Hitagi End – Review

It’s Monogatari time again! I don’t even know what words I have left to intro this piece – I’ve written the crap out of Monogatari, and will likely continue to write it up until the sun goes black in the sky. But Hitagi End is definitely a special one. Kaiki elevates the series, many characters reach dramatic personal revelations, and there’s virtually no Araragi at all. Everything you could want in a Monogatari arc.

Here’s my full review over at ANN. Lots of viewing notes below!


Episode 1

“Humans have a desire to know the truth. Or they have a desire to believe that what they know is the truth.” The very first line, setting out both Kaiki himself and what the show is all about

Kaiki is the first narrator to invite you to question the truth of what you’re seeing. He’s the first one to really engage with the conceit of the show on a non-instinctive level

“In other words, what the truth is exactly is second to that.” With the background full of optical illusions

The Kaiki song is so great. These ominous, almost arrogant-sounding strings

“In other words, always doubt yourself. Harbor an inner devil as you read along…” Kaiki giving the viewer advice they could have used fifty episodes ago

“By that point you may have already fallen into my trap.”

Kaiki announcing he’s going to tell Senjougahara and Araragi’s love story. Announcing he’s framing a story as a story

“Then, in a comical way. Let’s start the final story! Of course, this may be a lie, too.”

The OP is a treasure

Backgrounds are great as ever

And now these jaunty, mocking horns. Kaiki has his own whole soundtrack

“I was at a shrine, watching people throw money away. Maybe.”

“Concerning me, the pursuit of ‘maybes’ may be an endless task. Maybe.”

“There is someone I’d like you to deceive.”

Kaiki’s stone face when Senjougahara somehow calls him. His unemotion contains so much personality

The flat background work and lack of borders gives everything this sense of sterility

“I’m counting on you.”

Kaiki and Senjougahara’s petty games are fantastic. This arc’s humor is so much better than most Monogatari jokes

Great shot of Kaiki in the wilderness

Kaiki sleeping on the plane yes

Kaiki’s actually intrigued by her plan. He’s probably onboard before even meeting her, but he has to be “won over” anyway

Okinawa has its own whole color scheme

“I came to the airport to pick you up.” Kaiki being such a child yesss

Kaiki’s VA does some real standout work

Oh my god, that backwards look at Senjougahara in the silly glasses. Kaiki is amazing

“All right. I won.” Kaiki oh my god. That stupid hawaiian shirt

“Of course, there is no human that I cannot deceive.”

“All the pain you caused me has already been made up for by Araragi.” Senjougahara’s so prickly and so dependent

“I’m slightly disgusted at being controlled like this.” Kaiki’s resigned language is perfect

“I don’t want to be stabbed.”

“Does Araragi know about this?” “Don’t mock me. Of course he doesn’t know.”

“To that hero of justice, you are a natural enemy.”

Senjougahara’s usual power seems so brittle when she’s talking to Kaiki

Araragi’s studying for entrance exams

“At this rate, there is no spring for me or Araragi.”

The framing of this lounge allows for plenty of nice shots

Senjougahara trying to play to Kaiki’s sympathy first

The color palette shifts entirely as things get serious

I love how the lighting falls not in natural curves, but in sharp geometry across them

Now using the rafters to frame shots

“Fraud creates a chain reaction of victimization.” He says dispassioantely. And Senjougahara throws her drink at him.  “Don’t treat me like a child.”

“Don’t worry. Adults shouldn’t get upset at every little mishap of a child.” Kaiki’s childish in his own way, but he’s got her number

“You were responsible for dragging her into the world of apparitions. Don’t you feel at all responsible?” “I do, I do! The responsibility is crushing me to death.” Goddamnit Kaiki

“‘Save me.’ She said those same words to me two years ago. I wonder how it feels to say those same words to a person again.”

