Nisemonogatari Review — D

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)

15 thoughts on “Nisemonogatari Review — D

    1. Oh wait, for some reason I thought there were two seasons and an OVA, but there were actually three seasons and two OVAS. My memory is clearly hazy, but I think it’s the third season that was really awful. (although I still remember liking the first season most)

  1. Well said. It’s the ‘P’ word that separates substance from trifle. Then there’s the spectacle of fanservice Nise operates on that many of its defenders tout, but it’s not even that special if you remember Matrix boobs from HotD or flying panties from Sora on Otoshimono.

    1. Exactly! If you want fanservice, there are much much better options out there! The only reason I can see to defend Nise is if you really really really like head tilts.

  2. “So, when has a SHAFT sequel ever been good?”

    Zoku/Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei rocked <3

    Maria Holic Alive was just as good as the first season.

    Hidamari Sketch x365 was the best.

    On the other hand, they have Arakawa 2. Awful

    1. My memory is really hazy, as I even forgot there were three full seasons of Zetsubou Sensei, but the third season was definitely awful and I don’t remember the second season being quite as good as the first.

      For Maria Holic I didn’t particularly like the first season, but I liked the second even less (still haven’t finished it).

      I’ve only watched the first season of Hidamari (will get around to it eventually… but it’s hard to stay focused on it) and still haven’t seen Arakawa season two. Guess I won’t bother.

      Still, I’m not giving them a break just because of ef. I absolutely *loved* the first season. But that second season was awful!

  3. Can’t really say much about SHAFT sequels, since I’m not a fan of them in general. My overall opinion of this season can be summed up in how it covered half the material the first season did in the same amount of time. It also did a bad job at integrating the story and fanservice like the first season did, since a lot of scenes felt very pointless.

    1. That’s a good point. I didn’t like the first season much either, but it did do a much better job of integrating the fanservice into the story. Here it was just tacked on for its own sake.

  4. Ahem. Didn’t Mouryou no Hako spend nearly two episodes sitting around a table? The first episode of it had them approaching the house, but the pre-table portion lasted perhaps five minutes max.

    1. At least two episodes. Definitely two of the best episodes I’ve ever seen as well. I loved that show.

  5. I confess that I enjoyed Nisemonogatari very much. I don’t deny that the dialoge is ultimately pointless (“brain candy” so to speak) and of course one can have different opinions about the fanservice. So I’d like to comment only on two things:

    I can’t remember having ever seen a piece of basically porn which looks so sleek. This and the pseudo clever dialoge sets it apart from other shows. I prefer this a lot over shows like Highschool DXD (as far as I know this show). Also, Nisemonogari’s fanservice had some shock value to me as I didn’t expect it. Compared to Nisemono I find most run-of-the-mill fanservice shows actually quite timid (not Yosuga no Sora, though!). Yes, and of course this show’s girls look different from your average fanservice show like Highschool DXD at al. (I’m thinking rather of Mina Tepes ;-).

    The “C” for production doesn’t do this show justice at all imho. This show just looks awesome and it is not only the artwork but also the BGM, the timing etc. – everything fits! I can’t think of many shows in the last seasons which had such excellent production values.

    Re SHAFT sequels in general: I liked ef melodies even better than memories. I admit that I was quite moved by Yuuko’s tragic story. I also liked Mizuki (and the way she dressed!) very much. In terms of production values it was not inferior to memories, either. So I wouldn’t say that SHAFT sequels are never good.

    1. I liked ef melodies even better than memories

      WHAT????!!!! Normally our tastes align pretty well, but this I can’t see at all ahahaha. It took me two years to finish melodies, it put me to sleep. Memories I marathoned in a day.

      It does look nice… but the style has gotten old for me. I can’t take any more head tilts…

  6. This was a lot more enjoyable than Bakemonogatari. I was able to finish this without much problem. Bakemono is just so tedious to watch, felt more slow paced. There’s some witty dialogue, bu that alone doesn’t make a good show. And I hate random walls of text…

    EF the memories aired at the same time as Clannad, and I don’t see how it’s even close to as good as Clannad (the best show in this genre). Even True Tears, which wasn’t anything special, has a better story than EF…

  7. Never finished Bakemono because I felt it wore out what made it special and became pretty boring after the first two arcs (I did enjoyed those two arcs though).

    But I loved those head-tilts!
    I want more head-tilts in my animu.
    The serie should be 100% stylish head-tilts with dramatic music now that would be an idea.

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