72 CommentsNisemonogatari / By Scamp /

Nisemonogatari episode 8

I’d been hearing about this episode around twitter and forums and from various friends before I watched it. It was all smut. Not a single piece of plot development to move the story forward. Just a weird fetish surrounding toothbrushes. Also incest and pedo and so on and so forth. I had resigned myself to not liking this episode. I had even started to plan the post ahead of time, pulling another magical flying panther stunt. I mean, why would I expect otherwise? I don’t really like this element of Nisemonogatari, or Bakemonogatari for that matter.

I was not prepared.

Most of the episode was just Arararagi and his sister pissing about. For 15 minutes or so it was the usual -monogatari banter. Generally amusing, neat turns of phrase, dragging out each segment of the conversation far longer than it needs to be, and the usual creepy fascination with panning up and down teenage girls’ bodies. It was very similar to the post-arc conversations Arararagi would have in Bakemonogatari with the girl who was central focus in the last arc. Usual shtick of girl opens up to him and finally admits (in a very roundabout way) that she wants a nibble of his meat and two veg.

But wait, that’s his sister! We can’t be having that now! How dare anime suggest that siblings would want to bone each other.

I’ve been trying to figure out why, for a change, it really didn’t bother me. Perhaps I had just seen so much goddam incest in anime over the years that I’ve become immune to it. But that’s a weak excuse. I think it has to do more with the world the -monogatari series have set up. If we compare to, say, Ore no Imouto, it was clearly trying to present these two as having a legitimate sibling relationship inside a real world. Hence its devolution into incest was frustrating because you can’t do both. But the -monogatari series do not exist in a real world. This is a weird hypothetical world, where there are no background characters. It is a magical realm where every girl who meets out main character fall for him. It ties in with the artstyle, such as how the sense of space is distorted when none of the buildings are real. In this world, of course Karen wants nothing more than to gargle her brother’s semen. It would be weird for that not to be the case.

That said, there’s still this mental block I have with any sister characters. I will never find them attractive or sexy or whatever. For that mental block to kick in though, they have to be presented as a sister character, rather than a character that just happens to be a sister. It’s like the difference between a MILF and wanting to actually bone your own mother. I don’t really find Karen sexy at all. Toothbrushing though? That’s pretty darn sexy.

Toothbrushing. I felt like I should be repulsed. Indignant that Nisemonogatari had decided to go in this direction. But the delivery of that scene. The build up in dramatic, spotlight fashion as Arararagi explained the rules. The imagery of him wielding the toothbrush as a conductor would wield his baton. The musical cues with each delicate swipe. The CGI bristles moving in a way that I would never have before described as sensual, but can only now be described as such. The way the score builds up slowly, changing as the dynamic of the scene itself changed.

I have no idea what the scene read like in the original novels, but somehow I can’t imagine it worked that well. The least effective parts of that scene were the occasional monologues by Arararagi. While it may be quite a audacious move to present toothbrushing as sexual, delivered incorrectly and it would have been nothing other than weird, pointless and creepy. I can’t see the -monogatari series ever pulling something like this again and succeeding. But for now, I want to bask in the light of some of the most sublime directing I have ever seen in anime.

This is art.

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69 Comments

  1. Nazarielle
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    UNIVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERSE!

  2. jeroz
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    UNIVERSE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. RogerMoore
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I can’t tell if you’re seriousing in this post. I really hope you aren’t.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      100% serious. Best episode of anime this year

      • Karry
        Posted February 27, 2012 at 2:06 am | Permalink

        And yet you shit all over Sankaku, while enjoying something like this. Seen any hypocrites in the mirror lately ?

      • Fadeway
        Posted February 27, 2012 at 3:59 am | Permalink

        He dedicated a lot of digital ink over both topics and argumented himself at length. Your only argument is that one can’t praise a type of fanservice if they’ve denounced another?

        Anyhow, I loved this episode about as much any other, but this is because I’ve been finding every episode of Nise thus far to be an avalanche of awesome anyway.

      • Scamp
        Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Sankaku is not bad because it has porn. It’s bad because it presents news items as porn (along with a whole host of other reasons)

      • Erif
        Posted February 28, 2012 at 3:24 am | Permalink

        “Best episode of anime this year”

        …you can’t be fucking serious.

