Monogatari Series Second Season is more Monogatari Series and everything that entails. More of Nisioisin’s wandering dialogue. More scenes that cut every half a second that nevertheless give you zero idea of the dimensions of the room because in the world of the Monogatari series there is no such thing as a confined space. More Senjogahara in her underwear. If you have watched any of the Monogatari series before now, you will already know whether it’s your thing or not, so my duty as a stop-gap between you wasting your time on an anime you won’t like is rendered pretty moot here. However I’m going to write about it anyway because writing about the Monogatari series is too much fun.
Also because Senjogahara.
You know the warm positive buzz you get when a sequel airs or you rewatch a favourite show? Usually it’s through the characters acting like their old selves or a piece of BGM plays that you recognise. It’s a nice feeling of nostalgia. This episode achieved that feeling for me within the first minute through its habit of cutting shots every half second. Oh sure, I also got that when Senjogahara started to act like her old self and when that piece of BGM played that is basically just 4 notes on a piano, but having the unique Shafty directing style instantly cause me to slip back into this cosy sofa is quite a feat.
I’ve never been entirely sure what to make of the Monogatari series when it comes to reviewing it because it ignores many of the rules I consider tantamount to good storytelling. The story is told entirely through dialogue, but because the dialogue meanders around the actual subject at hand, you still have to figure out what’s actually going on by reading between the lines. Because the story is told entirely through the dialogue, it uses the visuals to ignore convention by playing with perspective and design and architecture and Senjogahara’s fine ass.
It works, but it’s the only piece of entertainment I know that can do this, so I just leave it aside as this weird anomaly and keep to my rules otherwise. It’s interesting to see this season mess up the formula a bit by dropping Arararagi altogether. It’s strange, because I would have figured his inner monologues are vital to this mysterious formula I struggle to comprehend. But here we are, Arararagi-less and it’s still the same Monogatari. I’m actually really digging seeing the girls talk to each other without him around for a change. It’s kinda great to see what the characters saying about Arararagi when he’s not around. And of course what girls talk about when guys aren’t around is how they’re going to shower together to make the boys jealous. That’s totally what girls do, right?
The series has always been a shameless harem anime. But I keep coming back to it because its style is so unique and so intriguing that I really can’t get anywhere else. The individual stories have genuine depth and the characters are well rounded and the dialogue can come up with such clever one-liners and fascinating ways of phrasing debates. Also it has Senjogahara.
Sometimes it’s worth remembering that, for all the fuss about Free having proper perv-shots of guys, it’s still quite a bit behind what anime aimed at dudes do. Free is only just at Monogatari levels, and possibly not even that far, and this show is hardly the perviest thing this season when Highschool DxD exists. Ladies have said that getting out their grimy side for Free has been quite freeing (hur hur hur). I normally wouldn’t follow suit, but if there’s one girl I’ll make that exception for…