Owarimonogatari S2

January 19, 2018

The end is finally here. After 7 years of animating every story and chapter in the Monogatari series (more than 10 years if you want to count the start of the light novel), we have finally reached the final part in Owarimonogatari S2. The ultimate showdown with the mysterious antagonist and entity known as Ougi is what I believe is this finale will be about or at least most focused on. And some other stuffs too. Isn’t that why they split this final season into 3 arcs with 7 episodes? I just hope that I can understand the important stuffs in this long running and long winded and convoluted story. I’ve come so far so it better be! Or it will be the end of me.

Mayoi Hell

Episode 1
Taking off from right where the final episode of Koyomimonogatari ended, Araragi is so glad to see Hachikuji that he molests her! He feels her! He licks her! Time for her counterattack to bite him. Araragi explains all the things that has happened since the last time they parted. She corrects him that this isn’t the shrine he was killed at or the park they first met. He is in the lowest level of hell! His sin is saving a demon. So it’s not the case of her appearing before him but him appearing before her. Though he is in shock, what is more shocking is that means Hachikuji is in hell too?! Not sure about kids going to hell if they die before their parents. She was piling stones at the banks of hell but someone who supposedly knows everything told her he is coming. Hence she was able to make her way here to pick him up. Hachikuji is going to bring him to that person so they could resurrect him. Along the way, they go through several important decision points of what-ifs over the series had Araragi chose differently. Like had he not saved Shinobu then or becoming friends with Hanekawa or saving Senjougahara from that fall. Because for that last one had he not, Kaiki would then soon return to town and Senjougahara could have gone back to him. Then there is something about Yotsugi being Hachikuji’s successor. This prompts Araragi to note about balance as he once had a debate with his sisters about one trying to correct mistakes is different than doing the right thing. After all this talk, Araragi realized that the person he wanted to talk most about is Ougi and finds it strange her name didn’t cross her mind all the while. They have finally reached their destination. A shrine. The person who told Hachikuji of Araragi’s arrival: Tadatsuru.

Episode 2
Refresh your memories that this guy was killed by Yotsugi in Tsukimonogatari. He claims being killed by her was all part of a bigger plan. A plan to fall into hell ahead of time and to prepare resurrecting Araragi. Tadatsuru further reveals his true self died a long time ago and the one Yotsugi killed was a puppet he controlled. Nobody else knows this except Gaen and Oshino. He has this skill to create dolls and after creating the one called Yotsugi, he parted ways with them. But Gaen kept pressuring him so he hastily tried to come up with a forbidden technique. A doll named Tadatsuru. But he failed and this is where he ended up. Despite so, he continued to ‘live’ through his dolls. He faked his own death because last month he received a request to solve the anomalies happening in town. Araragi and Shinobu are part of the targets. However in Gaen’s network, they were considered harmless. Request or not, Tadatsuru had to make them his target and hence pulled off that kidnapping act. Had he not done so, he wondered if he could have escaped unscathed. He heard from someone else that was the middleman between him and Gaen: Oshino. He contacted him and made him feel like a free man. At that point, he realized his identity as a doll was known and it was probably a threat to make him do his bidding in which otherwise his real identity will be exposed. He argued as long as the duo are left alone, nothing will happen. That is, until a special case like when they collude among themselves and Araragi continues to turn himself into a vampire. If such events were to happen, he would receive a request to hunt down vampires. He was told to forget his past grudges and seek contact with Gaen as she cannot move and must hold her position. But in reality, things went exactly like he thought it would. So when the request to exterminate them came, it scared him. He also found it strange that Oshino didn’t want to do this on his own if it concerned him so much. He thought of playing along with his game.

A thread drops down from the sky. It is Araragi’s ticket back to the real world. Miss this and he will forever be stuck suffering in hell. Araragi continues to ask if he could have just turned down the request. Tadatsuru wanted to do this to find out their intent as well as this was a necessary measure to stop Araragi’s progression into a vampire. His role as the bad guy made him fit for this job. Araragi seems to be stalling his resurrection as he spams more questions. Like the shrine and park he was supposed to be. Tadatsuru explains that park was previously the name of that shrine and over the years due to corruption and misspelling, it became named so. Since Araragi feels guilty to be resurrected, Hachikuji punches him. He can say all that because he hasn’t experience true hardships yet. Still, he feels there are many more deserving to be resurrected and with him getting this, it is as though he is cutting the queue. Hachikuji without a doubt believes he has all the right and should be the first in line. Yeah, after naming all the parts of girls he loves, if he isn’t alive, he can’t cherish girls at all! Not quite exactly what she intended but that’ll do. After all, he was someone who loves being alive and has come back from the brink of death, narrowly escaping them many times. As Araragi gets pulled up, he can’t stand the fact Hachikuji will be left behind to continue piling stones in hell. It is like he shoved her aside to be resurrected. He can’t stand the fact to be parted with her again so he grabs her along as the thread is pulled up. Tadatsuru lets him know one last thing. The enemy who requested Araragi to be exterminated is Ougi. Gaen welcomes him back and even more so bringing Hachikuji along. With Shinobu ready to pounce on her throat, she backs down since Araragi is back and there is no need for needless killings. Araragi knows that in all cases, this will be bad as he wonders if Hachikuji fulfilled the conditions for the darkness to be triggered. With Araragi’s miracle, Gaen thanks him they have a slight advantage because the lost girl pawn is what she needs. For now, he has to go take his entrance exam. He can still make it. Everything will be settled before graduation and with White Day tomorrow, it is perfect timing to end the story of this town where a white snake once reigned.

Hitagi Rendezvous

Episode 3
Araragi narrates his love for Senjougahara. Then she makes a surprise by breaking out of her character and proposes to date tomorrow. And since they haven’t been with each other for so long, let’s cram 6 months’ worth of it into that date. But taking up the whole day is impossible as by evening she needs to be back for the main event which is to have dinner with her father. Back home, Araragi talks to Yotsugi about this and she’s like hinting she wants to tag along. He asks about Tadatsuru since he sent his regards to her but she doesn’t really care. There is this discussion about Kagenui not returning. What will happen to Yotsugi? In that case, she will forever follow Araragi. Yotsugi suddenly plays dead when Tsukihi barges in to take her doll back, accusing Araragi for taking it without her permission. She can tell he will be going out on a date with Senjougahara tomorrow but don’t worry about her, she has become best friends with Sengoku and plans to hang out with her. When Araragi goes to Senjougahara’s place, it isn’t only her Hanekawa hairstyle that surprises him but she has a driver’s licence! While he was studying for his exam, she too was studying and taking a different kind of exam. She will drive him to their place of date, the planetarium. More surprises in store for him as she mentions Hanekawa contacted her and has found Oshino’s hiding place. Or at least she narrowed it down to 2 possible places. But since Senjougahara wasn’t interested she didn’t listen properly. Senjougahara also reveals she consulted with her about today’s date and such. Araragi learns that Senjougahara’s dream is to learn astronomy. She has been fascinated with the universe and the stars for some time. Especially the space map that isn’t your ordinary 2D world map. It is in the shape of an ougi (hand fan). Araragi didn’t react to that word.

Episode 4
Since mentioning that name, I guess here pops up Ougi. This is definitely Araragi’s dream as pointed out. Ougi points out the Hydra constellation being the biggest among the 88 and how it reminds her of Shinobu because of its immortality. There is also another snake constellation, Serpens that isn’t part of Hydra but also has something to do with immortality. It is also the only constellation that is split up into the western and eastern parts. Despite being ‘split up’, in the middle there is this snake charmer, Ophiuchus dubbed Asklepios the sage magician. His medical skills were so remarkable, he was able to bring the dead back to life. And that itself is a sin and against all rules as he was struck down. Yotsugi is one of those resurrected and all parties that resurrected her (Tadatsuru, Kagenui, Oshino and Kaiki) will have to pay a price and had curses placed on their bodies. Hence, the question is what kind of penalty Gaen will pay for reviving Araragi from hell. Then she talks about the difficulty in doing the right thing since there are also attachments along with it, right or wrong. As long as you are right, you shouldn’t be doing the right thing. And if a mistake always comes when you try to do the right thing, everything balances out to zero. Thus Kagenui and the Fire Sisters’ brand of justice isn’t doing the right thing but correct mistakes and injustice. Ougi also considers herself as that type and it is her role to eject those who have broken the rules. As it is time to wake up, she hopes he will make the right decision. He asks her true identity but she can’t say much now except that she is the principles of the universe. The good news is that she doesn’t have to be concerned with him anymore so long he doesn’t do what Gaen tells him to. With Shinobu in her complete form and Hachikuji lost in this world after resting in peace, she really hopes he will make the right decision to forsake them.

Araragi wakes up with Senjougahara lying next to him. It must be a tiring day at the planetarium. But they continue their date doing various things. Including a bowling and karaoke contest in which she suggests a penalty game whereby the loser must swear absolute obedience to the winner. In both instances, Araragi won. I don’t think he’ll be making any lewd requests as she is hoping. But she did make him carry her like a princess all the way back to the car. Then stopping by the seaside, she then talks how ‘disappointed’ she was. As today is White Day, she had been hoping perhaps he was planning some sort of secret surprise for her. Nothing. Sorry. I guess he is forced to pledge his absolute obedience to her for life to stop her from killing herself. So the first thing she wants him to do? Call her by her first name. Araragi realizes maybe that is why she set up the penalty game. If not for opportunities like these, it would have been something he would have never been able to say. He calls her by her name with ease and so does she. When Araragi reaches home, Ougi is waiting at his gates. She was being ‘considerate’ not to interfere with his last date. He corrects her. His last date in high school. When he tries to ask why she wanted him exterminated, she brushes it off as false accusation. There is no way she would hurt him. So what about his decision? Without a doubt he will not forsake Shinobu and Hachikuji. He isn’t sure if it is the right path but it is one he must take. Ougi is ‘disappointed’ he hurried in his decision. She would like him to voluntarily withdraw but that will be going over her boundaries. She corrects his understanding of her: She is not the darkness. Ougi lets him know that she has one regret in spite of all that is to happen. She has to do it even if she has to put everything else aside. She must fall into Gaen’s trap. She pleads to Araragi to help fight on her side.