      • Posted February 28, 2012 at 4:20 am | Permalink

        The porn comic Oglaf has a number of taglines. One of them is “Erotica just means ‘porn that works for me’.”

        So I think what happened here is the writer was prepared for porn that would be boring and slightly repulsive, but he found appealing porn, and was surprised.

        Personally, I thought the episode’s last lines of dialogue were pretty funny. But I didn’t think the tooth-brushing was really sexy. Maybe some people might be able to enjoy it, but I couldn’t get into it.

      • Posted February 28, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        @Zhai2nan2 Oh Oglaf, you are an amazing webcomic. Such pearls of wisdom nestled in between drawings of medieval penises.

        @Scamp Yeah, honestly the episode worked for me as well but for a slightly different reason. Basically, it was so over the top that I found it hilarious. I laughed through a good portion of it, and the reaction faces everyone were pulling signaled to me that it was okay to laugh during this.

      • Scamp
        Posted February 28, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        I’ve heard that ‘erotica is porn I like’ comment before. I would like to add that I liked this episode not because it turned me on, but because the directing was so spot on in depicting it. It was over the top while also not going off-message.

        And yes Erif, best episode of anime this year. That includes anything even Daily Dudes has achieved

  4. Posted February 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it really is art. I’ve never enjoyed art this much before.

  5. Moomba
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    First time I’ve ever seen someone violated with a toothbrush. And here I thought we were going to get a Tsukihi episode.

    At least she did appear and step in just as things were about to go in a potentially more questionable direction.

    I’ll never look at a toothbrush the same again. It was pretty artsy though.

  6. Posted February 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I just finished watching this episode and I…I’m not sure exactly what to think. It had great directing, as you noted, but it’s also most of an episode spent on kinky, incestuous tooth brushing. Though I guess the best comment I can muster is that I’m glad Nisemonogatari exists and that it was done by SHAFT. The anime world is a lot more interesting for having something like this, even if at the end I wasn’t even sure what I was watching and why.

    • Posted February 26, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      I was going to write a comment, but you said all. Incredibly well-executed episode, but I must confess I felt very uncomfortable watching.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Pretty much this. As I said in the post, if it was done by anyone else it probably would have come off solely as creepy and dull

  7. Posted February 26, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    This was unqestionably the best -monogatari episode thus far. And considering I’m loving almost every episode of this series, that’s saying a lot.

  8. Posted February 26, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I thought that Another’s dancing scene will be remembered as the scene of the season.

    I was wrong.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      And I thought it would be the very first Lit. Girl segment

  9. luffyluffy
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    The underside of my tongue feels all weird now.

  10. kero92
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Why yes, I was expecting a flying panther post from you too.

    • luffyluffy
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 2:11 am | Permalink

      As was I, best part of the episode was going “Oh god Scamp is going to love this.”

      • Scamp
        Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        I guess you know me better than I do

  11. J.Rey
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    This was an incredible episode, it just was. Even if it was his sister, incest doesn’t bother me, but I didn’t even think about that I just thought “Damn this is Amazing.”

    One of the most memorable anime episodes of all time easily, the direction, the art, the musc and especially that weird fetish that’s more interesting than weird and has me curious about how it would feel in real life if it even works. It was fun.

    Just to note, I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all during the episode, it was more hilarious and interesting than disturbing for me.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Well the hilarity stemmed a lot from the slightly disturbing nature of the episode. And yes, I also wanted to know what it was like. First thing I did after the episode was ask my girlfriend would she let me do that to her. I shall report back with my findings later

  12. Dop
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    I think what’s been shown in this episode is that you can do eroticism in anime without resorting to tits and arse. No need to cover everything in steam. No need to entice people to buy the blu-ray to see more.
    Shinbo has raised the bar.

  13. NoNotReally
    Posted February 26, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    I think you’ve definitely been blinded by how extraordinarily hot that scene was, Scamp. That was not art; It was artfully executed, for sure, but that was porn. In fact, “boy plays game with sister that turns into something sexual” is probably one of the most stereotypical incest porn scenarios out there.

