Quite possibly the most erotic teeth brushing sequence ever.
What They Say:
The sequel to Bakemonogatari!
Crab, snail, monkey, snake and cat… Supernatural incidents revolving around five girls were solved thanks to Koyomi Araragi. With these mysteries laid to rest, Koyomi Araragi can now begin to live a normal life, or at least so it seems…
His “unusual” life starts when Koyomi wakes up in a ruined school building, captured and chained by Hitagi Senjyogahara. She says, “I will protect you, Araragi!” Exactly what is Senjyogahara up to?! With Koyomi’s two younger sisters Karen and Tsukihi (a.k.a the Fire Sisters) now involved, Koyomi once again finds himself tangled with apparitions!
Contains episodes 1-11 plus a 36-page, full-color booklet.
The audio presentation for this release is quite good for a stereo mix as it presents the original Japanese language using the PCM encoding. The dialogue here is what dominates the show to be sure as it comes hard and fast quite often with a lot of placement throughout. There’s some very minor action but the way the mix works is to handle the quick cuts, placement along the forward soundstage and to immerse you in it as best as it can. And it does it very, very well. The nature of the show is one where it has its quiet moments, but when it gets running with the fast paced dialogue and the way it shifts scenes so much, it’s impressive and comes across cleanly and beautifully here.
Originally airing in 2011, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. With eleven episodes to the set, it’s spread across five discs in two episodes per disc configuration with the second disc having a third episode. It’s an unusual arrangement once again, similar to Bakemonogatari, but one that in its own way does work. Shows animated by Shaft really require high definition transfers in order to shine and it does just that here, working the bit rate across the entire range in order to handle the fast cuts to new scenes, the stills and the strong, vibrant colors it chooses to employ. With a range if styles to be had, the transfer brings it all home in a really strong way with no loss of detail, solid colors and very fluid looking animation that stands out all the more because of the encoding. With so many detailed and interesting backgrounds, being able to soak them up when paused or enjoying them in motion is just all the better with what’s done here.
Nisemonogatari has a pretty great looking release here with what it does in terms of artwork and the bonus booklet. The set comes in a heavy chipboard box with some purple hues to it that gives it a darker feeling, but it’s balanced by all the character artwork which goes for more subdued tones but adds a good bit of color along the way. The front of the box has a large cast shot of all the women in Araragi’s life and they’re pretty much all smiling and happy which gives it a good look. The back of the box does the same kind of background but more of it is visible as the focus is just on two characters together. Near full length shots of Karen and Tsukihi look great with a bit more vibrance to them and the smiles are all the more prominent.
Inside the box we get three standard sized Blu-ray cases that are just full of color and character artwork. With the logo and volume information kept to the spine, the front and back covers have an array of very colorful pieces of character artwork, either pairings or by themselves where they’re just vibrant and hugely appealing, especially with Shinobu in a bathtub covered in donuts. Each case has artwork on the reverse side as well, though it’s just background pieces and nothing terribly striking. The front and back covers are big winners in my book though with what they present.
The set also includes a thirty-four page full color booklet that’s just fantastic. It spends the first half going over the main story pieces for the two arcs here with lots of text and plenty ofimages from the episodes themselves. Numerous pages are given over to the individual characters with poses of them and more designs as well as bits about who they are. There’s also a good art gallery of different illustrations for the show, though I wish they had gotten their own pages. The last page also has a good look at the Japanese booklet covers which are pretty neat looking.
The menu design for the series is pretty good overall, though a little slow to load at first, as it phases in the character artwork for that particular story/disc against a soft white cloudy background with some gray to it. With the character artwork along the left having a vibrant feeling, the logo along the right brings some balance. The navigation is kept along the bottom where it tiers upwards as you make selections, though they’re all just a little too small and thin. The text is white on varied color backgrounds depending on the disc and it’s easy enough to read overall but could have used a little more definition. The navigation is easy to move though and the disc defaults to the Japanese language with dialogue only subtitles. It also has the option for dialogue+signs as well as the commentary track subtitles.
The extras for this release are a bit weaker compared to Bakemonogatari, largely because there are no character commentaries to be had. The main extras across the release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences that are connected to the episodes on that disc. The final disc brings in a few extras with some TV spots and home video commercials.
