There is a story to be made out of everything and anything. Interesting stories and boring stories. Real stories and fictitious stories. Stories about life. Stories about death. Long stories and short stories. And so as far as this series is concerned, the stories continue. Monogatari Series Second Season as said in its title is the continuation of the mind blowing Bakemonogatari but it isn’t actually the second season of the entire anime. Lest you have forgotten about Nisemonogatari and Nekomonogatari (Kuro). This is a second season because it continues off where Araragi’s harem girls left off at the end of the first season. Not to say that the stories for these girls ended on some sort of cliff-hanger but because there is more to tell and for what is to come. Are you ready to spend the next 23 episodes listening to stories?

23 episodes? Why the odd number? Actually the entire sequel has 26 episodes. Three of them are dedicated to episode summaries in which I skipped. My reasoning is that if you really want to watch this series and understand it to its fullest, might as well go watch the entire thing instead of just watching the summaries to get an idea of what this series is about. I do not know if the summaries are narrated in a good way but I have a feeling that having a single episode of ‘the story so far’ won’t do any justice. I mean, you’re not trying to catch a flight, aren’t you? So… Do yourself a favour and watch everything right from the start till the end. Watching summaries are just for lazy people, no? :). That said, shouldn’t I be watching the summaries too just to be complete? I’m a busy person since I have got lots of animes to watch… :).

Nekomonogatari (White) – Tsubasa Tiger

Episode 1
Hanekawa is on her way to school when she chances upon Hachikuji. Seems Araragi is ‘missing’ and hasn’t come back to his home after he left last night to do ‘something important’. Hanekawa continues her way but this time she comes into an oddity. A tiger. A talking tiger. So white and crystal clear. At school, she tells this to Senjougahara but she thinks she will be better off talking to Araragi. But he’s ‘missing’, right? The girls talk about him and his personality to help others even if they don’t ask. From class, Hanekawa notices smoke from her house’s direction. Wait a minute. Her house is on fire! Homeless, Hanekawa now makes the abandoned school her temporary home. She looks comfortable sleeping in the makeshift bed of cardboards and newspapers. Till that night she is rudely awakened by Senjougahara’s slap! She was worried looking all over for her and her phone was off. And so Hanekawa is invited to stay at Senjougahara’s place for tonight since her parents are not home. Senjougahara lies that they have the flu so as to skip school. Then Senjougahara wants to take a shower with Hanekawa and assures there is no ulterior motive. They’re both girls, right? This can’t be good. But good for us? Simultaneously, they both received mail from Araragi that he can’t come home tonight either and he sounds quite serious this time. What does this mean? It means they may have to deal with the tiger themselves as Senjougahara feels it was the one responsible for burning down Hanekawa’s house. Senjougahara asks an impulsive question if Hanekawa still loves Araragi. Without hesitation, she answered yes.

Episode 2
We see some frolicking of the girls in the bathroom and some casual chat before they hit the sack. I don’t know if they’re too excited to sleep or what. Then they talk about cooking and somehow link it to Araragi. They got the idea of instead talking of thinks they like about him, let’s talk what they hate about him! As Hanekawa can’t stay in this crammed place for long, it is suggested she needs to find a place of her own to rent. While Hanekawa was asleep, her alter ego, Black Hanekawa came out to play and as we know, she is the incarnation of her master’s stress. Possibly because the house she lived in for many years burnt down to the ground. During her prowling, she came face to face with the tiger. She doesn’t care his purpose here but if the tiger plans to hurt her master, she will kill him. Of course since Hanekawa has seen him, he has no choice but to do so. There is a short fight between the oddities although Black Hanekawa tries to escape, wherever she jumps, the tiger is always there and warns her it is already too late. He has already begun. When Black Hanekawa returns home, Senjougahara sees her and she even shakes her hands despite knowing the risk of her energy being drained. She hopes Black Hanekawa can take care of Hanekawa. Come morning, Hanekawa and Senjougahara get involve in some breakfast debate regarding flavouring. What Senjougahara is trying to indicate to Hanekawa is that she accepts and tolerates everything. Because of that, she looks straight in Hanekawa’s eyes and wants her to tell her again if she really likes Araragi.

Episode 3
Senjougahara now discusses how similar but yet so different Hanekawa and Araragi. In conclusion, Hanekawa isn’t a nice person but just isn’t perceptive of the dark. In school, Hanekawa meets Kanbaru who receives a mail from Araragi who wants to see her. Why didn’t he just call her? Back at Senjougahara’s place, Hanekawa is puzzled and thought Araragi and Kanbaru are the only ones who had an oddity residing in their bodies. She didn’t realize she still had one, eh? Then the Fire Sisters come by to pick up Hanekawa. Apparently when Senjougahara met Karen in the streets, she somehow persuaded her to let Hanekawa stay at their place. The Fire Sisters are glad to have Hanekawa over and allows her to treat this place as her home. She stays in Araragi’s room, wearing his pyjamas and sleeping on his bed. In the middle of the night, Black Hanekawa emerges and talks to Shinobu hanging around in the room. I don’t really understand the unusual circumstances that made Shinobu separated from Araragi’s shadow whatsoever. Shinobu notes that Black Hanekawa may have different personalities from her master but in her eyes, humans and oddities aren’t that all different. Black Hanekawa asks about the tiger oddity but as much as she describes his traits, it doesn’t help in narrowing down the number of tiger oddities she knows. However learning that the tiger can talk makes her unsure of what it is. She finds it odd as there is no oddity she will not notice loitering in this town. And since they both saw the tiger, it could mean that only they can see it. Because Araragi is at the abandoned school to meet Kanbaru, Shinobu hopes Black Hanekawa can send her there. In just a leap, Black Hanekawa arrives at the destination but they find the place totally burnt down.

Episode 4
Hanekawa wakes up and feels something is going on while she was asleep. Looking for clues around, she finds cat hair on her bed and realizes she still transforms into her alter ego. As she leaves for school, Araragi’s mom talks to Hanekawa. It’s not that she is not welcomed here and would love to treat her as her children’s friend, they can be her host but not her family. She adds people can run away from bad things but averting their eyes from reality doesn’t count as running away. An outsider can’t interfere as long as they are fine with their current situation. On her way to school, she stumbles upon vampire hunter Mr Episode (from Kizumonogatari movie). He is here on a job so Hanekawa wonders if he exterminates tigers. I thought he is a vampire hunter? His client then appears, Izuko Gaen. She is Oshino’s senior and claims to know everything. Everything. Even what Hanekawa doesn’t know, she knows. She knows what she doesn’t know. Confused? However she cannot help Hanekawa with her tiger issue because it is her problem. Hanekawa tries to do more research on this Hystery Tiger that Gaen called but couldn’t find anything. Asking Senjougahara, she thinks Hanekawa is being manipulated by Gaen. But what Senjougahara notices is that the places Hanekawa stayed for the night burnt down after she met the tiger. But doesn’t this mean Senjougahara’s place and Araragi’s home should have also been burnt down? Hanekawa returns to the Fire Sisters’ home and in their casual chat, she learns the meaning behind their nickname, have boyfriends in which their big brother believes doesn’t exist, and that they even provide love advice in addition to fighting for justice. It makes Hanekawa realized of the word jealousy. She and Araragi may be similar in that sense as they both avert their eyes and escape from reality. Hanekawa has this feeling she may not see Araragi again and does her ‘marking’ on his belongings with the faint hope that he will remember her just a little. As she doesn’t have memories of Black Hanekawa but the latter does, she intends to write a letter to her for a final request and show her gratitude for carrying the burden of her dark sides.

Episode 5
Hanekawa is asking for help. She knows Hystery Tiger was born out of her envy when she saw her parents trying to get back together. She also laments she never told how much she loved Araragi and ended up with a broken heart. She hopes Black Hanekawa can help bring back her ‘little sister’ who loves playing with fire. Black Hanekawa reads the letter but points out it was a mistake to call them her family. For she feels like her pet cat. Though as an oddity is fated to disappear someday, she thinks there is no need for her master to pursue it and could have an adverse effect. But since she asked her to do it, Black Hanekawa confronts the tiger who is just about to burn down Senjougahara’s home. He doesn’t care and wants to burn down everything that brings him envy like his raging heart. Black Hanekawa wants to bring him home but he disagrees and doesn’t view Hanekawa as anything special. Although Black Hanekawa will let him get away for the houses he burnt down, she won’t for hurting her master. For he is going to burn down the house of her master’s friend and this will make her sad. Hystery Tiger says it’s only a coincidence he is about to burn down Senjougahara’s house. Besides, he knows she won’t be sad because he knows how she has lived her life. She’ll cut off those feelings and stay pure. Black Hanekawa calls him to come home again but the tiger attacks. She grabs onto him despite knowing it is burning her to death. Even if she knows she can’t beat him, she is doing this because her master begged her to. Black Hanekawa loses and notes everything she did was futile. Was she only able to hold him off for 10 seconds? She laments never getting the chance to confess to Araragi. Suddenly the demon sword, Heart Span fatally stabs through the tiger. It’s Araragi! He’s back after missing for 4 episodes. He dismisses her actions as futile because had she not hold the tiger long enough, he wouldn’t have made it to rescue her. He has read that letter and wants Black Hanekawa to finish the job to absorb him. She fears she will no longer be herself. Will he be okay with that? Don’t worry. He won’t treat her any different. She confesses she loves him and if he would marry her. Sorry, there is someone he loves more right now. She absorbs the tiger and reverts to herself. And then she cries her heart out. At least she knows she can be sad. Ten days later, Hanekawa doesn’t see the tiger anymore but notes she has black and white stripes for her hair. Though, she dyes it black. She rents a room of her own and remembers all this happened after she met Hachikuji. She got lost and went round in circles. But she was able to meet new people, friends and family and see different sides to herself. That’s how she became the person she is now. Her past is part of her and so is her future self.

Kabukimonogatari – Mayoi Vampire

Episode 6
Araragi is having a conversation with a junior of his school, Ougi Oshino. Weird creepy eyes she got… They talk about traffic lights and something about the world is safest when it is in danger, vice versa. This made him remember about Hachikuji’s case, the loli who died a decade ago while crossing the road. He stumbles upon Yotsugi who insists she is not lost but just asking for directions. Noticing Hachikuji’s bagpack he is carrying, seems the loli was at his place earlier in the day but forgot to take it when she left. So now he is going after her. This leads to the topic of ghosts. Yotsugi views herself and Hachikuji as dead. However Yotsugi came back alive and was reborn unlike Hachikuji who technically stayed ‘dead’ so she’s a ghost. Araragi can’t be categorized under this as he is an immortal so he has not died in that sense. Wondering about the happiness of their existence, Yotsugi hopes he can ask Hachikuji the next time he meets her. If she’s happy being a ghost. Araragi thinks a lot about this back home but Shinobu tells him just to do it instead of moping around as it will bring him nowhere. Realizing he is behind time in finishing his homework, he requests to go back in time. Shinobu might not have a time machine but she can warp time. She may have lost her powers so she uses all the energy that was gathered in the shrine to open a time warp. Surprised? Heck, oddities are in this anime so going back in time should also happen. Before they leap in, Shinobu wants Araragi to give her his wristwatch. When they arrive, Araragi thinks she screwed up because it doesn’t feel like they’ve gone through time. Don’t panic. They just went back to yesterday. It causes Araragi to bring up the topic of time paradox and meeting his own self. He fears from the way Shinobu puts it, they can’t go back to the future. She couldn’t even answer back and needs a full 5 minutes to think of an answer. It takes less energy to go back to the future since you’re not going against the flow of time, so going back will be easy. Sci-fi… As they make their way, they stumble upon a group of girls and he asks for today’s date. It wasn’t yesterday but 11 years ago from today!

