrealism. In this sense, Nisemonogatari retains the signature charm of the prior season: the entirety of the presentation is still very expressive, and it continues to make great use of text-based presentation, visual metaphors, and colours. A bold presentation style, with an overwhelming attention to detail; all while straying from being pretentious or preachy. I would in fact go as far as saying that presentation methods have actually improved on Bakemonogatari's high standards. You could say that the atmospheric and depth-inducing cinematic lighting, in combination with the interesting visual representations of the dialogue goes a step beyond; to really vividly and confidently bring meaning to the visuals.
While finishing up interestingly beginning with the presentation methods; as they are of critical importance to the "Monogatari" franchise... I should also factor in Nisemonogatari's audio: a highly appropriate cinematic score that proves its ability to be delicate when necessary, mysterious and curiosity-invoking when necessary, and even intense towards the climax. I can therefore conclude that Nisemonogatari is pretty much flawless in the audiovisual department, and "Monogatari" fans will already be accustomed to these methods.
Contrasting however with the first season's nearer-balance between an engaging plot, and character development: the stand alone story behind Nisemonogatari is rather simplistic. We arrive again at the "Monogatari" scene of a realistic, and yet occult-influenced world, devoid of certainty. Alike in Bakemonogatari, this season also avoids directly explaining the plot elements: in a way that continuously taunts the viewer with distorted and/or metaphorical elaborations to keep them very curious and engaged.
It revolves around Araragi's sisters: 2 sisters, 2 arcs, 2 plights, 1 problem-solving brother. I could explain each of these arcs in a single sentence, because Nisemonogatari biases quite noticeably away from story-telling complexity.
Similarly to the previous season, a lot of the substance behind the show is imbued into the dialogue. This means that once again we're subjected to a large amount of expressive, intimate, intellectual, and sometimes witty and charming dialogue. It's used throughout to indirectly refer to supernatural plot context and explanations, expression of the characters' feelings, and expression of Araragi's inner-thoughts. Therefore, we're revisiting Bakemongatari's well-crafted style of story-telling and development in which a symphony of vivid documentation and meaning in the dialogue is crucial.
This brings me onto something that's accomplished quite well by Nisemonogatari's dialogue script: Character development. As is typical of an anime like this one where story isn't given the utmost priority, character development is more prominent ingredient. This is evident from the extent of crafting and development of Nisemonogatari's newly developed characters.
Throughout these 11 episodes, we're familiarized with a few new faces. From Araragi's sisters: the often frustrated Tsukihi, and the energetic Karen. We even get some development of Shinobu, and her fluctuations between being quirky and playful, to knowledgeable and confident. There is still some building upon previously developed personalities, primarily Hachikuji; to an underwhelming extent if you were looking to build upon the entire cast of Bakemonogatari. There are indeed enough familiar faces to have "Monogatari" fans stick about, though Nisemonogatari is most definitely a separated-feeling addition of arcs.
The introduction of new characters has its benefits though. Kaiki is an antagonist among others, and he receives some particularly interesting development. He's a genuinely interesting new personality, whose logical, honest, and upfront to an overwhelming extent. Quite publicly he makes his richly corrupt, money-obsessed personality quite prominent, and this conflicts with how reasonable and humanly relatable he is; having been given an antagonistic role.
Nisemonogatari is an example of slow pacing which builds up a variety of richly developed characters: Kaiki, Karen and Tsukihi being prime examples. While it's not the most extensive it or the plot could be, an interesting dialogue floods the limelight to keep things fresh.
However, I haven't accounted for all of the ultimately rather short expanse of episode-time...
Sexual themes were not unheard of in Bakemonogatari, but Nisemonogatari as you might of heard takes this to a somewhat unreasonable and distracting extent. There's no doubt that the argument of "fanservice or not?" is fought by personal opinion, and i'm definitely not deterred by it... But when it comes to sacrificing the overall vividness of a great story and characters, I start to think otherwise.
Nisemonogatari undoubtedly made the fanservice a little too blatant, and I found that besides still enjoying it, it detracted from the show's delicate themes of evil and justice. In this sense, it came across to me as two-faced, and to put it bluntly, this was an ultimately pointless aspect that consumed too much episode time for what it was worth.
