27 CommentsMonogatari Series: Second Season / By Scamp /

Monogatari Series Second Season episode 20 – Gaen screencaps

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You can tell when I’ve fallen for a character while episodic blogging when I look back at the screencaps I took for the episode and it’s all of that one character. When I checked my images folder after finishing taking screencaps, I had about 20 pictures. 1 had Araragi in, the rest were all of Gaen Izuko.

vlcsnap-2013-11-18-20h51m44s190A big part of the reason why I like her is the colour palette with all her appearances. You knew she was going to appear in the last episode before she spoke because you had that rainbow spiral appear behind her. Normally the clouds form beautiful little rainbow patterns behind her like she’s the baton twirler in front of the weather’s gay pride parade. But even when in front of random other things, like stacks of chairs, the light will still shine in and turn give the scene a faint multicoloured glow. It doesn’t strictly mean anything. I just think it looks awesome and I’m easily pleased like that.

vlcsnap-2013-11-18-20h51m27s15What I love about her character is the uneasy sense of danger around her. The shots of her facial expressions did love to show her looking just a little psychotic more than once. Shaft have tried to do this with each of the ghostbusting college friends with varying degrees of success. I really liked the way Nisemonogatari handled Kaiki’s character. He felt sleazy. Not perverted sleazy, but like a funeral director who has massively overcharged you on running your parent’s funeral because you’re too distraught to consider the cost-benefit analysis at that time. The platform shoes lady didn’t pull it off that well at all, although I’m willing to put that down to lack of screentime. She mostly just felt curt and short-tempered. Meme had this aura like he was always in control but was in a nice mood so felt like helping. He was a strange figure in Bakemonogatari but it wasn’t until the later seasons with Shinobu finally talking did you realise how much control he really had. Ultimately though he’s probably the ‘nice guy’ of the group.

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Gaen though is wonderful because her scariness comes from her boundless knowledge. You get the feeling she might be a perfectly nice person if she didn’t have all this knowledge, but enjoys lording that knowledge over people. She’s bursting at the seams, which is why every now and then she gives a slightly crazed expression, or blurts out something that potentially destroys someone’s entire life, or says “but I knew that already”. It’s kind of the same power all four of them hold. Kaiki has that knowledge and uses it to exploit in minor ways that feels sleazy. His slightly bored outer demeanour is because he’s just waiting for you to get on with it so he gets his money. Platform Shoes lady has the knowledge and is curt because she just wants to get on with it and doesn’t have time to be patient with those that don’t have her knowledge. Meme is in control of all the situations because he has this knowledge. I’ve said it many times before, but I would love a prequel series about these four in college together. They seem like way more interesting characters. It wouldn’t be a harem since the genders are evenly split. No pedo shite because they’re all college students. The Monogatari novels are ending soon-ish, and Shaft and Aniplex will loath to see this cash cow die. So why not?

vlcsnap-2013-11-18-20h55m04s142As for the actual plot of the episode, I did quite like the explanation for why this entire arc existed, although that might be because it was told by Gaen. She could explain the plot of Guilty Crown to me and I’d probably go “yeah sure that makes sense”. The whole goodbye with Araragi though felt a bit silly. Sad loli dying in the rainbow patterned clouds. It got particularly silly when it portrayed their relationship as being romantic. Their relationship was based on Araragi regularly molesting her. Plus she’s 12, I don’t think you have a good idea of what romance is when you’re 12. I like Mayoi but sticking her goodbye at the end of this boring arc sorta guaranteed that it wouldn’t have the desired effect on me, but even so. It’s falling into the Jun Maeda trap that any sort of bullshit plot can be excused so long as you put a crying little girl on the screen. What do you mean this doesn’t make sense, it has a little girl crying! Wow, much sad. So tears. Must be awesome emotional scene because it has little girl crying. Despite my bitching, and indeed bitching for the entirety of this arc, I ended up being totally OK with this episode. Mostly because half of it was Gaen Izuko.

vlcsnap-2013-11-18-20h55m31s137Let me rephrase that. It’s entirely because half of it was Gaen Izuko.

