Here’s a statement: if you’ve only heard two things about Nisemonogatari, then you should really spend more time on the internet and look around because it’s a damn good show. But going back to the first clause, if you’ve only heard two things about Nisemonogatari, then you’ve probably heard about its phenomenal dialogue, its unconventional art presentation, or its overwhelming fanservice. Oh wait, I count three. Right, that’s three. Keep in mind I only limited it to two and wouldn’t be surprised if you heard all three but I limited it to two just in case that original statement applies to you and you’ve only heard two things about Nisemonogatari. Right, that’s what I did. Well, here and now, I’m going to present a fourth (third?) feature that has been precariously overlooked and ripe for review and recognition. Bear with me, we’re about to dive into the exceptional voice acting in Nisemonogatari.
Now, if you’re already thinking, ‘shouldn’t this fall under the dialogue category?’ then you’re thinking ahead and you’re right, this should really be a subsection of dialogue. But when looking around at what people have said about the dialogue in Nisemonogatari (myself included), it is essentially narrowed to the writing and context of the dialogue alone with marginal acknowledgement to the voice work or seiyuu (voice actors/actresses) involved. Dialogue here could be replaced with a substitute like script or (if you’re more ambitious than I, literature) and achieve the same interpretation. Really, speech and emotion are necessary for these simple words and lines to become dialogue and the focus of this post will be to highlight the voice work in such a way to bring attention to how it supplements the writing to create superior and distinguished dialogue. So yeah, this really isn’t the fourth attribute of what makes Nisemonogatari distinctive or outstanding but this might make it sound like it is.
So just how great is the voice acting in Nisemonogatari? Well, the anime does feature a high-profile cast of seiyuu who have done prominent and frequent work in recent years but that’s not exactly it. They do play a part though since they are the ones voicing the characters but just because they’re popular or famous or whatever doesn’t make the voice acting here better than any other anime. What makes the voice acting great in Nisemonogatari and why it’s one of the best characteristics of this anime is that the delivery of the lines are perfect.
How and when the lines are said is what compliments the script to create the dialogue we so readily love and celebrate. Certainly it’s not delivery alone that makes the voice acting spectacular in Nisemonogatari but it’s the principal component given the style of the anime and a colossal reason why we all adore the dialogue to the extent we do. The delivery is what allows the writing to be the way it was meant to be heard. Without the timing and emotion, the significance behind these characters and their discussions would be reduced and the humor thrown off. Without Senjougahara’s softly spoken lines (or rather teases) to Koyomi, she’d come off as any typical or generic tsundere female but just with more comical lines. Certainly, the lines from the script alone give you the idea she is intelligent, playful, and dangerously in love, but the delivery here allows her to come off as calculated, mischievous, and compassionate, all gathered from the way she says her lines. It’s the delivery which helps elevate Hitagi above most female leads, not simply her lines alone, and what prevents her from being grouped with that classic archetype for an anime schoolgirls. Another example would be the swift back and forth banter between Koyomi and Hachikuji. The lines themselves contain the humor for which these scenes are shown but the delivery prevents this style of comedy from extending too long or feeling unnatural. Delivery is always essential in jokes and gags and Nisemonogatari is no exception.
Beyond delivery, the voice acting is also our window into various aspects of the anime. Sometimes the writing gets a little carried away with itself and goes from being cryptic to ultra-cryptic or something. It’s here where the emotions in the character’s voices rescue us from confusing sentences or overwhelming symbolism. You can really read what the characters are thinking and feeling from the way they speak in these scenes. And it’s not like the voices can lie either. The characters have trouble sometimes expressing their feelings in words or just like to play around with their wit but the voice work helps reinforce each character’s personality. The words they use in each scene may vary or not but the voices they use help keep these characters consistent and recognizable. While that’s true in most anime, the script in Nisemonogatari can go bonkers from time to time so we need to rely on the voice acting to anchor us in semi-reality while everything else like the writing, art, and fanservice can do whatever they desire.
Lastly, the voice acting does match the other elements of the series well. Beyond the dialogue itself, the voice acting does have definite match to the art style we see. All the voices used do fit in this setting, these environments, these atmospheres, and these settings. The voice work here does help play a role in reinforcing these essential areas and give Nisemonogatari that feeling that helps keep it unique and remarkable. Without the voice work, it just wouldn’t have that special feel that SHAFT always seems to bring to every anime it produces.
However, despite all that was said, the voice work in Nisemonogatari does not stand alone by itself. The voice acting needs the writing to be as effective as it has been. And the writing needs the voice acting back to give it the delivery and emotion it needs. Both parts are essential to be together to create the dialogue that is praised and admired among anime fans. Together, they really do an exceptional job that makes Nisemonogatari one of the most popular anime of the Winter season. It’s unfortunate the voice acting has been disregarded up to this point while the writing has received all the acclaim. Hopefully this post will bring some necessitated attention to this unnoticed aspect of Nisemonogatari and give praise to both the writing and voice work together and acknowledge its importance and role in this anime’s brilliant dialogue.
Throughout most of Bakemonogatari we never really had a face for evil. All the arcs surrounded around supernatural phenomena that terrorized each girl. Each arc had their own strange mystery and problems but there was never anything truly consistent linking each one from the antagonist’s view. But now, with the introduction of Kaiki, things are about to change. His irregular persona and menacing presence, not to mention his appearance and voicing (couldn’t help but put that in here), all point to him as the face of wickedness in Nisemonogatari. However, he hasn’t done anything wrong besides what Senjougahara detailed at the end of the episode. It will be interesting to see what Kaiki does throughout the anime and if he is the first true antagonist of this series. Should be fun to see where the anime is going now that it’s plot has awaken and started taking ample strides to catch up to where we all thought it would be.