Episode 7
Shinobu says that all she needs to do is drink his blood to power up and she can open a portal to go back home. But first, Araragi wants to save Hachikuji. There is a reason why they are thrown back 11 years and 3 months back in time, right? Because tomorrow is Mother’s Day, the day Hachikuji dies in an accident and became an oddity. Araragi too thought of saving Senjougahara and her family’s problem but realized that it is too deep for them to solve. Same case for the other girls. As said by Oshino, saving others is impossible. Only they can save themselves. Shinobu warns saving Hachikuji may be futile and just delaying the inevitable. She might get killed in an accident a day or two later. He doesn’t mind. So long as she gets to meet her mother, Tsunade and not turn into an oddity. Even if this means changing the future that they will never meet. But where are they going to find Tsunade’s place? They see loli Hanekawa and this pervert Araragi starts chasing after her!!! WTF?! Shinobu reminds him to restrain himself or he will be thrown into prison and can’t save Hachikuji. So while doing his best holding himself back, he asks loli Hanekawa for directions. Then they wait outside Hachikuji’s place so they can stop her next morning. But when that time comes, it seems they have been waiting forever. Hachikuji’s father approaches them to ask if they have seen his daughter. Seems she has run away from home and left a note. Judging from it, she has left since 5am! Instantly Araragi starts rushing to find her. Is this destiny interfering? Will she really die today? They find her at the park. Seems she didn’t get far despite starting out early is because she is lost. I don’t know what’s going on in lolicon Araragi’s mind because he flips her skirt! Hachikuji is scared sh*t and bolts. Because of that she runs across the road without looking! HOLY SH*T! Incoming truck! ARARAGI, DAMN YOU ARE THE CAUSE OF HER DEATH???!!! Luckily he was swift enough to push her away. So she lives. She is thankful for him as he plays the decent hero who came to save her (liar!). He guides her to Tsunade’s place and everything ends well. When it’s time to go home, it seems the shrine is in an even more devastating state than in the future. Shinobu doesn’t need to drink his blood as this place is full of spiritual energy. This place is clearly a den for oddities and pone to gather spiritual energy even way before. But it’s a good thing since Shinobu doesn’t have to turn into a full vampire or she will betray him. She is docile because she lost her powers. They leap into the portal and from what Araragi narrates the future changed. The world is destroyed.

Episode 8
Checking out the entire town thoroughly, it is confirmed that the world is indeed destroyed and everyone he knows is missing. Based on the last published newspaper 2 months ago, it seems the world didn’t end gradually but fell in one big swoop. Shinobu feels uneasy as her memories of the timeline start to come back. They think of going back in time to find the cause and restore history but at the shrine, a different talisman from Oshino is there. Instead of spiritual energy gathering, this one absorbs so when Araragi touches it, he is blast away. Suddenly they are surrounded by… Zombies?! They can’t get close thanks to the talisman but Shinobu takes Araragi to escape by jumping high into the sky. To their horror, they see the entire town crawling with zombies! Araragi laments this is his fault but Shinobu disagrees. It is hers. Those aren’t zombies but remains of what used to be vampires! They maintain their altitude in the sky and waited till sunrise when those vampires return to the darkness before landing. Shinobu has Araragi remember that important day of June 14 in the original timeline. A lot of things happened. Black Hanekawa went berserk and Oshino left. But the biggest one was Shinobu ran away. Although it was solved in the original timeline when Araragi came to fetch her at the donut shop, what if he didn’t make it in this timeline? Because if Araragi didn’t come to pick her, originally she felt she wanted to destroy the world. Hachikuji was the first girl who spotted her who got lost. But in this timeline, because Hachikuji never became an oddity, Araragi never met her and might have been killed by Black Hanekawa. As Araragi and Shinobu bonded since spring, if one of them dies, the other would be freed. This means Shinobu returning to her cold blooded powerful vampire self. She bit some people and turned them into vampire servants and they in turn bit other people till everyone became infected. Yeah. The world destroyed by vampires. As the only way to become human again is to kill the vampire master, Shinobu thinks she is dead in this timeline by suicide. Thus her death didn’t revert them back to humans but became walking corpses instead. Shinobu feels sorry for destroying his world but Araragi doesn’t want her to feel that way. For the next few days, they gather supplies and shoot-cum-play fireworks in hopes that this will attract other survivors. But they attract those vampires instead…

Episode 9
The vampires are scared away by scattered rice. Thanks to this pretty survivalist babe who saved their skin. Who is she? Hachikuji! She confirms there are lots of survivors but she is the only one in this area. She also somewhat knows him thanks to a guy named Oshino. She is to pass a letter to him. From what I can understand written in it, Oshino’s explanation of the parallel world, Shinobu of this world is still alive and because her suicide failed, it created lots of imperfect zombies. He and his friends are on a futile journey to launch a final attack and wants Araragi to save the world and the girl before him. Hachikuji wonders if they want to follow her but Araragi declines. She is being kind because a stranger once saved her when she was young. As they leave, she wonders if she has seen him before. Nope. Just a passer-by. Araragi and Shinobu talk about their next action, which isn’t entirely saving the world but add their own twist to save this world and girl even if it means they both will die. Inseparable in life, inseparable in death. At the shrine, Shinobu gives out a loud shriek that attracts her other grown self, whom I will identify as Kiss Shot (some long ass name which is her real name). Shinobu can see her trying to burn herself but failed. Kiss Shot laughs like mad upon knowing there is another future possibility like Shinobu exists. She can’t believe the world was ruined by her pathetic jealousy. Shinobu doesn’t think the difference between them should be this great, so where did she go wrong? How would she know? How did Shinobu succeed then? Kiss Shot hints of sucking her blood to get the needed energy to return to their timeline. This might kill her but heck, she is already half dead. Once Shinobu bites her neck, the next thing Araragi opens his eyes, he is back in his normal timeline. Shinobu returns to his shadow, warning him to take extra care of his life. We all now know what happens to the world if he dies, right? Suddenly Hachikuji tackles Araragi. Tosses him, hugs him, touches him and licks him! Feels like revenge after all the harassment he did. Did Araragi return to the wrong world? Nope. She was running around looking for her backpack and thought she could get it back before he looked inside. He asks if she wants to come back alive. Never. She’ll die one day, right? Even if she became a ghost and couldn’t meet her mom, it is because of this she got to meet him. So if you look at it on the whole, she is happy.

Otorimonogatari – Nadeko Medusa

Episode 10
Sengoku is telling us her biodata and favourites. Hmm… Favourite big brother and person she loves? Araragi. But of course. We see a white snake talking her down and that she is the one who hurt Araragi. Despite he has regenerative abilities as a vampire, he is not healing. Shinobu notes Sengoku has become an oddity and is no longer the person Araragi knows. They both agree to take her down but Sengoku with Medusa-like hair attacks back. Shinobu is defeated and Araragi pierced through his heart. How did it end up like that? We go back in time when Sengoku met the snake. One day, Ougi almost crashed into her on a bicycle. She introduces herself and knows who Sengoku is. She is Oshino’s niece and heard about him talked about her. She talks about being the victim in which she believes Sengoku has been playing one. Sengoku had no reactions to what she said. In school, Sengoku narrates about the incident Kaiki’s scam of swindling students by selling fake charms that caused her life come crashing down. Because from time to time she is seeing visions of that snake, she calls Araragi about it. He thinks of waiting till night fall to meet so that they can get Shinobu’s expertise on this. After putting the phone down, she sees another snake vision but this time the snake also talks to her, accusing her of playing the victim and not knowing how many lives she has trampled. He wants her to come see him at the shrine. Sengoku sees lots of dead mutilated snakes there and is told this was her doing. If she wants to atone for her sins, look at him. Once Sengoku looks at the giant white snake, this means she has become his partner. Sengoku is scared so the snake tones down and rephrases himself that if she has regret killing his fellow snakes, please help him out on a little favour. Although Sengoku knew what this will get her into, she still accepted it because no matter what she does, the destiny of her killing Araragi won’t change.

Episode 11
Sengoku lies to Araragi that the oddity is gone. Of course the snake is still around and he wants her to find his corpse. It would have been easier if he knew where, when, how, etc. Yeah. Snakey doesn’t know anything. Although Sengoku continues with her normal life, the snake hangs around her like a scrunchie and continues to talk. The snake learns she is a class rep and more like she was forced to be one and all the problems shoved onto her since she was the only one in class who didn’t get involved with the charms. Late that night, Sengoku sneaks out of home to go find the snake corpse. It’s like a needle in a haystack and the only clue they have is when his body tingles like a spider sense if his corpse is nearby. Well Sengoku, you’re in luck. It might be underneath the sandbox in the park. She digs many holes but none. Then snakey says it might be a false alarm. WHAT?! She’s too tired to continue searching but she has the energy to make a sand castle? That’s when Araragi found her. Seems her parents realized she was missing and called Tsukihi. Araragi happened to eavesdrop and didn’t want Sengoku to go ‘extinct’ and rushed out to find her. Back in his room, she is trying to hide that she still has the oddity while Araragi tries to persuade her to talk about her problems because he is willing to listen. But since it’s late, he suggests she sleeps over here. Sengoku tries to avoid reaching that conclusion about sleep but Araragi already hints his bed is big enough to fit both of them! Shouldn’t somebody suggest she sleeps with one of his sisters? Anyway Shinobu suddenly pops out from his shadow and knocks him out via Vampire Punch! Shinobu lectures her about her habit of staying silent and that she may be privileged. Because by staying silent, it makes people feel sympathize for her. It makes people act nice towards her. It makes people think she’s smart. Sengoku seems like running scared although she thinks she is being discriminated. Because of this, Shinobu thinks she is more of a monster than an oddity. But she couldn’t care less about it so she should go live her life like this, die like this and make Araragi worry about her for the rest of her life.

Episode 12
Next morning, we have Sengoku and Tsukihi talking. Sengoku is trying to paint herself as someone uncute. Because Tsukihi is pressuring her with her deadly aura (or something like that), it makes Sengoku admit that she loves Araragi and wants to do all sorts of things with him. But she does realize he already has a girlfriend, right? What proceeds next is a girl to girl talk but from what I see it’s like Tsukihi dominating and pointing out the flaws in Sengoku’s perception about her love for Araragi. Since Tsukihi has become tired of Sengoku’s behaviour, she is going to end it. She cuts her bangs. So Sengoku becomes a little traumatic. She doesn’t really remember what happened. The snake can make her bangs return provided if she finds his corpse. She may find it tonight because after Araragi took care of her, he has an idea where it is. The teacher didn’t recognize Sengoku without her bangs! He asks about the progress of the work she was left entrusted with. Normally Sengoku would just stand there quietly and say nothing. For some reason, she suddenly snapped! She’s telling the teacher to f*ck off!!!!! Nothing was done! Is this really the Sengoku we know???!!! She’s really mad! She’s really upset! She’s really talking back with her maximum volume! Then she goes to her class and gives them a good f*cking lecture about being depressed and get over it! Oh, she hates them all too! To nail her point, she destroys some furniture. Take that! Now you guys understand? How is that for Sengoku? Later, the snake explains that he didn’t take over her body and screamed her head off. It’s because they have been together for so long, it’s like her shackles she normally put on came off. Sengoku wants to put an end to everything and find the corpse. It is in Araragi’s house. How did it end up there? Somebody must have found it first and entrusted it to Araragi. Most probably it’s that Oshino guy. While searching through his room, Sengoku discovers a drawer full of porn magazines and is more interested to see what kind of woman he likes! Hey, maybe the corpse is hidden somewhere in the pages. Yeah, right. Suddenly a talisman falls out and the snake recognizes it as his body. Seems it was preserved in this form. He wants to eat it and with his powers returned, he can grant her wish. Is there any wish she would like a god to grant? Yeah. She wishes her love for Araragi will be requited. But Araragi says that won’t happen.

