Them be fighting words…

I promised a quick reply to this post, but midterms killed me.

You can consider this a “there are a lot of things wrong with this perception,” reply but our gracious trzr23 (The Razor, 23 years old at the time of nickname creation I assume) skilfully prefaces it by stating that it is merely a wishful musing post. Who am I to question another’s wishes? So you can consider this a “I think there are a lot of things wrong with this perception” and that will fulfil my preface quota for the day.

In the shining highlight of Senjougahara Hitagi, we might be tempted to overlook or dismiss other, lesser characters but we would be wrong to do so. Our gracious Razor states that it is Senjougahara who sells, entices, dominates. I will not quote some statistic from MAL (small sample, different demographic). We can find Bakemonogatari’s first Blu-ray volume at an impressive #1 spot in 2009 over at ANN. Speaking of volumes other than the first however (that is, volumes pertaining to some other than Gahara-san), we can find an equally impressing higher profit number in the same year and more units sold in the next. And that is the fact of the matter.

Now, I’m no businessman, but I do consider myself an artist of some sort (unskilled musician, failed drawer, lazy writer) and I conveniently disregard the audience in every one of my productions. In other words, the entire paragraph above means nothing to me, I would rather just do what I want, act as I please. Our gracious shaving appliance perceives this as being “hell bent,” which in my turn I perceive as an outing of frustration. How could they dare spend time to “shallow fanservice” characters with “less character”? Not to mention neglect the corema préférée, several episodes at that. He makes his complaints about the side characters quite clear:

a bunch of side characters, each of them dedicated purely for fanservice

only a fraction of her personality

why make them anymore important than they have any right to be?

Ouch, not just their function in the story, their being, their entire right of existence is questioned by our gracious trimmer.

Speaking of functions, one of my favourite sketches in the Monogatari series is Araragi’s interaction with Hachikuji (and I’m not even a lolicon). It always starts in a variation on a certain pray on words (a love of words!), 失礼 (shitsurei), a play on words. Then it evolves into some other topic using more lascivious word plays (words are sexy). Finally, it leaves our main hero with something to ponder with. A very simple structure, but an effective one at that. It creates a certain expectation for the viewer and this is something Nisioisin loves to play with, I repeat, loves to play with.

Speaking of personality, but first a definition (a good argument starts with a definition).

per·son·al·i·ty/ˌpərsəˈnalitē/
Noun:
  1. The combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.
  2. Qualities that make someone interesting or popular.

Our gracious Android 23 makes a very bold statement on the second item on the list (I doubt distinction is a problem in Bakemonogatari). Regarding popularity, Hanekawa seems more popular than Gahara-san (and the blu-ray sales support that notion). Regarding interest, it’s a very subjective term and not an argument worth having. In fact, I think it’s pointless to compare Gahara-san to others. So why bring up this point?

The interest lies in the conversation and, more specifically, the conversation that Araragi is able to have with the other characters that he is incapable of having with Gahara-san. That would seem like an obvious thing, but it is an important thing nonetheless. What else is Nisemonogatari if you take away its dialogue? And what else does it need to be?

Just being there, conversing, lusting, opinionating, being lusted after, changing, oneself and another. It all gives the side characters their right of existence. It really is as simple as that. Nisemonogatari should be nothing else than Nisemonogatari. Yo.

But wait, there’s more! Our gracious trzr23 talks about the lack of plot!

their screen time comes at the cost of a plot.

Not surprisingly, it is the only part to show any sign of a plot.

moving the plot forward.

You can put a tuxedo on this quote, but it’s still a quote.

At which point I couldn’t contain the hilarity any longer, and decided to write this post w.

  • Although I might be making a bit too much fun of a mere opinion here, trzr23 does have a very strong one, which he outs on his blog and his twitter. I like to read his posts whether I agree with them or not. Much hearts to this opinionating hero. ♥
  • Ghostlightning calls me a weirdo for liking both smut and “core story.” For this I feel both strangely aroused and deep in thought.
  • Scamp calls the sections with Mayoi boring. Boooooo. Incidentally this is the first time I’m interested in his posts on a series.
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6 thoughts on “Them be fighting words…

  1. I’m both irked and intrigued by Nisemonogatari. I’m annoyed by the (even more) extensive fanservice and I’m annoyed the slow pace of the plot. But the brilliant dialogue and awesome direction is what made me love Bakemonogatari in the first place and it’s what keeps me coming back in Nise. That, and the plot IS moving forward, bit by bit. In fact, one (I’m sure intentional) side effect of the slow movement is that Kaiki has become a memorable villain with almost no screen time.

    Oh, by the way…Trzr23 is like 12 years old. Okay, not 12, but I believe he’s 17 or 18, much younger than one would think.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Short things first:

      – I could guess Trzr23 is around 18 years old (I’d give or take two), he writes like an 18-year-old, coming from a young adult himself. But when has age ever said anything about one’s writing with any precise detail? I like to write like an old fart while using as many semicolons as my broken English and the muse allow me.