Ougi Dark

Episode 5
All the players are at the park. Gaen, Shinobu, Hachikuji and Yotsugi. All getting ready… To play baseball? With Shinobu in her true completed adult form, she ‘bullies’ Yotsugi with her might for all the insult she has thrown all this time. After Araragi returns the talisman to Gaen, she reminds they must exterminate Ougi who is the main enemy tonight. Will she show up? She has to. Otherwise she will not be Ougi and there will be no more other chances. But first, Gaen narrates a little history of the shrine. 400 years ago when Shinobu visited Japan and crashed into the sacred lake, it was more like a blessing as she ‘took over’ and became the new local god. Previously the gods that were worshiped at the lake took the form of a water snake as well as the mountain snake for the minority faith. Gaen’s initial plan was to enshrine Shinobu as the god of the shrine. Before she continues, she wants to hear Araragi’s stance since she brought him to pull off a miracle but a disaster could also happen. He would like to do something for Hachikuji and Shinobu especially the former who might be swallowed up by the darkness at this rate. Of course he is also worried about others around him. Gaen notes since he isn’t concerned of his own safety, they can come to an agreement. As for Shinobu’s stance, if could really desire it, it is to return to her young girl form.

Now Gaen goes into the minimum requirements needed to meet all their objectives as well as exterminate Ougi. As said, previously Gaen wanted to enshrine Shinobu as a new god but now Hachikuji is a better fit. I mean, for one to go to hell and come back, that has got to be legendary, right? Otherwise, the other options are she goes back to hell again or she gets swallowed up by the darkness. But can a snail replace a snake? Heard of a 3 way stand-off? A stand-off between a snake, frog and slug. Araragi finds the slug familiar as he remembers the fake apparition Kaiki used on Sengoku. A slug is closely related to the snail. All Hachikuji needs is to swallow the talisman to become god but if Araragi doesn’t want her to become so, it’s his call. This has him prompt to ask maybe they have mistaken Ougi as the darkness. Gaen says she already knows. What gave him the impression she was one? Perhaps it was the way she talks and acts that over time he came to that conclusion. Gaen explains although Ougi isn’t the darkness, she plays its same role. So if they leave Hachikuji as she is, the darkness might reappear in town. But if Hachikuji becomes god, Ougi might play that darkness role and attack her. That is why they must exterminate Ougi or the story will not end. Araragi doesn’t appreciate she keeps using the word extermination, like as though Ougi is an apparition. Well, she’s got news for you, buddy. Ougi is indeed a normal apparition!

Episode 6
When asked on what basis she called Ougi an apparition, she asks back on what basis he calls her Ougi. Just because she called herself so, he believed her. It is true that her relation to Oshino is a lie and the reason she derived that name is a little complicated. So what is she? Right now, an unknown. Gaen’s initial plan is to slay her with the demon sword she created, Kokoro Watari AKA Apparition Killer. As a specialist, she can use a standard approach to exterminate Ougi. Does she mean she predicted Ougi’s appearance? Not quite. But she had seen something familiar. Though, it was her older sister, Tooe who is Kanbaru’s mom who experienced it first-hand. Her personality somewhat reminds her of Araragi. So she wants him to be the one to do the job. He must disclose Ougi’s true identity to cause it to collapse. Apparitions who lie about themselves get swallowed by the darkness especially Ougi who is playing the darkness role, the punishment will be most severe. Araragi agrees to not save Ougi but on one condition she tells him her true identity.

Meanwhile we take a detour to see Tsukihi helping Sengoku with her manga. After she’s done, she leaves but waiting at the doorsteps is Ougi who offers to give her a ride home. They talk on several things like Tsukihi being satisfied living in the present. This has Ougi noting that she is dependent on others as her family is keeping her family alive. Otherwise she would have died during summer break. Tsukihi notices she is going the wrong way so they stop to check for directions. They are at the abandoned cram school so they check it out. Ougi talks about the suspense in mysterious novels and when the mystery is known, everything is no longer fun. She wishes things in reality were like this. But Tsukihi has a different approach. She thinks it is more dangerous when the culprit is discovered. Because the real story only begins when you know who they really are. Knowing the true identity may not be correct as there might be a bigger twist. Ougi is enlightened that true identity may be seen as right body. Ougi mentions her true identity is unsightly. Ougi has unfinished business so she has Tsukihi take her bicycle to go home. Because now she meets Araragi who is waiting for her. He wants to know what they were talking. Well, she didn’t get to finish her job at talking. Knowing Tsukihi as a phoenix is beyond what she can handle. A monster can be exterminated once its true identity is disclose but not Tsukihi because she has the eternal love of her brother. But she knows she herself will get exterminated once Araragi discloses her true identity. She hints she has been pleading for her life by asking him to side her. But it looks like Araragi has chosen not to. Ougi notes that is the right decision. Even so, she wanted him to decline that. It is then Araragi discloses Ougi’s true identity: Ougi is himself!

Episode 7
Gaen explained the apparition called Ougi created by Araragi. It was how Tooe created an apparition called Rainy Devil. You could say Ougi is Araragi’s desire to criticize himself. It was last August when he learnt the meaning of darkness and what is wrong is wrong. Then there is some incident with Shinobu and Kanbaru that I didn’t understand or have forgotten. But mostly can’t understand. It is Oshino from Shinobu’s name that Ougi originates from. The argument of Araragi creating an apparition to attack himself stems from the guilt from helping all the other girls. Like when he helped Shinobu first, he wanted to face the consequences. When he became friends with Hanekawa, he worries if he is worthy if he could live up to her feelings. Like when he helped Senjougahara, he ended up dating her and wondered if he was taking advantage of her weakness. It is all because if it was unfair to use his immortality powers freely. That portion of his mind manifested itself entirely in the form of Ougi. Ougi still has some things left undone like Tsukihi. That is why Gaen used her as a lure. She might have no evidence and only speculating but Araragi knows himself better than anyone else. That is why it must be him who discloses Ougi’s true identity. It is a battle among himself. End it with his own hands. After all, killing himself for the sake of others is something he does every day.

With this revelation, a black hole appears to suck in Ougi. Araragi is shocked that Ougi knew this would happen and yet she came. There are some fights you have to fight even if you know you’re going to lose. At least she was able to make his youth right. In that case, he doesn’t want what is right. They note some of the cases they were right or wrong. And since Ougi will be disappearing, it shows Araragi was the one who is right. It might not be the end of his life or the world but perhaps the end of one of his many stories. As they say farewell to each other, suddenly Araragi has a change in heart. He saves her from being devoured by the darkness at the expense of losing his entire right arm! Remember, he is no longer an immortal but a normal human. Ougi is shocked he would do such a thing even for a person who brought nothing but misery to him. This makes him the worst person ever. But Araragi corrects her. He saved himself. Because all the girls saved him. What is the point if everyone saved him and he didn’t save himself? So they’re going to die together? Until Oshino pops up! In the flesh! And here comes Hanekawa running in, collapsing while trying to catch her breath. Ougi is shocked that she really brought Oshino back from Antarctica. The moment Oshino acknowledges Ougi is her niece, the black hole disappears. This signifies Ougi’s existence as herself. With that, Araragi’s youth comes to an end.

In the epilogue, before Araragi leaves for his graduation, he talks to Karen about what she finds justice to mean. Helping others. He advises her to start helping herself too. I am guessing he doesn’t want another apparition to pop up because of that. A lesson well learnt? On his way, he meets Hachikuji who has now become a god. He teases nobody is going to visit her and the town will be left godless. Well, there is always him. He can visit her shrine, her home any time. Previously, Gaen talks to Shinobu as she heals Araragi’s arm about wanting to be sealed again in Araragi’s shadow. Her reason is that she is tired of fighting and wants to be harmless. Originally she planned to retreat to the mountains and live a secluded life after healing his arm. But seeing Araragi declined to turn back into a vampire, it is only right she declines her own desires. And also, there are no doughnut shops in the mountains. At school, Araragi talks to Hanekawa. She has no time as she will be leaving soon. It seems in order to bring back Oshino, she sold off a bit of her brains! Don’t worry, they’re a good institute so she needs to chase them to get it back. They deduce if Oshino was in Antarctica, Kagenui must be in North Pole. Yotsugi wanted to go there but Kagenui declined so she’ll continue to live in his house. Oshino and Gaen has again left. Hanekawa teases the good vibe between Araragi and Senjougahara. Walking upstairs, a troubled girl zooms pass them. Hanekawa and Senjougahara tell him to do what he needs. Looks like he is willing to skip his own graduation ceremony to help this random strange. Maybe he’ll let the girls pick up his diploma for him. He passes Ougi along the way as she notes he hasn’t change. On the contrary, he says he is but no matter how much he changes, he will still be him.

The Be-All And End-All Of The End
Well, guess what? It isn’t entirely the end of the end yet. There are more stories that came out after this but those are like additional side stories. As far as this one is concerned, the main story has ended. So far, nothing has been said yet about adapting those works but what are the chances that SHAFT will adapt them seeing they have adapted all of the arcs of the main story so I guess that if they ever run out of new projects in the future, I have a hunch they can fall back on this one. Like they say, the end of a story only heralds the beginning of a new one. Yeah, and some people say they can’t let this series end and rest in peace. How could they? Not when you have a cult following.

So let’s get back to my thoughts on this finale season and the series overall. As usual, not to say that I have understood everything completely and entirely but well, I guess it was good enough to not leave me with unanswered questions. Heck, more accurately I have mostly forgotten about the previous stories and seasons so I can’t really recall. Can’t be confused if you can’t remember a single thing about it. So the biggest twist in revealing the true identity of Ougi didn’t blow my mind away but at the same time I was a bit surprised. It was the biggest moment that I have been waiting for ever since Ougi appeared. Because of all the confusing stories and plots, it is mostly why I never could have guessed she was Araragi’s apparition. Hardcore fans may have picked up clues along the way and guessed it but I was busy having my brains thinking about the story so I didn’t bother about thinking Ougi’s identity. When I think back a little, it does make sense why Ougi is Araragi. Like especially when she often claims she doesn’t know anything but it is him who does. That should have been the biggest hint.

