My feelings about this week’s episode of Nisemonogatari are about as split down the middle as the episode itself. On the one hand, we finally learn what happened to Karen and Hanekawa proves to be way more captivating and formidable than we’ve ever seen her. On the other hand… well most of the episode is a girl meant to look 8 years old prancing around sans clothing. Usually it’s just a tease or played for humor, this just felt like pure lolicon bait. The timing of the whole situation was ridiculous, I mean come on, YOUR SISTER IS DYING, WHY ARE YOU TAKING A BATH?! Sure it’s important for us to see Shinobu develop as a character but we could have just as easily seen her coy and playful side with her clothes still on. I suppose setting this particular conversation in the bath does help establish how intimate a connection she has with Araragi (since they’re kind of the same person now or something) but even if she HAS to be naked they could have done so without drawing so much attention to it.
With that out of my system, how about that Hanekawa? Black Hanekawa aside, I never found her particularly compelling, nor did I ever think she posed a threat to Senjougahara for Araragi’s affections. Guess I was wrong! I love her turn for the devious in this episode. The fact that she would use her relationship with Koyomi as leverage and the fact that Senjougahara is insecure enough to believe she could pull it off spoke volumes for each of their characters. Oh, and have I mentioned I love girls with short haircuts? I still don’t think even Hanekawa 2.0 could break Koyomi’s loyalty, but I’m all for a little shift in the group dynamic.
Despite my little rant at the beginning my overall opinion of Nisemonogatari remains unchanged. I actually like the whole idea of Shinobu’s connection with Araragi and I will be curious to see how much they choose to reveal about her in the series versus what they’ll save for the upcoming Kizumonogatari. It’s just a little frustrating to see some rather intriguing plot and character developments overshadowed by something so unnecessary. Fortunately I don’t suspect that will happen too often.