Mercifully, the flame wrath bee arc comes to a supposed end. Viewing the arc in retrospect, I have to admit that it was a rather droll storyline with a weak punchline.
The one part of Nisemonogatari that I do consistently like are the interactions between Araragi and Hachikuji. The balance of power between the two seems most even so we tend to see some of the more insightful discussions between the two. If I had to listen to two characters talk the whole show (which is basically what Nisemonogatari is) I’d want this to be the Araragi and Hachikuji variety hour.
There’s a lot of visual candy to Nisemonogatari but a lack of substance underneath it. Is this unique to Nisemonogatari or did Bakemonogatari fall into the same trap? Am I just being more harsh with Nisemonogatari because I expect more from it? In my head, each arc of Bakemonogatari carred weight, drama and substance – is my recollection flawed? Case in point would be a visually epic, Matrix Mr. Anderson-worthy fight scene between Araragi and Karen – it reminded me of the General Grievous/Obi-wan fight – technically impressive, superbly choreographed, but still very boring. Was there any doubt in how the fight would end up? To me, Karen’s problem lacks a sense of urgency, I see emotions being through around, but all of it comes off as very fake, surface level. I don’t believe there’s an incredibly tight bond between Karen and Araragi. I don’t believe that Karen is some kind of fighter for justice, trying to save the weak. There’s just a complete disconnect for me with the characters and their motivations.
The arc ends with Kaiki promising to leave town and to stop scamming middle school kids – but before he leaves, Kaiki – the most interesting character of Nisemonogatari, perhaps because he hasn’t been spun into the harem web, offers Senjougahara a scathing critique – she has become boring. As if he was taking the words right out of the audience’s mouth (or well, at least mine). I feel so far removed from Senjougahara Fascination that I can’t even recall why I was embroiled in it in the first place. Domestication has made Senjougahara boring. Oh, she has the same sharp tongue but again, it all feels incredibly surface level. In Bakemonogatari her pain and anguish drove her behavior – her response was like a cornered cat. Now? It’s like millionaires singing about the pains of being poor – she lacks the same credibility she had before.
All in all, a disappointing arc, one that stretched out a bit too long and lacked the drama to get me invested.
Watch the latest episode of Nisemonogatari on Crunchyroll.