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27 Comments

  1. Cobrah
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ve reached the point where besides Senjougahara and Kanbaru, I like the girls outside of Araragi’s harem a whole lot more (although crazy Nadeko was pretty great). While I did like Mayoi I think it was mainly because I found her conversations with Araragi to be entertaining, at least when they weren’t about the pedo stuff, so I didn’t find her “death” super sad or anything. Although I do think it’s good closure for her story.

    Well it’s the end of another arc, I wonder what they’re going to recap next week?

    • Scamp
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      It was good closure to Mayoi’s story, that I will agree it. It is amusing though that she was basically killed off by a rampaging editor pointing out continuity errors in his story. How fitting of Nisioisin. With his stupidly wordy writing, of course the most fearsome enemy would be an editor.

  2. Nagisa33
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    My friend who has been reading the LNs worries that there might be only 3 episodes for Koimonogatari (the last part of this series). Also, following the pattern of the previous arcs, it’s likely that we can expect a recap episode again this week. Who knows for sure though.

    Also, Kaiki looks like Count Chocula.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Nah, there will be either 4 or 5 episodes for the final arc, assuming next week is a recap as per usual. That seems fine for an arc. If anything, it’s a little long. This arc was 4 episodes and was probably too long

  3. Wodes
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    The shitstorm on /a/ over how their precious loli waifu has left them was hilarious to see. I had no idea that people actually cared about hachikuji before then (and honestly, they probably didn’t).

  4. Nazaren
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    As much as I enjoyed the (witty, non-pedo) exchanges with Hachikuji and am saddened to see her go, it going all Angel Beats with the end ruined it.

    In b4 “she’s really like 23 because of those ghost years so it’s okay!”.

    I disliked Gaen the first time around, but she’s definitely growing on me.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I always liked Gaen myself, but this time she was wonderful. That slightly psycho look in her eyes is great.

  5. Cepech
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:16 am | Permalink

    So this is what Araragi was doing while Hanekawa was dealing with some tiger.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Where’s the sword-wielding, tattered clothes version of our hero then? I feel bamboozled.

      • Posted November 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        I think it might revealed be in the Kanbaru arc we’re not getting until next year. Isn’t it supposed to take place after this arc, after all?

    • Scamp
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      I have completely lost the continuity in this series

      • Gaffuwaffu
        Posted November 21, 2013 at 3:59 am | Permalink

        In the first season they were in their last year of high school, and I feel like enough time has passed for them to have all graduated.

  6. Shikamaru
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I have mixed feelings about this episode. I said that Monogatari would be perfect without all this loli crap. Well now the series has taken the first step towards that. No more Araragi molesting Mayoi. I should be happy.

    I’m just going to say it. Mayoi saying goodbye was touching scene. Kids fall in love with older people all the time. It’s normal. Mayoi fell in love with Araragi and thus decided to stay in this world as long as possible. She wanted to spend her last moments with Araragi. I think that’s really touching story. Well it would have been without all that stupid molesting shit.

    Now I have a sudden fear that they’re going to kill Nadeko at somepoint. I thought that Monogatari would be a series where nobody really dies. Maybe Shinobu suddenly confesses to Araragi and they together murder all the other girls. That would be awesome.

    Last thing. I was reading comments on forums and on other blogs and there were so many people saying something like this: “Mayoi is older than Araragi, she’s not elementary school student.” I’m so fucking tired of reading comments like these.

    • shytende
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Well… Nadeko’s already out.
      Didn’t you see the last arc.
      I’m more worried for Kanbaru.

