Heroine Karen is pleased to make your acquaintance!
|Hey, what do you know, Crunchyroll has added 1080p to their streams, and Nisemonogatari is one of the ones supported! Good news for premium account holders. Anyway, without further ado, here goes my first solo post.|
The 2nd episode starts off with a little bit of the prologue, in which Koyomi briefly introduces his sisters to us. Karen is an athletic 15 year old girl and a karate expert, boyish in style though not in looks. Tsukihi is a little more reserved, but hides a very “hysterical” side to her under the surface. They are established as the “Fire Sisters of Tsuganoki 2nd Middle School,” and believe themselves to be warriors of justice, even if Koyomi looks at it as kid’s play. Then, it’s already the 2nd episode, so time to pull out a new OP!
The notorious Fire Sisters of Tsuganoki 2nd Middle School
After that, we pick up right where we left off at the end of episode 1, with Koyomi arriving at Nadeko’s home as promised. Nadeko is alone and, shall we say, suspiciously happy to be alone with him, locking the front door behind them (3 locks!), then inviting him up to her room and locking the door to that as well (PIN protected!). Oh, and she’s insistent that he not go into her closet. A hint at Nadeko’s motivations and things to come? I hope so.We’re also introduced to the first of the new character designs in Nisemonogatari, pointed out by Koyomi. If you recall, Nadeko in Bakemonogatari was mainly defined by the things that covered her body and face: her roomy jacket and baggy hat, along with the locks of her hair that blocked her eyes. Nadeko hasn’t exactly gotten a makeover, but her style is completely different here, her hair band deliberately pulling her bangs back so that her face is completely visible.
Nadeko’s new look.
The two play the game of Life, and there’s lot of flirting by Nadeko here, though it’s all completely lost on Koyomi. Especially when she brings out Twister. Yeah, there’s really only one reason for a boy and a girl play that game alone. Their conversation turns to Koyomi’s sisters. Apparently, as part of their whole warriors of justice gig, they’ve been asking around about Nadeko’s snake experience from the 1st series, but she’s been unable to tell them because they don’t believe in the supernatural.
Nope, nothing suspicious about those eyes.
Nothing suspicious about that position, either.
Nadeko pushes Koyomi out of the house when her mother comes home, cutting their “play”date short. All of a sudden freed up for the day again, Koyomi decides to give Suruga a call. He’s been going to her place a couple of times each month to help her clean up her room, and that seems like a good use of this freed day. During the call, Suruga’s grandmother happens to pass by after she stripped for Koyomi in her room, which puts Suruga in a funk. Koyomi is now truly excited to get to Suruga’s house to see her in this kind of state for the first time and books it home to get his bike, but before he could make much progress, he runs into the heroine of this story, his one and only oldest younger sister, Karen Araragi. Finally, she’s here, in all her Eri Kitamura voiced goodness, upside down on her hands on a fence! As a responsible older brother, obviously Koyomi can’t go without at least finding out what’s going on, so he decides to put his trip to Suruga’s on hold to find out what she’s up to.
Our first real look at the heroine of this arc.
Unfortunately for him, Karen is pretty opaque in describing what she’s doing. She calls it volunteer work, as Tsukihi alluded to in the 1st episode. The exchange between siblings actually goes pretty similarly to the previous one, with a clear sense that their relationship is strained. Karen is definitely more out there than Tsukihi, never content to just stand or sit and talk, but having to do exercises, standing on her hands in the street once she falls, then taking a bridge pose when Koyomi knocks her down. The girl’s a fitness nut, and that Bruce Lee style yellow track suit accentuates it. She gets a phone call, one that Koyomi doesn’t hear, but which seems to prompt her to leave, promising to talk to him with Tsukihi that evening. Naturally, she rolls away instead of walking.
This girl just can’t stand still!
When she does stand still, the height difference is obvious.