Episode 13
He is trying to tell her to put the talisman down but Sengoku panics. Shinobu doesn’t want Araragi to go easy or feel pity for her. Sengoku begs for the snake to come to her defence but it is just staying there quiet like a real scrunchie. She did the unthinkable by eating the talisman! She turns into Medusa and stabs them both. Araragi goes to save Shinobu and this got Sengoku mad like hell. In a stabbing spree (I thought it looked comical), Sengoku is pissed he went to save the vampire instead of her. Because she loves him, you know. Ah, there’s a word for that. It’s called yandere! And so this is how the story came to be. Back to Sengoku killing the duo at the shrine what follows next is a conversation between Sengoku and the snake. It seems Sengoku has only herself to blame for everything because from the start till now, everything was just a fabrication of her mind. She cooked up stories and excuses that led to this. Amazing delusions. She couldn’t remember them because she somehow forgot them. It all begin (or ended depending on how you view it) when she met Ougi, she was pointed out how she visited the shrine often (something about Sengoku being jealous that Araragi had a girlfriend so she started praying to God). Ougi mentions that shrine is dead and has no God unless she can get back its body in which is in Araragi’s possession. As thanks for listening to her, Ougi gave Sengoku a scrunchie. That spurred Sengoku to fabricate stories to the point she could hear the voice of God to revive him. Whenever Shinobu throws comments to her (like being able to switch easily between victim and aggressor), Sengoku shuts her up by stabbing her multiple times. She has gone crazy enough to think that having Araragi die would be more romantic since if he lives he’ll get more girlfriends and heartbreaks. Yeah, she’s going to kill him. But he is saved when his handphone rings. Sengoku picks up on his behalf and it’s from Senjougahara. Looks like she called in time to find out he is still living. She tries to make a deal to spare Araragi and Shinobu and kill her instead. No deal. She’ll kill them all. Fine. But Senjougahara warns her of the order of killing because if she kills the Araragi before the vampire, the link will be cut and she’ll be more powerful. Also, it will make Senjougahara mad and she’ll kill everyone. So this is the suggested killing order : Senjougahara -> Shinobu -> Araragi. However in return, she hopes she can wait 6 months before killing them. Why? Graduation. So fast forward 6 months later, we see the trio confronting Shinobu but she killed them off so easily and stuffed Araragi’s body in the donation box. Is this a joke?!

Onimonogatari – Shinobu Time

Episode 14
This takes place after Araragi returned from the time slip to alter Hachikuji’s past. Here he is with her to go retrieve her backpack since without it, she doesn’t look in character. Suddenly they see an evil darkness and in that instant they dash and escape on his bicycle like their lives depended on it. I feel like Araragi is having an ulterior motive when he tells her to wrap around him for balance but yet doesn’t want her to toss away her backpack. The darkness is catching up, you know. Eventually they are thrown off the bicycle as the darkness swallows it but thankfully Yotsugi was there to save them. Without making any drastic moves to make the darkness launch any sudden attack, Yotsugi then makes a huge jump with them to escape. With Hachikuji out and recuperating back at the abandoned school, Araragi and Yotsugi talk. Araragi thinks of waiting for night fall so that Shinobu can appear and analyze this oddity because even if she doesn’t know what it is, her role as the king of oddities means she can just devour it. Also on the agenda is that Yotsugi’s sister, Kagenui is not around and Yotsugi’s dismay that Araragi depends on so many people. So when she is about to leave, he is surprised she isn’t going to stay here and keep him safe forever. Dream on. To repay the favour for saving him, she kisses him!!! How is that for repayment? Heck, it isn’t. That is just another favour he racked up. How is it like to feel to be in debt? After she leaves, he becomes a monster trying to do something impure to Hachikuji! Thankfully Shinobu pops out to beat him up. Vampire Punch! We know she is showing a tantrum when she mentions she saw him kissing another girl. How will he get out of this one? She’s trying to act all dominant (or jealous perhaps) when he suddenly kisses her!!! Didn’t see that coming, didn’t she? Now that she is all ears, he explains what happened. She replies that darkness isn’t an oddity but a phenomenon without a name. She did encounter it 400 years ago, the last time she was in this country and made her first servant. She got swallowed by it. Now that it has popped up again, worst case scenario means this town can be destroyed entirely.

Episode 15
It starts when Shinobu jumped from Antarctica and landed in a lake in Japan. The locals thought she was a reincarnation of some water God. She was treated like one and she lived a happily with her own palace under the lake. One day, she met this guy who carried a sword, Heart Span and he is more of an oddity slayer. Although they did fight once, he never hunted her down for her status was a God so he dare not challenge that. He also had a shorter sword, Dream Span which is used to restore oddities unlike Heart Span which kills them. But a big problem soon arose and it was due to Shinobu staying in a place too long. She attracted other oddities which bring negative element but never realized they gathered. Then slowly one by one, the villagers disappeared like as though they’ve been spirited away. Even odd, there was no negative energy in the vicinity which made it more eerie than the disappearances. Didn’t give it much thought, she went to sleep but was rudely awakened by the oddity slayer as his subordinates start to disappear mysteriously too. They searched around but found nothing. That’s when they saw the darkness. It swallowed them but Shinobu was able to escape with 1/4 of her body and jumped to Antarctica where she stayed there for centuries. Although the oddity slayer was swallowed first, only his hand that was reached out clung to Shinobu’s wrist when she jumped. As time passed, she felt lonely and decide to revive this hand and make him her first servant by biting it and drinking his blood. However he committed suicide. He was furious when he learnt she was a vampire and that she had been deceiving everyone she was a God. He blamed her for everything that has happened including the darkness before he jumped out into the sunlight and burnt himself into ashes. As a memento, a replica of Heart Span which was made out of his flesh and bones was given to her. She thinks he made it to slay her one day. Since then, she resolved never to simply make servants and drink blood only for nourishment.

Episode 16
They need to do something to counter the darkness or else everyone in this town will be devoured. That’s when Yotsugi pops up to give her differing views. Could have descended into a catfight and they force him to answer which of the girls he likes best. When Hachikuji comes to, Araragi becomes so happy, he starts harassing her. And then the girls bite him. Anyway, Yotsugi’s reasoning is that the darkness is not an oddity but something else, the reason why the oddity slayer and Shinobu couldn’t deal with it as it is operating on a different set of rules. She suggests asking Gaen since she knows everything. Suddenly the darkness is here. Lots of them! Araragi grabs onto Hachikuji and has Yotsugi jump away. They are safe in the mountains (for now – Araragi has been out for 12 hours!) and they need to at least contact Kagenui. But they notice something odd. It is night time and Shinobu isn’t out yet. Araragi thinks she hates Yotsugi and suggests to kiss since that excitement would bring her out. Too bad Hachikuji had to ruin that moment. No, she doesn’t want his kiss. She thinks Shinobu is not in his shadow and Yotsugi checks and ascertains that. Hachikuji mentions she saw Shinobu being swallowed by the darkness. However she is still alive because Araragi is still a vampire although very much weakened as their link is disconnected. Furthermore, if Shinobu had died, he would have returned to being a human and cannot see Hachikuji as she is an oddity. Araragi feels guilty that he left Shinobu back there but there is no use beating himself up as they need to regroup with Shinobu. They have to walk down the mountains to get a decent signal and Yotsugi can’t use her super jump anymore since in Araragi’s weakened state, it might kill him. Once they get down, Araragi sends a message to Kagenui and the rest of the other girls. No response. While carrying on their walking, they talk about Occult Research Club that Gaen was a member of and knows Oshino and Kaiki. Araragi knocks the door of somebody’s house to request for food. But what do you know? It’s Gaen at the doorstep. She really knows everything, does she?

Episode 17
Gaen seems like boasting when she explains she knows everything (Kagenui is in a tough job, the reason she didn’t bother to reply). Before she helps them out with information, she wants Araragi to do 3 requests: 1) Introduce Gaen to Kanbaru. Although Kanbaru is her niece, their relationship is complicated and she doesn’t want to be introduced as her aunt; 2) She sent Yotsugi out on a job but since she wasn’t able to complete it (because she got involved with Araragi) once this case is closed, help her finish up that job; 3) Ask Kanbaru to help her out. Since Shinobu’s safety is utmost important to him, he’ll do 100 jobs. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Gaen tells them to stay here and not go home as this is the safest place. Because Shinobu is not the target of the darkness but Hachikuji. Explaining the darkness as something non-existent, it cannot be defeated, killed or eaten and it is some sort of law that goes after oddities that have gone down the wrong path. 400 years ago, Shinobu was targeted because she pretended to be God. Although it was part of the people’s misconception, she didn’t clear up the misunderstanding and that basically is like lying. So when she jumped to Antarctica and returned to her vampire ways, that’s why the darkness did not follow her. Now the question is, what is Hachikuji lying about? She is supposed to be dead, right? Instead, she is still wandering on this planet. But that is not the issue. As an oddity of a lost cow, she is supposed to make people lost. Ever since meeting Araragi, she has not done her job of making him lost. Araragi believes she did not lie to him. Perhaps. She was likely lying to herself then. Even now, when they escaped the darkness and ended up in some mountain, they are technically lost, right? That’s why the darkness didn’t go after them. So if they return home, that is where the problem begins. Is there any way to defeat it? Gaen says it is simple. Just play by the rules.

After Gaen leaves, Araragi and Hachikuji had one long talk like as though it is going to be their final. Hachikuji believes she should disappear to solve this but Araragi won’t accept this. She is being cool accepting her fate while Araragi is like a child trying desperately to think a way out of this. She is even staying positive that she isn’t disappearing but ‘going home’. Albeit technically it means the same thing. So desperate Araragi had become that he thinks he will spend the rest of his life getting lost with her! Hachikuji rejects that because what will the implications be on the other girls? She doesn’t want him to waste his remaining years on someone who is already dead. She is happy that the 3 months spent with him made up for the 11 years she spent wandering alone. As a parting gift, Hachikuji kisses him on the lips and confesses she loves him. It would have been a heart wrenching and romantic farewell scene if not for Yotsugi who looks so comical trying to support Hachikuji sitting on her shoulders so she could reach Araragi’s lips. 4 months later, Araragi narrates his story to Ougi. Hachikuji has passed on and he did all the requests that Gaen asked of him. Ougi notes he made the right decision because it is better for her to pass on herself instead of getting eaten by the darkness. Despite Shinobu back in his shadows, he is still depressed. He doesn’t want to let the other girls know Hachikuji is gone for good and wants to pretend she is still around. Sure he isn’t having sentiments of her and not wanting to let her go? Araragi finally realizes the thing he forgot to say to Hachikuji before she left: Goodbye. Glad to have met you.