And now she’s playing to his pride

Hanekawa’s looking for Oshino overseas

“You’re really desperate when it comes to your life. Or is it the feeling that your boyfriend’s life is so important? If you could only spare one life, which would it be?” “Araragi. That’s a given…”

His words are careless, hers are sure

“If I need to, I can sell my own body too.” And this time he throws his drink in her face. Kaiki’s teasing her because he’s an asshole, but Senjougahara is willing to wager anything in a game she’s too young for, and she does not value herself

And then Kaiki heads to the bathroom, to answer the question – how can I allow myself to do this thing I want to do while not betraying my values?

Running down a list of possible justifications for his underlying desire to help. This is the heart of Kaiki

I love these stained-glass backgrounds, as well as how the mirrors of the background represent Kaiki arguing with himself in circles

“Can I save my bitter enemies Araragi and Senjougahara, and deceive Sengoku Nadeko, for the sake of Suruga Kanbaru? That’s a yes.”

Episode 2

Kaiki comes out of the bathroom with his shades off

“Deceiving a god? I’ll take a shot at it.”

“I’m telling you, this will be good enough. I only accepted this 100,000 yen to pay for necessary expenses.” KAIKIII

“Are you sure she won’t just kill you any day now?”

It’s the whale scene!

“I feel like there’s another side to this that’s vastly different from how Araragi and I are seeing this.” Senjougahara briefly tangles with the truth of Monogatari

“Though I’m just believing what Hanekawa says.” Ah, that was actually Hanekawa’s insight. Of course

A tale of love gone wrong

“Please make sure you don’t get beaten to a pulp by a junior high kid”

“I don’t completely trust you.” “That’s as it should be. Don’t trust. Doubt.”

The show’s always had an element of deadpan, but this arc is so fucking deadpan

Kaiki’s little drawing of the town is great

I love how Kaiki’s arc portrays the city – as an actual city, not just a couple distinct buildings in the middle of nowhere

More bizarre strings for Kaiki’s soundtrack

Kaiki discussing his system of action

Kaiki in his weird monkey suit for talking to Nadeko’s parents

“The Sengoku family knew nothing about their daughter. Absolutely nothing.”

Kaiki just casually demonstrating what a good lier he is

“That room was one where immaturity and cuteness was forced on her.” Kaiki’s perspective lets us actually see the circumstances of these characters in a way that makes them even more sympathetic than their own words

“Nadeko seemed like a fake.”

“What exactly is she afraid of?”

Kaiki feels incredible disgust for Nadeko’s neglectful parents

Nice piano track here

Hanekawa figured the plot out herself. This arc keeps baiting Hanekawa, keeping her shift as the “reward”/piece tying the whole season together

“In all honestly.” Seems like there’s a few weird typos in the script

These shots with the purple color palette are beautiful

I like these little phone glimpses of Senjougahara and Araragi trying to live their lives

The natural sounds as he approaches the shrine are great

This sound design so good!

And then Nadeko’s there!

Kaiki uses his real name. Woops

Nadeko’s so excited to kill Araragi

Kaiki pities her

“Do you mean sexual favors when you say services?” -deadpan face- “I ignored that.” KAIKI YES

“Araragi was really happy when I just wore bloomers!” “What in the hell is that boy doing?” Thank you Kaiki

“I totally love him! That’s why I’m going to kill him!”

“Don’t you think unrequited love is better?” And Kaiki briefly flashes to his own lost love

“Thank you!” Nadeko reaches in to hug him and we get this awkward long-distance shot of him vaguely repulsed and leaning away. As I said, this arc’s deadpan is amazing

“The reason why everyone runs away when they see you is probably because you look creepy.”

Nadeko is happy to be called scary instead of cute

Nadeko’s whining about being lonely

So Kaiki gives her some string and teaches her cat’s cradle

Episode 3

Kaiki just sprawled on the hotel bed

Senjougahara keeps bantering with him to try to make him uncomfortable using her usual weapons, but she just comes off like a kid to him, so it all bounces off

Senjougahara seems younger this arc even visually

“Maybe you should think a bit before you talk?” It’s amazing how quickly Senjougahara’s attitude busts when she’s actually countered

Kaiki’s behavior with the rest of the cast only highlights how much Hanekawa has grown, since he actually treats her with respect

Talking with Senjougahara about Nadeko’s total lack of trust

“That’s not true. She trusted Araragi.” “If that were really true, none of this would have happened.”

