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Nisemonogatari Episode 01 – Review~nya

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And here’s a show that we’ve all been waiting for, Nisemonogatari (偽物語).

Nisemonogatari is a direct sequel to the legendary troll anime studio Shaft‘s blockbuster hit and money cow Bakemonogatari from 2009, originally a light novel series by Nisioisin. Just as Bakemonogatari, this new show is also directed by Akiyuki Shinbo also known for the slap in face hit, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, among many others. The title Nisemonogatari is a portmanteau of Nisemono (swindler, charlatan, impostor or the more physical fake, knockoff, counterfeit) and Monogatari (story, tale.) Few fansub groups thus translate the title as “Impostory,” which I feel is rather appropriate since the fakes being referred to the title are the fire sisters Karen and Tsukihi (and the antagonists) but as is usual for Nisioisin, there could be further wordplay involved.

Before I continue here are a few notes to consider:

1) I will not re-explain the entire Bakemonogatari series.  The show itself does not baby the audience and I will not do so myself.  This is a direct sequel.  Please only read and follow the show after having watched all 15 episodes of Bakemonogatari as it will be worth your time and you will thank me with gifts of gold and myrrh.

2) Entire main cast excluding characters that will not reappear for this show have not changed or have not changed significant therefore the list will be brief.

3) I will not go into detail about personalities of individual characters except new antagonist(s) and the fire sisters Karen and Tsukihi.

Thanks, so… shall we start?

[Gratuitous Height Chart for the Curious]

Introducing the usual recurring cast though only half of the two new lead protagonists had voice role in this episode:

As newer characters are introduced, I will introduce the new cast members as they appear.

Main Cast-

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi (big bro, lead character from Bakemonogatari, vampire)

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi (lil sis, main lead character, half of fire sisters, alias: Karen Bee)

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi (lil’er sis, main lead character, half of fire sisters, alias: Tsukihi Phoenix)

Secondary Cast-

Chiwa Saitou as Hitagi Senjougahara (Koyomi’s girlfriend, sadist, alias: Hitagi Crab)

Emiri Katou as Mayoi Hachikuji (wandering ghost, anti-lolicon, alias: Mayoi Snail/Mayoi MaiMai)

Miyuki Sawashiro as Suruga Kanbaru (Hitagi’s kouhai, overly sexualizes self, alias: Suruga Monkey)

Kana Hanazawa as Nadeko Sengoku (Tsukihi’s childhood friend, has youthful crush on Koyomi, alias: Nadeko Snake)

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa (model student, unrequited love for Koyomi semi-resolved at end of Bakemonogatari, alias: Tsubasa Cat)

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With that out of the way, we start the show.

The events of Nisemonogatari takes place about a month after the end of Bakemonogatari. As is typical of sequels, the show starts at a questionable location where inexplicably Koyomi Araragi is tied up at the abandoned cram school which used to be home to the protagonist’s “friends,” Meme and Shinobu Oshino who have left the area and Araragi, at the end of Bakemonogatari. We find out that he was actually kidnapped by Hitagi Senjougahara for what is assumed to be for his protection (and or for Hitagi’s sick pleasures?). Though we don’t know exactly how many days he’d been there but he guesses that it’s been a day or two.

From there we flashback to the morning of the day of the kidnapping, July 29th. It’s summer vacation and Tsubasa Hanekawa who, along with Senjougahara, frequently tutors Araragi with his school work calls in to cancel their tutoring session. Bored at home, Araragi wanders into a conversation with his younger sister Tsukihi Araragi who is lazily watching television. After many witty remarks and eye candy camera shots later, Araragi decides to call Nadeko Sengoku and tells her he’s thinkning of visitng her that day. Nadeko in an obvious show of desparation and nervous wreck welcomes his potential visit. Koyomi then heads for Nadeko’s house after being told by Tsukihi that she is probabaly not welcomed despite Nadeko being Tsukihi’s childhood friend. And since Koyomi, being a man, does not understand the situation he’s getting himself into.

Araragi, on his way to Nadeko’s house, runs into Mayoi Hachikuji. After a bit of kurfuffle that ensues from their encounter, Koyomi and Mayoi enter into a long discussion that ranges from hesitating to tell Koyomi’s sisters about him turning to a vampire to how inserting “courage” to any deplorable act can turn them into something admirable. As is expected from Shaft, the scenes are a quick back and forth between the characters and their extremely fast dialogue along with eye candy worthy experimental architecture. In the end, Mayoi and Koyomi part ways with Mayoi leaving Koyomi with a philosophical perspective on the consequences or burdens that could be placed on the sisters for having Koyomi tell them about his secret.

—–

This show will be hard to screw up as Bakemonogatari has been extremely successful and by keeping to the same formula, it will most likely reap the same fruit as before. However, this being Shaft they will most likely dazzle with us with something. The story is already well done in the sense that it is coming directly from the light novels. How the rest of the show will be presented would all be guesses so I am guessing that the show like its predecessor will be full of fast and witty dialogue filled with excellent character development and mindbending twists. Anything more than that would be a plus. For those of you who might not have liked Bakemonogatari, unfortunately, this show will most likely have the same issues, such as rapid screen changes every couple of seconds and random buildings and characters doing awkward poses.

For now, I am desperately hoping that Shaft and the director Akiyuki Shinbo will inject more creativity into an already creative show. After all, expectation this high can only be satiated and countered with blow-your-mind delivery.