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Nisemonogatari – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 6, 2013 by  



A worthy sequel in the Monogatari series… “Nisemonogatari – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is probably one of the craziest, most audacious anime series to be released on Blu-ray in 2013.  Featuring wonderful animation and a fresh, unique storyline with crazy characters, “Nisemonogatari” is an anime series that I recommend!

Image courtesy of © NISIOISIN/KODANSHA, ANIPLEX, SHAFT. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Nisemonogatari – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: 11 Episodes (280 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Japanese Linear PCM Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: 16+

Release Date: February 27, 2013

Series Director: Tomoyuki Itamura

Directed by Akiyuki Shinbo

Series Composition by Akiyuki Shinbo, Fuyashi Tou

Music by Satoru Kousaki

Originally Created by NisiOisin

Original Character Design by VOfan

Character Design by Akio Watanabe

Art Director: Hisaharu Iijima

Anime Production: SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi

Chiwa Saito as Hitagi Senjōgahara

Emiri Katō as Mayoi Hachikuji

Kana Hanazawa as Nadeko Sengoku

Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu Oshino

Miyuki Sawashiro as Suruga Kanbaru

Ryoko Shiraishi as Yozuru Kagenui

Saori Hayami as Yotsugi Ononoki

Shinichiro Miki as Deishū Kaiki

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa

The sequel to Bakemonogatari!

Crab, snail, monkey, snake and cat… Supernatural incidents revolving around five girls were solved thanks to Koyomi Araragi. With these mysteries laid to rest, Koyomi Araragi can now begin to live a normal life, or at least so it seems…

His “unusual” life starts when Koyomi wakes up in a ruined school building, captured and chained by Hitagi Senjyogahara. She says, “I will protect you, Araragi!” Exactly what is Senjyogahara up to?! With Koyomi’s two younger sisters Karen and Tsukihi (a.k.a the Fire Sisters) now involved, Koyomi once again finds himself tangled with apparitions!

“Nisemonogatari”, the animated series sequel to Japanese novelist Nisio Isin’s “Bakemonogatari” returns with Koyomi Araragi dealing with a new threat closer to home!

The series will be released in the United States from Aniplex courtesy of a Limited Edition Blu-ray box set which includes all eleven episodes on five Blu-ray discs, a slipcase and a 36-page deluxe booklet.

Before “Nisemonogatari” there was “Bakamonogatari”

In 2006, a light novel titled “Bakemonogatari” was written by Nisio Isin and featured the illustrations by Vofan.

For Isin, he is known for his “Zaregoto” novel series (2002-2005) which led to series such as “Ningen” and “Sekai”published by Kodansha.  By 2006, Isin would begin working on the “Bakemonogatari” series which is based on short stories published in “Mephisto Magazine”.

The first story featured a first volume with three stories “Hitagi Crab”, “Mayoi Snail”, “Suruguta Monkey” and a second volume with two “Nadeko Snake” and “Tsubasa Cat”.

“Bakemonogatari” focused on a third year high school student named Koyomi Araragi.  A perverted teenager with a loli complex who doesn’t do well in school.  One day, Koyomi was attacked by a vampire named Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year-old vampire who once was a vicious, beautiful vampire but now has the appearance of an eight-year old girl.

Koyomi turned into a vampire but thanks to Meme Oshino (an expert in the apparitions field), he was able to become human again but still has several side effects including seeing in the dark, his eyes turning red when incredibly angry, amazing healing power and strength.

While his parents are away, Koyomi helps raise his two young sisters, Karen (the middle child who is taller than Koyomi and likes to take part in martial arts and outdoor activities) and his little sister Tsukihi, who is the opposite of Karen and rather do indoor activities but also prefers wearing a yukata (Japanese traditional outfit).

With this new power of Koyomi, in “Bakemonogatari”, he had to help characters with apparitions.

Hitagi Senjogahara was a weak-girl who was possessed by a crab that stole her weight.  Because of this, she has avoided all contact with people in order to hide her secret, so she developed a tsundere attitude and is often verbally abusive towards Koyomi.  Because Koyomi sacrificed her life for her, she and Koyomi start dating, despite how badly she treats him.

Koyomi also had to help a ghost of a fifth-grade elementary student named Mayou Hachikuchi, a girl who has a habit of saying Koyomi’s name wrong but yet knows that he has a loli complex and knows that he is always trying to touch her.

Suruga Kanbaru, a popular female athlete who is a lesbian and masochist and prefers to be at home in the nude.  She inherited the Monkey’s Paw and thus wears a bandage on her one arm to hide it.  She began stalking Koyomi when he found out he was dating Hitagi.

Nadeko Sengoku is a person who was cursed with invisible snakes (that were trying to strangle her).  Thanks to Koyomi, he saved her life and while shy, likes to be close to Koyomi.

Tsubasa Hanekawa is Koyomi’s classmate and the class representative.  She was possessed by a bakaneko and is danger of turning into Black Hanekawa.  She often stresses about her family and her feelings for Koyomi.

