Nisemonogatari – 05

You gonna get kissed!

Last week, just as answers seemed around the corner, Koyomi decided to take a little break which actually turned out to provide lots of answers in themselves, as well as some development of an old-new character. This week, all will be revealed to Koyomi, and a near-paralyzed Karen should give us ample fanservice.

Bathtime is over, which means Koyomi has to get down to business out in the living room, extracting information from the younger younger sister. Tsukihi is resistant at first, but caves in after an intense staring contest. She has some demands, but Koyomi flat out refuses, so she insults him instead about his lack of friends. At least, it starts as an insult, but Koyomi manages to transition to actually discussing his philosophy on friendship when… he’s cut off again by her. I notice Tsukihi does that a lot (if you’re curious as to what Koyomi was going to say, you can find out in the first couple chapters of Kizumonogatari. It proves to be very elucidating to his character and his actions in both that work and Bakemonogatari).

Sparks fly as brother and sister stare each other down.

Oh, but Tsubasa’s getting antsy being all alone in Koyomi’s room, and she comes down, just in time for Koyomi’s bath towel to unravel, proving that the Araragi parents are heavy sleepers who could easily sleep through a girl’s scream (noted by Koyomi in the novel). I’m grateful Shaft decided not to have Yui Horie actually scream and instead had “ah” fill up the screen, as it took away a very painful part of an already painful trope, while fitting in seamlessly with their style.

And now we enter a flashback of Karen’s encounter with Kaiki at a karaoke room (it’s not obvious from Shaft’s depiction of the room that that’s where it is). Kaiki readily admits to being the one responsible for the curse going about the middle schoolers, and he is unapologetic, claiming that he is only after money, which is the only thing that matters in this world (hey, didn’t one of the faux-lolis mention that before?). And though Karen, with her much stronger body, intends to beat him up, he displays his skills at the occult, stopping her dead in her tracks. A touch on the forehead, and Karen is stung by the Fire Wreathed Bee and unable to move. Kaiki steals her money and makes his escape before she can gain at least enough control to move.

Our heroine and villain prepare to face off in one psychedelic but colorless karaoke box.

“It’s quite effective. You must have an active imagination.” What is Kaiki getting at here? :3

Back to the present, Koyomi, finally fully in the loop, walks Tsubasa home as her work is done. Tsubasa makes a joke about giving Koyomi a ticket to feel her breasts in exchange for keeping him in the dark so long, but unfortunately for our hero, it also comes with the caveat that she’d hate him forever for it.

As an aside, that was a direct call back to Kizumonogatari, and there was a LOT in that conversation that Shaft cut out for time reasons. They involved other tickets from Hanekawa that would entitle Koyomi to her panties or her skirt, carrying the same caveats as the one ticket that appeared. They also do some wordplay on Shinobu’s former name, Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade, and follow up with Tsubasa convincing Koyomi to do imitations of each of his harem members – Hitagi, Mayoi, Suruga, and finally Tsubasa herself (for her, Koyomi uses the line, “My breasts belong to you, Araragi-kun. Please feel free to touch them whenever you want.”). There’s also talk about Tsubasa touching her breasts in the bath, which leads to her making a genuine promise to let him touch them if Koyomi makes it into college on his first try, which leads to talk about other smooth parts of her body, which leads to talk about him wanting to lick her eyes instead of touching her breasts. I promise, I’m not making any of this up!

You do realize you hold in your hand the most valuable piece of paper on Earth, right Koyomi?

So yeah, about 80% of the conversation was cut out, for good reason, but I hope I was able to provide you with a glimpse into the fluffy humor that was there. Koyomi lends his bike to Tsubasa for the final stretch. And then it’s back home for him, where another girl awaits a bath.