Koimonogatari – Hitagi End

Episode 18
This is the love story as narrated by the swindler Kaiki. Mixed with truths and lies, choose to believe at your own risk! When he is at the shrine on New Year’s Day, he gets a call from Senjougahara to meet him because there is somebody she wants to deceive (Araragi doesn’t know about this meeting). He tries to worm his way out with lies but eventually has to go with it or else she will kill him! Don’t want to mess with this woman. They meet at a café at the Okinawa airport. The person she wants deceived is Sengoku. It seems that Senjougahara and Araragi are to be killed by her on graduation day so she wants him to deceive her to save them as well as that blonde loli slave of his. For Sengoku has become some sort of a god and no longer human. Kaiki doesn’t exactly know who Sengoku is but as she points out, she is an indirect victim of his scam. Of course Kaiki can do it and save them (although he feels odd that his hated rivals are asking help to save them) but whether he will do it is another matter. But what does he stand to benefit from? Besides, he only deceives people of their money. Senjougahara is willing to pay him but he doesn’t believe the amount she offers would be enough. Go ask Oshino and pay him the same amount. She would have but is nowhere to be found. She is willing to pay him upfront and the balance later since there are enough days to make that money. In the event if it’s not enough, she is willing to sell her body. He splashes his coffee in her face. I guess she is that desperate. In the toilet, he does a thorough thinking why he should accept this job. Whether it is for atonement or as a favour or desire to make up, he will still be at a loss. So a big no. Then he remembers Kanbaru. She is Senjougahara’s friend and the first time he met Araragi was in front of her home. There might be a link between them. So could the reason to save them if it’s to help Kanbaru? To deceive Sengoku for her? The answer is yes.

Episode 19
Kaiki accepts the job and Senjougahara pays him what she got. He doesn’t need more because the amount he demands won’t be enough for her even if she sells her body. He tries to find out the history between them and Sengoku and the wrath incurred. Senjougahara gives him permission to return to town (he was banished the last time). She will frequently keep in touch with him and warns she still doesn’t trust him. Fine. Being suspicious is better than trust. Oh, she needs some advance money for the plane home. When he gets back, he visits Sengoku’s home under the pretence that he is one of Sengoku’s missing classmate friends and her parents let her in. He tries to learn more about her but it seems her parents know nothing. At least not the dark side he wants to know. He gets permission to look into her room. All nice, tidy and clean that it’s just creepy. He looks through a photo album containing pictures of her. Cute and pretty. So much so it looks so forced and fake. He wants to open a closet but the parents advise him not to as told by their daughter. He finds it odd that their daughter is missing and yet they kept her room clean and obeyed her orders not to touch her closet. He calls Senjougahara to find out more and learns she hasn’t even met Sengoku in person. He is amazed she is still sane in this incomprehensible situation but seeking his help could mean she already has lost her mind. He then goes to the shrine to try and talk to her. Maybe this could solve it. In an instant, Sengoku bursts out happily to greet him. Was it his 10,000 Yen bill as donation? He made the mistake of telling his name since she should know the person who deceived her classmates. However she doesn’t remember. He concludes she forgets things that are impossible to forget while remembering stuffs that don’t matter. Sengoku shows the true meaning of yandere as she mentions she is looking forward to March so she can kill the person she loves! Yeah. She loves him so much that she wants to murder him. She prefers being god instead of turning back into a human who would be guaranteed of Araragi’s love because being unrequited forever is much better. Kaiki plays along but felt pity and couldn’t shoot her down. She is worried there are no visitors. At first there were but soon there were none. He is the first in a long time. He notes because of her creepiness and scary hair. Surprise, she is happy! Because people always say how cute she is, etc. He concludes that word doesn’t compliment her and in fact placed lots of restrictions. That is why insults bring her joy. Masochist? He wants to leave but she insists he stay and talk or she’ll feel lonely. He gives her a string to play cat’s cradle and promises by the time she masters it, he’ll be back. After all, he is her first believer and would never lie. Yeah. You better believe it!

Episode 20
Kaiki calls Senjougahara to talk. She is surprised that he actually met Sengoku in person. He admits he felt pity for her but now it doesn’t matter because it seems she is having fun. He assures deceiving her is easy because she is an idiot. Although not so easy that Senjougahara can do it herself. His plan is to visit the shrine and talk to her till he wins her trust and then tell her Senjougahara and Araragi’s death in a car accident. He is confident she won’t check it up because of her pampered and spoilt life that makes her unable to expect people to deceive or lie to her. As she is unable to believe in people, she will have no reason to doubt her. The issue now is to tell Araragi that this problem is solved. Senjougahara will handle this and will convince him to give up Sengoku. Kaiki agrees and adds she should become an annoying woman make him choose between them. She excuses herself to the toilet and when she comes back, Kaiki could see her eyes red like the aftermath of crying her heart out. In a shaky voice, she thanks him. Kaiki gets to work by learning cat’s cradle. He is visited by Yotsugi to relay a message by Gaen. He doesn’t want to hear it but she proceeds anyway. She wants him to back off as the town’s irregularities have been stabilized and doesn’t want him to mess it up. Something about Sengoku wasn’t supposed to be God but Shinobu. Due to someone intervention, this happened and Gaen is trying to fix it by having Shinobu be that role as she thinks she fits it very much. If he refuses to back off, she will sever all ties. Kaiki starts thinking. Senjougahara’s rare gratitude and his relationship with Gaen at stake. Not to mention the 3 million Yen sum too. He agrees to back off but that was just a lie. After taking the money, he visits the shrine. Probably the huge donated amount led Sengoku to barge out and welcome him. He mentions he wants a wish to make his business prosper and will visit the shrine 100 times (98 more to be exact). He will let her know the details slowly. No rush. He wants her to show the cat’s cradle. After practising so much, his string snapped so she used her snake! He is amazed that she is not only an idiot but also insane. On his way back, he could feel somebody tailing him. Most probably Gaen’s subordinate but didn’t attack. However this isn’t his concern. He calls Sengoku’s parents on pretence he has a clue that could lead to his missing daughter and wants to meet. Once they leave the house, Kaiki sneaks in to take a look into the forbidden closet. Boy, he looks surprised.

Episode 21
Back in his hotel, he calls Senjougahara if she, Araragi or any other people who may be involved in this got some sort of a warning note to stay out. Because he got one. She doesn’t think so but the most she remembers Hanekawa got was just a caution although it did not force her to do anything. Same thing for Kaiki. He thinks Gaen fears he would fail in the sense of the aftermath if he fails to deceive Sengoku. He also lets her know about the money he received from her. So the question was how someone was able to sneak into his room and left a note to stay out. Simple. Anybody could have just slipped it under his door. Senjougahara wants to look at it thinking she can recognize the handwriting but Kaiki has torn it and flushed it down the toilet. She wonders if he really intends to go see her every day 100 times. Not really. He’ll see her every day till the end of January. You know the cost of each visit, right? Yeah, it’s like visiting a cabaret. To him Sengoku is an idiot but because Senjougahara has never met her, she finds her dangerous and thinks it is not a good idea for him to visit her so often. The next time he visits her, he wonders what happens if he doubles the donation. Here comes happy Sengoku but clumsy! She couldn’t believe the amount doubled. Did he make a mistake? Is it for tomorrow’s share? He gives her sake and new strings for her cat’s cradle. Yeah, she can occupy herself while waiting to kill Araragi. Yeah, killing time, isn’t she? On his way out, Hanekawa meets him. Wasn’t she supposed to be overseas looking for Oshino? So did Senjougahara lie? Not exactly. It was her part that she wanted to believe Hanekawa is overseas. This trick would also serve as a camouflage against Sengoku to make her think she was on a wild goose chase. Though, she still will be going overseas. However this trick has also made Senjougahara move easier and contact Kaiki. In the hotel she resides, Kaiki wants to know if really wants to save Senjougahara and Araragi. Of course. Perhaps the more accurate way to put it is she doesn’t want them to die and doesn’t care who saves them. He is curious that she doesn’t ask him any questions. Isn’t she suspicious and asks stuffs like why he accepted this job, if he is going to betray them or complete this job? She won’t. It’s like she knows everything, huh? Uh huh. She knows what she knows. Putting this aside, Kaiki suggests they exchange information.

Episode 22
With Hanekawa’s explanation, Kaiki has a much better understanding of the situation. He has her describe Sengoku. One of them being her world was closed and she won’t let anybody in. Not even Oshino’s. Despite saying she loves Araragi, Hanekawa feels she doesn’t actually love anyone. She wonders if he can deceive her. Of course he can. As for Hanekawa wish to save her, she can do that after he deceives her. She asks about the closet in Sengoku’s room but Kaiki lies that he doesn’t know about it. Kaiki continues to visit the shrine and teach Sengoku cat’s cradle. He even brings her more sake that she now loves. Also, he visits the abandoned cram school that is reduced to a rubble. He met an old friend, Rouka Numachi and thought doing this may be beneficial in the future. Like, getting to know Kanbaru. Once the month becomes February, Senjougahara calls Kaiki. Today is the day he will play out his deception. Once he is done with it, she is to make sure Araragi doesn’t come near the shrine and ruin everything. He asks what she sees in Araragi that makes her like him. At least he is not like him. It is because Araragi is for who he is. Senjougahara makes one last assurance if he can pull off this job. He sounds so confident that it’s like counting his chickens. She then reminds him once this is over, he is never to set foot in this town ever again. As long as he lives, she will always hate and never forgive him. At the train station, Yotsugi comes to talk to him. Seems Gaen has severed ties with him and she thinks the 3 million amount was cheap for him to go up against her. He is confident all he has to do is to deceive but Yotsugi thinks he has experienced this sort of failure before. Like how he stopped a cult that Senjougahara’s mom was in. Although this only made her join a bigger cult. She continues the things he did for Senjougahara may seem like it was for her but he failed to realize her feelings for her mom then. Gaen is worried about his failure and he might do something that is unlike himself. That’s why she knows he will fail this time too. At least that is what Gaen thinks. He goes visit Sengoku and she wants to know what his wish is so she can make it true. But he tells her about the dangers of telling it to others and the reason why wishes won’t come true. Noting that she has taken the bait, he continues this is the reason why her wish of killing Araragi won’t come true. Because she has said it out loud in words every day, now she will never get it fulfilled since he has come to relay the bad news to her today. Araragi and Senjougahara were killed in an accident last night. Sengoku just smiles and wonders if Kaiki is just trying to deceive her.

