As mentioned in the monthly roundup, I happen to be awfully busy right now. I’ve moved house and just started a new job so my life is really hectic. I’ve handed off the latest Samurai Flamenco post to one of my
minions co-writers. Here’s Monogatari though, while it’s the weekend and I’ve still got unpacked stuff strewn about my room. Clearly anime blogging takes priority to living.
I loved Kaiki’s scribbles in his notebook about each character and how he signified each house, particularly that the Araragi household was denoted by the ahoge. This signifying characters by a single part of their character design is a general trait in Shinbo anime, but it’s particularly strong in Monogatari. It took me forever to realise this, but even the blank screen colours reference the character the scene is referring to. Black for Araragi, purple for Senjogahara, yellow for Shinobu and so on. It’s a pretty cool technique, since anime fans reference girls by the colour of their hair regularly anyway. As an added bonus for the cost-cutting folks at Shaft, it’s also really easy and requires no animation whatsoever.
Animation has been a rare commodity in Monogatari so far. I remember one of the good things about Nisemonogatari was Shaft had time and money to do good animation and not just still frames for an entire season for a change, which gave us some wonderful camera work. Back in Monogatari there’s barely any movement, helped in part by the tendency for characters to just narrate their actions rather than perform the actions on screen.
As much as I probably should be annoyed that the supposed Senjogahara arc is mostly Kaiki, I don’t mind too much because he’s a pretty great character in his own right. I don’t normally stop the video to read on-screen text because doing that in Monogatari will just give you a headache, but this episode had this one revelation that made me double-take and rewind to re-read. During his conversation with Nadeko about love, a screen popped up where he mentioned something about unrequited love and “she died in a car accident” and knowing love. I’m sure the specific wording of the translation could be off. It was just one of those bloody on-screen text boxes that flit up for a split second. My automatic reaction given Kaiki’s age was “OMG HE LOVED MAYOI” but they were 10 so that would be silly.
I like Kaiki because he’s a embittered old timer who makes snarky remarks about everyone around him but inside he will save them. He’s a retired light novel protagonist. The light novel protagonist that isn’t Yuji Everylead that is. It’s a bit like Gintama. Gintoki is a shounen hero who has since retired from his sword swinging lifestyle of the spiky-haired shounen protagonist since it didn’t work out so well for him, and now he just does odd-jobs for money and has loose morals. Kaiki is basically the same as Gintoki. On the other hand, if my earlier theory is true, Kaiki loved this girl but the love was unrequited and then she died so he became this embittered bloke who spent his life being mean to kids but inside is actually a big softie? Kaiki is basically Severus Snape.