Well, not “awaits,” I guess,though that’s what happens. Tsukihi is asleep, but Karen, having slept during the day, is wide awake. Koyomi carries her princess style to his room to have a real talk, which naturally turns back to the importance of strength and justice in becoming “real.” Karen has some physical needs too, having gotten sweaty from the curse that was inflicted on her, so she gets a nice sponge bath from her brother.

Besides making up a haiku, Karen tries to pull a Mayoi on her older brother.

Still not aware of what curse with which she’s been inflicted, Karen comments that Koyomi might catch this disease from her. This suddenly gives Koyomi the idea that, hey, that might be possible. He goes to the bathroom to consult Shinobu who is oddly reluctant to tell him. Turns out, the solution isn’t something that would be happy for anyone involved…

Karen in various states of undress distress!

Karen experiences the sting of the Fire Wreathed Bee for the first time.

Loved the fiery passion and anger Karen displayed.

Is this really the best you can do, Shaft? I am disappoint.

Besides the ahoges, another shared trait of the Araragis is the ability to change into old supermarket ad character art styles.

Well, the plot trudges along, and so does the fanservice… hey, wait a minute, that’s how they animated the Koyomi sponge bath scene? Really? Is this the same Shaft I had grown to know and love? I sincerely apologize for promising more fanservice this episode, because Shaft clearly didn’t deliver. Kidding aside, it was certainly less revealing than the bath scene Shinobu got. Of course, one of the takeaways of both scenes was that Koyomi did not find either Shinobu or Karen the least bit arousing (for obvious reasons) so they got that part through just fine. It’s certainly peculiar that a brother giving his sister a sponge bath – an idea overflowing with sexuality in today’s anime landscape – was shown straight-up, as a sibling giving much needed help to a younger sibling, with exactly the amount of closeness you’d expect from them. Again, is this really Shaft? Then again, they’ve never been ones to play up little sister moe. In Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Nozomu and Rin had, if anything, an antagonistic relationship, and not the tsundere kind.

A bit of adaptation modification that they did as I expected was that first scene with Tsukihi. Specifically, they didn’t go through with what was, in the novel, a literal 3-minute staring contest between her and Koyomi before she gave in (Koyomi noted that this was the first time he had won something like this against her). You could’ve counted on Gainax to show a scene like that in its entirety, but Shaft opted to speed over that by showing the two staring at each other intensely with laser lines. Yeah, a 3 minute static scene would’ve wasted far too much time, time that this show doesn’t have, but damn it, that would’ve been a gutsy move and hilarious to watch.

Continuing with what Shaft adds with its adaptations, how about that karaoke box where Karen and Kaiki faced off? Just like the bathroom last episode, that looked nothing like I had imagined. As this was a flashback, in my mind’s eye I had pictured it as being in black and white. Instead of going with something as simple as that, Shaft made almost everything in the background stark black and white, giving the feeling without actually turning the scene into greyscale. The spirally stripey design felt suffocating, fitting for the type of character Kaiki is and the type of bind that Karen fell into. The use of the wall panes as screens to show the flow of the conversation reminded me a bit too much of the scene with the Architect in Matrix Reloaded, which was unfortunate.

With all of the actual events revealed, the story themes are certainly starting to come together now. Mayoi’s previous throwaway comment about money in the 1st episode makes a return, both with Kaiki’s view following hers and with Karen’s rejection of it following her brother’s (as noted by Koyomi himself). There are the secrets we keep from our families, some of which was made clear this week, when all was revealed to Koyomi. But he’s still keeping everything from his sisters, even hiding away in the bathroom to consult Shinobu instead of telling his sick little sister exactly what’s up. She’s the victim here, she’ll have to find out eventually, but Koyomi still believes he can keep the knowledge of the occult from his sisters. He is deeply protective, because he knows first hand that once you learn of this world, there is no going back.

