To begin watching the ‘Monogatari’ series is a commitment comparable to that of marriage. There are ups and downs, smiles and frowns, things you may like and things you may not. It also seems as though it’s going to last forever and the only way you can possibly perceive getting out of it is through death. It’s a series I wasn’t too keen on many years ago when I first watched ‘Bakemonogatari’, the trailblazer for what is now one heck of a beloved series, but it seems as though I’ve come to love it.
It was an odd experience: I didn’t know what to think about it, I thought it was great but then terrible. I thought the characters were good but then bad. I was going through one big mental contradiction but I stuck with it. Eventually I came to this season which just continued my introspective conflict. Titled ‘Nisemonogatari’, this season follows the story of series protagonist Koyomi Araragi’s younger sisters; Karen and Tsukihi.
‘Nisemonogatari’ switches gears, instead focusing on the younger of the Araragi kids and their journey into supernatural obscurity. Huge warning: I suggest watching at least ‘Bakemonogatari’ before jumping into ‘Nise’. If you don’t have time to watch it, how about just reading my review of it? Click Here. For the sake of it, you should read my review of ‘Nekomonogatari White’ too! Click Here.
People are not who they say they are. Created from lies so cleverly constructed that the imposter doesn’t even realize the deception is being committed. Lies that can, ultimately, tear a family apart. Presenting the Nisemonogatari series in its entirety, this is the sequel to Bakemonogatari, where Koyomi learns family is determined not by blood but by the bonds and lies that can become truths. – Hanabee
As mentioned just above, ‘Nisemonogatari’ focuses on the two young ladies who call themselves the ‘Fire Sisters’. They’re the true trouble makers of the family and they’re about to follow in their older brother’s footsteps. Koyomi is still around to keep everything in check, always doing what he can to help those afflicted by something paranormal. Never did he think it’d hit this close to home. Quite literally. The series is set a little after ‘Bakemonogatari’ and all your favorite characters are still present, though for only a short amount of time. When I say this part of the long-running series focuses on the young girls…I mean it. They’re in the spotlight and they wont let any other character take it from them.
Continuing the ‘Monogatari’ trend, ‘Nise’ features a whole bunch of episode that, in m opinion, felt unnecessary. There were countless scenes of misplaced fanservice and hyper sexual dialogue which only worked to get me upset. ‘Nisemonogatari’ also happens to feature the infamous ‘toothbrush’ scene which, if you don’t know, I suggest you do a Google search. You WILL be disappointed. Alongside the jokes that are taken to far and the hugely incestual signs of affection between brother and sister comes actual good story telling. The type of storytelling that keeps you hooked to a series like ‘Nisemonogatari’. Meme Oshino, the obvious best character from ‘Bakemonogatari’, is still gone but we’re lucky enough to be able to meet a few of his associates which proves to me that the older characters are written so much better than the younger ones.
Going into too much detail will wreck the story for you so I’ll refrain. All you need to know is that; if you’re not a fan of the smutty fanservice and silly dialogue pieces, you’ll still find solace at the end of the eleven episodes. It ends in a great way and with some fanservice that ISN’T sexual. People who’ve seen it will know exactly what it is I’m referring to. The bad thing is that you have to survive countless waves of superfluous story elements that don’t actually do anything for the story. Thankfully it ends in a great way that, if you were paying attention, washes away the bitter taste left in your mouth from the first few episodes.
Another ‘Monogatari’ staple is that of high quality animation. Once again, Studio Shaft has spearheaded the production of ‘Nisemonogatari’ and they do a fantastic job much like they’ve done with the rest of the series. For a storyline that features a great deal of discussion and character interactions, there’s a surprisingly large amount of action to enjoy throughout. As you’re probably already thinking, the animation quality goes from great to ‘out of this world’ during these scenes.
It really helps to break up the borderline monotony of constant talking and really gives you an extra layer to appreciate. There’s never once a dip in animation quality, what’s truly amazing is that it somehow only ever gets better and has been this way since 2009 when ‘Bakemonogatari’ was released. I can only imagine future series’ being…awe-inspiring. Colours are so vibrant, lines are crisp and clear, there’s dynamic lighting and shadowing. The whole thing is great! Character designs look unique and no visual quirk is ever out of place, which is something other Animes need to master.
Once again, auditorally ‘Nisemonogatari’ is much like ‘Bakemonogatari’ and the other ‘Monogataris’: The soundtrack has remained just as good as it ever was with the same tracks and only slight changes to the overall score. I always say this but why fix what isn’t broken? Some people constantly demand change and when something stays the same they take it as a lack of progress. This is not true for a series like this. When something seems out of place or is simply bad, that’s when it is time to make a noticeable change. If something works and has been working for many years, it’s not crazy to think that it will continue to work into the future. This is what a feel about the soundtrack of ‘Nisemonogatari’ and the entirety of the, what I’m calling, franchise.
Being used to what you’re hearing doesn’t make the fact that each placement of music is perfect. We’re used to the soundtrack, we know what songs work during what scenes, and it’s clear that the development staff do too. They’ve mastered something and I think it’d be stupid of them to do it any differently. For those who’ve not read any of my other ‘Monogatari’ review or who have not seen the series at all; it’s populated by a bunch of contemporary pieces of music that seem somewhat poppy, a little electric and all around modern. It fits perfectly with the vibe of the series, especially when a dark, booming track comes along, and it always works to properly portray the emotions of a scene.
‘Nisemonogatari’ does so much wrong, in my opinion, but always comes full circle and hooks you back in by the end of an episode. It’s like a comedian at a party who says something to upset the room; by the end of that party, he/she will have every single attendee back on their side doing what they do best. It is as simple as that. Yes, there’s a lot to hate about ‘Nisemonogatari’, there really is, BUT there’s also so much to love about it. It’s almost like the writers are doing these things on purpose just to make that critical moment so much more critical.
It also helps that the series features great, well timed music and some of the highest quality of animation I’ve seen in a very long time. Just because I’ve found myself locked in a constant state of love for the series doesn’t mean I’m going to try to recruit you over to my side, I can see what’s wrong with it but I can also see what’s good about it. It’s just about sifting through the negative to find the positive. Patient watchers welcome.
Judge for yourself by purchasing the ‘Nisemonogatari’ complete collection on Blu-Ray at Hanabee’s online store: Click Here.