26 CommentsNisemonogatari / By Scamp /

Nisemonogatari episode 7

Oh Shaft. I’m not even sure how much of this is down to Shinbo anymore. It’s not like he has much to work with when it comes to Nision’s dialogue. “Author mentioned something about elements and fakes? Let’s make mannequins dance to chemical bonds”!

Nision’s long-winded dialogue is unique, and that has its benefits. How the story is snuck into regular conversation is what makes it so fascinating. But when it comes to the winding down of the plot, that’s where you start to realise why other stories stick to a more straightforward method of writing. Double this up with the character of Kaiki and you start to have much greater problems. His entire shtick is that he obscures the truth through lying and confusing dialogue. Nision². It was all right when he confronted Fire Sister #1 because she couldn’t keep up with him. The only part of that episode you needed to get what that this guy knocked her off her stride and was generally an evil man. This time around though, there was Plot I needed to follow with characters who could counter his arguments, leaving him to go further down the path of obfuscation and lying.

So I got lost. I haven’t a clue what the resolution to this episode was or meant. Senjogahara basically chased him out of town…or something? I had this problem frequently with Bakemonogatari too. An arc would end and I’d be left dazed and confused because the specific details had completely flew past me. The -monogatari series has always been about the presentation, not the plot itself. You capture the characters feelings and personality in broad strokes. As I’ve said before, that’s what makes it special. But when it gets to the nitty-gritty details of the plot having to make some proper sense, it tends to fall apart.

As much as I love Senjogahara, I still don’t really get what her story was. She was poor so loan sharks came and their family fell apart and tried to sell Senjogahara but then she got invaded by a giant crab who was a metaphor for her something something something I don’t know. I love Senjogahara because of the aura she has and some of the lines she comes out with, such as how she basically tells Arararagi here to fuck her so hard she starts seeing stars. The actual details of her history? Meh, fairly indifferent towards that.

So I didn’t really enjoy this episode, for the reasons many of the -monogatari detractors say they dislike the series. The long-winded dialogue detracted from the enjoyment rather than added to it. Hence I get the complaints you guys have. The people I don’t get are those who claim this is a new thing to the franchise. Pretty sure Bakemonogatari was this long-winded and had as much pointless dialogue and as confusing final plot twists. I think you’re letting episode 12 cloud your vision of what the series was truly like. It would be like comparing (forgive some nerdy analogies here) Night Watch to the rest of the Terry Pratchett books. Their draw has always been the amusing writing and bizarre world they inhabit. Night Watch was the only one to also have a strong plot, and hence stands out above the others. But if you start comparing the following books to Night Watch’s plot, you’re missing what drew you to them in the first place.

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25 Comments

  1. Moomba
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Night Watch was definitely one of the better serieses by Terry Pratchett and I can actually very solidly see what you’re saying when you compare the -monogatari series with his writing.

    I liked some of the dialogue this episode, and thoroughly enjoyed the stuff between Karen and Ararararararararagi (probably at least partly because of the fighting). I do have to question (completely pointless question in the larger picture) whether Karen actually managed to take down that entire highway… pretty large collateral damage there.

    However, Kaiki gave up way to easily… I’m not even entirely sure why – though I have a suspicion based on what he said about coming as a pair. He hypnotised Karen easily enough, but maybe he would be unable to do the same to both Senjougahara and Ararararagi simultanously. I’m probably just pulling at straws there though.

    Really I have no idea what happened. Leaving seems kind of against his character when he specialises in lying, so I’d expect to see him again… but we probably won’t. Pretty odd way to conclude an arc if you ask me.

    • Posted February 20, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      I think it’s much simpler: Kaiki is in it for the money, and when it gets too troublesome he pulls out as quickly as possible.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      I guess the conflict in this arc was not Kaiki, but convincing Senjogahara and imouto to let Arararagi help them on this issue and for both of them to not barral through by themselves. The actual face-off against Kaiki was nothing special.

      Because, you know, girls can’t handle problems like that. They might start having periods or something

  2. lmm
    Posted February 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    I don´t think this is anything new; on the contrary, I loved this episode as the first one that really recaptured the feeling of the first series.

