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Nekomonogatari Episode 3 – Review


Hanekawa Desk

Now, why couldn’t all of Nisemonogatari have been like this, why couldn’t it have been this serious and focused?  I know it’s probably due to the source material being like that – after all, none of the major conflicts are really resolved in any way – but still, I felt that a lot of Nisemonogatari was just a little too lighthearted in some parts and didn’t really have as many dark moments as the original series had.  Apparently, the director heard my complaints, because this is exactly what I had envisioned the series to be like for the most part.  Thankfully the show also kept with a darker tone this episode, and will it’ll probably carry over to the last one as well.

This episode (and this entire series) did a lot to help develop the character of Hanekawa, surprisingly enough, with her even actually being in it.  The explanation about her home life was kind of vague and abstract, but it did a good enough job at explaining that it obviously isn’t very good.  Although last episode I complained about the show hardly ever actually explaining what the hell the Oddities actually are, what they do, and how they come to exist, this episode actually gave a surprising amount of backstory and depth to what the Curse Cat actually is, how it works, and all that.  Also, the “Duality of Man” aspect that it incorporated was actually  pretty interesting, as you wouldn’t normally expect someone with the personality of Hanekawa to be a candidate for exploration of that theme.  Under most circumstances, she should be to very obvious and noticeable example of the good that exists in people, but as Oshino said, there is no human who is only good.  In addition, it makes Hanekawa seem like a much more interesting character now that she isn’t the unshakeable pillar of morality that Araragi clings to most of the time.

Oshino

Like I said, the scene with Oshino explaining exactly what the Cat is was very well done, and for the first time helped me to fully understand one of the monsters in this series.  Also, coming from Kizumonogatari and Bakemonogatari, you kind of picture Oshino as this all-knowing unstoppable force that can pretty much bail Araragi and his friends out of any bad situation, but that obviously isn’t the case here.  I think knowing that Oshino can’t really do anything more than Araragi can makes this series feel a lot more serious and pressing, because with pretty much every other problem he’s faced, Araragi has either had him or Shinobu to kind of be a deus ex machina and save the day when he can’t quite pull it off.  Now that he can’t do that, the show seems much more interesting.

Hanekawa Cat

The final scene in which Araragi talks with the Cat was fine enough, but it seemed like a lot of it went back over what Oshino had already told Araragi before.  I feel that this scene in particular, as well as the entirety of the series, if focused a lot more on Araragi’s relationship and attitude towards Hanekawa.  Obviously, considering the events of Kizumonogatari and this series, it should normally be fairly obvious that they would be love interests, but the Monogatari series is very odd about the way it goes back and forth on this.  The fact that Senjougahara is introduced into the series later doesn’t simplify things, but it would seem at this point that Araragi has much stronger romantic feelings for Hanekawa at this point than he does later on in the series.  Also, to it seems that throughout the series Araragi justifies his fondness of Hanekawa to the fact that he feels indebted to her for pretty much saving his life, but I still don’t really know if that’s how he really feels, or if he’s just using that as a way to cover up something deeper.

Nekomonogatari Episode 1 – First Impressions


askdfh

I guess this is really the first anime series of the new year, so happy 2013 to all.  While this technically isn’t really a series, the other three episodes haven’t been subbed yet, so I suppose I’ll just go ahead and do a normal episodic review of the series.  But, before too much more, let me attempt to explain this shit show of a chronology this entire series has in an attempt to help those who may not know too much about it, understand exactly what’s going on with all this.

Nise

Okay, well the main problem with this is that, if you’re just watching the anime, you still don’t know what the fuck happened in Kizumonogatari, all because Shaft just had to make those Madoka Magica movies first.  The way the novels were released makes perfect sense, because you really need to know what happened in Kizumonogatari to completely understand what’s going on in Nise and Neko, or at least actually know who Shinobu and Hanekawa are, respectively.  But the anime just really fucked all that up, especially since there still is no definite release date for Kizu.

nisemonogatari karen

Anyway, this series takes place between Kizumonogatari and Bakemonogatari, and deals with Hanekawa’s whole cat-demon-spirit thing.  Along with Kizumonogatari this is one of the only ones in the series that has a regular linear plot, which is the reason I think that Kizu is the best in the series.  There wasn’t a whole lot of that in this episode, but it was a lot better than Nisemonogatari since they don’t have twelve episodes to screw around with this time.  Also I guess it’s to be expected, considering that this series was directed by the guy that directed Nisemonogatari (but not Bakemonogatari), but there’s probably going to be a lot of fan-service stuff put in to chew up time and sell more DVD’s.

