July 23, 2016

The end is nigh. This is it. This is the last story of the Monogatari series. At least that is what I presumed when I read its title, Owarimonogatari. That is what is supposed to mean. End story, right? Yeah, well… One shouldn’t take the word ‘end’ too literally. Because it doesn’t really mean the end of a story and even if it was, it is always the beginning of something, am I right? After all, this is the Monogatari series we are talking about. Take everything with a pinch of salt but at the same time absorb everything you see and hear. And yes, this yet another story and season of the series is once more about our main character, Araragi having problems with his girls again. Well, if I put it generally like that, it does kind of make sense… Isn’t that what the entire Monogatari series has been?

Ougi Formula

Episode 1
What a way to start a story with a one hour special. Although this entire episode is mainly one big dialogue between Araragi and Ougi to solve a ‘maths puzzle’. The duo are stuck in a classroom believed to be suspended in an alternate dimension and the only way to get out is to solve the events that caused it so. It all began when Kanbaru mentioned about Ougi to Araragi. She is Oshino’s niece and seems to know all about oddities. Ougi wanted to request for Araragi’s help. Showing him a floor plan of the school, she finds there is a floor with an irregular room size. Or rather a room is missing between the floors where the audiovisual room is. Could it be a hidden room? Believing this might be the work of an oddity, she suggests investigating it before anybody suffers. Once they enter the room, they cannot get out of this seemingly normal classroom. Noticing the time on the clock has stopped ever since they enter, Ougi tells Araragi to pick a seat and sit down. Although he randomly picks one, she questions his reasoning in picking that particular seat. She believes that this classroom, that seat and even the events of what happened are all connected to Araragi. He starts feeling that sinking feeling that the floor swallows him but could it be just his imagination. But it might jog his memory a little. Realizing today’s date on the blackboard, he believes this might be the event that changed his personality greatly.

Digging deep into his memories, he remembers this day, time and place 2 years ago. It began when his class rep, Sodachi Oikura called everybody for a class meeting. More like she forced everyone to stay back and Araragi was the last to arrive. Oikura then went on to mention about catching the culprit among hem and nobody is allowed to leave until it is done. One the day before the term finals, there was a maths workshop for anybody interested. Some attended included Oikura. But when the results came out, there was a very large difference in points average. Oikura concluded there was foul play. It may be somebody obtained the exam questions from the staff room and brought it up in the workshop. Needless to say, those who participated scored high. But those who didn’t aren’t naturally innocent either. Thus Oikura handed the moderation job to Araragi because he is the only one who scored perfect marks. Oikura who pride herself in the best maths of the grade was in second. It might be the reason she hates him. So the class enters a debate stage to determine who the culprit is. No headway was made and sometimes they strayed from the topic. Patience was running thin. Because nobody wanted to stay back this late. Even Araragi began to suspect was there a suspect to begin with. When things are going out of control and the classmates do not listen anymore, Araragi desperately seeks Oikura’s help to stop this, forgetting how much she hates him. She even said it to him. She went to the front and told everybody to vote who the culprit was. Everybody voted for Oikura. Only Oikura voted for Araragi. He never forgot that sheer disgust on her face. Ever since, she never came to class and Araragi too started skipping some. It was the last time he scored perfect in maths too.

This isn’t the end of it yet. Because as Ougi points out, had Oikura been the culprit, how come they are still stuck in this room? She thinks the lingering regret of that event gave birth to this classroom oddity. His own heart gave rise to this classroom. So perhaps it was recreated so that he could find the true culprit again. Ougi believes Araragi subconsciously knew who the real perpetrator is. Because his empathy for Oikura’s situation is stronger otherwise he could not have recount this story. Going through all the evidence again, Ougi points out that the class was full. Everyone attended. So if Araragi was up there moderating, who was at his seat? That’s right. Their homeroom and maths teacher, Komichi Tetsujou. She doesn’t even need to know the questions. She writes them. What was her motivation in doing this? It would be pointless just to blame a student. If a class’ average increases, the individual’s deviation from the average would decline. And there would be 1 person whose standing improves if the class receives good grades. That would be the maths teacher. Their ability to teach would be rewarded. The duo are now able to exit the classroom. Ougi believed Araragi had been in this prison for 2 years and felt betrayed when a moral figurehead cheated. Tetsujou ‘atoned’ for that by using her influence to keep Oikura’s grade from failing despite she never attended classes. But the fact that threw Araragi into despair was the fact that Tetsujou was the one who voted Oikura as the culprit without any hesitation. The next day when Araragi returned to the same spot, the classroom was no longer there. Only the usual audiovisual room. As he is about to enter class, Hanekawa stops him because it would be bad if he does so. Why? A classmate who has been long absent has returned. No, not a ghost. Oikura is back!

