23 CommentsMonogatari Series: Second Season / By Scamp /

Monogatari Series Second Season episode 13 – Maybe not the worst girl after all

vlcsnap-2013-09-30-13h18m10s45When I heard that the Monogatari series was going to skip over Kanbaru’s arc and jump into the Worst Girl’s arc, I was prepared to make like a pair of descending sunglasses and deal with it. Indeed the first episode suggested that it wasn’t going to be a particularly engaging arc. But then what’s this? Entertaining dialogue, clever back and forth between two well developed characters, a charm and vulnerability in the lead while also emphasising the backbone she does have? I guess Hanekawa is back to being the Worst Girl all over again.

vlcsnap-2013-09-30-13h23m46s58Switching perspectives to Nadeko really changed how I perceived her character. When you view the story from Arararagi’s perspective, Nadeko is just some onii-chan fetish for those who want the adoration and instant devotion of a younger sister without the messyness of an actual sister. It’s a shallow pedo archetype. Swap everything to Nadeko’s perspective though, and she becomes a shy young teenage girl, grappling with increased social pressure, new sexual feelings, guilt and her inherent shyness. The crush she’s got for Arararagi comes off as nothing more than that. Going instantly for the strong, dependable older guy with that older-brother vibe that he’ll protect her. It’s all part of a very typical young teenage girl personality.

What makes it work this time rather than in the last episode is, between the snake and Shinobu, they’re bringing out these parts of her personality and worries. I particularly loved the back and forth she had with the snake. It reminded me of Parasyte of all things, whispering into her arm and berating the creature for interfering with her concentration during school, while the creature observes and offers wry comments that get down into her psyche a little more. It was genuinely clever dialogue with great personality between the two. It was little things that made it, such as Nadeko giving the snake a very blunt order to “shut up” when she left the classroom. My personal favourite bit was the snake pointing out that she used the word “anyway” to get away from conversations she felt uncomfortable with, to which Nadeko responds by going “err…anyway” in a resigned voice. That made me laugh out loud, and for what’s supposedly a comedy anime, that’s something I do very rarely with Monogatari.

vlcsnap-2013-09-30-13h23m09s211Getting away from Arararagi has really helped keep Monogatari fresh this season. Although I liked the end of the last arc, I wasn’t crazy on it at the start because Arararagi’s shtick was starting to feel stale. I mean, look at what they managed to do with Nadeko and Hanekawa, the two characters who before now I would have called the worst two. Imagine how good the arc from Kanbaru’s perspective will be? Oh dear, I thought about it for too long and now I have to change my trousers. Better not think about how good Senjogahara’s view of the world would be. Please please please tell me that arc is told from Senjogahara’s perspective, because if it’s not I will cry.

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  1. Dynellen
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    “arc from Senjogahara’s perspective”

    I’m afraid not. Nisio trolled everyone by making it very much seem like Koimonogatari would be told by Gahara and that she might even die, only to then have the book be narrated by Kaiki.

    • BigFire
      Posted September 30, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Kaiki even apologize right at the first sentence of the novel about the massive troll of the novel’s story title Hitagi End.

      • Posted September 30, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        I like what seems like spoilers, thank you guys.

      • Posted October 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        FYI this is actually a troll meme from /a/.

      • Pusswookie
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        I don’t know what /a/ is, and unfortunately I’ve not seen All The Memes In The World.

        More importantly, why did you delete whatever I posted [I’ve forgotten] on there just to say something unimportant like that?
        Or is this just someone else who posts under that name bringing up irrelevant information and is not actually me having my comment modified?

      • Pusswookie
        Posted October 4, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        [This is written under the assumption that the latter above is false, because it is somewhat doubtful]

        I mean, that’s neat and all – I googled Anonymoose and thought it was pretty funny – but that still seems kind of rude, deleting my comment just to say that.
        Couldn’t you have just said so in a reply?

  2. Posted September 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Can’t say I was nearly as impressed by the writing in this episode, which I found too bashing-over-the-head. But to each his own; either way, it certainly does re-frame our understanding of Nadeko from the simplistic image we got in Nadeko Snake. I just think Tsubasa Tiger did it better, not spelling out every little thing from the very beginning.

    Considering how much you bring up Hitagi in like every single post regardless of her involvement, I’m looking forward to coming here once her arc comes at the end.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 1, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Hitagi is far and away my favourite character of the series and I still have that crush on her, so I’m contractually obliged to bring her up.

