Contemplating Nisemonogatari: …the bad…

Warning: slight spoilers for Kizumonogatari included…

This scene says it all really...

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words…but I’m not in any way inclined to post screenshots of what I despised about Nisemonogatari. And no, unlike with a number of other fans, it wasn’t actually Shinobu in the 4th episode that offended me – explanation for this coming soon. Rather, it was certain shots of Karen spread over various episodes. If I had to put it into words, ‘the pervertization of the viewer’ might work.

Let me start with a basis for comparison.

Whilst Bakemonogatari also had some, shall we say, ‘questionable’ scenes, particularly in episodes 1, 9 and 10, they were somewhat justifiable. The animated portions of the Monogatari series thus far are told from Araragi’s point of view. Hence, the shots panning over Hitagi stepping out of the shower in the nude, or over Nadeko’s snake-wrapped body – even the long panty shot that most people who haven’t spoiled themselves silly won’t actually ‘get’ until Kizumonogatari graces our screens – all represent Araragi’s own perspective of those scenes. There is an argument, which I suspect first appeared amongst those fascinated with literary meta-theory, that these scenes represent the key point of Bakemonogatari: that Araragi represents the viewer. The show basically serves as a tool to reveal the viewer’s own perversion by protracting them through our self-proclaimed pervert of a protagonist. As someone without those inclinations, however, I don’t really buy into that reading of the show, and the storyboarding remains for me a representation of what Araragi was concerned with at those points. They made me feel uncomfortable, but in hindsight, they weren’t really out of place at all.

Similar scenes appear in Nisemonogatari too, but it would be hypocritical of me to be offended by them here if I got over them so easily in Bakemonogatari. The twister scene involving Nadeko and Kabaru’s bare-it-all scene arguably fall into this category. Oh, I will admit that these two scenes really push the boundaries of Araragi’s cluelessness regarding the fact that these girls are all basically trying to seduce him. From what I saw, many viewers really weren’t willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here, accusing Nishio Ishin of just wanting to deliver as much fanservice as possible. Whilst that might be true, I’m personally willing to accept it as something that can be explained by Araragi’s incredibly low self-esteem. Tip: read Kizumonogatari if you haven’t already.

On the other hand, there were a number of shots and scenes that simply cannot be explained away as anything other than fanservice. The obvious culprit is the 8th episode, aka the one with the (in)famous toothbrush scene. Sure, I’ll give some consideration to the argument that it shows how the previous story drew Araragi and Karen a little closer as siblings…but you know, considering that this is a family where there are no qualms about opening the door to the bathroom without knocking, or having a conversation dressed just in a towel – something the novel apparently makes quite clear – I’m not entirely convinced that they weren’t close enough already…

But ok. I can concede that there is at least a somewhat coherent explanation for that scene, given the strange family we’re talking about here. Though I still do not like how it was made so unbelievably erotic.

But what really gets to me is this: there really was absolutely no excuse for the shot of Karen’s crotch in episode 2. That, more than anything else, was what I found unpardonable about Nisemonogatari.

About karice
MAG fan, amateur translator and political scientist in training. I also love musicals, photography, travel and believe it or not, the game of cricket. よろしく!

3 Responses to Contemplating Nisemonogatari: …the bad…

  1. Animefan34 says:

    I actually wonder if people just watch anime looking for things for which they claim to be “offended” so they can declare to be moral superior to those inferior “Japanese” with those sick “interests”.
    Personally, I love anime precisely because they don’t conform to those stupid political correctness bullshit that has infected western media. “Fanservice” is something made by and for the Japanese, why would I criticize or “feel offended” by that? Are you claiming that the Japanese must conform to Western standards of morality and values? If your answer is not, isn’t it incredibly HYPOCRITICAL to be feeling “offended” because they don’t follow Western values? Do any Westerner even has the RIGHT to criticize another country for following their own culture and morality?

    Like

    • karice says:

      Hm…ok, where do I start?

      You’ve made a few questionable assumptions here. First, I’m not a Westerner – if anything, I’m between East and West.

      As for “conforming to Western standards of morality and values” – I’m not sure what you’re implying about Japan’s standards. Having lived in Japan as well as two of the major English-speaking western countries, I actually find Japanese standards of morality and values rather more palatable than those of the West. The vast majority of Japanese people I know would have been rather non-plussed by the scenes/shots in Bake that I tend to turn my eyes away from, much less the scenes/shots in Nise that, in my view, take it a notch further.

      If you’re talking about standards about what’s allowed in (animated) TV media or manga – since there are different standards for live-action TV, for various idol-management related reasons, as well as real-life models – then sure. Bake and Nise were shown at times that were appropriate for their content, really. And the vast majority of the ‘fanservice’, as I said, was actually appropriate given the context and pov we follow in the show. But I personally still don’t see the need for that particular shot of Karen doing the bridge position.

      And finally, are you implying that I’m one of the people who want to

      declare to be moral superior to those inferior “Japanese” with those sick “interests”

      ? Er…huh? I certainly don’t think there’s anything in Nise that I’d really label as “sick” – even if I personally find it questionable and/or watching certain scenes made me feel quite uncomfortable. Whilst my interest in the Monogatari series is really the language, that doesn’t mean I’m going to criticise or demean those who like it for the ‘fanservice’, or for anything else.

      There is stuff in some other media (and perhaps anime too) that I would think of as “sick”, but I think you’d agree that it’s certainly not confined to Japan. So why would I think of the Japanese in particular as “inferior” and with “sick “interests””?

      Like

  2. Pingback: Monogatari Series: Kamimashita! | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

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