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A must if you enjoyed Bakemonogatari
on 19 May 2014
So first up a little public informational since the series structure is pretty confusing. Nisemonogatari is the second series of Bakemonogatari not to be confused with "Monogatari Series Second Season". Yeah, it's pretty confusing but they're adapted from a series of light novels and Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari and Nekomonogatari (which at time of writing MVM have licensed but not released) form the first series of books. So Nisemongatari is a direct continuation of Bakemonogatari.
There are a few things which mark Nisemonogatari as slightly distinct. First of all both arcs have a running theme of fakes. Second each of the arcs feature Araragi's sisters who have been background characters up to this point. And finally compared to the rest of the series released so far the fan service is cranked to eleven.
This collection of episodes contains the first of the two arcs. Running at seven episodes it's the longest arc of the series so far and represents a solid majority of Nisemongatari's eleven episodes. The biggest weakness of this arc is a lack of narrative drive. The running plot of this arc progresses at a ponderously slow pace never really achieving any traction. In the end it feels more like the story just fizzles out rather than reaching any conclusions. The most important events are essentially exposition for the next series with a topping of (slightly heavy handed) foreshadowing. Beyond that the main goal of this story arc is to give a good chunk of face time to every major character.
And yet there is still a lot going for this arc. The dialogue is still dense and entertaining, performances solid and the super clean post modernist presentation is still satisfying and functional. However it's a show stealing performance from Maya Sakamoto as Shinobu that is by far the highlight.
Nisemonogatari is really just an interim between series and the exposition there is doesn't justify eleven episodes of interim. Monogatari is still entertaining when not much is happening but as compared to the excellent last arc of Bakemonogatari it's still a step backwards. If you enjoyed Bakemonogatari you'll enjoy this, if you didn't nothing here will change your mind.