Nisemonogatari 11: The Fitting Finale of This Fake Show (So Very, Very Bad)

[HorribleSubs] Nisemonogatari - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_23.57_[2012.03.18_06.44.35]

[Nisemonogatari 10]

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:

  1. You’re not my real sister, so this is NOT incest (get your minds out the gutter viewers!)
  2. 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.

Brilliant?

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.

[HorribleSubs] Nisemonogatari - 11 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.01_[2012.03.18_06.51.19]

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.

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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59 Responses to Nisemonogatari 11: The Fitting Finale of This Fake Show (So Very, Very Bad)

  1. animekritik says:

    Words cannot describe insane how this post sounds to someone who hasn’t watched the show, like myself :)

  2. Vucub Caquix says:

    Wow, I haven’t had the energy to muster up the effort to watch the last three episodes, but holy hell this post sounds angry.

    Brilliant.

  3. exo says:

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment on this last episode. I as much as anyone else would love to see an incredibly detailed SHAFT fight scene but Bake/Nisemonogatari simply wasn’t made to accommodate much of that. The real action mostly takes place through the dialog, that’s just how it is with this show (after all it is based off a novel). Sure there was a lot of corny stuff about the value of fake vs. real, but if you look deeper there are a lot of other underlying themes about family, acceptance, etc. and I really appreciate the amount of detail that is put into each character’s development, especially Shinobu.

    • Deeper?

      The family stuff IS the superficiality. The real content is the smut, and the sophistry about it. That’s the content worth discussing because that’s what’s provocative in the context of the show.

      Shinobu has nothing to do with family (as family is reduced to sibling sexual tension), and has much to do with being naked.

  4. SymphonyMuffin says:

    It’s clear that you dislike this show, but the fact that you have been expecting it to fail for a while now is rather unacceptable. As a reviewer it’s expected that your opinion will come through in your reviews, but at the very least there should be some manner of attempt at being unbiased. Since several posts earlier you’ve been speculating the many ways in which this series will get worse and each week you invent new ones. If you spend the entire time watching and thinking about the many ways something can be negative it’s not a surprise that your opinion about it would be negative. Given the many other interpretations there are of this episode It would not be farfetched to say that this one most desperately grasps at the smallest of scenes that could support its hypothesis. The phrase “When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail” comes to mind perhaps with the addendum “even if it is far from being one”.

    • Turambar says:

      I can guarantee that ghosty does not see himself as a reviewer in any objective fashion.

    • Earvs Arabia says:

      Well said. Like a boss. :)

    • It is clear that you haven’t been reading here long, and that’s okay. You’ll find the context of what I do when you read the Bakemonogatari entries. I am not a reviewer, as the people below have told you.

      I am not here to hate on the show. If anything, I wanted the very best out of it, having loved both anime adaptations of NisiOisiN’s works (Katanagatari as well, even though I can’t stand reading his prose).

      If you read the archives of only my writings on Nisemonogatari, I explicitly said that it is more than just smut — I insist however, that it is smut. There would be those who would deny this obvious thing as if any presence of non-smut content removes every illustration of every cooter shot in the whole thing. This ending is hollow because the content is incredibly uneven, and the resolution is a cop-out. Also, did you see Hitagi’s hair? Terrible.

      So, is your criticism of this blog post inaccurate? Yes. It is founded on perfectly understandable ignorance. Does this bother me? No.

      Thank you for taking the time to read the posts here despite how it must rankle you, expecting an unbiased opinion from what you thought was a reviewer. I hate unbiased opinions, they don’t count as opinions LOL. One of my many biases is I love Bakemonogatari and have a strong affinity for some of its characters. Also, I don’t like reading reviews, and I like writing them even less.

  5. Reiseng says:

    I have only seen the first episode of Nise (will catch up on the rest when I get the chance), but why does the girl with the golden hair (some alternate form of his sister, I presume??) have so much chest hair?

  6. jeanfiend says:

    All I could think of while watching what’s her name beat the crap out of our not so humble pervert: He deserves to lose every drop of blood we see flying. Also, random clip of Senjougahara at the end was random. And inadequate.

