But I did watch Nisemonogatari on Sunday, the last episode of the "Tsukihi Phoenix" story arc. And while it was better than the "Karen Bee" arc, I have to say it still wasn't nearly as good as any of the Bakemonogatari arcs. And I'm beginning to realise this has been something consistent throughout all of Akiyuki Shinbo's series--the second season of Maria Holic wasn't as good as the first, and Arakawa Under the Bridge wasn't as good as Natsu no Arashi!. I beginning to see Shinbo had kind of a golden era for a few years and now it's over, I'm not sure what happened.
The first episode of this latest Nisemonogatari arc had Araragi basically making out with his sister, so I thought this arc was maybe going to explore the nature of incest moe in anime the way Bakemonogatari used moe tropes to explore more psychologically complicated characterisations. But "Tsukihi Phoenix" winds up being something much more basic, a story about how Araragi's younger sister was a supernatural cuckoo, a tale maybe inspired by A Game of You, the Sandman arc. In any case, A Game of You is a much better story, as the resolution of "Tsukihi Phoenix" is a safer route of the character being accepted and loved even though she's not really human.
The arc had some nice images, though. I did particularly like the shot of a bird foetus inside an ancient doll;
But this story is just so banal, so mundane compared to the more complicated story about identity in the "Suruga Monkey" arc, the melancholy ghost story with its play on character perspective in "Mayoi Snail", or the manifestation of anxiety emerging in a sexually maturing girl in "Nadeko Snake". The feeling I'm getting is the same sense of diminished daring I got from the latter portion of Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei's third season. Oh, well. I guess we'll always have the old episodes.