Nisemonogatari, Ep. 2 - "Karen Bee, Part 2"
[Crunchyroll] [Crackle] [Hulu]
For the type of show that Nisemonogatari is, I've decided to do something a little different with the review format (well, not that I've ever had a universal one set, but still…). As first seen in the previous installment, an unorthodox show deserves an unorthodox review, so to speak…
This time on Nisemonogatari…:
--Koyomi pays Nadeko a visit, who is anxious for his arrival and warmly greets him. While having some fun over games when she lets him know about a strange charm that's going around all of the middle schools, including the school she and his sisters attend, And, of course, the "Fire Sisters" are investigating it…
--Afterwards, Koyomi decides to stop by Suruga Kanbaru's house to help her clean her room, but on the way there he runs into the eldest of his younger sisters, Karen. Their little chit-chat session is interrupted by a phone call that pulls her back to her "volunteer work"…
--At Suruga's house, Koyomi has to contend with her antics and mountains of books. After questioning the validity of her eccentricity over the books she possessed, Suruga decides to convince Koyomi--by force--that she really is as offbeat as she purports herself to be.
Now, this also entailed…
--Sly--but not terribly subtle--advancements by a middle-schooler.
--"Games" of an overtly sexual nature.
--Nude trips with the basketball team.
--Mountains of BL (boys-love) books.
--Mistaking of words (i.e. food items, terminology) for dirty ones.
--Forced verification of one's perversity via sexual harrassment.
|I don't think your outfit is the only thing she would be worried about…|
Notice how most of those "details" involved "sex" in some fashion? Well, that's basically what the whole episode revolved around, unabashedly so (par for the course for Shinbo/SHAFT). But while countless other shows do that on a regular basis, Nisemonogatari manages to keep it simultaneously ridiculous, at times outrageous, and yet, very, very funny all the same.
Nadeko showed her youth with the way she tried pulling every trick in the book to rope Koyomi in, though I have to wonder if she really knew what she was doing. Slick she was, it also seemed pretty naive, too, and maybe her crush even more so, though he seemed to realize that he dodged a bullet when their game of Twister (…) came to an abrupt end once her mother returned home.
Not to be outdone in the lasciviousness department, though, was Suruga, the show's true resident deviant. Whether its lying around in the buff atop of her mounds of BL books, regaling Koyomi with her non-PG jokes and tales, or subjecting him to round of "sexual harassment" (and getting a taste of his own medicine along the way), Suruga clearly enjoys her role as the offbeat (read: perverted) type, so much so, she treats Koyomi's questioning of her "seemingly normal" tastes like the Wicked Witch of the West being dowsed by water.
However, this episode was not all naughty fun and suggestive games. Perhaps the first real warning sign of things to come came in Koyomi's conversation with Karen (whose name is prominently featured in this arc's title). The spunky karate master's cell phone call and promise of a good story to tell later on, in addition to what was said of the sisters in the episode, further pointed to her likely sticking her nose where it shouldn't be. It seems like "volunteer work" and helping others in need--despite any inherent danger--is an Araragi family trait, only that the Fire Sisters' case, they seem to be doing it more out of curiosity than straight-up altruism. And if any of the trials their brother went through are any indication (including Bake-'s Nadeko arc, where the charm first came into play), their little "game" is going to blow up in their face big time, especially when they don't take the supernatural seriously.
In all, it's another great episode, even if it only advances the plot ever so slightly. At the very least, there is movement, and as with Bakemonogatari, the pacing is certain and deliberate, taking its time in the first few episodes of an arc to lay things out before letting loose. That appears to be the case here with its character play/study and piecing together of the larger picture. But in the meantime, there is plenty to enjoy in the clever banter and visuals, and the sort of fearlessness that franchise is (in)famous for. It can be a bit much at times, and certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea, but this is one of those episodes where it actually manages to work out well with the characters involved, acting as a reintroduction of sorts and an advancement from the previous series. But most of all, there is still that vital sense that something is afoot…
P.S.: More pictures for you perusement (and unlike parts of this episode, mostly SFW)…
|Just happened to catch her hand in motion at the last moment.|
Not on purpose, but still sorta neat to see…
|One of those "by chance" sort of captures, like the one above…|
(Also, one of my favorites…)
|Getting a taste of his own medicine…|
P.P.S.: Added links to Crackle and Hulu, who were added as streamers of the show after this review was done.