So, I always heard a lot of great things about Bakemonogatari. Well, in all honesty I can't remember any specifics about what I heard so maybe I should just say that I've heard Bakemonogatari mentioned alot around the anime world. Yep, I'll go with that.
So, Bakemonogatari is a pretty popular title around the internet but I never actually got around to watching it. I did watch Katanagatari, based off of a light novel by the same author, and I fell in love with it. When I heard that another series of his was going to be animated, I knew I'd be there day one. Well, that series is Nisemonogatari,
a direct sequel which I believe is a direct sequel to Bakemonogatari.
This immediately brought up a problem: I've never seen Bakemonogatari and this is a sequel. The series isn't available legally on any streaming sites and I don't watch fansubs anymore so there is basically no way I'm going to watch it before NiG (my
clever way of shortening all of these xgatari series). Would this be a sequel like Ghostbusters 2 where you really don't need any familiarity with the prior movie to pick it up or is this like jumping headfirst into Matrix Revolutions without having seen any of the other films? The mystery awaited me.
Well, less than 30 minutes ago I finished the first episode of NiG and here's what I thought. Now a caution: I have done ZERO research into the prior series so all of this is solely based off of one episode. Also, I'm going to try and present this as unedited as possible.
Ok, the first that hit me were the visuals. As you can see in the picture below, this entire part is
shot drawn in super wide screen film aspect ratio. Additionally, there is crazy bloom lighting all over the place. I thought to myself, well even if the show is confusing and I don't get it, it is cool to look at. Outside of the art style, the animation is pretty nice as well and shots are framed up in pretty cool way.
So anyways, that was my "I've been watching for 5 seconds" thoughts. As for the situation, some guy named Koyomi got kidnapped by this cute girl named Hitagi. From the outside looking in, they seem to have some type of history. She seems a little off in the head and says that she loves him, but hey, women can be crazy, right? No real shock about any of this. So, there's some sexual innuendo going on between the two of them but she really seems kinda crazy in love. I thought this was pretty interesting to watch and it made me curious about what their history was.
Now, one very important thing that I feel should be brought up. This act also immediately brought the first episodes of KaG (Katanagatari) and Tatami Galaxy to mind for one reason: they talk... a lot. Well, no. That's not really why. They talk a lot in the first episode of Fate/Zero but it's not like this. NiG reminded me of those shows because of the speed at which they talk. Everyone speaks like the Micro Machines guy or the person at the end of a car commercial that turbo charges their way through what should be like 10 seconds of legalese in 2 seconds flat. It's not quite as bad as Tatami where I eventually just gave up and came to the conclusion that you weren't supposed to catch everything being said, but it gets close to it.
Anyways, cool segment. It got my attention.
So, somehow Koyomi is now in his house. I don't remember exactly how it transitioned to it and, keeping in line with my unedited style, I'm not going to go back for clarity. Plus, meh. I don't remember being puzzled at the time so I'm sure the transition makes sense while you're watching it.
this segment I think this segment introduces Koyomi's sister Tsukihi. I don't really remember what her name was because #1 I'm terrible with English names of real people, let alone Japanese names of fake people and #2 everyone calls each other Oni, Ani, Nee, etc so it's not like you get the chance to have the named drilled into your head anyways. ANYWAYS, the two of them are talking and it really reminds me of, I want to say Tatami Galaxy because everything is really visually stylized. The house they stay in is very stark and they do a lot of cuts they keep what might be a boring scene visually interesting.
This is also where more anime tropes start coming in and the dialog calms down. Sometimes this stuff can make me groan but with this show, it grounded it more for me and put me into a comfort zone rather than making me facepalm. I think it's because I'm new to this entire world that obviously has a lot going on and if I was treated to another throw you in the middle of it scene I might have started to feel lost.
So as you see, we get some service and Koyomi calls up this chick who is clearly and obviously in love with him, everyone else on the planet seems to be aware that she is in love with him, but duh, he's totally oblivious to it all. It's executed a lot better than I may be making it sound and the oblivious to love thing actually made me chuckle with how they did it.
Also... dude was a vampire. I like how they kinda just casually through that in there in the middle of a nice scene between a teenage brother and sister.
At the end of the previous act, Koyomi decides to chill out with the girl who he doesn't know likes him. He invites his sister to come, but having a brain and knowing that the girl obviously wants him to come alone, she declines. So, on the way to ole girl's house Koyomi sees a little girl and goes on a Zetsubou Sensei-esque inner monologue of much debate, confusion and explaining (safe to assume these two have a complex history, although I incorrectly thought they were enemies at first) before running up and giving her a huge super duper silly hug.
Now, I'm pretty sure this girl is a vampire or some sort of monster since her immediate reaction to someone creeping on her from behind was to sprout claws and scamper up a light pole like a squirrel. This act is both my favorite out of the three and the most... whatwould call "tricky" since Koyomi is constantly talking about how he wants to lick her or see her panties. It seemed weird and kinda out of the blue and I couldn't tell if he was joking because at some points the duo seemed like old friends catching up with each other and then in other parts dude is plotting to see her undies. Anyways, I had the courage to sit through and enjoy it for what it was.
I got through the first episode and I have to say, I never felt particularly confused in a bad way. I don't know all of the character backgrounds and histories, but everyone's relationships with each other were laid out well enough for me to understand where they stood with each other, which I'm hoping is all I'll need going forward. If you've been hesitant about watching this without having seen BaG, definitely check it out.
I really love the visuals. The character designs look like a lot of other shows, but the art style, particualrly how things are lit and colored really stands out. I can't recall anything similar to it.
I also LOVE the shots that they chose. There are a lot of interesting angles with things overlapping each other to create visually interesting scenes that could potentially be really drab if and boring if done any other way.
The show has a lot of funny moments in it. The 4th wall is shattered multiple times and there a lot of subtle little jokes and lines here and there that you could miss if you're not paying attention, which I love but don't see enough of. It also has a few straight up you're supposed to laugh at this gags that are pretty funny as well.
Well, that's that. Definitely a worthwhile way to spend 24 minutes and like any good episode, it grabbed me enough to want to see what will happen in the next one. You can watch the series online via Crunchyroll at http://www.crunchyroll.com/nisemonogatari