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Twelve Days of Anime: Day II – Sometimes a Toothbrush is just a Toothbrush

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vlcsnap-2012-12-15-21h49m09s56If you’ve ever even heard about Nisemonogatari, then you probably know what this picture means. If you haven’t seen it, you should probably treat yourself and go watch it now.

To quickly summarize it in case your memory is hazy, this scene essentially took place over the course of an entire episode, and it revolved around Araragi brushing his younger sister’s teeth. It seems innocent enough, right? It rapidly devolved into what many considered an incredibly perverted scene, even by Nisemonogatari standards.

This was strange to me because there was very limited sexually explicit content involved. Watching it again, there was only one single panty shot and some suggestive moaning. So why were people uncomfortable watching it? And what was Nisio Isin’s intention?

vlcsnap-2012-12-15-21h53m35s114Here’s my theory. He wanted to show that even the most mundane thing could be sexualized and and fetishized to the extreme.  He wanted to show that this trait is not restricted to sexual deviants either; anybody off the street can be persuaded into thinking something is sexual if it is viewed from the right perspective. Simply put, he isn’t the pervert–we are.

To add insult to injury, he even managed to subconsciously convince some of us that it wasn’t nearly as bad as we had originally thought. How did he do this? Some of the bloggers in the anisphere said the scene didn’t cross the line until the boob grab by Araragi at the very end. Why was this the tipping point for so many people? Fondling her breasts was definitely a relatively innocent sexual advance compared to the earlier penetration and moaning. It doesn’t make any sense until you realize that everything up until that point had been sexualized purely by one’s own mind. All it took was a single (relatively mild, I might add) cultural taboo to snap us out of the trance.

vlcsnap-2012-12-15-21h57m32s219Araragi virtually stated what I elaborated on above, but this seemed to slip past most viewers in the heat of the moment:

” No, no, no… Wait! What am I saying? […] This is a hallucination.  I know that. I know that. B-But […]”

Of course Nisio Isin doesn’t stop at just ridiculing our sexualization of everyday situations. He also mocks our ignorance of the exact opposite. There are small hints here and there throughout the show, but yet again, he goes so far as to literally state his point while still remaining under the radar.

“My kiss doesn’t count. That’s how family works. For example, when we were little, how often did we say we were going to get married?”

It’s strange how people can brush off an incestuous connection through what is theoretically one of the most intimate bonds between people. You can claim they were just kids, but it doesn’t do much to lessen the gravity of the situation in any meaningful way.

Maybe I am grasping at straws, but I would find it far more absurd to not question the cognitive processes of anyone who finds tooth-brushing sexually stimulating.

vlcsnap-2012-12-15-23h54m38s45

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3 thoughts on “Twelve Days of Anime: Day II – Sometimes a Toothbrush is just a Toothbrush

  1. Nothing says sexual more than having a giant galaxy in the background!
    On that note, was I the only one who was rooting for Araragi the whole time? 😉

  2. Damn, I totally forgot about this, definitely one of the “best” anime moment of 2012 😀

  3. Pingback: 12 Days of Anime 2012, Day 9: Brushy Brushy | SatchiiKoma

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