But most significant given the show’s title, what is “fake” and what’s “real?” Koyomi calls his sisters “fakes,” because of their idealistic naive views on justice, but then we’ve also got another “fake,” the con-man Kaiki, who is sociopathically pragmatic, abusing his position to con middle schoolers out of their money – because they’re easy. But certainly, he’s the “real” deal when it comes to the occult and using it for his gain, isn’t he? And out of the Fire Sisters, at least Karen knows more than Koyomi gives her credit for and is acutely aware of her position as a “fake.” She accepts it as her limitation and does her best regardless. Is that just naivete, or does that also make her the “real” deal? And who’s right anyway; which is more important, justice or power? Can you be “real” without both? The Fire Sisters have the former (or at least believe they do), while Kaiki has the latter. Are both of them “fakes?”

Real, fake, strength, justice, all these will be explored more next episode. I daresay, most people will be surprised by the direct continuation of Koyomi’s words that ended this episode. And those afflicted with Senjougahara Fascination should brace for more tsundere/yandere/tundra service ahead!

I stated before that I thought they’d give the Karen Bee arc 6 episodes. I can see how they could end it next episode, but there would be multiple major, near climactic events, and everything would be very rushed. I’m betting it’ll go on to episode 7, but I’m counting on one of those major even happening, which I’m dying to see animated. Service for Karen fans!

About

A math/science geek and a self-dubbed cynical optimist. I don't care if it's deep, if it can make me feel something or laugh, it's fine in my book. @lvlln
Blinklist BlogMarks Delicious Digg Diigo FaceBook Google MySpace Netvibes Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter

15 Responses to “Nisemonogatari – 05”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    Tsukihi is such a bratty kid who’s one sided about her views, I so wanted to hear Koyomi’s explaination on friendship and Karen is foolish for thinking she could take on a con man like Kaiki all on her own. I know it’s good to have pride in one’s self but too much leads to arrogance and the risk of getting unnecessarily killed. But I admit Kaiki is a selfish, greedy bastard that needs to go down hard.

    I love the animation Shaft has in this anime. The bamboo grove, Kaiki’s hideout, the Araragi house and the city at night time with the street lights are just awesome.

    Poor deluded Koyomi. Getting a piece of paper with permission to touch a girl’s breasts is nothing more than a fool’s dream. He should know better.

    I think it’s still a good idea for Koyomi to keep his secrets because there are things people are not ready or willing to accept. Especially when it concerns knowledge of the occult which completely shatters their lives beyond repair. It’d be even worse if Tsukihi and Karen found out their brother is barely human.

    When did this episode take a turn towards incest? Kissing anyone blood related, even to cure an illness is incestuous. Even Karen getting a sponge bath was a bit provacative.

    • lvlln says:

      Poor deluded Koyomi. Getting a piece of paper with permission to touch a girl’s breasts is nothing more than a fool’s dream. He should know better.

      I’m not going to spoil anything, but Koyomi had very good reason to believe that that ticket was worth exactly what he was told.

      As for the kiss, the way that’s dealt with might come as a surprise…

  2. skylion says:

    Thanks for filling us in on the parts of the novels we are missing; good amount of compare/contrast.

    Your musings on the amount of fan service is rather interesting. After last episode’s affair, I would figure less service would equate to more.

    The Shinobu/Koyomi bath scene was not so much about titillation, as it was about vulnerability; but for far more than a fair few it was about the former, let’s not kid.

    The Karen/Koyomi ‘bath’ scene was about not being able to be vulnerable. As you’ve pointed out, they’ve been keeping secrets from one another. And you have to wonder why. Is the Araragi gene for getting angry that terrifying? For his sister’s perhaps, but Koyomi?

    So far we’ve seen the contempt that his sisters have for him. Last episode it appeared that Tsuiki wouldn’t have minded seeing her brother exposed (and made no comment in this one). Comfort or contempt? Karen-chan has bite….

