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If you can't stand the heat, avoid the Fire Sisters. Review of Nisemonogatari

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Nisemonogatari

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Here in Baltimore and around the world, people like to learn. The Maryland Science Center is offering a chance to learn about something that affects people around the globe directly and indirectly. In Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause, people get a chance to see the science behind drug addiction and the cost it has on lives, in America and beyond. If you get a chance, feel free to take a look at it this year as it is going on until September 1st. And since it’s been awhile, it’s probably a good time to jump into some anime too. This week we do the follow up to Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari.

Nisemonogatari is a follow up to the hit anime, Bakemonogatari. Both viewable at the Crunchyroll website. Still following Araragi, the show retains the strong hold on viewers its predecessor did. Similar to Bakemonogatari, the series is only eleven episodes, giving it a light feel. Keeping to the theme of the supernatural bleeding over into the human world, the series focuses on two primary support characters in the Fire Sisters, Araragi’s little sisters. Just as the series before it, each of the sister’s episodes have a unique opening and ending exclusive to them. The animation is no less extravagant and yet minimalistic. Colour pallets feature bright almost luminescent hues while sometimes bearing no shadows at times. The series has a little more fan service from the sisters as you go through the episodes, but it’s understandable since at least most of one episode is told from one of their points of view.

There’s a very strong start to the series as you see Araragi bound and held captive by Senjogahara then watch him rip himself out of it when he finds out his family is in trouble. Then you remember how weak Araragi is and you kind of kick yourself for thinking that changed. In the previous series, the theme seemed to be growing up and planning for the future. In this series, it seems to involve family (for good and ill if you’re including Hanekawa’s situation), and good versus evil. There’s a sweet spot in this series as we get not one but two primary bad guys for the Fire Sisters and Araragi to deal with. More so than in the other series, we get an inside view of Araragi’s life at home. While it’s not much to show, there’s a view of the reality of the hero in the fact that Araragi keeps his curse hidden from his family. Although it’s not certain how they don’t know something is up after Karen kicks her brother throw several pillars that would otherwise kill an average person. She even notes that it would kill an average person. Well, we do have to chalk Araragi’s endurance up to being half vampire which is thanks to Shinobu. We get a more talkative view of the loli vampire girl living in Araragi’s shadow, and a bit of a backstory into her connection to him.

As for the evil of the series, Kaiki does an alright job of standing and delivering. Not truly evil, he’s the darker parts of a business conman with a vindictive streak. He plays a part in both sisters’ turmoil and is a tragic part of Senjogahara’s past. But all the same, he doesn’t stand as evil, especially when you learn of his backstory. Much of the time, you spend wondering if this guy is the real deal or a faker, or worse off, a faker that is unconsciously the real deal. Despite being the big bad of the series, nothing really bad seems to happen to him. Like a storm, he just blows through, only once coming back. Really, the series only has two points of violence, which isn’t so bad since the series isn’t based around it. Its fun when you get it, but not necessary if you don’t.

One of the drawbacks to the series is the swift dialogue. Even if you speak Japanese, you have to be a fast reader. Text translation goes on for what the character is saying at the bottom and at the same time there’s the text that’s flashed really quickly above which seems important. You have to stop, back up and re-watch the scene to find out what it says and sometimes it is actually important. While not overly distracting, it is rather jarring in the execution.

All in all, Nisemonogatari is a great anime. In comparison to Bakemonogatari, the predecessor carries more of a punch, but this one does give you more insight into Araragi’s world. It’s a fun watch with plenty of laughs that hardly anyone would be disappointed with. Like all anime, it just needs a bit of patience at times, but this one shines with the best of them. And with that, you all know what is to come with the next installment of the Monogatari series due to be released this year. Until then though, keep reading, keep watching, keep being the awesome otakus you all are.

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