    • Posted February 20, 2012 at 12:37 am | Permalink

      I agree. Was surprised that the episode ended that quickly, and had a distinct feeling that Kaiki would be back in the next story arc. He’s too good of a villain.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen plenty of people saying that I somehow didn’t get this episode.

    But to me, it was just rather anti-climactic. Not bad, but it could/should have been better.

  4. J.Rey
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    I thought the episode was ok, my favourite part was the Karen fight scene, man was that scene SHAFT’d.

    Kaiki mentions that they were smart for coming together unlike Karen so I’m guessing he just backed off and decided that there will be other oppurtunities later on, and because Senjougahara confronted him she confronted the part of her past where she was almost raped and constantly betrayed by conmen. She mentioned in episode 12 of Bakemonogatari that she was afraid of getting any closer to Araragi because she was afraid of betrayal but now that she confronted that fear in the form of Kaiki she can move forward with Araragi (if you know what I mean *wink wink nudge nudge*) and live her life, at least that’s what I thought the resolution was, that and helping his sisters with their justice complex.

    Also not sure but I think Nisio doesn’t like Senjougahara anymore from what Kaiki said of her getting boring, which I agree with, but that’s just my speculation.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      You’ve indirectly reminded me that, you know, rape is kind of a bad thing and even the near rape still haunts Senjogahara to an extent. To be honest, that probably explains her hostile personality and inability to trust people more than anything else

  5. A Person
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed the episode alot, it got WAAAY SHAFT’y at times but it was the good kind of SHAFT’y. Even the talkie parts were, but that’s probably because I am strange and like talky parts. The only real nitpick I have is Shinobu’s “Sultry Blonde Loli Vampire” moment. I got the whole bath scene a few episodes back and even liked the visuals and dialogue despite the obvious pedobait. But she has been showing up every episode since then to do get in sultry blonde vampire quips. And part of me is starting to wonder if she is just trying to make up for lost time from not talking in Bakemonogatari rather then because she has anything relevant to say.

  6. Posted February 20, 2012 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Bakemonogatari didn’t take 7 episodes to get to one [anti]climax. Tsubasa Cat lasted 5 episodes (6 if you include their starry sky night date, but who would) and it was by far the worst of the lot. It feels its being stretched out to its limit with a lot of gratuitousness, be it service, dialogue, or SHAFTiness.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      But the climaxes of plot arcs aren’t what make the -monogatari series interesting. They’ve routinely been confusing or let-downs. That’s what gets to me when people talk about this season being dragged out. The actual content of the conversations is largely running at the same pace as last time. Just the stories themselves are more complicated and involve more people

      • Posted February 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        I really disagree with you here. Bake’s strength was being able to cut to the heart of each character’s supernatural malady and reaching a resolution that changed the character. How many of them were really inveseted in this story arc? The sisters and Hitagi, with Tsubasa tangentially concerned. The long stretches of episodes with the other characters come off as some type of fanservice or a sign of the story just running on fumes.

      • zhai2nan2
        Posted February 22, 2012 at 2:01 am | Permalink

        I enjoyed Bakemonogatari as pure fan service. Then I went back and watched Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and I realized that the same talents were involved in both shows. Both shows require a real love for wordplay.

        Then I read one of the novels. It’s very, very wordy.

        These are stories for word-addicts, poets, etc. People who love words are the target audience. The show creators don’t care if the average audience hates their show – they want to appeal to the word-fanatics.

      • zhai2nan2
        Posted February 22, 2012 at 2:06 am | Permalink

        “They’ve routinely been con­fus­ing or let-downs.”

        The climaxes have put a lot of emphasis on the word choices of the dialogue. They have not provided excellent plots, or action set-pieces, or other spectacles. They deliver puns and word-plays and paradoxes, and they expect the audience to enjoy a pun more than an explosion.

        If I spoke better Japanese I would go into the details of the puns, but I’m a slacker, so I’ll just point out things like “crab” being symbolic on two levels – the Zodiac and Japanese puns.

