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Winter Watch: Nisemonogatari #4

Hide your kids and hide your wife. Nisemono is about launch a shock and awe campaign of fanservice against your senses.

Welcome to Winter Watch, a look at the latest anime season. Among the many shows being broadcast, Nisemonogatari is perhaps the most anticipated one as it is a direct sequel to fan favorite Bakemonogatari.

Episode 4: Karen Bee, Part 4

Summary: Koyomi meets a mysterious man outside of Suruga's house and eventually gets kidnapped by Hitagi.

Air Date: Jan. 28, 2012

Run Time: 24:10

Warning: This article contains spoilers. We recommend watching the episode herefirst.

"Beautifully risque" and "creepily impressive" are apt descriptions for the series as a whole.
"Beautifully risque" and "creepily impressive" are apt descriptions for the series as a whole.

This episode kicks off with Koyomi having rushed home to answer the distress call about Karen only to find that she is with Tsukihiand Tsubasa Hanekawa and that everything has already been resolved. After some light banter between the four of them, Koyomi and Tsubasa have a talk in his room where it is revealed that Kaiki was behind Karen's predicament. Later, Koyomi takes a bath and is joined by Shinobu Oshino, who has come to bring closure on a past event that divided the two of them and to inform Koyomi about the curse that Karen was afflicted with.

Tsubasa makes her return to the franchise.
Tsubasa makes her return to the franchise.

So, another episode and another set of character reintroductions. Tsubasa's relationship with Koyomi reminds me of Suruga's in that, despite the flirting and suggestive body language, the two of them are just teasing Koyomi and their relationship or desire for a relationship are based around friendship. The second character, Shinobu, seems pretty interesting. Having not seen Bakemonogatari, I don't know the specifics of their history with each other, but based off of how they act around each other, it seems like the two of them have both a legitimate reason to despise the other and a reason to be trusting of each other, almost to the point of friendship. While watching it, I got the impression that it was similar to a more amicable version of Ichigo Kurosaki and Hollow Ichigo, where the two sometimes clash but ultimately they can put their differences aside and work together.

Was this really needed?
Was this really needed?

With those two having been reintroduced, another mainstay of the series reared it's head again. Marking the return of a physically underage character was a plethora of tricky content involving said underage character. Not since Kiss x Sis, a show in my watched pile of shame, have I seen a series that so relishes in the opportunity to sexualize and display the underdeveloped female form. To the show's credit, the creators are making a true art form out of trickiness and every angle and shot is deserving of a reference in a cinematography textbook. While there is flat out nudity in the episode, it feels noticeably more restrained than the Nadeko incident yet far more gratuitous. With Nadeko, the entire purpose was to show how clumsily she was trying to seduce Koyomi. Seduction is sexualization by default so it was necessary to feature it in order for the scene to work. However, in this episode there are so many fully exposed shots of a naked childlike character and none of it really served a purpose other than a two second sequence that was used to display that she has supernatural speed and agility. The situation seems even more egregious when you consider that Koyomi is naked along with her the entire time, yet we rarely see risque shots of him and their nonappearance has no ill affect on the quality or artistic merit of the scene.

Verdict

Nisemonogatari is a good show and when it's all said and done it might end up as a great show. Every technical and artistic aspect, from animation to writing to voice acting, is so high quality and well thought out that it should make the series an easy one to recommend. The true shame is that any recommendation has to be given on the basis that the recommendee be accepting of the overt and gratuitous sexualization of minors, which will be a legitimate and understandable turn off for many.

Watch on Crunchyroll

- William Taylor ( sickvisionz ) is lazy by nature, procrastinator by trade. You can also find him on Twitter @mrsickvisionzand on Tumblr at In My Lifetime

zetzueion Feb. 4, 2012 at 12:50 p.m.

Yeah, that Shinobu scene caught me off-guard. On one hand the conversation was very interesting and entertaining on the other her body is supposed to that of an 8 year old. So, yeah...

Anyway she's barely is in Bake so the only thing you may not know is that she was the vampire that turned Koyomi into one, but that is not covered in Bake in the first place. The jarring thing about this scene is that she is talking at all and the implication(having read the prequel, Kizumonogatari) that she probably didn't speak in all of Bake because she was scared of Meme. Lastly you may be happy to know that Kizumonogatari is getting an adaption(a movie) later this year, this covers the Koyomi vampire thing and how he met Shinobu, Meme and Tsubasa.

EDIT: Oh, forgot to post this. It's the poster of the movie. And yes, normally Shinobu doesn't look like an 8 year old.

SergioBon Feb. 4, 2012 at 6:21 p.m.

Hanekawa's relationship with Araragi is different than Kanbaru's. It's not evident in this series much, but was covered in Bakemonogatari. I won't spoil it in case you decide to go back to watch the first series.

There's no point in holding back that Shinobu is the vampire who turned Araragi. She's a shell of her former self and currently resides in Araragi's shadow now that Oshino departed.

Bocamon Feb. 4, 2012 at 6:51 p.m.

@SergioB: Hanekawa's relationship with Araragi will actually be Covered in More Detail in Kizumonogatari.

Also the scene with Shinobu was no more sexual then anything in Spice and Wolf.

zaldaron Feb. 4, 2012 at 7:09 p.m.

Yes but spice and wolf was rather sexual...

sickVisionz moderator on Feb. 5, 2012 at 4:52 a.m.

@zetzuei said:

Lastly you may be happy to know that Kizumonogatari is getting an adaption(a movie) later this year, this covers the Koyomi vapire thing and how he met Shinobu, Meme and Tsubasa.

So Bakemonogatari doesn't cover how he became a vampire? I'm actually missing out on less than I originally thought I was.

@Bocam said:

Also the scene with Shinobu was no more sexual then anything in Spice and Wolf.

I agree and noted that it was more restrained than past tricky content in the series. Another big difference, perhaps the biggest, is that Holo looks significantly older than Shinobu and it's like not like Shinobu is the only time they sexualize minors in the series. Also, when did they make Holo look like someone ejaculated on her face? They take things much farther on a regular basis with more characters of a younger physical appearance than what I remember from Spice and Wolf.

Bocamon Feb. 5, 2012 at 6:36 a.m.

@sickVisionz: If you're going to continue to watch Nise, let me just warn you, the scene with Shinobu is tame compared to later scenes. For example here's a excerpt from the novel.

fijilovesyouon Feb. 5, 2012 at 11:25 a.m.

Shinobu just popped out of nowhere! That caught me off guard. But their conversation was so entertaining.

I guess Tsukihi has a brother complex. Hahaha. Let us see what will Koyomi do to solve Karen's case without the help of Oshino. This series is even getting better.

zetzueion Feb. 5, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.

@sickVisionz: Yeah, Bake covers this (in order): Hitagi's problem, Mayoi's problem, Suruga's

problem, Nadeko's problem and Tsubasa's 2nd problem. Tsubasa's 1st problem is covered in another prequel(Nekomonogatari Black(this goes between Kizu and Bake)).

AURON570on March 4, 2012 at 8:27 p.m.

I normally throw a fit when girls use the "ku-ku" laugh, but somehow it worked here.

Dig Deeper into Nisemonogatari

Nisemonogatari is a 2012 anime series that serves as a sequel to the 2009 series "Bakemonogatari". Both anime are based off of Nishio Ishin's popular "-monogatari" series of light novels.

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