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…


July 23, 2016

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

Ougi Formula

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

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

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

Sodachi Riddle

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

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

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

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

Sodachi Lost

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shinobu Mail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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