The back-and-forth between these two is one of the most uneven and thus interesting rapports in the series. At other times, like with Mayoi and Araragi, the show can feel like it’s just one person making jokes to themselves. With these two, it is absolutely clear that they are two very different people

“Nadeko is very immature for her age.”

“She’s been spoiled too much, so she trusts what people say at face value. She can’t believe in people, but there is also no reason to doubt people.” She is the opposite of Kaiki, and the opposite of what the show itself promotes – doubting everything, but believing in people

Another classic painting of the God Nadeko

A nice spinning animated shot of Nadeko

Overall pretty limited animation, though

Another slight typo. “Didn’t” instead of “did”

Senjougahara’s on-the-verge-of-tears “thank you” is perfect

Nice match cut of Kaiki closing the book to Yotsugi opening her fingers

“Her character changed again. Looks like she’s been hanging out with bad friends.”

Gaen sent Yotsugi to tell Kaiki to pull out

“Say it again and I’ll send you flying.” Kaiki demolishes everyone!

“You insulted me saying I was like Araragi. You really think I’d buy you something now.”

“Gaen seems to understand me, but doesn’t understand me enough. If I’m told to pull out, I’m going to be more gung-ho about finishing it, of course.” Uhuh, Kaiki

Gaen’s willing to pay three million yen. Kaiki thinks for half an hour, declines. He’s really fighting here

Gaen is working on “fixing the town”

She keeps almost doing her gimmick and stopping. Great stuff

Gaen says she’ll no longer be associated with Kaiki if he doesn’t pull out. Kaiki weighs things

Most of the animation is dedicated to Nadeko being a derp

Nadeko made a snake string to practice cat’s cradle. Jeeez

“It felt like someone was shadowing me after I came down the mountain”

Kaiki losing his tail naturally while continuing his investigation of Nadeko, finally getting to her closet

“What the hell is this?!” and episode end, of course

Episode 4

These city shots are so good

Someone left a letter with Kaiki: “PULL OUT”


Nice angled shots here using reflections and water ripples

The art of this arc is almost notable for what it doesn’t do – the world is less stylized in an emotional sense, but often framed like a play anyway

Many great shots of eyes and reflections, and again the cityscapes

Checking with Senjougahara about someone warning him to get out

Really disconcerting strings and repetitive piano chimes now

More baiting of Hanekawa

Great color shift to grayscale with a brilliant blue cityscape behind

I love this shot of Kaiki with the hairdryer in the wavy black and white

“Why didn’t you pull out when you were offered the three million yen?”

“I get the same amount of money regardless of whether I continue or stop, so of course I’ll keep going. Adults don’t abandon their jobs so easily.”

“Who is this Cat’s Eye who snuck into my room while I was out?” lol

“You can just slide an envelope underneath the door.” Woops

Kaiki in profile suspended against an image of Senjougahara in the center of the city backdrop. Beautiful shot

More of the spinning optical illusions on the floors underneath Kaiki

Senjougahara keeps implying Kaiki will be swayed by Nadeko. Senjougahara is afraid

Kaiki feels weird about just giving Nadeko money after Senjougahara said it was like he was visiting a hostess club… so he buys her sake instead

And Hanekawa appears

He’s put off by how respectful she acts

Hanekawa lied to Senjougahara and Araragi, telling them she went overseas

It was a feint. Both to ease their minds, and to go unobserved by Gaen

Kaiki looks away from her eye contact

“Staring into my eyes, Hanekawa said. I have never seen before a person that could stare so straight into someone else’s eyes.” This is why Hanekawa is the best

“I want to save them, but it doesn’t have to be me who saves them.”

“Do you swear to a god?” “I swear to a cat.”

