Just as I was loading up the new Nisemonogatari episode, I paused it just as it began to get myself a hot chocolate. Lo and behold, what is the very first frame of the episode? Shaft and their wonderful obsession with close up shots of people’s eyes. I wonder if every single episode of the -monogatari series starts off with an ‘eyecatch’. Geddit? Eyecatch? Because eyecatch is the word you use for…oh never mind.
It’s the return of the meandering pointless Nision dialogue! I don’t believe in the three-episode rule many people seem to conform to. Attaching some sort of arbitrary number to the amount of time they’re willing to give something to impress is pretty dumb. But this season it’s been the third episodes of anime where my patience with little aspects of them have run their course. Nymphgear’s ‘so bad it’s good’ quality waned after episode 3. Space Pirates lack of anything happening has started to grate on my nerves. Recorder to Randsell’s lack of content beyond its concept jokes got old. With Nisemonogatari, the lack of development and pointless dialogue was running its course on my patience. What are Kanbaru and Arararagi doing, playing some friggen card game anyway? Why must you yell your damn straight man responses so much Arararagi?
It used to be the case that these meandering dialogues would be the exception rather than the norm. The conversation with Kanbaru was largely directionless, until right at the very end where they suddenly remembered “oh yeah, Kanbaru hates her family and Arararagi is worried about his own” and slotted that little piece of dialogue in. That’s where Bakemonogatari shines. I guess the problem is these dialogues from last season could be counted as introductions and setting the relationship between the characters, but this season they’re purpose is just to let Nision indulge in his nattering style. If this is what his writing looks like after an editor waded in with a chainsaw, I’d be afraid to ask what the original version looked like.
Holy crap, a man in Nisemonogatari!?! The harem paradise of teenage girls has been ruined forever! We had finally got rid of Meme and everything. I was trying to place what it was that made this guy look so creepy. His head tilts, bony appearance and ominous backgrounds were my original thoughts, but then doesn’t every character in the -monogatari series have that appearence? More likely it was just usual colour theory is plonking lots of reds and blacks everywhere. And hey, it worked. It’s easy to mock Shaft, and I shall continue doing so throughout these posts, but after watching Space Pirates and Nymphogear conduct their conversations with dull panning shots of the characters faces, it’s refreshing to have Shaft vomit all over your screen. Plus it’s a mightily improved Shaft from the one 2 and a half years ago. It’s not quite as wild, but it’s certainly more refined and calculated, and I prefer that. Like the energetic talented young footballer who matures into a gifted game-controlling playmaker.
I was starting to wonder whether I had lost my Senjogahara Fascination. I didn’t care much for her opening portion, and her drilling of Arararagi wasn’t doing much for me either. OK, she did have that fantastic line about Kanbaru putting a mirror outside her house, but for some reason her Yandere tendencies were no longer grabbing me the way they once did. I blame Yuno for this. Tying up her boyfriend in order to protect him sounds very similar to the latest twists in Future Diary. But the moment Arararagi ripped off his handcuffs, the entire scene changed tone. Of course he wasn’t in any danger, but Senjogahara has always been brutally honest so her seriousness at which she said she wanted to keep him safe perturbed me a bit. But her resulting lack of reaction when he broke free spoke volumes. In her own weird way, that was simply her showing her affection. In a…err, really weird way.
And then there was that smile. That smile! Where has that been hiding? It’s like she’s changed character. Senjogahara claims she’s tsundere, but she has never been. She likes to tell Arararagi that so he starts doubting what she says, but in reality she’s always brutally blunt and honest. Over the course of Bakemonogatari it moved from cold hostility to pre-dating flirting to awkwardness of young couple not really knowing what to do. It’s not so much that she changed than she’s actually developed. She could never have smiled like that in Bakemonogatari. Even in the romantic scene under the stars, she didn’t have the confidence to truly smile like that. I’m sorry for ever doubting you. Senjogahara Fascination is back. I’m sorry for ever leaving it.