    It was the most well written and directed porn I’ve even seen, but in the end it was still a video of a girl moaning while being violated by her brother and then asking for more even after their little sister caught them.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

      Since when was eroticism excluded from being art?

      • Posted February 27, 2012 at 12:27 am | Permalink

        Some follow relatively narrow definitions of “art,” which excludes things whose purpose is sexual titillation. I don’t know, I’ve taken a much more broad interpretation myself. To me, the statement, “That was not art; It was art­fully executed, for sure” seems to be contradictory.

  14. Posted February 27, 2012 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Shaft is changing the world one step at a time.

    • Rivalon
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 1:18 am | Permalink

      The sad thing is that Shaft’s artsy things are going soon to become commonly used amongst mid- and low-end animes. Just exactly the same way as it happened to Bakemonogatari’s purplish not-conventionally-black lines which I happened to find in NEXT SEASON’s To Aru Kagaku no Railgun’s ED1.

      • Scamp
        Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        And I couldn’t be happier. Lower tier anime that go for sex stuff to have some actual decent and ambitious directing that infuse a scene with some style? The future is bright

  15. Infinity
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    I had heard lightly something about “toothbrushing” before the episode aired, watched 7 minutes in and was reminded of it. After reading your post, I think I will just quickly skip through the rest of the episode and that will be it for me. Can’t handle anymore of this garbage.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Your loss

  16. Redcrimson
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    This episode was clearly a carefully disguised message about the importance of oral health.

  17. Posted February 27, 2012 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    I love anime as an art form. I love the range of forms and expressions that moving illustrations and sound can convey when they’re not bound by physics, reality, and often, logic. The medium is capable of amazing stories unreal in innumerable ways, yet still able to capture the essence of human condition and emotion impossible (or unfeasible) to tell in other ways. That’s the reason I explore the medium at such breadth; I want to experience its full range of creativity, its successes and failures. And further, I want to share my little, joyful discoveries with others.

    So I come to this week’s episode of Nisemonogatari. I found it overindulgent, narcissistic, and quite a bit depraved. But worst of all, I found it so empty. Its characters are now merely the objects of obscenity. Any other content concerning plot or themes incidental and lost amidst Shinbo’s game with his audience that craves the pornographic content but puts on airs of faux-intellectualism.

    Is Nisemonogatari art? Sure, anything with a purpose beyond practical utility that expresses a feeling or idea is art. But is it good art? Does it enrich lives and lead to a deeper understanding of our world? Hardly. And will I share this with others as an example of joyful discovery of the medium? Hell no.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Must find a response where I don’t sound like a pretentious prat and use the term ‘post-modern’. Hmmm…

      Over-indulgant, narcissitstic and depraved are words I’d always have described this series. As weird as it is to say, these are the factors that make it not empty. How it runs with this mood and this approach goes far beyond the lazy attempts of every single other anime ever created is what makes it special. The -monogatari series has always been about the presentation, and this was that boiled down to its most pure form.

      Now generally I’m not keen on the -monogatari series doing this. I usually need there to be some direction to the over-indulgent nonsense to utilise it properly. But this time it was the presentation itself that became the substance. In many ways, it’s the opposite end of the spectrum to Bakemonogatari 12. In that episode, it was the story that took over from the presentation. This time, it was the presentation that took over from the story

    • Posted February 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      This episode enriched my life by making me laugh uproariously. That’s good enough for me.

    • Posted February 28, 2012 at 4:34 am | Permalink

      Sometimes the usefulness of an art is satirical.

      Panty and Stocking was IMHO useful as satire although not aesthetically pleasing.

      Panty and Stocking was effective at communicating ideas – mostly critical, deconstructive, satirical ideas.

      Panty and Stocking was IMHO a failure as something good to look at.

      Now, the Bakemonogatari series has IMHO succeeded with visual decoration and with satirical ideas. However, it’s still a failure in many respects, such as world-building, adventure fiction, erotic titillation for me, etc.

      Basically, it’s as if they said, “Only porn sells. Therefore we will make porn, but we will prove how skillful we are. We don’t actually care whether the porn is titillating or not.”

