45 CommentsFirst Impressions, Monogatari Series: Second Season / By Scamp /

Monogatari Series: Second Season episode 1 – Senjogahara Fascination

vlcsnap-2013-07-06-21h47m14s47Monogatari 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.

vlcsnap-2013-07-06-21h47m54s189You 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.

vlcsnap-2013-07-06-21h46m44s253I’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.

vlcsnap-2013-07-06-21h47m32s234It 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?

vlcsnap-2013-07-06-21h45m48s203The 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.

vlcsnap-2013-07-06-21h47m10s5Sometimes 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…

vlcsnap-2013-07-06-21h46m10s166So yes, I did just write this in order to post a bunch of pictures of Senjogahara in her underwear.

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  1. Posted July 7, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I prefer Hanekawa, to be quite honest.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Fine, more Senjogahara for me

    • Nazaren
      Posted July 8, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      What’s next? You gonna tell me Chie is not best P4 girl?!


      • Mazzuco
        Posted July 10, 2013 at 3:29 am | Permalink

        Naoto forever!! Ò_Ó

    • Posted July 9, 2013 at 4:01 am | Permalink

      Everyone on this Earth that prefers Hanekawa get the fuck out your taste is garbage.

  2. Posted July 7, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    This post would be better with more pictures of Senjougahara in her underwear.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      I have more, but they’re for my personal use

  3. Posted July 7, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Hanekawa all the way.

    Also, eh, I think you’ve touched this topic before, but I think Monogatari is the only series that can do fanservice that’s actually… “good” (as in, trying to be sexy rather than throwing boobies in your face).

    • Scamp
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Eh, there’s definitely more series than the monogatari one that can do that

      • Posted July 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Oh? I can’t think of any, really. Maybe Hyouka, although it’s rather innocent.

      • ANON
        Posted July 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        hyouka has fanservice??

      • Posted July 8, 2013 at 1:39 am | Permalink

        A little, but as I said it’s rather innocent compared to Monogatari. The hot springs episode comes to mind (and pool OVA). It really did the fanservice in that episode good.

      • Ryu
        Posted July 8, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Also, eh, I think you’ve touched this topic before, but I think Monogatari is the only series that can do fanservice that’s actually… “good”

        Um, I think we’re forgetting about a little show called Free!.

    • Posted July 9, 2013 at 12:08 am | Permalink

      @Marrow: Aquarion Evol, Sakurasou, Lupin the Third, Penguindrum, Panty and Stocking, Welcome to the NHK and of course Highschool of the Dead Cowboy Bebop, just to name a few.

  4. Posted July 7, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Since everyone and their mother has an opinion on the hairstyle off all the characters in Monogatari now, what’s your take on all of it?

    Personally, I have no complaints. Because Senjougahara in her underwear

    • Scamp
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      No opinion really. She’s still hot, and I like her for her personality rather than her looks anyway

      • Pusswookie
        Posted July 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        The beautiful thing about this show is, despite all it’s artistic smut, you genuinely mean that.

    • Posted July 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Short hair is superior.

  5. Lazy
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Nice way to say that it’s the same thing all over again.
    Sure it’s a “style that you can’t get anywhere else” but at this point we’re only left with a show that’s too busy trying to recreate the magic of bakemonogatari with its trademark stylistic quirks that it has become predictable.
    The show just throws at you a shameless Senjougahara in underwear right off the bat because that’s what you’ve come to expect after the non-stop fanservice fest that was Nise, but where’s the fun in that?
    In addition to being the utterly predictable mess of color cuts, eye close-ups and scantily clad ladies; the monogatari artstyle seem to have degraded once again. The backgrounds, shading and character faces have all taken a step down, trying too hard to be quirky and thus less pleasing to the eye.
    The OP and ED are quite underwhelming too but at least those are sure to change a few dozen times before the season is over.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      See, I think it’s the exact same magic that Bakemonogatari had. I think you’re looking at Bake with rose-tinted glasses. The style is basically the same, except with even less actual animation back then. Sure Bake had the benefit of being the first and therefore more original, it’s still the only series of its type so it doesn’t feel stale yet.