Kaiki’s surprised Hanekawa doesn’t want to interrogate his motives

“Why aren’t you asking? Do you think you can see through my motives that easily? So things of that sort aren’t even worth asking…”

“It seems like you know everything, young lady.” “I don’t know everything. I only know what I know.” And finally it’s not a catchphrase, but the simple truth

Hanekawa’s no longer feigning confidence. She just accepts things, now. She’s comfortable with herself, and thus can be comfortable with others

Episode 5

Hanekawa finally tells Kaiki everything that’s happened. “I was able to see the situation objectively, better than Senjougahara could explain it”

Man, some of these snowy city shots are gorgeous

Gaen thinks the town’s distress isn’t due to Shinobu

“Innocent, huh?” “What do you mean.” “Nevermind.” -there is no use debating that- Kaiki’s asides are the best

Asking Hanekawa for her impressions of Nadeko

Hanekawa: “The impression I got from her was ‘snobby.’ That girl’s world is completely closed off. No matter what anyone says, their words never reach her. In reality, I don’t think she’s in love with anyone. She’s not looking at anyone else.” The perfect Monogatari enemy – someone who fundamentally can’t engage outside their own worldview

“Someone who says that they are happy doesn’t necessarily mean they are.” A feeling Hanekawa understands well

Hanekawa asking if Oshino has a family. A niece. Inquiring about Ougi

And Hanekawa knows about Nadeko’s closet

Kaiki almost reveals he knows about the closet to Hanekawa

Lovely shot of the burned-down lot

Shit, Kaiki mentions meeting Numachi

Oh my god, Kaiki being such an endearing prick in this Senjougahara conversation

Araragi is almost the secondary villain of this arc – his dumbass hero complex threatens the whole plan

“Why are you sacrificing yourself for him? You might just break up after college.” “Why are you saying such mean things to me?” -why am I saying such mean things to a high school kid? I was ashamed of myself-

Senjougahara declaring that she’s going to keep holding her grudge forever

“To me, the fact that Big Brother Kaiki is a big brother is unwavering.” “Can’t you waver there?”

“It’s just a coincidence I’m here.” “To think that such coincidences are possible. The world is a strange place.” Deadpan king

“It will be hard for you to live in this industry from now on.” “I’ve never thought the world was an easy place to live in.”

“Is someone else’s girlfriend that important to you? Someone else’s girlfriend… and your old relationship.”

Kaiki swindled the cult that Senjougahara’s mother fell into, but couldn’t save her

The music’s gotten more earnest over time. Urgent chimes

Yotsugi pressing the point. “Didn’t you make Senjougahara’s parents break up because that was the only way to save her?”

And Kaiki snaps. “Yeah, that’s right. You’re correct. I was actually a really good guy.”

“Yup, yup, that’s right. Man, I totally didn’t understand all that way back then!”

Great shots of Kaiki transposed against the sunlight

“Is there anyone out there who knows what they’re doing?”

“In times like this, you always fail. You always have.” aw jeez

Kaiki is bound to fail when he tries to help

Kaiki marveling at how strong Senjougahara has become

“She will not crumble now. Because I will deceive Sengoku Nadeko.”

“A wish can be something that will never come true the moment you tell someone else about it.” “Why is that?” “Because you can’t trust words, of course.”

“The moment you put it into words and tell someone, that starts to bypass your feelings. Words are nothing but lies, and nothing but cheats.”

“No matter what the truth, the moment it’s told, it becomes dramatized.”

“If you wish for it… that wish can never be spoken out loud.”

Not only is this A. absolutely core to the themes of Monogatari, articulating so much of the show’s ideas on personal realities versus human relations, and B. just a piercing truth about the world itself, it’s also C. one of the foundation points of Kaiki’s actions. Everything he does makes sense in light of this – he lies all the time, because if he articulates his personal truths, they will become lies in turn. Better to keep his truths secure inside himself, and deny the reasons for his actions

“That wish can no longer granted.” More typos

“So Mr. Kaiki, you’re going to deceive me as well?” aaaaaghhhh

Episode 6

“Nadeko so easily saw through my lies because she never trusted me one bit to begin with.”