To say that the final season was a long winded story to end it all is not exactly entirely accurate either. Because you know how fast everything could have ended without all the long winded story telling in between. I suppose that is the main charm of this series. Despite being confusing at times, the way it is executed and told are interesting in its own way. That is why they were able to drag out stories into many episodes and spanning many arcs (also to confuse simpletons like me). Imagine if all the other arcs in the Monogatari Series had not been this long but just a few minutes, I don’t think that would have quite cut it. That is why the Monogatari Series is named so. It is the way they tell the stories. Like I’ve said, it is still overall confusing but I consider it to be done in a good way. I mean, being confused and interested are 2 completely different things. Despite my confusion in trying to piece together the pieces, I was not bored and kept watching. That says a lot. Kudos to the series and those who wrote and produced it.

In view of all that, sometimes I feel if the ending of this season and the overall could be somewhat unfashionable. Actually I am myself to blame for expecting some sort of epic fight and showdown with Ougi. Yes, I actually expected there would be some sort of battle! I mean, when you have Gaen and Shinobu gathered in your ranks, it looks more like a mini army ready to take on the last boss, right? After all, expect the unexpected. That’s me trying to sound smart and look like I’ve learnt something from following this series but failed. But no showdown in the form of fist fighting, sword swinging or spell casting. Staying true to its roots, all we see, or rather hear, are just words and dialogues. Like they say, some battles can be won without lifting actual weapons. And just like that, the big story comes to a close. I suppose it tried to give us a good ending as well because we presumed Ougi had been a villain but she wasn’t and is just a dark side of Araragi. So a good ending has to be given to her as she now exists as a separate entity on her own. It also gives closure to Oshino’s whereabouts (as well as Kagenui’s), otherwise we will be forever wondering where the hell that guy has been and further speculate if he is a ghost or just a figment of imagination in Araragi’s mind. Even if his appearance was just bloody short, he played an important role to help end this particular story.

So you can say that the entire story was about Araragi fighting against himself and it is quite true if you piece together all that has happened. Each time he helped a girl in trouble, you could see there is some sort of guilt forming after that. It would have been even worse had he not helped them because a more terrifying apparition could have formed from the guilt of turning a blind eye. It’s like he is in a catch-22 situation, damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. So while he deeply cares for all those around him, it is a bit odd that he questions himself if he has the right or worth to do all that. I wonder if this is the extreme case of being humble. Imagine all the trouble that has happened in town just because of one guy’s guilt. I know life generally isn’t a bed of roses but this is taking it to the extreme.

But thankfully it all turned out right for him and the girls as we can see. Senjougahara is his lovely girlfriend (not a crazy tsundere and yandere type), Hanekawa is still his friend, Kanbaru is still his respectable (but pervy) senior, Sengoku doing fine with her manga (no longer a crazy yandere if you remember and a scam victim), Kaiki is dead (no more scamming others but I don’t see him anywhere in hell), Hachikuji perhaps won the biggest share of the lottery as she is now a god, Yotsugi is pretty much harmless staying his place, Shinobu is still loyal to him and pretty much harmless staying in his shadow, and finally his sisters are doing fine at their own pace and continued to be loved by him. Not forgetting Ougi is now her own existence herself. Things cannot get better than this, right? I guess it is pretty much a good ending after all that has happened. Well, I was just thinking why Ougi still looks as creepy like as though she popped up from some horror novel. Couldn’t they at least ‘normalize’ how she looks? Nah. Maybe not.

In the end, this series has been one very compelling tale. It is filled with lots of curious and interesting things but at the same time a very confusing and long winded one. For those who weren’t taken in by the storytelling, at least creative and unique art and visual styles are certainly there to catch your eye. Don’t blink or you might miss something funny or creative. There are also the good voice acting as well as the many different variety of theme songs, some of which are quite catchy and were my personal favourite (Staple Stable, Kimi No Shiranai Monogatari, Platinum Disco and Renai Circulation to name a few) but others didn’t really attracted me. With this, another long story chapter has come to an end. It felt really hard to say goodbye and suddenly it prompted me to remember another similar series made by SHAFT that had ended a long, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Oh man. Still remember that one? I suppose whether we like it or not, stories need to end and find a closure otherwise a new one cannot begin. Unless you prefer to eternally watch reruns. I wonder what kind of apparition would form from that…

Koyomimonogatari

November 10, 2017

Oh dear. I have forgotten about this. Initially I thought Koyomimonogatari would be some sort of a recap series. I didn’t even know how I ended up coming to that conclusion seeing I had no information or done any research whatsoever. Perhaps it was the synopsis that is about Araragi who goes around helping his female characters and solve their problems at hand. You know, their oddity problems that we have seen throughout the Monogatari Series? Of course I realized I was wrong. Had not the second season of Owarimonogatari series came out, I would never have remembered to watch this. Besides, each episode is only 12 minutes long. A departure from the standard half hour episodes of its prequels.

Episode 1: Stone
Hanekawa talks to Araragi about a stone statue in school that could be the school’s ghost story. The thing is, the stone was there all the while and not the altar. Over these 2 years, it’s like somebody turned this stone into an altar and something like something to be worshipped. Could it be an oddity? So Araragi talks to Oshino about this and the question is not whether it is an oddity because it is being worshipped but rather it’s being worshipped because it is an oddity. Araragi is confused since they mean the same to him. So as Oshino has him draw the shrine for him, Araragi mentions it looked familiar but can’t put his finger on it. Oshino tells him to ignore all ghost stories at the moment and try looking into the school’s curriculum. Araragi goes back to talk to Hanekawa for more explanation. She mentions a few art clubs in school and one of them being woodwork. Apparently a student created a little house but it was deemed a failure after something went awry. Instead of bringing it home to only be thrown away, he decided to sneak it in to the school’s garbage. Speaking of which, it is near that altar. Hence that house became the stone’s altar. Because of that, the house and stone complement each other. The house became a shrine and the stone became a worshipped object. Hanekawa is relieved and thanks Araragi for it. It seems Araragi is that student who made the house and put it there. Immediately he properly throws away the house. He thought his thoughtless actions turned this stone into an oddity. Perhaps it turned from a normal stone into the stone statue he needed and from there into an oddity. Then he realizes something amiss. The stone is actually just a piece of concrete.

Episode 2: Flower
While walking on the streets together, Senjougahara spots a bouquet of flowers on the roadside, an indication an accident had took place. However she saw the same bouquet on the school’s rooftop. The funny thing is, throughout its history, there has been no deaths whatsoever. Talking to Oshino about this, from what I understand that such places where high accidents and deaths occurred could be due to geographical and location reasons instead of the supernatural. While no deaths may have occurred at school and it might look like the bouquet is like a curse asking for future accidents to happen, could it not be the opposite? Araragi thinks about this and tells his conclusion to Senjougahara. It is some sort of control or protective charm to prevent accidents. When people go up and see it, they would think that some sort of accident occurred and would be careful. Hence, something like a warning. Also, they misunderstood the whole thing. If something had actually died, the flowers would be placed on the ground instead on the rooftop. Because Araragi dangerously climbed to the rooftop to ascertain the bouquet as per instructed by Senjougahara, the school has taken drastic safety measures. They’re really spending to establish a new fence. He hopes the school would never find out as in addition to his expulsion, they might link it to Senjougahara who suggested it. So instead of making this a secret between them, she wants them to forget about it.

Episode 3: Sand
Araragi stumbles into Hachikuji in the streets. He tells her Oshino has left town and they talk about Araragi’s debts. He claims he has cleared them all or at least returns the money he borrows. Hachikuji decides to sell him a ghost story for 50 Yen. So cheap? Well, that is all that story is worth. She tells him a sandbox at the playground has a face of a demon. No matter how you mix it up, it will eventually return to that demon face. Could it be the work of an oddity or human? So he goes to investigate it. The demon face is there as he messes about with the sand. Nothing happens so he goes home. He then gets a follow up call from Hanekawa who just got a report from stalker Senjougahara on what he was doing. She is ‘mad’ at him for not following this up thoroughly. There is a third option on what causes this: Natural phenomenon. Not just wind or rain. So Araragi goes back and digs the entire sandbox and he finds a fissure at the bottom. This crack is what made the demon face and the reason why Hanekawa was ‘angry’ was because of the danger if the crack gets bigger and kids continue to play in it. Time to alert the park’s manager. He notes the scariest isn’t oddity or human but nature. Because it is both as scary as the oddity and human.

Episode 4: Water
After cleaning Kanbaru’s messy room, Araragi takes a bath. She teases him about some erotic stuffs but then tells him a mysterious story as it isn’t so much of an oddity story. The bath he is in, apparently when his father was young, he would see the face of his fated one in the water’s reflection. Back home, Senjougahara calls him and her first words are for him to die for being at Kanbaru’s house. But since he says how much he loves her and all that, she rescinds her death sentence. Telling her what Kanbaru said, Senjougahara comes up with her interpretation. As the surface of the water reflects but not as perfect as a mirror, it could be possible that Kanbaru’s dad mistakenly saw a reflection of himself as a woman. Of course when he grows up and he becomes more aware, that reflection stopped showing up. So it is when he met his wife he remembered about this. Hence in romance, you tend to look for someone who resembles you. To summarize, if Kanbaru’s dad’s explanation was right, Kanbaru would have seen her fated partner. If Senjougahara’s explanation was right, then the image could be her mom. He calls Kanbaru to ask what she says. Her boobs. And she is excitedly explaining how it always thrills her. Hang up…

Episode 5: Wind
Sengoku is at Araragi’s place to party. It’s just the 2 of them… As this takes place in the aftermath of Sengoku being conned, they talk about how rumours spread. Because from what she heard it wasn’t from the conman himself but rather the wind. You mean in that literal sense? They further discuss if you want to spread rumour, it is faster to let someone do it because if you leave it on its own, won’t that just be a coincidence? So Araragi goes to talk to Kaiki about this. He confirms he doesn’t have any wind power or that sort. In fact, it is not the wind but a windless condition that is important for rumours to spread. When something is popular, something else isn’t. A conman targets not the wealthy but those who are dissatisfied. Those whose hearts are in disarray and nothing to rely on are easy targets. That is why he came to this town to prey on school girls. However it is not because his conned them into buying into his charms and caused deterioration in human relations. But rather they feel their human relations have deteriorated and jumped into buying his charms. Now that Kaiki has let him know his trade secret, he wants a fee for it. Did he just get conned?

