Monogatari S2 – Episode 26

And here we are at the last episode. We’ve had a fantastic arc to send off a fantastic season, and I’m very ready for Kaiki’s Last Stand. If this is his last story, he couldn’t have fabricated a better one – and even if he’s lying, he’s selling it well enough that I’m sure he’d consider it more valuable than the truth. Which, even outside the context of Kaiki’s philosophy, has always been one of the points here – as Kaiki said last episode, sentiments are only meaningful in the context of a personal reality. Is an unvarnished, “objective” world really more truthful than seeing the world through a given character’s personal reality? Nobody actually lives in that objective world – it is a commonality that is true to no-one. Much better to tell the truth through the lie of a personal, self-influenced reality – at least that is true to someone.

Anyway. Be it either Nadeko or Kaiki, it’s looking like someone’s personal reality is about to draw to a close. I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk through the personal reality of my experience of Monogatari.

Episode 26

0:15 – Well shit. Hanekawa might as well have warned him about this case. She’s entirely self-interested, which means she both doesn’t care about and is unable to trust others


0:33 – The key of Monogatari. The characters with apparitions don’t want to acknowledge their own failings, and so they see reality as a reflection of those failings, projecting their unsavory elements outwards. Nadeko, who only projects a false self, can only see everyone around her as a liar as well

0:41 – She is very scary. HanaKana’s killing this role

1:00 – Nice shot. I love Snake God Nadeko’s pure white-blood red color scheme. Her projection and her true self

1:39 – And of course she’s not wrong. Wonderful, wonderful trick here – this is her projecting her own personal lie onto reality, which is the main conceit of Monogatari. But the particular lie that comforts her is itself the message of the show


1:57 – I love how well Kaiki’s handling this. “Talking about calling the kettle black, miss snake god who could kill me at the slightest inclination!”

2:10 – You think Kaiki’s impressed?

2:42 – Doesn’t matter. You have to take responsibility for it. Like Hanekawa, or even Mayoi

3:10 – What a convenient way to twist it. It sounds like a real argument for a moment, but it’s just more selfishness. Acknowledging your faults isn’t the hard part in itself – it’s acknowledging them and growing because of that acceptance that is difficult. It’s changing yourself, and accepting the consequences of your choices. You can’t just accept your flaws and see them as beautiful – that’s a hollow kind of honesty

Man, it’s great to see Nadeko actually trying to pervert the central message of Monogatari. Even here, it’s not an external battle – it’s a war of personal growth, and Nadeko’s weapon is her ability to rationalize her stagnation


3:49 – And here’s Kaiki offering the central truth of Monogatari, the lesson Araragi refuses to learn. No-one can defeat your personal demons for you – you have to do it yourself

4:18 – Score one for “Kaiki is like a future version of Araragi”

4:44 – Oh shit it’s all coming together

5:41 – That is just crossing a line!

6:12 – The most crazy


6:37 – Ahahaha that is the best. What an amazing secret weapon

6:46 – Embarrassed yandere snake god Nadeko is best Nadeko

7:07 – And so she turns off her giant snake whirlpool of death so she can stumble down the hill and smack him. Really not the best at this “intimidating snake god” thing

7:34 – After all that, Nadeko’s secret – her true self – doesn’t seem like a particularly bad person

7:48 – Actually laughed out loud at this. Kaiki is the best

8:01 – Stop it I’m dying

8:02 – Oh my god this episode. Monogatari always surprises, never disappoints


8:40 – The stakes are high, Nadeko!

8:52 – Pfff, yeah, who’d do that?

9:16 – Personal realities may be comforting, but they sure are lonely.