Koyomi walks into Suruga’s room to find her still naked and her mood pretty down. He helps her clean up, discovering her old basketball jersey in the process, which he convinces her to put on. And as conversations with Suruga are wont to do, it turns to her perversion. Koyomi decides to take advantage of her state and challenges her perversion level, which prompts her to prove him wrong with some aggressive stripping and groping. The episode ends with Koyomi, in the middle of experiencing the other end of such actions, resolving never again to start his exchanges with Mayoi with sexual harassment.
Looking very Sengoku/Hachikuji there, Kanbaru/Araragi.
But wait, we also get to see the new ED, Naisho no Hanashi sung by ClariS, written by ryo, with art by Hajime Ueda (latter 2 also having served the roles for the Bakemonogatari ED)! No next episode preview again, though.
Shinobu, Mayoi, Hitagi, and Tsubasa as depicted by Hajime Ueda for the ED.
Koyomi’s 2 sisters, presumably in his mind’s eye. The pervert.
Twister with Nadeko is a game you can’t lose (Koyomi does win, FYI).
Believe it or not this was indeed the pose Karen had in the novel. Now, the choice of camera angle is all Shaft’s responsibility.
Wow, where to begin? My main worry after the 1st episode was the pacing, that this would start off too slowly especially compared to Bakemonogatari. But this episode put to rest my concerns, covering much more ground than I thought it would. It was visually on par with the 1st episode, still with excellent animation when called for, such as the bits with Karen and her acrobatics. And talk about a fanservice bonanza! Nadeko managed to make some progress by making Koyomi conscious about not getting turned on by her, but I doubt most viewers had as much restraint! I’m not sure where the story is going concerning her, but surely the secret closet is something that will come back at some point? Her love for Koyomi was starting to take on creepy levels at times, especially with the door locking and forcing him to take off his clothes, and her new look was a good match for her more aggressive style. And hey, she has a room that her crush must ABSOLUTELY CERTAINLY not look at, just like a certain pink haired yandere…
Then there were Suruga and Karen. During the novel prologue, Koyomi specifically compared the two, saying that Karen was like Suruga except without the respect for him, and that showed. Suruga was the same as we always knew her – except physically, with her hair grown long – laid back and teasing when it came to Koyomi. Karen was playful as well but also quite standoff-ish, bull-headedly refusing to tell her brother what she was up to. Visually, it was fun to see her in all those poses. Curious that she decided not to stand up, as her looking down at Koyomi could have been a tool to intimidate during their conversation.
Story-wise, not much has happened, but the show is dropping hints here and there, sticking to the same subjects and themes. That is, the idea of keeping the supernatural world a secret from Koyomi’s sisters, which was a major part of the Mayoi scene in episode 1 and the Nadeko scene in this episode. There are also the secrets that the sisters are keeping from Koyomi, regarding their activities as warriors of justice. Neither Tsukihi nor Karen have been at all revealing about this, the former in an obnoxious way, the latter in a playful way. Perhaps less central to the plot given the title of the arc, the theme of the secret continues with Nadeko hiding the contents of her closet. Clearly these secrets will collide eventually, and we’re meant to keep these thoughts in mind as the show progresses. One thing I’ve noticed about Nisio Isin from reading Bakemonogatari and Kizumonogatari and watching Katanagatari is that he is very good at dropping plot points here and there early on and then tying them all back together at the finish.
And speaking of secrets, can’t forget about the ED, Naisho no Hanashi (“Secret Story” in English)! I must admit, I’m not a big fan of ClariS, or at least the songs sung by them. Naisho no Hanashi definitely has the ryo/supercell feel, but you can tell that he was trying to write to ClariS’s style, much more pop and less rock. It’s certainly no Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari but hey, expecting this ED to live up to Bakemonogatari’s ED’s standard would be unreasonable. Hajime Ueda’s unique art was as beautiful as ever, though a little harder to make out with all the psychedelic lighting and colors. The new Karen OP – Marshmallow Justice – was very colorful as well, with even more particle and CG effects than in the 1st OP, especially with the bees flying everywhere. The song itself had a bit of a ska feel to it with a lot of brass.
If the show follows the novel as I expect, next episode will feature our first brand new character and plenty of Senjougahara service. Look forward to it!