Nisemonogatari, Ep. 5 - "Karen Bee, Part 5"
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After the previous so-so bath episode, Nisemonogatari revved up once again as delved deeper into its storyline…
--After a lot of stalling tactics from Tsukihi, she finally tells Koyomi about what happened to Karen. She tried to confront Kaiki at his place of business to kick his butt, but the nonchalantly unrepentant con-man showed no remorse or fear of her, only offering to go away for a large sum of money. He then picked apart her sense of justice with a twisting of words and morals before ending their conversation with a "gift" in the form of a "bee". With a simple poke to the head, Karen fell to the ground in a state of catatonic shock as Kaiki left a few departing words and departed with all the money in her wallet ("payment" for their talk).
--As Koyomi walks Tsubasa back home, they discuss the events surrounding Karen and the bee, and how Meme Oshino would have handled it. Back at home, Koyomi tends to his sister, who she finally admits to her errors. In spite of her lack of strength, however, she couldn't ignore something being wrong, especially when it involved a money-grabbing "fraud" like Kaiki. She contends that even if she kept losing, she would still win if she didn't lose to herself, but her brother retorts that by doing that, she could hurt those around her, and as such, has not grown up, yet.
--Karen's concern over him catching her fever causes rings a bell in his head. He asks Shinobu for a way to transfer her supernaturally-caused ailment onto himself, who knows of a way, but warns that it is not very savory. Unperturbed, he returns to Karen's room, grabs her by the shoulders, and tells her that he is about to kiss her…
So, uh, what else was there?
--A ticket good for one grope from a good lady friend (who promptly warns that she will hate you forever if you use it).
--Flashing via inadvertent drop of one's towel (it just wouldn't be an anime without one…).
--LED-lit paneled walls that can project the mood of a scene.
--A psychedelic trip via supernatural bee sting.
--A middle-aged man stealing money from a teenage girl (…who he poisoned).
After treading in the water the last episode, there was finally traction again in its follow-up. The difference between these last two episodes is that while the previous one felt a bit padded, this one delved more into the plot and helped shed light on what got Karen in trouble. It also did well in driving home some of the finer points of the show, such as strength, self-sacrifice, and thin line between "real" and "fraudulence".
Karen, for all of her middle-school rashness and naivety, truly was trying to do the right thing (albeit, not in the most ideal way), but lacked the understanding and smarts to approach the situation. Kaiki, of course, was all to cognizant of her kiddish "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality, and in "justifying" his act and coolly dissolving her own, he has shown himself to be a great villain in the way he uses twisted logic and lies in showing how he is a fraud--which may be a lie in of itself. Whatever the fact, he definitely is a master of words and slight, and he uses it to perfection in disabling Karen before he even puts a finger on her.
Nisemonogatari also ventured into questionable territory again here when Koyomi is shown drying off his sister's sweat-laden skin. Despite the sound of that, it did not come across as leery as it could have. The camera angle is positioned in delectable spots at times, but for the most part, it's not played off for arousal purposes, either. It was just as it was and the introspective conversation the two carried throughout it and afterwards overruled any salaciousness that laid there. Things like that, which cuts to the matter and delves into the characters and the situation, help make Nise- and some of its excesses worthwhile and it was good to see that Karen was not completely oblivious to her mistakes, and both her and Koyomi came to an understanding with each other.
Overall, Episode 5 was a better outing for the series than the somewhat indulgent Episode 4. The beginning segment here with Tsukihi trying not to spill the beans did not just feel like an extension of the previous episode's meandering ways, but indicative of perhaps the sole nagging detraction of the show. Conversely, the rest of the episode kept clicking, and was representative of what makes Nisemonogatari (and its prequel) so good, balancing its bold visual efforts, sauciness, dialogue, and character-driven story. Perhaps some of that stretchy feeling stems from Nise- only covering two novels across 11 eps. (compared to Bake-'s five in 15 eps.), but it's reassuring to know that it still has that ability to snap back together and remind you why the franchise is so highly regarded. There were some good items here, such as the ingenious use of the panels during the Karen-Kaiki confrontation, Tsubasa's make-up "present" to Koyomi, and the various conversations that took place throughout the episode (though I could have done without the kiss thing at the end), so it is my hope that it can keep continuing this way and not …
P.S.: Lots of good screenshots to be had…
|This was too good of a capture to not put at the top…|
|Kaiki must love LCD screens.|
I imagine they don't come cheap…
|(Unintentional) shades of GUILTY CROWN's first OP…|
|Toggle between this and the next pic (from the top) for the effect…|
|It takes a certain man to take money off of a kid he just poisoned…|
|A Madoka-esque background? Hmm…|
|This has gotta mean something…|
|*sigh* Oh, SHAFT…|
|Such kind brother-and-sister love…|