Nisemonogatari 07 is Everything I Love and Loathe About This Franchise

[Commie] Nisemonogatari - 07 [FB7549DD].mkv_snapshot_08.24_[2012.02.19_17.34.29]

[Nisemonogatari 06]

This episode crammed half a season’s worth of content in it. It felt long, it felt meaty. At 20 or so minutes it’s neither longer or shorter than any episode before it, but it’s time to wrap things up for the Karen Bee arc and the show threw the kitchen sink at us and my goodness it was awesome.

Yeah I still think all the naked sisters, the incest gags, and the Shinobu cooter shots are perverted and you butthurt kimoifags can keep calling me Hitler. But my feelings about Nisemonogatari as smut is already clear so I won’t dwell on it here. I’ll just say this: Ikki Tousen creamed its pantsu during the lewd “martial arts” battle between Karen and Koyomi. It could only wish it could come up with exquisitely crafted lewd fightan action.

Now to the goddamn goodness:

[Commie] Nisemonogatari - 07 [FB7549DD].mkv_snapshot_15.14_[2012.02.19_17.41.54]

The Authenticity of Action & Intention

On one hand we have Koyomi who has a cocktail of natural inclinations: a preference for truth-telling, a preference for elementary aged girls to molest, and a preference to assist others within the realm of his experience in the supernatural. These things are natural to Koyomi, and are supposedly part of his authentic self. On the other hand you have his sisters who create personas that help others. It is their persona as the Fire Sisters that are the allies of justice. They are impostors – they are after the personality of Justice as much as, if not more than the upholding of Justice themselves.

The conflict at the onset is that one cannot fight the iniquities of the world if one is not strong. Koyomi fights the supernatural iniquities of his world because of his vampire powers, while the Fire Sisters do not have such. At most, Karen can fight human opponents, but the human form of Koyomi proves unbeatable. We also know that other human forms like Tsubasa’s Cat and Suruga’s Monkey (and even the minute form of Shinobu) may prove to be lethal opponents if Karen pushes it. At the very least, she cannot recover from mistakes without Koyomi’s vampire healing ability.

[Commie] Nisemonogatari - 07 [FB7549DD].mkv_snapshot_15.14_[2012.02.19_17.42.33]

The most authentic voice, comes with no surprise: Senjougahara Hitagi herself, now so ordinary without the aid of her supernatural lightness. But what does she bring? Two things, the wisdom to bring the nigh-unkillable Koyomi along – and perhaps more importantly, the utter lack of pretense towards acting for justice:

I’m not a friend of justice. I’m an enemy of evil.

This is great, because it actually sinks itself into a lower level of inauthenticity (the irony!). Justice, is arguably the highest of goods. If one supposedly makes enemies of evil using unjust methods one risks causing suffering. Suffering, is the broadest, most encompassing concept of evil. Senjougahara must take responsibility for causing injustice, causing suffering, and evil too – despite making herself an enemy of such. In the simplest terms, Hitagi is out for herself, and it does so happen that Koyomi is a big part of that now.

The Authenticity of Love, and The Needs of The Self

The whole encounter with Kaiki was uncomfortable to watch. Keeping up with his doublespeak and watching Araragi and Senjougahara duel with him in conversation was very uncomfortable. The source of the entertainment value isn’t necessarily the dry back and forth – it feels overlong and devoid of action. The source of the entertainment value is the incredible tension, and if, and only if you have something at stake with Araragi and Senjougahara as lovers. THIS, OH GOD THIS. This is the feeling of rooting for characters; you just want this scene to end, to have them victorious, without losing what makes them lovable. Which lie were they going to swallow? What do I actually believe as a viewer? The whole conversation questions the very premise of the show itself. Is there anything authentically Bakemono in this gatari?

I believe the victory of the scene, and of the show is how it restores faith – LOL yes, it restores faith that the fabric of the story is intact – monsters exist, and are not just psychological constructs within the individual and collective consciousness of the characters. They aren’t only metaphors. When Araragi molests an elementary schoolgirl, it’s a real dead one – in the form of a spiritual lost snail.

[Commie] Nisemonogatari - 07 [FB7549DD].mkv_snapshot_16.38_[2012.02.19_19.50.06]

But I’m not out to talk about this, per se, but rather the reinforcement of the love story – which is the very best part of this show. The show is so ridiculous on so many levels, but its triumph is selling us this believable romance between Koyomi and Hitagi. It knows how good it has it, and has us with it, and the show doesn’t fuck with it. The goodness is oh so good. Throughout this arc, it’s been Koyomi that has been saying the right things, manly things that kind of sweep Hitagi off her feet. These are things that sells us the idea that he’s actually a great match for her, being a pervert and all. It shows us he’s more than just the default savior character type he’s given. BUT, one of the most entertaining parts of their love story is how Hitagi teaches him, and the male viewers (!) what it is to be a man in a relationship with a woman.

She tells him that he is forgetting one of his duties – to praise her, to tell her good things about herself. To phrase this as a duty seems inauthentic, if it’s mandated, then is it real? Are the compliments true? Good, good stuff. She provides an excellent context: she swallowed a lot of insults from Kaiki in that confrontation. She needs him to make her feel better about herself. She bore the brunt of Kaiki’s assaults. It was Koyomi’s sister who was at risk, but it was Hitagi’s very character that was on the court. Araragi was coddled, praised, and buttered-up by Kaiki. Senjougahara got called ordinary, a pale ghost of who she was, a stick in the mud unable to become free of a theatrical past that wasn’t even that special; a girl who has grown heavy and flabby.

And then the fucking fireworks.