Episode 23
The fact she can see through his lies so easily means she hadn’t placed any trust in him and he had no chance of deceiving her in the first place. She surrounds the entire shrine with snakes and calls everyone a liar. Kaiki calls her a bigger liar since she can’t grant wish and under a mistaken impression that she’s special just because she is a god. She explains her own twisted version of loving and hating herself while Kaiki tells of this one woman he knows who rejected any sort of salvation from God or happiness. This has Sengoku blaming Ougi as the one for letting this happen to her. It made Kaiki wondered how she knew the location of ‘god’s core’ that Gaen had entrusted Araragi with. Did somebody turn her into a god or lead her there? Was there someone else trying to deceiver her? Sengoku continues to blame Araragi shouldn’t have deceived her. As penalty, she is going to kill everyone else close to him like his harem girls and sisters. When Kaiki says she didn’t want to be god but a manga artist, this causes her to scream in embarrassment and start beating him up with her weak punches and kicks. He opened her closet to see all the manga she had drawn. He comments on her pretty drawing, good story and some explicit content. So killing him won’t do her any good because sooner or later her parents are going to open it and find out. So she can stop being a god and turn back into a human, go back and destroy them. She still won’t quit for that silly reason. Kaiki spoke to everyone and the fact they don’t know this hobby of hers shows how much she kept it a secret. He thinks it is her real dream. Although she is now a happy god, it’s not like she wanted to become one. Besides, what is she going to do after killing Araragi? Sengoku calls her manga as embarrassing doodles and didn’t throw them away because she was too ashamed. Kaiki doesn’t want to deride her own creations. Becoming a manga artist isn’t possible by just having desires but not having them definitely can’t make her become one. In fact being god prevents her being so and she must be human to do so. He talks about his love for money and Senjougahara who has taken the tiresome role of being Araragi’s girlfriend. So take all that donation money and buy proper drawing tools.

She doesn’t want him to talk like he knows everything. She is right. Only she herself knows her own true value. Only she can make her dreams come true. They are after all humans. They can start over again from scratch. She never thought of becoming a manga artist or god but there was a manga artist people called “God”. He thinks she can pull it off so Sengoku lets him deceive her. By that time Araragi comes by the shrine (again, another late entrance) and is shocked to see what Kaiki is doing to her. He covers up that he is sent by Gaen to do a job not as a scammer but a ghostbuster to exorcise Sengoku. He reaches into her throat and takes out the talisman, turning Sengoku into human once more. He passes it back to Araragi. He doesn’t want him to ever associate with her again because she will grow weaker. There is nothing he can do. Love can make somebody strong like in the case of Senjougahara but in Sengoku’s case, it was the total opposite. Whether she will be happy or not he isn’t sure. It’s not like being happy is a human’s only goal. Even if she doesn’t, she can at least become what she wants. Good things will eventually come as long as she is alive. Kaiki leaves and calls Senjougahara that his job is done. Now he’ll be getting out of town. He ponders the note that was sent to him was by Senjougahara. For who contacted him to take up a job and only telling him to back off was because she knows his personality well. His character makes him lose the desire to back off when told to do so. He also wonders how much of this was part of Gaen’s plan. He may even be strung along by her. Even more mind boggling is the no-show of Oshino. At such a crucial moment, he is nowhere to be seen. What is he up to? Suddenly somebody bludgeons Kaiki’s head. He lies motionless in the snow. It is one those middle schoolers he deceived as she blames him for coming back to this town and that Ougi was right. He thinks this kid might be the root of everything and the one who put a curse on Sengoku. Was it this person who was tailing him? Can’t think. Losing blood fast. Anyway he is glad to make some pocket change right at the end.

Mayoimonogatari – Ming Blur
If you’re wondering why Kanbaru is left out from this season, it is because she will be getting her own special feature called Hanamonogatari much later. Just like how Hanekawa got hers with Nekomonogatari (Kuro), right? Other than that, this season is still interesting but the only problem that I have is that the drama added to the stories. It is like expanding the story to a point where there are many instances that I just couldn’t understand what was going on. I know I didn’t read the original works but it feels like sometimes it makes me wonder if all of those are relevant or not. Sure, there are some diversions in the topic during the conversations and it is most welcomed to take away the ‘pressure’ from trying to understand what is going on (at least for a dumb guy like me). So if you ask me what is happening in detail, I would be in a very blur zone. But generally, I think I have an idea of what is going on. I think.

So okay, as far as this season is concerned, everything was still okay and the stories are pretty much fascinating in its own right except that I have said the added plots and long-winded conversations were a turn down for me as I couldn’t really comprehend and piece things together. I couldn’t be bothered re-reading my previous blogs again because it was already confusing enough and with my brain at its limit, I just couldn’t risk it being exploded ;p. Also with the animal oddities attached to some of the girls’ names as the arc, I thought the oddities they faced are going to be somewhat ‘levelled up’ with Tsubasa’s cat becoming a tiger and Sengoku’s snake turning into a Medusa. Though, I can’t see how Hachikuji’s snail could be a vampire. But I was really puzzled about Shinobu’s Time and Senjougahara’s End because I wondered what kind of animal is that! Heck, the final arc didn’t really belonged to Senjougahara and I feel it was more of Kaiki and Sengoku. It is just unfortunate that he got killed off in the end. Or so it seems. After being such a notorious swindler in the past seasons, it is hard to feel something for him despite what he did to save Sengoku. Divine retribution for his bad deeds? Therefore it was with mixed feelings that he got butchered in the end and this was a part of the little shocker that some of the arcs end.

Therefore in terms of how the arc ends for this season, I guess they really tried out something conventional instead of the same ol’ happy ending. Because for example, Hachikuji finally went to the other side for good in Shinobu’s arc. You thought that loli girl would always be around and suddenly here she departs to another world. Killed her off? I don’t know, maybe she’ll return one day? Or never. Then there was this WTF part at the end of Sengoku’s arc where she killed everybody. Thankfully it didn’t end like that although that really served as some sort of premonition if nothing was done to stop it. And for 2 arcs, Araragi as the main star didn’t show up till the last episode of that arc. Where the hell was he? At least he didn’t go completely missing like Oshino who is still the biggest mystery ever since he left town in the first season.

I had this impression that there would be a lot more stories for this second season. But who knows, the added drama and dialogues could really stretch the story to 4-5 episodes. I thought 3 episodes would be the most. My reason for this is because I was wishfully thinking that there would be stories for the other girls to tell. For instance, Yotsugi, Ougi or even Kagenui. Maybe Gaen too. (Last time I checked, there are story arcs for these girls and in later novel volumes). With Shinobu replacing Kanbaru, I thought this might happen but alas, it didn’t. It would be interesting to see these girls in focus and their interaction with Araragi. However Yotsugi’s ‘more-than-enough’ cameo appearance in a handful episodes makes it as though she has enough screen time already. Besides, what kind of animal would she be? A doll, maybe. Kagenui just like Oshino does not make any sort of appearance here. Gaen and Ougi are just mysterious enough that you just want to know more about them. The other usual characters are also well developed especially you see a side that you thought you would never see like Sengoku’s yandere behaviour (you’d never guess she could snap like that and be this crazy) and Senjougahara having an emotional side underneath it all.

The visual art and presentation remains to be stunning and unique. All the trademark visuals that you remember from this series are still present. It’s like they have never lost their touch. Or everything has been so warped that we’ve lost our touch? But the head tilt, head zooming in shot and eye focus are the typical trademarks you can still see from SHAFT in this season. Even the stylish and creative backgrounds are still abound. A big change that everybody should notice is that many of the girls swap hair lengths. For example, Senjougahara and Hanekawa who once had long hair now have them cut above their shoulders. Tomboyish Kanbaru who used to have short hair now spots twintails. The same case for the Fire Sisters. It is like the sisters reversed their hair lengths for each other with Karen now having it short while Tsukihi letting them grow. Needless to say, Sengoku has got the wildest hairstyle change since you know, she became something like Medusa. It’s like giving them a whole new image just to show that time has passed and things have changed. Even Kaiki has a hairstyle makeover. From once a Jim Carrey straight up hairstyle, he tones it down so much so I thought at certain angles he looked pretty much like one of my uncles! Serious!

There are several opening and ending themes. Unlike in previous seasons whereby there are multiple opening themes and only a single ending theme, this time around they have several ending themes. The first ending theme is rock based, Ai Wo Utae by Luna Haruna. Another rock theme for the second ending piece, Sono Koe Wo Oboeteru by Marina Kawano before a slower pop piece of Snowdrop by the duet of Luna Haruna and Marina Kawano as the final ending theme. Just like in previous seasons, the seiyuus of the particular girl in the arc sings that opening theme. So we have Yui Horie doing Chocolate Insomnia for Hanekawa’s arc, Emiri Katou singing Happy Bite during Hachikuji’s arc and Mousou Express by Kana Hanazawa for Sengoku’s arc. I guess Shinobu had none for her arc since there wasn’t even an opening credits animation to begin with. Senjougahara’s arc has got to be the most interesting and my most favourite song for this season. Kogarashi Sentiment is a duet sung by Chiwa Saito and Miki Shinichirou and it is largely refreshing to hear them sing a song that resembles so much like the 90’s! It really takes you back in time to that era. Well, if you are that old. Even the animation is old school although it mixes with current style but that is what makes it largely interesting.

In a nutshell, if they may more Monogatari stories and seasons, I would still want to watch them no matter how confusing or a dumb guy like me couldn’t understand. Because in a way it is interesting and refreshing from the way it is told and represented. It is still awesome in that sense. This anime might not be for everyone especially with the long dialogues and the kind of bizarre humour that comes with it but I recommend that even if you aren’t into this kind of anime, perhaps give the first season that started it all a try. Who knows, you may be hooked and craving for more. But I’m not that crazy to go read the novels. Because they may not be translated. Yet. Hah. An excuse for me not to do so. After all, I’m just being human. Unlike gods, we can dream, have desires and fulfil them as long as we put our heart into it. That’s why Monogatari Series is such a success story. Care to repeat it?

For those who are familiar with SHAFT’s work, we all know this Japanese animation studio’s unique production in many of the animes they produced in terms of visuals and the gags they used especially for words filling up the possible space onscreen and the end card illustrations illustrated by different people. So in another versus blog, this one sizes up between the black comedy of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei against the supernatural occult comedy Bakemonogatari.

Series’ author
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kouji Kumeta.
Bakemonogatari: Nishio Ishin.

English name of the series
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Goodbye Mr Despair.
Bakemonogatari: Ghostory (a portmanteau/blend of Ghost Story).

The plot
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: A teacher and his students discussing, debating and poking fun about the aspects of life, world culture and language wordplay.
Bakemonogatari: A third year high school student who finds himself getting mixed up in all sorts of apparitions and myths.

The main guy
Note that they are both voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Itoshiki Nozomu.
Bakemonogatari: Koyomi Araragi.

His character
Refers to the main guy’s personality in general.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: The world’s most negative and pessimistic teacher and his favourite line is “I’m in despair!”. Tried killing himself many times but was unsuccessful.
Bakemonogatari: Will go all out to help those who are possessed by apparitions. An ex-vampire though with some of its side effects still lingering. Because of that, he can’t die due to self healing attributes.

His visual trademark
What you’ll notice about the main guy’s appearance.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Always wearing a hakama and kimono with still patterns.
Bakemonogatari: His ahoge (hair antenna) and his eyes portray the emotions that he is going through.

Near death experiences
They almost died. The poor main guy, that is.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: (Selected) An episode in the first season where he nearly died due to carbon monoxide poisoning (for hibernation purposes), an episode in the third TV series whereby the girls squeeze him to death to keep him warm, also another episode in that season how the girls each take a piece of him for wealth distribution.
Bakemonogatari: A brutal assault and then a bloody confrontation with Kanbaru’s Rainy Devil to free her from her possession, the snake that was strangling Sengoku almost suffocated him, the monster cat girl almost sucking Araragi’s entire life essence.

The girls
Somehow it does look like a harem…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: (Selected) Kafuka Fuura, Chiri Kitsu, Abiru Kobushi, Matoi Tsunetsuki, Kaere/Kaede Kimura, Harumi Fujiyoshi, Nami Hitou, Maria Tarou Sekiutsu, Kiri Komori and Meru Otonashi.
Bakemonogatari: Hitagi Senjougahara, Mayoi Hachikuji, Suruga Kanbaru, Nadeko Sengoku and Tsubasa Hanekawa.

