32 CommentsMonogatari Series: Second Season / By Scamp /

Monogatari Series: Second season episode 4 – Ahoge’s are a dominant gene

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Well this is awkward. After posting a pretty comprehensive rundown of why light novel adaptations are a load of old trollop, I’m now going to sing the praises for this light novel adaptations about a token male lead who gained super powers through no effort on his part, has a magical girlfriend literally fall into his arms and tosses in tons of fanservice to boot. Let’s just ignore this embarrassing juxtaposition and talk Monogatari shall we?

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I got a huge kick out of Arararagi’s mother appearing. Firstly, she has a goddamn ahoge! It runs in the family. Secondly, I do love how they tease what she looks like, never fully centring the screen on her. Much like Senjogahara’s dad, it’s like the show doesn’t want to acknowledge they exist as people, but rather as a collection of parts and a disembodied voice. Important, but it’s not important how they look. My running theory through the Monogatari universe is that what we see is only what Arararagi will acknowledge as being important to exist. Hence why we never see the boyfriends of his sisters. He refuses to see them or hear about them, so from our perspective they don’t exist even if the sisters talk about them. Call it audience surrogate for not wanting to face the fact their kawaii imouto waifus might not be pure.

The best thing about Arararagi’s mother though? That she had very similar speech patterns and mannerisms and general personality to Senjogahara. Good old Oedipus, it’s said that the woman you marry will resemble your mother, or if you’re a girl, your father. I guess that means Arararagi will turn out like Senjogahara’s dad.

vlcsnap-2013-07-29-09h35m58s232Now I get to complain about the Monogatari series not being aired in the correct order. Or to put it another way, goddamnit Shaft just animate Kizumonogatari already because I don’t have the foggiest clue who this guy is supposed to be. It’s ridiculous really. The ordering has gone 3 > 4 > 2 > 5 leaving 1 in this weird state of limbo. They announced they were going to animate Kizumonogatari about 3 years ago now. What are the staff who were supposed to be working on Kizu doing anyway? Sitting around picking their noses and flinging the snot balls at each other? Did a drunken party go horribly wrong and all the storyboards were used to clean up spilled vodka by a hungover intern? Or have they all ended up in hospital after trying to recreate poses from the movie and are now all bothering nurses about the horrible cricks in their necks?

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Then we get this girl. I love how, instead of standing in typical Shaft poses, she holds her body like a proper gansta’ yo sheet bro fo’ real yeah I is proper gansta’ like. I’m a little disappointed Nisioisin didn’t write her dialogue proper gangster style. Instead she speaks very normal, if anything a little cutesy. I suppose it’s supposed to be a deliberate contrast since she’s the cutest of the four Ghostbusters. On that note, I love how the four Ghostbusters are each frightening in their own strange way. Oshino Meme gives off this aura like he could snap your neck at any time but chooses not to because he has his own agenda. Plus he acts like he’s king of his own little world, what with him living in that abandoned schoolhouse with a pile of desks as his throne. Kaiki was creepy in a slimeball, loan-shark, accountant from hell way. You wanted to look down on him, but there’s always that feeling that he has the upper hand and you just don’t realise it. The girl from last season is more straight asshole, like she can’t be bothered to deal with you and you are a mere nuisance in her way and the only reason you haven’t been crushed beneath her mighty platform boots is because she’s straining herself to be polite.

Finally we have rapper chick, whose cuteness and silly mannerisms and dress sense barely conceal that she is dangerously smart and knows everything about you. Like a secret service agent who has downloaded beingnicetopeople.exe and downloaded moderndresssense.ddl but hasn’t quite grasped the subtleties. What I like about each one of them is you always feel like they know way more than you and way more than the main characters. They’re dangerous people who are far beyond the power of even the most powerful of oddities that you see in this series. I said this at the end of Nisemonogatari, but now that we’ve seen the final member of their team, I think it’s worth repeating. I would love to see a prequel where we follow the stories of Meme and co. in university as they go about their Ghostbusting duties. Then again, we’re still waiting on Kizumonogatari, so maybe that’s too much to hope for.

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31 Comments

  1. Amarrez
    Posted July 29, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I think that when you read or watch (in some distant future, maybe) Kizu, you’ll find that Araragi did go through a fair bit of effort when it comes to his Vampirism.

    But, agreed, it’s a bit cruel for the show to suddenly throw Episode into the mix and expect you to know who he is.

  2. abyssion29
    Posted July 29, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m hoping Rapper Chick is still learning and at the end of the arc she’s like “Yo Hanekawa, I’m really happy for u a imma let u finish but Senjougahara is the best character of all time!!!”

