Writing on Nisemonogatari was a hard decision, mainly in that there was a lot of excellent writing on Bakemonogatari and I thought my own writing would never come close to that level. I’ve already written on Amagami and Pirates this season, so I may as well have a go with something much, much deeper than that. I also have to be willing to accept that some of my posts are going to failure. With that out of the way, I present what I thought of the first episode of Nisemonogatari.
The thing that always struck me about Bakemonogatari is that the settings themselves are very post-modern, but they also add to the action that was really taking place in the dialogue between characters. There’s three of these set piece dialogues and they take place out of order chronologically, but they are really going backwards.
The first of these scenes takes place last chronologically. With Koyomi firmly in a relationship with Hitagi, I took their conversation to be about love itself. The setup is contrived with Koyomi handcuffed to broken down desks, but this was a fascinating conversation. The fact that he is unable to move represents his being in a relationship with Hitagi and this was about breaking down his resistance.
The lack of freedom he perceives from such a relationship has it’s advantages. She shows herself to be someone who accepts him for what he is, and though she is the one in control of the situation, she does what he asks on her terms. All Koyomi has to do is accept her love for him, an incredibly deep love, and he will have someone who fully accepts him for who he is.
The second conversation is between Koyomi and his sister Tsukihi early that morning. The conversation is really about Koyomi having to deal with growing up. The key message from Tsukihi early on in the conversation is that fighting is a valid form of communication. In the past Koyomi used to fight his sisters all the time over various things as siblings do. This conversation was interesting because this was almost entirely a one-sided fight.
Tsukihi seemed to be talking as though she was in the middle of an argument with Koyomi. Whether it was over the fact that he wasn’t referring to his sister’s by name or the nature of his relationship with Nadeko, it seemed like she was fighting with him. Koyomi, on the other hand, was apathetic, seemingly hiding by his own becoming a vampire to separate himself from his siblings. Tsukihi is just afraid that by rolling over he’s leaving them behind.
Finally, there’s the conversation with Mayoi. The interactions between these two always provide an opportunity for Koyomi to be at his most infantile, and this was no exception. There’s the beginning where his own base feeling of hating her just drives him to do stuff that will bother her; grabbing her and kissing her in all sorts of places that aren’t appropriate given their ages.
They engage in wordplay over the nature of the word courageous within Japanese as though they are kids. There whole relationship plays off like two small children in love though they don’t know it yet. Eventually, their conversation leads to Koyomi opening up about his whole situation with his sisters in a way he wouldn’t do with anyone else, except for Oshino as Mayoi puts it. This I found interesting because whenever Oshino became involved earlier, it almost absolved Koyomi of all responsibility. He became a child in his own his own mind.
Perhaps his journey to Nadeko’s house, which will lead him to being handcuffed will lead him to courageously accept responsibility for his own future.