Their unique characteristic
Refers to the girls’ distinctiveness that establishes their personalities.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Each of the girls’ names is derived from social issues which set the nature of their behaviour.
Bakemonogatari: Each of the girls possesses item(s) that represents and symbolizes a certain animal believed to be in apparatus form.

The main guy’s family members
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Majiru is Itoshiki’s nephew. Rin is his younger sister while Kei and Mikoto are his older brothers.
Bakemonogatari: Karen and Tsukihi are Araragi’s younger sisters.

Mysterious characters
Can’t comprehend the way they think. There seems to be an aura of mystery about him/her…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Fuura. You should tremble in fear the ideas she give for staying positive.
Bakemonogatari: Meme Oshino. An expert in the apparition field who lives in an abandoned school building, helping Araragi and the rest solve their apparition problems.

Split personalities
More than meets the eye.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kaede/Kaere can turn from a yamato nadeshiko (ideal woman) to one who sues for just about anything.

Bakemonogatari: Hanekawa can turn from a model and studious student to her alter ego which is a mischievous cat girl.

Speechless characters
Characters that don’t really utter a word.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Meru.
Bakemonogatari: Shinobu.

Yandere characters
Girls that have the potential to turn yandere and kill our main guy and leave the whole place a bloody mess.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Chiri.
Bakemonogatari: Senjougahara.

Stalker girls
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Matoi.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru (initially).

Fujoshi girls
Yaoi fan girls… Ironically notice how they are also both athletic?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Harumi.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru.

Lost girls
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kanako Oora – Seems to be staring into space. So she’s like perpetually lost in thought.
Bakemonogatari: Hachikuji – Can never get to her destination.

Old acquaintances
Refers to the character with past relationship with the main guy.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Ikkyuu – the self proclaimed ‘old friend’ of Itoshiki that turned out to be a ‘one day friend’ instead.
Bakemonogatari: Sengoku – Araragi’s childhood friend who calls him “Koyomi onii-chan”.

Class reps
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Though Usui is the real class rep, due to his ‘lack of appearance’, Chiri is viewed as the class rep.
Bakemonogatari: Hanekawa.

Girls with bandages
Do they turn you on?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Abiru – Due to the injuries she sustained for pulling animal tails.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru – she bandaged her arm to hide her hideous monkey paw which actually turns out to be a Rainy Devil.

The Miyuki Sawashiro factor
There is a character she voiced in both series. Notice both characters are the hyper active kind.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Maria.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru.

Temple
I remember an episode with a temple shrine in it…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: There was an episode in the first season whereby the class takes a field trip to Kyoto and at a temple whereby a monk enlightens about the use of previews.
Bakemonogatari: In an episode of Sengoku’s arc, Araragi and Kanbaru enter the temple shrine area to find several dismembered snake carcasses all over the place.

Catch you while you’re falling
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: At the end of the opening theme of Ringo Mogire Beam, Itoshiki is seen catching Fuura falling from the sky.
Bakemonogatari: In one of the early scenes of the first episode, Araragi catches Senjougahara when she falls off from the stairs after slipping on a banana peel.

Text visuals
Words that filled the screen.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Notice the words on the blackboard in the background always changing at every turn? In Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, the beginning of each episode has a non-related nonsensical “The Story So Far” narration with words filling up the entire screen.
Bakemonogatari: Kanji words flashing across the screen. At the beginning of each episode, words will start building up usually narrating a particular incident as each screenshot passes by till it fills the screen.

Number of episodes
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: The first season spanned 12 episodes, followed by 13 animes in the sequel called Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. 3 OVA episodes called Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei were released before another 13 episode TV series Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is aired. Then 2 OVA episodes of Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bangaichi were subsequently released.
Bakemonogatari: Though there are 15 episodes in total, only the first 12 was aired on normal TV. The remaining 3 episodes were released via ONA (original net animation) approximately taking 7 months to complete the series.

Episode titles
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Each episode is named in reference to a piece of literature.
Bakemonogatari: Each episode is titled and focused on a particular girl in that story arc.

End episode follies
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: In Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, random nonsensical ranting with helter-skelter piano playing the background while in Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, a Zetsubou Sensei Drawing Song becomes the norm.
Bakemonogatari: Karen and Tsukihi talking really fast while posting quizzes to viewers.

Opening and ending themes
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: There are many opening and ending pieces throughout all the seasons in the series. They are usually sung by the some of the main cast of girls in the series or do a duet with Kenji Outsuki in a weird and wild rock piece. You can say they’re disturbing. Some ending songs are sung by Hiroshi Kamiya though it leans more towards ballad.
Bakemonogatari: There are 5 different opening themes each dedicated to a particular girl in focus of that story arc. They can range from pop to rock to rap. There is only 1 ending theme and is sung by Supercell: Kimi No Shiranai Monogatari.

Background music
The main background music I noticed played.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Most range from dramatic to casual.
Bakemonogatari: Most range from jazzy to eerie.

Conclusion
Because Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has a longer history with more episodes, characters and skits, it seems to fare better in these areas as compared to Bakemonogatari. However the former has no real story plot so the stories randomly go everywhere in each direction but yet nowhere. Even if you don’t watch certain episodes or watch them randomly, you’ll still be able to enjoy it without losing much. The latter series on the hand has a proper plot and flow to the story so in this sense it keeps viewers intrigued with the few apparitions it has to offer. Also Bakemonogatari experiments with lots of visual styles and approaches. Mainly it’s because it has shorter number of episodes and I have watched it more recent as compared to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei who also did some of visual experiments but that was limit to certain episodes as a vast majority retains its typical drawing and art technique. Overall both series are not that bad since both have their own sense of humour and parodies. Maybe more sequels should be made or else I’ll be left in despair and be possessed by a weird apparition.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bakemonogatari

Bakemonogatari

October 26, 2010

Usually I don’t like ghost stories or tales that has supernatural elements as its main theme. However Bakemonogatari is an exception. Besides having a supernatural occult theme, it is also funny with a fair share of parodies and play on words and of course romance. Romance in a ghost story? Doesn’t that mean a tragic story? At least not that I can see here.

Our main protagonist is a high school kid, Koyomi Araragi. He’s not a normal kid. He is an ex-vampire. I think he is the first guy I ever know that has turned back into a normal human being from a vampire. Usually you don’t right? However he isn’t exactly back to normal. After being ‘cured’ by a weird but expert in the oddities area, Meme Oshino, Araragi still has super eyesight and his wounds heal very fast. It’s like stuck between a human and a supernatural, eh?

The series is divided into several arcs and there are 5 of them, each with a particular animal that symbolizes them. Each of them focuses and introduces a particular girl because she seems to have or being possessed by an oddity. And kind ol’ Araragi isn’t the kind of guy who would sit around and do nothing. He likes to help them out. It’s just a coincidence they’re all girls. Really. So you could say that this show can also be considered a harem but I have mixed feelings about it. Well, most of them though they do have feelings for him but it isn’t the kind where you really see them fighting over each other over him. It’s like they’re very good friends.

Another ‘odd’ thing about this series is that the total number of episodes are allocated to 15. Since it is too long for an average season, only the first 12 are shown. The remaining are then released through the production company’s website as ONA (original net anime). Why not OVA? Probably to keep viewers guessing because the release dates were also a mystery. It’s anybody’s guess. Release when they want to, eh? I was thinking why didn’t they put 13 then? Probably they don’t want to interrupt a crucial point for the final arc. How about 14 then? Only Haruhi Suzumiya can pull that one off. Haha.

Hitagi Crab
In episode 1, one day Araragi caught a girl, Hitagi Senjougahara falling off the stairs. The odd part is not her falling (if you must know, she slipped on a banana peel), but rather she is almost weightless when he caught her! Araragi talks about this to his class rep friend, Tsubasa Hanekawa. We learn Senjougahara has a weak body due to an illness and unlike her energetic days of being in the track club during junior high school years, Senjougahara now is cold and distant. When Araragi leaves, he is caught by surprise and held at stapler-point-blank in his mouth by Senjougahara. She isn’t happy someone else knows her secret though she mentions a crab took her weight just before entering high school. Better listen to what she says. Though he promises not to tell anyone else, Senjougahara fires a warning bullet shot into his inner mouth! Ouch! It’s pain though it soon healed. But Araragi isn’t going to let this sad case slip by and confronts her again. Woah. You should see all the stationery Senjougahara pulled out from underneath her clothes as her arsenal! Where does she keep them?! Just amazing. Araragi isn’t here to fight but wants to help her by introducing her to Oshino. He shows the healed stapler bruise as proof. After school they head to Oshino’s place and it seems that guy lives in an abandoned cram school. There’s this quiet vampire loli whom Oshino named her as Shinobu, always sitting melancholy around the place or at a corner. After explaining, Oshino says that Senjougahara’s weight was taken away by a crab god and will help her (though it isn’t for free). Some play on the word Omoshikani (weight crab) which is probably corrupted from the word Omoshikami (heavy stone god).

In episode 2, Oshino tells Senjougahara to go home and clean herself. Araragi accompanies her home and learns that it all started when her mom got involved in a religious cult which led to her family being divorced and she living with her dad now. Viewers may initially think Senjougahara flaunting off her hot body for fanservice purpose but she did mention something about the clothes being heavy. I know, she’s weightless. Hey, how did she keep those stationery then? Also, she loves teasing Araragi and she even admits she’s the tsundere type. You’ll love the way she uses her words and sarcasm to corner and put him in a bind. That night the leave for Oshino’s place and the ritual begins with Oshino giving her something to drink and asking her questions in which leads them to reveal her painful past. Senjougahara’s mom joined the cult to cure her ill daughter but one day that religious head who came to her house nearly raped her. It was made worse when her mom didn’t do anything and allowed the rape! She would’ve lost her virginity if Senjougahara had not fight back. Because of that, her mom got penalized by the cult which left them in financial difficulty. Soon after, Senjougahara then sees the crab god and that’s when it took her weight and feelings for her mom away (the word ‘omoi’ can mean both words in Japanese). In reality, Oshino says that was her feelings and when she opens her eyes, she sees that crab god again. Senjougahara is hesitant to say something so the crab reacts violently by pinning her against the wall. Oshino has no choice but to force the crab off her. Senjougahara regains her composure and apologizes to the crab and pleads for her weight and mother back. Though she has got her weight and feelings back, but she couldn’t get back her mom. In the end, Senjougahara is grateful and has made an important friend: Araragi. Next morning, Araragi finds his weight tremendously increased by the crab god. Damn…

Mayoi Snail
It’s Mother’s Day in episode 3 but Araragi isn’t happy that his little sisters Karen and Tsukihi are bugging him for the day’s celebrations, so he ‘escapes’ to the playground on that morning. He meets Senjougahara there and she somehow becomes his self proclaimed girlfriend complete with all the teasing and turning on that one would easily mistake as it to be. Araragi declines her ‘nice’ offer to be his girlfriend but do you think she’ll give up? Senjougahara learns his Mother’s Day escape since his sisters are quite close to his mom and he felt he didn’t belong there. Araragi notices a little girl with a large backpack, Mayoi Hachikuji lost and staring at the map for quite a while. He approaches her but she tells him to go away and hates him! After several times of asking and then going back, Araragi finally slams her head to the wall! Of course anybody would get mad so the duo duke it out in some acrobatic brawl which has Araragi the winner and Hachikuji knocked out. It would be embarrassing if he lost to a little girl. But why is he laughing like a triumphant bully? Senjougahara comes by so it’s understandable she’s disgusted but is willing to help out since she knows the area well. Hachikuji comes to and in her daze says she isn’t a lost child but a lost snail.