    • Scamp
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      A relevant and excellent use of that meme

  3. ANON
    Posted July 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m fine with a meme et al series. just as long as they use this as the OP. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MjuEqaSWmk

    and yes, arararagi’s mom reminded me so much of senjougahara. looks like my dreams of an araragixhanekawa pairing won’t ever happen.

    • Raymondjram
      Posted August 4, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      NO, Koyomi and Hanekawa will not be together. In Episode 5 (chapter 65 of the novel), after she absorbs the tiger and becomes whole again (no cat ears or long white hair) she declares her love to him. He admits it and says that he already loves another (Hitagi), and pats her hair. Then she breaks down and really cries! It is a sad scene (the anime is even sadder!) but important as it ends that failed relation between them.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted July 29, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Well this is awkward.

    Oh puh-lease. You won’t even fool a dinosaur with that. And they’re dead!

    I heartily agree that a Meme & Co. story would be freaking amazing. Sadly the problem with that is that you may end up with stuff like the Chapterhouses from the Dune series.

    Araragi’s mom was also pretty cool. Dem headtilts, dat ahoge. Her neck is pretty fucked up in one shot though.

    Not to forget Senjougahara’s pun. I so love the look on her face during that scene. Regressing!

    • Scamp
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      All Shaft characters have strange necks thanks to their bone structure looking like this

  5. Posted July 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Well, this is awkward

    Perhaps it’s just an application of the “even a stopped clock is right twice a day” principle to Light Novels. Nisioisin seems to be a very talented writer. Imagine if he used his powers for good instead of boiling pots.

    Also you did innoculate yourself against embarrassment by suggesting such a thing was possible by alluding to Kino (and, I think maybe Boogiepop Phantom, though in that case I think the adaptations are better than the source material).

    I liked how the Gansta Girl turned Hanekawa’s verbal tic against her: “I know everything and I even know that you know nothing” vs. “I don’t know everything, I only know what I know.” Perhaps we’re on our way to learning the meaning of Hanekawa’s motto.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      It really is Nisioisin’s writing that elevates it. Or not even elevate, because I’m of the opinion the Monogatari series exists in its own little sub-world bubble where normal laws don’t apply to them. It’s my bracket buster for which my usual rules of what makes a good anime don’t apply because it breaks so many of them.

  6. Nagisa33
    Posted July 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    I think Hanekawa’s stress is going to come to a head in this arc, meaning she’ll deal with Black Hanekawa once and for all. I have a feeling that she’s going to wig out bc she can’t stay “pure white” all the time, or can she?

    • Scamp
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Grey hair isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Or maybe that’s just because I’m a dude and feel totally fine with my hair already starting to turn

      • Nagisa33
        Posted July 30, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Hahahaha. Thanks for the chuckle!

    • Raymondjram
      Posted August 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      If you read the novel, Hanekawa hair will be a “tiger pattern”, in other words, a mix of bright silver white stripes against her regular black. In the fifthe Episode (shown yesterday at 1:00 PM EDT), after Koyomi killed it (and CARRIED IT to her!),she absorbs the Tiger with her touch and her hair changes to the tiger pattern.

  7. Posted July 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I actually really like how we only get bits and pieces of information about the Ghostbusters – I think one of the best applications of Isin’s “talk all the way around an issue, never actually aiming at it” style of writing is how it results in these worlds that feel like they have a lot going on outside of what we’re specifically shown.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      You’re probably right, but I’d love more salacious details of the kind of crap they got up to

  8. BwackNinja
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    I wanted to say something insightful about how the Monogatari series is different than other harems, but I can’t come up with much. I’m pretty sure that it still fails Bechdel test too. The biggest difference I can see is that the female characters aren’t consolidated. Their relationships with each other are of their own design, not stemming from their relationship with Araragi. They don’t all know each other and they aren’t interchangeable – each one plays a different role in his life.

    That said, the more I think about Senjougahara, the less her important she seems. Despite how Senjougahara is supposed to be at the center of Araragi’s life, the only other girls she knows are ones that she met before she met him (other than now having met Karen). If she couldn’t get along with Hanekawa, the relationship would probably fall to pieces. If I had to put a wild theory out, I’d say she looks like a substitute for Shinobu.

    • Scamp
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Applying the Bechdel test to Monogatari probably isn’t the right approach here because, at least until this season, there was never a scene that wasn’t Arararagi talking to someone. It is the world as perceived by him. Unless you want to count the next episode previews by his sisters?

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

        Well, you do have the case of Hanekawa talking to Hachikuji and Senjougahara talking to Kanbaru, but those wouldn’t even seem relevant if they didn’t involve Araragi. Passing the test would be an interesting divergence from the normal constituents of the harem genre and be an easy way to call the series good by being different. You refer to the series as “existing within it’s own bubble” and breaking the general rules you lay out. Is it that the series lends itself to such artistry, visually and verbally? That seems akin to saying that other series aren’t bad, but merely that they were executed poorly. That reminds me of your satirical High School DxD post in that you could put a lens over it and make it seem good.

