Nisemonogatari – 06

Senjougahara Fascination: it might go into remission now and then, but it’s always ready to strike back in full force.

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!

What, you thought we’d get to see the kiss between brother and sister? Get your mind out of the gutter. What kind of smut do you think this show is? (In the novels, Karen is absolutely furious that her older brother stole her first kiss. Koyomi mentions that both his sisters (claim to) have boyfriends a nice younger boy for Karen, and a good looking older boy for Tsukihi, and Karen wanted her first kiss to be with hers.) But it works. About half – or maybe 1/3 – of the disease is transferred to Koyomi, which makes him ill as well. At this point, with his sisters both sleeping and the sun starting to come up, he decides that the best course of action is to consult Hitagi, the only one with past experience with Kaiki. He heads out to her house unannounced, and without the bike he lent Hanekawa last episode.

The Fire Sisters, still middle schoolers, get their much needed sleep.

But our favorite loli ghost appears! Twice in 2 days? Unheard of! Koyomi actually makes good on his previous resolution not to start meetings with Mayoi by sexual harassment. Man of his word. Though this makes Mayoi comically more concerned, joking that Araragi without the sexual harassment isn’t truly Araragi. She also starts to channel Hitagi at times with her verbal abuse of Koyomi – that sort of mixing has been happening a lot in Nisemonogatari so far, with Hitagi and Tsubasa both copying Mayoi’s stuttering gag, and Suruga copying what Koyomi had said when sexually harassing Mayoi. (In the novel, Mayoi also speaks of shutting Koyomi’s mouth with a stapler, which brings back some past trauma for him)

Koyomi and Mayoi take a leisurely walk around… wait, this isn’t there town, is it? Where the heck are they!?

But really, Mayoi cares about him and notes that he looks sick. Koyomi explains the situation and also vents about his sisters, how childish they are. Of course, as middle schoolers, they are still children… conversation turns then to what it means to grow up anyway. (There was a bit cut from when they were talking jobs, in which Koyomi wonders if he could get a job holding up Hanekawa’s breasts for her.) The conversation doesn’t last long before Koyomi reaches his girlfriend’s home. When they part, Koyomi wonders to himself what Mayoi does when he’s not with her.


Hitagi is absolutely in her element in her own room.

Ah, Senjougahara, what a hopeless case. She is sharpening her weapons: an entire mountain of pencils. Though she doesn’t stop preparing her tools of pain for Koyomi, they do manage to have a proper conversation. She contacted Kaiki via the business card he gave her when she had been conned, and they’re set to meet at 5 that evening. She intends to meet Kaiki and… get her revenge. Koyomi insists that he accompany her, and it’s only when he tells her of his sister’s situation that she allows it. Plus, Koyomi, notes, he doesn’t want to have to visit prison for dates.

A return of the grungy sketchy art for flashbacks. Hm, this art actually looks somewhat Hajime Ueda-ish, though I admit I don’t have the best eye for these things.

Koyomi’s image of Hitagi in prison. I’ve noticed all the girls in his mind’s eye are naked.

Tsubasa comes up a couple times during their conversation, with Hitagi suspiciously insistent that she’s not getting bullied by her each time, even though she instinctively calls her “Hanekawa-sama” at one point and also mentions that she kneels before her and washes her shoes.

Hitagi is somewhat flustered. It’s rare, but it’s been happening more often lately. And we love her for it.

Both exhausted from pulling all nighters, they decide to split to get some sleep before the showdown that evening. But when Koyomi comes home, he discovers that Tsukihi is awake and hysterical – Karen has disappeared. Maybe giving her some of her strength back wasn’t such a great idea. Koyomi takes it upon himself to find her, refusing to let Tsukihi come, for fear that the 2 might just team up if they met. But where could she be? He thinks and thinks when… our new mentor/deus ex machina, Shinobu appears, annoyed at Koyomi’s panicking. She tells him that only if she orders her, she can help him find her. When Koyomi, not believing it to be his place, refuses, she comes right out and says that that was just a way for her to help him without appearing to want to. Koyomi plays along and comments that “[Shinobu] is a tsundere too.” The episode ends with Shinobu using the smell of the Araragi blood to point Koyomi in the right direction.

A blonde loli tsundere? Maybe they should’ve gotten Rie Kugimiya for her instead.

Senjougahara Pencil Fascination!

I think being an artist – performance artist – would work for her. I would pay good money to see her put these together in real-time.

