36 CommentsNisemonogatari / By Scamp /

Nisemonogatari episode 11 (finale)

Not only does sucking the blood of an ex-vampire age you a couple of years, it also hands you an entire new wardrobe. It even has the sense of style to have a doughnut emblazoned on the back of the hoodie.

Let’s make a big list of things that I prefered about Nisemonogatari to Bakemonogatari. Right up near the top of that list (but not quite first) would be the new personality given to Shinobu. Her haughty attitude was just at that perfect point that she was entertainingly charismatic while still having her weak points that ensured she wasn’t infallible. Almost all of my favourite characters in any piece of entertainment have this quality. Yang Wenli, L, Okarin, Horo, Lelouch, Sam Vimes (sorry, but I happen to be reading his latest book at the moment, so it’s been on my mind a bit). They all have this blend of being charismatic while still being very flawed individuals.

The main reason this isn’t my #1 improvement on the part of Nisemonogatari is because I would have prefered her more if she spent the entire series looking like an 18 year old woman with a fetching side-tail instead of a 12 year old girl, but I’m not a pedophile like Shinbo. I heard she’s a large breasted vampire queen in Kizumonogatari, so maybe that will be more to my shallow preferences.

As an aside, woah boy does she ever tower over Arararagi. The tip of his ahoge barely reaches the top of her head. In fact, most of the women in this show tower over Araragi. Even his younger sister is a good 3-4 inches taller than him.

On the list of things I disliked about Nisemonogatari vs Bakemonogatari would be the incest. Now this hadn’t bothered me before this episode, but that’s because them being related was more an interesting little tidbit rather than an essential factor to the story. They were an extra piece added onto Arararagi’s increasing harem of ladies. But this final arc decided that suddenly their relation to him would be the important point behind why Arararagi was fighting for them, not just because he was a nice guy who helps people anyway. This is where I throw my hands up in frustration at anime as a whole. You can’t have imouto fanservice for all the only child’s out there and then, in the very same fucking plotline, try to play the ‘importance of family’ card. You’ve can’t have it both ways, that’s not how family works. Do these writers simply not have sisters, or is there a culture gap going on here? Is Japan really that afraid to talk to the opposite sex that they all turn to incest?

Which brings me to the larger point that Nisemonogatari was worse at than Bakemonogatari: The plotlines. Each one in Bakemonogatari was better constructed. They had a clear beginning, middle and end, with a clear focus throughout. Sure, they were hugely varied and normally an afterthought to just watching the characters interact with each other. But for what it’s worth, they were still better than the arcs in Nisemonogatari, both of which ended in incredibly anti-climactic ways.

One point Nisemonogatari beats Bakemonogatari at is the direction is several steps above. When Bakemonogatari had a bad episode, it was a slog to sit through. Nisemonogatari rarely had that, because the animation style was almost always a treat to watch. I’m not sure what to put this down to. Was it 2 and a half years extra experience for Shinbo to make his crazy artstyle actually tell the story he wants to tell? Was it the fact that it was considerably better animated because Shaft now have money pouring out of the ears? Was it simply from my perspective that I understood what Shinbo was going for with the directing more this season than last? It’s probably a combination of the three.

I really want to see more Shaft prodigies trying their own work, beyond the world of fanservicy light novel adaptations. I’d like some more anime like Arakawa Under the Bride and Madoka Magica by studios other than Shaft, especially since Shaft themselves seem to be tied up for the foreseeable future with the Madoka movies and Kizumonogatari. On that note, there was a little ‘to be continued?’ thrown in at the end of Nisemonogatari. There’s still a whole load of novels left to adapt, and I’m sure Shaft would not want to let their cash cow be left to rot. Especially since Shinbo has apparently got free rein to do whatever the fuck he wants with these novels.

Tell you what I would really like to see though. The story of Oshino and co. when they were college students together. Imagine Oshino, Kaiki and Platform Shoes-chan, solving mysteries in their incredible roundabout ways, espousing philosophy to each other, and with no incest or pedophilia whatsoever. It would start to resemble Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex except with monster folklore instead of robots and cyberpunk.

However that story would involve very little Senjogahara, not a good thing at all. That said, Nisemonogatari involved rather little Senjogahara too. The only parts of Nisemonogatari I liked were those with Senjogaharai in it. Well, no, that’s a lie. I liked the scenes with Shinobu too. Oh, and most of the scenes that had Kaiki in. And that toothbrush scene was pretty epic. And I guess I had fun watching that one scene with Kanbaru. Other than that though, Nisemonogatari was crap!