      • Scamp
        Posted February 28, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Is Nisemonogatari satirical? I don’t really see that myself. It’s more putting a new spin on existing tropes rather than mocking them

  18. Posted February 27, 2012 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Sexualitiy is a part of art since art started to work with delibareted provocation, first…
    You see it as well in Murakamis work “Hiropon” and “Mr. Lonesome Cowboy” where references to anime, or hentai if you will, is quite clear.
    The point is, where I still wondering about, didn´t I approach Nise not from the wrong way of looking at? Just considering the name “Nise Monogatari” (yeah, hell, I know) which is a real existing form of Monogataris, a Kanazoshi of the Edo period. To be accurate it is a parodie or false story of something (“Ise Momogatari”). So keeping that it mind… maybe it makes it a bit easier to look at this episode. You do have a lot this incest issues in anime, not only hentai (of wich I persume, I´m the only one of you guys which ever watched one ;) ), so why don´t put this in Nise? Nise is overdoing the harem asspect as well, even more then bakemono, maybe it´s because it´s a parodie.
    Uhm… Anyway… And I still wonder, if I wouldn´t be so destressed by this episode if I havn´t watched hentais in the first place…

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      It’s not a parody if it’s simply doing the exact same things a harem does with no critical judgement on it. I think you’re going about this series the wrong way, but then again I also don’t bother thinking about the Nision wordplay too much. I don’t speak Japanese, so usually that all flies straight over my head.

  19. Adamar
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    http://pastebin.com/aPHTTgfc for reference to the novels. The musical cues really do add something, indeed.

    This was a pretty amazing episode, and it’s pretty surprising that you liked it!

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Light novels are formatted really weirdly…

      Also yup, I felt really uncomfortable reading that. Sorta proves my point

      • luffyluffy
        Posted February 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Not really, more like Nisio is formatted weirdly

    • Mr. Anon
      Posted February 29, 2012 at 1:05 am | Permalink

      “The regret of giving your own sister pleasure!”
      Ahahahahahahaha

  20. fathomlessblue
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed this series a lot more back when it was called Koe de Oshigoto! Less pretentious and more willing to use a digit or two.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      I like my smut pretentious

  21. lostsage
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Usually watch for the audio porn but got regular porn, too!

    Also gave me the weirdest boner

  22. enigmator
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    After repeatedly reading you rant about smut in all your previous Nisemonogatari posts, this sudden praise from you feels a little jarring.

    On a more personal level, I agree that the scene’s execution was top notch, but I guess it was the incest that brought about all the reactions.

    There does seem to be something about incest that inclines people towards violence.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      I felt weird praising it too. But yeah, it was pretty amazing

  23. Posted February 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    This episode’s directing was brilliant. It takes a real genius to direct an entire episode of two siblings brushing teeth…and make it entertaining. That said, this episode had no relevance to the Tsukihi arc which has only 3 episodes left. Which rendered the reintroduction episodes rather pointless, albeit good fanservice. Heh, but then again, this whole show is just fanservice.

    I think Shinbo should direct hentai. That way he can play to his strengths: No plot, full smut. I’d pay all sorts of money to watch that.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      Plot? Arcs? Oh yeah, the -monogatari series has that too. I had kind of forgotten

  24. Posted February 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Funny. This was the one episode I couldn’t get into so far this season, mostly because I’m still wondering how in the world Araragi could brush his sister’s teeth for over five minutes without her spitting or rinsing once.

    OKAY! NOW SPIT!

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      I had considered that myself. I’m going to try it myself to see if it works, possibly using some spitting to ensure it works.

      …with my girlfriend now, not my sister. Should probably make that part clear

  25. Adrian
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    *reads the post and the comments

    -Wow, that must be something amazing!

    *watches the episode

    -So…that’s it? All that masturbating with words was because of it?

    *Continue watching Mushishi

    • Scamp
      Posted February 27, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      I would berate you for your lack of taste, but you’re watching Mushishi so I must therefore conclude that you do indeed have good taste and are henceforth accepted on this blog

  26. mcm038
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Would this become a popular foreplay?

