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!

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