OK, enough pencils. This is what we really want to see!

Haha, if you thought last episode’s end promised some siscon action for this one, I’m afraid you were misled. But not all was lost, for we got something even better, the Senjougahara experience. One of the main points here was that Hitagi is a much more fragile and unstable person than she tries to let on. She wants desperately to move forward, but her past continues to haunt her, and it is something she can never truly forget (that was the point of her arc in Bakemonogatari, after all). It’s a paradoxical condition with which perhaps most of us can empathize. Because of her vulnerability, she often takes preemptive strikes so as not to be hurt. But this also makes her vulnerable, as evidenced by her being bullied by Tsubasa (in the novel, she mentions that she moped for 5 hours after she was reprimanded by Tsubasa over the phone earlier when Koyomi was escaping from her shackles).

Boy, is her relationship with Tsubasa intriguing. Just what is going on between the two? Tsubasa has already displayed her power over Hitagi in this arc, but is it as dominating and systematic as Hitagi makes it seem? Hitagi is, as admitted by herself, a liar at times. But certainly Tsubasa has demonstrated her penchant for being – much – more malicious and dangerous than she appears in the Tsubasa Cat arc. This is an unexpected vulnerability that Hitagi has and hopefully something to be explored farther.

But she’s got Koyomi to support her, and we saw one of the sweetest scenes between them since the famous episode 12 of Bakemonogatari. They’re both fiercely protective, but they both have their individual motivations for putting themselves in harm’s way to deal with with Kaiki, and they respect each other for that. So they decide to do it together. Plus, we got to see Hitagi in some amazing poses and expressions this episode, and a soft version of the theme from Staple Stable played in the background. Hitagi is a lot of tsuntsun, but her small bits of deredere make her so lovable.

Hitagi’s request – or condition, as she put it – ties her even closer to Tsubasa, as she wants to emulate her in moving forward. Now, will this be a direct copy, i.e. a haircut (explaining her character redesign art) or will it take some other form?

And it looks like Shinobu has truly taken on her role as an Oshino, offering Koyomi guidance when needed once again, to find his sister. Though she showed her brattiness again, she also showed her loyalty to Koyomi. As a (former) legendary vampire, she has her pride to think about, but deep down, there’s some appreciation and love for her new “master” and a desire to see him succeed.

Of course, no post about Nisemonogatari would be complete without comments on the art. The scene with Mayoi, much like the 1st one in the 1st episode, was a beautiful showcase of scenery. And some all new locales, too, with much of it taking place in what looked like a small European town! I can’t speak to the significance of this, but it reminded me of the setting of the Ef – a fairy tale of the two anime adaptations that Shaft produced.

The scene in Hitagi’s room was also a visual treat, thanks to those magical self stacking, self assembling pencils. It was one of those things I did not picture at all when reading the novel, added by Shaft for the aesthetics. Now, could I make a comparison between the pencil structures’ precarious but threatening nature – ability to come tumbling down with just one part being removed, but also very sharp and painful for those who touch – with Hitagi’s own fragility and harsh outer shell? Probably, but I’m not sure that it goes beyond a convenient coincidence. That said, Shaft is entitled to any interpretation that we might make. A little less subtle were the flashbacks, particularly the new sketch-like art which was much more detailed than the same sort of art used during the Hitagi Crab arc of Bakemonogatari and Kyouko Sakura’s flashback in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. The scenes showing Hitagi trying to find herself in blank space with signs were excellently composed and directed.

So looks like Karen Bee will go on for one more episode. I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens when Koyomi finds Karen. If Shaft keeps up with how they’ve been adapting, this will be truly a sight to see. And the “thrilling” conclusion of the arc is ahead, too, of course. How will Karen – and now Koyomi – be healed? Will the meeting with Kaiki go as planned, and how will he react if cornered by our hero and his girlfriend? Will Hitagi find some closure to the abuse and trauma she had to suffer? We’ll have to tune in again next week!

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
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22 Responses to “Nisemonogatari – 06”

  1. animeluv04 says:

    just finished this episode. can’t wait for next week =)

  2. The_Magus_Killer says:

    I’m envious of the pencil that seems to be touching Senjougahara’s chest in the last pic. Haha.

  3. skylion says:

    Thanks, lvlln, you’ve made some very solid points; how our characters seem to be switching around and trying on different traits hallmarked by others. It’s actually a very teen-agerish thing to do.