10:10 – I love how he’s using “happy” here. People who acknowledge themselves don’t become happy, or even happier – life is hard, we’re all flawed people, we all hurt each other. But the happiness of a personal reality is a boring, empty delusion, and even when you’re not hurting others through your aberrations, you’re not living either. Just look at Hanekawa – aimless beyond maintaining her shell prior to this season, she’s now looking forward to a long, soul-crushing life as an aberration therapist

10:36 – So much hatred towards her true self


10:48 – Getting a little meta here, Isin? But it’s both true and a good metaphor. The shells can be comforting because they’re what you think other people want. Admitting what you yourself want requires real honesty

11:11 – They’re getting very direct with the fundamental moral of Monogatari here. The world is tough, and may laugh at you for who you are – but don’t ever let that make you disengage. Embrace the cruel, judgmental reality. Embrace failure, embrace pain, embrace your honest self. It’s the only way forward

11:55 – This is a fantastic speech. Perfect for his character, perfect for this story, perfect for Monogatari’s overall twisted-but-optimistic message

12:08 – “Monogatari’s just a pretentious harem show.”


12:36 – This is Monogatari being uplifting


14:10 – He wants to believe. This is a world where it’s right to be earnest. To try and to fail and to try again. To trust


16:55 – And now he bluntly lists off and downplays all the messages of the series. Oh, Kaiki

17:01 – Isin does not take himself very seriously


17:22 – Don’t bother, Kaiki. He’ll never learn

18:06 – Interesting exchange here. Gaen apparently still needs a god, but Araragi’s of course too stuck in his “must save everyone” mentality to create one. Well, Kaiki tried

19:05 – Kaiki’s got enough hard truths for everyone

19:37 – This is such necessary, unbelievable character growth that I don’t really trust it’s actually happening

In fact, all of this seems far too happy. Is Kaiki actually just narrating from near-death, impaled on a Nadeko snake?

19:57 – Kaiki gives himself all the best shots and all the best lines


20:37 – Lovely

20:59 – Kaiki spoils her

21:26 – Again, one of the most powerful things you can accomplish in Monogatari – knowing someone outside of yourself. Also love how very Kaiki it is for him to feign disinterest in her one-upmanship, and then say “haha I knew it was you” right before hanging up

22:24 – Pot kettle black again. Also love this sickly-sweet piano arrangement of the sickly-sweet OP

22:26 – Wonderful shot


22:37 – KAIKI NO. …and yet I still have to admire how lovely this shot composition is too

23:07 – Another great one. And once again Ougi is to blame

And Done

Oh god. What an ending. Oh… fuck. Jesus. Kaiki. Gah.

Wow. Kind of destroyed by that. Both the arc and the epilogue were telegraphing a bad end for Kaiki, but that… it was so sudden and so unattached to the consequences of the narrative that it still came as a shock. And then just cutting to black…

Well, that was an arc. A fantastic arc, in fact. Very possibly the best arc of the best season of one of the best anime out there. All the ideas of deception and perception and identity came together beautifully, Nadeko’s godhood was resolved in a way both poignant and funny, and Kaiki checks out with a fantastic speech and the talking-to Araragi sorely needed.

In a very Nadeko way, I’m almost happy Kaiki’s dead. He’s preserved, now – he nailed an incredible arc that pulled all the series’ ideas together while also being more funny and full of great character moments than virtually any of the others.

Not that we know how much of this story was actually true. But it’d be an insult to Kaiki to pretend that even matters – the story we saw is the story as it exists for us, and that story was fantastic. Whether it was a real or a fake, respect is due.

Thanks again for reading my writeups, everybody. Hope you enjoyed this show at least half as much as I did, and hope to see you all again soon. Until the next story!

23 thoughts on “Monogatari S2 – Episode 26

  1. Thanks for doing these writeups. Reading them was almost as exciting as actually watching the episodes. I can’t wait for Hanamonogatari.

  2. Would be funny if what was in the closet was foreshadowed ( at the end of episode 14, but it’s probably just really convenient wording. That aside, I think the retro manga references, Nadeko illustrated as a manga drawing ( right before Tsukihi cuts off her bangs to expose her and this arc’s OP ( definitely hint at it.

