OP2: 「marshmallow justice」 by 喜多村英梨 (Kitamura Eri)
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「かれんビー 其ノ貳」 (Karen Bii Sono Ni)
“Karen Bee Part Two”
If this were any other show, the fact that we’ve only inched slightly closer to learning Karen’s involvement would be quite disappointing – but Nisemonogatari is no ordinary show. This is a series that knows that one of its greatest strengths lies in the characters developed in Bakemonogatari and uses these first two episodes to reintroduce these characters along with more of the sublime wordplay that it is known for. So while the plot directly related to Araragi’s kidnapping hasn’t been fully revealed yet, the trade-off has been more than worth it.
For a series centered on the story arcs of the “Fire Sisters of Tsuganoki 2nd Middle School”, I was surprised that their formal introduction didn’t come until this second episode. While both sisters sport fried egg hair clips and can be aggressive to their brother, the similarities pretty much end there. If you really think about it, the way a person dresses can tell you a lot about their personality, so I thought seeing the wardrobe choices of the two sisters would be quite informative, only to be quickly proven wrong. Karen’s fashion choices, like her “Bruce Lee in Game of Death” inspired outfit, are an exact reflection of her relaxed personality, like you’d expect. On the other hand, Tsuhiki is all about the feminine bare-shouldered yukata look, but underneath she wears nothing but a mean temper. Maybe each sister’s celestial symbol should be swapped – the moon for the cooler and calmer Karen and the sun for the hot-headed Tsuhiki. In any case, lesson learned: you really can’t judge a girl by her appearance, a theme that would repeat itself throughout this episode.
I’m really hoping that the series will eventually show how the two sisters get along despite their differences, especially as the heroic duo in their quest for justice. They even have the perfect catchphrase! I have to wonder what Araragi really means when he says that his sisters are merely imposters, playing a game. Is he merely referring to the fact that they know nothing of the adventures that he went through in Bakemonogatari, or that he is the only one seeking true justice? Or is there a deeper meaning behind the word nisemono, the namesake of this series? All this wordplay really makes a person like me linger on every phrase.
I don’t know if Araragi realizes it, but he’s been following an age progression (at least according to physical appearance) on his day off from studying. First he runs into the elementary school aged Hachikuji Mayoi and now he heads over to Sengoku Nadeko’s house, who is a girl around Tsuhiki’s age. Araragi, you sly dog. I was surprised that she actually styled her bangs back after being so protective of them in Bakemonogatari, although I think her new look makes her appear even younger. There was nothing young about the moves that she put on Araragi though – the girl pulled out all the oldest tricks in the book. Parents not home? Check. Bed the only place to sit? Check. Room too hot for heavy clothing? Check. Twister? Check, check, check.
Nadeko was almost close to checkmate too – but it looks like King’s Game will have to make its appearance in the next episode of Persona 4 instead. I was wrong about Araragi — he was a perfect gentleman throughout, but that might have changed if it wasn’t for Nadeko’s mother suddenly returning home. He did manage to leave her house with more than his dignity intact though, learning that his sisters are investigating the possibility of a person spreading the curse from Nadeko’s past. Could this be what eventually leads to him being kidnapped?
Nadeko’s house behind him, Araragi was proabably now in the mood for the company of an older girl. He continues with his progression by calling up fellow high school student Kanbaru Suruga (Sawashiro Miyuki) under the pretense of helping her clean her room, and upon hearing that she’s naked, takes off for her house in a cloud of smoke. Araragi, how much longer are you going to hold yourself as a paragon of virtue? The best part of their phone call was hearing Kanbaru’s voice as she described the sad look in her grandmother’s eyes as she walked by the naked Kanbaru on the phone. I don’t even know if having that scene animated could live up to Sawashiro Miyuki’s emotional performance, which was great throughout this episode.
On his way over to Kanbaru’s, we finally meet Karen who is out doing “community service”, which, for all we know, is probably the investigation that Nadeko mentioned earlier. Anyone else find it amazing that Karen is able to do all these poses and spout all these cool phrases while bent over backwards? Araragi with his vampire powers is no slouch either – just look at the height he gets with his bicycle! Karen’s personality, the phone call she received, and the promise of a heroic tale has made me look forward to her next appearance more so than any other character appearing, save Senjougahara.
Araragi’s interactions with Kanbaru were the highlight of this episode for me. While Nadeko has hidden her bangs, Kanbaru has grown them out, which leads to Araragi commenting on them and Kanbaru teasing him with the “erotic” phrases that she mixes up. I’ve always had a soft spot for girls who are quirky teases and Kanbaru is no exception. She is such a huge tease too – I can definitely understand why he proposed after seeing her naked back in a sea of books. She’s tantalizing with words as well, with her constant mention of being naked everywhere. And the basketball jersey as a one piece dress? Kanbaru almost pulls it off better than Mariah Carey did at the 2003 NBA All Star Game. As much of a pervert that she appears to be, you still can’t fall into the trap of judging a book by its cover (pardon the pun), as Araragi found out by from the titles of certain books in her collection. Threatened by his accusation that Kanbaru was less perverted than he was, she set out to prove him wrong in the bluntest way possible – by sexually harassing him. At least Araragi now knows what Hachikuji feels like!
Throughout this episode, Araragi had an interesting obsession with doing things outside; first, it was Nadeko taking her new look outside, and now Kanbaru being naked outside. I’m not sure what the significance with this yet, but knowing this series, I’m guessing it might have to do with the way it is phrased in Japanese. Another thing I noticed was that the sexual tension in this episode was off the charts. I’m not sure that things will continue this way with the show focusing more on the sisters’ stories, but I could very well be wrong. I guess I have no choice but to take off my sweatshirt, sit on this bed, and find out next week.
* Easter egg 1: the soles of Karen’s shoes say SHAFT
* Easter egg 2 (found by Divine): Renai Circulation as background music
* Testing 1080p caps, let me know if you like them/see any differences
* Full-length images: 04, 08, 10, 37
ED: 「ナイショの話」 (Naisho no Hanashi) by ClariS
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