Sodachi Riddle

Episode 2
I’m sure Araragi is worried if she remembers him. I guess she does. Because she asked Hanekawa lots of stuffs pertaining to him. So he goes in there, pretending to be surprised in seeing her for the first time. But that spiteful tone in her voice… Oh, she does remember you, Araragi. All the time! Now you know why women never forget! She even mentions about her suffering while he leads a normal high school life and even having a girlfriend! She didn’t mince her words to remind him how much she hates him still. She doesn’t want to be pitied by him either. Wondering if she hates happy people, on the contrary she likes happy people. It is those who don’t understand why they are happy that makes her sick. It is fools like him think that they could be happy without the help of others. His justice is conceited. Her hate for hate is reaching boiling point. Araragi made the wrong move to touch her to calm her down but she stabs his hand with a pencil! Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, here comes Senjougahara. She is going to kill this b*tch. Because she is the only person who has the right to stab stationery into Araragi! Well, poor Hanekawa trying to stop her is seen like a comical leech being dragged along while clinging onto Senjougahara’s waist. With b*tches getting b*tchy, Oikura slaps her. Senjougahara retaliates by punching her! Cat fight?! Oops. She knocked her out.

In order to find out why Oikura hates him so much, we have to go back 5 years before when Araragi was still in middle school. There were 3 letters signed by an unknown in his shoe locker. The letter seems to be some sort of brainteaser that resembles the Monty Hall problem. The third letter contains a map to a location. An abandoned building. He remembers it was when he first met a girl here. Araragi also tells us his parents are cops. Strict cops they are because if Araragi did something wrong, they didn’t hesitate to drag him to the police station to mete out justice. Wrongdoings must be punished. Ougi notes Araragi is wrong in believing that class meeting was the source of Oikura’s hate. With Tetsujou on maternity leave, it is as though Oikura waited for her to switch places and come back. It’s like she knew who the culprit was. It means the class meeting is connected to her personality change but not directly to her hatred towards him. Basically she hates him because he has forgotten his roots. Because to fight an enemy, you must understand the enemy. Understand their sense of justice. So what is it that Oikura viewed was right?

Episode 3
After Araragi followed the letter to this ruin, he met this girl (obviously Oikura). She is the reason why he started loving maths. Ever since her first lesson in teaching him that Monty Hall problem, he became interested and subsequently returned every other day to take other interesting maths lessons from her. This was like their secret base. They continued this with 3 conditions: They will always meet at this exact room, their study sessions must be kept a secret and he must not ask her name. He was fine as long as he got to study maths. But one day it was all over. On the last day of summer vacation, he entered the room but she was not waiting as usual. He waited and waited but she never turned up. It was then he asked around in school about her but nothing came up. The thought that her existence would disappear along with her made him fearful so he never returned to the ruin. He continued his normal life and despite all the conflicts and violence around, he hoped to find joy in maths. Ougi interjects that girl is no other than Oikura because otherwise why would we be listening to an unrelated story? A big red herring. After all, Araragi had phrased about her like as though they only met in high school. Araragi thinks maybe she just wants to be thanked and will go apologize to her. It won’t make things any easier but it is something he needs to do. Ougi cautions him about doing so. Because what would make Oikura even madder is a half assed apology. He must remember why she said goodbye without saying a thing or his apology would be meaningless. Since Oikura hates him, could it be because he did not live up to her expectations? Was it why she left without saying a thing? Ougi hints: It is related to his parents.

Now, Oikura didn’t expect some sort of reward in teaching him maths. She even knew his maths grade were slipping and seized the opportunity to write those letters. Comparing this house ruin to the school ruin he used to stay sometimes with Oshino, what made him think that this place is a ruin? This building isn’t a ruin. It was Oikura’s home. How else do you explain she was always there first to greet him? It looked so perhaps she came from an abusive family. So when her family fell apart for good, it might be the reason she transferred away. By teaching him maths, there was something she expected of him. More accurately, his parents. She wanted him to report what he saw. Although she did say to keep the study sessions a secret, it was probably she didn’t want to be seen as accusing her own family. She was hoping he would stand up and talked to his parents. And he didn’t live up to expectations. Therefore the empty letter he found underneath the table on the day she never showed up for good was a metaphor that he was a waste of time. With this, Ougi believes the matter has been concluded but despite all that has happened, it is a good thing Araragi never came to hate maths. Next day when Araragi talks to Hanekawa about this, she finds something odd about the whole thing. In spite of all the events that happened after, everything hinges on the fact that she knew his parents were cops. How did she know that considering Araragi never told anybody even if they asked to avoid problems. Looks like there is something he is still forgetting.