  7. MarigoldRan says:

    Sanity is over-rated.

    Go and watch “Beck-Mongolia Chop Squad” (dubbed is better than subbed) and restore some hit points.

  8. Earvs Arabia says:

    What I find weird is that for someone who hates this show a lot he still has the patience to sit and watch all 11 episodes. I usually quit watching after the 2nd or 3rd. Still, to each his own, I always say.

    • You haven’t been reading here very long. It will be obvious to you that I’m no casual viewer of Nisemonogatari — someone who watches and drops because he doesn’t like the show. I do that for countless shows, but why not this one?

      Check the archives, and see the work I’ve put in blogging Bakemonogatari. Maybe you’ll figure it out.

      • Earvs Arabia says:

        I have to admit, yes. I’ve only started lurking your blog because Rakuen recommended. He also told me you’re not the kind of guy who would just drop a show even if you hated it, much like how you endured Bincho-tan.

  9. megaroad1 says:

    Absolutely no mention of what the new Senjougahara/Hanekawa dynamic was about. And little of Senjougahara herself except for the haircut scene out of nowhere at the end, which might or might not be relevant plotwise. I hope that in future installments of the Monogatari series we have much, much less of the Araragi sisters. They did very little for me as characters, lacking the strange backgrounds and quirkiness of the characters introduced in Bake, and just helped fuel that very peculiar siscon fetish which quite simply does nothing for me as a viewer.

    Am looking forward to Kizumonogatari the film though. Seems like a completely different animal.

  10. :/

    I haven’t watched this episode yet, and now that I see this first picture, I have no intention to do so. As a fan of NisiOisiN’s work, this anime was honestly bad. There wasn’t a single moment where I could say that it was better than Bake, and there was so many things that bothered me that it’d be useless to talk about them all.

    Shame.

  11. Jay says:

    Good thing I ignored this show. My decision saved me from more tension after XXX is XXXed by XXX on Symphogear.

  12. bluemist says:

    I will leave my enjoyment of this series to just Bakemonogatari for now. It provided the correct balance of sophistication and fanservice for me when I watched it. Maybe the scene “placeholders” of that series helped a lot to cover up some of the inner-smut that it already had. Now with bigger budget and enough time to finish animations, Nisemonogatari seems more focused on the smut. At least, that’s how it looks by yours and many other bloggers’ posts.

  13. About non-reviews / ‘just impressions': there’s a point where bias becomes so thick that it cuts off all communication, even communication of the blatantly subjective variety (subjective as opposed to our best attempts at objectivity). This post doesn’t reach that point. Even if I disagree with it. A lot.

  14. se acabo la serie T_T el final da mas que decir

  15. kadian1364 says:

    Disappointed GL? I was disappointed with Endless Eight; crushed that the long anticipated sequel to one of my favorite anime series, truly responsible for setting me on the path of lifelong anime fandom, ended up so repetitive, boring, and cheap. You’re probably experiencing that feeling here.

    But in Nise’s case, I’m not disappointed with the series. I’ve come to terms with the idea that studios can make whatever (shallow) anime they please for whatever (ignoble) aims they have. Rather, I’m profoundly saddened by the sheer number of my peers who ate up this crap and then had the gall to make inconsistent and absurd defenses of its intellectual and creative merit. Not willing to call a duck a duck, they pretended it wasn’t really that different from its predecessor, nay, claiming it was actually superior in several meaningful ways! I honestly thought they were better than that.

    • I’m with you.

      The posturing and apology for this show, with all the inauthenticity, hypocrisy, and denial was quite something to behold. It would be one thing if I never gave Bakemonogatari the level of effort and analysis in getting into the bones of it, but some talk to me like I’m some superficial neanderthal nazi who can’t see carry the intellectual weight of this “eroism,” “eroticism,” or whatever fancy name they give it.

      Like I say, it’s more than just smut, but it is smutty as hell.

  16. Tenryu says:

    the impression i’m getting from a lot of ‘people’ from the ‘net’ is that they are angry that ‘they got shafted by SHAFT willingly and we hate ourselves for it, but will do it again none the less which makes us more angrier’.

