Nisemonogatari – The Anime

Nisemonogatari is the sequel to last week’s Bakemonogatari and again it’s a set (in this case a pair) of (mostly) disconnected stories, filled with disconnected events. It is just as clever, funny, erotic, (even more) perverotic, over the top, opaque, and incomplete as the first one. Also gorgeously drawn. As with Bake-, each episode starts with an OP that features the main character of that story. In this case, it’s Ararage’s little sisters: the bigger little sister, Karen (火憐 Fire Mercy) and the smaller little sister, Tsugi (月火 Moon Fire)*, known (in English) as the Fire Sisters. The ED is the same for all. Sadly, none of the music is as good as in Bake-.

Question: If one is an immortal monster, and the other tries to kick your chest out through your spine,
do they still count as sisters?

The common theme in these stories is fakes, and what it means to be a fake. The Fire Sisters are devoted to fighting for justice, but because they are not strong enough to do anything, it’s really just a game, and they are really just fake justice fighters. Then there’s the villain Kaiki. He’s a con man and a fake, as he will readily admit, although he maintains that if a fake is so good you can’t tell it from the real thing, then it’s better than the real thing, because it achieves realness of its own volition. Finally, there is Tsugi-chan, who fills Kaiki’s definition exactly.

We start the first story with our hero, Ararage Koyomi, he of the ahoge hair, chained to a chair in an abandoned building. It turns out it is (of course) his tsundere girlfriend Senjōgahara who did it. Quick flashback to how this happened: It’s a weekend, and Ararage sets out to visit one of his friends (female, of course), because Senjōgahara and Hanekawa Tsubasa, his normal tutors, are both busy, and he’s bored. His route is something out of Family Circus, during which he encounters all the girls he met in Bake-. It starts off with Hachikuji Mayoi, the twin-tailed lost spirit who has since gotten a two-step promotion, to wandering spirit. He pounces on her and subjects her to all sorts of indignities, after which, they go to lunch.

Question: if one gropes an eleven-year-old who’s been dead for ten years,
is it still child molestation?

He finally gets to his destination, the home of a middle school friend of his sisters, who has a crush on him, to which he remains totally oblivious. She invites him to her house, locks all the doors, and offers to teach him Twister. Next up is well-voiced Kanbaru Suruga, lesbian exhibitionist friend of Senjogahara, who greets him in the nude, then pins him down and tears off his trousers, so it’s just a typical Ararage Saturday. Along the way, he learns that a con man, Kaiki Deishū, has been selling evil charms to schoolkids, then charging them again to lift the curse. He also finds out that the justice-hunting Fire Sisters are going to seek out the villain. He finally meets Senjōgahara, mentions Kaiki’s name, and the lights go out.

Back to the present, Senjōgahara admits that she’s protecting Ararage from Kaiki, who once conned her family out of a large sum of money. When he learns that Karen-chan tried to take on the villain and was infected with some disease, he breaks his bonds and heads home. There, he finds Hanekawa (who appears to have cut her hair) taking care of Karen-chan, so he does the only obvious thing, and goes off to take a bath, in their cathedral-like, wet-floor bathing room, which appears to be larger than their house, and with, as it turns out, his vampire servant, whose name is now Shinobu.

Question: Does it still count as family bathing
if it’s a 400 year old vampire in the form of an eight year old girl?

Far from being a fan-service extravaganza, the heart of this scene is some fairly intense dialogue between the 400-year old vampire and the person who defeated her but won’t let her die. It’s interrupted by Tsugi-chan opening the door and asking why Ararage is taking so long. She looks at Shinobu, in the tub with Ararage, and closes the door. A minute later, she’s back with a large carving knife, but Shinobu has disappeared into Ararage’s shadow again.

Tsugi-chan: Wasn’t there a girl here?
Ararage: (very fast) No, Tsugi-chan, there was no girl with golden hair, pale skin, and flat chest, who spoke in an ancient manner, but looked to be eight years old. You must have imagined it.
Tsugi-chan: Oh, OK. When will you be done?

Only partially recovered, Karen-chan starts to go after Kaigi again. Ararage tries to stop her, and she attacks him. In the ensuing fight, Karen-chan uses Ararage to destroy a local highway interchange, but apparently no-one notices. Ultimately, it’s Ararage and Senjōgahara who confront Kaigi. It’s a bit of an anticlimax. This fake and con man epitomizes the banality of evil. When confronted, he backs down, and agrees to leave town. He also gets in a few digs at Senjōgahara, saying that she was more exciting when he first knew her (when she was weightless), but now she has become boring, and a little fat. Her reply is interesting.

You can criticize the way I was all you want, but don’t you dare talk about how I am now. Ararage loves me this way, and that’s all I need to know.

The second story starts with Karen-chan showing up in his room in Tsugi-chan’s schoolclothes, asking if he will introduce her to Kanbaru, who goes to the same school he does. Since Ararage thinks Kanbaru will be a bad influence, he says he won’t do it unless Karen-chan wins a game of his devising. It turns out that the game is him brushing her teeth — if she can stand it for five minutes, he will introduce her. Thereafter follows one of the most perverotic five minutes you will ever see enacted by two siblings with their clothes on. She is moaning and twisting around, and he is getting more and more aroused. Fortunately they are interrupted by Tsugi-chan.

Why is my brother holding down my sister and brushing her teeth? And why is my sister wearing my school clothes and lying on the bed while my brother brushes her teeth? …

Wait right there, I need to go to the store and buy an awl.

Question: If the only thing you stick into your little sister is a toothbrush, does it still count as incest?

Having lost the game (Karen-chan offered to make it two out of three), he takes her to meet Kanbaru. On the way, Karen-chan cuts off her ponytail (it’s complicated). When Ararage returns home, he finds two monster hunters (one human and one monster), already there. They blow down his front door and attempt to kill Tsugi-chan. Why? Because she is a fake, a monster variously called a phoenix or a cuckoo, who inserts itself into a pregnant woman’s womb, and grows as if her own child. They were told of her presence by Kieke. Ararage and Shinobu fight them, because Ararage doesn’t care that Tsugi is a cuckoo, she’s still his little sister, and Shinobu helps because…月 is the symbol for moon, and the moon is a vampire’s friend. In the end, Ararage convinces them of his feelings. They agree to make an exception this once, because “you can shoot a bird, but not one that’s nesting”, and leave. Final shot of Ararage meeting Senjōgahara on the beach, where it appears that she has cut her hair.

Question: If the fake is better than the real thing,
is it still a fake?

While not as good overall as Bake-, Nisemonogatari upholds the standards of the series. I understand there’s a third season in the works, as well as a movie length OVA. Amazon is carrying the Japanese Region 2 sets at Japanese prices, so right now the only way to get it at a reasonable price is to order both from overseas or to watch Nise  them both on Crunchyroll.

* Yes, the 火 is the same. Yes, it’s pronounced differently. Yes, the kanji might mean Monday Tuesday rather than Moon Fire. Your point?


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2 Responses to “Nisemonogatari – The Anime”

  1. darkness447 Says:

    Reblogged this on Just my guilty pleasure reblog..

  2. Kurt Kremer Says:

    Watched the first episode (Karen Bee). Rich animation, clever “animetography,” stitched with references to other popular anime. Good stuff.

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