  27. Anonymous
    Posted February 27, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    As a toothbrushing fetishist, I approve this message.

  28. Someone Else
    Posted February 28, 2012 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    If this wasn’t Shaft and all of its visually entertaining styles, I’d probably dropped and consider this as another boring ecchi anime that I will never watch again.

  29. Posted February 28, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Is Nise­monogatari satir­ical? I don’t really see that myself. It’s more put­ting a new spin on exist­ing tropes rather than mock­ing them

    I have only read one of the original novels, but I think the original novels were deeply satirical and very interested in breaking the fourth wall. So, likewise, I think the anime is interested in breaking the fourth wall and lampshading the anime tropes. I see that as satire. I think the people making the show know exactly how unrealistic anime is, and they want to mock the non-realism of anime.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 29, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I…can buy that explanation. At least the anime adaptation goes in that direction. Not so sure about the dialogue and writing, but certainly the presentation suggests that. Again not so sure if that’s satire or just artistic interpretation. Satire implies derision which Nisemonogatari doesn’t do. It’s not deconstruction either, because it’s doing the same but putting it in a very different light. I’m not sure what the fancy reviewers term for it is though

  30. Ruth
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    I don’t think I could read the novels after seeing these series, it would never live up to the visuals.

    I don’t want to watch pedo anime because it’s creepy, but it’s also usually completely boring. This episode was the opposite of boring. Incest creeps me the fuck out, but these characters are totally aware of how creepy they’re being and it’s happening anyway. Nisemonogatari is shoving this incest in your face and making you uncomfortable on purpose. It’s strangely arousing when it shouldn’t be and that’s the point!

    Then they make reference to all the gazillions of anime that turn totally stupid/mundane objects into Super Amazing Magical Hero shit with that closing scene backed onto a picture of the universe. Gundam 00 did a great job of people flying through space naked while surrounded by sparkles. They are the chosen ones… of the toothbrush!

    Amazing. Incest is gross, don’t do it, but do please make anime like this about it.

    • Posted February 29, 2012 at 2:30 am | Permalink

      ‘It’s strangely arous­ing when it shouldn’t be and that’s the point!’

      I may be totally misreading the director’s intentions, and I may be biased because I didn’t find it arousing.

      However, I don’t think the director was trying as hard as he could to make it arousing. I think he didn’t mind if people got aroused, but his point was that lots of people get aroused due to their imaginings and reflexes, not due to what is actually there.

      The joke is that people are sexually attracted to their own imagined mental images, not to the external world.

      I think “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai” made a similar point when it showed characters getting aroused by a giant robot battle accompanied by cheesy porn dialogue. The point was that these characters had formed a habit of masturbating on queue with particular dialogue lines, and they had developed a fetish, so that when their fetish was put next to robots fighting, the characters saw their fetish and remembered their masturbation habit rather than saying, “Heh, robots are totally non-human and non-sexual.”

      That is just my reading. I don’t know. Maybe the director really has a tooth-brushing fetish and wants the world to embrace polymorphous perversity.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 29, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Uncomfortable on purpose? Heh, I like that approach. That’s definitely what the early segments of that toothbrush sequence felt like, until it went balls to the walls glorious

  31. Posted February 29, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    This has been the most tolerable episode of Nisemonologuetari by far. I think it’s just because there’s a lot less crappy dialogue. Too busy getting their teeth brushed to talk.

  32. ペーパー先生
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    When you really think about this, it’s more of a parody of incest than actual incest. I mean, it’s just… two people brushing each others teeth. Does that count as incest?

    • Moomba
      Posted February 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      He was about to grope her… I’d say that’s moving into some pretty solid incest terriotry.

  33. gw_kimmy
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    i can’t believe i decided to watch this…

    i get my teeth cleaned by my hygienist every 6 months. IT IS NEVER SEXY. I AM APPALLED AND BAFFLED BY THE AMOUNT OF GUYS WHO WONDER IF IT MIGHT BE NICE TO TRY ON THEIR GF’S. i guess gj shaft for making all the boys believe so. i would believe it would be awkward and minty at best :D

    cant decide if im willing to go further…@_@

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