Bakemonogatari – Episode 3

Welp, we’re finally into Mayoi Snail. I expected this episode writeup to be a lot more negative than it was, but I actually ended up really enjoying this first episode. None of the stuff that generally frustrates me about Mayoi and Araragi’s material made an appearance here, and the conversation between Araragi and Senjougahara was terrific from start to finish. I forgot just how strong of a rapport those two have – the romantic tension here was as strong as basically anything I’ve seen in anime.

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

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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.

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Owarimonogatari, Part One – Review

The Monogatari review train continues today, as I return to the Ougi/Sodachi-focused stretch of Owarimonogatari. Looked at in total, these arcs feel a little awkwardly placed in the narrative, largely because adding a character like Sodachi is both disruptive and a return to a long-abandoned Monogatari format. But Sodachi’s a reasonably compelling character in her own right, and only getting Ougi’s introduction now is actually some pretty great storytelling – though this is her first chronological appearance in the story, it feels like the natural progression from the times we’ve seen her before. I kinda doubt Monogatari will give us a clean conclusion to Ougi’s narrative, but I guess we’ll have to see what the end of the final season brings.

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

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Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu – Review

So yep, turns out I got to see Kizumonogatari just a little bit ahead of schedule. AND IT WAS SO GOOD. God damn this movie was great. An utter change of pace from what the current television series has become, but a very compelling alternate interpretation of what the series could be. Tekketsu spins a very sparse number of plot events out across vivid, atmospheric minutes, creating a sense of being trapped in Araragi’s head without actually saying a word. It’s a remarkable feat of execution, and I am extremely excited to see the next ones.

You can check out my very thorough review over at ANN!

Kizumonogatari

Owarimonogatari – Episode 12

Owari is done and Owari is good. It honestly took until this episode for me to really feel that Owari was on par with second season, but yeah. It’s there. Maybe we didn’t get an entire Kaiki arc or Medusa Nadeko, but Sodachi’s story was wonderful, and these last two episodes have been overwhelmingly good. Such great conversations all through this episode, with characters ranging from Senjougahara to Kanbaru to even Yotsugi getting great little bits. Even Araragi was excellent in this arc, demonstrating some of the most consistent growth and true strength of character he’s displayed all show. This season was another triumph, and I now feel even more confident in Monogatari succeeding all the way to the ending. It continues to demonstrate why it’s one of my favorite shows.

You can check out my supersized review over here, or my notes down below!

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Owarimonogatari – Episode 11

And Shinobu Mail pulls out its first perfect episode. Well, I guess “perfect” is never really the right word for Monogatari. But seriously, this episode was incredible. The conversation between Kanbaru and Shinobu that consumed the second half was one of the best exchanges in the series so far, simultaneously acting as a great showpiece for both of their personalities and a strong reflection of the themes both in this arc specifically and the show overall. Monogatari is looking as strong as ever moving into the final stretch of Owari.

You can check out my full review over at ANN or my notes below!

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Owarimonogatari – Episode 9

Monogatari returned to top-tier form this week, with an episode whose visual theatrics were somewhat reminiscent of Shinobu Time’s gorgeous full-episode tapestry. And in fact, the visual tricks here were even more diverse than that, with shots mirroring that tapestry sharing space with some cut-paper images, creepy black and white interpretive shots, and great visual compositions done in Monogatari’s house style. Plus this episode featured a mix of Araragi and Shinobu bantering and Gaen just totally dominating everybody, so the narrative end was solid too. We’re not really in anything approaching the emotional turmoil of Sodachi’s material, but this was a fantastic episode on the visual end, and that’s more than enough to satisfy me for now. It even ended with a genuinely thrilling cliffhanger, implying a number of eerie possibilities regarding the nature of Shinobu’s old friend. We’ll have to see where it goes from here.

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

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Owarimonogatari – Episode 6

And so Sodachi Lost comes to an end. This episode couldn’t match the cathartic peaks of last week’s stunner, but it was still a fine conclusion to a solid arc. Ougi’s villainy got some time to shine, and then was directly countered by Hanekawa whipping out her tiger hair powers. It seems like Isin’s haircuts aren’t just thematically important, they actually dictate the power levels of his characters – equipped with her self-actualization tiger stripes, it only takes Hanekawa roughly three seconds to figure out the truth behind Oikura’s mother. That answer didn’t really add or subtract anything from the story, but I certainly liked Araragi’s further thoughts on happiness near the end of this episode. Araragi’s certainly no Hanekawa or Kaiki, but he’s figuring stuff out one step at a time.

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

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Owarimonogatari – Episode 5

We got our first emotional peak in this week’s Owari, and it was certainly something. These last few episodes have largely painted Oikura’s story as something that reflected Araragi’s issues, but this episode was all about Oikura for her own sake, and let her fill in the pieces through an oppressive recounting of her life to date. That was all well done, but it was the last third or so that really got to me, when Hanekawa, Araragi, and Oikura basically all offered their own personal reflections on depression and happiness. These were some of the sharpest exchanges of any arc of the show, and were just one more example of well Monogatari really gets its characters and people in general. I’m sure I’m not the only one who could relate to a discussion on the relative safety of a known unhappiness.

You can check out my supersized review over at ANN, or my notes below!

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Owarimonogatari – Episodes 1-3

We’re in the thick of a new Monogatari season now, and this one’s shaping up to be a fine followup to Second Season. A whole bunch of that comes down to Ougi – Ougi both forces Araragi to consistently confront his own deepest fears and just possesses a great deal of charisma in her own right. This Araragi-Oikura story also has plenty of momentum so far, and seems to be pushing Araragi’s character forward far more consistently than Tsukimonogatari did. What do you know, when you replace Yotsugi lolicon shenanigans with Ougi’s mockery and psychological battles, you can actually make a damn good Araragi arc.

You can check out my full writeup over at ANN, or my episode three notes below!

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