“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.
The score is really high. No doubt the production was amazing as expected from Shaft. But I have to agree that the story is lacking in a lot of things. I thought the sound was good and base on what you are saying it, they deserve B+ and above :P
It’s true that Bakemono and Nisemono is a different kind of anime. But if I had to pick i’d go with Bakemono because of the awesome storyline. Though I think both should be considered as one anime and no one should really argue and fight over which one is good or not.
I don’t really like the toothbrush part because I think it was too much. Some other stuff that I don’t like is every girl in the series gets a short hair except for Shinobu.
Score may be a little high, especially if you’re talking about the visuals and production values, I actually think they deserves SSS (my max rating) but I always hesitate in giving full rating, lol. The story is indeed lacking and indeed sound is pretty good, I like Tsukihi’s OP :D
Yes that’s true, but in my opinion here, they are almost the same, yet very different. As it deals with different aspects, the atmospheres between the two anime is like heaven and hell, but ultimately, it is still the monogatari franchise.
“Too Much” eh? That’s the reason I actually like it. It’s because they used such over-the-top presentation and dramatic orchestral music, it’s like ecchi in an alternate dimension. It’s awesome.. :D And the hairs part… probably it’s going to be a recurring thing..
I do feel as though your score is a tad bit high, but your points are valid.
You brought up a good point saying that Nise should not be compared to Bake, and vice versa. A lot of people (myself included) have probably judge it based on the pace that its predecessor set.
Though I’d have to disagree with you when you said the fanservice in the series could be regarded as an art form (since it had nudity). Regardless of what one may think, the sole purpose of fanservice in any series is to ensure that people buy the BD/DVDs of a series. Both Bake and Madoka were the two series that had the highest sales for their BDs in Japan. So I feel that Nise would sell well regardless of whether it had any fanservice or not. To each their own of course. If you enjoyed the fanservice moments, than that’s fine too. I just felt they detracted from the story’s focus and negatively affected character development. In turn, this also affected the more philosophical conversations in the series as the themes being discussed didn’t tie in too well with the previous events (ie. the fanservice and idle chit-chat). So while it isn’t fair to completely compare Nise to Bake, I think there are some things that have to be compared since the first season did set the pace of the series.
I hope I don’t sound too biased then, lol.
Yes, in my opinion, I think it’s a bit wrong to compare the two. They are like different sides of a coin.
Well each people with different perspectives I guess. Nise’s ecchi scenes are actually more unique and better then most classic fanservices. The art may had something to do with it, but the music as well. Take for example the toothbrush episode, most probably don’t really like it, but listen to that dramatic orchestral piece behind, I can’t help but feel it’s epic in a way. Ohh that’s what I said, the story itself is presented in a not-straight-to-the-point-way, while fanservices may had played a small part, but it’s not the only reason. Not just fanservices but It’s like the show is purposely making the characters get distracted, doing misc stuffs like talking to Mayoi or going to Mr.Donut.
When put side by side, I don’t think Bakemono and Nisemono outshine each other that much. While it may be true that the former focused more on the oddities and the latter with the human aspect of things, in the end both succeeded in their respective themes and retain that -monogatari feel for me ^^
I totally agree with your scoring (I’d rate music up higher personally, lol) and yeah, one of Nisemono’s strong point was it’s beautiful art and scenery, with the other point being it’s heavy-yet-awesome dialogue. Though with the dialogue I guess there’s also gonna be those guys who don’t like talking heads taking up most of the screen time, hence the use of fanservice (if it really was this justifiable) which made for a nicely balanced enjoyment factor.
But, every series has at least one flaw, and for this one, I wanna pick at how they handled the pacing. Specifically, how Karen’s arc got the better part of the episodes, leaving Tsukihi with, as you said, a slightly rushed development. Granted, Karen’s arc in the novel really was longer than Tsukihi’s, but c’mon, give the smaller little sister some love :3
Indeed, although they deals with different things, they did have that signature monogatari atmospheres, like foretelling an abstract tale :D
I may had been scared of rating it any higher D: Since like I said, I always hesitate in giving full marks. Those two is just what makes the monogatari series so awesome :D Nah, even if they are just conversing, the producers creatively uses a lot of different angles, zoom in-out, emotions, etc.. so it doesn’t just feel repeative, not just like talking heads only. Well either way, the imouto-ness of Nise is pretty nice :D
Yes indeed, they should have extended Tsukihi’s arc somehow or maybe just add one or two episodes fully about Tsukihi, maybe something akin to the toothbrush orgy, but this time dealing with Tsukihi :D On second thought, maybe no.. that might make the series even more hated..
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I never, ever want to see this abysmal, mainstream male otaku catering sequel again for the rest of my life.
I think this anime turned out to be a lot more controversial and polarizing than most expected, particularly because of its approach to fan service. On that front, I agree with you. (Note though, however, my comment and opinion hold little weight as I have not seen either monogatari series in entirety, and am basing most of this on clips and things I read.)
Framed in the right way, nudity is art indeed. And with such a stylistic approach, as erotic as it may be, I don’t think Nisemonogatari crosses the line to pornography. And even if it does cater to male otaku’s desires, that doesn’t take away from its context and style-first intent. For that, I appreciate and love the tooth-brushing scene. It has style!
Anyway, lovely review, Kai, and may just push me to watch both seasons!
Indeed, I think most viewers treated Nisemonogatari a bit too harsly, just because it focuses more on fanservices.
Yes indeed. Nisemonogatari is a graphically fabulous max :D It’s context and style feels just the same as Bakemonogatari, and that’s one good point too indeed. Glad to see another one else enjoying the toothbrush episode :D
I think you would love it. You should give it a try ;p
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