I don’t have a specific subject to talk about this week and I don’t want to go that long without an anime post so I’m just going to talk about what I’ve done this week with regards to anime and pick up a few more minor points that have come about through my watching experience. It has been quite a week in that I’ve picked up quite a few series and seen one very infamous episode for the first time. Which you’ll probably have figured out from the rather distinctive and unforgettable title image.
That episode being Tsukihi Phoenix Part 1 in Nisemonogatari. I watched Bakemonogatari last year and since the beginning of this year have been slowly making my way through Nise whenever I felt like the sort of anime I needed was the long conversation-driven stories that Monogatari always offers very well. I’d just finished the previous arc, Karen Bee and was feeling really good about the series, the characters feel more and more like a team, even while Araragi’s sisters come to the fore as per the title of the series, favourites like Senjougahara still have screen time and a whole lot of major backstory development. Besides, there’s a lot more Araragi abuse, which I enjoy. Then comes, and if you’ve watched it you’ll know, the toothbrush episode. I had heard something about a toothbrush being involved so I was prepared for something weird but I’m not sure I expected this. Or at least, I didn’t expect Monogatari to be quite as perverse about it. I assumed the series had limits, had a bit of respectability. Of course, I was quite wrong about that, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the scenes of Koyomi and Karen engaging in a power play that is pretty much accurately described as incestuous is quite gripping as you wonder just how far the show will break the taboo. It’s already gone past the normal acceptable stage, well past that indeed as the characters are getting visibly aroused by what they’re doing.
I guess it’s easy to say that that’s exactly what Monogatari does in these situations, it takes a common anime trope, that being that the main character has a very cute and often disturbingly sexualised little sister and plays it up to the extreme so that it can continue breaking those boundaries. I already know through only seeing Bake and Nise that it does this with the characters fitting archetypes and subverting them or exaggerating them at every turn to continue the story being generic. A take that at those works that do play too close to the line with incest. Just like the way Araragi could probably be convicted for the way he acts with Hachikuji, this makes the viewer uncomfortable to attack similar actions in other media with boob grabbing and other perverted play. I’d say Monogatari is only occasionally really entertaining in that way but it’s always thought provoking if you think about why it does all of this uncomfortable stuff. Would it be bad to say that this was my favourite episode of Nisemonogatari yet? It certainly got my attention drawn, even if not for the right reasons, and I feel like I’ve experienced a bit of classic anime counter-culture now. So I can now act even more pleasingly disdainful to anything that knows it was being mocked by this episode and yet continues to do what it was doing. I guess I could have done an entire post about this. It’d be a short one as I know so many people have already done this.
In other news for me in anime, it’s mostly picking up 2017 animes, though I do want to get another older anime started sooner or later, I just have to pick one. I have almost completed Gabriel Dropout, the considerably lighter and fluffier show I talked about when I last made an anime post, the last episode airs on Monday. There’s nothing harmful about it, the latest few have continued the gang’s fun antics in heaven and hell, but I’ll be ready for it to end, even if I will miss Vigne and her amazing competence.
I started Interviews With Monster Girls, but so far, what I’m mostly seeing is Monster Musume with lewdness replaced by cuteness and wholesomeness. I definitely commend any show that uses different kinds of people to introspect about the troubles real disabled, differently abled or minority people have in adjusting to everyday life, one of the starting points for my huge descent into anime was Katawa Shoujo after all, which I loved because it humanised all of those disabilities for me and made me realise things I had never thought of for the way deaf and blind people live. But in Interviews With Monster Girls it doesn’t feel like there’s anything original here and I’m already wishing more questions and interviews happened and I’m only two episodes in. I will stick with it for now because it’s cute and has the main character being a teacher, one of my favourite professions to get explored in shows, and I really don’t like dropping things but I’m not as excited by it as I thought I might have been.
I’ve also started March Comes In Like A Lion, which given the first paragraph of this post, might seem like I’m overloading myself on Shaft animes. But I heard this one got a second season so it means there’s going to be a lot to watch, and I was already looking at it as a potential Your Lie In April successor because of some superficially obvious parallels, main character guy with glasses who’s obviously a bit depressive, is a genius, the plot will probably lead to an emotional story at some point or other, has a title with a month in it, it’s all there. The art style is definitely noticeable and unusual, it makes the anime seem older and grander than it is. I’m not sure yet what the main point of the story is at three episodes in and I hope to find some of that out but so far, it’s definitely a well-made show and I’m enjoying this ‘gentle tale’. Also, I am in my personal life a bit of a chess player, though rather rusty and shogi, though I don’t understand the rules, is rather similar and that really helps me put myself in Rei’s place. It’s very good for that.
So to summarise: I’m watching cute girl things but I’m starting to find things less than amazing from them and so I’m subsequently losing myself in Shaft anime. Wish me luck.
Actually, what I really feel need is another anime with some great shock value. I guess it’s a good thing Attack On Titan is coming back (and it’s been so long since I watched it originally I’ve forgotten so many details).