With platform shoes on! This woman’s skills put that of most traceurs to shame.
|Well, I hope everyone had their fill of toothbrushing action last week, because Nisemonogatari keeps moving towards the finish line with just 3 episodes left. This week, we’ll get to see at least 1 new character introduced, and more of Karen and Koyomi acting lovingly to each other, but I’m afraid I can’t guarantee that the true heroine of the arc will make an appearance.|
Remember the whole point of the toothbrush scene last episode? No, it wasn’t just to provide us the most erotic sibling interaction to grace TV anime since Yosuga no Sora, but it was to determine if Koyomi would introduce Karen to Suruga. Well, he was beaten handily (by a factor of 3), so after a quick call to the perverted star, brother and sister are on their way to her home that same afternoon (in the Suruga Monkey arc of Bakemonogatari, Koyomi noted that it took him about an hour to get to her house by bike).
Karen is feeling very excited and thankful for this opportunity her brother is giving her, so she decides to teach him a trick to winning rocks paper scissors, a trick she thought of at that exact moment. Of course, the trick is just a cheating tactic, and after getting a well deserved punch from Koyomi, Karen is forced to carry him on her shoulders for the rest of the trip. Koyomi wants to pull out of doing this to his little sister, especially in public, so he uses her ponytail as an excuse not to get on. Unfortunately for him, Karen simply cuts off her ponytail – one she’s had since elementary school – using her house key and throws it away in a nearby trash can.
Koyomi thinks to himself just how many girls around him have changed their hair recently. Tsubasa, Suruga, Nadeko, now Karen, and (so far unseen) Hitagi.
It takes some adjusting to get both of them comfortable – Karen’s not a big fan of her brother’s crotch pushing into the back of her neck – but Karen manages to get Koyomi in a tight hold, and off they go! Koyomi thinks about how different everything looks from so up high, when he sees someone else just as high as he. Not someone tall, but rather a woman in her 20s curiously standing atop a mailbox. Without prompting, she asks for the location of the Eiko cram school and tells them her name – Kagenui Yozuru. Seeing the state they’re in, she also comments that they’re a “savage” older brother and “hornet” younger sister. Koyomi thinks about sending her toward the train station where he knows are many cram schools, but he decides to give a call to the one person who is guaranteed to know where this specific one is.
Kagenui Yozuru, the oldest (human) female to appear in this work so far. Beautiful, naturally.
Tsubasa, who seems to be studying by herself in a park, recognizes it immediately as the worn down school where Oshino Meme used to live, i.e. where Koyomi used to take most of the heroines in Bakemonogatari to solve their problems, and where Hitagi had him chained up at the start of Karen Bee. She also knows exactly where he’s headed at the moment, which makes Koyomi nervous, but he dutifully gives Kagenui the directions. She makes a comment about setting up base there and asks them to give the same directions if they should run into a little girl asking the same thing. She makes her leave, making sure to jump on all the structures along the way, never touching the ground. Karen, who was speechless the whole time, notes that, based on her posture and balance, Kagenui seemed really strong, easily equal to her master.
Koyomi rides his little sister all the way to Kanbaru’s house, in the style of the Fire Sisters during the episode previews of Bakemonogatari.
Once the pair finally reach Suruga’s house, Koyomi makes the introductions, throwing in that his sister an idiot and that Suruga a pervert, and gets to see them both embarrassed at finally meeting one another. He lets them go off do their own thing and makes his way home when, as he seems to do when he’s walking alone, he runs into Mayoi. After the lame response his non-harrassing hello got at the end of Karen Bee, Koyomi decides that now is the time to go for it again and sprints towards the unsuspecting grade schooler. But before he can get his hands on the prize, Shinobu reaches out from his shadow and trips him, sending Koyomi into a fit of rage stomping on his own shadow. Well, his cover’s blown now, so time to talk to one of the most cynical and sarcastic 5th graders (who’s actually older than him) around.
2 very different depictions of what Koyomi likes to do to Mayoi. One seems more accurate than the other.
Mayoi directs the conversation to Koyomi’s studies, accusing him of doing it only to see Hanekawa – specifically her breasts – in her casual clothes (Koyomi has actually never seen Tsubasa not in her school uniform or pajamas). Koyomi retorts, claiming that though his girlfriend is Hitagi and the one he really likes is Tsubasa, the one he plans to marry is Mayoi. They’re chatting away happily when a mysterious young girl interrupts, introducing herself as Ononoki Yotsugi and asking Koyomi, the “demon onii-chan” about the Eiko cram school. Hey, it must be the girl that Kagenui was talking about (and Koyomi notes that she even looks like she could be her sister, despite the different last names). The girl has the tendency of ending all her sentences with, “I said with a cool look in my face,” despite the fact that her facial expression doesn’t change a tick. Koyomi gives her the directions as well, and once she disappears, Mayoi says the same thing as Karen, that she could have defeated her master. Only thing is, Mayoi doesn’t have a master…
She looks like she’d fit right in in a Nico Nico Douga video.