Sodachi Lost

Episode 4
Araragi narrates to us at the start about the best way to describe Ougi. Ougi is Ougi. Also hinting how big a fool he was to her. Araragi and Hanekawa are on their way to Oikura’s place. Hanekawa is worried about Ougi tailing them but apparently she isn’t. After all, she knew where they were headed and might have reached there. Hanekawa feels Ougi is a dangerous person and is not sure if she can protect him if something bad happens. Arriving outside Oikura’s cheap apartment where she lives alone now, we go back earlier in the day to see how they came to this. Because Oikura and Senjougahara were absent from class, Hanekawa suggested they go visit them. Time is of essence so she gives him the liberty to choose whose house he wants to visit. So this guy chose his mortal enemy over his girlfriend? As he is about to make his way, that is where Ougi bumps into him and pesters him for a sushi treat since he promised her as a welcoming party. However he apologized since he needs to go to Oikura’s house. This piques Ougi’s interest as she makes him tell what is going on. Ougi thinks Araragi visiting Oikura alone is a bad idea. Imagine the implications if a lone young boy visiting a long young girl. Thus Ougi offered to follow him because as a girl herself, she can help console her to a degree and probably extract more juicy stuffs out from her. Araragi is about to give in and accept her help when Hanekawa who looks like she just ran all the way from the opposite direction, tells him not to accept her help. I mean, do you want to bother a junior with their private problems? Ougi would feel hurt if he declined her. After all, she hints not to destroy they special relationship. What relationship? They just met 3 days ago, right? Even so, they made so many weird memories together. Being stuck in a classroom and went on a ruin adventure.

Hanekawa argues she would do a better job than her if she accompanies Araragi. So Ougi agrees that Hanekawa’s genius is the key. Though, Ougi starts running down her genius isn’t so remarkable after all considering it felt like it went downhill after the last incident. Araragi thinks she went too far so Ougi backs off for she doesn’t want to end up competing and make him hate her. As Senjougahara’s house is further, Ougi tells Hanekawa to get moving. They can change some rules too like Ougi will accompany him on her own accord. She sees herself as an uninvited sidekick. She wants to save Araragi. Hanekawa argues one can only save himself but Ougi points out that was her uncle’s stance. For her, that debt must be repaid many times over. Ougi also warns her that being capable isn’t the only thing that would solve anything in this world. It might even disrupt its balance. Therefore middle ground is more important. Araragi who has been quietly listening while the girls are having a showdown is suddenly thrust into the limelight. Now the ball is in his hands for the girls want him to choose who he wants to go with! OMG. This must be the hardest decision ever. Ougi tries to coax him in choosing her. Don’t make life harder for Hanekawa. She promises to solve everything with him. But Hanekawa puts her foot down. If he chooses her, he can touch her boobs! And that people, is how it arrived to this! Sex always wins! Araragi used his wrong head to think! And he even tells us that her boobs weren’t the motivation that made him choose but rather something extraordinary would have driven her to make such offer. Yeah right! Hanekawa makes Araragi wait outside in case Oikura is in her pyjamas. When she returns, Hanekawa looked defeated because Oikura will not change just for this guy. She remains stubborn and threatens to go naked if she persists! Araragi assures he is not that superficial to get excited over a girl in her pyjamas. But remember… Isn’t he here because of Hanekawa’s boobs… Oh sh*t! Gotcha!

Episode 5
Remember the question how Oikura knows Araragi’s parents’ occupation without asking? As Hanekawa suggested, the best way is to ask his parents. It seems Araragi and Oikura did meet before when they were young. Due to trouble in Oikura’s household, her parents brought her in to temporarily live with them. However she never joined the kids playing and just sat at one corner staring at them. One day she just got up and left for home. Not influenced, not coerced and just on her own will she went back home. Now in Oikura’s apartment, I suppose it must be hard for her to talk with a swollen cheek, eh? I think Araragi did a little healing magic by poking her cheek. It shocked her at first but the swell is gone. Araragi is here to talk about their past but she thinks he is here to make fun of her after fully understanding what happened 5 years ago. She felt so embarrassed that she would rather die just to think she was trying to seduce him in getting his help. However she doesn’t think it is her fault as these things are pretty normal. It could happen to anybody. After all, her parents are the baddies. After they divorced, mother took custody of her. She doesn’t care about father since he is the biggest sh*t. They moved into some house and you thought Oikura’s reclusiveness was bad. Mother was a total shut-in, hiding herself in her dark room and never coming out once! But thanks to Japan’s generous welfare system, Oikura managed to get by and thus she never wished her mom would disappear since she could get by day by day. Despite that, one day her mom just disappeared without a word. So the reason she came back to this town is for some welfare stuff and she really wanted to leave behind that messy sty. Her ‘clean’ empty apartment beats that messy place. She has considered all this as experience and a relatively lucky person. That is why she doesn’t need his pity, apology or amends.