    Kinda took what you said earlier about the show coming together thematically to heart and watched the recaps. They felt a little unnecessary, but they weren’t pointless imo. Summary one used Neko Black ( ( to remind us of the embracing acceptance of one’s unfortunate qualities in Tsubasa Tiger, which is also reflected through Shinobu and her alternate self in Mayoi Jiangshi. Summary Two used Hitagi Crab ( (, Mayoi Snail (, Suruga Monkey ( ( and Nadeko Snake ( ( to lead into the victim complex and grudging jealousy of Nadeko Medusa. Summary Three used Karen Bee ( ( and Tsukihi Phoenix ( to lead into the deceptive facades of Shinobu Time and Hitagi End. I’m aware that the main purpose of the recaps were to give SHAFT more production time for the Second Season arcs, but they also make it more obvious that NisiOisiN has placed several characters in similar situations that indicate how this season would progress and help connect the dots of the franchise in a wonderful way.

    If you didn’t already know, Shinichiro Miki not only voiced Kaiki, but Knov from Hunter x Hunter (2011) as well, so that explains his top notch performance here. And do you think the snowflakes ( represented the discovery of individuality (instead of the worth of Nadeko’s life being dependent on Araragi) or am I reading too much into that?

    • Thanks for the summary! I actually forgot how core the ending of Neko Black was to illustrating the themes of the series, and ended up adding a couple more images to my writeup based on it. Not sure about the snowflakes, though – individuality hasn’t really been a consistent thread in the series, so I’d guess not, but in this series there’s certainly plenty left to interpretation.

  3. Before this season, Kanbaru was my favorite character. She’s now fighting for that honor with Kaiki and Hanekawa. Hanamonogatari’s gonna have to be a hell of a thing, ’cause this is going to be a tough act to follow.

    Well, we’ll see that one before Kizu at any rate.

    • Yeah, I’m veeery interested to see what they do with Kanbaru. She always struck me as one of the most emotionally stable characters in the show – obviously everyone puts up a strong face in Monogatari, but hers isn’t so obviously false as Senjougahara’s or even Hanekawa’s. I’d be shocked if they make me like her as much as Kaiki and Hanekawa, but I’m ready to see them try.

  4. I’m optimistically believing that Kaiki survives the ending, despite how things seem, because the start of this arc opened with Kaiki specifically telling us (the viewers) that he was narrating things and the way I see it, dead narrators don’t narrate very well (well, usually).

    I am probably completely wrong, but ehh. And in a way Kaiki’s death feels like it would be wrong for Monogatari’s tone so far; it doesn’t strike me as quite that serious or dark a show.

    • I would love to see more Kaiki, but I wouldn’t say it’s out-of-character for the show to kill him off – we’ve already had Hanekawa’s home abuse, Senjougahara’s treatment from her mother, a whole lot of Araragi-blood spilled, a Shinobu arc essentially resolved through suicide, and the loss of Mayoi. Monogatari is not kind to its characters!

  5. Besides Kaiki dying, the thing that utterly struck me most when I thought back to this episode was the name of the arc.
    Hitagi End.
    Following the last conversation that Senjougahara and Kaiki had, she was resolved. Her history, her present, and her future, resolved, and not in just any way. Her trauma saved her life, the one who, in her opinion, broke her, fixed her. And then, he was to disappear. That was the condition, that was what they agreed upon. He’s to disappear from her life. For her, everything suddenly ended, well and okay and with resolution. Hitagi End.
    And in the same arc, we find out that all she knew, her entire basis and foundation, was perverted. Kaiki, according to the blue haired shikigami and his own contemporaries, was a hero, just a failure of a hero. Who tried to do good and would always do bad. Who was a villain because it was required of him.
    When we heard about the title of the arc, we worry. We feel sad, scared that Hitagi would meet her end. And then this gets subverted to the main character of the arc, and then we find out that the title did fulfill itself. She met her end, she found her resolution. And then that same worry and fear came crashing back when Kaiki met his end, the title of the arc (and the author) subverting everything we know once more.