The first series  revolved around Koyomi trying to help these characters deal with their apparition.

A prequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Koyomi Vamp” which focused on Shinobu Oshino and her role as a vampire before attacking Koyomi and a separate volume known as “Kizumonogatari” was published in Pandora Magazine in 2008.

In 2009, “Bakemonogatari” was adapted into an anime series.

Which leads us to the sequel, “Nisemonogatari”

The sequel to “Bakemonogatari” titled “Nisemonogatari” which was released in 2008 and adapted to an anime series in 2012.

The story focuses on Koyomi’s two sisters Karen and Tsuki with chapters titled “Karen Bee” and “Tsukihi Phoenix”.

The series begins with Koyomi being held captive.  When he wakes up, he finds out that Hitagi has captured and imprisoned him.  And we are taken to a flashback days before this happened.

While Koyomi was making his rounds of meeting his female friends, one day he comes into contact with an ominous man named Kaiki Deishu.  When he tells Hitagi about the man he met, she imprisons him in the sake of protecting him from Kaiki. And that she is determined in getting revenge on the man.

But things hit close to home when Koyomi finds out that Kaiki also unleashed a lethal, supernatural bee on his sister Karen.

In the second storyline for “Tsukihi Phoenix”, after the events of “Karen Bee”, Koyomi starts to recognize his sister Karen in a different way.  Especially with his sister flirting with her brother and looking more feminine, Koyomi tries to distract himself from paying attention to his sister, who is wanting her brother to introduce her to his friend Suruga Kanbaru.  Knowing that Suruga is not a good influence and worries about his sister being close to her, he issues her a contest of allowing him to brush her teeth for five minutes without stopping him.

Meanwhile, as Koyomi and Karen are heading towards Suruga’s home, they are encountered by Yozuru Kagenui, who is looking for directions.  When Koyomi spends time with Mayou, they are both encountered by a girl named Yotsugi Ononoki, also looking for the same address.

What Koyomi doesn’t know is that these two onmyougi’s have targeted someone who is precious to him.

VIDEO:

“Ninesemonogatari” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1) and this TV series is gorgeous.  SHAFT really puts a lot of time into character design, shading but also carrying out changes in character design.  From regular/series looking characters to goofy, cartoonish characters and many location scenes featured throughout this series.  Colors are vibrant, black levels are nice and deep, animation gets creative in an artistic type of way, image is sharp and line detail is very good.  I saw no edge enhancement or excessive banding.

I felt that production value is much improved in this sequel and for the most part I feel that fans of “Bakemonogatari” will feel that “Nisemonogatari” looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Nisemonogatari” is presented in uncompressed Japanese LPCM 2.0 with English subtitles.  Dialogue is crisp and clear and is front-channel driven.  I detected no problems with audio and English subtitles were easy to read.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nisemonogatari” comes with the following special features :

  • TEXTLESS OPENING & ENDING – Featuring four different openings and three different endings.
  • TRAILERS – (1:59) Japanese theatrical trailer for “Nisemonogatari”.
  • TV Spots – (2:37) Japanese TV spots for “Nisemonogatari”.
  • BD & DVD ADS – (1:50) The Japanese Blu-ray and DVD ads for “Nisemonogatari”.

EXTRAS:

“Nisemonogatari – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” comes with a slip case and a 36-page booklet with episode summaries and character profiles.

It’s not an easy task to create a sequel that will better than its original.   While it has been done, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” to George Lucas films like “Empire Strikes Back” and even the second “Indiana Jones” or “Transformers II” which was much better than the first film.  The same goes for anime series.  Many fans enjoyed “Dragon Ball Z” than the original, “Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood” fans preferred the second series over the first.

But do creators try to top their first series? Or just create something related but not be a copycat of the original?

For Nisio Isin, “Nisemonogatari” is an adaptation of a two-volume light novel that was created to be a continuing storyline.  Not trying to better the first, but expand on its storyline featuring its perverted and crazy character Koyomi Araragi but also his relationship with his sisters and the characters that were introduced in “Bakemonogatari”.

But part of the difficulty that “Nisemonogatari” has is trying to find its appeal to viewers who are interested in certain aspects of the series.  There are those who love the harem anime series and fan service, there are those who like the darker more violent aspect and action scenes.

The first season was appealing to viewers as Koyomi had to help characters that had been possessed by apparitions.  Not the case for “Nisemonogatari”.  This time, it’s about a creepy guy that is tied to Hitagi’s past and what happens when one hurts Koyomi’s sister.  But there are some strange and unusual things in store for viewers in this sequel.

For me, “Nisemonogatari” is odd, crazy but also a series that I enjoyed for its crazy antics and unexpected episodes with a storyline that just come out of nowhere.  By saying that, there is humor in the series that will turn some viewers off.

