I’ll let the siscon fanservice slide, as overt and explicit as it was – on second thought, no. This is the kind of sophistry that pisses me off. Two levels of cop-out:
- You’re not my real sister, so this is NOT incest (get your minds out the gutter viewers!)
- I never got off from kissing you, it’s because you’re my sister. This kiss doesn’t count. The incest never happened! (Get that viewers? It never would’ve counted anyway since I didn’t get off on it. You did? Tsk, tsk).
It layers this even further by throwing Chinese essentialist moral philosophy at you, then questions the value of good in terms of being the real, or the benevolent consequence. Since Nisemonogatari is being upfront with its smut, then it is better than the hypocritical feel-good shows who subdue their smuttiness but they’re all there anyway.
This is true because Araragi chooses to lie, compromise, cheat, and owe to family – because they’re family. Otaku are Nisemonogatari’s family. This real lie of a show is therefore valuable, a hero. It will take the criticism for its beloved viewers. It’ll die for its beloved family. It’s immortal anyway.
Sure. It does sound like a kind of victory. But like this episode and this whole show, it is a hollow one.
Its consistency with the real-fake/authenticity-inauthenticity continuum, along with the hero(savior)-villain(pervert) continuum of Araragi takes center stage in what seemingly would be a fitting end: a non-battle with Kagenui – a battle between humans, therefore no real killing intent. Araragi was there to not fight, but just to withstand, to survive.
Kagenui was bored. So was I (never mind that the “animation” was pretty much stills like a Powerpoint slide show). It was a fight between humans, not monsters. Therefore, it shouldn’t be that exciting, because fighting is wrong. Humans should love, not fight. They should be fighting monsters.
We also get the origins of Oshino and Kagenui – and how the source in a way, is Kaiki Deshuu. How fitting. The con-man is part of the whole thing. Real and fake are all intertwined in this snarl of a knot. But see, all this talk, all this sophistry – am I really supposed to take this seriously? As a form of moral lesson? Really?
No, all this material is really offered as a method of entertainment. The content is supposed to provoke and the provocation is a part of the entertainment. Smut for your smut-part of the brain, intellectual sophistry for the intellectual part of the brain. What it didn’t promise, only that it always does, is a fight.
Instead of fighting humans, it should’ve shown us the fight between monsters. Oshino vs. the midget who talks big in a posed look. That was the fanservice that never was. Nisemonogatari was interested in the smutty kind of fanservice, and some of that is Araragi Koyomi’s masochism perhaps. But as for an honest to goodness fight, we won’t get one.
loli heart-under-knife band-aid panty vampire beat the crap out of Tsubasa cat at the end of Bakemonogatari, but that wasn’t a fight. It was one special attack (LOL) that settled things by surprise. Nisemonogatari promised (but not really) some toe-to-toe action, but did not show it. It showed the non-fight, which is just more of Koyomi taking damage and not dying.
BUT THERE WAS ONE MORE CHANCE. Former Heart-Under-Knife (see what I did there?) vs. Kagenui still could’ve happened! FINALLY A FIGHT BETWEEN POWERS. But instead we are given the ultimate sophistry dialogue I’ve seen in all anime. So no fight. The fanservice this episode is limited to Koyomi kissing his fake sister. DON’T YOU KNOW HOW HOT THAT IS? (don’t worry, he’s lying; not really into incest, he says).
How disappointed am I with Nisemonogatari? I can’t measure it right now. I took a lot of damage, and I’m no vampire with lots of hit points and regenerative powers.