If you have been paying attention like Hanekawa, you would have noted something strange in her story. If she said her mother one day disappeared, how could she have gotten out of the house since Oikura said she returned that day after unlocking the door. Plus, the windows have been barricaded. Perhaps she locked it on her way out? Not possible since it needs a key and Oikura only knows where she put it. But what if the door was unlocked in the first place and Oikura took for granted it was locked since it was the norm? Oikura doesn’t like how they care so much about her mom. She explains she was jealous seeing the warmth and love in Araragi’s family. It was sickening. That is why she only stared at them. It was ripping her apart that she had to leave. She thought she could change her wretched family but boy they beat her again. When she met Araragi in middle school, she thought it was fate and thus tried to get his help. But you know how it went. So maybe it was her fate after all. A cruel fate indeed when they meet again in high school. Now she is blaming Araragi as the source of her misery but the reason for that is that she hates herself so much that she needs to make him a villain to stay sane. Why can’t she be happy? Hanekawa has a simple answer: Because she is not trying to be happy! Ah well, now Oikura is even unmotivated to be happy. Being happy sucks. Now it is Araragi’s turn to be cool. He tells her no amount of happiness can rip her apart. He is willing to be her source of hatred. He will take in all her hate. So don’t hate happiness and the world. Love yourself. She wants them to go home since some welfare people will be coming to check on her. Hanekawa agrees but will come visit her every day. They love bugging people. She admits she really likes her. In that case, Oikura requests to find her mother. Do so and she will go back to school and apologize to Senjougahara.

Episode 6
Araragi and Hanekawa are discussing about the locked room mystery when Ougi joins in. She has eavesdropped on the conversation and has more or less an idea what has happened. She also claims she also knows the answer to the mystery. But first, she shows how deep her grudge of Araragi choosing Hanekawa over her as she keeps pointing out to Hanekawa’s tits. She wants them to apologize for making the wrong decision if they want to know the truth and Araragi was perhaps about to do it when Hanekawa finally breaks her silence not to do it even if he lies or for her sake. In 10 seconds, she will show Ougi why Araragi chose her. I’m not sure about wetting her hair but I guess it makes her look sexy? It seems Hanekawa has also guessed the answer but with Ougi suggesting not to spoil the fool and make him think for himself, they relay to him hints that include Oikura’s mom is already dead, Oikura mistook her mom for who she is and still is now, if her mom is a corpse why hasn’t anybody found out, who long will a corpse stay a corpse, etc. Because they take turns relaying the hints to him that would have probably reached 100, it annoyed Araragi a great deal that he had to put his foot down to shut them up that he already got it. I didn’t. So please tell me! Oikura has been looking after a corpse for almost 2 years and she didn’t realize it until it rotted till it is completely gone and hence she thought she went missing. Her mom has been slowly dying and it is not like suicide as she has lost the will to live after suffering greatly from the divorce. The girls don’t want him to tell Oikura this harsh truth because it is like as though she is pretending to not know something is wrong as she will have to live with this feeling for the rest of her life. However Araragi will go tell her and end it all today. Like how Oikura was oblivious to her mom’s death, Araragi was oblivious to her. Telling her the truth may hurt her more and even make her hate him further but he is fine with that if she is able to love herself.

Araragi narrates the epilogue that takes place after he told the truth. The next day he asks his sisters if they remember about Oikura and they didn’t. Oikura told him when she told the welfare people, they had to cut her allowance by half and will be shifted to a smaller apartment. This means she will have to move and transfer away to another school. However Oikura was smiling when she said that. Even when Araragi told the truth, she was rather calm. On his way to school, Araragi bumps into Ougi who apologizes and admits yesterday was her lost. She underestimated him and thought he would run away. They won’t know what future awaits Oikura but they hope it will be a happy one. And it is all thanks to him. Ougi wants to be a sore loser and says this first round lost is merely a training session. It accomplished her goal to find out how he would treat his childhood friend. Araragi informs Hanekawa of Oikura’s transfer. It’s a shame because they would have been great friends. Hanekawa is also taking temporary leave from school since it is her dream to wander around the world after she graduates. Hopefully she would find Oshino and ask him things. Later Araragi receives mail from Senjougahara that Oikura came by her place to apologize. She kept her promise. Though, Senjougahara’s finger is still broken. He is hoping to show this message to Hanekawa before she leaves but he realizes at the end of it has Senjougahara wanting to shower him with kisses on their next date. Better note. Then he finds a letter underneath his table. Unlike 5 years ago, it wasn’t empty and has letters in it. Araragi thinks back how nothing much has changed but at least something changed. It makes him sad and happy at the same time seeing Oikura walking ahead. The contents of the letters are left to our imagination. Whatever it is, it left Araragi with a big smile.