If I had to pick between the two, I’d give Bakemonogatari the nod above Nisemonogatari. It had more of a structure to it, more of a Senjogahara to it, and the addition of the two sister characters in Nisemonogatari did little to improve my opinion of the show. That said, for as controversial as much of the series is, I still enjoyed Nisemonogatari a lot. The flaws many people highlight, from the bizarre directing choices to the rambling dialogue, are the exact things that make it unique. That’s the part that elevates it above its fellow stories about a generic male lead going about saving the haremmette of the week. It’s total masturbatory, self-indulgence on the part of Shinbo and Nisioisin, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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34 Comments

  1. RogerMoore
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    “Tell you what I would really like to see though. The story of Oshino and co. when they were col­lege stu­dents together. Ima­gine Oshino, Kaiki and Plat­form Shoes-chan, solv­ing mys­ter­ies in their incred­ible round­about ways, espous­ing philo­sophy to each other,”
    That sounds absolutely incredible. Why aren’t you lord and high master of anime again?

    I’m still glad I dropped this series after the second episode. I’m sure it’s not as awful as I’ve built it up in my mind to be, but I was so disappointed by the ridiculously fanservice-y direction the series went in. Oh well. Time to get my hopes ridiculously high for Kizu so my heart can be broken again.

  2. Posted March 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I had no real hopes of Nisemonogatari being better than Bakemonogatari, but I still enjoyed it plenty. For me it was just a matter of accepting the fact very early on that Nisemonogatari was just gonna do whatever the hell it wanted, whenever the hell it wanted. And as with a music album, all it takes is one or two memorable hits/moments to label something a success.

    People can complain about the awkward incesty crap (what did anyone expect once the show started focusing on the sisters, we knew what we were getting into), but that toothbrushing scene was a hit. Couple that with Shinobu’s rise in visibility and volume and we’ll have plenty of good things to remember until the next adaptation.

    • Scamp
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      I didn’t mind the incest with the toothbrush scene because they didn’t try play any awkward ‘importance of family’ card

      • Harry
        Posted September 1, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        Re-reading this post after finally finishing Nisemonogatari, and I feel I have to disagree with this (old, so I don’t really know what the point is in replying to it) comment.

        I felt that the toothbrushing scene was (a) not as amazing as others felt it to be, it felt to me like the direction was not that special compared to what was happening in the rest of the series, and (b) was the one part that made me uncomfortable about the incest, as it is very sexualised (with all that moaning), the writing is constantly telling you that they are brother and sister, and the toothbrush felt like a symbol of childhood intimacy (although that could just be me). Combine this with a very meandering plot, in my opinion some of the worst dialogue in the series and the disturbing content, I think the toothbrushing episode was the worst episode in the series.

        I agree with you, mostly, about the “”importance of family”" card, but I would point out that it was applied to Tsukihi, when it was Karen who took up most of the incestuous attention of Araragi. Tsukihi, out of all the girls in the harem, probably has the least sexual attention from Araragi, and is probably the girl that Araragi has the least romantic interest in we are shown. Araragi is just a pervert. Araragi seems to show both more romantic and more sexual interest in his creepy (and hilarious) assaults on Mayoi. So while the “”importance of family”" card is misused (and creepily too), I wouldn’t say that it was misused as egregiously as you believe.

  3. Posted March 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Nice Nisemonogatari x Un-go crossover pic…

  4. Posted March 19, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Well, Shinobu is more like 6 than 12 for most of Nisemonogatari, but Kizumonogatari will give you a wider range of her ages, from slightly older than her current loli version all the way up to the glorious “large breasted vampire queen” we saw in the flashback at the start of Bakemonogatari.

    Regarding Araragi’s height, Hitagi is about a hair taller than him, and Karen obviously has a couple centimeters at least on him. A little unusual, perhaps, for a harem lead to be shorter than so many of the girls – I’m reminded of Fate/stay night where Shiro is taller than ALL the females, including Rider who is noted for her height. But maybe that’s why he has a bit of a complex about being short. Hitagi likes to egg him on for that.

