“Hanging on a fine line between Reality and Imitation”
Back when Bakemonogatari aried in 2009, it immediately gained widespread attention due to it’s rich context, fun characters, interesting dialogues and unique animations. Few years later, it’s sequel Nisemonogatari aired, and of cause, it is compared to it’s predecessor. Is it better then Bakemonogatari? Or is it worse? Should they even be compared? We shall see what I have to say about the matter.
Before I start though, I would like the point out the difference between the meaning between “Bakemonogatari” and “Nisemonogatari” since I might be touching more on this subject later on. The latter part of the phrases, “monogatari” means “tales”. It can then be easily seen that Bakemonogatari is a portmanteau of bakemono (monster) and monogatari (tales), and Nisemonogatari is a portmanteau of nisemono (a fake, imitation) and monogatari (tales).
In that respect, some argued that Nisemonogatari had gone completely off track and doesn’t even feel like Bakemonogatari. The sole reason is because even though they are related, they dealt with different aspects of the show. Bakemonogatari focuses more literally on the “monsters” part of the series and while Nisemonogatari dealt with the “monsters” part slightly too, it is more focused on the internal concept between real and fake, and the quality between the two. Needless to say, Nisemonogatari will have less monster-y plotlines and of cause, less action.
I guess the second controversial problem with viewers is the amount of fanservices. Nisemonogatari had a lot of them, to the point that it can be labeled as ecchi, however, weirdly enough, I’m rather fond of them. I like any kinds of genres to begin with, as long as they are executed perfectly, and that includes ecchi as well. In this regard, I can claim that Nisemonogatari certainly executes it’s ecchi scenes exceedingly well, probably due to timing, or the context, or the visuals itself, or perhaps all three of them played their part. I do agree with Yi’s opinion to an extent. Nudity is fashionable, though in Nisemonogatari, it is more like an art. Yes, nudity is an art.
Both the fanservives and how it doesn’t feel like Bakemonogatari, are probably the two main problems most viewers would find most disturbing. To the contrary, I find them rather likable. For the overall general plot itself, it is no doubt great too. The heavy and philosophical dialogues are back, and the scriptwriters never forget to chip in a few humors here and there. Because of the show’s general abstractness though, the main plot can be sometimes quite vague and out-of-focus, and this is done intentionally. While this style is present in Bakemonogatari to begin with, Nisemonogatari went too over-the-top with this. One simple example, would be that Koyomi would be “urgently” looking for Kaiki at one point, but then, he would notice a certain loli walking in front of him, he would then spend a good 10-20 minutes messing around with her, and in the end, it makes us wonder.. where was that sense of “urgency” before? This problem is probably why the arcs felt so draggy, especially Karen’s one. It is pretty ironic that the show’s own unique storytelling would ended up to be the one degrading their own storytelling capabilities. On an unrelated note, quite of the few references and parodies are fun to have as well.
The lovely character cast from Bakemonogatari is present, Kanbaru, Sengoku, Hanekawa, Mayoi and of cause, the lovely Senjougahara Hitagi. The sad thing is that they pretty much aren’t the main focal point this time except for Koyumi himself. The main focus for Nisemonogatari is Koyomi’s own two sisters, Araragi Karen and Araragi Tsukihi aka the Fire Sisters. Now that we are shown more of the two sisters, they are actually quite a fun pair. I especially like Karen due to her passion for Justice, and for a middle schooler, she has an exceedingly good figure too. I can totally relate to Koyomi’s doubts in regards to just who is the cuter girl, Karen or Hanekawa? If I were him, I think I would choose the former though.
Due to the anime’s clear focus in just what characters they want to develop (obviously the two sisters), they are indeed developed quite well, though due to the plot’s draggy styles, Tsukihi’s development may had felt a bit too rushed. I also like how much Koyomi treasures his family as well, to the point of receiving inhumane blows which would certainly kill an ordinary person, if not for Koyomi’s vampirisim.
The visuals presentation was one of the main highlights for Bakemonogatari, and in Nisemonogatari, it is just as great and doesn’t disappoint in the least bit. Stunning animations, awkward angles and vectorish art; all these makes the general atmosphere of the anime very abstract, and because of the show’s not-straight-to-the-point storytelling, the “abstract” visual presentation complement perfectly. Kudos to Shaft.
The sound department is just as great, most of the background music are noteworthy, especially some of the orchestrated pieces. Voice-acting is so superb I don’t think I could point out any flaws even if I want to. And it’s because of Nisemonogatari’s visuals and sound, I’m actually one of the very few who actually like the toothbrush orgy episodes, of cause, the context might had helped too. Only Nisemonogatari could pulled out something like this, if other shows try to do this, I think I would almost immediately dislike them.
Aforementioned, the anime may feel different from Bakemongatari, it deals more with the premise of real and fake, and how fake can be more real due to it’s never-ending imitation in becoming real. Ultimately, I don’t think Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari should be not be compared so strictly, both are worlds apart in terms of concept, and in my opinion, I believe it is good to have the same mindset for any future monogatari anime adaptions.
The concept for Nisemonogatari is quite philosophical, and suits the show quite well. The ending left a big question mark to me though, as Koyomi found Hitagi with short hair on a sandy beach.. well, it’s probably a set-up for an obvious 3rd season.
Overall, Nisemonogatari is one of the best shows this season. It might had some controversial problems, but it is definitely worth watching it. Nisemonogatari had provided reasons and reasons why you SHOULD check it out. It has very interesting and fun dialogues, it has graphics which are literally sex to the eyes, and most of all, it generates enjoyment.