      Also didn’t episode 2 of Bake have Senjogahara parading about completely nude?

      • passerby
        Posted July 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        yes. yes it did. :D

  6. Shinmaru
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I’ll sit over here with my Kanbaru fandom. ;_;

    (Senjougahara is pretty great, though.)

    • Posted July 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Got another seat you can spare over there buddy?

      (Seriously though, Senjougahara is great too.)

    • Mormegil
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      You aren’t alone!

      (Kanbaru x Senjougahara is still the best pairing)

    • Scamp
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Kanbaru is my third choice, with my second obviously being Oshino Meme

  7. Erif
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    no arararararagi-kun? Huh, that’s interesting.

    okay but seriously when are these fuckers going to release Kizumongatari?

  8. Shikamaru
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Saturday is officially the best day ever. Monogatari, Genshiken and Shingeki no Kyojin. I’m really happy at the moment.

    I have always loved Monogatari animes so this was instant hit for me too. It’s really weird because there is only talking, yet everytime the episode is over I want to see more. Time flies by so fast while watching this. Also it’s the only series that’s really good AND has really godlike fanservice. And I hate fanservice in general, it usually gets in the way of good story or characters. That beach episode in Gurren Lagann for example was horrible.

    Senjogahara was acting weird or out of character when she woke up Hanekawa. The way she talked about Hanekawa before in Nisemonogatari implied that they don’t get along that well. Also it seemed like she listened Hanekawa and she was “forced” to act the way Hanekawa wanted. Any thoughts about this? Am I just wrong again?

    Also my personal monogatari girl rankings: Nadeko>Kanbaru>Senjogahara>Shinobu>Karen>Tsukihi>Hanekawa> Mayoi
    Nadeko is just that cute IMO and it’s not like I like “lolis” because Mayoi is easily the worst girl. Pedo humor isn’t funny. It’s everywhere in anime and I have gotten so sick of it. New season of Ro-Kyu-Bu! just started and if you say that you watch that because of the basketball, you’re lying. But for some reason incest in anime doesn’t bother me at all. Dare I say that I really REALLY like Oreimo and find it funny.

    So we all have stuff we find disgusting and most of us like something that most people would find disgusting. We are all more or less sick because we are watching anime. :D

    • Scamp
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Senjogahara > Meme > Kanbaru > Arararagi > Mayoi = Shinobu > Karen > Tsubasa > Tsukihi > Nadeko

      I actually like Mayoi quite a bit because she comes up with some seriously great lines and the show isn’t too pervy about her when compared to how they are with Nadeko

      • Pusswookie
        Posted July 8, 2013 at 12:47 am | Permalink

        Glad to see someone else appreciates all the wittiness that comes along with Mayoi as well.

      • Hanasra
        Posted July 8, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        No mention of Kaiki Deishuu? I’m disspointed :(

      • Scamp
        Posted July 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        Oh shit, forgot about Kaiki. Didn’t include the two girls from the second half of Nise either. Kinda hard to rank them with so little screentime. Kaiki would probably rank behind Kanbaru and ahead of Arararagi

  9. Seppuku33
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    While enjoying to Yes’s “Roundabout” on repeat, I couldn’t agree more about Saturdays becoming even better. That triple threat anime combo is too much! This season has a lot more to look forward to than last season. It’s going to be fun watching new shows with my brother and friends every week!

    I too agree that this fanservice is “done right” but I don’t know how to explain why. Perhaps it doesn’t make m roll my eyes thinking “Here we go again! Been there, seen that!” It’s fanservice that doesn’t get in the way of the story / dialogue but is still there to appease in an unique way. Can anyone explain why this fanservice is handled “better” than other shows?

    • Scamp
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s part it’s very imaginative with how it portrays the fanservice, and part I like the show anyway so I give it a free pass

  10. Pusswookie
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I see that the Monogatari series is back in fine form; with young women [and occasionally young girls] splayed in compromising yet artistically intriguing positions, all compounded by interesting dialogue and wordplay.

