The 9th episode of Nisemonogatari continues to move along without the presence of Tsukihi in her own arc. Karen’s extremely quick character development leads her into bizarre behavior just to please Koyomi. On their way to Kanbaru’s house, they encounter a new character who appears strong to Karen while Koyomi helps her oblivious to what’s happening. After Kanbaru and Karen are introduced, Koyomi runs into Mayoi for another one of their standard conversations before they are interrupted by another strong new character looking for directions.
There are a few things that bothered me with this episode, or perhaps it was a case of Shinbo making this episode completely self-aware of itself, far more than any episode before it. It starts pretty quickly with the reveal that nothing had progressed beyond toothbrushing in the previous episode while Koyomi is on the phone with Kanbaru. The important point of that conversation was that Koyomi didn’t trust someone as perverted as Kanbaru with her sister and that he’d rather take her sister’s virginity than have Kanbaru do it.
So after the OP, we get a scene between Karen and Koyomi. There are 4 shots in this scene which struck me as odd. Those were pans between parts of Karen’s body and Koyomi simulating grabbing them. It seemed like it could have been a number of things. Shinbo acknowledging what the audience would be thinking with the initial shot, or maybe even commenting on his own style that creates that sort of expectation. It’s really hard for me to say at this point, but it either reflects badly on the audience or on the director himself.
Then there’s Karen’s character development. She had been defiant toward Koyomi, at least up until the point where he would have kissed her. She’s now crossed over to being completely obedient to Koyomi to the point of embarrassment to her. She willingly cuts off her ponytail because he says it would get in the way of riding on her shoulders. Koyomi could have just dismissed it, but he’s easily intimidated by women who show any sort of strength. So he just went along with it as she delightfully engaged in something she felt was perverted because that fit in with her brother’s personality.
Then came the introduction of Kagenui Yozuru which really served as more of an example of Koyomi’s weakness to strong women. She introduces herself then asks him if she knows who she is, and his first response is to glance at Karen for help. Then he calls Hanekawa for help because he didn’t ever bother to know what the name of the building he went to see Oshino was. Hanekawa leaves him with the request to say hello to Kanbaru for her, though he never said he was going there. It’s a simple state of Hanekawa telling him that she’s watching over him, even when he doesn’t think she is.
After he gives directions to Kagenui, comes the most stupid part of the episode. Much had been made of the concerns Koyomi had over Kanbaru’s perversion and his hesitancy to introduce her to Karen as a result. So when the time came, he introduces them and leaves. Really? The last episode really has no point after this.
Then, the next bit of screwing with the audience. Koyomi spots Mayoi walking down the road. He then tells the audience that they are expecting him to go into his usual molestation mode with her because that’s what he’s always done with her. He tries to rationalize that he’s grown up, but then uses the audience’s own expectations as justification to try to do the same thing he always had. The final twist came when Shinobu tripped him up at the last second so he merely slid past Mayoi. So in effect we had the audience’s expectations denied, then expected to be fulfilled before being denied again. That’s meta directing I suppose.
Koyomi’s conversation with Mayoi is pretty much the same as the recent ones until Ononoki Yotsugi appears. She asks for directions to the same place as Kagenui, though she speaks in a narrative style. The type commonly associated with the MISAKA clones in Index, but in first person and made to look intentionally stupid here. Even Koyomi notes that it looks stupid. I don’t even know what the point of this character is apart from commentary on emotionless moe characters. Regardless, she can see Mayoi, which is an unexpected twist.
So the plot’s going to take us back to the abandoned school and probably some sort of clash between the 2 new characters, Tsukihi and Koyomi. Also, where did Hitagi go off to? I have a feeling nothing actually happened 2 episodes ago now, and he’s now more brazen in his lust for Hanekawa and Mayoi than he’s ever been. That’s an interesting contrast though, Hanekawa has more power over him (even more than Hitagi) than any of the other girls where as Mayoi is the least powerful. I still wonder if this story can be resolved in 2 episodes considering what little is actually known here.