So do we get to see adult Mayoi now? That’s clearly what they’ve been baiting, but knowing Isin, the answer is no because fuck you. Not that I’d be moved much either way – frankly, last episode was so good it’s already justified whatever other nonsense this arc pulls together, and we haven’t even gotten to the full thematic point yet. Good times ahead!
Incidentally, I missed last week’s episode because busy, but I’ve caught up and put together a writeup for that one as well. You can find that here.
1:27 – Have to admit, Mayoi as a zombie hunter is pretty badass. And Araragi knows it – nice series of ‘holy shit, that’s Mayoi?’ shots there
1:59 – Shinobu, if you haven’t realized by now that this universe runs according to the rules of narrative convenience…
3:15 – Nice. They are playing with shadows a lot in this arc. Clues, clues…
3:53 – Well, there’s a clarification. We are indeed in a many-timeline universe
4:26 – Isin has trouble keep a straight face in pretty much all his stories. Nice name, Shinobu
4:43 – I always love these interpretive sequences. And I guess this makes two stories in a row where the antagonist is an unwanted version of a character’s self
5:22 – Also great. Also, Oshino’s line about the impossible hope of his mission kind of resonates with Shinobu’s line from last week about maintaining optimism and pushing forward just to avoid stasis. Which in turn works with the red light/green light thing, and the futility of dwelling on (or attempting to change) the past
5:32 – When have Araragi’s powers EVER been relevant to his missions? Outside of Hanekawa’s issues, he mainly just gets beat up while talking the enemy to death
6:56 – I love her replacement badass survival backpack. Also, all this work to save her and she’s still alone
8:35 – New palette! And what a lovely color scheme it is
9:15 – Even this world is beautiful now that Araragi knows that somewhere, Hachikuji survived
13:11 – I kind of jokingly referred to this as an Araragi/Shinobu buddy cop arc early on, but… yeah, that’s pretty much exactly where they’ve gone with it. Fun bonding time in alternate universe zombie apocalypses
13:22 – Well this is a new one
14:11 – Isin finds outer demons significantly less interesting than inner ones
Okay, that was hammy, even for me
15:02 – They are getting so much visual mileage out of this shrine
17:27 – This Shinobu required the same thing our Araragi did – to know that there is still hope somewhere.
20:00 – One more shadow for good measure. Right, shadows have always been relevant
23:01 – Alright, moral of the story time
23:15 – And two…
23:35 – …and three
Route down! That was pretty solid – I enjoyed the second half significantly more than the first, but that’s mainly because I find Shinbo’s gorgeous cinematography far more satisfying than Isin’s campy humor. I liked how it was primarily a Shinobu story, and that Hachikuji’s own theme was kind of just sewn in along the edges – Hachikuji’s general theme of “you must go forward, come what may, because going forward is its own reward and what makes you happy will often come as a surprise” basically bookended the series, whereas Shinobu’s far more classically Monogatari story (accepting all elements of yourself, a very close parallel to Hanekawa and Tsukihi’s stories) basically took over in the parallel world. I really like how Isin tied the two resolutions together – the parallel of Araragi’s satisfaction at seeing a world where Mayoi had a chance to be alive and happy with alternate-Shinobu’s (no, I will not type out her ridiculous name) combined happiness and grief at her own better self is pretty satisfying stuff. Not just elegant, but also emotionally effective – Araragi introducing that concept helps on the emotional sell of Shinobu’s climax.
Overall, I don’t think this arc was as strong as the first (which isn’t really a fair comparison, since I think that arc is the best thing Monogatari’s done yet), but it was still some solid Monogatari. Bring on the next one!