  17. mangotoanime says:

    Nisemonogatari isn’t Bakemonogatari but it was entertaining in its own right.

  18. Narkins says:

    Your lucky you still felt enough to rage about it by the end of the Karen arc I felt empty.
    …. This and certain sci-fi video game in quick succession broke me somewhere I think.

  19. Erunno says:

    In hindsight I realized that Nisemonogatari lacked any catchy tunes. While I vividly remember several music pieces from Bakemonogatari’s soundtrack, the ones in Nise were utterly forgettable unfortunately.

  20. Reed says:

    I don’t know why you expected this show to be good.

  21. Xard says:

    To say I’m disappointed with Nisemonogatari doesn’t quite capture the discontent and empty feeling this installment in Monogatari series ended up giving – and when your friend whose main meter for evaluating anime often seems to be whether the cast members are fappable and if the MC is alpha enough goes and concludes Nise was “very good fap material but not actually good in any other sense” your feelings are probably not entirely off the base.

    Of course the blockbuster commercial success of Nisemonogatari can’t be avoided but if yaraon slices of episode reactions I followed through the season are indication of anything japanese audience too seems somewhat underwhelmed and disappointed with it (esp. those unfamiliar with novels and particularly with the ending and content not directly related to the painfully fitting nickname “pornomonogatari”). Which won’t stop it from selling well thanks to large fanbase but in any case I doubt many people will come forward to claim this as the highpoint of the overall series.

    I had originally written this novel without any plans to publish it. I wrote the entire thing without showing it to anyone. I wanted to hide it away without even making a single printout. In other words, this novel was originally something I was going to keep to myself. So this novel was written 200% to fit my tastes. I very much enjoyed getting to write everything that came from my mind without any arbitrary restrictions.

    Yes, there were times when I asked myself, “What the hell are you doing? You’re a professional!” But I think there’s a certain charm to approaching writing as if I were an amateur.

    I also thank you the readers for bearing with this novel filled with my dumb stories written without much care.

    -Nisio Isin

    The series’s problems and failures go straight back to source material and Shinbo’s stubborn “loyalty” to it: thus the failures of the novel (going by synopsis/reviews by people who’ve read the originals in japanese I’ve seen on net) seem to be identical with the ones of anime adaptation.

    You really can tell Nisemonogatari was written for drawer, something he never ment to publish as “official” Monogatari title but got dragged into doing that probably for money. The overbearing self-indulgence (and given that Nise apparently suits “200% his tastes” and he never ment to show it for anyone else makes me think he might’ve written it as a fap material for himself which would be fitting :P ) contributes little in terms of valuable material, the writing and its flow has marks of nearly nonexistent editing and the pacing is downright terribad, especially in Tsukihi Phoenix arc that wastes most of its runtime on anything BUT its supposed focus character and issue and then “resolves” itself neatly in anticlimatic, whimpering final showdown of philosophical sophistry and SHAFTesque non-animated fight scene which together with tired imouto fanservice antics led the final episode being almost as disappointing as Guilty Crown’s one – certainly it doesn’t feel like end of story arc.

    Hell, I’m all for chinese essentialist philosophies in principle and using them in story that has its main theme nature of fakeness but NOT when it’s done this haphazardly, pseudo-intellectually (I hit the rage button for awful philsophizing for the first time in ep 7 and its incoherent ramblings) and essentially as a window dressing that never leads anywhere or to any interesting conclusions or things to say.

    Basically it was just another example of NisiOisiN writing whatever came to his mind and no attempt was made for it to be actually meaningful (even if I find such subjects interesting on their own) for the whole: this inadequency of possible thematic explorations really concerns the writing of Nise in general and was not limited only to this instance.

    This combined with the treatment of characters I found generally increasingly offputting and sleazy means the other levels of Nise feel nothing more than window dressing what is essentially a parade of sleazy smut. It’s softcore pornography with literary pretensions and genuine artistry in its visuals but they’re not enough to change the series’s nature into something it isn’t.

    Koyomi acting out of “fraternal love” and helping his sisters is the excuse to get into imouto fanservice and not vice versa. Fanservice isn’t the “superfluous” you can remove from the real meat of the story: it’s the supposed “real meat” that is superfluous and dispensible – fanservice is what truly matters in Nise.