        The reason I say this is because you made negative remarks about those other light novels based upon their content when you seem not to judge Monogatari by its content at all. Could you objectively say that Monogatari has as poor of a story as the rest? Or can you dig up something that separates it beyond its presentation? Or maybe it’s that you actually like teen power fantasy harem setups but your pride normally overwhelms your enjoyment?

      • Scamp
        Posted July 31, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        Ah I remember that Highschool DxD post! That was fun to write.

        Perhaps I enjoy writing these episodics about the Monogatari series because they’re a big effort in trying to work out why it is I like them so much compared to all their brethren. I think I do a fairly good job of explaining where this one is different in my first Monogatari Second Season post. I think it possibly is all presentation, but in presentation I’m including dialogue and writing style and storytelling style. Ultimately the ‘story’ is the same though, I agree on that.

  9. Redcrimson
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    To be fair, not ALL light novels are dumb sex-charged teen power fantasies. Spice and Wolf, Kino’s Journey and fuckin Baccano were originally Light Novels.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, Boogiepop Phantom was also kick ass in a dark and twisted kind of way. What other great LNs (or at least adaptations of LNs) are there?

      • Scamp
        Posted July 31, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

        Shameful Otaku Secret: I thought Boogiepop Phantom was a load of pretentious bullshit.

        Liked all those others though. About to rewatch Kino’s Journey as part of my 2003 retrospective

  10. Pusswookie
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    The whole scene with the hip hop dance instructor and her 6 year old mercenary was kind of weird to be honest. I would’ve liked to have seen how someone who is comfortable with their own identity, like Senjougahara, handled a conversation with her.

  11. TienesMilanesas
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    I was expecting something along the lines of ‘Gaen Fascination’ for this. Well, whatever.

    It seems like the tiger was a manifestation made by Hanekawa. I particularly like how they set this whole arc without araragi and how nobody can help her, so she finally gets over her issues.

    Another cool thing was how the sisters referenced araragis attitude towards her boyfriends. Like you said in the post, they do not appear because shuraragi doesn’t wnat to see them. He is escaping that reality. Being the MC selfinsert-kun and all, it is quite interesting because it seems like the creators are telling the audience that they are escaping reality and avoiding everything they do not want to see.

    btw I read kizu, and there is nothing particularly important about Episode that they didn’t tell you here.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      They did seem to treat him like you obviously already knew who he was. It was like the end of Bakemonogatari. I really didn’t know what they were on about and it felt like they assumed I already knew what the white cat thing was. It irritated me a whole lot.

      • TienesMilanesas
        Posted August 2, 2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink

        Well, yes. I am not a fan of SHAFT glossing over kizu like it is irrelevant. The fact that they have not explained yet what is the deal with Araragi and Kisshot is pretty bad and a lot of the interactions have more strength once you know what the fuck happened before.

  12. Rait
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, according to this source Kizumonogatari is coming out this fall. This information is pretty much fresh off the owen.

    http://mora.jp/special/monogatari-series/?fmid=TOPMAINV01#pos5

    • Scamp
      Posted August 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      So I heard. I’ll believe it when I see it though. I trust Shaft about as far a I can throw their entire studio

  13. aethelwulf
    Posted July 31, 2013 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    The way I see it, those light novel adaptations depend a lot on effort. Somebody out there actually wants the Monogatari series to be good, and is willing to put the time in to make it enjoyable. Most adaptations of light novels don’t need to be good, though–they only need to pander. The folks behind them are satisfied as long as they can induce the fanbase to buy hugging pillows and skeevy sameface figurines.

  14. Raymondjram
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Those who actually read all or most of the Monogatari light novels know that the anime does follow the storyline well, although most of the long dialogs get edited, and the anime adds more visuals effects. The novel has no details on the Araragi mother’s look, but the Episode 4 anime adds a few to confirm who she is. She has the “moving hair curl” that Koyomi and his sisters have, and she has the same eyes as Koyomi, but with smaller brows. And she does talk like Hitagi!

  15. Raymondjram
    Posted August 4, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I wish to add that the new character Izuko Gaen is following the description given by Hanekawa in the novel, but she does look too young to be Oshino’s “sempai”. And Kaiki knew her well to be asking about the family in Kanbaru’s home when Koyomi was leaving during the Nisemonogatari episode. The reason (which Hitagi mentions in Episode 4 here) is that Gaen is Kanbaru’s aunt (sister to Kanbaru’s mother). Gaen has the same big brown eyes as Kanbaru’s but not her big eyebrows (which compete with Karen Araragi’s eyebrows). Gaen will be an important charater in the next Monogatari episodes.

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