Saturday, 14 January 2012

Nisemonogatari - Episode 2

Despite this series ultimately being all about them, we weren't really properly introduced to the so-called "Fire Sisters" in Nisemonogatari's opening instalment - an oversight rectified by the beginning of episode two, which brings us a quick run-down of the personalities of tomboyish Karen and short-tempered Tsukihi and the team which is created when you stick these two middle school girls together.

With that out of the way, and after last week's distraction in the form of Hachikuji, it's finally time for Araragi to call on Nadeko Sengoku's house.  With her parents away at work and the house to herself, Nadeko is a little different to the shy, stumbling girl of Bakemonogatari - indeed, she's downright seductive throughout with no doubt of her intentions towards Araragi.... unless you are Araragi of course, in which case you remain as clueless as ever.  It isn't all fun and frolics however, as Nadeko also informs Koyomi that the "curse" which brought about her snake-related misfortune in the past is still alive and well, and what's more it's being investigated to some extent by his sisters.

Speaking of which, we get to meet Karen Araragi properly this episode as she hand-stands her way down the street, stopping for a quick chat with her brother with the kind of randomness so beloved of this show before a phone call sees her on her way with the promise of adventures and achievements to regale her brother with later.  This interruption comes while Koyomi is on the next leg of his tour to fill an empty day, which means paying a visit to Suruga Kanbaru - a visit which involves nudity, lots of Boys' Love fiction, and Kanbaru doing goodness knows what to our innocent protagonist.

Just like it's first episode, it feels like there's no explicit point to this week's Nisemonogatari.  This, of course, is unfair, as some building towards its main story is clearly in place, but these moments are few and far between in the sea of dialogue - not that this is a particularly bad thing when said dialogue continues to be so entertaining, doing a great job of capturing the relationship between Koyomi and each of the girls with which he converses wonderfully.  The only slightly sour note along these lines is that the intelligence of the dialogue, while still intrinsically intact, feels cheapened somewhat by its constant reliance on the sexual - it just about works in the case of both Kanbaru and Sengoku, with the latter working surprisingly well as a seductress while the former's tomboyish insistence on proving herself as some kind of pervert fits well enough.  I also have to admit that this is arguably fan service done right, titillating as it is without every overstepping its bounds, but it is still fan service, make no mistake about it, and I'd like to see some more considered fare from Nisemonogatari sooner rather than later rather than a bunch of girls trying to get into our protagonist's pants.

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