Shinobu Mail

Episode 7
It is a story Araragi wants to forget but Ougi won’t let him and wants him to tell it to us. It happened 2 months before Ougi transferred to his school and it was a time he was staying at the abandoned school. He is greeted by Kanbaru’s super knee kick. Seems she is getting the wrong idea that he called her here to meet alone in the middle of the night to take her virginity! She is more than happy to give it to him! Before we get sidetracked by her perversion (and worrying Araragi even more), he is here to tell her of an offer but hopes she would refuse. Unfortunately she will never turn down anything from him. Too bad it isn’t about taking her virginity. Unfortunately too, Araragi has no clue what the request is about since he is just a messenger. Had she refused then, everything would have ended right there. Araragi had to assure her it isn’t someone confessing to her and thus we get a little sidetracked by her carnal desires. As he is about to bring her, they hear footsteps of someone coming in. Araragi is sure he did not invite anyone else. Standing before them is an armoured samurai. Kanbaru punches it and the armour pieces scatter. Araragi wonders if she knows how to put it back so he could make sure if that thing moves if they reassemble it. Don’t worry. They don’t have to. Because it is reassembling back by itself. Kanbaru fights it but her punches and kicks no longer pack strength. In fact the samurai gets stronger and Kanbaru gets weaker before she passes out. Araragi has observed the samurai has been draining her energy every time she makes physical contact. The samurai now attacks and chokes Araragi. Kanbaru still has little strength left and plans to attack it from the back to let Araragi run away. But the place is set ablaze (supposedly from Hanekawa). The samurai then speaks. If he sounds like Araragi it is because he absorbed his voice during the choking. He knows he has no chance of victory and will take his leave. Therefore he leaves a message for Shinobu to return his demon sword, Heart Span he lent her for 400 years. As the building is engulfed in flames, Kanbaru is not athletic enough to get them out. Therefore she wants him to sleep with her! She doesn’t want to die a virgin! The only last resort is to jump out the window but before they could do that, an explosion douses the flames. Courtesy from Yotsugi who won’t let him die. Because she is going to be the one to kill him. Ah, what is with girls who want a piece of Araragi? Four that want to own me, two that want to stone me, one she’s a friend of mine

Episode 8
Yotsugi thinks they were trying to commit suicide! From all that talk, it seems Yotsugi believes his actions are because he wants to break Gaen’s promise. Araragi realizes he made a mistake of getting Kanbaru involved despite knowing well she would never refuse his request. Yotsugi suggests taking her to Gaen instead of sending her home irresponsibly because he should have known better that when a person touches an oddity, that person will be affected soon after. Furthermore, Kanbaru punched it. Not too sure if this is some sort of punishment because Yotsugi starts rubbing her bare foot on his face warning about his attitude that things will work out in the end and that life to him will always turn out plus minus zero. While Yotsugi goes on a futile chase after the samurai, Araragi carries Kanbaru to the park near where Senjougahara lives. However Kanbaru points out he is going the wrong direction. He makes corrections but end up in an unknown area after an hour. Lost? This feels like Hachikuji’s case the last time but she is already gone. So could it be the samurai playing some sort of malicious prank? No choice, he calls Gaen for help. Despite knowing everything, she wants him to solve this himself since this is hardly any trouble for him. As he has once been lost before, this time he has Kanbaru to help out and rely on. She climbs up the post to see the direction where they should head next. By smell. To avoid getting lost again because of the tracks of the lost cow, the easiest solution is not to follow it. So they are walking on walls? Well, at least they reach the park. Nobody is there and they think Gaen must have been bored waiting for them after 3 hours. But Araragi believes she must have been fighting some sort of oddity while they were lost. As they look around, they find Shinobu sleeping by the swings. There are scratch marks over her body. She was fighting an oddity earlier on with a cat. Despite describing the oddity as wearing raincoat and rubber boots, it is not Yotsugi. While she and the cat were fighting the monkey oddity, a doll came to assist them. As suggested by the doll that Shinobu’s link with Araragi can be restored by some guy in Hawaiian shirt, she was told to meet at this park. But when she got here, nobody was around and fell asleep. Don’t ask why the swings. However their chat is cut short because the battle isn’t over yet. Oh look, there’s that monster.

Episode 9
The oddity is a mixture of several animals like monkey and crab. Kanbaru has a hard time fighting it so Shinobu throws her Heart Span for Araragi to cut it down. He thought he won but the snake is about to bite them. Shinobu quickly finishes it off. Seems she was watching to test them and she finds their actions satisfying. Shinobu hints about why she was on the swings so Araragi had to go underneath to find a message left by Gaen to meet at the shrine. Along the way, Shinobu believes the samurai cannot be someone she knows because she saw him die 400 years ago and this might be an imposter. As they meet Gaen, she proclaims herself as Oshino’s daughter in which Shinobu fell for the lie. After hearing everyone’s story, Gaen believes that samurai could be the first oddity slayer and Shinobu’s first kin. Shinobu is furious with this amateurish deduction so Araragi explains about Shinobu’s first kin committing suicide by basking in the sunlight. But Gaen still asks why not? Till Kanbaru mentions about vampires being immortals. That’s right. He did kill himself but it took 400 years to be resurrected. Even so, he isn’t fully revived yet but in the process of recovering. Like how a sick person eats and drinks to recover, he does so by draining energy. Gaen wanted to solve this case fast with Yotsugi but she misjudged. Just because she knows everything doesn’t mean everything will proceed well. All because of Araragi who doesn’t act on reason and is unpredictable. It might seem she is atoning by seeking his help but actually she is giving him another chance to fix this screw up. She talks about the coincidence of oddities he meets every day and why they drift into this town. Gaen continues her chronological story about Shinobu taking on her first kin by sucking the blood of a human and making him her slave (we are supposed to have seen this part in Shinobu Time in Onimonogatari). That human hated what he had become and committed suicide. Despite being dead, he really wasn’t. He lived in nothingness. Over the centuries, he regained his form and quickly loses it. His trial and error recovery has become some sort of a vampire reaction reflex for all eternity. Without any conscious and travelling around the world scattered by the wind, eventually with infinite perseverance and willpower he drifted back to this town. And that was 15 years ago.