    • Scamp
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I don’t remember anyone calling him out on his teensy height though. Not even Senjogahara, who I’m sure would love another piece of ammo to shoot him down with

  5. idiffer
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    what can i say, i liked nise more than bake. cause i knew what to expect and didn’t get my hopes up.
    but the ton of intelligence-insulting utter bullshit in the last ep almost made me throw up. i remember screaming “What the FUCK!” at the screen about 6 times. the japanese must have a frickin religion based around sophism. because, if not, then half the mangakas and LN writers stopped growing up somewhere around elementary school. or they just don’t grasp the concept of logic whatsoever.
    the whole reason behind platform shoes and side kick’s attemts to kill tsukihi is mmm, baseless. who the fuck cares if she’s a fake, if she’s not harming anybody? then there’s the reasoning they gave during the fight with araragi. “what would your mother feel?” srsly? really? like, i dunno, not telling the mother and other sister was not a fucking option? or before killing tsukihi, how about asking the mother first, huh, you selfish psychos?
    moreover, how is the phoenix any different from a human except for being immortal, anyway?
    and don’t they have any more pressing concerns, than a harmless phoenix? are they workaholics?
    from the previous arc, i vaguely remember nioisin bullshitting our heads into the asphalt with the “your sense of justice is fake” or smth like that. i don’t get even 20% of what that was supposed to mean. why even care? of all the things araragi chose this to say to karen. a normal person would never bring this into the equation in the first place, he’d just leave it at ” stop trying to get yourselves killed”. secondly imho, if they want to pretend to be superheroes, just let them. it doesn’t matter what the reason is. they’re fucking helping ppl, get off their backs.
    as an aside, i don’t get where the whole incest angle with karen is going. WTF? is all i can say. like, what about gahara???
    there were some other things that irritated me, but i forgot, probably for the better.

    • Scamp
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Your comment helped me understand the importance of capital letters. I struggle to read your comment with the lack of them

  6. J.Rey
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t expect much from Nise compared to Bake so I still enjoyed it as well, what I’m really looking forward to though, is Kizu. Shinbo also mentioned that he would like to adapt the rest of the novels which all have much more interesting stories compared to Nise and Bake with entire books dedicated to one character (sometimes Nisio trolls the audience though).

    I liked Nise. I’ve said before I don’t even care about incest or Senjougahara and Shinobu reminded me a lot of Horo which was very fun. I also really liked Shinobu’s older form and completely agree with why she couldn’t just stay like that the entire show, a real waste. We also got some new characters from Nise – Kaiki, Kagenui and Ononoki. Kaiki is pretty awesome I don’t think I even have to say why, instantly one of my favourite characters. Kagenui and Ononoki weren’t bad but Kagenui kept going on about how Oshino would react to different situations and why she’s different, giving me the feeling as if she were his replacement which I don’t think would be anywhere near as fun as Oshino and Ononoki, well… yeah not much from her (I wish they animated Shinobu beating on Ononoki though it would of looked hilarious I bet).

    In the end it obviously wasn’t as solid as Bake but when you consider the circumstances it was written in, it’s easy to understand why it wasn’t as good so it’s best to think of it as a stepping stone to the adaption of the next books.

    • Scamp
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      No no guys, those stories were shit! The other books I wrote are waaaaay better, just you wait!

  7. Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    I liked Platinum Disco and the toothbrush scene. A lot. And I didn’t need to watch the entirety Nisemono to enjoy those aspects. I clearly win at anime.

    (Bakemono was pretty cool, though)

  8. Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    In three years, what will you remember about the -monogatari series? The night under Altair, Deneb, and Vega, which was one of the finest realizations of teen love in anime ever, or a throwaway scene involving twister/oral hygiene utensils/naked lolis in tubs?

    As much as we want to laud the efforts of maverick creators that push the visual limits of the medium, content still matters. After all, you’re not inkling to watch Hidamari Sketch anytime soon, are you?

    • Mr. Anon
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      I remember only the glorious Senjougahara fanservice in bakemonogatari followed by glorious toothbrushing in nisemonogatari.

      What is this content thing you’re talking about?

    • Scamp
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      You want an honest answer? I’ll remember the toothbrush scene far longer than the night sky scene. The night sky can be done by any anime. Only Nisemonogatari can do the toothbrush scene. That’s the important thing

  9. Nebulous
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Dunno. Nise was fun, but never exciting. Bakemono had several meaningful action scenes, and a lot of tension leading up to those scenes. I don’t like the Japanese casual incest fascination so I was put off by the constant undercurrent (If you’re gonna do it, go full in).

    I think the toothbrush scene is complete nonsense that people have deluded themselves into thinking that it is anything. The only eroticism from it is from the moaning sounds – turn off the volume and it is just a guy brushing his sisters teeth: dumb. I’m not a pedophile so I didn’t like the way Shinobu was presented at all. Her haughtiness just seems to be another style of tsundere so I didn’t really care for it. The revelation that his sister is immortal means the entire talk he had with Shinobu about their shared fate became useless.

