Guest Post: Linguistic Gymnastics of Nisioisin in his Monogatari series.
Posted September 3, 2016on:
My other half is a huge fan of the Monogatari series. He enjoys the anime series, and the Kizumonogatari (Wound Tale) novel. A series of light novels that were turned into anime series, this paranormal story is told non-chronologically to enthralling effect. You can watch or read the stories in the order in which they were written, or in their chronological order, for a completely different experience. What’s unusual about this series is that the characters actually come out and say exactly what they are thinking – which is rather unusual for your typical character be they in a Japanese story or an American story. How would our lives be, if people said what they were thinking?
Take it away, other half!
from Serdar Yegulalp’s review of Kizumonogatari (Wound Tale)
“Such was my experience with Kizumonogatari (“Wound Tale”), now in English courtesy of Vertical, Inc. It is ostensibly the story of a young man made into the thrall of a centuries-old vampire, and tasked with returning her severed limbs as payment for being restored to humanity. I say “ostensibly” because while that’s more or less what happens, it’s not what the story is about. The real subject of the story is Nisioisin’s way with words, and how much you enjoy this book — or any of his books — will be directly proportional to how much you savor watching an author make his sentences do handstands and jump through hoops.”
I did not particularly agree with the review though, I find many people see Araragi as a boy obsessed with boobs and panties and Hanekawa as just a generic damsel in distress. This is both incorrect and short sighted. Westerners seem to both love and hate sexuality; we watch simulated sex all night on Game of Thrones or True Blood and then go to work and complain about how anime is only for weeaboos because it has panties. Sigh.
Araragi ‘says’ internally what many/most teen and not so teen males think but saying the truth is not popular with the American crowd. Araragi is also deeply separated socially from everyone around him and is somewhat suicidal; not so much because he wants to die but because he cannot see the point of living. Hanekawa Tsubasa is a girl who is intelligent, well mannered and attractive but is also filled anger and violence at times, often towards herself, and who also would like to break out of being a good little Japanese school girl.
Hanekawa, after she comes to terms with her anger and violence, and her absorption of a demonic portion of herself that she created, does not go to college as the smartest girl in school, she does not become a wife and mother like a Japanese girl should, she does not go to work in a professional job in a city because she is an adult now and has to leave these high school fantasies behind, she instead travels the world attempting to find Oshino Meme.
Hanekawa is, perhaps, my favorite female character of Monogatari and not because she is the bustiest on the show, although as someone who is not afraid of the truth, I did not mind her chest, but because her demons seemed both the most real and the most relatable. She fights for a year not a day against herself and does not come out unscarred.
Calling Hanekawa a damsel in distress is just ridiculous, she does get helped and saved by Araragi on occasion but she also helps and saves him and the price she pays to help him is far higher than any price he pays.
Araragi is a teenage boy and, horror!, he likes girls. One of the things I like about Araragi is how he will use his known lecherousness to help people. In Japan touching is quite rare, particularly between sexes, so when Hanekawa is injured on her face by her step-father and tells Araragi she will do anything if he doesn’t tell others about this he runs with the offer.
See, as a part Vampire his blood can heal others wounds, but he can’t just ask to touch her. And bleed on her. So he soliloquies about all of the different things he could do to her/with her etc, each more dirty than the last, than he says he has decided and she asks with trepidation what he has decided on and he says he wants to lick her face.
She is then healed and maybe he would have never been able to do this without his nature. He often over emphasizes his ecchi nature to hide his feelings and to allow him freedom of action he would otherwise not have.
I do wonder if Hanekawa realized what Araragi was doing in that scene.
But, yes linguistic gymnastics is the order of the day when you read Nisioisin.
Also, the reviewer complained anout Kiss-Shot AcerolaOrion Heart-Under-Blade as a name. He took it straight. Nisioisin spends a good part of his career lampooning other authors including manga/light novel authors for their ridiculous English or French names they throw around. He one-upped them in ridiculous.