The manipulations of this show lends to an amazing symmetry.
No, I don’t want to talk any garbage about “trolling.”
Here’s the manipulation: There are two value propositions in Nisemonogatari that on the surface at least, work at cross-purposes with each other: Smut, vs. the core story about bakemono and love, etc. The kimoi love the former, and the elitists love the latter. While there are those who genuinely love both without privilege or distinction, let’s leave those weirdos out of this.
The smut pushes people’s butttons and not always in boner ways. And yet, they don’t quit the show. The pedophiliac smut in it has not fully driven me away from this show. Just as Araragi at some point doesn’t know why he’s dating Senjougahara. I love this show, and that means taking it in, smut and all. It’s turned me into a tsundere for it, and this realization cums after this episode that is an essay on tsundere service.
It’s inauthentic to keep hating on a show one truly cares for.
It’s also very authentic to keep criticizing a show because one truly cares for it.
So here we are: handcuffs, ridiculously sharpened pencils, box cutters, bullying, sexual harassment, harsh words. This is to love Nisemonogatari.
For those who need me to spell it out for them, the 6th episode of the show as well as that of the “Karen Bee” arc is structured in three dialogues with tsundere: Mayoi, Shinobu, and her lordship Hitagi herself.
Hachikuji Mayoi pushed the smut buttons by revealing that she enjoyed and expected the sexual harassment inflicted upon her 10 year-old body by the perverted Araragi. Her squirming and complaints are made just to “play the part” and so he won’t stop. The smut machine gives her the lines “What did you think, No actually means No?” This is what I talk about when I say the smut here pushes buttons. This is a rape joke. Mayoi obviously cares about Koyomi and would vie for his affections to rival Hitagi if she could. Her being dead is the supernatural barrier that keeps the equilibrium and symmetry of the harem in place. So yeah, lots of tsun, and the dere reveal.
Shinobu Oshino pushed the smut buttons HARD in the previous episode. The smut denialists provided a whole lot of meta entertainment pathetically trying to rationalize the pedophiliac smut as if it doesn’t exist (so there’s no reason to be hung up and disturbed). There’s a parallel to be drawn between the smut denialists of this show and the BL denialists of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE. Both provide a lot of laughs even if they can be infuriating with their ignorance and/or hypocrisy. But going back to the GOLD in this episode, her statements about she wouldn’t be showing up if she really didn’t intend to help Koyomi and how she needed to be ordered as if she didn’t want to do anything for him naturally is there for her to save face is both touching and brilliant. It’s the show deconstructing the inauthenticity as it is delivered as tsundere service is one of the best things about this anime franchise. This is a crowning example.
I reversed the order because I like Hitagi’s the most, and that it is the “other” core value proposition in this franchise.
Senjougahara Hitagi … there’s too much goodness going on in this scene for me to comment on in full. Let me just say that the strength of the show is also in the love story of this unlikely couple. The unlikeliness is reinforced by Hitagi needing to act so tsun (and this in itself is fanservice), which then provokes Koyomi to say something mature and manly. Her reactions to this display are amazing to watch in its dark, comic way. Her motivations are stark, clear. His love for her is unclear, but at the same time inevitable. What a nice couple. I love them to bits.
If there’s anything that really intrigues me is this Hanekawa bullying Senjougahara angle. I don’t even… but oh my goodness this is delicious. Anyway, best episode yet. To love this and to deny all the spectacular smut I’d rather not have seen would be inauthentic. But to say that I’d rather have more pedophiliac smut in my Nisemonogatari would by lying and stupid. I hate this show. Tsundere service.