“It wasn’t a shadow within a soul. It was a soul made of shadows.”

“All of you are so full of lies.”


“Beautiful.” Nadeko in bloom

The CG snakes look a bit awkward. They do their best, but this is an absurd thing to try and animate

“She only believes in herself.” That’s the key, like before – trust no one, but believe in people

“It’s true that I’m a ‘cute brat,’ but isn’t that basically not my fault at all?”

“I hate myself like that as well. But this is who I am… I can’t help it. I have to love myself.”

Nadeko is taking “embrace yourself” to a hideous extreme without ever honestly reflecting on herself, or allowing the possibility of growth

“You’re nothing but a doll, past and present.”

Bringing up Ougi’s meddling again

Nadeko being crazy. “As a penalty, I’ll kill a few more!”

“Then do you want to become a manga artist?”

Embarrassed Nadeko yes

Once again, Nadeko being ridiculous is the one thing that gets animated well

Oh my god Kaiki critiquing her comic so good

She’s finally engaging with Kaiki as a person. Being honest, not her cute or god self

“You didn’t let anyone see that. In other words, that’s because it’s what you consider to be your true dream, yes?”

“After you kill Araragi and the others, what the hell are you going to do?”

The Nadeko character animation here is excellent, and so is Hanakawa’s performance

“Creation is an embarrassing process, and dreams are embarrassing as well.”

This conclusion is so core Monogatari. The conflict resolved by first flustering Nadeko into honesty and then having a frank conversation about what she wants to do with her life

“Sengoku, I like money. I’ll tell you why. It’s because money can take the place of everything. You can buy things. You can buy lives. You can buy people. You can buy hearts. You can buy happiness. You can buy dreams. It’s very precious, but on top of that, it’s not something that’s irreplaceable. That’s why I like it. conversely, I hate irreplaceable things.”

“‘I couldn’t live without that.’ I hate thinking like that. Would you become worthless if Araragi dumped you?” A line that reflects back to Senjougahara as well – he was so critical of her relationship with Araragi because he hates the idea that she’s basing her self-worth on his affection. He wants her to be happy with herself. KAIKI IS SO GREAT

Kaiki’s voice actor’s pulling off an insane performance here

“Was everything in this world worthless to you outside of Araragi?”

“Because only you know about you. That’s why you’re the only person that can take care of yourself. And you are the only one that can grant your dream.” And the music is so good here, JEEEEZ. Perfect strings

“There is nothing irreplaceable. There is nothing that can’t be substituted.”

“All right. I’ll let you deceive me.”

And it ends with the Kaiki melodic refrain bleeding out of the strings

“I told her the obvious. Like romance isn’t everything. There is fun in life. Don’t throw your future away. Everyone has had embarrassing adolescences. Stuff like that… obvious things that adults tell children.”

“Make sure that you have no part in that girl’s life until the day you die.”

“Don’t you get it? There is nothing you can do for that girl. If you’re around, that girl will be useless.”

“Would Sengoku become happy if I weren’t around?” “Who knows? She seemed very happy up till moments ago… but then, becoming happy isn’t the primary objective of why humans live.” Self-reflection is painful, but it’s the only way to grow

“But in any case, if she keeps on living, maybe something good will happen in due time?”

And then Kaiki follows his own advice to Araragi, and crushes the phone chip Senjougahara could contact him through. She needs to move on, too

And now we’re getting a piano ballad version of the OP song. Lol

And Ougi’s the one who led a kid to attack Kaiki at the end

10 thoughts on “Hitagi End – Review

  1. I like your notes.This arc was an absolute joy to watch. Kaiki just raises everyone’s level by a notch, his back and forth dailogue with Senjougahara and even Hanekawa seems fraught with meaning. He makes Araragi look like such a simpleton. It’s probably a bit unfair to Araragi since he’s still a high schooler and Kaiki is a grown man (and a very clever one at that), but one could only wish he would a bit more development and left his horny hero persona behind.

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