Well, a lot of things happened this episode, at least by Nisemonogatari standards. With this episode, the Tsukihi Phoenix arc has covered about the first 45% of the pages from the book. The book is just that slow.
For the sake of pacing, some jokes that I had liked a lot were cut. On the phone, Tsubasa had been much more knowledgeable about Koyomi’s state than just knowing that he was headed to Kanbaru’s house. She made comments such as, “Oh, it sounds like you’re talking from a little higher place than usual” (Koyomi theorized that the different air pressure at different heights modulated his voice, allowing her to tell), “For some reason, I get the feeling that you’re pressing your crotch into your little sister’s head and have been for a while now.” We’re not talking intelligence, we’re talking straight up clairvoyance here! Another one Shaft skipped over that I thought actually could’ve been kept was a brief bit of violence when Koyomi introduced Karen and Suruga to each other; Suruga invited her in to her room, which led to Koyomi performing a flying kick on her back (in order to save her the embarrassment of showing her filthy room to Karen), to which Karen responded by kneeing him before he could even land, which made Suruga angry at Karen, thus completing the triangle.
Anyway, quicker than in the Karen Bee arc, we were introduced to the first brand new characters this week: the quirky and agile woman Kagenui Yozuru and the loli with a verbal tic, Ononoki Yotsugi (Koyomi notes that Ononoki sounds like a variation of his own name that Mayoi might say when she stutters). Both looking for the same destination, the Eiko cram school, a location that has proven to be central in all 3 of the first Monogatari novels. Obviously the most important things to note were how well attuned to the supernatural both were – calling out Koyomi for being a demon (vampire), Karen for beeing a hornet (bee), and Mayoi for being a snail (cow) – and how both Karen and Mayoi could feel how strong their counterparts were.
Kagenui’s introduction scene used a particularly nice piece of background music, something that sounded traditional Japanese, and it continued with the scene with Tsubasa on the phone (I’ve noticed that the BGM in general in Nisemonogatari has been better than in Bakemonogatari). Her hops could’ve been animated a bit more believably, but hey, anime has never been good about showing people jump around realistically (I guess the traceur in me wants to see precisions animated correctly). She was written as jumping from fence to fence, object to object, as if playing the-ground-is-lava game, which was depicted as her traversing a psychedelic landscape of weird objects in the anime. Kagenui looked about what I expected based on the book, a sharply dressed pretty woman in her mid-late 20s. She was supposed to have a Kyoto accent, something I’m not sure the anime followed, since I don’t hear Japanese well enough to tell that. Is Ryoko Shiraishi known for using that accent in any of her roles?
Ononoki, on the other hand, was not quite what I was expecting, mainly that cyan hair. Of course, Hitagi has the pinkish/purple hair, but everyone else has had realistically colored hair (the blue tinge in Kanbaru’s hair notwithstanding), so this Hatsune Miku-esque hair color stood out a lot. That verbal tic of hers – “I said with a cool look on my face” – should probably remind you a lot of the MISAKA sisters from A Certain Magical Index, and mostly Last Order, the one loli among them.
So these 2 new characters are converging at the abandoned school around which so many events of the Monogatari series have already revolved. But to what end? Kagenui talked of setting up base there and was quite aware of Ononoki’s existence. But this episode was all set-up, letting us see how things are being put into motion. Karen is now alone with Suruga, ready to learn. Kagenui and Ononoki are on their way to the Eiko cram school. And Shinobu acts to stop Koyomi from molesting Mayoi – believe it or not, this is something we’ll return to next episode.
1st is the shot from the previous ED, 2nd is from the new one. Notice they’re actually the same characters, doing pretty much the same things. So Kakenui and Ononoki were in there from the start.
And (sort of) new ED sequence this week! It’s the same as the previous one, except the colors have been switched around, the marionette Fire Sisters have switched poses, – Karen’s hair is also shorter to reflect the haircut in this episode – and the shot of what I thought was Kaiki on the roof has been replaced with one showing Kagenui and Ononoki, the latter holding the fireworks. For those keeping score at home, this is the 3rd variation of the ED that Shaft has done for this show so far, to go with the 4 OP variations it has done.
Top 2 are from previous ED, bottom 2 are from new ED. Notice that the order of appearance has flipped. Karen also now has Tsukihi’s color palette and pose and vice versa. And Karen’s ponytail is now gone.
Next week, let’s find out what the real heroine of this arc – who’s been mostly absent so far – is up to and what her thoughts are about recent developments surrounding her siblings and the Fire Sisters. And what is our resident loli vampire up to when she’s not causing her master to fall flat on his face?
Thankfully, Tsukihi missed with her awls when targetting Karen and Koyomi – this time. But what happens next time? And how did she get such a fearful reputation?