The first conversation with Tsukihi was all fine and good, considering that most of it actually dealt with the plot of the series instead of just rambling on about nothing and was fairly entertaining for the most part.   Also the only fan-servicy part was played up more for humor  than to be sexual.  The scene with Karen was a lot more…. eh.  It obviously had little purpose other than to have some more boobs and ass thrown on the screen for a little while, and the idea of a 15 year old girl coming home and getting naked in the kitchen in front of her brother was pretty unrealistic to say the least (though not a whole lot in this series is realistic, so whatever).  The last part of episode, dealing with Hanekawa and her family situation, also deals with the main plot of the series, and if you’ve seen Bakemonogatari, you probably know how that relates to what’s going to happen.  However, the seriousness of that part was cut short in a fairly humorous way, which I suppose is to be expected of the Monogatari series.

As you would expect, it’s absurdly obvious that this show was made by Shaft, and at this point you’ll either love that or want to stay as far away from it as possible.  Because this is a much shorter series, and in a way is more like a movie, the plot has (hopefully) been streamlined and is so far focusing much more on the main story of the series which is definitely a good thing.  There really isn’t a whole lot to say about this show, because by now, you know if you like Monogatari shows or not, and you pretty much know what to expect from most of it.

Nisemonogatari – Concerns and Expectations


Okay, I’m sorry that I’ve been so obsessed with the Monogatari series on here for about a week, and since the first episode of this will be airing tomorrow, and I’ll be talking about the show then as well.  Now that I think about it, I probably should have done this a while ago… whatever.

So, if you’ve been following this show at all, then you know that it was recently announced to be simulcast on Crunchyroll, much to everyone’s surprise.  It’s not really any big deal to me that a show gets picked up by Crunchyroll, because there’s no way I’m going to pay them $120 dollars a year to watch the one, maybe two shows per season they pick up that I actually want to watch.  Especially when I can just download the show for free (Have a problem with piracy? Click here).  Now, when I first heard about this the only thing I think was “Oh, shit, that means that no fansub groups are going to do this”.  Now, I don’t really have a problem with Crunchyroll’s subs or anything, but we’re talking about Nisemonogatari here; it isn’t exactly going to be any easy thing to subtitle.  I don’t know if the same “Put text everywhere” mentality carried over to this show, but I think it’s safe to assume that it’ll probably be like it’s prequel.  So, I have no idea how Crunchyroll plans to do all of that, or how well they’ll do at the actual dialogue either.  It’s kind of a shame, because GG Subs did an amazing job with the original series but obviously they won’t do this now.  We can only hope that either Crunchyroll doesn’t screw the translation up, or that GG will swoop in and save the day if they do.

It’s also supposedly been sub-licensed by Aniplex USA (They have a page up about it, but it just says to watch it on Crunchyroll), so we can only pray that this means a state-side home release, but hopefully not some bullshit $400 import box – fuck that shit.  Who knows? Maybe if this has been licensed, they’re also working on the rights to Bakemonogatari, or maybe even already have them.

But among all these concerns I have, there was one thing I discovered about five days ago that shot my excitement for this show up about ten times what it already was.  So I was looking it up on MAL one day, and I see this.

Needless to say, I instantly had to change my pants.

In case you were not aware, Shinobu is a fucking boss.  And not only is she a main character, but she’s fucking talking again (that’s the reason I circled the VA, I don’t even know who that is).  So, finally, Shinobu is going to stop pouting and being a bitch to Araragi and do something again, and be a badass while doing it.  I could only guess that she’s going to kind of take over Oshino’s role and help Araragi figure out what to do with all of his “patients”, or she could just have finally forgiven him for what he did to her.  Either way, she’s fucking back, she’s fucking talking, it’s going to be fucking awesome.

Bakemonogatari – Review


Since Nisemonogatari will be airing in about a week, I figured that now would be as a good a time as any to talk about Bakemonogatari.  I generally assume that everyone and their mother has seen this show, because of how ridiculously popular it was (and still is); just last week the blu-ray box for it was released in Japan and outsold pretty much every other show and movie, airing or otherwise.  And of course Japan loves to milk anime franchises, so it’s no surprise that both the prequel and sequel novels have been adapted into anime as well.  But if Shaft wants to animate the entire Monogatari series, I wouldn’t even dream about complaining.