    • This show and its wonderful, deceptive symmetries. Nice breakdown of the title – it does bring a very fitting conclusion to Senjougahara’s initial sentiments. Although this arc aptly demonstrated she still has a lot of work to do – it’s clear she still doesn’t really value her own life, and is terrified about losing Araragi even now.

  6. What I really loved was that the snake that was cursing that middle-schooler is the same snake that Araragi let go during the first Nadeko arc. Got to love those full-circle moments. Looking forward to Hanamonogatari. Even though Kanbaru does have the most relaxed personality, it’s because of that that I’m anxious. During her first arc she was all friendly and relaxed too but then she came with her monkey arm clobbering Araragi into a bloody pulp.

    What stood out to me this episode was Nadeko saying “And as much I hate doing this – I really hate to do this – Kanbaru too”. Nadeko God form is scared? Interesting.

    • And Kanbaru was the one who was needed for whatever dangerous task Araragi was doing throughout Neko White. Which I assume will now be unveiled, hopefully?

  7. I don’t know if you consider yourself a good writer or not, but I find your writeups – even your simple episodic reviews – to be phenomenal. You articulate your ideas so well that I cannot NOT be jealous while reading. I hope you keep up these reviews and continue to get as excited as you do from anime as well thought out and produced as this one.

    • Thank you very much! Writing’s my great obsession, so I’m happy to hear you enjoy the work. And if great shows keep coming out, I’m sure I’ll keep getting excited about them.

  8. Should have said this earlier, but… I’ve really enjoyed these write-ups. I enjoy most of yours, but Monogatari in particular is an excellent series to have someone pointing out themes and all of the visual framing and the prettier shots.

    I find the “Araragi wants to save everyone” really odd, though, because Araragi has shit self-esteem even now. I think it’d be better framed as, “Araragi wants to save everyone, but knows* that he can’t. But he has nothing else he can be proud of.” He does say that Senjougahara saved herself every time it comes up, but more than that, the series itself suggests that he believes that… But mostly because he doesn’t have the self-confidence to claim that victory for himself.

    I mean, let’s tally it up. He used to be a hero of justice kind before the story begins, then he “mellowed out”… Which Kizumonogatari tells us is crushing, enduring depression. Giving his blood to Heart-Under-Blade at the start of Kizu is directly stated to be a suicide attempt, she’s a representation of his suicidal urges, and every single fight after Kizu is represented as him getting a one-sided ass-kicking… Except the one fight he’s in that isn’t from his perspective. (Not that Hanekawa’s any more objective in that department.) Shinobu spends all of Bake and early Nise silent and morose, and since she’s very probably the representation of Araragi’s displacement of his vampire parts as “other”**, that also tells us Araragi spends most of Bake hating that part of himself too. And he directly says in Tsubasa Cat, “I owe Hanekawa; I don’t mind dying if it’s for her sake.”

    So in that light? Araragi throwing himself into problems doesn’t come off as a savior complex. In most of the early series, it’s the same Kizu mentality of “it doesn’t matter if I die helping others, because my life is worthless anyway”; later, it’s “merely” an attempt to find some kind of self-worth in helping others. The scene of him on the steps saying, “Will Sengoku become happy if I’m not around?” is, uh, probably not character growth! It’s actually really depressing!

    Kind of a rare misstep in an otherwise good thematic analysis, my man.

    in the pessimistic depressed sense of “knows” more than the factual

    ** 1) Disappears right after Suruga Monkey, when he goes into a fight intending to win it and gets curbstomped
    2) Reappears in Tsubasa Cat the moment he decides to fight seriously
    3) Not present for the big Tsubasa Tiger fight (because Hanekawa doesn’t need to displace his vampire abilities into a vessel)
    4) Grows friendlier throughout as he grows more comfortable with himself
    5) Gets jealous when some other supernatural force saves him (Yotsugi in Shinobu Time)
    6) Shinobu’s a supernatural in Monogatari; she’s got to represent SOMETHING

    • Glad you enjoy the writeups! I actually agree – I feel Monogatari’s one of the most natural shows for the way I approach stories.