Episode 6: Tree
After rubbing her boobs on her brother’s head, Karen takes this as a chance that he must listen to what she says. It’s so nice being a woman… At first he isn’t interested but with her fierce personality showing up, he’d better. It seems that there is a tree that popped up behind her dojo. The funny thing is, nobody noticed it until recently and because of that, they feel it is something ominous and want to chop it down. Of course Karen is against this but she has no power to overturn this decision. So Araragi sees the tree and assures he will help Karen solve it. And by that he means begging to Hanekawa for help! Pushing his responsibilities, eh? He will allow her to do anything with her own boobs! WTF?! Hanekawa likens this panic to pandemic-like level. There is one way to solve this. In the end, the tree is not cut down because Karen told everybody that tree is the same wood that made this dojo. So when you consider a pandemic spreading, it will spread until it cannot spread anymore. So what they did was shift the goal post. The next step of fear is reverence. Now that everybody thinks the wood is what made the sacred dojo, nobody will be foolish enough to cut it down. They feel bad it is a lie because in actual fact there is no way that tree’s wood is the same as the dojo’s. Because of that, there is a possibility they might create an oddity out of it. An oddity that watches over those undergoing training.

Episode 7: Tea
Tsukihi tells Araragi that there is a ghost in her tea ceremony club however there is no evidence of it. Well, duh… If no evidence, no ghost! If you want Tsukihi to stab your eye with her pen then you better give her a better answer. You see, her club has only 7 members and everyone insists that there is this ‘eighth member’. They laugh at her for saying it is a ghost so she fells insulted that they believe the ghost more than her. It all goes back to her asking him if he believes in ghosts. He doesn’t. He believes her club members are wrong. She should stay the way she is and stay true to her own correctness. Tsukihi accepts but she doesn’t look satisfied. Later Araragi talks to Kanbaru about it. She wants to help Tsukihi because they deal with oddities so they understand what it’s like. After all, Tsukihi who is trying to deny oddities is sacrificing herself for reality. There is a way to satiate her although it involves deceiving her. So Araragi tells Tsukihi that everyone believed in the ‘eighth member’ for Tsukihi’s sake. As Tsukihi often takes the club’s inventory as she pleases and so as not to make this a big fuss where they will get club activities suspended, hence they hypothesized and ‘eighth person’ to account for the shortfall in inventory. Tsukihi immediately buys it and is satisfied that it was her selfish attitude that was the ghost. She’ll let herself fall for it. After Araragi tells Kanbaru about this, she wonders whom Tsukihi let herself being deceived by. Is it Araragi or her club members?

Episode 8: Mountain
Ougi and Araragi are trekking up the stairs to a shrine on a mountain. It is believed the shrine built there was a mistake and Ougi wants to fix the problem of its balance. This is the shrine that Araragi and Shinobu were last summer and they tore up the place. Ougi talks about snakes being gods as well as their nature and what it represents. Also, this shrine used to be in a different location but it was transferred to this place. However the issue is how the people relocated the shrine here with minimal construction since the steps to this place did not exist before. Also, no supernatural powers were used. Just normal humans. It was the ‘moving’ that was very annoying. Back at his home, Araragi tells this to Sengoku and she is able to deduce the answer right away. The spot where the shrine was built, they cut down the trees there and used the wood to make the shrine. That way, they didn’t need to carry heavy lumber up the mountain. Wait. Wasn’t the shrine relocated? What ‘moving’ meant was the bodies of worship. Basically it’s like shifting to a new building and keeping its original name. They ponder if the shrine would be rebuilt again. Araragi doesn’t think a new faith will be born then but rather it will continue. Sengoku maintains optimistic if it is rebuilt, it would stop being a place for bad things to gather and the snake god would return to it.

Episode 9: Torus
Shinobu is delighted there are doughnuts for her to eat. However, they look different from the ones she usually gets from the store. Well, these are handmade by Senjougahara for Araragi is motivation for him to study for his exams. Shinobu then asks weird questions like the doughnut’s hole. Not really trusting it, Shinobu eats one to test for poisoning. Tastes good. However she thinks it has delayed effect and wants to experiment on the rest. At this point, Araragi believes it is her ploy to eat all his doughnuts. Hand it back or else. Then it turns into some talk about negotiations and secrets. Hence a game is suggested. She will hide the doughnuts somewhere in his room for 5 minutes and he has that same time to find them. He can it the doughnuts he finds and those he could not will belong to Shinobu. Of course he is sceptical that she can eat all of them in that time span and he will never find them. Shinobu assures she will stick to her word. In the aftermath, Araragi calls Hanekawa and tells her about this. He found 3 of them but the last one was never found. He could only think Shinobu ate them. Hanekawa points out that the doughnuts were of different size. It could be that she hid the smaller one in the larger one and used the fillings as adhesive. After all, the evidence is now in his stomach. Why did Shinobu do this? Wasn’t her goal to eat the doughnuts? For her to abandon that goal and being selfless were the points she was trying to teach him: Love.

Episode 10: Seed
Yotsugi wants Araragi to help her find something or she’ll not stop harassing him. Fine. So what is it that she is looking for? Well, she’ll know when she sees it. So the reason she roped him is because he is comparatively taller than her and she might need to look at a view from a different perspective. However they are not going to piggyback ride one another. She makes him stand on her finger like as though she is hoisting a flag! Some chatter I don’t really get it as they walk around town looking. Yotsugi mentions something one is looking for but may lose sight of it when you start looking for it is a smile. In the end, they couldn’t find what she wanted. Araragi calls Hanekawa for answers. She asks him a question what is hardest to find. But his answer doesn’t matter. Then she asks what is easiest to find. Same thing. So what Yotsugi wanted to find was nothing. You can’t find something that doesn’t exist. This is linked to what is easiest to find and for that, something needs to stand out. Nothing stands out more than a person searching for something. So why was Yotsugi trying to make him stand out? Earlier in the year, there is a person in town he shouldn’t have met. Same thing for that person. So by making him stand out like that, people avoided him and hence Araragi avoided contact with Kaiki. Yotsugi didn’t want him to worry and nothing happened thanks to somebody’s consideration. Thus it is possible that the nonchalant consideration is the hardest thing to find of all.

Episode 11: Nothing
Araragi calls out Kagenui to fight but gets his ass handed to him! Apparently he wants her to train him but she notes he will die before he gets to learn anything. That is why she sent Yotsugi to his place. He feels uncool for girls protecting him. That’s why he can’t move carelessly and so do the girls. Araragi asks why Yotsugi always refers to Kagenui as her sister. She will not tell. However if he manages to land one shot on her, she would. So he goes back and seeks Karen’s help. He’ll fondle her boobs if she does. I mean would she rather let her boobs be fondled by someone she doesn’t like? Anyway, based on him being a useless person, the only right way is to run. She points out that he has been thinking on how to hit this person instead of whether or not his question will get answered. So it isn’t about him winning but how to lose gracefully. He should think about that himself but if Karen was in his shoes, she will try to think of a way that won’t make it so obvious. And so Araragi comes up with this dumb plan of getting a toy gun. After all, Kagenui did say one shot, right? Be it a punch or a bullet. He is expected to lose as he makes his way to face Kagenui. However he realizes she is gone.

Episode 12: Dead
Kagenui has been missing for a month but Araragi continues to visit the shrine every day. Also, ever since all oddities, rumours, gossips, ghost stories, urban legends, you name it, all has stopped. Like as though everything just died. One day Araragi sees Gaen before him. She tells him Kagenui has been defeated. Rather, she had been eliminated in order to render Yotsugi powerless since she is her master. There are 2 possibilities now. Either Yotsugi continues to serve him is an ineffective bodyguard-cum-doll or Yotsugi will wake up to her human side and protect him on her own free will. She then points out about Shinobu. Recently she has turned nocturnal, a sign that she is moving away from being an oddity and can’t protect him 24/7. Talking about shogi how if you try to protect all pieces you will lose as pieces except the king are needed to be sacrificed to win, since Araragi doesn’t consider himself as king, the problem is that this town has no king now. This means nobody wins or loses since there are no more rules. That is why many problems are happening. With that vacant spot, Araragi believed Kaiki was to fill it. Oshino could have filled it with his spiritual stability and Gaen by only her appearance. She entrusted this to Araragi but he failed. Putting Yotsugi close to him as a restraint also failed. Kagenui is missing, Kaiki isn’t showing up, Oshino’s whereabouts are unknown and the situation is at a dead end. Thus she has no choice but to act. So she is going to stop it by putting an end to Araragi’s actions. Araragi may not have intentions to act but without Yotsugi, he has that potential to act. Besides, he has his other side that is most likely to act. Either way, that potential for him to act makes it dangerous. But she has a solution. He must die. She cuts him down with the original Oddity Killer sword that was supposed to be eliminated a long time ago. Araragi wakes up in a strange place. Before him is Hachikuji who jokes that today’s punch line is about him failing to go take his exam and thus he failed.

