Monogatari S2 – Episode 23

Have you guys seen this OP? Seriously guys. Holy shit this OP. Ermahgerd. I’m not gonna be able to say anything worth reading until we get through that beautiful ridiculous thing, so let’s just start the show.

Episode 23

0:05 – Being such a best character does sound pretty exhausting


0:23 – More of this city as we’ve never known it

0:40 – Senjougahara lays out an attack in her usual style, something that would leave Araragi fumbling (and the camera fumbling breathily as well, though here we’re just getting slow shots of furniture)…

0:47 – And Kaiki says, “quit screwing around, little girl.” Refusing to acknowledge her as a person who could even use sexuality as a weapon. Same as he did last week with Nadeko – his only response to her advances was a kind of awkward pity. He’s stomping right through the charged adolescent nonsense Araragi has consistently enabled

1:14 – Oh my god here we go yes. It is glorious


1:24 – A duet between the two masters of cold sarcasm that is itself a mocking riff of 80s romance. Holy shit

1:44 – Kaiki yes you are the best. Hell, it’s not hard to believe his actual sense of style and romance kind of froze sometime in the mid-80s anyway. The height of cool

2:07 – And the song itself is so perfectly hokey. This is just an incredibly thing

2:19 – One more shot of dashing 80s Kaiki

Monogatari Kaiki

2:31 – She looks pretty silly in that hat. We haven’t had a single Araragi-Senjougahara scene this season, have we?

3:14 – I really could listen to Kaiki be dry and insincere all day

4:04 – Araragi makes her seem so scary, too! It’s like she’s just a brittle, hyper-defensive teenager or something

4:11 – An expression we’ve never seen from her. Like she got scolded by the teacher… which she pretty much did

Monogatari Senjougahara

4:34 – Kaiki suggests honesty

6:23 – His greatest power. It seems like his familiarity with lying makes him very aware of when it’s best to be direct

6:26 – These shots are so good. It’s hard to square this cute kid Senjougahara with the crazy-woman of Neko Shiro, or the intimidating sexuality of Bake #12

6:54 – Tellin’ it like it is. Araragi fucked up big time, and his mercy towards Nadeko might get any number of people killed


7:04 – Why do they all assume that’d even be a possible scenario? Once again, I fully agree with Kaiki’s expression

Goddamn is Kaiki a great presence here. SohumB proposed the idea that he’s about as close to an author avatar as we could get – Isin himself coming in and saying “look, this isn’t sexy. You’re all really weird. Stop doing that.” You all know my thoughts on this series – it wouldn’t surprise me if this were the creators just throwing up their hands and admitting the audience won’t realize the character perspectives aren’t aligned with the show perspective unless someone comes along to directly tell the characters they’re acting like children

8:16 – Nadeko is very powerful, but fortunately she’s not much of a person, and Kaiki is very good at people

8:40 – Again, I love the interplay of honesty and dishonesty in Kaiki’s worldview. He sees things as they really are, unfettered by people’s expectations or assumptions, and thus can see the simplest route to a solution

9:18 – An interesting position. Like she’s never had a meaningful enough interaction with anyone to see them as complex beings with more than one way of acting. Which certainly fits with her initial conception as the demented endpoint of the helpless moe girl – she has about as much ability to read people as Fuko

9:38 – Nobody home


10:12 – Hell, even her conception of love fits perfectly in with that archetype’s home – a love for stories where nothing ever progresses, where relationships don’t actually move beyond yearning and everyone stays in a happy limbo

10:47 – No Kaiki don’t leave this show needs you

10:52 – Kaiki, did you forget these are anime high schoolers?! Hand-holding is lewd and kissing is for after marriage!

12:26 – Man this series is good. Nice performance here


13:18 – Oh god. Is this Gaen’s fault?