Bakemonogatari is about Koyomi Araragi, a vampire, or rather, he was a vampire.  One day at school he catches a girl falling from the sky and discovers that she weighs almost nothing.  Later, the girl, Hitagi Senjougahara, confronts him about how he knows that she is weightless, and threatens him, telling him to remain silent about it and to never come near her.  However, Araragi claims that he can help her and takes her to see Meme Oshino, the man who cured him of his vampirism.  Together they cure Senjougahara of her condition; now wash, rinse, and repeat with four different people.

So in a sense, the show is basically the same as something like Mushishi, or even YuYu Hakusho; it’s just a string of episodic events dealing with a bunch of supernatural problems in the real world.  In shows such as these, the story itself is never really the main focus of the show, but rather the individual arcs themselves.  The entire Monogatari series is (for the most part) fashioned in this way, except for Kizumonogatari, which follows more of a linear plot.  And Kizumonogatari is definitely superior to any of the other works, in my opinion, because it’s plot and characters are much more developed than in any of Monogatari novels.  However, this show isn’t really about the “supernatural problem” aspect that lies at it’s core, but is definitely more about the characters and their interactions.

It’s been said by many people that reading anything by Nisio Isin is similar to “listening to people talk for hours, yet saying nothing”, and in a sense this is true.  No one can overlook that a vast majority of his works are very heavy on dialogue, and even then a vast majority of that is kind of pointless, even in an action series like Katanagatari.  While it is true a good portion of the dialogue in this show has absolutely nothing to do with the plot, the writing and dialogue are two of the best things about it.  There are numerous scenes in the series where two characters talk for lengthy periods of time about things that aren’t really relevant to what’s going on in the story at the moment, yet these are what makes Bakemonogatati what it is.  It’s really very similar to the dialogue and writing in  Pulp Fiction or other films by Tarantino, in the way that so much of what is talked about has nothing to do with what little story there is.  But this is why so many people love the movie; the dialogue between Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, and all of the cast is hilarious and actually makes them seem like real people.  For example, what is the significance of Jackson and Travolta talking about how a foot massage either is or is not intimate, or Travolta and Thurman talking about the Fox Force Five pilot?  Nothing- absolutely nothing. There isn’t a message behind any of it, there aren’t any plot points revealed, and there sure as hell isn’t any abstract meaning behind any of it; it’s just entertaining, plain and simple.  The exact same thing can be said about this show.  Why do we need to see Araragi and Senjougahara talking on and on about pointless things for such a huge portion of several of the episodes?  You don’t, there is almost never any plot development in these types of scenes, but that’s because there aren’t meant to be, it’s there to make them interesting.  This is what sets the show apart from any other similar in basic plot to this show; the fact that the writing is done so well.

Even with all of it’s great writing, the show wouldn’t be too much without it’s characters.  Although most of the minor characters aren’t all that developed, it makes sense given the episodic nature of the show.  However, each of the three minor girls (Hachikuji, Kanbaru, and Sengoku) are still entertaining, even if they don’t really matter all that much in the end.  Each have their own quirks and personality different from the archetype that they loosely embody.  They all somewhat tie in to the other arcs in the show, so they aren’t one time characters like you would expect from this type of show.  Of course since Araragi and Senjougahara are the main characters, the most time is spent on their interactions and development than any other two people.  

However, although it may not seem like it to most people, the two most important and realistic characters are Hanekawa and Shinobu, and if you say otherwise, it’s probably because you haven’t read Kizumonogatari.  The only problem is that nothing really happens with these two until the last arc (the ONA segment).  I don’t really want to say too much about it, but given that you have read the first novel, the entire last episode is one of the best scenes in the entire series.  And yes, it’s all a single scene because literally eighty percent of it takes place in the same location with Araragi and Hanekawa barely moving at all.  Now, I like Senjougahara and everything, but Hanekawa’s feeling are completely understandable, especially after all that shit that she went through with Araragi back when he had no friends at all; I actually felt kind of bad for her.  Without a doubt, my favorite character in the whole series is Shinobu, or rather Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade.  Once again, judging strictly from this series, saying that would just make me seem like a pederass, but really, she’s awesome; yet, explaining why has to be saved for Kizumonogatari.  Even though she’s pissed off at Araragi throughout the entire show and never says a word to him, that twenty or so seconds where she actually does something is fuckin’ badass.  And I really hope that it means that she’s actually somewhat forgiven him for what he did, because she obviously still cares about him.  Of course it could be that she still hates Hanekawa for screwing up her plan in the first place, and would never turn down the opportunity to beat her ass.  Still, I hope it’s the first one.