Paranoid Story
Oh well. What a fine mess that Araragi has gone into. Since this is relatively a Monogatari Series, there are some parts which I don’t really understand. It is perhaps more ‘enjoyable’ for me compared to the other series is because it is short and each episode are not related to each other. Even the penultimate and final episodes are not technically related to one another. Each stories are standalones so if you don’t really see them in order, you won’t lose much. Of course if you haven’t seen the entire Monogatari Series, you’ll still be at a lost. I guess I’m the worst since I have been following it since Bakemonogatari and still can’t come to understand the deeper aspects. Although I did find out that each of the stories here are actually in chronological order throughout the Monogatari Series’ timeline and they do play important roles in the Owarimonogatari instalment. Too big of a gap for me to put the pieces together.

Now, the other aspect that makes it much different than the other entries in the Monogatari Series is that how each of the ‘problems’ are not supernatural or oddity based. While it might sound and look like one, the eventual answer (or punch line-cum-epilogue as narrated always by Araragi) has nothing to do with the supernatural but using common sense. In fact, some of the answers I could actually guess correctly and because of that I feel smart and proud! As though like it was trying to tell us that we might be just overthinking stuffs as the solution is just a simple one. Making us paranoid, huh? So perhaps this might be the point that either fans will love or hate. As Monogatari Series has been dealing with great supernatural and oddity stories all the while, to have an entry that has nothing to do with it feels like a slap in the face. On the other hand, this non-supernatural solution gives a fresh take and twist and easier for dumb people like me to understand and enjoy.

I would love to dub this series as Koyomi No Harem No Monogatari (Koyomi’s Harem Story) since each episode dedicates a ‘problem’ to a girl in his unofficial harem. You can tell which girl is featured from the opening credits animation (more about this later). Though, the some of the girls do appear more than once later in the epilogue punch line segment to help Araragi answer the question at hand. With that said, I noticed that there is a girl that hasn’t popped up. Remember Sodachi Oikura who made her debut in the first season of Owarimonogatari? Remember that childhood friend of Araragi? Not a single appearance of her. I guess this means she wasn’t meant to be part of his harem since at the end of her story, she transferred away to another school. Also, there was another girl, Rouka Numachi from the Hanamonogatari section but I suppose she was more involved with Kanbaru than Araragi so it’s understandable she isn’t in here. So these cute girls aren’t in his harem but Kagenui and Gaen are? Oh wait. Why am I assuming they are part of his harem?!

Speaking of the opening credits animation, they are nothing new as they are taken from the openings from previous instalments. Some of the catchier ones I remember vividly like Senjougahara’s Staple Stable, Sengoku’s Renai Circulation, Tsukihi’s Platinum Disco, Shinobu’s Mein Schatz and Yotsugi’s Orange Mint. There are no opening themes for Kagenui and Gaen since I suppose sh*t was going to get real. Ah, so I suppose they aren’t truly part of Araragi’s harem anyway. Wait. What the heck am I thinking? The only new song is the ending theme, Whiz by Trysail. Sounds like your typical genki anime pop. Just average and nothing extraordinary.

Overall, this series could be a hit or miss depending on how you like your Monogatari Series. It is somewhat like a light appetizer before the main dish that would see the end of the entire series. This little series entry did give me some motivation and hope that I will be able to enjoy the final instalment although in reality I doubt the opposite will be very much true. Unique or confusing, every story is up to each of us to interpret and come to our own conclusions. If only the solutions to the supernatural are as easy as this, the story itself would not have been so interesting in the first place. Araragi getting into all sorts of troubles and hence making the stories in all the series amazing and interesting, is that an oddity itself?

Owarimonogatari

July 23, 2016

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

Ougi Formula

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

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

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

Sodachi Riddle

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

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

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

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

Sodachi Lost

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shinobu Mail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tsukimonogatari

July 25, 2015

Yay! Finally, an adaptation of a story arc of the Monogatari series that is not focusing on one of Araragi’s harem girls! Or is it? Tsukimonogatari is focused on that peculiar doll corpse known as Yotsugi Ononoki. Despite this series coming out after Hanamonogatari, the time line is set after the events at the end of the second season of the Monogatari series. Also, from what I read (briefly), this is supposed to be the start of the final end chapters in the series. So does this mean the long story is going to end? Well, eventually like everything else it would. You wouldn’t want such stories to go on forever and forever and outliving you, right? Unless you’re that obsessed with the story… And unless the final arc is just a title and name for this particular set of stories…

Episode 1
Araragi tells and describes to us about Yotsugi. Despite looking like a cute girl, eccentric in speech and action, she is not human but a doll. Because so, is she trying to be a human? Shinobu begs to differ and gives us an example like how we learn a foreign language not to assimilate into their culture but just to communicate. For Yotsugi’s case, she was created not to be or become one but to be together with humans. She continues about the reasons oddities being in the form of animals and humans but ultimately they exist because humans exist. Like a ghost story, it must have a supernatural element. That is why ghost stories are told all around the world because there are sympathy for things other than humans. They are also told by humans and humans must be convinced by it. Araragi continues his narration that he is forced to believe in many of such oddities and stories whether he likes it or not. This leads to the talk of how things will not continue forever and there must be an end to it. That is why this story is about the beginning of the end. A story about the doll that he will soon come to understand about that.

Karen and Tsukihi are giving Araragi the abusive treatment to wake him up. Who needs alarm clocks when you have such abusive sisters. Noticing it is a day before Valentine, he wants chocolates. But they tell him to cut the crap and get his ass moving to start studying for the college entrance exams before it is too late. That lazy feeling… After Karen goes out for a run, Araragi talks to Tsukihi about if she ever wants Karen to shine because at this rate it feels she is wasting her talents. She won’t have anyone break up the bond of the Fire Sisters, not even her brother. But aren’t they going to disband anyway? She doesn’t like it when somebody else says that. Araragi goes to prepare the bath as Karen instructed but he decides to bath in it first. Tsukihi gets the same idea and she starts accusing him of being unfair. So now it is an argument to see who uses the bath first? Yeah, Tsukihi doesn’t even bat an eyelid to throw the shampoo bottle at him! Dangerous! The only solution as she suggests is to bath together. Pretty cramped and awkward, huh? Then there’s this argument about each other’s boobs and meat… I don’t even know anymore… As suggested, they should help wash each other’s hair and body. Tsukihi informs that Sengoku is out of hospital but she is surprised that he isn’t reacting in shock as she expected. Araragi felt he didn’t have the right to say anything else. Despite knowing he can never see her again, he is glad she is alright. He then narrates about how trouble will always come to this town time and time again. He is worried about needing to ensure a good balance. Tsukihi thinks he is carrying too much weight on his shoulders. It’s not like he can solve everything. He can toss stuff aside, leave it alone and know his place in the world. Live within his means. So what about his exams? That is why stop worrying about those stuffs and concentrate on this. He’ll figure something out… When Araragi looks at the mirror, he becomes shocked. Not because he could see the beautiful naked body of his little sister. But rather his mirror’s image is not showing! Like as though he has become an immortal oddity, a vampire.

Episode 2
Araragi tries to shield Tsukihi from looking at it so much so they end up in an ambiguous position. She allows him to kiss! Karen just returned from her run and is about to take a bath and sees this incest scene. Flying kick! Later Araragi summons Shinobu to tell his problem. He finds it odd he can’t see his reflection and if this means he has turned into a vampire, why isn’t his little toe that Tsukihi damage healed? Shinobu takes a look and believes he is a vampire now. The toe nail? Well, it is healing. Pretty slowly of course. But his body is definitely undergoing some change and he should ask Yotsugi about this. Or at least her master, Kagenui. But he has none of their contacts. Maybe get Kaiki for information? No way. That is a last resort. Gaen? She knows everything. He’s not really up to it. Hanekawa? She’s smart but not a specialist. Suddenly Araragi gets a creepy mail from Gaen to meet at the department store tonight. She has already made arrangements. See! She knows! Tsukihi continues to throw tantrum at Araragi for leaving her to get beaten up by Karen. She demands an apology! However Araragi wants a favour. He wants the sisters to stay at Kanbaru’s place tonight. Please don’t ask why. As he is going to ask Kagenui’s help, he must hide Tsukihi. At the department store, he sees Yotsugi inside the crane vending machine. She’s not responding. Is she a real doll? Araragi notices Shinobu’s reflection in the glass but his is absent. Probably Shinobu’s vampire trait is not strong at the moment. He plays the game to pick her out. Since he sucks, Shinobu gives him tips on how to do it. 12 tries later… That is when Yotsugi springs back to ‘life’. What took you so long, brother? He wonders why she is here by herself. On the contrary, Kagenui is right behind you. Or rather standing on Shinobu’s head!

Taking a look at his toe again, seems it is completely healed. That is because the moonlight accelerated his healing power as a vampire. Kagenui has Yotsugi ‘bite’ his toe to analyze. While at that, she has him show his hand. Then she breaks it! THAT IS FREAKING PAINFUL YOU B*TCH! Consider this a test of his healing abilities. He must concentrate and focus to heal it. He starts thinking about… Hanekawa’s boobs! How can he fondle them if his fingers are broken?! And it is healed! Yotsugi’s analyze is that Shinobu is right that he is turning into a vampire. They want Araragi to call out Shinobu because they want to hear her opinion too. It takes lots of coaxing for her to come out since she is still mad at Kagenui for stepping on her head. Despite she apologizes, it feels like she’s trying to make fun out of it. The loli vampire close to tears… Araragi has her think of it this way. She used her body to protect him from her stepping. Okay. Back to normal. So this is the final analysis: Araragi’s body is slowly turning into a vampire because each time he help solved incidents of this town, he relied on his vampire power. As a result, his soul is fundamentally and completely independent from Shinobu. It isn’t that he turned into a vampire too many times, rather he got too used to turning into one. Sengoku’s case was the biggest factor since he turned into a vampire virtually every day. So okay. What does he need to do to turn back into a human? Nothing. Because you can’t fix this.

