Mar 17, 2012
McRib (All reviews)
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.