Posted by psgels on 17 March 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

To start this review, here is where I was coming from when starting Nisemonogatari: I really did not like its predecessor, Bakemonogatari. I had a ton of problems with how Shaft executed that series; it was trying too hard, the tons of still frames, far-away shots and blank frames made it look more like a slide-show than an actual anime, the characters bored me, the subject material didn’t feel interesting. It was a chore to sit through. In the meantime though, Shaft changed a lot. It’s not like they stopped making boring shows (Arakawa’s second season was a pain to sit through…), but their successes have allowed them to get a budget to actually animate their series really well. Enter Nisemonogatari.

To my surprise, I actually liked this series. I have a ton of problems with it, don’t get me wrong. But they actually get less in the way compared to Bakemnonogatari, and I was actually able to enjoy the good stuff inbetween these flaws.

Now, by far the biggest improvement and the biggest reason to watch this series is the visual presentation. Unlike Shaft’s early work, the characters in this series are actually animated, and they’re animated really well. Heck, Nisemonogatari was by far the best animated series of this Winter Season, and that is with a season that has a Shoji Kawamori series and a Brains Base series. There is a ton of creativity in the images without looking like it’s trying too hard with pretentious references or unnecessary convoluted detail. This show is a visual feast.

Bakemonogatari also really got on my nerves with its really poor storytelling. It had a ton of dialogue and all, but in the end its arcs never really seemed to amount to anything. To my surprise however, I actually really liked the way in which the both arcs that comprises this series resolved themselves. The dialogue was actually used well, and the growth tat the different characters go through is much more interesting. So yeah, I liked this show. but it really made it hard at times.

You might notice that Bakemonogatari had 15 episodes which combined to five different arcs, and even then it was dragged out. Nisemonogatari has 11 episodes… and consists out of only two arcs. It takes forever to get anywhere, and especially its first half drags on horribly. And ti does so with an ungodly amount of fanservice.

Seriously, this show randomly brings in characters, giving them a rather shallow reason to appear again and then proceeds to have them walk around naked, bathe with the male lead and all kinds of other stuff. At best it’s creative and clever, but at worst it’s realy distasteful. You’d think that at least the dialogue would make up for it, but even that grinds to a halt when the characters end up talking about nothing else but fanservice, over and over and over again.

This really ends up eating away at the majority of the series. The entire female cast needs to have had a long dragged out fanservice scene with the male lead that doesn’t go anywhere. It’s just way too much. Just as you think you’re done with one girl, the male lead moves on to the next and it starts all over again. The important lines that are tacked onto it that actually develop the characters and add more to them feel tacked more than anything. This show even jumps the implied incest bandwagon without really contributing anything to it. I don’t mind fanservice if it’s used well and all, but this was just way too much.

Thankfully, the points where it gets down to business, it really becomes good, and this series does really give some good insights into its lead cast. The dialogue whenever the fanservice isn’t involved is actually dedicated to fleshing out the characters and the wordplay is more put to the side-lines. Watch this if you want to see an arthouse flick, because it definitely is a well directed visual feast.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Great dialogue, way TOO MUCH fanservice.
Characters: 8/10 – Good development, interesting cast, well fleshed out characters for once.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Gorgeous and fluid animation with very creative shots and images. The music is nothing special, though.
Setting: 8/10 – Even though nobody seems to live in the world of Nisemonogatari outside of the main characters, the underlying themes make up for itwith some neat ideas and backstories.

Dororon Enma-Kun Meerameera
High School of the Dead
Michiko e Hatchin

20 Responses

  1. Dynellen says:

    To give some context for the extreme levels of fanservice in this anime: the author loves writing and he has said that he wrote Nisemonogatari alone. It was something he wrote purely for his own enjoyment, fulfilling his fetishes and he really said that he never meant for it to be published.

    It’s considered to be the weakest novel in the monogatari-series by fans. But even then I greatly enjoyed watching this weekly, all the Shaftism and references and quirky dialogue were thoroughly enjoyable since for once I didn’t have to sit through the endless clichés that fill almost all the other anime these days.

    I’m very much looking forward to the Kizumonogatari movie and hoping Nekomonogatari gets animated soon.

    • psgels psgels says:

      Actually, I’d say that Nisemonogatari also has its fair set of cliches. Like a lot of other shows though, it also brings new stuff to the table.

      • Buck Wade says:

        Dude, the characters suck. They show no sort of emotion in their face or tone of voice, they just beat each other up and act as though nothing happened! Why isn’t anybody actually paying attention to this anime’s flaws?

  2. Cytl says:

    I loved the last episode of Nise. It’s a shame Tsukihi’s arc was so short in comparison with Karen’s (I really liked the former a lot more). Now it’s time to wait for Kizumonogatari and see if the rest of the novels (where hings get really crazy and new narrators appear)are animated: I hope so.

    • Mark says:

      Shinbo has stated that he plans to animate the whole Monogatari series and that there are currently 10 ‘Nisio Isin Anime’ projects planned (including Bakemonogatari, Katanagatari, Nisemonogatari and Kizumonogatari but not including Medaka Box) with it being Shinbo’s intention to make the 10th project an anime-original series. If, as you say, things get really crazy from here on out then this is great news.

      I have to say I thought this series was a lot weaker than the previous, though. I enjoyed it but it felt too loose, the stories less interesting and the dialogue didn’t feel as strong after the first couple of episodes.

      I also hope Shinbo focusing on Monogatari doesn’t hurt Zaregoto’s chances at an anime adaption as, from reading the two novels that were released in English, that felt like his most impressive work.