While the character of Koyomi Araragi may have had his perversion toned down for the anime series there is no doubt that the writers explore the more sexual and fan service nature of the animated series by feeding off his perversion.

For example, the first episode when Koyomi sees Mayoi (a fifth-grade elementary school girl who is a ghost), Koyomi’s loli complex is at its all time high.  He can’t help himself from hugging her or even wanting to see her panties.  While humorous to anime fans who understand the whole loli complex, one may find that an older teenager getting all slobbery and perverted over a girl is wrong.  One scene shows Koyomi seeing Mayoi’s panties and then we see a cream pie exploding in Koyomi’s face.   What symbolism can that mean?  Hmm…

After he’s done with Mayoi, he then goes to Nadeko’s home.  Nadeko is the shy individual who starts trying to flirt with Koyomi by feeling hot and heavy, showing off her panties and wanting to play a game of Twister with Koyomi who is behaving like he is naive to what Nadeko is trying to accomplish.  But perhaps he is that naive. Hmm….

Then he heads off to Suruga’s house to help clean her bedroom and as always with Suruga, she is not wearing anything and just teases by showing her rear backside to him.  But despite all the perversion, is he really too modest to stand their and pretend he shouldn’t be taking a peek despite his perverted nature?

But the antics, don’t stop there, it also extends to Koyomi’s household as he starts to realize his sister’s are getting older and their bodies are now much more developed that even he’s having a hard time containing himself.

In one episode alone, he challenges his sister that if he is to introduce her to Suruga, she must not try to stop him from brushing her teeth.  And of course, the words coming out of Koyomi is his ability to use the toothbrush inside her mouth, we see Karen enjoying it to the point where she begins moaning and submitting herself to her brother who desperately wants to grope her breast.

From loli complex to sister complex, the antics continue with his younger Tsukihi.  He wants to see if the scars on her body and strips off his sister’s clothes and grabs her breasts because he felt like doing it.

So, I have no doubt that there are people who will see these actions as wrong and those who don’t like seeing this, will probably not want to watch this animated series.

The whole loli and sister complex maybe too crazy for viewers but this series was never created to be politically correct.  In fact, this is a perverted anime series plays upon taboo situations with humor.  Yes, they may be offensive but the point of these actions is that it’s so wrong, that’s why they are doing it and it’s been a major point of “Nisemonogatari” and the series before it.

But also the allure of the series is its changing animation and not following banal anime tradition by being like any other series.  There is no doubt that the object was to be more perverted and crazy but to also pull off the series with cool style.  From its use of colors, use of location, use of differing animated character designs.  I enjoyed the series for being different and being crazy!

While the series is only eleven episodes long, there is still a lot going for the series.  The antagonist Kaiki Deishu for the “Karen Bee” storyline is quite fascinating.  A con man that is heartless and an absolute liar, his sort of logic and why he does what he does, is rather cold and calculating.  While the majority of the episodes are dedicated to the “Karen Bee” arc, it works because it leads to more character development for Koyomi’s sister Karen, Hitagi but also the vampire Shinobu Oshino.

While “Tsukihi Phoenix” deals with more perversion but also a deep storyline of one brother willing to fight and die for his family.  The action sequences between Koyomi is quite entertaining and while the series goes from Koyomi being a pervert towards his sisters, the storyline begins to be much more serious when Koyomi and Shinobu confront two characters who are set out in killing Tsukihi.

But overall writing is very good as it tries to go from one perverted extreme to being something much more complex and even smart at times.  It makes “Nisemonogatari” so hard to describe because I don’t think I have watched an anime series with so much fan service, so many crazy antics but yet manages to get deep when the episode calls for it.  These are characters that one is unlikely to see in another anime series, it’s what makes up Nisemonogatari’s charm.

As for the Blu-ray set for “Nisemonogatari – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set”, picture quality is fantastic and vibrant, while its uncompressed LPCM 2.0 soundtrack is crisp and clear with English subtitles that are easy to read.  You get a slipcase and a 36-page booklet.  But if there are any negatives that anime fans may feel towards this Blu-ray release is its price at nearly $150.

With a third final storyline left to be made to an anime series, for this Blu-ray release of the sequel “Nisemonogatari”, one shouldn’t really compare to the original.  Sure, “Bakemonogatari” had much more to offer in terms of action and story, while “Nisemonogatari” tends to be more driven by perversion, fan service and making comedy over modern society’s taboos.  When the series wants to go crazy, it goes all out in trying to be far out there and this helps with the appeal to the series.  It’s quite a crazy storyline that not everyone will be pleased with, but for those familiar with the first series, can leave their political correctness out the door because this series is crazy but yet so much fun.

Overall, a worthy sequel in the Monogatari series… “Nisemonogatari – Limited Edition Blu-ray Box Set” is probably one of the craziest, most audacious anime series to be released on Blu-ray in 2013.  Featuring wonderful animation and a fresh, unique storyline with crazy characters, “Nisemonogatari” is an anime series that I recommend!

 






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