Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Anime review: "Nisemonogatari"

Huh, I just checked, it was more than two years since I have watched "Bakemonogatari". I thought I was last year... Anyway, "Bakemonogatari" - one of my favorite anime. I was, of course, thrilled when I read that a sequel, "Nisemonogatari", is coming out. But, recently, just few weeks ago, I read a discussion on AniDB where people compared BMG and NMG, and many complained that the latter was too much ecchi?!?! I didn't like this, but I hoped for the best.

Now, after finally watching "Nisemonogatari", I must say I that this is one strange anime, even stranger that "Bakemonogatari", and I am not sure I can express my opinion of it coherently. Actually, I am not really sure even what my full opinion is. But on the other hand, let it be noted that I enjoyed it very much and I gave it 9 out of 10 on AniDB.

Anyway, in topic there are no much differences between BMG and NMG. We still follow Araragi Koyomi helping different people (well, girls), overcome their problems connected to supernatural creatures from Japanese and other mythology. As before, this anime consist 95% of talking, whether in dialog or monolog. It is like BMG just took a hiatus from airing and now continued. It has two cases/stories, both involving Koyomi's sisters, Karen and Tsukihi. And this time, difference between real and fake makes a large deal. Thus the name: Bakemonogatari = Ghost Story; Nisemonogatari = Story about pretending (or something close).

As with BMG, where we were plunged into setting without much explanation who is who and what happened previously (and some things obviously did happen before), some events have happened between BMG and NBM that are often referenced but not really explained. Oshino is gone somewhere and Shinobu plays a much, much larger role (and a great one). From one side, I hate not knowing what is going on here, but on the other hand, I really like this way of delivering information - here are the references and you pick what you can. It really entices me to watch new sequels just to find more references, although I will probably end up with more questions than answers (kind of like "Malazan Book of the Fallen"). What I should have done was to watch BMG again before I started watching this sequel, although this is not guarantee that my sense of confusion would me weaker.

So, you are now probably wondering where the strange part is. Well, I am pretty much sure that "Bakemonogatari" didn't revolve around sex as much as "Nisemonogatari". And while my memory regarding this can be somewhat faulty, I am positive that it didn't include any incest. Well, this is not hentai and there is no real incest, but innuendo is quite strong. And not only incest, anime plays with other fetishes like lolicon and harem. There is also lots of fanservice. But all this doesn't feel like ecchi anime, but more like the anime mock it. I am not really sure how to explain this. Also, I presume that this all would sound strange to someone not into anime, so don't even try to tackle this anime if you are a beginner.

There are few things I would like to highlight. First, I would like to see more of Senjougahara. I found her character fascinating in first season - this time she felt much subdued. On the other hand, Shinobu, who played a marginal role in BMG, was the top character for me this time. And I especially liked the ending...

There is not really much I can say in conclusion. Even if you loved "Bakemonogatari", there is no guarantee that you will like "Nisemonogatari" (contrary is true - if you hated BMG, you will hate NMG, too). High quality is still here, just that it have taken some new, strange routes - only for those with acquired taste.

Some time later...

Well, it turns out I was wrong: there are people who hated BMG, and liked NMG. I just read the recommendations on AniDB page of "Nisemonogatari" and there are no two opinions alike. Some hate it because it's too much like BMG; others love it because of it. Some love it because it's not like BMG; others hate it because of it?! To some it's too ecchi, to other it's not enough... As I said, a strange anime.

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