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Zephyr's Compass

A blog about writing, photography, and everything in between.

Turn Back The Clock – First Impressions: Nisemonogatari

June 25th, 2012

Approaching half a year since I wrote my first ever article online or otherwise, I figured it’d be a good time to turn back the clock a bit and do a quick re-post. This was originally written for leetNEET way back on January 13th. In the end, I believe that this post, combined with my next one on Rinne no Lagrange turned out to be one of the main reasons I was able to join Random Curiosity as a writer. Like they say, “everything has to start somewhere…” and this is where I started.

Series Info:

  • Prequel: Bakemonogatari (2009)
  • Production Studio: Shaft
  • Air Date: Winter 2012. 1/8 start. (11 episodes x 24 minutes per)
  • Notable Staff/VA for Main Roles:
    • Series Creator: Nisio, Ishin
    • Director: Shinbou, Akiyuki (Arakawa Under the Bridge, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)
    • VA (Araragi, Karen): Kitamura, Eri (Angel Beats!, Ao No Exorcist, Blood+, Last Exile, Working!!)
    • VA (Araragi, Tsukihi): Iguchi, Yuka (Bokurano, Mayo Chiki!, Toaru Majutsu no Index, True Tears)
  • Premise/Plot Summary: In Nisemonogatari, the focus turns to the sisters Karen and Tsukihi Araragi. Together, the two “fire sisters” attempt to capture Kaiki Deishu, who makes his return and begins spreading the curse inflicted on Nadeko. Notably, this is the same swindler who deceived Hitagi prior to the events of Bakemonogatari

Discussion/Impressions: (Series + Episode 01)

Following an agonizing two year wait comes the eagerly awaited sequel to the surprise 2009 hit, Bakemonogatari. The question is, was it worth the wait?

After just one episode, I can say HECK YES. Picking up where Bakemonogatari left off, many of the original characters make a cameo in the first episode, including the ever awesome Hitagi Senjougahara, Koyomi Araragi, and Mayoi Hachikuji. The random colored backgrounds with text are gone this time around, a notable, but welcome omission. However, that’s about all that’s missing from this sequel. The wordplay and character interactions are back in full force and are as memorable as ever, potentially exceeding even that of the original, a comment I don’t say lightly considering how much I loved Bakemonogatari.

But really, when you start off the episode with Senjougahara expressing her love as one where she’d “embrace you even if you were covered in feces” and intentionally modified versions of quotes such as Muhammad Ali’s “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” just for laughs, what more could you ask for? She even adds in the Evangelion quote “You won’t die. I’ll protect you” and uses this reason to kidnap Araragi and chain him down in an empty classroom for 10 days for good measure. Then there’s also the always enjoyable banter between Hachikuji and Araragi, where it’s demonstrated how the addition of the word courage can make any sentence positive and how love (at least its kanji in sticker form) can be bought at the convenience store for a mere 298 yen. If that’s not enough, there’s a witty exchange between Tsukihi and Koyomi just for kicks.

Now I’ll admit that nothing quite happens plot wise, as we didn’t even see the other fire sister Karen per say, but that’s understandable with 10 more episodes left to finish up the Fire Sisters’ arc. Furthermore, like all of Ishin’s other works, the plot is not necessarily the strong point, nor the focus of the show. Don’t get me wrong, the plot most likely will not be anywhere close to bad, but the fact of the matter is the show revolves more around the characters and their great exchanges rather than an epic, engaging plot. In a way, the plot is merely a device to tie together the intricate interactions between characters that you’ll fall in love with and will re-watch the show many, many times for when it’s all said and done.

On that note, I have to give some kudos to Shaft for their production quality this time around. Rather than employing the colored backgrounds with text as scene shift place holders, they not only omitted these this time around, but filled them with actual backgrounds (and some gorgeous ones at that). In addition, the returning voice actors, especially Kamiya Hiroshi (Koyomi) and Chiwa Saito (Senjougahara) continue to reprise their roles in masterful fashion, bringing a great dynamic and feel to their respective characters that I don’t think any other duo of actor + actress could accomplish with those roles.

Overall, I know it’s just the first episode and many series have gone down the drain following their initial showing, but at this point, I’m impressed. So far, my expectations have definitely been met and exceeded. It definitely looks like to be the sure fire winner as best anime of the season at this point in time, even with the surprising showings from other winter anime such as the newly debuted horror series Another, action series Rinne no Lagrange, and the carry overs from the Fall 2011 season (Guilty Crown and Persona 4: The Animation). In other words, you owe it to yourself to watch Nisemonogatari, even if it’s the only show you plan to watch this season, though of course, you’d best have watched the prequel first.

OP/ED:

  • Opening is “Futakotome“, sung by Chiwa Saito. What can I say? Definitely another one of those addicting songs that grow on you over time. Notably you can hear the subtle reference to Senjougahara’s original OP theme from Bakemonogatari (Staple Stable), with the background animation showing key scenes from the Senjougahara’s original arc as well, which is definitely a plus. Furthermore, there’s also the inclusion of the sound a box cutter opening and closing, a reference to the first episode of Bakemonogatari, which brings back all sorts of nostalgia.
  • There was no ED theme this week, but it will be “Naisho no Hanashi” by ClariS in future episodes. Remember, the rather new ClariS duo recently sang themes for Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica.

Some Related Notes:

  • Nisemonogatari is the first of two related series to be released this year, the second being Kizumonogatari, the movie prequel to Bakemonogatari, which is scheduled to have a late 2012 release.
  • The entire anime series are adaptations of Nisio Ishin’s light novels, which share the same names.
  • The last light novel relating to the series was published in Japan in December of last year.
  • The other light novels in the series are Kabukimonogatari, Hanamonogatari, Otorimonogatari, Onimonogatari, and Nekomonogatari. Some sources say that many of these will receive anime adaptations in the future, or at least, there is the intention to do so.

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