DVD Review: Nisemonogatari – Part 1

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MVM Entertainment’s latest subtitle only release is non-other than first half of Nisemonogatari, a sequel to strangely unique but complex Bakemonogatari, but what exactly did we think of their DVD release and the series so far? Find out in our DVD Review of Nisemonogatari – Part 1.

Synopsis:

Crab, snail, monkey, snake and cat… Supernatural incidents revolving around five girls were solved thanks to Koyomi Araragi. With these mysteries laid to rest, Koyomi Araragi can now begin to live a normal life, or at least so it seems…

His “unusual” life starts when Koyomi wakes up in a ruined school building, captured and chained by Hitagi Senjyogahara. She says, “I will protect you, Araragi!” Exactly what is Senjyogahara up to?! With Koyomi’s two younger sisters Karen and Tsukihi (a.k.a the Fire Sisters) now involved, Koyomi once again finds himself tangled with apparitions!

Our View:

Nisemonogatari is the second instalment into the “Monogatari” franchise and more importantly a sequel to the previously released Bakemonogatari anime series whereby after managing to exercise a variety of apparitions Koyomi Araragi is attempting to lead a normal life. This normal life doesn’t last long as more supernatural events start happening across town, with his with his younger sisters, Karen and Tsukihi, being at the centre of it. It’s now up to Aragai and the rest of the gang to uncover what is going on and put a stop to it, without his true “vampire-self” being exposed to his family members.

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As I mentioned Nisemonogatari is a continuation of the Bakemonogatari (or Monogatari) storyline, so newcomers to this series will be completely lost as what is taking place, especially since the first episode begins with Araragi by being held captive by Senjyogahara, something which isn’t explained why until the third episode of the series. It’s not just the story that acts as a continuation either, as the art style, character roster and sexual innuendos all make a comeback but unlike the previous series this one features a more “darker” adult tone, with multiple characters (young and old) appearing in provocative poses or being completely naked throughout long periods of an episode. It’s not a series for younger audiences, but interestingly there is no violence of swearing – just provocative poses, naked characters and unique one liners, which at times makes for uncomfortable viewing.

Story wise Senjyogahara and Araragi are now a couple, however while they are dating Senjyogahara insists that Araragi’s schoolwork must achieve top marks and so class president Hanekawa is recruited to tutor Araragi. At the start of Nisemonogatari this private session is put on hold so Araragi decides to spend the day with Nadeko, however while on the way to her house Araragi encounters other notable characters from the franchise, such as Mayoi – a young girl with a huge backpack who was previously a lost snail apparition. This “trend” of running into people continues within the first few episodes of the series and acts as a “re-introduction” to the main cast, as all notable characters (Mayoi, Karren, Kanbaru & Nadeko) are all re-introduced with previous events dropped into their conversations. It is a unique way of getting viewers reacquainted with characters, but it just seems such a length process for a series that isn’t that long or entertaining.

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This “re-introduction” process also results in the series feeling a lot shorter than others, as by the end of the first disc the series hasn’t really moved in any direction – other than notable characters are reintroduced, Shinobu is alive in the form of Araragi’s shadow and that a new mysterious character named Kaiki is on the prowl. Kaiki is the main focus of this first half of Nisemonogatari, as not only is more of Senjyogahara’s past explored (much to the shock of Araragi) but Kaiki also inflicts a curse upon Karen, one which Araragi must overcome if his sister is to survive. Dangerous times lie ahead for Araragi and his friends but unfortunately the series takes a long winded (and rather dull) approach for viewers to care.

Extras:

Since Nisemonogatari is such a short series, there is only 11 episodes and seven of them are included in this “Part 1” release of the series, the only extra features included are trailers for other anime series, some of which MVM Entertainment will be distributing within the UK.

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Majority of the trailers are just text less opening songs, however the most notable trailer is for Bodacious Space Pirates, as it at least showcases what to expect from the series.

Specs:

Media:  DVD 9 x1, DVD 5 x1
Region: 2
Running Time: 1:38:31 (Disc 1),  1:13:58 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Overall Nisemonogatari is what you’d expect it to be, a continutation of the story left off by Bakemonogatari, with Araragi and the rest of the group helping people out that have been affected by curses (apparitions). In this first instalment of Nisemonogatari however the story takes a slower approach with viewers getting re-accustomed to old characters by which at that time a new threat emerges. This new threat is not the source of the darker (more adult) tones, but in fact it’s the provocative poses and naked characters (such as a naked Shinbou being in bath with Araragi), all of which made it an uncomfortable viewing experience.  All the negatives aside a story is being told, but it’s more about Araragi and his relationships with his friends (and sisters) as opposed to Kaiki and the apparitions that are taking place.

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This first instalment focuses entirely on the Karen Bee Story Arc, which spans 7 episodes, the same amount of episodes included in this release, with the second instalment (due next year) containing the remaining episode of the series. The first disc contains four episodes, while the second disc contains three episodes and disappointingly the only extras are trailers for other anime series – some of which are being released by MVM next year.

DVD Wise the quality remains consistent, yet again, with the two previous releases of Bakemonogatari with the picture quality being clear and sharp with no signs of pixilation or distortion.  Since the DVD picture and audio quality remain consistent throughout the Blu-ray release should be visual perfection, and with both versions being the same price (at the moment) I’d suggest going for the Blu-ray release.Yet again this is a “subtitle only” release,  so there is plenty of text to be read, luckily the subtitles are presented clearly and are easily readable – however just like in Bakemonogatari there will be moments where  you may need to pause the video in order to read the text. This doesn’t happen often (unlike Bakemonogatari which happened in every episode) but it’s something worth mentioning.

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If you enjoyed Bakemonogatari then you’ll easily enjoy Nisemonogatari, however be warned it does have a more adult toned approach than the previous series did (hence its 18 Age Rating). To those new to the franchise then it’s best avoiding this series until you’ve experienced Bakemonogatari, otherwise you won’t have a clue what’s going off, that being said even as a continuation its not that great. Basically my thoughts on the series are that the visuals are seductively good (hence the Blu-ray recommendation), but the approach to the story needs an entire re-work, but that’s exactly how the “monogatari” franchise is, so you can either take it or leave it and unfortunately for this release unless you’ve seen the previous series I’d leave it.

Score: review-stars-2

Nisemonogatari – Part 1 will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from the 16th December 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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