        Also, I’ll steal from the wikia:
        Hitagi’s first name is said to be a related to the term “public works”. In fact, the only way to write Hitagi’s name using kanji is through “肥田木”, which are the kanji for “fertilizer”, “field” and “tree” respectively. Meanwhile, the term “public works” is written in kanji as “土木”, which are the kanji for “soil” and “tree” respectively. But since Hitagi’s name is written using hiragana, this is quite irrelevant.
        Her surname means “battlefield”
        Link:
        http://bakemonogatari.wikia.com/wiki/Hitagi_Senjougahara

  7. Lathrin
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Nightwatch was defenitely one of his better books, but what about “small gods”?
    Or “lord and ladies”?
    Or a few others, but I wont bore you with it XD

    Would have commented about the review, but have to yet see it, so~

    • Scamp
      Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      I’ve read pretty much every Pratchett book, bar his most recent one. But imo Night Watch will always be his best because it had all the humour and weirdness of previous books while actually having a great story at the same time

      • Lathrin
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Well, I think that this is just a matter of taste.
        I do think its a great book, but not the best.
        Good to know you like Pratchett by the way :)

  8. Posted February 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve tried to read Pratchett, but I never really liked it. Read the first 20 pages or so of a lot of books, but stopped.

    Then I decided to read one from start to finish. It was Unseen Academicals. And god, I still don’t like Pratchett. There’s something that doesn’t appeal to me.

    Oh, this episode was great, but it felt like this arc dragged on for too long.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Man, Unseen Academicals is not a good book. As much as I love Pratchett, I started to wonder after that book if he has finally lost his touch. But the dude does have Alzhimers and stuff, so yeah. He’s still my hero. If I could invite any 4 people to a party, it would be Pratchett, Douglas Adams, LittleKuriboh and Yahtzee

  9. Posted February 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    How I like this show kinda does defy logic. I see exactly what the show is trying to do, but the plot is so vague and obfuscated that it’s nearly impossible to follow. I think the reason I despised Penguindrum for the same reason but can enjoy this because Nisemono is more presentable. It has more likeable characters and a nicer “personality”. It still almost feels like Nisio’s writing is to murky because he’s afraid of making a mistake or something.

    All these arcs (and the handful that will follow this anime) are expected to slowly reveal Hitagi’s backstory. It’s like watching a pot boil water.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Actually I’d say PenguinDrum is more presentable, but Nisio’s characters are definitely actual people rather than ideals strung together with metaphors

  10. fathomlessblue
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    After 3 episodes of struggling to remember the cast’s names I decided to re-watch Bake, and was pleasantly surprised to how much I enjoyed over the first viewing. Yeah, like you say, some of the metaphors and specifics aren’t clear enough to make the arc feel like they have full closure, but generally each section felt a lot more coherent now I was used to its storytelling approach. Same with the pacing, my main gripe the first time round. The Mayoi and Tsubasa arcs could have both lost an ep, and some conversations cut, but mostly I felt the series flowed smoothly in terms of presentation and objectives.

    The closure for this arc only made sense in a far more general and vague fashion. Honestly, bar one or two scenes it just didn’t feel necessary to be told. I think the worst thing is realizing I’ve become rather indifferent to the cast (particularly Araragi’s sisters) and the story being told, something far worse than raging about the excessive fanservice or rambling dialogue. I just lack the energy and motivation to want to discuss it on anything other than a superficial level. For all of Bakemonogatari’s faults, it never made me feel that way.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      See, there were characters is Bakemonogatari I didn’t care about either. The Nadeko arc or the Tsubasa arc. Heck, even the very first arc with Senjogahara I didn’t really care about at the time. Nisemonogatari changed it up a bit by having the arc include more characters important to the story, which helped ease the indifference I had towards the sisters themselves

  11. Posted February 21, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I don’t get that either. Nisemonogatari isn’t suddenly shit because of the dialogue. The show’s dialogue has always been shit.

    • Posted February 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      What constitutes as great dialogue in your book?
      Doesn’t have to be anime — could be any film or book.

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