    So Karen is part of this story for what reason? Really, my only complaint. If it goes one more episode, I’m hoping her appearance is a pivotal role. Far too little screen time for our named heroine. Bakemonogatari did this to a small degree as well, but the excessive lack of screen time the Colassal Younger Sister is a bit mood shattering.

    See, what did I say about Shinobu and Koyomi, the really do love each other, don’t they?

    And thank you for providing us with some of the insights from the LN we are/might have missed.

    • lvlln says:

      The title theme of the series has always been about the person afflicted with an oddity/disease (or at least appeared to at the start), but they haven’t always played such a pivotal role in the solution. That said, if you want Karen, you WILL get Karen next episode, in a way that only Karen can provide. But, in a way, this arc is just as much about Hitagi. As the one who snatched up Koyomi before any of the girls, she has a privileged position, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Bits such as episode 12 of Bakemonogatari and parts of Nisemonogatari have done wonderful jobs fleshing out her character, making her more than just another harem lead.

      • skylion says:

        Which, for me, is a shame, because I have never had The Fascination. I find Mayoi, Shinobu, and Nadeko to have far more in common with Koyomi. He has a chance with one. Thou, from what I understand, the last one is the longest shot of all.

        • lvlln says:

          Actually, he has the most shot with Nadeko, because she’s the only one of the 3 who actually likes him that way, and she’s also the only one who’s human. But realistically, even she’s out due to the age difference, at least until they reach adulthood.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    More and more, Senjougahara looks like a potential murderess who just wants an excuse to kill someone. So many sharpened pencils lying around, and sharpened by a box cutter, no less. Seeing her flustered is a plus to her personality. The more she opens up, the better and more dangerous she seems to get. But I have a hard time believing someone like her could be threatened by someone like Tsubasa unless she became Black Hanekawa again.

    Koyomi’s a first class pervert. It just wouldn’t be him if he didn’t imagine them in scenarios where they’re naked. I thought he forgot his lesson about sexual harassment from Kanbaru when he was sneaking towards Hachikuji.

    Yes, we get more Shinobu, the tsundere loli vampire!!! Just looking at her gives me shivers, especially her fangs. So far, Maaya Sakamoto is doing a good job voicing her. I wonder if anything she does or say have ulterior motives to them. She told Koyomi where to start looking but I don’t think she told him everything. Even Oshino deliberately held information back for his own reasons.

    • lvlln says:

      Well, as dangerous as Hitagi is, Tsubasa is a world-class genius, heads and shoulders above everyone else. She gives off that wholesome class rep vibe, but we’ve seen that she holds some very selfish thoughts within her. I wouldn’t put it past her or beyond her ability to be successful in manipulating or coercing Hitagi. How? Hopefully we’ll find out.

  5. Reaper says:

    Senjougahara’s Sadistic Snippets are back! 😀 Every time I see Senjougahara now I perk it since she has only gotten a little screen time compared to the other heroines (though hilarious when she is being submissive to Hanekawa-sama; I wonder what happened for her to become like this..). Love her expressions whenever Araragi’s being so upfront with her about his affections for her 😀

    As for Shinobu, I think she became my favourite character ever since her spectacular entry two eps ago, but then she goes and appear before Koyomi (clothed this time), taking swipes at him within her deceptively young body and haughty, aristocratic tongue. The last pic of her above though, I think it deserve’s a ‘Derp, please. I was tsundere before it became popular’ banner. :)

    • lvlln says:

      Image memes are Foshizzel’s specialty, I’m afraid. :) I’ve mentioned it before, but the unique position Shinobu has as a former vampire and as someone eternally tied to Koyomi makes her very fun to watch when interacting with him. There are a lot of mixed and negative feelings inside her, but she’s also above it all in a way, because she knows that she can never go back to how she used to be.

      • skylion says:

        Which is a status she has all but spoken by episodes end. It’s a hard thing to watch, but she really was the first person that captured him in total. Love is a hard thing, sometimes.

  6. tatsuya says:

    nice episode
    nice quality
    best of all nice body senjougahara

  7. amado says:

    we are now going forward and the climax of this arc. I do wonder how nisemono will end since I got unwittingly spoiled by someone that the ending is somewhat sad?

    I like how senjougahara pretty much just channeled “tsundere” during thos scenarios. smart use of your personality.
    ah this is why I love hanekawa. hanekawa-sama! I really wanna see kizumonogatari soon.

    and thanks for providing stuff that the anime didnt cover up. its intriguing to see what was missed.

