Posted by psgels on 25 February 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

If I had to give this season a label, it’d be the Winter of WTF. Seriously, Nisemonogatari: you as well?

Anyway, for the reason of this post: there just wasn’t anything interesting this week. Danshi was more miss than hit this week, Ano Natsu continued with that boring beach arc (though admittedly it was much better than the week before), Inu X Boku was the same as what it’s always been and I don’t want to repeat myself on it yet again, Black Rock Shooter has completely descended into forced emo and Smile Precure still is in that boring introduction arc of its. Which brings me to Nisemonogatari.

To my complete surprise: I actually liked Nisemonogatari this month. Heck, for the past weeks, it did exactly what I hoped it would do. Something actually happened, and I actually really liked the way the Karen Bee arc was resolved. It was an anti-climax, but it worked well and was very well built up. Finally I actually got the chance to enjoy this series for what it was and marvel at its animation without being bothered by everything else.

However, the fact remains: this show is just way too long. The first episodes of Nisemonogatari were pretty much Araragi walking around until something happened, and passing the time with tons and tons of fanservice. And it lead to this episode. I have very mixed feelings for this episode. I really want to praise the creativity here. The toothbrush scene was just weird in every single way. The animation and direction were also excellent. At the very least: this was a great piece of animation. But this show has also just completely turned into a farce. Is this show too going for the incest? I thought we finally dropped that dead horse. If this was an attempt to be subtle and clever, that part of it at least failed, because it 1) has already been done by a ton of other shows and 2) exactly went back to the themes of the first few episodes in which hardly anything happens aside from tons and tons of fanservice.

I really consider Nisemonogatari better than Bakemonogatari at this point. Another great annoyance that’s gone now: the series no longer feels like watching a bunch of voice actors narrating over a slide-show. They actually animate the characters here. This episode had some of those “ahoge-shots”, but they were far more balanced than before.

I really noticed that after Bakemonogatari, the animation in the Shaft series improved significantly. They seemed to have especially invested a lot in inbetween animation, and the first series where this really stood out was with Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru. For once, this series actually doesn’t feel rushed. Now that they actually have a period of one year in which they release just one series, they can actually focus much more on making that show good. It’s just a shame that it wastes so much time on pointless fanservice over and over. If it was just some random fanservice I would not have minded, especially with the creativity that this show had been doing it. But there were just large parts of this show were nothing just happened aside from the characters talking about random smutty topics. It’s just too much. Still, this episode did show the most amusing ones, even though in the bigger picture it was just blah.
Rating: #%&! (???)

21 Responses

  1. PhoenixDown says:

    What the heck did I just watch? >.<

  2. DmonHiro says:

    WHAT… DID… I… JUST… WATCH?

    Seriously… what the hell was that? I don’t know if I liked it, hated it, or even understood it. I also have the weirdest boner right now.

  3. Oroboros says:

    Zod bless Japan. Agreed with the shift in Shaft’s animation in Nisemonogatari compared to the static original Bakemonogatari release.

    FWIW I’m not sure whether incest titillation has ever been done better.

    Just because murder has been done a million times since Homer doesn’t mean no future works in literature should ever include murder. Bad argument for a critic and psgels should know better.

    • psgels psgels says:

      What? You mean the incest?

      My big issue with incest is how anime treats it as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. Things have actually gotten to the point where if a show has a brother and sister, they are more likely to be into each other than not. “dead horse” may indeed not have been the most appropriate term, but it’s got nothing to do with murder, I just hate how something like this became a fetish. It got especially bad a few years ago, when they just kept releasing incest show after incest show.

      • Oroboros says:

        I think it has less to do with the content and more about why incest is a fetish in Japan. Nisemonogatari is originally written by a Japanese man and Shaft is composed of Japanese artists — all created for a Japanese audience. That should tell us more about the content, that their fetishism is due to an exceedingly formal culture, than our own preconceptions about incest. Reading our own preconceptions into the show prevents us from understanding it.

        I’m an American and incest bothers me too — but we need to look past ourselves.

        Plus I am new to anime so I did not know about incest being a cliched, cheap avenue :(

  4. SB says:

    The way I read it, it seems like you’re implying SHAFT is at fault for adding extra fanservice scenes, but from what I heard of those who read the light novels it’s actually a faithful adaptation. The whole trippy and exaggerated animation and everything is indeed SHAFT’s work, but in the novels they really spend a lot of time with Araragi having a conversation in the bath with a naked loli vampire and the orgasmic tooth-brushing scene with his sister.

    Nise is weird like that I guess, but if they want to adapt the monogatari series they can’t skip it, and I actually like that they don’t just have a lazy throwaway fanservice scene, but go the extra mile to make it as grand as possible. At least that way it’s more interesting and memorable and not boring like most ecchi anime.

    • psgels psgels says:

      That criticism wasn’t necessarily directed at Shaft, but more on the series itself. Source material or not, to me it feels like the fanservice is just too much and too pointless.

      • illusion says:

        You can’t critize a show for pointless and too much fanservice when the show itself is built on it. Just face it, bake and nise wouldn’t be nearly as popular if it wasn’t for the fanservice.