    Here we see two people that should be close, but aren’t. Last episode we saw two people (well, two almost vampires) that should not be close, get much much closer. It’s true that they cannot forgive each other. But I can acknowledge people in my life that I am close to (not very much by choice) that I have yet to forgive. One day, maybe? Besides I’ve said that Shinobu and Koyomi will do just that; they basically spoke the exact opposite of what they wanted (or I’m just a shipper at heart).

    It makes me wonder what has gone on before that keeps them, Koyomi and his sisters apart. Growing up? That does happen. But this family seems to attract the oddities so maybe that has something to do with it.

    Dude, you never kiss your sister like that. Unless you want her to headlock you. Which she probably still can.

    • lvlln says:

      Vulnerability is an interesting angle to look at these scenes, especially given the history Koyomi and Shinobu share. They’re so intricately tied to each other, that they have no choice but to reveal themselves. But with Karen, they clearly have healthy skinship but her barriers are always up. It’ll take a lot for Koyomi to finally get through to her.

  3. tatsuya says:

    i wonder why araragi house looks big inside but on the outside ,it look’s like a normal house plus this episode is awkward because some of scene is under18 so …
    HELL ..!!i have to sign in and has to be 18 and above to watch this episode on youtube !!

  4. amado says:

    SHAFT is making all of the good animes now.
    madoka, F/Z, and now nisemonogatari. kizumonogatari will also come later.

    tsubasa is my all time fave girl. too bad that araragi has been taken by senjougahara though tsubasa can easily snatch him back.

    • lvlln says:

      Um, Shaft isn’t a part of Fate/Zero… And you might enjoy the stuff between Hitagi and Tsubasa coming up soon.

      • amado says:

        uh oops. I mistaken that with gen urubochi…
        *slams face on desk*

  5. Snowley says:

    I love scenes with con man. They have extraordinary feel, like some sort of grotesqe old horror movie. When I watch it Petit Cosette comes to my mind, well, it’s Shinbo’s work too.
    Also the scene in the toilet was graphically funny, with geometric shadow and Koyomi talking to the toilet seat :D.

    I start to like Karen, she has her own ways and style of living, but I don’t know what to think about younger sis (I don’t even remember her name). Is she going to have any major role in the story?

    Nisemono lacks Hitagi so badly ;______; I want more of her! I expeced Nisemono to focus just a little bit on Koyomi/Hitagi relationship, but thus far it’s a downer :<

    On the side note, I really enjoy reading your blog entries, Ivlln. You put some amazing work into it, and also have decent sense of humor :)

    • lvlln says:

      The younger younger sister, Tsukihi will get her own arc, so no worries. After “Karen Bee” is over, Nisemonogatari moves on to “Tsukihi Phoenix.” And if you want Hitagi, you’ll get Hitagi. Hitagi is, after all, very tied to the antagonist of this story, as well as being the protagonist’s girlfriend. She won’t be going anywhere for a while.

      I appreciate your feedback, and thank you. I enjoy writing these posts, so it’s good to hear at least someone enjoys reading them!

  6. SPIRAL says:

    Pornmonogatari.

    I approve.

  7. […] Last week, I wondered aloud when the Karen Bee arc would end. Will it rush through the rest of it in the 6th episode, or will the 6th merely serve as a stepping stone to the 7th when the climax finally comes around? Let’s find out! […]

  8. […] Once again, Medaka was heads and shoulders better than anyone else. I do appreciate that she showed a bit of competitive spirit, joining in and dominating everyone else with her clever technique. Everyone except that trio in the swim team, of course, who would do anything for money. Gee, haven’t we seen something like that in another Nisio work? […]

  9. […] I sure as heck didn’t expect that in the flashback scene. Remember when Koyomi had to kiss Karen, and Shaft (and Nisio) trolled us by putting it in between 2 episodes? That’s fully what I […]

  10. […] know how this happened, since Kaiki’s charms were explicitly said to be fakes. We did see in Karen Bee the effect that a fake charm could have on someone purely as a placebo, but there’s still a […]

Leave a Reply