    • lvlln says:

      I’d say Nisio doesn’t exactly have a reputation for happy endings. Bakemonogatari’s ending was also somewhat sad, as was Katanagatari’s. And you don’t think Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade was happy with how Kizumonogatari ended to turn her into Shinobu, do you?

      But none of these endings are exactly bad ends, either. They were cynical, matter-of-fact endings that acknowledged the harsh realities of life without necessarily resolving them. I expect Nisemonogatari to follow suit, as it’s been largely continuing that main theme from Bakemonogatari.

      And if you like Hanekawa, Kizumonogatari should provide you plenty of service, though I can’t promise that you’ll get to see all sides of her there. Her unrequited love for Koyomi takes on a new light once you learn of what they went through.

  8. Alynn says:

    I just loved watching the scene with Senjougahara. The ever growing stack of sharpened pencils! The tsundere! The moment when they confirmed affection for one another!
    The best.

  9. Overcooled says:

    I’m not a big Senjougahara fan, but I must say her relationship with Tsubasa has piqued my interest. I just automatically picture her as the person no one ever messes with, so it’s weird to see her take a less aggressive role. I know she’s far from being invulnerable, but my mind has been trained to see her as such with the various displays she puts on. Like…you know…trying to stab Araragi with a pencil as a threat? Not an easy thing to tame. I want to see Tsubasa working her magic in action!

    Ah, by the way, I like how you use orange font for things from the novels. It’s very convenient :3

    • lvlln says:

      Thanks. I thought it was important to be explicit about what was being inferred from the anime content and what I was telling from the novel. I chose orange because it’s readable on both black and white and doesn’t look like a link.

      The love triangle between the 3 Naoetsu High School seniors is an interesting one with truly fascinating dynamics. Since Nisemonogatari belongs to Karen and Tsukihi, I doubt we’ll see too many reveals in what’s going on behind the scenes, but hey, the sequel to Nisemonogatari is Nekomonogatari “Tsubasa Family,” and I’m sure that is explored much further in those books. And unlike Nisemonogatari, Nekomonogatari is being actively translated into English right now, so the really curious won’t have to wait the several years it takes for Shaft to announce and release the adaptation.

      • skylion says:

        OoOoOoO, thank you for the heads up on the Neko LN.TL. I just finished “Damaged Goods” (Good Gravy, I would love some trans notes and about two months of my life to be free….the baka-tsuki is workmanlike but nearly unreadable…I would love to get my hands on it and make it much cleaner, my semi-pro writer’s hands are burning….it was a freaking good story).

        • lvlln says:

          I see. How did you enjoy Koyomi Vamp? I liked it for being a lot less wordy than Bake or Nise, and each of the fight scenes was fun and often hilarious in its own way, even if the action writing wasn’t exactly top notch.

          Somehow, despite the more gruesome contents of Kizumonogatari, I found bits of Nisemonogatari to be much more violent. Should be fun to see how Shaft handles these with their clearly unusually high budget.

          • skylion says:

            As I said, I thought the story-line in and of itself was nothing short of classic. But, I don’t know if it was the translation, the attempt at good English phrases or what, but the text of the story was near-practically unreadable. I had to re-write scenes in my head to make it enjoyable (which is no great feat–grate feet…). I’ve read what was available on the site. I didn’t read it to compare or contrast, as I don’t look for such things. Is the story good in and of itself. I do the same thing with the anime adaptions. (btw, SHAFT better surprise me with the scenes from Kizu, that “won’t work in the adaptation”…black and red cards are not a surprise).

  10. Zyl says:

    Great background info from the novels! Very helpful to flesh out some of the finer points but I also really really appreciate how you’ve also maintained a fine balance in not spoiling non-readers of the novels. Thanks for that.

    Like BlackBriar, I think Maaya Sakamoto is doing a fantastic job as Shinobu. KugiRie would be more suitable for a blonde loli tsundere who’s much brattier and with less life/undeath experience.

    • lvlln says:

      Thanks! It’s sometimes frustrating to excuse myself from discussions for fear of revealing too much, but I feel that, as someone with knowledge of the source material, it’s my responsibility as a blogger to fill in the details I found interesting or funny.

      And yeah, I was joking about Rie Kugimiya. Her brand of tsundere is a little… blunt and heavy handed for Shinobu. Though it would be fun to see her expand her repertoire a bit, like with Taiga in Toradora.

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