Now, this is probably a bit of an obvious choice. Nisemonogatari’s ‘tooth-brush sex’ is a sure-fire contender for everyone’s list this festive season, and with due reason- it was bleedin’ brilliant! For those not in the know (just where have you been!?), it involves the show’s main character Araragi subjecting his younger sister, Karen, to psychological torture, in the form of brushing her teeth. That sounds weird enough as it is, but wait, it gets weirder! The pair get a little too into the entire rigmarole, if you know what I mean… Mental, no? But brilliant regardless.
So, why brilliant? Well, I believe this scene epitomises art. Art, to me, is something which inflames the emotions, making us think, or, as in this case, pushing boundaries, and that’s definitely something this scene does!! I am certain no-one went away from watching this without feeling something. Some viewers felt disgusted (understandably so), other amused, some even strangely titillated (myself included for reasons I, an 18 year old female of heterosexual orientation, who is constantly condemning of shows that include incest as a way of appealing to grubby otaku with a fetish for little sisters, to this day, cannot explain)! But whatever you ended up feeling after watching it, the point was, the scene had got to you!
But why did this scene get inside your head so much? Perhaps because, as anime fans, we’re constantly having to put up with fanservice, and not just any fanservice, but the same fanservice, over and over. In the wise words of Bakuman: “All you need are panty-shots!” In fact, for me, the word ‘ecchi’ has become synonymous with ‘panty-shots’, and if their persistent inclusion in ‘ecchi’ shows is anything to go by, this is what we should be finding sexy! But then along comes Nisemonogatari, gloriously shattering our idea of what is normal, in typical SHAFT style. It took an everyday object that, I bet, next to nobody has ever regarded as having possibly a second, more sinister function, and turned it into some kind of creepy sex toy. Even Araragi, the instigator of the tooth-brushing, was surprised by the bizarrely sexual turn the activity took!! And it was this… um… originality… which made this scene so memorable and provocative.
And if nothing else, you’ve just got to admire this peculiar turn of events for that originality! Strange sights are fairly commonplace in anime, but this episode took strange to a whole new, kind of grubby level, and for days little else but this episode was discussed within the fandom- evidence of the reaction it provoked.
Like all true works of art, Nisemonogatari’s tooth-brush sex would soon be going down in anime history, not just as one of the weirdest stunts SHAFT has pulled, but as one of the weirdest stunts pulled in all the anime there ever was, and (probably) ever shall be! I know I won’t be forgetting it any time soon!!