Episode 3
Araragi seems to accept that as compensation but it is hinted there is a way to stop him from further turning into a vampire and maintain status quo: Do not use the powers ever again. Kagenui warns if he turns into a true vampire, she’ll kill him as a specialist. Shinobu responds that she will kill her since she is no longer bound by her master. Yotsugi wants him to promise her that but Araragi wonders if he can keep it because if Senjougahara and Hanekawa are dying before his eyes, he is more inclined to use it and won’t have time to think. Yotsugi wants to continue testing the rest of his body when Kagenui gets a call from Gaen. It doesn’t sound pleasant. It is the worst possible timing that brings the worst possible news. She wants him to head over to Kanbaru’s house right now and will lend Yotsugi to him. His sisters are not there now as they speak. Araragi barely survives Yotsugi’s super jump and as they head into the house, it is dark and nobody around. There is a paper crane on the floor and as Yotsugi tells him to pick it up, lots of other coloured paper cranes appear. Yotsugi knows who has done this malicious kidnapping. The clue is in the crane. It is a bird. Like a phoenix. In short, it points to Tsukihi. Meeting back with Kagenui, she reveals Tadatsuru Teori is the one responsible for the kidnapping. He is a doll master and a specialist like her who kills immortal oddities. His objective is not clear but all she can say is that he tends to act on grudges but a softie when it comes to work. Therefore there is still hope to save the girls. However she warns him he cannot use his powers in this situation nor Shinobu can turn into a vampire.

Araragi explains he wanted to seal Shinobu’s power in spring but ended up using it anyway so could this be some sort of divine punishment? Kagenui feels the timing of everything is too convenient to be that. Araragi wonders about this Tadatsuru guy if he has ideals like being an ally of justice. Kagenui laughs it off as a joke. Even if he had them, it would just be as aesthetics. Therefore he doesn’t have ideals but some sort of obsession instead. That is why in this sense his sisters are safe. Much safer than if it was her going after them. This kidnapping made him a one-sided victim and for argument’s sake, assume divine punishment exists, that would only affect him and how he is losing his humanity. The kidnapped girls are completely unrelated. Araragi seeks her help to save them and since Gaen told her to do so, she’ll go with the flow. She hints there must be a clue within those paper cranes and basically Tadatsuru’s objective is him and Shinobu. Despite Oshino considered them as harmless, this is only acknowledged to those inside Gaen’s network. It won’t matter for outsiders. Thus it is the worst possible thing to happen as now they both can’t fight. One of the paper cranes reveals a shrine location but no time. They assume it is to be settled tonight and they better do it before sunrise. Araragi’s mission now is to retrieve the girls and put them back in bed before they wake up. Kagenui tells him despite they joined up in this, it is not like they’re going to do some team play. He should go in at his own time to save them (I guess she’ll be going separately then). Araragi requests Yotsugi’s super jump again but stay low to the ground to avoid being an easy target in the air. Low but fast. It’ll be easy on his body.

Episode 4
Araragi bumps into Ougi on his way to the shrine. He wants to send her home but does he have time? Heck, even Ougi says she has no home. I’m not sure if Ougi is trying to stall Araragi because she certainly sound like she isn’t going to help him either. It feels like she is mocking him that he has to borrow the powers of a certain little girl that it is pathetic. However she notes he has matured but only maybe because he has lost many things. Continuing the journey with Yotsugi, they discuss how to get the girls back. She offers to tell him Tadatsuru’s story. Although he is not that interested, he needs to at least know the enemy so they can form a plan to save them. Things won’t be solved if we don’t know how to do it. That is why Araragi must learn how to ‘convince’ Tadatsuru. So I guess the simple plan of sneaking in and saving the girls without Tadatsuru noticing is out. Yotsugi begins by describing herself as an artificial oddity created by Kagenui, Gaen, Oshino and Tadatsuru. In the end, Kagenui got her because Yotsugi chose her. This causes a discord between Kagenui and Tadatsuru. Because despite both being specialists, they are complete opposites. Kagenui specializes in the immortal, the living oddity while Tadatsuru deals with dead oddities. Therefore a lifeless doll like Yotsugi would be his favourite. She is telling him this in case of the worst case scenario where all the hostages are killed and Kagenui doesn’t make it in time because certainly Araragi is no match for him. She believes Tadatsuru wants her. That is why Kagenui lent her to him. Suddenly Araragi flips up her skirt to admire her panties! Is this his way to get her to stop saying silly things? He believes this is not the reason she was entrusted to him. It is because she can take care of a useless guy like him. This is Araragi’s plan. He is going to be the decoy while Yotsugi goes to find the girls and then escape with them. But what about him? He has a secret plan: Grovelling. Doesn’t sound good. She warns him he will be targeted if he fully turns into a vampire. Don’t forget, Shinobu was once a vampire too. He might forgive if he offers a creature who was once an oddity but that is not going to work even if it is a one in a million chance since he is not willing to offer her, there is no way he would do it to Shinobu too. The other way as Yotsugi suggests is that she slams her power point blank at him, killing him outright. Araragi disagrees because when she starts to murder, she’ll stop being human. And now she cues to him to let go of her skirt for fear she might get sick! But Araragi might regret doing this because he never foreseen what she would do after this.

They see Tadatsuru sitting on the donation box folding lots of origami. While Yotsugi goes to search for the girls by entering the shrine from the back, Araragi goes to talk to him upfront. Araragi is surprised that he mentions about some curse was put on him and Kagenui. A curse that made them cannot walk on the ground (and thus why she was reluctant to follow them on foot). But he rather calls it compensation, a price to pay to reach for something far away without knowing their place in this world. He did the kidnappings to get rid of him. Araragi wants the girls go as they have nothing to do with this but he begs to differ. They do, especially Tsukihi. However Tadatsuru wants to know the answer to the question of why he is here. He can’t understand. Even his mission to eliminate Araragi, he doesn’t comprehend why. He mentions something about the best casting he is for Araragi. The person who is best to defeat him, that is why he is chosen for this role. Everyone including Araragi, Yotsugi and Kagenui are here because they are ‘forced to’. Even Araragi being angry that his girls are kidnapped, isn’t he ‘forced’ to be angry? Now Tadatsuru wants him to find Oshino for he is the only one who can be a fair referee to all this. Well, Araragi has looked far and wide but that dude is nowhere to be found. That is when Tadatsuru decides to end this. The donation box is now full of his origami. He warns Araragi want last time to find Oshino. If he can’t do that, he has no choice but to ‘become proper’. Araragi wonders if there is something he would like to ask straight instead of beating around the bush. All Tadatsuru ask is to do this with tenacity. Just then, Yotsugi shoots her beam point blank at Tadatsuru. Nobody could survive that. She assures Araragi not to worry because she did this on her own will. She is sure there was a way to spare him but she chose to kill him. Because she is a monster. She hopes Araragi won’t end up like he when a human’s story ends up as a monster story.

The girls are found sleeping and folded nicely inside the donation box. Kagenui arrives just to check on them and I guess she was never needed in the first place. Or is it? The girls are taken back to Kanbaru’s home and put to bed without them noticing anything. As day breaks, Yotsugi notes that since his body doesn’t disappear in the sunlight like real vampires do, he is safe for now. Araragi narrates that this incident was about him witnessing a cute doll murder a human as a monster. He goes to visit Senjougahara and that crazy girl instantly sticks a chocolate in his mouth the moment he walks in! Oh right. It’s Valentine’s Day today. Tastes good? Yes. Come in. There’s more! He seeks her opinion about not being able to see himself in the mirror. But as long she can see him, it’s fine. He is still worried about living a normal life so she mentions about Kaiki who lives his life by showing off saying things like that but never thought about. In short, she likes him the way he is even how uncool he is. Talking about Hanekawa who is still probably looking for Oshino, Araragi wants to go talk to her. But she pins him down on the ground and tells him to do it tomorrow. Has she got something steamy for Valentine’s Day planned out? When he goes home, it isn’t the fact that he sees his naked sisters changing but rather Yotsugi with them! Actually her sisters won her at the crane vending machine. It only took them 3 tries… That’s not the point! She says the objective of this incident was to make a split in their relationship. Gaen and Kagenui decided they needed to avoid it. Until this town stabilizes, Yotsugi is tasked to stick with him and possibly get closer and more intimate with him. This has got to be a joke, right? His sisters start abusing him for talking to their hard earned doll. They’re tearing him apart in their tug of war. His nosy days will continue for just a bit longer.

Living Doll…
Yay! My sentiments of what I am going to say are as close and almost similar to what I have said in my Hanamonogatari blog. From the storyline to the flow of the story and even the visuals. I might be repeating myself but then again some things are worth repeating. Are they? But anyway, the only thing that has me slightly less interested was the lack of this series focusing on Yotsugi. Now, don’t get me wrong here. Yotsugi has her due screen time in this arc but what I am saying is that I just don’t feel that this arc is about her. At least not that I can connect with. Because from where I stand, I see Araragi as the main star with Yotsugi in the supporting role despite they spam a lot of ‘fun’ and weird scenes on her. Yay?

You see, with only 4 episodes, the first episode is already ‘wasted’ by showing lots of Tsukihi fanservice just to setup the fact that Araragi can’t see himself in the mirror and thus he needs to go seek help from a specialist that will solve his problem. That is just basically what the first episode is about! Then it shifts from solving his problem effectively to saving his loved ones while they talk about things and stuff. Sure, Yotsugi is also mentioned and detailed in those ‘conversations’ but because I do not understand the entire picture of the plot, perhaps I am already lost in trying to figure and connect it all to Yotsugi and wondering if this arc has anything major to do with her. And in the end, it was just that short scene of her killing Tadatsuru to prove that she is more of a monster than a human as the turning point and climax of this series.