Following up the successful Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari is an eleven episode series that works similar but significantly different from that series. Bakemonogatari was a show that I found hard to get into at first and it took awhile before it came together in a way that really clicked for me. But when it did, and look at as a whole, it definitely left me impressed. I had seen a touch of Nisemonogatari in simulcast form prior to Bakemonogatari, but it made no sense to me so I had skipped it. Seeing it now in this form, it definitely makes me glad I did that as it is the kind of show that works much better when marathoned in chunks, if not the whole thing. Some Shaft shows can suffer when viewed like that, but this and Bakemonogatari are the rare ones that make out better for me.
The series follows up from the events of Bakemonogatari a bit, but it works off of a different structure. While we had several stories told that were self contained but part of a larger narrative that tied together well, what we get here is primarily two arcs with varying degrees of subplots woven within it. Both arcs work more with Araragi’s sisters, Karen and Tsukihi, and each of them get their own time to shine here. The first arc is the lengthier of the two as it deals with Karen, but it ties in with her sister a fair bit since the two are posing as heroes of justice, the Fire Sisters, that right wrongs in the world as they see them. They’ve got this sense of justice because of their older brother, but it’s because of the way he’s picked on them over the years that they don’t want others to suffer under his kind of bullying.
The “Karen Bee” arc focuses on Araragi’s relationship with his sister and her ways as he tries to understand her more, which has some really fun moments since the two spar verbally and physically at times. But it’s also following up events from the previous series that are important, particularly with the way that Araragi has come to terms with his former master, Shinbou. He’s changed a bit because of events where he’s lost his vampiric aspect but there’s still the potential for a very long life, even with the reduced strength that he has. The two have had a really difficult relationship since their first encounter, but the shift to her calling him master now and the way he looks after her after they find a balance is just great. The whole trip to the donut shop alone was worth it, but also to see the changes in how they work together in the Tsukihi arc as she helps him out without requiring thanks is just spot on to see how he’s changed her.
The Tsukihi arc is a bit awkward with what it does in a way since Tsukihi isn’t really the focus of a lot of it. But it deals with her background as we learn certain truths about her that have to be dealt with, truths that tie in to what family means, something that Araragi has to figure out. With what he went through with Karen, it’s important to bring that binding to Tsukihi as well, especially since we learn that there is a real difference in their relationship that was hidden since her birth. It’s not surprising how it goes, it’s typical storytelling that makes me wish they had taken some chances with it, but it’s very good to see the way that both sisters and Araragi make it clear that they would die for each other and you don’t doubt it for an instant.
One of the underlying themes of the set has to deal with something that goes back to prior to the Bakemonogatari with the way that Senjyogahara had been tricked into the crab that made her light. This introduces us to Kaiki, who is causing trouble with curses and extortions made to middle school kids, which in turn draws in Karen. It’s good to get resolution there and it also gives us a moment for Araragi and Karen to bond as she gets suckered in by Kaiki as well. The real bonding between the two takes place later in one of the most disturbing yet hilarious and fanservice filled moments I’ve seen. When Karen reveals she wants to meet Hanekawa, he refuses unless she can pass the test of him brushing her teeth for five minutes. It makes sense when it’s done in context, but the way it turns so incredibly erotic is just so out there that you can’t help but to be drawn even more into it, bordering between laughing and cringing yet hating that you’re enjoying it.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Nisemonogatari after Bakemonogatari, particularly with the different kind of structure it has here with the two arcs, both of which have blended smaller arcs in it. There’s a great deal of material that’s being worked through here with what it wants to do, particularly with Senjyogahara and Shinobu, but it’s primary focus is on telling the story of the two Fire Sisters and their relationship with each other and their brother. It weaves a good deal of material between the two – and some incredibly gorgeous sexual shots and poses as well that really push the boundaries at times – which makes for some compelling storytelling going on here. With its smaller focus overall and really not introducing a lot of characters, it serves more to clean up what had come before with dangling plot threads, expand on Araragi a bit more and showcase the family and the quirks that exist. I went in a bit cautious but came out loving it.
Japanese PCM 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Textless Openings and Endings, Trailer Collection
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: A-
Released By: Aniplex USA
Release Date: February 27th, 2013
Running Time: 280 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.