As a result of this time-wasting, comes a few flaws that put this second installment, a little below the prior...
First off: "Struggle". Unlike in Bakemonogatari, I continuously found myself a little disconnected from the severity of the sisters' plights. They were for the most part poorly elaborated upon, and as a result, there was no real sense of urgency or tragedy regarding the infliction of the supernatural beasts. In the first season, I can remember sympathizing with the supernatural victims, and I can recall a weighty atmosphere that mirrored the weight, urgency, and severity of their plights. Needless to say that Nisemonogatari was comparatively lacking in this department, and so it didn't bring about as much of a "thriller" or "drama" aspect.
The other main point: Pacing. As a Slice of Life fan myself, i'm accustomed to slow pacing, and this didn't bother me. I happily accept the slow building and vivid development of the characters and context in Nisemonogatari, but it fluctuates and becomes uneven towards the conclusion. In the last 2 to 3 episodes, there is a notable upwards shift in speed that rushes through the interaction of 2 additional key antagonists, with an interestingly unclear sense of morality themselves.
Primarily for the subtle added development of both character and context, Nisemonogatari is a genuinely interesting sequel to Bakemonogatari. Given the extra time, and subduing the fanservice, it could have brought forth a lot more qualitative weight. I felt that it was a bit impersonal and lacked passionate expression, though it did bring about a lot of interesting new and substantial dialogue, which in turn aided my admiration of some of the characters through development.
It probably shouldn't have tried to cover such broad themes in the given time-scale, but Nisemonogatari is nevertheless another result of masterful presentation, and a great build up of spread development. Fans of Bakemonogatari should enjoy this expansion of context, even if they're divided by the initially mentioned shift in focus, and reallocation of ingredients.
Nisemonogatari, the sequel to bakemonogatari another beautiful masterpiece created by Shaft, the animation continues to be as weird as ever, an amazing sequel that has a similar atmosphere to bakemonogatari when watching it.
Nisemonogatari, focuses on Koyomi's sisters, also known as the "fire sisters", theses active and outgoing sisters, embark on a journey to caputre Deishu. Based on the light novel Karen Bee and Tsukihi phoenix. The story is as unique as ever, with an "unusual development" between the siblings it'll surely make you go "What the F***". The story is as great as ever, showing the strong relationship between the Araragi siblings and
how much they depend on each other.
Shaft, has continued to uphold the weird animation style with hundreds of eye shots, and the abnormal sized rooms/back grounds. The character design are as amazing as ever with several changes to their appearances such as hair cuts, in certain scenes the detail (toothbrush scene) sets the mood and inhances the weird/awkward feelings you sometimes get when watching nisemonogatari.
The sound is nothing special, the thing that defines this anime isn't really the sound. But i guess one thing to look out for is that each main character that gets a story has its own opening and ending each matching the style of the character
We see the return of the main characters from the last season such as Hitagi, Tsubasa and etc. Some have changed their appearances while their personality is still the same, but the relationship between the old characters and koyomi has gotten stronger showing more trust and etc. If you a massive fan of Shinobu like me, then guess what she finally speaks!!!!! Ka Ka. Nisemonogatari mainly shows the development Koyomi and his sisters, which was known in season 1 that they always fight, but like all family's Koyomi as the older brother has to look out for his sisters no matter what which leads to unusual developments, and strengthening of their relationship, and scenes that makes you basically go "Aww, Good job Koyomi! thats a good answer" or something.
It's hard not to enjoy a show like this, with many awkward scenes or weird rape scenes that make you go "Ka Ka". But as ever the dialogue coupled with the weird animation makes a great combination and draws you in to the anime as much as possible. This anime doens't contain a lot of fight scenes, but when it does your sure up for a hell of a show, with lots of gore. The thing i enjoyed the most in this anime was seeing Shinobu in her adult form/teenager form (hard to tell) =P
Overall this anime is a great successor of bakemonogatari with most of the good aspects of bakemonogatari applied in Nisemonogatari, One thing to note is that it is shorter, with less story rather than 5 stories this one has 2, but i guess the stories in this one is more developed and detailed. If your a fan of the Bakemonogatari series, then your up for one hell of a ride when you watch this.