And obviously, no review of this show is complete without complementing on the artwork and how awesome Shaft is.  If you’ve ever heard anything about this show before there’s damn good chance that it was about the art style of it.  It’s kind of hard to categorize how this show looks other than “It’s Shaft”.  The art style is surreal, yet realistic at the same time; you never see any other people besides the main characters, there’s odd lighting and coloring throughout the series, odd camera angles, and that’s not even half of the style this show.  People often complain about the random text and other things that constantly flash onto the screen, claiming that it’s just an excuse to avoid animation in a show that is already pretty lax in that category.  However, I don’t see it that way at all, it’s just a characteristic of the series; after all, it’s not as constant as everyone makes it out to be.  I will concede that there isn’t really too much in terms of animation, but there can’t really be too much, with so much of the show being just people talking.  That’s not to say that the majority of the animation is bad or anything, it’s just decent.  But when Shaft actually decides to really animate a scene, it’s pretty amazing, especially during the fight in episode eight.  It seems like more of the work was put into the overall style of the show than the animation itself, which is somewhat disappointing, but with how beautiful everything is and the constant dialogue, you never truly miss it.  One thing to note, if you really want to get the most out of this series, download the episodes (720 or 1080, doesn’t really matter that much), don’t watch them on an anime site.  Watching this series in anything below 720p simply does injustice to the show.

There really aren’t too many anime like Bakemonogatari.  Not only does this series have amazing artwork, but the sheer amount of style that is has is almost impossible to describe.  It also has what so many anime completely ignore: good writing and great dialogue.  It’s truly an anime art house film, with thought put into every single random thing that’s put into it.  And so, here’s hoping that Nisemonogatari will continue it’s predecessor’s tradition of awesomeness.

Madoka Magica Movies – Two “Air Communications”


Okay, Madoka Magica is really, really, overhyped, but it’s still a good show.  I might not think as highly of it as everyone else seems to, but I still really enjoyed it.  But good God, I never seen such a huge simultaneous orgasm in my entire life.  When the world found out there would be a Madoka Magica film the end times began.  Never before and my life have I seen /a/ flip their shit over something so much.  And then everyone found out there are going to be three movies and all the semen in the world was simultaneously released… and then they found out about the first two.  Yes, unfortunately, the first two movies will pretty much just be Madoka Magica: Air Communication part 1 and 2.  Not until 2078 or whenever the third movie comes out will we see something new.  The scripts for the movies have reportedly already been completed, and it’s supposedly already in the beginning stages of production.  But, because they’re movies, it’ll be forever until we get to see them, so it’s not anything to get worked up over right now.  But dammit Shaft, this better not screw up your production on Kizumonogatari and Nisemonogatari.  I care about those infinitely more than I care about this trilogy.

Kyousogiga – DO Want (Dec. 10)


So, is there any reason I’ve never heard of this before?  Because it looks absolutely awesome.  I mean, God, just watch the PV.

So, essentially, Lewis Carol adopted the bastard child of Bakemonogatari and FLCL.  Fuckin’ A.

My God, I have not wanted to see something this much in a while.  But, I’m the type of person who pretty much eats up anything artistically creative, and with this and Nisemonogatari coming soon, I’m pretty much on cloud 9.  I can hardly believe this produced by Toei Animation, you know, the company that did stuff like Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon?  Odd, but I don’t think the results lie.

The only problem is that I can find absolutely no information about this.  There isn’t really much talk about it on forums, and the closest thing it has to a Wikipedia page is a footnote on “Through the Looking Glass”.  I don’t even know if it’s a series or not (though I highly doubt such an elaborate PV would exist for a TV series).  Well, whatever, everywhere I look it says, “Simulcast December 10” so it’ll definitely be on the internet soon, and that’s all I need to know.

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