Interpersonal relationships not including Koyomi are routinely concealed or distorted to the point where it seems like the entire universe revolves around our perverted protagonist. But this episode revealed another connection outside our hero with Karen being a longtime admirer of the talented and expert martial artist and friend to Araragi, Kanbaru. The way Nisemonogatari is constructed prevents us from seeing the other characters really interact with each other and show they live lives outside of Araragi. It’s up to subtle hints like these to show us that these characters do interact with each other and have other friendships besides the one they have with Araragi.
And we’ve seen a growth in this area this season with more characters revealing their friendships or relationships than before in Bakemonogatari. Perhaps the most surprising is the relationship between Tsubasa and Senjougahara with Tsubasa being authoritarian to the usually assertive Senjougahara. We already discerned that Karen and Tsukihi knew Sengoku well from school in Bakemonogatari at the beginning of her character arc but we’ve seen the relationship in more detail this time, seeing that Tsukihi and Sengoku are closer while also in the same grade in school. Furthermore, there is a connection between the Araragi sisters and Tsubasa, too, somewhat likened to a magnanimous advisor and respecting pupil. Really, the intricate network of relationships outside of Koyomi are quite enthralling, especially when the lines of the web interweave to show how detailed the universe is. The problem, though, is that we get no more than a mere glimpse into these connections because the story is always told through Koyomi’s point-of-view rather than that of the world.
Because Nisemonogatari is told through the eyes and mind of Koyomi, we have little opporitunity to see characters interact without the presence of the male Araragi. The only moment we saw such an occurance transpire is when Koyomi narrated the fated meeting between the naïve Karen and the suave Kaiki. And since it was a narrative, it really isn’t an genuine meeting between two characters. No, we never really see any more to these relationships than when the characters mention it themselves or when there are multiple characters present and they talk between each other. Though we do know these relationships exist, we hardly know anything about them due to the extreme lack of information we receive.
Some of these relationships could be surprisingly intimate or hostile. Their histories could stretch multiple years and be brimming with hardships and adventures akin to those we’ve seen in Bakemonogatari or Nisemonogatari. And let’s not stop there, what about relationships that consist of multiple people or group mentalities. What they of relationship do these characters have in the presence of others, such as a trio of Senjougahara, Kanbaru, and Tsubasa or another consisting of Karen, Tsukihi, and Sengoku? The possibilities of these interpersonal relationships are nearly endless and all the possibilities of this universe to consider make this topic quite captivating but never satisfying. And the reason for the latter point is because we never will know what these other friendships are like.
The storytelling of Nisemonogatari simultaneously presents both positives and negatives to me. It’s quite clear from this post what some of the negatives are but the style does have some advantages. For one, we see everything like what a normal human sees since the camera does not wander off to see two other characters advance the plot elsewhere or reveal something to the audience that they know before the characters do. And it allows for the anime to display itself in a way that shows intimate relationships between the protagonist and the rest of the cast, something that is a core theme in Nisemonogatari.
For what the series wants to do with itself, the current method of storytelling does quite well, if not downright impressive. But leaving out some of the fascinating details in the world, even for a few scenes or a bonus episode or something, is one area where I find fault with the storytelling in Nisemonogatari. For an anime where interpersonal relationships are one of the most significant and imperative themes, you’d think there would be effort to spread it around the cast rather than just be content with it being true to only the main character.
Oh yeah, and there was some teeth brushing, pantyshots, and ecchi fanservice everywhere. The episode really did nothing more than just take the incest factor to the line it never should’ve crossed and taken a rocket pack so far beyond that line that it was below the horizon behind them. At times it was pretty entertaining and hilarious but most of it was just awkward fanservice that might be considered arousing (the moaning, definitely) or sexual. It didn’t feel that ecchi to me otherwise besides all the shots of Karen wearing a dangerously short miniskirt and seeing her panties surprisingly fewer times than revealed proved how active and bouncy she was in a skirt of that size. Not really sure what to make of the episode but I’m glad we’re fully transitioning to Tsukihi’s story now which, from the sounds of it, should be another amazing story.