Welcome to another Ani-TAY review by yours truly, Sylver! I'm reviewing Nisemonogatari this time around and it took me a lot longer to finish this one than I thought it would, but I'm glad I did. I reviewed the first season Bakemonogatari here earlier, so this is a follow up to that article. Nisemonogatari is a good show where Bakemonogatari was a great show. It retains just enough of the amazing qualities of Bake to keep you watching and mostly enjoying yourself, but expanded too heavily on it's negative qualities so that it keeps nagging at you.
Nisemono starts strong, really strong and had me almost thinking that this was going to be another Bakemonogatari, you were a little irked at Senjougahara, but it was so compelling you wanted to find out what the heck was going on. It also allowed you to have some time away from Araragi for an episode or two, which was a nice change for the series. It maintained the absolutely gorgeous visuals and interesting cinematography of the first season, I thought to myself "I don't know what everybody's talking about this is going to be even better!" I was wrong.
Each character had an equal number of episodes in separate arcs last season, and it made for great character development for everyone in the cast, this time the episode count is much more skewed and the cast of characters suffers for it. Mainly Tsukihi, but I'll get to that in a bit. The initial set of episodes after the first doesn't tie directly into the Karen Bee arc, until a little further down the road, introduces a whole bunch of fanservice that isn't necessary to anything and just kind of creeps me out. Especially the fan service towards his sisters, which is disturbing. The show even points out this, and then continues on with it anyway like it doesn't care. It's not until half way through Karen's arc that things begin to get clearer and when they do the show is a lot stronger for it.
The dialog in this show is always fantastic, fast and intelligent, just as it was in the first series, but it doesn't make up for the lack of cohesion in the early episodes and again for two of the later episodes.
The themes of the first series were all about trust, being honest with oneself and romance, with those three tenants all adding up to be a twisted coming of age story, not just for Araragi, but for all of the other characters as well. This series' themes are family and moral shades of good and evil. However, you don't even begin to grasp this until near the end of the first arc.
The season does introduce a few new characters with my favorite and most memorable being Kaiki, a incorrigible con-man with a history with Senjougahara. He's a perfect villain for the series, not interested in violence, good, evil, or Araragi's need to help people. He's driven by money. He also has one of the best voice actors in a while to portray a very interesting character.
The show does pick up again though once it passes it's halfway point wrapping up the Karen bee arc with an insane, and satisfying conclusion, and moves on to the second arc of the show the Tsukihi Phoenix arc, which sadly is only four episodes. The first two of which don't focus on Tsukihi at all! It's nice to see Shinobu get some screen time here, especially with her love for doughnuts, but c'mon it's Tsukihi's arc focus on her a little? This was one of my bigger complaints of the season, because they didn't focus enough on her the emotional gut punch they intended at the end of the season didn't have nearly the impact that it should have.
Also still not enough Senjougahara, she's barely in the season at all which makes it all the weirder to see Araragi flirt with Hanekawa and the other girls in the show, but it's nice to see it all get resolved neatly near the end of the season.
The violence returns at the end and is shockingly even more intense and disturbing than the first season's crazy bursts of it. I felt the show was running on full cylinders when it was entering dark and disturbing territory rather than the corny, pervy humor side. Granted it needs lighthearted moments to make the darker moments seem even darker, but it skewed the balance too far towards light heartedness.
I liked it enough, it fleshed out some characters that needed it desperately, but it ignored some of the strengths from Bakemonogatari, and enhanced the fan service instead, which was disappointing. Episode 8 comes to mind when I think about this. It was a completely pointless episode. It's kinda funny though to see where Greg the Mad's Avatar comes from. I'll be moving on to Nekomonogatari (Black) next. Although I've been watching some other series as well! :3
I give Nisemonogatari 7.5/10