***This is a spoiler free review***
Oh boy reviewing Nisemonogatari is a difficult task because it varies so far away in tone and execution compared to the first season Bakemonogatari. What this season lacks (IMHO the sense of tension and excitement) compared to Bakemonogatari, it makes up for in visuals and overall casual enjoyment.
Now re-read my last sentence up there ^^^^. Note that I stated "casual" enjoyment; this refers to how drastically different this show feels compared to Bakemonogatari. While Bakemonogatari was witty, full of tension, and loaded with brilliant character development, Nisemonogatari takes an entire 180 degree turn. Nisemonogatari comes off as a bunch of comedic and ecchi scenes that while executed very well will disappoint most people who enjoyed Bakemonogatari. The easiest way to understand the differences is to think of Bakemonogatari as a $500 bottle of wine and Nisemonogatari a can of your favorite beer. There is nothing wrong with beer (actually not my fav) but its target audience is much different than those who enjoy wine. This is why most of the episodes in this season feel very fillerish. The overall seriousness of the first season is replaced by laidback and comedic scenes with a fairly large emphasis of ecchi content (episode 8....). The recurring themes that seem present are Koyomi’s bonding with his sisters (who we did not get to know very well in the first season) and his will to remain loyal to his girlfriend. Koyomi’s sisters are for the most part the main focus of this entire season. As for the other characters, they are introduced every now and then but overall their screen time is very limited. The whole season is spilt into two main arcs, each focusing on one of his sisters. While they do a pretty good job diving into each sister, I felt as if they dragged too much on Karen's arc (especially since she was even the main focus of the other sister's first episode arc). Overall the story was very enjoyable but unlike in Bakemonogatari, I felt like this season was mostly a filler and not completely necessary.
I didn’t think I would ever consider something “perfect”, that was until I saw the animation in this show. The animation in this anime is very well done. It’s not only the quality of each scene but also the angle of the shots, the transitions between text to shot, the lighting, everything is just so well done it’s very hard to understand how well the animation studio did. Each scene is drawn and produced so well that if seen from across the room you might think it was on par with a budget of a movie rather than an ongoing show. Each character is very appealing to watch and even the very action orientated scenes flow smoothly. This is by far one of the best looking anime’s I have ever experienced.
This anime is about talking (some of the conversations literally last 15 minutes) so you're going to want to enjoy what you are listening to right? Good thing Nisemonogatari has your back. The opening and closing themes are all very enjoyable to listen to as it ranges from j-pop to jazzy songs (I especially liked Tsukihi's opening). The voice acting is also very well done as all the characters had corresponding voices that seemed to fit correctly with the main star being Koyomi's voice actor. He once again brings out Koyomi's every emotion flawlessly without it coming off as fake or forced. For a show that relies so much on just character interaction, the voice acting really helped these long conversations shine. Overall the sound for this anime was well above par.
The recurring characters personalities are just as enjoyable as they were in the previous season. In this season, we are introduced to Koyomi’s sisters and get to know the vampire Shinobu much more in-deph. Koyomi’s sisters range from an athletic tomboy who fights for what’s right to a very clever and masochist girl. I especially loved Karen as the minute we were introduced to her I knew I was going to love her character. Each gets a plethora amount of character development time to fully develop. The vampire Shinobu plays a much bigger role in this season. She also has a masochist like personality that likes to play tricks on Koyomi. The new characters introduced this season are very well written and a joy to watch interact with Koyomi. If only the returning characters played a bigger roll in the plot; oh well hopefully in the upcoming movie we can get the best of both worlds.
While Bakemonogatari will remain one of my all-time favorites, Nisemonogatari will remind me that something so different can be just as good. It just goes to show that even if the plot is dragging the show down, great characters, amazing sound, and beautiful animation can help it shine. The easy going nature and almost harem storytelling of this season to some may seem unnecessary and unwanted but to me was very enjoyable and a blast to watch. Unlike the previoius season where you watched the show for the tension and well written dialogue, this season is just a kick back and relax kind of watch. With the characters written so well, animation being perfect, and voice acting exceeding my expectations, this is an anime you do not want to miss out on. I do however strongly encourage watching Bakemonogatari first as you might be very lost not doing so when starting Nisemonogatari.
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