Episode 10
Gaen can bet the ashes are of the same person because she had the same idea 15 years ago too. Therefore Shinobu is in this town because of those ashes. Shinobu rebukes her that she is here for Mt Fuji. Wrong prefecture… Lost? Gaen adds she didn’t get lost but was led here. When Kanbaru asks about why only then this cycle had been broken, it is because this shrine place is an air pocket for oddities. A place where oddities gather, appear and end. By controlling such places, you prevent undesirable developments. Unlike Oshino’s job of collecting stories of oddities, Gaen’s job is to prevent such oddities appearing. Therefore she must control such places if she is to have an impact. But everything has to come to an end and this shrine was at its limits 15 years ago. There were attempts to restore it but each time it just got ravaged again. When Araragi and Shinobu visited this place during their time slip, they should remember it was filled with oddities. They were also components of the oddities that the first kin, his ashes had attracted. It was what broke him out of the cycle. This ‘food’ synergized him and thus began a 15 year sad revival story. Or rather a revenge story as Gaen puts it. Gaen wants them to find him and it should be easy because Araragi and him are slaves and should attract each other. Araragi thinks she should let Kagenui know about this since she is using Yotsugi. But Gaen wants her to lament she has no chance to display her power for the rest of her life. Gaen has also called for backup. That’s why their meeting ends now as she has to go meet them. They must finish this today or he will get stronger. She wants to make sure he is killed before he eats a human. After she leaves, Shinobu tells Araragi not to be provoked by Gaen. She was doing this out of jealousy. It is okay to be jealous but not to grief. He is the only thing she has now. Shinobu is confident they can deal with this before the day ends. Araragi wants to buy food in the mean time so we see Kanbaru asking him a favour to buy some gay manga for her! And perhaps a bra too. Any bra is fine. She’ll accept his taste! He is at the bookstore and perhaps tries to use his freedom to do the opposite. He buys books of MILF photos. His plan backfires when the employees laugh at his purchase. As he quickly makes his embarrassing retreat, he bumps into a weird girl. She wonders if he has passed her message to Shinobu.

Episode 11
This girl is supposed to be Shinobu’s first kin. She wants Araragi to break up with Shinobu as she wants to make up with her. She believes she is a special person to Shinobu unlike Araragi who can be replaced. She continues explaining the benefits of breaking up with her. He doesn’t have to shoulder the responsibility as it will be now borne by her. Araragi mentions he has given her message to Shinobu and he is pretty sure she doesn’t want to see her again. Even so, First Kin wants her sword and position back. The talk is interrupted when Episode throws a huge cross at them. Gaen is also here and wants to negotiate. However First Kin considers their talk over and the next stage is to fight to the death. It will be tonight but as for the details of the fight, she’ll leave it up to those specialists. Araragi wonders why Episode and Gaen didn’t chase after First Kin. Because they are busy rummaging through his MILF purchase! When Araragi returns to the shrine, he sees Shinobu on top of Kanbaru. Yuri time? Yotsugi pulls him over into the bushes to hide and listen. Shinobu is mad for Kanbaru saying something insulting and wants her to apologize. However she won’t. It seems Kanbaru wants her to go to meet First Kin but Shinobu refuses to do so. Kanbaru cannot understand her logic especially why the idea of Shinobu, Araragi and First Kin getting along with each other. She thinks it makes Shinobu look like she has a problem having more than a kin. Whether she wants to get along or break up, Kanbaru doesn’t care. As long as she tells it to him properly.

She thinks Shinobu is scared that by doing so, it is like cheating on Araragi. But that itself is a mistake as the only one she will be cheating is herself. Therefore she should tell him straight how his revival will endanger Araragi and bring loads of problem to them. If she can’t even do that, don’t lecture to her about master and servants. She is just one who is bad with people and doesn’t have the right to build a relationship. Shinobu threatens to kill her so Kanbaru dares her and be bad in Araragi’s books. Then she will avoid him like how she avoided First Kin. How can you face the second when she can’t face the first. Kanbaru doesn’t care what the outcome is, she will accept it. If she decides to go with First Kin, break up with Araragi, vice versa. Araragi for the first time sees Shinobu resigned and surrendering. It makes him motivated for the duel. After Shinobu holes up in the shrine to sulk, Araragi walks into the scene. He is surprised Kanbaru knows he was hiding but apparently Shinobu didn’t. Her first concern if she bought the books and bra she asked. All right here. He asks for a death defying advice. DIY = Do Your Best. Uhm, shouldn’t it be DIY? Considering the situation, he thinks Do It Yourself fits perfectly.

