24 CommentsMonogatari Series: Second Season / By Scamp /

Monogatari Series: Second Season episode 5 – Too cool for school

vlcsnap-2013-08-04-20h35m10s191What a fantastic looking hairdo you have there Hanekawa. Classy while being avant-garde. It’s a look that reflects your new personality where you embrace the non-perfect parts and become more vain and self-centred. Plus the stripes and the white reflect those two parts of you that you rejected before. Instead of rejecting who you were once before, which is what a hairstyle change this unusual usually reflects, this hairstyle is the symbol of you accepting every part of you for a change. It actually makes you stand out instead of being yet another anime girl. All in all I’d say this is a big step in the right direction to move you up the Monogatari Girl Rankings, no longer sitting down the bottom of the rung alongside Nadeko and finally becoming…

vlcsnap-2013-08-04-20h35m41s249Noooooooooooooooooooooooo why did you dye it!?!? Wasn’t the whole point of this arc for you not to hide these parts of you anymore? What’s the point of the visual imagery if we’re going to hide them? Pah, back to being Worst Girl.

vlcsnap-2013-08-04-20h27m20s93I’ve been trying to work out why it is people like Hanekawa. If it’s because she’s some sort of perfect nice girl who is very polite and wonderful, then this episode kinda throws all that back in your face. Not that it changed Hanekawa, but that you are a terrible person for desiring that trait in a character. By repressing her stress and her envy, Hanekawa became White as Senjogahara would put it, or Bland as I would put it. It was only when she was able to bring those parts of her back into her personality could she start to feel comfortable with who she was. By repressing it she not only hurt herself but those around her who cared for her.

I may be all harsh on Hanekawa, but I did actually like this story a lot and how it wrapped up. At least, once they finally wrapped up and stopped showing photographs from her holidays. I get that it was supposed to be a metaphor, but it went on for a little too long. It felt like the conclusion to a story that they’ve been building up with Hanekawa for a long time, and the fact it took me this long for the pieces to click together shows a fine storytelling hand at work. Or it could just be that I’m thick, which I’m sure Hanekawa fans will agree with.

vlcsnap-2013-08-04-20h32m45s19Meanwhile, Arararagi comes back a bit of a changed character. My memory is a little fuzzy here, but from what I remember, Araragi was a put-upon everyman, slightly cynical but ultimately a nice guy. You know, your typical male harem lead. He only got a free pass thanks to witty dialogue and because they took the visualisation of the harem lead’s viewpoint and made it the centrepoint style of the whole show. Now Arararagi is apparently a cross between Kamina and Edward from Twilight. He’s already bearing half of his chest there in his artfully tattered hoodie, with the back half looking eerily like a cape. I mean heck, look at the sword.

vlcsnap-2013-08-04-20h33m11s22Hefting over his shoulder like it’s no big deal, absurdly long like that one episode from Gurren Lagann where Kamina unsheathes his sword for far longer than he should. Or even better:

vlcsnap-2013-08-04-20h33m23s137

Don’t mind me, I’m just going to leisurely toss this giant fire breathing tiger over my shoulder. I didn’t toss in that Edward from Twilight comparison in just because he’s a sexy vampire by the way. The entire arc was about a bland female lead who has teenage girl problems like jealousy and needing her own space, but is perfectly nice on the outside. Then she stands up for herself until the sexy male character, who just so happens to also be a vampire, swoops in and saves the day while being all understanding and listening to her problems while being slightly patronising at the same time. Maybe this is the natural progression of the harem lead. He starts as an everyman and eventually becomes every woman’s wet dream.

everyone knows senjogaharaFinally, I found this image way too exploitable to pass up the chance to have some fun.

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24 Comments

  1. Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    I can’t do it myself as I am away from my main computer, by one of those speech bubble edits should say “Admit it, I am the best character.”

  2. Inushinde
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Hanekawa with the toucan on her head is the best thing to come out of this arc.

  3. TienesMilanesas
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:35 am | Permalink

    I think this arc was one episode too long. The idea that Hanekawa is repressed and that repressing yourself is a Bad Thing is something characters have been telling her since the beginning of time. Hey, I liked this arc a lot, but it almost felt like they took too much time to convey a little thing(even though the only skippable scenes were the shower ones).