      Hopefully Nisio Isin’s anime adaptions are earning so much money that other (good) studios will be jumping at the opportunity to animate his other different series. Fingers crossed for Medaka Box. It isn’t as interesting or clever as his light novels but it has it’s moments.

      • Cytl says:

        Zaregoto… sometimes that sounds like a dream. It has awesome plot, great characters and plays directly with the reader’s heart. It also avoids the elements some people hate about Nisioisin (almost no wordplay and no fanservice; at least as far as I’ve read). The series is already completed so there would be no problem with an original ending. Maybe one day.

  3. Will says:

    Probably the worst series Shaft ever conceived.

    • Jerry says:

      I like the part where you backed up your opinion with an explanation oh wai-

    • Buck Wade says:

      I agree with you there. The characters show no sort of emotion, just get kidnapped then try to kill the male lead and act as though nothing happened. The thing that sucks about senjougahara, is that she never ever shows any sort of emotion in her voice or face. Really? You call that an awesome character? So yeah, the characters are poor souls who get saved by the male lead, then beat him up and show no sort of remorse. Whenever something’s happening, the show side tracks to something stupid, like how streets go and stuff. Really? This anime is just overrated

  4. ark says:

    Nisemono was pretty weak compared to bakemonogatari, and this episode just proved it, what a boring final. Expected a lot more from Shaft

    • Buck Wade says:

      Yeah, Nisemonogatari kept side tracking to stupid and annoying stuff. I mean we’re watching an anime that focuses on the supernatural and talking, so we want the characters to just talk about the supernatural but NO! Instead they say, “lets talk about girl’s underwear!” Seriously, the conversations are just annoying

  5. Litho says:

    The main problem with this show is that it spends way too much time talking about nothing. The pseudo-witty wordplay would be bearable if it made a point, but most of the time it ends up sounding like a pre-teen reprising your conventional gerrymandering state politician during election season.

  6. dm00 says:

    I felt Nisemonogatari to be the weaker of the two Nisioisin series that Shinbo has tackled. I understand the complaints about Bakemonogatari‘s stylishness, but I disagree with them — I thought Bakemonogatari was more experimental and playful, and I appreciated that. Nisemonogatari seems more conventional (although the production values are higher — presumably the studio has an adequate budget and staff for the project, which was clearly not the case when it was animating both Bakemonogatari and one of the Zetsubou Sensei series). Big budgets seem to have led SHAFT to flabby thinking.

    But I think a big chunk of the disappointment lies with the source material. The Nisemonogatari stories just seem weaker than the Bakemonogatari stories, and stretched out over more episodes, too. Less drama (perhaps deliberate on Nisioisin’s part), less interesting talk, less novelty. Bakemonogatari I can see watching over and over again. Nisemonogatari, I can’t.

  7. Mike Stevens says:

    This review is fair.

    • Litho says:

      I think the review is too forgiving and the score too generous.

      • Mike Stevens says:

        Well im happy to disagree with you there. I mean this anime is hard to score. It does a lot of things amazingly well like visuals, sound, and witty dialogue. But fails completely on other points like the story line. I understand its Echii and this is an adaptation from a book but the story line still is poor regardless. I would want to give it a lower score from that point but its hard to with all the other great aspects. 75 would be as lowest i would score it. When i see an 80 on psgels site what i see is “Its not the best, but its worth watching”. What did you think of the show Litho?

  8. RABUJOI says:

    Both arcs sputtered at their starts but they ended on very strong, confident notes, albeit in totally different ways. Dealing with Kaiki meant a war of words and negotiations and lies. Dealing with Yozuru started out as a physical confrontation, but Koyomi’s determination ultimately led her to stand down. IMO, the best two episodes were the Karen finale and the Tsukihi finale.

    • Oroboros says:

      I agree with RABUJOI. Both arcs ended on a powerful note, which demonstrates NisionIsin’s gift for rhetoric. It could have been better, had the focus on the nisemono been stronger throughout, rather than a point of interest the elliptic plot kept orbiting.

      Shaft pulled off a fantastic job in adapting the slippery material with gorgeous eye candy and solid animation that adds/enhanced the story.

      While NisionIsin did slip up into self-induglence, and Shaft exacerbated this with “fan-service” type of scenes, Nisemonogatari surpassed my expectations and is one of my favorites of 2012.

  9. Ren3D says:

    Hey, whenever you give a review, could you please give a short synopsis about the story as well. It’d really help decide if I want to watch the anime or not. Thanks.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 04:38 AM)
    @Bam: That berserk chapter isn’t in English its in Spanish =<
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 04:07 AM)
    Kaiser marathons a re-watch of star wars, makes list of pros and cons:
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 09:50 PM)
    @Aidan: well interestingly in the pilot “what doth life?” causes a file not found error, so it fitted perfectly.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 04:24 PM)
    @Bam, Nope. Never seen Xavier.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 03:25 AM)
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 10:22 PM)
    @Aidan: it does seem like you’ve actually seen Xavier, in which case I’m impressed. Didn’t think you had it in you.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 09:35 PM)
    Speaking of errors, can anybody else open Evil Genius Scanlations page? I keep getting a gateway error. I know there should be a new Berserk on there but some force is keeping it from me. This is messed up.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:38 PM)
    @Bam, Easy. 404 not found
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:45 AM)
    It takes a true magnificence to propose such a grand question as: What dot life?!
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    @Kaiser: the show does vary in quality, but for the first season they generally crank up the insanity with every episode until a very remarkable season finale where Xavier faces his worst enemy.

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