    While I can’t help but find it odd that Senjougahara would get overtly emotional over Hanekawa anyone, it was really cool seeing the dynamic between her and Hanekawa, and how the girls act when Arararararagi isn’t around. I mean, I always figured that girls just made out when they hung out with one another but this is fine too. Wish that they’d stop using Mayoi as a cock-tease though, because I genuinely like her sharp dialogue and am not particularly keen on them trying to sell me on little girls, there’s enough anime doing that as it is. It’s not an outrage or anything, but I’ve got enough fucked up shit periodically surfacing in my mind, on a daily basis, without the camera glued to the underside of an elementary school girl.

    At any rate, If someone walks in on me watching this I’ll just tell them that I watch it for the character interactions and they can take that whichever way they like.

  11. Someone Else
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    No mention of the crying scene? What the… I was actually weirded out by that scene

    Either way being Hanekawa as the second protagonist or POV is actually refreshing. Though for some reason Senjougahara’s character seems to be too similar to how she treats Arararararagi that it kind of feels like Durarararagi was just gender bent. My memory of the previous series is kind of hazy right now so I must be forgetting many things

    Also the whole setup feels weird really since she’s suddenly all friendly to every female leads. Hanekawa even mentioned about skipping chapters, I wonder if it’s true?

    • Scamp
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      That crying scene was weird, but it’s sort of a sign at how close those two have gotten. I’m interested to see how they deal with that scene from here on

      • Seppuku33
        Posted July 8, 2013 at 12:23 am | Permalink

        “Then let’s be friendly and wash each other’s breasts” Very close indeed!

    • gw_kimmy
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      famous female mantra: keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer ;D

  12. Redcrimson
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    You guys are all stupid. Hachikuji is clearly the best girl.

    I never realize how much I miss the various -monogataris until another one starts airing. The characters, the wacky dialogue, the ADD camera. But here we are again, and it’s just as “good” as it ever was.

    I don’t personally find Hanekawa all that interesting, but setting her as the main protagonist of the arc and pairing her with Senjougahara is pretty brilliant. The -monogatari series is all about character interaction, after all. So seeing those interaction without Rararagi around is quite fun.

  13. BwackNinja
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    “An almost friendless high school boy who happens to be a former vampire creates a harem around himself by helping girls he randomly encounters with their supernatural problems.”


    “A high school boy is killed and resurrected as a demon and as a result becomes involved in a 3-way war between angels, demons, and fallen angels with battles taking place based around a chess metaphor.”

    One of these is an intelligent, witty series that manages to remain lighthearted despite the dark nature of the situations the main character finds himself in, and the other is High School DxD. The hardest part about trying to recommend the Monogatari series to anyone is coming up with a description of it that neither sounds bland nor devolves into the subjectivity of fangirling.

  14. Sepppuku33
    Posted July 7, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Scamp / others, where do you torrent your episodes for this series? It has a lot of dialogue and some sub groups don’t do so well.

  15. Nazaren
    Posted July 8, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Please please please continue covering Monogatari, even if it leaves you at a loss for words. Images with witty captions, or virtually unrelated tangents will suffice, in that case.

    I’ve tried time and time again to explain to myself and others why I love this series as much as I do. I come up with “character interaction, dialogue, and direction” and stop. It’s more than that, but somehow also less than that. Also, Senjougahara.

    I’ll throw in a “Rarararagi” for good measure.

  16. ryett
    Posted July 9, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I found it funny how this post is structured exactly like the show itself; bunch of text and dialogue interspersed with shots of Senjogahara. Bravo.

  17. gw_kimmy
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    zomg, no araragi?! *runs to watch*

    *comes back*

    i like how this ep was pretty much a repeat of ep 2 (2 right?) from season one except with tsubasa instead of araragi. this series always feels like the character’s personalities morph to fit the present narrative without completely breaking the character. it’s weird but cool at the same time.

    hhhhhhhhh i guess i’ll watch this. all my other u.s shows are on hiatus so /tsun face forever

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