    11 episodes and nothing really happened. The state of the characters at the beginning vs the end are identical.

    Meh.

    • luffyluffy
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      She has a lifespan and will die eventually, she just will heal from any and all unnatural wounds.

    • Scamp
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Of course the toothbrush scene is complete nonsense. That’s why it’s so great

  10. Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a pedophilie, but I don’t really mind it either, at least not in the lolicon format. To me, it’s just like foot fetish, or homosexuality, or toothbrushing. I notice that “yeah, it’s there, and it’s supposed to be titillating to someone”, but that someone is not me, so whatever.

    Incest, on the other hand, I like very much, but it only works with a solid romantic foundation. Romantic, this wasn’t. Senjogahara/Araragi is romantic. This incest was just random fanservice taking away time from my Senjogahara time.

    So in the end, even though I’m not someone to dismiss shows just becaue these two appear in them, I still can’t say anything else about this one than “it’s just lolicon and incest”

    • Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Well as they would say on 2ch: お巡りさんこいつです。

    • Scamp
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Lucky you, lolicon stuff actively repulses me

    • Ryu
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      “To me, it’s just like foot fet­ish, or homo­sexu­al­ity, or tooth­brush­ing.”

      Holy lol

      • Ryu
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        i keep on trying to parse anything past that sentence and i literally cannot look past it

  11. luffyluffy
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    This show was dumb.

  12. Adrian
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Could be better, I swear.

  13. DarkEnergy
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Looks like you covered all the bases, Scamp.

    Another fantastic review, and I haven’t even seen this show yet. Thank you for not spoiling anything.

  14. Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    You can’t have imouto fanser­vice for all the only child’s out there and then, in the very same fuck­ing plot­line, try to play the ‘import­ance of fam­ily’ card. You’ve can’t have it both ways, that’s not how fam­ily works.

    The original light novels seem to have been written to showcase jokes and clever dialogue.

    The original light novels, so far as I can tell, do not give a damn about logic, plausibility, or realism.

    Thus the original light novels are willing to portray incest with pink unicorns if they can make jokes about it.

    However, I think incest and various other sexual perversions are like non-deadly diseases. They don’t appear to be too bad in the short run – they take a while for their destructive nature to appear. Thus people do actually get away with incest for years sometimes before anyone realizes anything has gone wrong. There was a bad case on Christmas Island where perversions ran rampant and no one realized for years.

  15. Duelit
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    If they really do make something with the adventures of Oshino and co, they should have to pay you royalties. Seriously good idea for a seriously good series. :3

  16. Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    In retrospect, I suppose the Tsukihi Phoenix arc felt like it could have come from Bakemonogatari. Nonsense scene leads to an amusing character introduction, leading to a bombshell of a revelation and an artistic finale to the arc. Didn’t even need any of Araragi’s harem, save for a Mayoi appearance and Shinobu’s work. Four episodes.

    That being said, I fault Karen Bee for dragging the series down. Way too many episodes for a -monogatari arc, way too many cameos while the show slogged through mud. You could have started with the awesome Gahara/Araragi “torture” scene, skipped to some details about Karen and Kaiki, then finished with the “fight”. There was no need to have Nadeko, Kanbaru, or even the “Courage to *******” scenes with Mayoi. Cut out two episodes of fat, and the leaner product would have been ideal.

  17. Posted March 23, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Nisemonogatari in 2 paragraphs:
    Arc 1: Kaiki is conning middle schoolers with magic. Araragi talks to him. He goes away.
    Arc 2: Tsukihi is a magical cuckoo bird/phoenix. Araragi fights an exorcist team to save face. They laugh and go away.

    That’s fucking it. Shinobu was the only saving grace.

    Hopefully Kizumonogatari won’t suck.

    • Ryu
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Maybe the real suckiness was there all along…

    • diz1776
      Posted March 25, 2012 at 4:17 am | Permalink

      Implying it was bad.

2 Trackbacks

  • By Nisemonogatari Review | Sea Slugs! Anime Blog on April 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    [...] of 7 Karen Bee vs. 4 Tsukihi Phoenix episodes. With the above in mind, I completely agree with Scamp that Bakemonogatari had a better script but Nisemonogatari had better [...]

  • [...] each other, everything else fell to the wayside, because they were family (this is why I think Scamp’s comment, “You’ve can’t have it both ways, that’s not how family works” is misguided [...]

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