Everything else like I have just said, remains true and played out to the Monogatari style of storytelling. Like the visuals, I’ve never failed to mention this in every such blog of mine, they are very interesting and creative to look at and serve as a ‘distraction’ while you listen to the drama and dialogue. Sometimes they are funny and amusing enough to make you smirk like how Araragi and Kagenui were talking, Yotsugi and Shinobu were making snowmen and playing snowball fights (Yotsugi wins!). The long winded speeches about everything and some feel that they don’t matter but just to waste time (for those like yours truly who don’t understand fully about the series), you’d wonder if these are just red herrings to lead you astray or just nothing much ado about anything.

And so when it concludes, is this how Yotsugi becomes part of Araragi’s harem? Can I consider this monster doll to be part of it? Well, as long as she is staying close to him then it would probably be a big yes. But that itself is another story. Which means if they come up with more stories and even as I said at the start it could be the final stretch of the stories in this series, it will still be interesting enough for me to go watch it despite the fact that there is s chance I might not understand a lot of it. Because like everybody else who reads a story, we are interested to know how the story ends. For better or worse. Yay!

Hanamonogatari

July 17, 2015

If you figured that a certain protagonist was missing in the sense that she didn’t even have an arc of her own in the second season, that is because they decided to cut that out and put it separately as another season or story. But to some they could consider this to be a continuation or extension of the second season. But whatever it is, for those who love the Monogatari series, that won’t stop you to go watch more stories and of course Hanamonogatari, the story in which Suruga Kanbaru is the ‘star’. Like the rest of the girls, she has her own story to tell and problems to deal with. That is why they gave us 5 episodes for this ‘flower story’ to ‘bloom’…

Episode 1
Kanbaru remembers her mother’s stinging words for her. It was confusing nevertheless. Not that she could understand anyway. When her parents died, Kanbaru lived with her grandparents and could never understand what dad saw in her. To him, he was the cutest girl but Kanbaru always thought her mom was like the devil. Kanbaru wakes up in her messy room, her monster arm tied down. It would be good news if she had not hurt anybody the night before. As she heads to school, she tells us Araragi and Senjougahara are no longer around because they have already graduated. Kanbaru is now in her final year of high school. She meets Ougi along the way. She is puzzled Ougi is dressed as a boy but he says he has always been one. He mentions if she has heard rumours about Sir Devil. In class, Kanbaru talks to her classmate, Higasa who is also part of the basketball team about this. It is believed that if you talked to Sir Devil about your problems, it will definitely be solved. Remembering what Ougi said, this Sir Devil is supposedly a real person, a high school girl who actually goes around helping others. But can she actually be doing this out of mere kindness? Later Kanbaru contacts Karen for her opinion and although she has not heard anybody getting hurt from this, Karen says she doesn’t believe in stuffs like devils and monsters. That’s so fairytale. As explained, there are 3 ways to find Sir Devil based on their difficulty. The easiest being writing a letter, a phone call to Sir Devil is moderate while the hardest is meeting Sir Devil in person. Kanbaru picks the third choice and it seems Sir Devil turns out to be Rouka Numachi, Kanbaru’s basketball archrival during her middle school years.

Numachi mentions ever since she got injured, she had not taken any entrance exam and thus isn’t going to school right now. Because nobody will hire her with such injuries, she has so much free time and what better way than to assume Sir Devil. However she isn’t doing this out of money. She hasn’t taken a penny. So why is she doing this? It is for her own betterment. When she hears other people’s problem, she is assured there are others who are as miserable as her. Also, she keeps all the letters and phone recordings as collection. It’s one sick hobby. Kanbaru didn’t like this and slaps her when she says she is not a basketball player anymore but a counsellor. Numachi tells her not to be so serious. In fact, nobody is worst off when they seek her help. Kanbaru thought she solves people’s problems so they don’t have the right to complain. However Numachi points out she is wrong. She doesn’t do anything. She just listens to their problem and relay this problem to the right authorities who will help deal with it. (If you’re falling asleep right now, surely this little shocker of Numachi grabbing Kanbaru’s breast would wake you up). Then how did rumours Sir Devil will definitely solve your problems surface? Numachi says time alone itself helps the healing. Worried people are assured when they hear somebody assure their problems are taken care of. This makes Kanbaru think that had she endured her problem rather tried to solve it, would not many people have been hurt? Although Kanbaru doesn’t approve of her sick hobby, she lets her go seeing nobody gets hurt. This also has her thinking if a day would come when she can sleep well without taping her arm to the wall. Next morning when she wakes up, she is surprised to find her monster arm is reverted back to a human kind!

Episode 2
Still in disbelief, Kanbaru briefly tells us how she got that monster arm thanks to her hatred over Araragi and because her wish for him to disappear never came true, it ended up incomplete. As she goes jogging, she tripped and injures her arm. It’s painful. Then Ougi comes by to tell her that there was a note yesterday saying that Sir Devil will stop helping people from now on. Kanbaru tries to find Numachi but she is nowhere to be found. A few days later, at the train station, Kanbaru is shocked to come into Kaiki. Instantly she runs away but he runs faster than her and without much effort! Holy cow! I guess the loser has to listen. He wants to talk to her and has been waiting for her here since summer as Araragi and Senjougahara kicked him out of town. He treats her to BBQ meat and Kanbaru is not amused he is playing the good guy. So much so she wants him to do something bad so she can hate him. Not likely. He’s kind enough to cook meat for her. Kaiki explains he knew her mother back when they were in university. Kanbaru never knew her aunt’s name was Izuko Gaen until after she left. Because Kaiki never got along with Izuko, Kanbaru’s mom helped him quite a lot with that. She asked him to take care of Kanbaru if anything happened to her. But that is not the reason why he came to town last year. It was a secondary concern. Her mom never paid him anything so he was not obliged to do so. But since he was in town, might as well check on her.

Kanbaru guesses that Kaiki was in love with her mom because he keeps calling her maiden name. Because by calling her married name, it is like calling the name of the rival he lost out to. He admits he was in love with her but since he had a girlfriend then, he never got anywhere with her. Oddly enough, when Kanbaru asks if she resembles her mom and he says he can’t remember much less than her since it was 15 years ago he last saw her. Kaiki then hands his name card and wants her to call him if she needs help. After all, he did promise her mom. Is he trying to con her? He assures he isn’t. He knows she respects Senjougahara and if she doesn’t stay on her guard to hate him, it is like betraying the senior she respects. That is why he won’t con her. So she can’t hate him. Well, at least he can con others for her. Like she needs that kind of help. She takes up his offer anyway although she remains suspicious. She is surprised when he knows she is keeping a mummified monkey’s paw from her mom. He tells her never to use it. Someone will come to take it and when he does, give it to him. That collector is trying to assemble parts of a devil. Do not refuse. Just give it away. Before he leaves, she asks one last question how he knew she will be at the station. Her friend told him. Who? Higasa? No. Numachi. This opens a lot of questions for Kanbaru. How did Numachi get in touch with him? Why would she do that? Did she realize she was after her? What other information did Numachi tell him? Kanbaru decided not to question all that to keep her monster arm a secret and avoid revealing her knowledge of Sir Devil. Sharing all this information with him would be dangerous. Later Kanbaru contacts Karen with a request to help find Numachi.

Episode 3
Kanbaru confronts Numachi in class and she knows she was the one who stole her monster arm. When did she do it? When she fondled her breast then. Kanbaru realizes she is the collector Kaiki was talking about but whether or not Kaiki knew about this, Numachi says Kaiki always tell half his information. He wants to be the good third party but doesn’t want to be the one deciding the story. To hear more, Numachi tells her to meet at the gym after school. So we see the girls in basketball action. Numachi is doing so much better than her than you wonder if she was faking her injuries. Like it was never there in the first place. After an hour of sweating, it’s time to talk. Kanbaru wants to know what she has been doing for the past 3 years. Numachi teases her that she is the type that likes girls more than boys and starts seducing her. Kanbaru oddly can’t run away (something she is good at I suppose). It ends with Numachi giving her a teasing peck on the cheek. Numachi shows off another cool basketball move that Kanbaru never thought she could pull off. Numachi tells her to forget about the devil’s hand and return to her normal life but to Kanbaru, it signifies the sin she has to bear. Numachi tells her back it isn’t hers to begin with. Revealing her monster arm, it is shorter than it is since Kanbaru’s first wish came true. She left part of her soul that it ate inside her thus the hand reverted to its original size. Numachi then reveals her left leg. A full monster leg.

It all started 3 years ago after some basketball regional tournament where she broke her leg due to some pressure. She adds she was into football in her elementary days but notes boys didn’t like girls when they do better than them in that. It made her question about why some have talent and some don’t. After she graduated, she also moved on from football. Why basketball? Because she wanted to up the challenge. She was good with her legs and now she wanted to try out something with her hands. So after she broke her leg, the funny part was how teammates she never got along with and people who found her obnoxious treated her kindly. Despite all that, she knew her left leg will not be able to play sports again so she quit school and requested her parents to move far away. Before she moved, that was when she discovered her misery collecting hobby. When she was in hospital, one of her teammates visited her. She wanted some advice but Numachi saw what she wanted was to talk about someone who was more miserable than her. Someone like Numachi. At the same time she didn’t want someone to look down on her while giving advice. But Numachi wasn’t mad. Because she felt better after listening to her story. That is when the satisfaction of hearing other people’s misery started to take shape. So Numachi told her she understood her problems and assured she will fix them so she doesn’t have to worry about a thing. This was a big lie and she said it so that she won’t come back the next day to tell her other problems. Before Numachi was discharged, that girl returned with a big relief and thanking her profusely. Numachi couldn’t understand a thing she said except she knew the problem was solved. And that is where her hobby started. She entrusted her with her worries, stopped worrying and in time the problem solved itself. And in time and perhaps from her perspective, Numachi was like somebody who could solve things. This wasn’t an issue for anybody since she was able to save someone and heal her own wounds without much effort. That is when she decided that this would be her life task. She felt she had found a place to die as an athlete. It was the birth of her as a misery collector. Kanbaru knows she hasn’t told her the story of collecting parts of a devil. Numachi gives her a choice: Hear the rest or don’t. She thinks she’ll better off not knowing it but Kanbaru questions her back that it is her who is going to do the choosing: Tell her everything or return her arm. Looks like she’ll be continuing. Be warned, this is a real story of a real devil and hearing it won’t make her feel any better. Too late to turn back.