    On the other hand, I think that Araragi saving her is not as much as a Dysney princess wet dream as it is in something like, let’s say, the sisters arc in railgun. The main point, and the main focus, of this arc is making Hanekawa help herself. She has to overcome her problems with her own willpower. They even say it->Araragi was only able to kill the tiger because Hanekawa delayed it. It seems minuscule, but there is a world of difference, since here the whole thing revolves around the girl fighting for herself without relying on outsiders help. It ties in with nekomonogatari black, were neither Araragi nor Oshino kill the cat instantly because they know that doing that would be to avoid the main problem and that is the fact that she is(was) hung up on the idea that someone would save her eventually.

    • AG
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      The thing is, they made a point of her fighting her demons without the help of Araragi the whole arc (even removing him for the arc to make that point) that I thought it would be more fitting for her to beat the tiger by herself (even if that meant a deus ex machina ending)

      But then again it’s monogatari and every problem needs to solved by araragi coming in to save the day so I’m not too fussed about it.

      • Scamp
        Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        I’m half and half on that. I think it probably would have worked better if she just beat it herself, but I don’t think it harms the arc much by having Arararagi do the saving so long as she faced her problem and acknowledged it.

  4. Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    I think one of the speech bubbles should say, “I hijacked this arc with my own crappy problems whilst a much better story about how a harem lead became fucking Kamina was taking place off-screen.”

    • Nagisa33
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:50 am | Permalink

      Hahahaha! Couldn’t agree more!

      Though Ararararagi not being here made his entrance all the cooler. I did enjoy Hanekawa actually getting a personality and womaning up to her problems.

  5. BwackNinja
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    And if you watch this arc backwards, it’s about a girl who cries so much that a guy pulls a tiger out of her, who she proceeds to fight because she’s now half-cat, then runs away from it. She then spends time with some friends who take care of her until that tiger makes a house out of fire for her so she’ll always be able to smile.

    But interestingly, I’d say that the Monogatari series is completely backwards from the norm. You have unique and often powerful individuals striving to achieve a bland normalcy rather than boring characters becoming powerful and slightly more interesting. It’s like the antithesis anime in anime form.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Ah there’s plenty of stories about people who JUST WANT TO BE A NORMAL GIRL! It’s basically Pinnochio

  6. Grace
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    For me, Hanekawa is one of the best characters, simply because I like how “realistic”–if you can even use that word for this series!–her character development is. Her problems didn’t get immediately 1-shotted in Bake, like Hitagi or the other girls; she had to deal with a lot of her internal crap for over almost a year to finally come to terms with herself.

    • Someone Else
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Basically that’s my same reason, but her development is way longer than anyone else combined (Too long in fact she got ovas, this arc and even a movie, it makes me wonder if Shaft itself is biased with her, but she’s my favorite so I’m 100% OK with that)

      But yes realistically speaking, I like her because she’s the normal fly on the show and she’s not exaggerated in any way. She’s the most flexible character in the show and with the weird setting and awesome writing Monogatari has, it makes her better than most, like let’s say, Nadeko but that doesn’t sound like too much of a comparison. She’s also an MC material (based on this arc or at least to how she’s portrayed here) because she’s so easily convertible to your Yuji Everylead which kind of works well here due to the other girls’ eccentricities (if that’s a good thing…It has to be!)

    • Scamp
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Pah, realistic is boring. That’s the excuse for the bland normal main characters. The Yuji Everyleads of this world. Don’t give me ‘normal’. Give me a personality

  7. Posted August 5, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure how to feel about the fact I was happy Araragi made an appearance at the end despite thinking in earlier episodes how refreshing it was to have the main character be absent. You also made it worse with the Twilight comments. I hate myself now.

  8. Shikamaru
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    The fight scenes are pretty bad in monogatari. If you even can call them fight scenes. Either they are instantly over or Araragi gets his ass kicked for 5 straight minutes. Other than that I don’t really have any complaints. Making a good 12 episodes long anime isn’t that hard, but making 3+ seasons is totally different thing.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      I think they look awesome, but they kinda suffer from the show’s total lack of bearing on reality. Since all visuals mean nothing in reality, the fight scene ultimately tells us nothing.

  9. Orangespike
    Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    She sent the photo that brought Araragi over, it was her reaching out to him in the exact same way as he reached out to her in Kizu.