      Your breakdown of Araragi’s mentality makes me really, really want to see Kizu. But your analysis makes sense – I’ve been looking over the various arcs for the sake of my concluding Monogatari post, and you’re right, it’s clear Araragi doesn’t value his own life. In fact, I’ve taken to seeing this as almost a selfish selflessness – the conflict he keeps running up against is that beyond not valuing his own life personally, he keeps offering to throw it away in spite of all the other people who would be hurt by his departure. He realizes this briefly at the end of Bake (in the moment just before Shinobu reappears), but now he’s back to saying stuff like “I’d happily be lost with you for twenty years” to Mayoi, which wouldn’t make anyone but himself happy.

      Your defining Shinobu as a representation of Araragi’s distance from accepting his own nature is interesting, though I’m not sure I agree. She seems to have too much agency and significance as her own being in the story – I feel Araragi’s relationship with her as a being with her own insecurities and desires is a critical component of the story’s emotional narrative, and Shinobu also gets her own arcs that reflect the standard themes of distancing yourself from your own unwanted emotions. She feels too full of a person for me to define her as a representation of repression in the same way the Snake or Tiger are.

      Thanks for your comment. There’s clearly still a lot to think about here!

  9. “Very possibly the best arc of the best season of one of the best anime out there.”:
    I couldn’t agree more! Thank you so much for the amazing writeups!

  10. 15 : 36 : I think I actually now prefer listening to Kaiki than to Araragi, and his VA was the only great thing about him…

    22 : 24.
    I realized I didn’t payed attention to the music the first time, becaus I was too busy listening to Kaiki.

    Kaiki was really the best.
    I already miss him.

    • Yeah, Kaiki’s voice is fantastic. It was great hearing him almost pleading with Nadeko here after all these episodes of staying so cool and collected all the time.

  11. Really love your analysis in these eps. I wanted to add one thing to part:

    “Just look at Hanekawa – aimless beyond maintaining her shell prior to this season, she’s now looking forward to a long, soul-crushing life as an aberration therapist.”

    That is because – and I won’t blame you for thus because Shaft took out the very important parts of Tsubasa Tiger’s epilogue – she is still healing, much as it might be apt to give her the stamp of approval in Monogatari (kind of like how people really think Kanbaru is stable, when Suruga Monkey ended on the biggest hanging thread of Bakemonogatari, after all, a girl who homicidally beat the absolute shit out of her romantic rival becoming best buddies with him in the same week? Non-non.) self-therapy.

    Hanekawa is finding a way to live that works for her because her parents are hopeless. Notice that she doesn’t spend New Year’s at home. She got her own room, things must be progressing positively for the family right? Wrong. That was her demanding acknowledgment from them and them accepting it for appearances sake, like they always do. That is the flip side of her accepting a “vagabond” lifestyle, beyond just using her gifts effectively.

    So just like with Nadeko here, she has to go back to the reality of things after getting the self-reflection treatment, but what is important is what they do afterward. Like you said, somber as Monogatari is, there is at least a road ahead, jagged, and full of broken glass as it may be.

    • You’re right, Hanekawa’s not “healthy” – no-one here really is, and I think a great part of the point of Kaiki’s speech was that being “healthy and happy” is just a fake idea. She’s not going to gain a happy home life with her terrible parents, but she can stand her ground and gain some of the things she needs while she’s forced to live under their roof. That “what you do afterwards” is indeed the key, since the revelation itself doesn’t actually solve anything.

  12. Thank you so much for introducing me to this wonderful series! Had it not been for your top 30 list I wouldn’t have gotten to see this beautifully constructed Arc and I have to agree with you when you say that this was is the best arc of the show so far. I was pretty sad when Kaiki met his end like that but then again it was so beautifully done I just couldn’t help but accept it. And also thank you for writing these amazing episode write ups, they’re really comprehensive and useful for picking up things I missed.
    LOL you just made another fan.

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