The trio continue to search in episode 4. As they pass by an area Senjougahara used to live, they learn Hachikuji is on her way to visit her mom Tsunade (hey, it’s Mother’s Day). However as much as they try to find the place, they can never seem to reach it. Even GPS isn’t working. Senjougahara decides to go see Oshino by borrowing his bicycle while Araragi is left with Hachikuji. I noticed Hachikuji quite afraid of Senjougahara but a total opposite towards Araragi – biting his hand and purposely stuttering his name. Hey, do snails bite? It’s odd to see the duo duking out once more. Soon Hanekawa passes by and after getting introduced to Hachikuji, learns Araragi was with Senjougahara. She asks if they’re dating but he doesn’t give a definite answer. Araragi then gets a call from Oshino. Something about the kanji writing of a snail and cow and her name ‘hachiku’ can be read as ‘yaku’ (misfortune). He also says that since this involves a spirit rather than a god, the process ritual won’t be that complicated. We can tell tsundere-chan has reached Oshino’s place by the change in his talk. He has given her instructions on what to do.

Flashback on Hachikuji’s past in episode 5 whereby she was the only child but her parents were bitterly divorced. Her dad took custody of her and prohibited any contact with her mom. This caused her to worry that she’ll forget how she looked like and thus the reason for wanting to go see her. But that was 10 years ago when she went on that journey but never get to see her mom because she had an accident! When Senjougahara returns (she hints she could smell Hanekawa was here! Scary!), she tells Araragi straight that she can’t see Hachikuji! She always pretended to have seen her and never said anything because she thought it would be odd if she did so (she just experienced an oddity herself, right?). In short, Hachikuji is already dead and a spirit! Wow. Now Araragi can see dead people. Even so Araragi is determined to help her get home. Senjougahara confesses she loves him. With directions provided by Oshino, they arrive at Hachikuji’s house but it is no longer there and only a vacant plot. Happy tears well up Hachikuji’s eyes as she rushes into the bright emitting light and disappear. In the aftermath, Araragi and Senjougahara talk about how the former is willing to help anyone in trouble so because of that she doesn’t really feel indebted nor is anyone that special to him. Nevertheless he is still special to her. She admits it is fun talking to him (I guess that means teasing him) and would like to talk with him more often (tease him more often, she means?). They make a promise to be honest with each other. Araragi also promises himself not to miss next year’s Mother’s Day. Next day, Araragi bumps into Hachikuji and it seems she has been ‘promoted’ from a haunting spirit to a wandering spirit. Looks like she’ll be hanging around for a while.

Suruga Monkey
In episode 6, Araragi meets Hachikuji on the streets as she learns he is planning to study at Senjougahara’s house to study for his upcoming exams. A basketball club member and Araragi’s underclassman, Suruga Kanbaru, passes by to say hi to him. He notices her bandaged left arm and due to that she isn’t playing basketball for a while. That night Araragi heads to Senjougahara’s home to study. The usual teasing and mocking that makes Araragi inferior to the all-high-and-mighty Senjougahara. She says she has never broken up with a guy and will not with him (has she ever had a boyfriend before him?). They talk about Kanbaru and it seems both girls were close friends and that Kanbaru knew Senjougahara’s secret a year before Araragi found out and was subjected to the same hostile treatment. Thus they’re no longer that close now. Araragi heads home once his study is done. He calls Hanekawa for info on Kanbaru and based on what the bespectacled bookworm knows, Senjougahara and Kanbaru were known as Valhalla Combo (derived from their last names combination). She advises him not to dig too deep into Senjougahara’s past. Araragi notices a figure in a raincoat stalking him. It makes no hesitation in punching him and beating him up! Bloody! Blood all over the place! He notices the bandages and suspects it’s Kanbaru. The figure leaves but Araragi is badly bruised. Senjougahara comes by because Araragi forgot to take the payment she has for Oshino when he left. I guess part of being tsundere is to chide him for forgetting something as a cover up than to show concern for his wounds.

Seems Araragi uses the accident of crashing into a pole as his injury source in episode 7. Though she knows he can heal himself but the degree of injuries will take quite a while so she decides to ‘heal’ him in a different way. She just stands over his head. What’s wrong? She’s wearing a skirt… I’m sure the view was breathtaking :). Later Araragi suspects the attacker as Kanbaru and visits her home. She admits she was the one who attacked him and unwraps her bandage to reveal a monstrous monkey paw. She says she feels the arm had a mind of its own and doesn’t remember much of what happened last night. If that wasn’t shocking, Kanbaru’s next revelation should be. She admits she is a lesbian and in love with Senjougahara, though it is unrequited. This explains all those yuri and yaoi books all strewn over her room. Kanbaru tried to help Senjougahara’s problem but was rejected but unlike Araragi, she didn’t pursue further on. Then she saw her chatting happily with him and got jealous and made a wish on that paw. Araragi takes Kanbaru to see Oshino. He says that isn’t a monkey’s paw but of a devil’s since the former doesn’t attach itself to the owner. The devil is known as Rainy Devil since it wears a raincoat. It will grant its owner 3 wishes and once the wishes are fulfilled, his/her soul will be taken in exchange.

Episode 8 begins with a flashback. When Suruga was newly transferred to school and in the track club, she wished upon the paw her late mom left her to run faster because she was always being teased. The result was all her track mates were brutally assaulted. Because of that she got afraid and didn’t join the track club but the basketball one. She soon met Senjougahara and fell in love with her after a while. She had the urge to use the wish when she got rejected by her but couldn’t hold back when she saw her with Araragi. Oshino offers 2 solutions: Either chop off her left arm or let her kill him. Oshino points out that the paw didn’t twist Kanbaru’s wish because a devil’s role is to fulfil its owner’s wish. Which means, Kanbaru’s wish was for her mates to be beaten up. That includes that night of her intention to kill Araragi then. He also concludes that she is fully aware of her surroundings when the paw took control. Araragi lets Shinobu suck his blood and though he has gained 1/10 of a vampire’s strength, it won’t be enough for what’s coming. In a tightly sealed room, Araragi confronts Rainy Devil (Kanbaru in raincoat). He lets her beat him up. The blood and gore is over the top! OMG! She snapped out his guts and throws him around! Horror! Araragi then realized that Kanbaru is using her other limbs, which means Kanbaru hasn’t given up on Senjougahara and is still bent on killing him unconsciously. Kanbaru is to deliver the final blow on a very weakened Araragi but Senjougahara suddenly comes in (Oshino called her). She chides both of them. She emphasizes that if Kanbaru had killed Araragi, she will kill Kanbaru no matter what. And her determination was enough to make Kanbaru backed down. Araragi realized this was another solution because since Senjougahara proclaimed bravely of that revenge deed of hers, it would make Rainy Devil unable to fulfil the wish and thus the contract dissolved. Wow. A devil afraid of this woman? The girls get a little yuri though Kanbaru confesses her love but Senjougahara apologizes she can’t return them. In the aftermath though Kanbaru’s left arm hasn’t recovered, she doesn’t mind it and continues to be good friends with Araragi and Senjougahara.

Nadeko Snake
In episode 9, Araragi and Kanbaru head to a shrine to put a charm there as instructed by Oshino. Why is Kanbaru clinging on to him like as though his girlfriend? Well, she did mention she don’t mind being his love slave or use her body for Senjougahara. And why did Senjougahara allow this? Well, she said to take good care of her friend too. He’s really in a bind, eh? On their way, a girl named Nadeko Sengoku passes them in the opposite direction. She knows Araragi but he doesn’t remember her. They reach the shrine area but the place is decimated. After placing the charm, they noticed the entire area filled with chopped up snake carcasses. Araragi then remembered Sengoku, a childhood friend of his sisters. Next day Araragi goes to the library to do research on this but meets Hanekawa. Other than the snake shrine ritual conversation, they also touch on Araragi-Senjougahara’s relationship (“being kind to everybody is irresponsible…”) and Hanekawa’s desire to not enrol in college when she graduates but to tour the world. Hanekawa experiences slight headache and excuses herself. He then sees Sengoku but she runs away. He notices the book she had in hand was about snake curses. Knowing her next move, Araragi and Kanbaru go back to the shrine to stop Sengoku just in time before she disfigures another snake. They take her back to Araragi’s home (Kanbaru excited to find what porn mags he read?!). Sengoku takes off her clothes not for fanservice purpose (okay, maybe partly). Her reason is to show her body (not that show off lah!) as the rest are shocked to see snake scales over it! Sengoku breaks down, pleading Araragi to save her.

Oshino’s explanation in episode 10 reveals that Sengoku’s Snake Constrictor was due to a wish of a person’s malice. The snake will slowly constrict its victim, strangling him/her to a slow death and once the mark reaches the head, you’re gone. Oshino says that Sengoku’s reading up to kill the snakes wasn’t wrong, just that she got the process wrong. Plus, she had bad luck. Luckily Oshino’s instruction to place the charm at the shrine averted lots of negative supernatural effects since lots of bad things started gathering there when Shinobu appeared in this town. He gives Sengoku a charm to pray at that shrine. On the way, Araragi learns that Sengoku’s friend had a crush on a boy. But that boy confessed to Sengoku and she rejected him because she loved someone else (hint, hint). Her friend hated her and thus cursed her. At the shrine, the process begins. The scales start coming off though very slowly. Suddenly Sengoku is in pain and it hit Araragi that there are 2 snakes instead of 1. Not only Sengoku friend cursed her, but the boy who confessed slowly started to hate and cursed her too. Araragi remembers Oshino’s advice not to directly remove it because the snake may constrict him and even if it escapes, it will return to its owner (the one who cursed). Araragi has no choice so he forcefully removes the invisible snake or Sengoku will die and gets attacked and bitten during the struggle. He is ready to go after the escaping snake but Kanbaru restrains him in order for the poison not to spread quickly inside his poison. She also thinks he is trying to save the wrong person. The snake escapes as Sengoku is healed and thanks him. But Araragi feels he doesn’t deserve it because he tried to save the person who tried to curse her.

Tsubasa Cat
In episode 11, during Golden Week, Araragi notices a bandage over Hanekawa’s cheek. She explains due to her family stress of remarriages, they sometimes take it out on her. That’s why she stayed away from home as much as possible and goes out for walks. At that time, they found a dead white cat and buried it. She wants Araragi promise her he will not tell anyone else. In present time, Araragi talks to Sengoku as she gives him back the bloomers and swimsuit she borrowed to him. Sengoku flees in her embarrassment when Hanekawa appears. As Araragi and Hanekawa talk, she suddenly experiences painful headaches so he thinks it must’ve got something to do with that event during Golden Week. Back then, she experienced the same problem and her hair turned white and soon a cat girl! As Oshino explained, this Sawarineko represents a multiple personality order of Hanekawa and the cat comes out when Hanekawa is stressed. In order to reduce her stress, her alter ego randomly attacked people that included her parents and drained their life energy. She cornered Araragi and was going to pound on him when Shinobu appeared and suck her powers (Shinobu’s power as a vampire had the same effect too), returning Hanekawa to normal.

