I continue my morbid curiosity with the Akiyuki Shinbo and Nisio Isin duo by watching the first two episodes of Nisemonogatari because there is no way Narutaki was going to watch this with me. I know some people have been commenting that for better or for worse Nisemonogatari has a different feel than Bakemonogatari. I think the difference between the two seasons is minor but important. I did not use the word subtle because the difference is the pacing of the fan service in the new arc. Bakemonogatari definitely had fan service in it. Each arc in the original series introduced a girl, her supernatural problem, and the fetish she embodied. And so each arc played up that girl’s brand of fan service to all but the most fan service desensitized. But this current arc is ostensibly about Koyomi’s two sisters but unlike the previous arcs this one really had the other girls getting a good amount of screen time in another girl’s arc as opposed to their cameos early in the story. This means that they now have to cram in a full cycle of story, reference humor, and fanservice that is particular to that girl in a much shorter amount of time making all three components more obvious. So anyone watching for the titillation will probably not notice the difference or only be delighted to be so nicely catered to. But anyone else will either consciously or unconsciously notice the change in the rhythm of the story. The art is still rather gorgeous and the dialog still has a snappy pace. I am just pointing out the big difference that will determine if you want to continue to delve into Koyomi’s supernatural adventures.
D.Gray Man Volume 17 starts off by throwing us into the middle of a virus outbreak that has occurred while the Black Order is also trying to move to their new location. The first few chapters are really out of control and crazy (and ridiculous overall), especially because everyone has turned into zombies. As the zombies are infecting everyone, Allen tries to figure out the cause and how to cure it. After that insanity, we then get to actually focus on the Black Order group’s move. Allen and Lenalee go first, allegedly to open portals, but there are ulterior motives. The best part though is the reappearance of Cross Marian, who probably has the most shocking story in the volume. There are some major problems for both Allen and Cross, and so even though it initially seems like a jokey volume, it’s actually quite an important one.