    It’s no different from likes of To Love-Ru Darkness when it comes to merit, another title that pretends to be something that it isn’t and tries to deny its real nature (pornography).

    The high points of Nisemonogatari that were good:

    – the first Hachikuji dialogue and the whole COURAGE thing was brilliant and amusing
    – All of episode 8 aka Godly Incestuous Toothbrushing. It’s the one episode in which Nise is 100% honest with itself and at its most extreme, thus giving its sleazy smut kind of transcendent aura tha shouldn’t be possible. It’s helluva good watch too
    – Superb art, good music and exceptional animation quality for SHAFT title (unfortunately faltering EXACTLY in the final fight, lol)
    – Senjougihara was good occasionally, more so in Karen Bee arc

    and that’s it.

    Good example of bad execution would be how Senjougihara’s haircut (HORRENDOUS when we finally get to see it during the very final moments) was handled: something that was ment to symbolize her “moving on” from her past was never shown or elaborated upon despite the crucial importance for her character arc. It was jus stuck there in the end which has confused and enraged viewers unfamiliar with novel spoilers more than anything else. Bad move.

    Even worse was the way Senjougihara’s and Koyomi’s first time was handled earlier. To quote myself

    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) 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.

    Contrast the magnificent ep 12 of Bakemonogatari (for example) with the Gahara’s implied implications followed by Koyomi returning home and meeting LOL IMOUTO ANTICS WHEEEEEEEEE not even minute later. In absolutely no way are we shown how this crucial step in their relationship affected the two etc. – it’s pushed aside to make room for the real deal in Nisemonogatari: KOYOMI ONII-CHAN bullshit.

    Oh, and the whole Koyomi-Gahara-Hanekawa dynamic that was introduced and dangled in front of viewers early on? Pretty much completely forgotten for time being without any clear indications it’s just foreshadowing developments in further installments (I don’t know if that’s the case but I hope so).

    Then there’s how characters were treated. NisiOisiN’s artificiality and open metaness has always limited the realness and convincingness of the cast as actual individuals overall with some exceptions (Gahara, Koyomi) to various degrees and in various way Monogatari as harem title has treated the girls as sex objects beyond what most anime fanservice does (ass shots of Major Kusanagi or Misato or Sheryl never “reduced” those three for example) but it was still ok.

    Nise on the other hand? Poor Nadeko is nothing but jailbait to be fapped on here: she was always closest to utter objectification in Bake too (Gahara being on opposite of the pool) but they really crossed the line here. There was practically nothing else to her character here.

    Kanbaru fared only slightly better thanks to her brand of smutty fanservice having a bit more personality inserted in it. Hachikuji actually came off the best out of the vulnerable bunch and not surprisingly most of the best dialogues were between her and Koyomi.

    Gahara was still the singular transcendental girl here, impossible to reduce to mere sexual object, but she was featured nowhere near enough.

    What Nise did most painfully however was utter butchering of the Araragi sisters. They could’ve been so interesting characters on their own right (and Karen kinda is despite all) had the focus truly been on their “playing justice” deal and NOT leering on them and stealing all dignity as characters away from them, emptying both girls of their personalities to point Karen’s fighting abilities and fierce personality is little more than superfluous topping on the “IMOUTO FETISH CHARACTER” cake.

    Fire Sisters in Nise were reduced ultimately into this archetype and fetish material. This was done through Shinbo’s lenses of pornographer that couldn’t stop objectifying and downright eating the girls with their gaze EVEN IN WHAT WERE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD SERIOUS SCENES and the writing hellbend on providing endless incidents of sexual tension between girls and Koyomi.

    oh right, Tsukihi doesn’t count as wincest because she isn’t “real sister”.

    Karen totally didn’t want it in ep 8.

    Yeah, ok.

    I have hard time genuinely getting into characters when the show is too busy almost constantly trying to bait my dick by adding sex appeal to all the underage chicks (SHAAAFT)

    Conclusion: Platinum Disappointed

    The series’s problems and failures go straight back to source material and Shinbo’s stubborn “loyalty” to it: thus the failures of the novel (going by synopsis/reviews by people who’ve read the originals in japanese I’ve seen on net) seem to be identical with the ones of anime adaptation.