It’s also great seeing Kaiki be all grumbly about the expenses he’ll incur saving their lives. I figured the Hanekawa show would be my favorite sub-show within Monogatari, but Kaiki is blowing away the competition

14:42 – Oh right, she’s always had her gimmicks. Another very Isin choice – having the characters try on different catchphrases. “Peace peace” certainly doesn’t match “by that time you’ll already be torn to pieces,” though

14:47 – He always knows just what to say

15:20 – I really like these little jump cut sequences. It’s already abundantly clear that we’re in Kaiki’s headspace here – so why do we get this drawn-out sequence of shots where he settles himself into his chair? It seems like he’s a person who’s always firmly aware of his self – his physical appearance, his poses, and everything he is visually communicating through his actions. Nothing is unchosen with Kaiki – his self-focus certainly leans into pride (as stuff like his childish disguise fight with Senjougahara demonstrates), but it clearly indicates he is always aware of his own representation


15:42 – Three million yen? Pfff. Yeah, Kaiki’s the actual hero of this story. And it’s great that we get the “thirty minutes later” before he declines – like we missed another soliloquy, with him once again convincing himself to do the job in spite of the person who was the reason he initially convinced himself actively paying him not to do it

17:11 – So Ougi disrupted a plan that involved having Shinobu become a god? Ougi’s been all over the place here – setting Nadeko on the path to godhood, offering Araragi perspective on Mayoi’s situation, possibly being the force responsible for Mayoi’s disappearance. Who is she working for? If Shinobu were intended to be a god by Gaen, thatcouldn’t be good for Araragi… right? Or would that have simply removed him from his responsibilities, with Gaen now willing to take up Oshino’s role? And why did the town need a god in the first place?

Eh. We’re gonna need more spoilers than that to sort out this mess

18:41 – What a friggin’ heartwarming arc we’re getting to end on. And hey, Kaiki solved his finance troubles!

20:25 – Nadeko you so damn crazy

22:16 – No powers. He’s just good at his job


22:37 – Damn cliffhangers! What could possibly provoke that face?!

And Done

Keep it up, Kaiki. Your monologue is incredibly entertaining, your perspective is welcome and continuously enlightening, and watching you play the Batman role in this universe is extremely satisfying. I’ll miss you when you’re gone, but at least you’re getting a five-episode arc to finish this season in style.

7 thoughts on “Monogatari S2 – Episode 23

    • That seems almost too easy for me – like it would fit too much into the narrative we already know about, which would both be very un-Isin-like and unlikely to provoke Kaiki to this extent. What it could ACTUALLY be, I have no idea.

  1. I had a probably obvious realization as I read this: we’re not just seeing Kaiki as the narrator and perhaps protagonist, we’re seeing him as the active hero in the narrative. So of course he gets to put Senjougahara down and so on, because the hero gets to win (if he wants to). Given that Kaiki said explicitly he’s an unreliable narrator, I have to wonder if the real version of the conversation went quite as neatly in his favour as Kaiki depicts it. Not that it matters since we’re getting an interestingly different perspective.

    On what’s in Nadeko’s closet: I’d be a little disappointed if it’s only an Araragi shrine (or at least an ordinary one) because that seems a bit small to provoke such a strong reaction from Kaiki. He already knows she’s kind of obsessed with Araragi, after all.

    • I agree, it’s completely right to question the specifics of the narrative and the rise and fall of conflicts here as Kaiki presents it. As a comment elsewhere noted, Gaen could very well have offered the three million yen because she KNEW Kaiki would decline, because that would fit in with his own tendency to define himself as the reluctant antihero of his own life story. It’s likely these situations are messier than Kaiki is presenting them – though I also do think the perspective on Senjougahara we’re getting here is valuable and has a lot of truth in it.

      Agreed on Nadeko’s closet. An Araragi shrine is what would normally be there in a story like this, and this is Isin we’re talking about.

      • Here is a crazy thought: maybe what’s in the back of the closet is something to do with Kaiki and Nadeko getting revenge on him. Kaiki has been having an awfully easy time of it so far, we know Nadeko knows his name and had him on her mind (and her narration of her arc was I believe set after she became a god), and it would be genuinely shocking to Kaiki to find out that he, the great deceiver, had been played (and by someone he’d casually dismissed as an idiot). And I can see Nadeko being extremely protective of it because it would destroy Nadeko’s image in a way that a lovey-dovey collection of Araragi pictures wouldn’t necessarily.

        I’m probably wrong and whatever it is, we’ll find out soon. I’m looking forward to it.

        • That definitely seems more likely than the Araragi shrine! It doesn’t seem to fit with Nadeko’s perception of herself as the victim who never takes real action, though. But that was a lie she kept telling herself, of course, so who knows.

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