Nisemonogatari is far and away the most visually striking series I've seen in a long time. The series is up there with titles like Kaiba, Redline, Welcome to Irabu's Office , Panty & Stocking, and others that have a very distinct style to them and with an attention to detail in art and animation that truly permeates every frame and enhances the series. The visuals for these shows are the show and without them, they just wouldn't be the same. While the animation is amazing, there is one static aspect of the visuals that I'm regularly impressed by in Nisemonogatari: the backgrounds and the general setting of the show. I can't stress enough just how beautiful and downright cool some of the sets and areas of the world are. The weekly Winter Watch articles never seemed like quite the right place to go on and on about this, so I've decided to dedicate this write-up to them.
While fairly plain on the outside, the Araragi house is flat out amazing. Similar to Dr. Who's Tardis, the interior of the house is impossibly massive at times. To call the architecture and interior decorating avant-garde would be an understatement. Many of the rooms have entire walls that are nothing but segmented windows, which flood the area with light during the daytime. This makes them a true sight to behold when combined with the constant light bloom. But the real joy? The bathroom. Easily the bathroom. Never in my life have I seen a bathroom so amazing. It's more than double the size of my town house, yet it contains little more than a bathtub and a shower. Throughout the bathroom there are towers of floating cubes made from metal poles that make me insanely jealous that all I have in mine are a towel rack and a mirror. The lighting is minimal, which really makes the vertically aligned stained glass windows a sight to behold. Yes, that's right. There are stained glass mirrors in the bathroom; massive ones.
While we rarely get to see a number of rooms in the houses of Koyomi's friends, he often finds himself in the bedrooms of women, which are no less disappointing in their own unique way. Whether it be Hitagi using newspapers as wallpaper, Nadeko's complete wall of windows (which makes her seem like an exhibitionist when you consider the things that she's done in her room), or Suruga and her mansion filled with books, every bedroom in the series is filled with personality and visual flare.
The town that Koyomi and his friends lives in exemplifies making the impossible possible even more so than any other environment in the show. On a walkable route, meaning it isn't dozens of miles, the scenery changes from a smoking industrial factory to a mildly lit bamboo forest that could be the final art project for a group of college students. The city switches from a bleak and oppressive sea of towers and skyscrapers to a literal sea with a boardwalk and seagulls flying in and out of the scene.
While some shows push for realism or consistency with set design and environments, Nisemonogatari completely embraces that its world is completely made up and that because it's all just a drawing, the sky is the limit for what can be in it. Like many things in the series, the sets and environments change to fit whatever tone or emotion the scene or current shot needs to be most effective and man, it's just so damn pretty!