  3. Posted September 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m actually with you and I really enjoyed the bantering between Nadeko and Snake. It’s, as you said, rather fresh to see everything from another character’s perspective.

    What do you mean with Araragi’s schtick becoming stale, though? Did you simply grow tired of him, or?

    • Scamp
      Posted October 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      I guess it’s because his character is static now. He doesn’t have much of a story anymore. Plus his character traits are a little played out now. He can still come up with witty lines, but that’s more Nisio being inherently witty and speaking through Arararagi than his character.

  4. Nagisa33
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    At first I thought Nadeko was annoying in being defenseless and looking for help all the time. She seems to naturally put herself in a victimized position. After reading your post I thought of her in more positive light.

  5. Mr. Anon
    Posted October 1, 2013 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Glorious harsh words by Shinobu this episode.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 1, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t help thinking “jeez she’s just a kid Shinobu, stop being so mean”.

      I may be moe for Nadeko

  6. Someone Else
    Posted October 1, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I’m a lolicon and I like Nadeko as default but since the girls in Monogatari are something else, it kind of raised the standards that’s why she’s at the bottom.

    However, Nadeko is still a bad character (in my opinion) after this episode. She’s like the pathetic version of Hanekawa. The reason why this arc seems entertaining is because the Snake is a great complement to Nadeko as it brings out her inner evil. Unlike adam and eve’s snake from the bible which instead tempts them, the snake here kind of brings out the worst things naturally found on her.

    • Raymondjram
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      It will surpise you at the end of this story that the real “bad girl” isn’t Nadeko after all. She was influenced by the same girl who we met in the first episode riding and crashing a bike. Yes, the girl with black eyes is involved. The author Nisio Isin is giving us a surprise!

  7. Ramiel
    Posted October 1, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    So far this arc hasn’t been quite as good as I hoped it to be. I actually feel it would be more effective if they didn’t do the flash forward intro. It also seems like Nadeko’s personality backtracked from the way it was in Nise.

    That said, I think the next to episodes will blow us away.

    I also agree with you Scamp, that seeing the story through the girls’ perspective makes things a lot more interesting.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      I’m inclined to agree that showing the flash-forward hasn’t helped, but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt because they’ve made every other arc work so far.

  8. Posted October 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Agreed completely on the show being more interesting the further it gets from Araragi. I honestly never found him that compelling, and I think a large part of my increased enjoyment this season is that I feel the writing becomes far more interesting whenever he’s out of the picture.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 1, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      I think his most interesting side was at the start of Bake, particularly in Mayoi’s arc. He wasn’t the He-Man that he is now, he had more weakness and lack of assurance. I think having Meme around helped show where Arararagi was still weak.

  9. Wodes
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    I think you’re giving nadeko too much credit. This episode is entirely Hannibal Lectures from snake-san and, towards the end, shinobu. Nadeko just has to respond with “oh my gosh i’m so bad aren’t I”. Her overeagerness to please IS her flaw, and by simply agreeing with people who insult her, she just shows again an overeagerness to please.

    Snake-san, on the other hand, I can get behind. Snake-san takes one look at Nadeko and spends the rest of the episode saying “How are you worst girl? Let me count the ways”. Which isn’t particularly difficult (since she is worst girl), but is still entertaining given that Snake-san is presented to us as our antagonist but he makes the most sense.

    I’m also noticing a distinct lack of senjougahara of late, with her role primarily supplanted by Shinobu. Masaka! Is shinobu actually best girl? #ithinkyes

  10. Raymondjram
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Scamp, I read that your favorite girl Hitagi will appear in this story, probably in its last episode. So, you may still feel good at the end.

    • Raymondjram
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Fron the first Otorimonogatari episode, I thought that Nadeko looked like Hitagi, except fot the tilted head look and the blue eyes (Nadeko eyes are brown). In the next episode she even seems cruel in how she answers back to her teacher, and even more to her classmates. And how did Tsukihi get her hair cut so short? She had very long hair in Nekomonogatari Shuro (White). Now she reminds me of Tsubasa Hanekawa.

  11. Coolwihp
    Posted November 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Maybe they planned for Kizumonogatari’s late release because Araragi was becoming stale and Kizumono will refresh Araragi’s character. Maybe there’s a reason, just maybe…

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