Sunday, 19 February 2012

Nisemonogatari - Episode 7

Despite her curse/illness, young Karen still seems determined to settle things with Kaiki for herself - something that brother Koyomi simply can't abide.

Luckily for him, tracking down and catching up to Karen doesn't prove to be too difficult - middle school kids still need to travel everywhere by bus, after all.  Of course, finding Karen is one thing, but persuading her to stand down quite another, and despite her overall sense of lethargy she has no qualms about standing off physically against her big brother.  Indeed, it seems that Koyomi is rather lucky to have vampiric remnants in his blood, as Karen's brute strength proves to be quite impressive - her mental resolve is, however, not so strong, and ultimately Koyomi has what it takes to persuade her to leave Kaiki to him.

With that worry out of the way (and both Fire Sisters prevented from leaving the house in typical Araragi style), it's time for a final face-off with Kaiki for both Araragi and Senjougahara.  If you're expecting something epic from this meeting however, prepare to lower your expectations, as Kaiki wastes no time in apologising for everything, promises to stop pedalling charms to middle school kids and agrees to leave town in short order while also informing Koyomi that his sister will recover from what ails her in a few days at most.  Of course, the big issue here is - how do you trust a con man?  As the conversation continues, so the lies pile up, interweave and mingle with one another until the prove becomes indiscernible - is Kaiki telling the truth about Senjougahara's past, them man who tried to rape her or her feelings for him?  Is he really nothing but a fake when it comes to dabbling in the supernatural?  As Kaiki himself says, there's no such thing as the truth... although his departure from town and the resolution of the current set of problems certainly seems to have been resolved.

So ends the first of Nisemonogatari's two story arcs, and as per its build-up this climax was a bit of a mixed bag.  On the one hand, its big finish felt rather like a damp squib with nothing particularly remarkable to mark it out, but on the other it was a great example of Nisio Isin's twisting, tangled style of writing at its best, with monologues and conversations that leave you coming out confused yet simultaneously understanding what's going on while still leaving plenty of food for thought.  The show's visual style also worked well here, breaking out into some nice snippets of action as Karen and Koyomi scrapped and proving enough to keep your interest when things slowed down and became far more dialogue heavy.  Yet despite all this, it still feels as if there's "something missing" - a dash of magic which Bakemonogatari had which is frequently lacking here.  Perhaps, as Kaiki suggests of Senjougahara, the series has simply become too normal and boring?  That would be a harsh judgement, but rather than fulfilling me entirely this whole Karen Bee arc has ultimately left me wanting somewhat despite providing a number of great moments.

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