Episode 12
I suppose Araragi must be lonely so he calls Senjougahara and even ask her if she would switch if there was somebody better than him. She would. But don’t worry. He is perfect in her eyes. They’ll talk more about this when they get back. She’ll be waiting. Naked. Better finish this fast… The duel is about to begin but Gaen lays down the rules seeing Araragi is still weak compared to First Kin who is completely resurrected and in his samurai armour. They will both face each other’s back against this sword. As she counts, they will take a step and when she reaches 10, they will turn around to grab the sword. The first one to hit the other with the sword wins. First Kin knows this match is not intended to be fair but to keep Araragi alive. Araragi requests for some time to train so Kanbaru analyzes his chances with his physique and all. In the midst of it, Araragi receives a cheeky photo from Hanekawa and is unsure what is going on. That is when Kanbaru explains how her house was on fire and has been living with his sisters. We all should know this story for those who have watched Nekomonogatri (White). Gaen would prefer Araragi to use this reason to forfeit the match and go save Hanekawa and Senjougahara who is also in danger at the moment. But Araragi sends Kanbaru back to his house to find out the details as she is a faster runner than him. He faces off with First Kin and before the duel begins, he tells samurai guy that he may not be special or chosen like him, but he is himself and there can only be one. He cannot be him vice versa. As the duel begins, it might seem Araragi has already lost because First Kin has already grabbed the sword and laughing like a maniac over his soon-to-be victory. However Araragi continues to run and places Meme’s talisman on him, paralyzing him instantly. Even Gaen didn’t expect this! I don’t know what First Kin melted into but he is reduced in screaming Shinobu’s name. Before Araragi could finish him off with the sword, Shinobu jumps in. She eats him and apologizes while crying how glad she is to see him again but sad that this will be their last time as she has found someone more important and wants to be with Araragi a little longer. And thus ends First Kin, or rather, Seishirou’s 400 year suicide ritual. Anti-climatic.

Ougi is happy that Araragi’s story has connected several missing plots in the series. Especially now you know why Araragi has been missing for a great deal in Hanekawa’s Nekomonogatari (White), right? But she wonders if Shinobu has completely eaten every part of Seishirou. Araragi believes so. His armour? Not too sure… Because it is part of his bones, you can melt it down into another demon sword and ideally like Dream Span. Isn’t it why Gaen had Episode there? To collect the armour? Araragi doesn’t think so and thinks Shinobu must have eaten it at some point. Yotsugi has been eavesdropping so she asks Araragi if anybody had been happier since he is with Shinobu. None. As long as they’re together, they will impose a burden to others. She finds his excuse lame because it is like he is trying to be left alone because he won’t be happy and isn’t trying to. It is like pleading for sympathy for his own misfortune. Doing so is just negligence and it won’t do his predecessor any good. Being unhappy is only for cowards. Araragi narrates nobody is happy. Not even Shinobu. His thinking might change 400 years later but he is still happy that he has enough time to live and think till the corpses rot and turn into dust. That maybe this time would come to an end was only a matter of time as well.

Presumed Ending Not In Sight
P.E.N.I.S… Hahaha!!! Well, even if it has ended it is only as far as this season is concerned. Just another chapter of this long running series of stories has come to an end. Because by this time there have been more stories that have come out. So it was short-sighted of me to presume that this was going to be the last story in this series and that people may have gotten bored from everything despite they officially name their series with a different name and just attaching the ‘~gatari’ suffix behind. Oh well, looks like the story will keep continuing. For every door that has closed, a new door opens. For anything that has ended, there is always a new beginning. Dang. I should have seen this one coming.

Although I have to say that this season is still interesting, I have to admit that I have mixed feelings overall. And it has to do with both the story arcs. I am fascinated and drawn to the intrigue and mystery of Oikura’s story. Despite it is just a big elaborated story to find out the truth about Oikura and her mom and thus to set her free, the way the story and pacing are executed is fabulous. It was fantastic although the answers to the mystery may be just as simple and nothing mind blowing. Each unfolding drama and questions raised did well to attract my attention and had me glued to the screen. I was all ears and hungry to know what would happen next. What was the answer. I was eager to know. So that is why when her arc concluded with a seemingly average conclusion, it was not disappointing because of how well everything was paced out. And because Oikura herself looked like she had some sort of personality problem with her anger all pent up inside like as though she might blow up like a bomb anytime soon. I was waiting for the moment when that kind of hellish fury would unleash. It would have been brutal. Therefore Oikura’s story was really pretty well done in all these contexts.

However the same cannot be said for the second half, in which Shinobu is the girl in focus. Again, it is one big elaborated piece of story about Shinobu having an ego problem facing her First Kin again. Uhm, or should I just call him Seishirou? Yeah, that is basically what her arc is all about. Aside from the fact it is also a piece to connect Hanekawa’s story in the second season but that is besides the point. Unlike Oikura’s story, this one lacked the ability that made me very enthusiastic with Oikura’s one. The more the episodes drag on, the more confusing and weary it gets because there are some things that I just don’t understand. The problem is that we thought we know all about Shinobu and done about her seeing she has her very own arc in the previous season. But then again, how much do we actually know about her? And then when you have miss-know-it-all Gaen into the mix but don’t really tell it to us bluntly so as to make us think, dumb guys like me just get frustrating with all the convoluted plots and points. Even if she did relay some points, it wasn’t something that I could understand immediately. Therefore sadly, the second half to me lost some steam and it wasn’t really enjoyable watching Shinobu’s story. Maybe it was intended to end in an anti-climatic way too.

