Check-out Station: Nisemonogatari eps 10 & 11: people and family are horrible things, but I wouldn’t want to be without them.
So concludes another season of leachery and monsters, or is it monsters and leachery? Or is it the leacherous monstrosity of a harem of horny monsters? No, I guess all of that is a disservice to the season and the show. It’s advanced anime for the veterans and the pervs.
I was wondering when the second half of the season (this very, very short season) would get down to business. It did so in episode ten with a rather loud bang. Before the visiting human-monster team blew off Tsukihi’s top, Araragi had already ripped it off to confirmed his vague suspicions towards his flawlessly skinned sister. Oh Nisemonogatari, you never skimp on the awkward moments no matter what, do you? Even when the show can be light on narrative, or focus or movement in general, you’re just stirring the pot trying to make the whole experience more delicious.
In the end, Araragi took Shinobu with him and decided to protect. Not as a blade, but as a shield. He was genuinely absorbing a stupid amount of punishment that I don’t think I’ve seen since his ass whooping at the hands of the Rainy Day Demon. It was admirable, and obviously his opponent Kagenui hadn’t heard of adopted children and the love shown to them, or else she might understand the love Araragi and Karen have shown for their “sister”.
Kagenui looked at her and all supernaturals in a rather cut and dry way. You could tell that from the way she not only saw through Araragi, Karen and Shinobu, but in the way she blatantly, outright and righteously labeled them. It seemed like an unnecessary tease to me, and an act of superiority. She viewed the family dynamic of the Araragi’s the same way. It was tainted. It was fake. It was an abomination. And as the “good guys” , she and her partner had to exterminate it. Evil had to be vanquished.
Kagenui and Yotsugi were in a way, an amalgamation of Oshino and the Fire Sisters, with a little bit of Kaiki mixed in for good measure. I’m not saying this because they’re merely convenient comparisons to be made. I’m saying this because they mixed in everything the show had to offer up to this point. All the lessons. The talk of fakes being more than they’re real counterparts. The talk of justice. The increased interest and focus on family and more personal relationships. Araragi’s efforts to live up to Oshino’s hopes and examples.
They were the appropriate hurdle for this point in the show. Though I’m sure more than a few viewers will NOT like how the confrontation concluded, I’m satisfied. With a show as quirky as this, you can’t expect anything normal. And you shouldn’t expect to satisfied either. Nisemonogatari from the beginning has shown that it’s extremely confident and self-assured in its direction and pace. And I can live with that out of personal love for the show and its predecessor. It never had a chance of overshadowing Bakemonogatari in my book, and this is coming from someone who openly accepted Nisemonogatari with open arms. But for a continuation of the show’s legacy, I’ll be more than happy have someone watch this along with me for the first time.
As for the rest of the cast, I was a bit disappointed that some of the characters more prominently featured in Bakemonogatari didn’t get a little more screentime and love this season.
I LOVE, LOVE Love Senjougahara! So seeing her extremely paired down role was bittersweet. I have to come to grips with the fact that she is an ordinary, but still extremely attractive character now. The dynamic between her and Araragi has only improved, their relationship is even better than ever. And she looked absolutely amazing on that beach at the end of episode eleven.
Hachikuji was never a big focus, but always prevalent in both seasons. That didn’t really change much, though I did worry that with the greater influence of Shinobu that she would be knocked clear out of the narrative. That wasn’t true and it was nice to see her get some decent screen time in the early part of the season.
Sengoku has really progressed since Bakemonogatari. She practically disappeared at the end of the show, but she had a hell of an impression early on. Like Araragi’s sisters, she’s come a long way, but still has a long way to go. It’s been *ahem* enjoyable watching her.
Kanbaru was definitely not one of my favorite characters from the first season, though I will argue her arc was the best one of Bakemonogatari. Like Sengoku, she’s grown up nicely. And it was a pleasure to see that she was so much more comfortable in her own skin. In more ways than one. Some will say that Sengoku had the sexiest moments of this seaon. I argue the often naked, sometimes molesty Kanbaru had the better “sexy time” overall. She catapulted up my list of favorite characters for Nisemonogatari.
Hanekawa; there has been a lot of hints pointing at her this season. I couldn’t figure out how much of her was a threat, and how much of her was helpful. No doubt she was incredibly helpful this season, but the relationship between her and Senjougahara has been weird to say the least. And I have a feeling that there is much more to tell with her. Plus, when a woman suddenly cuts her hair and changes her look like that, it makes me nervous. She’s still beautiful, but she makes me nervous.
Karen & Tsukihi Araragi: wow! They seemed to be just cute window dressing for Bakemonogatari. But their developments have completely changed the entire dynamic of the series. Their relationship with each other and Araragi is touching. And the whole series is more personal and better off for it.
Shinobu: she talks alot! And does a hell of a lot more. She’s adorable… and sexual, and a proper cipher for Oshino’s knowledge. She was as big an influence and focus of this season as Araragi’s sisters. And like them she’s changed the whole dynamic of the series.
Nisemonogatari has impressed me, not with its storytelling or direction. That hasn’t changed at all. Bakemonogatari expanded the world. Nisemonogatari made it a close, intimate place where everyone knows your name (sing the song if you wish). I’m happy it stole those hours of free time away from me. My only complaint is that for awhile at least, it won’t be stealing any more.