Arararagi continues to battle supernatural monsters and seduce pre-pubescent girls.
So, when has a SHAFT sequel ever been good?
Oh, that’s right! Never! The sequel to ef was godawful, the sequels to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei sucked nearly enough to make me hate the original, and I still haven’t finished the Maria Holic sequel since it was so painful to watch. So I had very low expectations coming into Nisemonogatari.
This was compounded by the fact that I didn’t particularly like Bakemonogatari in the first place. It wasn’t bad, per se, just not enjoyable. I liked the Senjougahara arc, but after that they just kept expanding the harem more and more and I lost interest.
Nisemonogatari decided to focus on the aspects of Bakemonogatari I hated most. I’ve created a handy pie chart showing the make-up of Nisemonogatari:
Most of the chart requires no explanation, but I will discuss the pretentiousness a little bit since this is the only debatable item on the list. Pretentiousness is difficult to define and pin down. For me, it’s all about perceived intent. Are the words a character speaks intended to convey some substance, or are they intended to impress the audience with how clever the show is? Nisemonogatari clearly falls in the latter category for me.
There are two main types of conversations in Bakemonogatari. I’ll call them the cheesy action movie climax and the porn scene. In the cheesy action movie climax, the villain throws clever argument after clever argument (usually tangentially related to the issue at hand, such as, in the final fight, whether certain people are “fake”, whatever that means) all while Araragi gets beaten to a bloody pulp. Eventually, the villain gives in to Araragi’s stubbornness and leaves. The “clever” arguments really have no bearing on anything, if you listen to the content they’re vapid and pointless, and are just there to make the audience feel clever.
In the porn scene, Araragi discusses philosophy while taking a bath with a little girl, walking in on a naked woman, or brushing his sister’s teeth. I don’t think that the pretentiousness of these conversations requires much explanation.
Compare the dialogue to, say, Mouryou no Hako. Mouryou no Hako has much more dialogue (one excellent episode is spent entirely seated around a table) but it isn’t pretentious. The dialogue is a thing of substance: what the characters say actually matters. And it’s clever dialogue too, but it isn’t intended to make the viewer feel smart. The dialogue exists to actually say something.
And this is the key issue with Nisemonogatari. The show likes to pretentiously expound on what’s fake and what’s real. But it’s Nisemonogatari that’s empty and fake, and merely an excuse to masturbate, both physically and intellectually. I prefer shows like High School DxD which don’t try to hide what they’re about.
- Storytelling – D - If the story was about head-tilting, they’d get an A.
- Voice – D – Someone please put a restraining order on Shinbo to stop him from doing the same thing over and over again.
- Characters – C - The characters are fine, how they’re used is not.
- Attention Grab – A - Well, that tooth brushing scene did catch my attention…
- Production – C - It looks nice, but do something new Shinbo!
- Overall – D
Recommendations – Katanagatari (same writer but not by SHAFT, so much better), Mouryou no Hako (not that it has anything to do with Nisemonogatari, but it’s an amazing show that everyone and their cousin should watch)