At the end of it all, I suddenly realized I had another sort of ‘disappointment’ but I only have myself to blame. Because I was assuming from the start that this series would be about the mysterious and creepy Ougi girl. Uh huh. I thought this would be her story. Sure, the first hour long episode seems to feature her name but it wasn’t anything on her. I subsequently almost forgot all about this because I was blown away by Oikura’s story but continued to be confused by Shinobu’s tale. Besides, Ougi didn’t make any appearance inside Shinobu’s story so I somewhat forgot about that too. During Oikura’s arc, it was perhaps at the back of my mind thinking that Ougi might be somewhat related to Oikura and Araragi from the way she mysteriously hints us things. But that could all be just red herring. So yeah, maybe in the future we will have a real proper story arc on her.

It made me come up with some wild theories of who this girl is besides being the niece of Meme (that itself could be a lie). Please note that I know nothing about this series, the characters and even Ougi herself as I do not read the original works and have my knowledge on this series solely on the adapted anime seasons. Sometimes it bugs me to think that Ougi might just be a figment of imagination inside Araragi’s head. Because she kept reminding Araragi (and us) that she does not know anything and that it is him who does. After throwing all the hints and asserting it is not she who knows it? Fishy indeed… Ougi could even be a personification of Araragi’s inner past, prompting him to investigate and solve an unsolved past so that he would be liberated in some way. Like as though it is to make Araragi tell us the story. He is after all the main character.

Now, you may be asking if I said Ougi was Araragi’s imaginary friend, how the heck can Hanekawa see and interact with her? Well, she doesn’t! My conspiracy theory states that Ougi is not physically there with them. Hanekawa knew about Araragi’s issue and thus she was ‘kind’ enough to play along and act as though she was really there. Crazy, right?! But remember, Hanekawa is a smart girl. She claims that she doesn’t know everything and only knows what she knows. That is like being smart, right? After all, Ougi herself could be an oddity herself seeing how creepy those eyes are and her skin is as pale as snow… Hence, wanting to know more about this Ougi girl in this season story only serves to increase the mystery of her character.

This season, they have a few opening themes. The first one only lasts for the first episode, Decent Black by Kaori Mizuhashi (the voice of Ougi) and it sounds weird even with those techno synthesizer effects. For Oikura’s arc, the second opening theme, Mathemagics by Marina Inoue (voice of Oikura) sounds dramatic with all the orchestra strings. But the creepy part is the animation in which you have mirror-like kaleidoscope effects, half or quarter of the screen popping out from the centre point making some images look creepy at certain points. I read there was another opening song by Marina Inoue, Yuudachi Houteishiki. But I learnt that this is only available if you buy the BDs. I sampled this pop rock piece and it sounds quite okay (if you’re fine with the screeching electric guitar in the background at times).

The final opening theme, Mein Schatz by Meg Rock is the most unique and amusing. It is an instrumental piece but with those Gregorian-like voices in the background, it makes this piece both creepy and interesting at the same time, especially with that horror-like animation it will sure give you some creeps. On a trivial note, this song unlike other typical themes, lasts for only a minute compared to 1.5 minutes. The only ending theme is Sayonara No Yukue by Alisa Takigawa. This tune and pace of this anime pop piece somewhat remind me of other similar Monogatari themes like the ending theme in Bakemonogatari, Kimi No Shiranai Monogatari and Sono Koe Wo Oboeteru from the second season.

I have done this in my previous Monogatari series blogs and I will do it again here because I think it is worth mentioning every time. Ah yes, the unique visuals are once again another outstanding point of this series that differentiates itself from the crowded field of other anime series. However this time round because I was somewhat engrossed in the story, I didn’t have time to pay attention to the visuals but I can assure you they are there and all those SHAFT trademarks like the eye zooming in and head tilt. Ah yes, all so familiar and yet we never get tired of it.

Overall, yet another amazing season of the Monogatari series has come and gone in just a blink of an eye. This season in particular is intended for viewers who have been constantly watching the series ever since its debut. Therefore newcomers will find it hard to connect dots and pieces of the puzzle from start to end. Because this story is just another small story from a bigger story. So if you want to really enjoy and understand this series, you have to start right from the start and then continue watching all the other side stories. Yes, it is that tortuous. But heck, it is better than watching One Piece or Naruto in this sense, right???!!! Oh yeah. At this rate they are going, maybe they will even surpass One Piece and Naruto in terms of number of episodes. Hah! Don’t say it won’t. It is crazy enough to happen and you won’t realize it because they use different names for each season/series/story and they do not run continuously. And when it happens, it will be too late to realize we have all been dancing right into their palms and been mindf*cked. It will be the end of us!

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