      – There’s still much to learn about Kaiki and we’ll see plenty of him in Nise. From an unspoiled viewpoint, I think he looks more like a “trick” villain, the kind you’d encounter in shounen magazine. Well, we’ll see it all unfold shortly. I really like SHAFT’s choice of colour whenever he’s in scene.

      Longer things next: fanservice and plot.

      What is fanservice? I think we can all sortof kindof maybe feel what fanservice is, but if we say it’s “giving the viewer what he wants” then I have nothing against it (gimme what I want). Is it physical (well, as far as 2d goes) in nature? For me, every segment with Mayoi is fanservice (and no, I’m still not a lolicon). I love Mayoi and Araragi’s word exchanges. So would fanservice in the negative sense mean fanservice for people other than me? I think we can do with much more specific words than merely “fanservice.”

      What is plot? I think we can all sortof kindof maybe feel what plot is, but if we say it’s “an event” then everything is a plot. “Even a fart is a plot,” as I quote the more literary Michael. Is conversation not a plot? What about character development? And so what is a slow pace of plot? There is none, it’s moving exactly as fast as the author, the director, the script writers intended for it to go, to the best of their ability.

      Last things as the first and foremost:

      I’m loving the anime adaptation of the Monogatari series so far, that unique touch that SHAFT is able to bring in, those unspoiled, sharp and utterly awesome dialogues, great moments of character exposition and development, subtle touches, harsh words. My banner is my witness.

  2. Okay, before you get your panties in a bunch again, get into your head: It’s “The TRazor” or simply “TRazor”, which does not automatically expand to The Razor. I’m not called The TheRazor. And apart from your obvious infatuation with the word “gracious”, I’d prefer if you not to make any more assumptions, like my age. I am 18 and if you’d guessed it, then cool…. so why’d you assume I was 23? I don’t get your logic, but whatever.

    Your stats do nothing but prove that Bakemonogatari was a success. Did I ever deny that? No. What I said was Senjogahara was the better character. People who like the series tend to buy all volumes that come with it. It’s rare that otaku buy one volume they like and stop. Still, your page does show Senjogahara’s arc was the top-selling DVD of that year, which is what I said. Coming to your second link, the second DVD had a higher profit margin because it was sold at a higher price. The first volume went for approx 65USD with the second going for 78USD (probably because of the additional episode and extras). Hence the difference in revenue. If you dig up some stats on other merch, I’m sure you’d find her name at the top. Regardless, there’s no denying she’s the poster girl of the show.

    You can’t “conveniently disregard” the audience’s tastes when it comes to business. You have employees to pay and you can’t do that if you’re DVDs aren’t selling. You can make your anime about farts, but no one would buy it and your business would go under. And SHAFT not taking audience’s consideration? Surely, it’s called fanservice for a reason? They’re giving all the under-age exposition possible without bumping it into a hentai rating. Why? To please the horny lil fellas watching. That is audience taste.

    I’m not going into Hachukiji’s case because you like her, I don’t, that’s just a basic difference in opinion.

    I like Senjogahara better than the others and I think I’ve done enough to explain why. I bring up the point because I like her better and she deserves it much more than the other characters. Consider this air-time shipping.

    I’m not saying take away all of it’s dialogue, but it most certainly needs some trimming of the fat. Why do we need a reintroduction of the other character for nearly 4 episodes, when the arc isn’t even about them? Blatant catering. As for the conversations themselves, the entire thing feels incredibly static. You never see them exploring new character interactions. It’s always Araragi x some girl. Why not have the girls interact, to mix things a bit? Hanekawa dominating Gahara is an interesting angle, but no, those scene get hardly a minute of attention. Another angle was Gahara and Kanbaru in Bakemono, they didn’t go further than one dialogue exchange in that arc. How about Kanbaru and Hanekawa? I’m not talking about yuri, I’m not into it, but it just feels too…flat. The 6th ep conversation between Araragi and Gahara took place in the same room, for 12 minutes straight. And it was continuous dialogue. Good or bad, 12 min of conversation with no mind-blowing revelation or plot twist seems overboard.

    I’m not going into the plot thing because you clearly have nothing worthwhile to say about that. You can have fun with your own “fart is a plot” arguement.

    And finally, this comment is long enough to be a post, but I’m not making a post on it because my blog’s had enough about Nise/Bake. In fact, I’ve given up on this show and I’m dropping it – it’s nothing but disappointing to me. So you can walk amidst the blogosphere, amidst all the mindless praise of the show, with not a single negative post about it. Although your potshots and jackassery (Android23) were hard to ignore, I did my best to not be offending. Thanks for reading my post and taking the time out to respond to it with your own. Much love ♥

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