    You really can tell Nisemonogatari was written for drawer, something he never ment to publish as “official” Monogatari title but got dragged into doing that probably for money. The overbearing self-indulgence (and given that Nise apparently suits “200% his tastes” and he never ment to show it for anyone else makes me think he might’ve written it as a fap material for himself which would be fitting Hah hah … hah… ) contributes little in terms of valuable material, the writing and its flow has marks of nearly nonexistent editing and the pacing is downright terribad, especially in Tsukihi Phoenix arc that wastes most of its runtime on anything BUT its supposed focus character and issue and then “resolves” itself neatly in anticlimatic, whimpering final showdown of philosophical sophistry and SHAFTesque non-animated fight scene which together with tired imouto fanservice antics led the final episode being almost as disappointing as Guilty Crown’s one – certainly it doesn’t feel like end of story arc.

    Hell, I’m all for chinese essentialist philosophies in principle and using them in story that has its main theme nature of fakeness but NOT when it’s done this haphazardly, pseudo-intellectually (I hit the rage button for awful philsophizing for the first time in ep 7 and its incoherent ramblings) and essentially as a window dressing that never leads anywhere or to any interesting conclusions or things to say.

    Basically it was just another example of NisiOisiN writing whatever came to his mind and no attempt was made for it to be actually meaningful (even if I find such subjects interesting on their own) for the whole: this inadequency of possible thematic explorations really concerns the writing of Nise in general and was not limited only to this instance.

    This combined with the treatment of characters I found generally increasingly offputting and sleazy means the other levels of Nise feel nothing more than window dressing what is essentially a parade of sleazy smut. It’s softcore pornography with literary pretensions and genuine artistry in its visuals but they’re not enough to change the series’s nature into something it isn’t.

    Koyomi acting out of “fraternal love” and helping his sisters is the excuse to get into imouto fanservice and not vice versa. Fanservice isn’t the “superfluous” you can remove from the real meat of the story: it’s the supposed “real meat” that is superfluous and dispensible – fanservice is what truly matters in Nise.

    It’s no different from likes of To Love-Ru Darkness when it comes to merit, another title that pretends to be something that it isn’t and tries to deny its real nature (pornography).

    • Xard says:

      whoops double copypasta’d part of my writing, nevermind that…

    • And you have all these delusional fanboys who can’t shut up about this bullshit called “character development” — which is even shittier than usual as a concept when applied to this show.

      • Xard says:

        yeahhh… Only characters that really any clear character development here are Gahara and Araragi (and as always mostly due to their relationship, Arararararagi’s involvement with imoutos lead way into very small amount of “real” character development) and I’m not really happy with how even that was handled.

        Using character development justify Nise’s bullshit is just too.. I don’t know, lol

        Good news for you though (quoting my friend who has read all the books): “Take the moe and fan service in Bake and maximize it at the expense of the action and serious mystery solving and you get Nise; do it the other way round and you get Kizu.”

        Because of this I’m still quite eagerly anticipating Kizumonogatari

        • Even if I acknowledge such a clumsy term, Bakemonogatari/Nisemonogatari doesn’t do character development for most of the cast. Too many people take some exposition, back story, and manifestation of traits as development. Ugh.

          If what you say about Kizumonogatari is true, then this is very encouraging.

          • Xard says:

            I hope it’s true and as of now I believe so because everything he said on Nise turned out to be true and on mark. :)

            “Character development” is awfully vague term indeed. By definition it’s just “the change in characterization of a dynamic character, who changes over the course of a narrative” which sounds like something you can’t say about most of monogatari’s cast after their personal arcs have been resolved but then again “characterization” in turn means nothing more than process of conveying information about a character through means like dialogue, actions and such. Under such broad definition pretty much anything every character ever does counts as character development of a kind.

            So yeah, I’m not biggest fan of the term either.

  22. bro says:

    All I’m saying is that it’s really frustrating to sit here and read what is essentially you whining about this not being a shonen battle series.

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