Owarimonogatari, Part Two – Review

Today I return to Owarimonogatari, for the inconsistent but ultimately satisfying Shinobu Mail. Stuck at the end of a broadcast run and crunched by SHAFT’s generally over-ambitious scheduling, Shinobu Mail definitely suffers in the visual department, but it’s still a very rewarding arc in terms of character and theme. Some of the peaks of this arc count among the franchise’s peaks in general, Kanbaru’s argument with Shinobu and Araragi’s phone call with Senjougahara among them. Even in a less consistent arc, it’s hard to keep this series down.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my episode notes below.

Episode 1

“Before we reach the ending, there’s one more story that must be revealed.” Already gesturing towards the ending. Tying up loose ends in this world overall

And of course, it’s Ougi interrogating Araragi on this story

“It happened over two months before Ougi transferred to our school”

Ah right, these untranslated puns

A slow first half of banter between Araragi and Kanbaru

The animation in this episode is actually pretty reasonable. Though the suit still looks wonky

The suit drains her energy

“As if it were a vampire”

Ah, and this is when the tiger burns down the cram school

“The partner I’d want to die together with… there’s only one. She’s not here, so I can’t die here.”

And Yotsugi appears

Episode 2

Yotsugi reveals this is shortly after Mayoi’s exit

Yotsugi places her “brand” on Araragi, which involves a whole lot of stepping

Araragi trying to get Kanbaru out of this situation, but she’s already too involved

Yotsugi’s foot, basically the one fanservice segment of this arc, lol

Kinda important to remember that this is a pre-Sodachi Araragi

They get stuck in a lost-curse again, and Gaen tells him to figure it out for himself

“You can rely on your underclassman.” Gaen both disagrees with Meme’s philosophy and wants Kanbaru to embrace her own powers

Kanbaru trolling Araragi all through these episodes is pretty great

They find a Shinobu

Shinobu bragging about the events of Tsubasa Tiger

Araragi trying to explain away being stepped on is pretty great

An enemy arrives

Episode 3

It’s a monkey-crab!

The cornerstone of this arc, questioning the strength of the bond between Araragi and Shinobu

Gaen lies and says she’s Meme’s sister

“He’s your senpai, Araragi”

Another decently animated sequence with Shinobu. But this arc is really animation-light overall

Gaen implying there’s a central reason behind all the supernatural events in his town

Gaen’s models are a fine visual trick

And now some lovely old-fashioned art for Shinobu in the past

Damn, this episode is full of beautiful visual interludes

The first servant’s 400-year struggle to regenerate, ending in this town, fifteen years ago

Episode 4

His ash arriving in town heralded all the apparitions. And Shinobu’s return here was specifically due to him

This arc is also about “taking responsibility” in its own way, like the Sodachi arcs

Gaen’s conversations aren’t as compelling for their own sake as the banter, and the show seems to understand that, and try to compensate through visual stuff

“It’s as if… I’m feeling jealous”

Gaen poking at Shinobu, understanding this is a delicate subject

Beautiful landscape shots this episode

Discussing the shrine, a key point where both apparitions gather and where they can be contained

The ashes “broke” the shrine’s ability to stop apparitions

Both the first minion and Kiss-Shot draw apparitions towards themselves

“I’d like to kill him before he eats a human”

Shinobu resolves herself to not seeing the first servant at all

“Leave it at a cute level of jealousy. Right now, you’re the only one for me”

And Kanbaru asks for her beloved book

Kanbaru asks for Brutal Garcon Huff-Huffs a Half-Blood Boy and a bra. Wonderful

Episode 5

Apparently, Yotsugi’s foot-sign meant “this is my prey, so hands off”

“I want you to break up with Kiss-shot.” Embracing the weirdness of their relationship

The first minion arrives, and presents an awful vision of who Araragi could potentially become. Still obsessed with Kiss-shot, still touting his own glory, a shadow of a former assassin

Episode arrives just in time to save him

Ah, the duel between Kanbaru and Shinobu

Kanbaru insists she should meet with the first minion

“Don’t deny someone’s feeling of love for you!”

Shinobu denying the romantic nature of the master-servant bond. But it’s not convincing

“Everything is nonsense until two people meet.”

“You feel that meeting him is like betraying Araragi. But you’re wrong. The only one you’re betraying is yourself”

Kanbaru’s point finally comes around – if she can’t send off her first servant with dignity, then she’s not truly capable of respecting Araragi, either

“You can keep saying goodbye to people forever”

The loneliness of her eternity. The loneliness of never believing in her partner

“I’m not human.” “That might be, based on how you’re acting”

“Yeah. I’m telling you to do something cruel. It’s your job to hurt the man from your past”

“You want to end things and still be loved?”

The battlefield is his high school field, same as Kizu

Kanbaru immediately asks him about the book, lol

Episode 6

Oh man, the Senjougahara call

Senjougahara says “leave Hanekawa to me.” The two of them handling their friends together, lol

“If I were to be with Kanbaru, I’d have to become someone who could bear the weight of her feelings”

“I know there’s no bond that’s absolute. I learned that from watching my parents”

“That’s why you need to try harder, so you don’t get dumped for someone else. If you can’t become a special person, you can be a special person to someone”

Such a good conversation

“I want to win, and be a power that supports Shinobu”

A duel to race ten steps to a sword and deliver one blow to your opponent

He gets Hanekawa’s selfy

Gaen lets it slip that both Hanekawa and Senjougahara are in trouble. You can’t save everyone all the time, Araragi

“Either stay here and fight a meaningless duel, or save Hanekawa and Senjougahara”

And Araragi depends on Kanbaru to handle it. He’s learning to rely on his friends

“I have faith in them. I believe in Hanekawa, and Senjougahara”

“I have faith that they’ll understand that I, Araragi Koyomi, sometimes prioritize a young girl over my savior or my lover.” Ahahah Araragi

“You may be a special person, a chosen one. I may not be special nor chosen. But stil. You can’t be me.”

Araragi knocks out the first one with a talisman

“Seishirou…” From Shinobu, we hear his name for the first time

“There was no clear-cut salvation”

Ougi: “With this, all the puzzle pieces have fallen into place”

And of course, Ougi has the full name of Seishirou

“Devil boy, are you happy you became a vampire?”

Yotsugi says Araragi’s claims of unhappiness is an excuse. “Do you think putting up with a bad situation is putting up a good effort? That’s called ‘doing nothing.’ Pursue a happy ending.”

“Nobody has become happy. But far in the future, perhaps 400 years from now, that train of thought might be slightly altered”

One thought on “Owarimonogatari, Part Two – Review

  1. I’m happy that you touched on the visual issues in this arc: I feel like the earlier action-oriented events were envisioned to be a lot more thrilling, but the lack of animation makes them feel like static setpieces. Some of the conversations in eps 3 and 4 really suffer as well – the sense of tension in the dialogue doesn’t carry over visually at all.

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