    Nobody ever saves themselves by themselves in the show. That is not the point of the “Save yourself” line, it just means that the people involved had to understand the root mental issues that brought about the Kai’s.

    Hitagi crab – Araragi brings her to Oshino, but then hey she gets attacked so Oshino steps in and Hitagi pleads with the crab, araragi stands there.

    Mayoi snail – Araragi can see her, “I must save her”. Oshino tells them how to do it and Hitagi guides them, araragi does nothing again.

    Suruga Monkey – “Hey if I die It’ll solve everything and Kanbaru can be friends with Hitagi again”, how bout no. Oshino calls Hitagi, she steps in.

    Nadeko snake – Oshino provides the ritual, but it goes wrong. Araragi steps in woo he does something this time, oh wait the snake is killing him, Kanbaru must step in and save his sorry ass.

    Tsubasa cat – Cat tells him to stand under the streetlight so he has a shadow for Shinobu to come out of, attacks him. “Save me shinobu”

    Karen Bee – Araragi gets karen to go home cause she’s sick. Hitagi does most of the talking, araragi stands there. It’s not even a conflict because Kaiki isn’t a villain anyway.

    Phoenix – His sister explodes, he tries for revenge and gets folded up like a lawn chair. Reasons with Kagenui, turns out Kaiki set up the whole thing as a lesson to her.

    Neko black – “I don’t care if it doesn’t help anything I want to do for her”, almost gets her killed. Shinobu steps in and fixes it. Yup araragi, the big hero that fixes all of the problems.

    Neko White – Hanekawa is unconciously making monsters, sends a goodbye photo and writes a letter. Goes to fight the tiger knowing she will either be killed or take it in, but either way she shuts down the monster making. Araragi lends a hand, which is the least he could do after all the shit she went through for him in Spring Break. They each helped each other out in their hour of need.

    Hanekawa: “What an hero, we will be together like in fairy tales”
    Araragi: “Lol no, I has girlfriend.”

    Just like in my disney movies.

  10. Sataniel
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    Araragi was probably so cool because of Hanekawa’s POV.

  11. Posted August 6, 2013 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    I kinda fell for Tsubasa reading Kizumonogatari. She wasn’t too different in that one, but the things that she goes through to help Araragi, I can’t help but wish he went with her. Of course, it’s understandable if others feel different.

    Araragi coming to save the day did annoy me a bit. Would’ve been nice for Tsubasa to persevere on her own, but of course Nisio loves to troll. Well, I thought Shaft did so well with that part that I found myself liking it in the anime…

  12. Nazaren
    Posted August 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I loved how they played with the visuals while Hanekawa was writing that letter, even though the importance of her vacationing was totally lost on me. Maybe the idea of her finally returning to a home?

    Mixed feelings on how Rararagi saved the day… would have been nice to see Hanekawa save herself, but one of her big issues so far has been her inability to ask for or accept help from anyone else. She finally did so with Black Hanekawa, and probably would have done so with Ararararagi, had she been in contact with him… so I can accept how it went. Possibly my favorite arc finale thus far, even though I despise the central character.

    And damn you for making a Twilight comparison. It’s always lingered in the back of my mind, but I never wanted to confront it.

  13. Posted August 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    On Hanekawa dying her hair: my understanding of Japanese schools is that when Hanekawa said that her stripes were too radical for school, what she meant was ‘too radical for the school officials’. Had she turned up with her new stylish look, the teachers would have promptly have sent her home with instructions to dye that stuff a normal colour.

    • Scamp
      Posted August 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes but I’m pretty sure purple hair would also be frowned upon

  14. Ramiel
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I didn’t care for this arc too much, but I felt like this episode closed up the Hanekawa story pretty well. I personally liked the travel motife myself, btw.

    • shytende
      Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      Well, I watch this show also for the cool visual effects, so I can’t complain when they did something that, at least formally, is so great.

      Abiut Arararararagi…
      Well, I find this a nice change that they decided to make the lead the sexiest character in the show for once.

  15. ANON
    Posted August 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    YOU CALLED HANEKAWA THE WORST GIRL AGAIN.

    brb finding scamp’s house on google earth so that I could send a fire tiger to burn it down.

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