Episode 12 doesn’t feel like it has to do with Hanekawa’s arc. Instead a ‘diversion’ arc between Araragi and Senjougahara. Seems Araragi is totally overjoyed when he learns he is finally going out on a date with Senjougahara. What he didn’t expect was her father to come along with them! Oh sh*t! Who could blame him for being nervous as her dad drives them to their spot. Because of that, Senjougahara asks him ‘tough’ questions that need careful consideration before shooting his mouth. “Do you love me?”. Double sh*t. It gets worse when she starts teasing him and gently strokes his lap! (Maybe her dad was busy having his eyes on the road than to peep every 3 seconds what’s going on behind). Very seductive but he must control his urges (if he has any – but I guess he’s more of afraid than turned on). She gets dirty by licking his ear! Yeow! When the car is parked in a spot, Senjougahara leaves the car for the guys to be alone. Triple sh*t! Lots of things must be running through his head. However daddy explains he doesn’t spend much time with his daughter due to work and was surprised to see Senjougahara smiled like this ever since she met him. He wishes him to take care of his daughter. Senjougahara returns and takes Araragi through the woods. Lying down on a mat, he opens his eyes to see the beautiful starry sky. She says this is all she has to give him (besides her body), her treasure. Because of some bastard who nearly raped her, she was afraid of losing Araragi. He takes her hand and says although she was unhappy, it was able to attract him. She now asks him if he loves her. Without a doubt he says yes and that there’s nothing he hate about her (wow, he’s firm about this now after all the teasing he went through). Finally she asks him to kiss her.

I don’t know why Araragi was extremely molesting Hachikuji in episode 13 but I realized he was so happy about his outing that he ‘took it out’ on her! Sicko! I can’t blame Hachikuji for biting back. Araragi learns that she spotted Shinobu alone outside a donut shop. Later he decides to skip class to meet Hanekawa who is surprisingly doing so. Senjougahara will gladly cover for him. At the park, he sees Hanekawa in her pyjamas and cap sitting there. Thinking it has to be that Golden Week problem, he decides to ask her several questions to get an idea on what’s going on but the talk always drifted towards lame radio postcard jokes sent in by anonymous senders. Araragi has her remove her cap, which reveals her cat ears. On their way to Oshino, Hanekawa hints that his vampire powers may have made him popular with girls. As soon as they arrive, Oshino knocks her unconscious so her cat personality quickly takes over. This is because it’ll be faster if they ask the other side in person.

The cat girl is being tied up in episode 14 as Oshino explains that Hanekawa must’ve undergone lots of stress for her alter ego to pop out. The problem is they don’t know her root of her stress. Family problems? But that took donkey years to accumulate rather than just the 9 days during Golden Week, right? Even so, they need Shinobu’s powers to suppress her. And yeah, Oshino hints to Araragi that he isn’t going to be around forever. Araragi enlists the help of the other girls to find Shinobu (he finds out they were the anonymous senders of those lame radio postcard jokes). During his search, Araragi gets a surprise when the cat escaped and joins him in his search. Naturally a cat is playful so I guess it’s natural for her to be quite the teaser she is. If she was an otaku icon… Finding Shinobu should be easier due to her keen sense and smell but their efforts are futile. The cat tells him that humans and supernatural creatures are incompatible with each other and will never get along. And then something about Shinobu not liking Araragi bringing back lots of oddities to Oshino’s place recently because it diminishes her uniqueness. Finally she offers a solution to turn Hanekawa back without using Shinobu. And that is to identify the main source of her stress and deal with it directly. So what is her stress? Straight from the cat’s mouth, Hanekawa is in love with him and if he falls in love with her, the cat is as good as gone.

Episode 15 has the cat explain how Hanekawa fell in love with Araragi for the first time when she saw him in a battle against several oddities (that messy scene in the first episode) and won. Because of her family stress, I guess she developed some sort of fairytale-like love for him of a human falling in love with a vampire would be cool (Twilight anyone?). However Hanekawa suppressed her feelings so good that Araragi didn’t suspect a thing. Yup, that guy still can’t believe it and thinks it must be some other reason. Her stress reached tipping point not when she spotted Araragi and Senjougahara’s relationship making a healthy progress, but to her it was like as though he was showing off in front of her. Perhaps Araragi knows what’s good for him if he two-timed Senjougahara. Oh wait, he asserts his love for tsundere girl. Cat girl has no choice but to rid the source of Hanekawa’s stress: Araragi. She grabs him to suck his life force and another very bloody scene. Araragi is ready to accept his death for Hanekawa’s sake but thinking back if he dies, Senjougahara would come after her so that’s a no-no. She mocks him that helped people but no one is coming to his rescue. Araragi then calls out to Shinobu’s name for help. The vampire loli emerges out of Araragi’s shadow and swiftly neutralizes the cat girl and turn her back to Hanekawa. Then she sinks back into his shadow. I don’t get it. How in the first place was she hiding in his shadow? Anyway in the aftermath it is narrated that Shinobu continues to live in his shadow because Oshino has already left town. He had left Araragi signs but he didn’t realize them till it’s too late. Oshino was the one responsible of letting Shinobu and the cat girl loose because he had confidence Araragi could handle them by himself. And right he was. Araragi and the girls (minus Hachikuji) linger around the abandoned cram school for a while, Senjougahara and Araragi continue to date each other, Hanekawa’s recollection of that incident isn’t certain as she acts as though nothing has happened and for the cultural festival, the gang decide on, make a guess, a haunted house.

Ming Otaku
Ah well, I have a little mixed feelings over the way it all ended. It is a good thing that the oddities in the girls Araragi met have been solved but with the slightly opened ending, it threw up a little more questions and had me wanting to know them more. Especially Shinobu. If this series was made a little longer, probably we would have another arc focusing on her. And her animal would probably be a bat because vampires are well, associated with bats, right? Then maybe we could have an arc for Araragi’s sisters, Karen and Tsukihi. And their animal symbol will be hamsters. Huh? Cute and energetic, don’t you think. Well, if you consider the annoying task (at least to Araragi) of violently waking him up from bed every morning and eventually doing some submission move on him. Overall, this series is intriguing and interesting enough to make me sit and totally focus on the story even if I don’t understand some of the explanations or knowledge in certain areas.

Even if you’re not into the story or don’t find it compelling enough, then I guess the other reason why you should watch this show is because of the visual art. Come to think of it, it reminds me a little of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (SZS). No kidding. Both these series are produced by SHAFT. Uh oh. That means lots of words cluttering the screen, right? Thankfully, this series doesn’t have much of it and even if it does, the main one just happens at the early part of the episode. But even so that is manageable though you may still have to pause if you really want to read them. As for the visuals, they use a combination of different styles. The 2D drawing may be ordinary (if I look harder the characters here have that trademark look like those in SZS) but they also employ computer graphics, real photo cut-outs and texts. They are quite refreshing but sometimes can be real annoying especially some of the real images are purposely put and shown in a very messy way. Otherwise, I would say they are quite creative in their presentation. Sometimes during comical moments, the characters’ drawing may turn them so different that it is as though they are from another comic strip. Then there are the camera angles with some of them shot in a different and interesting viewpoint.

Though I have mixed feelings, Senjougahara is one of my favourite characters because of her tsundere personality. I love the way she speaks her mind. She is aggressive, domineering, commanding and gets what she wants. If Araragi isn’t careful and if they ever get hitched, there’s a very big possibility that there is going to be total queen control. Her interaction with Araragi reminds me of Spice And Wolf’s Horo and Lawrence. In this case, it makes the latter one look mild :). It still bugs me how the heck she keeps all her stationery under her clothes. Whatever happened to that after her story arc? Where can you find a nice guy like Araragi in this world? Without a second thought, he helps those with oddities no matter what and wouldn’t even mind giving up his life for them. He may be like those typical hero protagonists with his sense of justice but at least he did something even if he relied on others to a certain extent. Better than most of us who just sit around waiting or praying for something to happen. I happen to notice the close-ups on Araragi’s face especially his eye whenever things get tense or dramatic. Apart from his various facial expressions which relays his moods, his ahoge (hair antenna) also serves as one.

The other girls may have their feelings for him but it didn’t amount to those that felt like it was fit for the harem genre. One was just grateful, another for her best friend’s love, another treating him as her older brother and one suppressing her feelings instead of letting them out to a point where I think she may be in denial that she even loved him. And even though there are some fanservice elements, it isn’t an overwhelming factor because when you think of a series that combines supernatural harem and fanservice, you’d think Rosario To Vampire, right? Is this show comparable to that? Don’t think so. However some of the scenes can be real gory and bloody so I don’t think it will be suitable for younger audiences. Heck, the little fanservice should give a hint to that it is targeted for mature the audience.

Because Karen and Tsukihi don’t make much of a main appearance in the show, I guess their ‘appearance’ would be the next episode preview. Though it is shown in a chibi yonkoma style, their next episode preview is usually asking the viewers some preview quiz. Heck, they’re talking so fast that I sometimes don’t get the joke that they’re trying to say. And it is a little lengthier than usual for the ONA. Even I don’t understand the chibi yonkoma drawing what it’s all about. Apart from the Senjougahara-Araragi spat which also serves as comic relief, there are quite a number of trivia to spot. If you know them and are sharp enough to catch them. One of my favourite is when Senjougahara tried to impersonate Chiwa Saito’s voice (because she is the voice of her character) to mimic Araragi’s voice but totally failed! There are a few oddities that I’m wondering myself. Firstly, I thought Koyomi was and has always been a girl’s name. Till Araragi came along. Secondly, Shinobu has never spoken a single word throughout the series but her seiyuu has been credited to Aya Hirano! Is this a joke?

There are several opening themes for this series, each sung by the voice actress of that particular heroine. However most of them just appear for 1 episode especially during the arc that they are being focused on. The dance pop feel of Hachikuji’s Kaerimichi (by Emiri Katou), the energetic rock pop of Kanbaru’s Ambivalent World (Miyuki Sawashiro) and the cute rap-like of Sengoku’s Renai Circulation (Kana Hanazawa) only had 1 appearance while the dramatic pop of Hanekawa’s Sugar Sweet Nightmare (Yui Horie) made 2 appearances. Senjougahara’s catchy pop Staple Stable (Chiwa Saito) covers 5 episodes randomly throughout the series and if you count the balance, there are 5 episodes without an opening theme. The ending theme is fixed though they may vary in terms of animation. Entitled Kimi No Shiranai Monogatari by Supercell, surprisingly I find this rock piece catchy too. There are a few background music in the series ranging from jazzy to eerie and dramatic.

Even if you are not that superstitious, it pays to respect the supernatural because they are something that science can’t properly explain and has been brought down through generations (via our grandma’s scary stories). With guys like Araragi around handling the oddities in Oshino’s absence, I’m sure the town won’t turn into one filled with mindless zombies like Resident Evil. And if you’re wondering the ‘otaku’ as an ‘animal’ in my final heading, yeah sure we are another kind of those species that prefer to stay indoors and not sociable with the outside world. There are lots of different categories that range from imouto-types to hikikomoris. Some are obsessed with their idols and spend their whole life trying to emulate them from what to wear to what they do and even memorize all the lyrics in their albums. So considering all this and more, don’t you think otakus are such an oddity themselves? Yeah, you’ll hear that in bakamonogatari (stupid story) or bokemonogatari (idiotic story).

 

Bakemonogatari