[Commie] Nisemonogatari - 07 [FB7549DD].mkv_snapshot_22.12_[2012.02.19_19.42.40]

How dare Kaiki insult the her that Araragi loved? She loved herself because this is the self that Koyomi saved, the self that Koyomi put up with, and treasures in his own way. She would not have any of his lies and manipulations. Not anymore, and not when it comes to this. And when he left, she needed Araragi to show her, some of that love. She was leading him, showing him how he should be in this situation. She knows this doesn’t come naturally to him, virgin n00b as he was. But she would have her love and the man to do it for her. She puts him in a position to succeed.

And bros, that’s not justice at all. That’s too good to be justice. It’s love. It’s beautiful, and I am in awe of this show.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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21 Responses to Nisemonogatari 07 is Everything I Love and Loathe About This Franchise

  1. frog212 says:

    Damn, I’m just an idiot that doesn’t have the gift of writing but I wanted to compliment you on your review of this episode and highlighting what really happened between Kaiki, Gahara san, and Araragi. I didn’t realize until after reading your review, that Senjougahara was being insulted that entire time while Araragi was being praised in the midst of all those insincere lies that Kaiki seemed to be spewing.

  2. Shinmarizu says:

    It’s been a while since I enjoyed an animated conversation like this. Will watch again, repeatedly looping the Hitagi x Koyomi bits. Most likely in the same manner I enjoyed Sayonara no Tsubasa.

  3. megaroad1 says:

    I really liked how well done Kaiki was in his role as the antagonist. His weapon is his venomous tongue and like many a conman, he truly is a coward once faced with an opponent who will not be easily fooled by his lies and deceit. I’m pleased that the encounter between the 3 never escalated to actual physical violence; that would have been out of character for Kaiki and would have denied Senjougahara her chance to shine as an enemy of evil. When Kaiki delivers his line about Senjougahara falling for him back when he ‘helped’ her family, my heart almost skipped a beat. I was terrified that this would drive a wedge in our protagonists young love, but luckily Senjougahara quickly out out the fire and Araragi is a better man than we give him credit for. And boy does he apparently get his reward later on. Let’s hope it cures him of some of his virgin perversions.

    I found this arc to have a strange pacing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I did find it A very slow buildup in which characters are introduced (or re-introduced) doused with a whole lot of fanservice and then bam! The final episode is just ‘action’ packed. I agree with your assertion that it crammed a lot of content in it’s 20 or so minutes.

    How did you feel about the Karen/Araragi battle? I found it to be a tad over the top, considering that she has no special skills or powers. In Bakemonogatari, the physical battles were deadly serious despite Araragi’s vampire resistance. Kanabaru and Black Hanekawa really hurt him good and there was a sense of seriousness that I felt I was lacking in his fight with his sister. But at least he got his message across to her and I hope their relationship improves as a result.

    And yeah LOL with what he wrote on his sister’s face. I’m surprised they didn’t kick his ass the next morning.

    • Yes, a violent confrontation with Kaiki would seem out of place now that we’ve seen this verbal confrontation.

      The battle was incredibly animated. They took great pains to not make Koyomi respond to martial arts in kind. This is part of why it’s so well done, for a perverted Ikkitousen style fight.

  4. Reid says:

    This is one of those programs I’m going to have to watch just so I’ll understand what the heck you’re talking about. Even in the case of “Cowboy Bebop”, which I have still not seen the majority of, I can understand what you’re on about. “Nisemonogatari”…I have no friggin’ clue. From the names of characters to everything about the pervasive (but good) smuttiness to what seems to be a good breakdown of the relationship dynamic – I’m just completely lost. I WANT to understand all this, because you are a terrific writer and a man with good ideas and a sound understanding of the concepts you discuss, but I cannot engage with it at this point. I need moar training. And to watch this show despite no real initial interest in doing so.

  5. Xard says:

    I thought this episode blew and as a result of that the entire Karen Bee arc fell flat on its face. Anticlimatic and boring and loaded with NisiOisiN’s trite pseudo-philosophizing culminating in the ever so narmily retarded “there’s no truth” extreme relativist self-refuting nonsense (in terms of stupidity if not in terms of episode’s dramatic arc). What a joy.

    What’s worse than that Senjougihara and Araragi probably finally doing the deed was handled poorly as fuck and felt empty. It’s one thing to skip over the sex scene (it can be done well, see Alto and Sheryl in Frontier ep 22 which replaced it with extremely atmospheric and aesthetically superb parallel scene set in space that said all that need to be said) but entirely another to have the buildup to it feel like nothing and have the scene after dramaturgical ellipse be as trite nonsense as this episode’s ending was.

    So yeah. I was really disappointed in this weeks’ episode. Even Lagrange and Mouretsu Pirates were much stronger this week for me than this offering from Nise.

    • I obviously think otherwise.

      • Xard says:

        Well, obviously

        but I have no idea how anyone could be content with how their first time was handled. Ellipse is not the problem (they never showed their first kiss in Bakemonogatari ep 12 did they…or did they even kiss, I don’t remember), it’s the unengagingness of what came right before (obviously we disagree on this), the suddenness and rushed buildup AND far most gratingly the stupid imouto hijinks we get as the final word of the episode.

    • Alterego 9 says:

      Finally, someone agreeing about my opinion on the probably-sex scene. Come on! They are supposed to be the main couple in this show, and it was their first time! Would it have been that hard to show a bit more? And I don’t mean skin, but some more info about what happened. It should be an important part of their characterization!

  6. You big f*cking softy! I think you love blogging this show just so you can spew eloquently about love.

    Still this has been an interesting episode and arc. Nisemonogatari is definitely a different beast from Bakemonogatari, in subtle ways at least. Naked sisters and sister muff-diving aside, good monogatari.

  7. Pingback: Nisemonogatari 08 Is a Story of Fraternal Love | We Remember Love

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