As anybody who’s spoken to me for any period of time can tell you, when I feel comfortable with conversation I can veer wildly off topic, exhausting every single possible conversation tangent regardless of its actual relevance and regardless of whether somebody’s actually listening or not. It takes some effort to get me going, but once I do it’s difficult for me to stop. I lack any sort of social grace or middle ground; either I’m completely on or I’m completely off.
As those familiar with Shaft’s work and my penchant for uncomfortable introductions may have surmised, this is my awkward way of saying that Nisemonogatari shares that similarity with me. However, instead of being endlessly annoying about it, Nisemono manages to go off topic while staying a fascinating piece of work that endless amounts of blood, sweat, and tears have clearly gone into in order to reproduce that quintessential Shaft-like experience. It’s just like its predecessor in that regard, and should be treated as such for those going in for the first time.
So according to the premise, Nisemonogatari follows Ararararararagi’s sisters as they deal with the supernatural in a way vaguely resembling how their older brother did. However, you wouldn’t know this from the first episode, which only gave one of his sister’s a few lines before completely centering on him. Pretty much the entire episode can be summed up as a way to stretch out Araragi talking with Hachikuji, the lost snail from the first series, about telling his family that he was at one time a vampire. Seriously, the only bit of conversation that needs to be gleaned for any sort of understanding of the plot is the line that goes something like “I don’t know if I should tell them I used to be a vampire or not.” Everything else, every other bit of conversation, is pure silliness on an oddly engrossing level.
To sum things up, if you’ve seen Bakemonogatari, you’ll know what to expect here. The art style is one of stark differences between almost blinding white and pronounced primary colors, creating an atmosphere that’s both artificial and interesting to watch. The character interactions, while not particularly deep, take up the majority of the episode, titillating the viewer with hints as to where the conversation will turn next, often discarding those notions in favor of its own deranged direction.
In the end though, it’s all just wonderful wordplay that should be expected of Shaft at this point. If you liked Nisemonogatari’s preceding series, you’ll love this since it’s more of the same. While it hasn’t moved on to Arararararagi’s younger sisters as of yet, it’s given my two favorite characters (Senjougahara and Hachikuji) enough screen time for them to talk circles around our hapless protagonist, and I couldn’t be happier for it.
Nisemonogatari got off to a good start from me, and if the lack of progress in the actual plot can be forgiven, I see no reason why the first episode shouldn’t be enjoyed from start to finish.