Alright Monogatari, time to tell us what the fuck is going on. Araragi and Kanbaru are out there… somewhere. Doing something – possible tiger related, possibly not. Shinobu is on her own (or maybe not, who the fuck knows what happened during that massive chapter skip last episode), the tiger is threatening Senjougahara and Araragi’s homes, and Hanekawa has decided the moment has arrived. No more playing house with Senjougahara or the fire sisters, no more relying on Neko to sweep the bad feelings away. It’s time to wake up.
0:00 – Actually very excited for this. If there’s one thing Monogatari arcs know how to do, it’s nailing the dismount.
0:41 – “I buried you for my own ego.” It’s all coming together!
1:17 – “So I’m saying this for the first time: please help me.” And… character arc concluded? I mean, that was kind of it, right? Honestly admitting a need to rely on others, no longer accepting fate as it presents itself and defending herself with an overtly flawless and unfazed exterior? Yep, looks like we’re done here. Pack it up, guys!
1:45 – “A new segment my heart has cut off from itself.” Artfully put, Hanekawa
2:20 – Loving this constantly-reassembling montage. Shinbo’s going all-out
3:22 – “Stress and envy. Anxiety and agony.” That’s sweet characterization, but it’s also what’s made Hanekawa so unrelatable for so long. It’s hard to relate to someone whose negative emotions are immediately swept up and removed – not only does she intentionally create her own facade, her apparitions constantly perform mental surgery to support it. It puts everything in a pretty satisfying context
3:42 – I’ll take feats you can only perform in animation for 500. This sequeeeence
5:39 – “Just by having a home to go back to, why do I feel like I can do anything?” Interesting. So Hanekawa’s acceptance of the situation has at least given her stress a home, even if she still considers herself homeless?
7:26 – But seriously, all anime looks the same, amirite?
8:01 – “I don’t know everything, but everything burns.” Isin is having too much fun with that catchphrase
9:01 – “Doesn’t she know better than anyone that the concept of ‘natural parents’ is nonsense?” Ooh, sick burn, tiger!
9:44 – “I am a machine. I will not be moe. ” The tiger is firm on this
12:18 – Massive pallete shift when Hanekawa takes over. Interestingly, the exterior world has shifted from artificial bright white to natural near-blacks
12:47 – “I don’t want to be ‘real.’ I want to be human.” Man, in the context of this series, a line like that…
13:03 – “Let’s eat a meal together.” The catalyst that started both the conflict and the actual arc, and the simple act they spent an entire episode demonstrating her ability to do with Senjougahara
13:34 – When narrative catharsis fails, try electricity
14:40 – “She called me part of her family!” Does Isin have problems at home or something? Family troubles on the brain. Also, dear lord these shots
15:35 – These GODDAMN TEXT SCREENS. This is actually the first episode I haven’t paused to read all of them. Frickin’ Daisuki player…
19:00 – “I’ve always wanted him to pat me like this.” …yeah. Well, Araragi did have to come back to actually resolve the envy/“I never told him” thread. His hero act kinda makes me gag though
Oh wait, holy shit, this arc is from Hanekawa’s perspective. This is *Hanekawa’s* Araragi
20:09 – Fantastic. I love the shift from “Oh jeez, I got rejected” to actually embracing her emotions as she draws back the apparitions
Whew! What an episode! Maybe it’s just cause it was narrated by the actually-coherent Hanekawa, but that was a really satisfying arc. Everything resolved in extremely cathartic fashion, the threads tied together in a very neat narrative bow, there were a number of standout scenes (that “drawing her sadness back into herself” has to be one of my favorite moments of the series so far, and the Shinobu/Neko conversation was also great), and dear god was it beautiful. This show is always beautiful, but this episode was gorgeous. Firing on all cylinders indeed – this will be a damn hard act to top. Nice work Isin, nice work Shinbo. That was fantastic.