Episode 4
After Numachi was discharged and left town, that is when her misery collecting hobby start to take off. She took advantage of being new in town to spread rumours that she was Sir Devil and talked to others about their problems. This was also how she met Kaiki. You could say that they share the ‘same business’ although his goal is to make a profit from conning others. Through him (at least his theory), she found that aberrations exist in this world despite Kaiki himself doesn’t believe in monsters or ghosts. The start of her devil collecting began with this girl, Rouka Hanadori. She begged for help in a polite manner and showed her monster left leg. The leg would have a mind of its own and tried to kill her mother. When she realized the cause of her mother’s hospitalization, she became desperate and sought Numachi’s help. Numachi also thought of helping her and that meant she wanted to take her place of having that leg. So she called Kaiki and was told it would cost her. The next morning, her left leg become that monster leg. It was a good thing in a way because it replaced her broken original leg. She continued to wear fake bandages and crutches because people tend to be more open with a handicap. It was very convenient. Shortly, she gained this goal of collecting the devil’s parts. Then she heard of a man who was the opposite of her. He made the misery of others permanent. Each time she hears of this, she goes to ‘fight’ or rather ‘collect’ him. Therefore there are other parts of her body that are now the devil’s and thus she took Kanbaru’s hand for that personal reason. Although she has not even collected 1/3 of the parts, if she does wouldn’t she turn into a devil? True, be she intends to absorb it. That is all to the story. Numachi believes they won’t meet again.

Back home, Kanbaru gets a call from Karen that she has found out something on Numachi. When Kanbaru mentions she just met her, Karen believes it is impossible. Because Numachi killed herself 3 years ago! After getting injured in a basketball game and transferred to a new school, she slit her wrists before graduating. So could that girl Kanbaru saw was a ghost?! She thought of calling Kaiki but ditches the idea. There is no better way than to clear the mind but to take a midnight run. I don’t know how far she ran but she finally tires out and is surprisingly picked up by Araragi. This dude now is driving a car of his own! Kanbaru can’t help feel disappointed and starts teasing the roundness of his Volkswagen model. So she’s talking about the dilemma she is facing now and what would it feel like to be like herself. I don’t know. Shouldn’t she know that better herself? Kanbaru is also in a dilemma in helping others because sometimes things are better when it is best left alone or if it is a good idea to help when others prefer to be in the misery. Araragi doesn’t understand but he what he does understand that she is bothered by it. Bothered enough to take action and that itself is a big deal. If she is bothered by it, so will he. So will Senjougahara. But sometimes when you need help, the only one who can do anything is yourself. Kanbaru has heard lots of things from other people but he points out they are not her. When did she get smart enough to start worrying about others? He has done what he wants all the time so she too should just do what she pleases. If you want to follow someone else’s opinion, go ahead. If you can’t, then fight. Kanbaru feels better now and she decides to fight on. She doesn’t need his help but if she does, probably it’s to help clean up her room! Do that yourself!

Episode 5
Kanbaru finds a package for her. It is the devil’s head. Meeting up with Numachi again, she is not pleased that Kaiki had it all along and tricked her. Maybe he wanted to take all the parts from her in the end or sell it to her. Numachi wants the head but Kanbaru won’t give it to her because she can’t stand looking at her after becoming a devil. Then don’t look! Kanbaru suggests a one-on-one basketball game. They’ll play what they are best at. Kanbaru on offense while Numachi on defence. Numachi gets it if she wins otherwise she will stop her misery and devil parts collecting hobby. Numachi feels there is nothing in it for her but Kanbaru adds if she wins, she will not smash the head. There’s your added incentive. She’ll smash all the other parts too. Numachi is confident she will use the devil parts to her advantage. Even if she loses, she will take it by force. Kanbaru disagrees that she can steal but she can’t take it by force. As Numachi goes to get some shoes to wear, Kanbaru starts shivering because from what Numachi said, she doesn’t realize she is already dead and a ghost. She believes of wandering around and collecting parts and that is how she fills the gaps in her memories. What Kanbaru realizes she is about to do is to tell her old rival that she is already dead. As the match begins, Kanbaru talks about regret (it is better to do something and regret it later than not) as well as how she will eventually forget all this.

Kanbaru knows it will be tough to break through her defence so she uses the basic rule that basketball is a team game to trick Numachi by passing her the ball and then quickly grabbing it back. But Numachi is fast to recover and tries to block her from slam dunk. Eventually she gets the ball in. Kanbaru wins and falls on Numachi. They both start laughing. But Numachi disputes she handed her the ball so doesn’t it mean it is her lost? But Numachi didn’t take full control of it and if she was sure Kanbaru had lost, she wouldn’t have done the blocking. Numachi for once understood the meaning of defeat. Because teammates never passed the ball to her, she never expected that. Halfway talking, Kanbaru realizes Numachi is gone and all that is left behind are the devil parts. Kanbaru realizes she never hated her. She envied her. Kanbaru has a dream talking to her mother about either being the cure or poison otherwise you are just plain water. Numachi was neither that and even so only a muddy water. When she wakes up from bed, she is surprised to see Araragi beside her. She was sleeping naked. Don’t worry. Her body doesn’t turn her on. He prefers his sisters! Arrest this siscon! Kanbaru has a request and that is to give the devil parts to him to feed to Shinobu since she isn’t sure what to do with it. He doesn’t mind. He talks about wishes and his sisters. It doesn’t matter if a wish comes true or not. Wishes are something you grant yourself. The value is in making the wish. Kanbaru has Araragi cut her hair. She probably could have gone to the hair salon but this is her way of ending it. Besides, she wants him to cut it. She also requests to drive her to Numachi’s grave next time. She is in a dilemma whether to continue Numachi’s work of collecting the remaining parts. Araragi doesn’t want her to bother about that because it is best that the parts stay separated. He adds if people find out what she did, they’ll say a lot of things. Some will say she did right and some will say she did wrong. But it doesn’t matter because she did neither the right or wrong thing. It is all part of being young.

Aku No Hana…
Well, well… Like you said it Araragi, it doesn’t really matter, right? I myself am not sure if the story itself is great or not. You can look at it from both sides of the spectrum. Basically, there isn’t anything that spectacular in this story except that it is about Kanbaru trying to lay the ghost of an old rival to rest. And they dragged out the drama and all the other parts and divided it into a few episodes. Like the first episode was the Sir Devil rumours and the meeting of Numachi, the second was the meeting with Kaiki, the third about Numachi’s background, the fourth heavily linked to the third explores further about how she came to have this peculiar habit and finally the last episode on how it is all settled. Parts in between the next episode may feel cut out but I supposed those aren’t important because if they do put in, maybe it’ll drag on for another 5 episodes. Those who are not used to this type of storytelling may find it too long and draggy just for something that doesn’t really end in any spectacular fashion at all. Personally, I was in between too. That sentiment of dragging out a ‘simple’ story had me feeling the drag at times but it is that same reason how they expand and convey the story in a smooth and seamless manner is what makes this entire series –cum-mini-arc interesting. In that sense, it doesn’t feel draggy.

I don’t know if Kanbaru got back her monster arm because she is still wearing those bandages in the end but that could be out of habit. But I don’t think it would be reasonable for her to get it back despite it has been part of her life. As for Numachi, personally it is hard for me to say about her character because I was expecting some kind of major twist about her in the end but all I got was the lukewarm ghost girl thing. She’s dead and doesn’t even know it. Can’t say I am impressed but I didn’t see it coming either because I was intensely trying to listen to the drama and perhaps catch something in it. Speaking of which, maybe that is why the added drama seems to drag out because lots of what they say may or may not be relevant to the storyline. Maybe they all are but a person with limited knowledge on the series may not grasp and connect them together and thus such conversations are just for distractions or a red herring to let your guard down. Like the fanservice between Kanbaru and Numachi is just teasing but with nothing much ado. Or like that big devil revelation story that Numachi warned Kanbaru before proceeding. I thought it wasn’t that scary. Boy, it had me thinking if that story was something horrifying but it wasn’t. Guess she got us, huh? Araragi once again is relegated to being a supporting role just like some of the other arcs in the second season. I suppose this is only fair as this is Kanbaru’s arc (duh!) so what she wants to do is entirely up to her. Araragi can only advice her but the ultimate decision lies in her hands. I wonder if Araragi is thinking about cutting his own long hair. I’m not really used seeing him with it. Looks entirely like a different person.

Like how I commented in all my previous Monogatari blogs, I will also comment it here. I’m talking about the visuals. Yes, the trademark SHAFT visual styles are ever present and fans of the series will definitely welcome it. Otherwise, some may feel that those creative and unique visuals serve as no more than annoying distractions because it would be damn boring if the angles shown during the conversations were just their head shots or character. So it is like while you listen to their drama, feel free to watch the uber cool designs and be in awe with them. Like in the final episode how Araragi ‘cleans’ Kanbaru’s room but in actual fact you’ll see him stacking them up all over the place just to play domino effect. Not relevant to what they’re talking but cool to watch? Then there is also those cool effects during Kanbaru and Numachi’s basketball match where the court is suddenly filled with ankle length water. You wonder what the hell this implication is for but don’t really matter because it just looks cool.

Overall, if you like the Monogatari series, you will also like this one with its deep drama and storytelling. Otherwise if you are a newbie and just jump in to check it out, you’ll not understand a big part of it because this series itself assumes that you know about Kanbaru’s case especially about her monster arm. Therefore if you want to start on this series, do it from the beginning and you better start now because there are lot more Monogatari stories to come. Speaking of which, there is already one that I will be watching very soon… When will it ever end? I hope when I’m dead, I will realize that I’m a ghost and move on. Otherwise I’ll be watching animes forever without realizing I’m already long gone. Hmmm… Maybe that isn’t such a bad thing after all.

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?