13 CommentsMonogatari Series: Second Season / By Scamp /

Monogatari Series Second Season episode 18 – Zoetrope storytelling

vlcsnap-2013-11-06-00h22m25s187I do apologise for lateness. I’ve been doing Real World Things, like staying in optional prison suites sorry I mean hostels with an interesting array of people who apparently have no intention of talking to anyone else. I asked one guy where he was from and he said “Europe”. I understand if you are in the most backwater town in Mississippi and you’re from Slovakia or something then maybe saying Europe is acceptable, but not when you’re in London talking to an Irish guy. I did respond with a slightly snarky “oh fancy that I’m from Europe too, do you know Dave” but either he didn’t hear or was skilfully ignoring my sarcastic response.

As you may have guessed, I’m not in any particular rush to talk about this episode.


The good thing about this episode was it provided a nice collection of fancy looking pictures to be arranged in a neat little rolling slide in the vein of a zoetrope. Everything else about this episode, on the other hand, was awful. I know Shaft have a history of not using any actual animation. But their method of non-animation used to be used in really interesting ways, not literally about 5 images panning slowly across the screen for an entire episode. It’s cool pictures, but horribly boring viewing.

What bugs me way more though than the lazy animation is the lazy storytelling. Instead of having Shinobu just narrate the entire episode, wouldn’t it have been better to, you know, actually set the episode during the era Shinobu is talking about? Show her crashing down from the Antarctic into a lake causing it to rain? That would have been a cool sight and have told the story in a much more interesting fashion than just Shinobu narrating the entire thing.

vlcsnap-2013-11-06-00h21m37s218I know the Monogatari’s normal procedures often has characters slowly narrating their whole stories, but that’s because the stories they are talking about does not have any actions. The conversation itself is the story, if you catch my drift. 12 Angry Men is just a bunch of people sitting in a room yelling at each other, but that works because the story is their conversation. In this episode of Monogatari, the story is about Shinobu in the past, not the fact that she’s speaking. It wasn’t even interestingly told, which would have least justified choosing this method of storytelling. It’s just completely fucking boring from start to finish. So much so that I wasn’t even paying attention by the end, so I don’t even know what happened. I kinda want to just skip the rest of this arc. Call me back when it’s Senjogahara’s arc.

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  1. Posted November 8, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Shaft’s obsession with keeping the adaptation faithful in dialogue bit them in the ass here. I too was hoping to see Shinobu’s flashbacks in animated form – particularly that epic leap from Antarctica – but Shaft just HAD to keep the same format as in the novel, which featured Shinobu narrating her story to Koyomi, who was the first person narrator. Entire chapters were wrapped up in quotation marks as Shinobu told her story.

    And with the rumor that we won’t be getting any OP for Maaya Sakamoto, this is shaping up to be by far the worst arc. Fitting, I guess, for the volume I liked least, but I had been hopeful after seeing what Shaft did with Nadeko Medusa, which was tied with Shinobu Time for worst volume.

    • Wodes
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      Shaft is setting a new standard guys. All LN adaptations from now on will be an audio recording of the author reading the book over a powerpoint of the images. This way no one can bitch about adaptation distillation and fans will get exactly what they want right?

  2. TenesMilanesasGracie
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Yes, this episode was actually bad. And the backstory was also boring. I would like to know who the fuck thought that doing 15 minutes of monotone exposition with stills was a good idea.

  3. Pusswookie
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    I would’ve liked to have seen her story told through a 1920s silent cartoon, with the first oddity slayer getting a cartoon angry-knot in his forehead, followed by a black screen with a text popup, “How dare you dupe us, you monster!”

    • Pusswookie
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:48 am | Permalink

      A *grainy black screen.

  4. Redcrimson
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Whatever, I liked this episode. I watch -monogatari to look at pretty pictures and listen to characters monologue about their problems.

  5. Nagisa33
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    This was my favorite episode of the season. Didn’t you say, “Style can be substance. The execution of a style can in itself be a reward with a lot of depth that informs an underlying narrative the story is trying to convey.”

    This episode was refreshing with the beautiful Japanese art style and the ambiet music. Both helped set the mood and paint a picture of the setting and time period. It was going for an explanation of her past which ranged from being isolated to prosperous and back to being isolated but even more so. In the end it was supposed to elicit some sympathy. When Shinobu was talking about being revered as a god the religious imagery hilighted this. When Shinobu was praised with a bountiful feast, warmer colors and soothing music were used. When it all came crashing down, erratic changes in color and unsettling music were used. She was surrounded by deep red bats and a black background as she described herself identifying as a vampire. This painted her as more fiendish but it also depicted her in a more vulnerable position, surrounded by her pain and isolation.

    A picture is worth a thousand words and at least for me this episode delivered.

    • Wodes
      Posted November 10, 2013 at 3:01 am | Permalink

      I don’t think anyone here is saying the whole slideshow aspect was poorly executed. We’re all just scratching our heads asking why they thought a slideshow constituted animation. Shaft has easily proven themselves capable of using style to inform the narrative (Nise. 8) without being outright lazy.

  6. Shikamaru
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I said that Golden Time looked just fine in my opinion, but at least that episode had animation. The backstory in this episode was actually really interesting but after watching still images slowly moving I just couldn’t pay attention anymore. Very boring episode.

  7. Lanf
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I’d take a reclusive guy to share a hostel room with over a crazy any day. I wouldn’t go to a hostel with a dream of rosey coloured campus life.

    Actually, come to think of it, this episode would have been good with an accelerated monologue. I don’t really get the purpose of it; it took most of the episode to actually get back to the point of there being some black blob and even then didn’t actually do much other than be a ‘yeah, I saw this thing before’ kinda thing.

  8. Nazaren
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    I liked it quite a bit. The artwork was gorgeous, and Shinobu’s past (plus the discrepancies in her explanation) was fascinating. The worst part was whenever Hararagi would chime in.

    I would have preferred actual animation, set in the time period she was referring to, of course.

    • Posted November 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      My favorite part of the episode was before they started actually sort-of-animating things.

      That long pan-cel was an appropriate story-telling medium for around the time that Shinobu was describing — the manga of 400+ years ago (though the art styles used were only appropriate at one point when she was talking about oddities). They should release a collectors’ art-scroll of that pan, printed on silk.

      That said, this show has dropped from “watch-as-soon-as-obtained” to “watch-when-free-time”, because I’m not really wild about the monologues and the lack of Senjougahara.

  9. shytende
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    The actual content was pretty good actually.
    Not totally convinced by the storyelling, I’d admit…
    …And once again, we’ll need Kizumonogatari.

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