  7. Varyn
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Honestly this arc ended far too suddenly for me, why was the fact that Shinobu and Araragi were separated even relevant to the plot? I thought they were going to go save her from the darkness thing and then Mayoi would sacrifice herself when they were actually in danger. They should have done that instead of wasting an episode on Shinobu’s long ass back-story which could have been condensed down to about 10 sentences and still made complete sense.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Yup, that whole episode with Shinobu’s backstory was both too long and terribly told anyway.

  8. fathomlessblue
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    This episode brought about an odd realisation in me; that while I love the Monogatari series and enjoy nearly all of the characters, I also have barely any emotional attachment to them. As such I didn’t really feel anything about Mayoi leaving for good, even though I’ve always found her particularly fun to watch.

    In Mayoi’s case it’s I imagine it’s partly due to associating her scenes as pure comedy, in order to hand wave Araragi’s creepy actions, but I don’t think the situation would drastically change with the other members of the harem. They are (mostly) fascinating, well realised people with great dialogue and interactions, but the structure of the show itself makes it harder for me associate with their issues within the context of the story. Shaft’s direction with the Monogatari has always been too abstracted to develop a sense of weight with characters, with them flitting in and out of an empty universe for huge chunks of the narrative. It’s almost as if they stop existing until there is a need for them again. There’s always been an ephemeral nature to everything in the series, & this really comes to the forefront when it tries to enact a traditional anime narrative. We saw this previously with the lack of tension or credibility during the arc where the world is apparently destroyed. It just never felt real to begin with.

    As such there’s this weird disconnect with me having a strong rapport with the cast on an emotional level, yet having little emotional attachment to their roles within the story. It’s their personality and dialogue and opinions that affect me, but not necessary the pull of narrative on their actions. When the universe they exist in is presented as a fictitious stage purely for their thoughts, then everything they do within it, including living and dying fails to mean an awful lot. This show can be too meta for its own good.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      I get what you’re saying. The one time it did manage this was with episode 12 of Bakemonogatari with the star gazing scene. That gave a lot of people the wrong idea of what Monogatari was leading to and what it was about. That scene was a once-off that was kinda remarkable it was even pulled off.

  9. shytende
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Well, I already knew this would happen because I read it on Tv Tropes a while ago.
    However… We already knew that Darkness chased Mayoi from the start. I don’t know why Araragi was so surprised.

    Also, Ogi is definitely the best girl.

  10. Posted November 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Personally, I couldn’t stand this ending. This isn’t even on the level of Maeda, who at least attempts to lead the story to the sad ending, however contrived it may be. A random car accident or heart transplant coincidence might be awful, but they don’t sink to the level of “Plot convenience, lol,” which is what this amounted to. And Gaen explaining all of it didn’t really make it any better, especially considering she’s also plot convenience personified. She goes beyond expertise like Meme to sheer omniscience. So basically this episode was God explaining that God wants to kill Mayoi, which is really boring, and lazy to boot.

  11. Pusswookie
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    Has anyone else noticed that the developments of all these arcs have been pretty morbid?

    Hanekawa finally discovered she was boring then got shot down by Araragi, Shinobu went crazy in an alternate universe and killed everyone that they ever knew and loved, Nadeko decided to stop playing the victim only to become a crazed psychopath – alienating everyone in the process – who intends to murder all the main characters and Mayoi was chased out of existence by a black hole.

    I shudder to think of what horrors await Kanbaru ;_;

    • Scamp
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      Monogatari has always been kinda dark when you get down to it. Senjogahara was almost sexually abused as a child after her parents tried to sell her to pay debts. Mayoi died on mother’s day. Some shit be fucked

  12. Someone Else
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    On unrelated news Parasyte anime. DAAMMNNN Scamp, I think I’ll read it again lol

    • Scamp
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 12:27 am | Permalink

      Waiting to see who is doing the adaptation but still hoooooly shit it’s happening!

  13. strukingfourd
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    This reminded me, anybody knows an anime who can give me my Crazy Yuno Eyes fix?

    • fathomlessblue
      Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Higurashi? There’s plenty of crazy eyes in that show.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      Geass =P

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