        • psgels psgels says:

          Why can’t I? I mean, compare it to a series that’s built around watching paint dry. It’s fine and dandy of course, but that doesn’t make me want to watch it.

          And of course I agree that the series wouldn’t be as popular if it wasn’t for the fanservice. That goes for anything where you stick a pair of boobs on, but that doesn’t necessarily make it better. IMO at least.

          • Random_Passerby_Number_612 says:

            Paint drying doesn’t have all that delicious Karen. But let’s put that aside.

            Art. Is it pointless? Of course, the fact that this is fanservice we are talking about may make that claim appear far less serious than it actually is. But let’s face it, what Shinbou and NisiOisin are making here is not simple “boobs in your face” kind of annoying fanservice. It has great style, it has excellent direction to emphasize that style, and it’s even animated now (in contrast to SOME parts of its predcessor), and animated with more effort than most creators put even into fight scenes. YMMV, but I can appreciate this art from the very bottom of my heart, simply for what it is.

        • meow says:

          Give up, illusion. XD It’s just how psgels is. This is something you have to accept with his blog. Different people have different tastes and I’d like to think of psgels’ as the more respectable type.

          If you’re looking for people to gush with you over the fanservice, might I suggest the guy with the walk-in Heineken fridge… *ahem* …Kurogane’s? There’s the other end of this particular spectrum. Um…possibly NSFW. That guy really loves making his point with screenshots. Not that anyone’s complaining. XD

        • Ebod says:

          Did you just seriously say someone can’t criticize a show for too much fanservice?

          As in, we can’t criticize a show for pointless pandering, no matter how “pretty” it is? Wow. And of course, if this was a BL show with pandering to females instead of males, the double standards present would present a whole different story.

  5. Mike Stevens says:

    psgels you the man! I don’t blame you for not blogging this one earlier its got the weirdest setup, i don’t like the setup much myself. Its not like any other anime.

    Typical Episode: Araragi meets with 2-3 girls and starts a long argumentative dialogue sometimes being deep and philosophical. After 5-7 argument dialogues add a fight scene.

    This series has little focus on storeyline and character developement. Its two main elements are Argument dialogues and echii scenes. The echii element is blatantly obvious. The philisophical elements come a lot from dialogue with hatchikutchi and in the last episode they put it in the white screen at the 50 sec mark.

    However, Philosophical arguments and echii are both complete opposites. They are trying to do two things that really don’t relate to each other at all.

    Its not typical at all and it diffidently has its flaws but the dialogue, animation, and sound track is great so i keep watching. What do you think?

  6. AidanAK47 says:

    God damn it, I planned on ignoring this show completely because the first one annoyed me so much. But everyone keeps mentioning this toothbrush scene and I have gotten curious…

    Meh, screw it. It’s not worth going through mountains of useless dialogue.

    • Scruffy says:

      If you are going to watch this for the toothbrush scene only you might as well just go watch some Hentai. Actually Shinbo has directed Hentai before (under a different name) so you can even see shinbo hentai

      • Aidanak47 says:

        Watch hentai? How the hell would that help me figure out what the big deal about this toothbrush scene is? I just want to figure out why everyone’s making a big deal out of it.
        But considering that response I can guess…

  7. Rubix says:

    I will never be able to look at a toothbrush the same way again…

  8. Chips03 says:

    The most important element of the books is their dialogue which is always slow moving plot wise but very witty and addicting to read and I think its great that the anime is faithful to the books. This adaptation isn’t trying to follow some trend or anything, it’s simply following the book, trying to convey the right feeling.

  9. Censor this! says:

    I’m personally glad that you’ve decided to blog this psgels! I’ve always liked your opinions and I was curious as to how you would react to Nisemono this past month. Overall the dialogue does tend to revolve much too much around fan service, but as someone mentioned; at least it has a bit of style to go with it. I think the thing which is really holding my attention with this series is the art, animation and soundtrack, other than that, the meandering plot feels like a wasted opportunity to really create something dynamic. In some ways, this series definitely excels over Bakemono in a number of ways (especially in the art and animation department), however Bakemono had a more interesting plot, and things actually happened. Maybe Nise seems so pointless because Oshino is gone, but I have no idea…

  10. jzar says:

    I glad that you blogged it. I was going wtf myself….i even watched it twice…which should say something. Glad to see the comments and thoughts. I have to say they are not boring, heck I liked all the new nise. Pointless? not quite, everything did tie in together….even the sis thing was hinted at. Good job on bringing a strange story together. Kinda made the old new again.

  11. jreding says:

    One may have different opinions re the fanservice (I like it, even though I admit that sibling incest has become overused).

    In any case, I’m glad that you point out the animation quality. In my opinion this is one of the series with the best animation this season. The characters are drawn very detailed, the movements are pretty fluid (in particular the fight scene with Karen in ep. 7). The composition of the pictures and the use of symbols and abstraction are as inventive as they used to be in Bakemonogatari.

    After shows like Dance in the Vampire Bund and Arakawa I was worried that SHAFT’s animation would become mediocre. But Madoka and this one (even though not Denpa Onna) let me continue to keep SHAFT in high regard.

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