Nisemonogatari is a very understanding series. It understands the difference between pornography and eroticism is a fine line and gyrates provocatively on the latter side. It understands that by emasculating the protagonist and slavishly worshipping the otherwise entirely female cast it champions misandry over feminism. It understands family members transcend the commonly held notions of love and hate and that often reason and logic don’t apply. It also understands, and this is crucial, that as a phenomenon, the Monogatari franchise (including Bakemonogatari before and the upcoming Kizumonogatari film) are fleeting. And damned if it isn’t going to burn magnesium bright while it can.
“inspires slavish devotion and cultish adoration because it has passion circulating in its veins”
All the pieces from Bakemonogatari are in place here: art and animation that sucker-punch the retinas, banter that strafes wit and tedium and a supernatural affliction story framework for support. Like Akiyuki Shinbo’s previous role as director with studio SHAFT the production is, sometimes pompous, but always slick and confident and plays strongly to the intended audience. Specifically, eroticism for otaku. Not the flesh markets that series like Queen’s Blade, Yosuga no Sora or Ladies versus Butlers are, but understanding how to titillate rather than satiate and the confidence to put the story on hold for an episode to indulge in this. Read the rest of this entry
You don’t come to Nisemonogatari (lit. Impostory) for the plot or characters, you come to it to watch an art director take an LSD trip through modernist architecture and a paint-palette orgy. You come for the in-jokes and the riffs on other media. You come to listen to what few other series ever dare to try: banter. And what banter. This is not the banal monologues which often pass for conversation but a shotgun approach to dialogue: sometimes funny, sometimes racy, othertimes just oblique.
But nothing happens.
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It is easy to fall in love with Bakemonogatari when looking at screenshots because for the most part, a collection of screenshots is all you receive with it – the most recent studio SHAFT / Akiyuki Shinbo series. If phrases were associated to anime, Bakemonogatari’s would be “style over substance”. So far does it take this maxim that it’s difficult to describe any point where one feels connected or even mildly interested in the glossy puppets that fornicate with the bold colour palette.
“from ice-queen cynicism to obnoxious trollop without missing a step”
The story, as much as there is one, concerns Araragi who acts as a paranormal busy body for girls – ranging in age from barely legal to certainly illegal – suffering from a plethora of supernatural ailments. To aid him he regularly consults a destitute punk living in a derelict school with a outwardly pre-teen female vampire. The mythos and character back-stories are the sharpest part of the series and the afflictions suffered by the protagonists are certainly above the usual monster of the week fare, although this is perhaps thanks to the light novel source material than the anime adaptation. SHAFT and Shinbo plot their usual course and drench the series in faux abstract visuals – implying there is more meaning than is available and consequently presenting something vapid and soulless more than modern and engaging. Sudden cuts to single colour title cards start off as eccentric but quickly become a crutch to prop up the wildly varying production. Read the rest of this entry