A world with no Senjogahara is the one I live in, the one you live in, the one all we real non-fictional people (and most fictional people too) live in. Yet we are able to continue on with our lives without collapsing in despair and do you know why? Because we never lived in a world that Senjogahara existed in. We can’t miss what we never had. But for those who live in the Monogatari series, to have a world where Senjogahara did exist and now doesn’t? That is the true tragedy here. Oh and I guess friends and family and everyone they ever knew being turned into mindless zombies is also sad. I suppose you could find the zombie that used to be Senjogahara. Just lift up the skirt of each zombie and the one that has stationary equipment fall out of its knickers is Senjogahara.
I’ve always had a fetish for post-apocalyptic landscapes. A creepy statement perhaps, but thankfully I’m in an understanding relationship with my readers and I can talk openly about my fetishes for an entire world being bombarded by toothbrushes and won’t be judged for it. I was particularly excited to see the Monogatari version of the post-apocalypse. I’ve masturba-I mean looked at many different artistic interpretations of the post apocalypse but Monogatari has such a wildly different artstyle. So what was the Shinbo/Nisioisin interpretation of when humanity has kicked the bucket? A stark wasteland where only the architecture, left as remnants of our civilisation, spread uniformly as far as the eye could see in uniform colours, clearly built for millions of people yet with nobody in sight.
Which is different from how Monogatari usually looks because…ummm…well actually it’s basically the same Monogatari except the gardener has been slacking off a bit. I still really liked the imagery, but it did basically look like Monogatari always does except everything is a bit grimier like it had been re-purposed as a modern first person shooter. The complete annihilation of the population loses a little something when Monogatari exists in a world where there are no people anyway. Still looks cool though.
When Shinobu started explaining what had happened with her causing the apocalypse, I was originally a little disappointed because I was secretly hoping this was all Mayoi’s fault. Because of some random time-travelling teenage boy sexually harassing her when she was 10 years old, she went on to become a super-villain and destroy the world. Then we would get to see older Mayoi, now 25 years old, as a supervillain wearing a cape and a revealing outfit like all evil supervillain ladies do because you can’t be sexy without also being evil. Or was that the other way around?
But we didn’t get that. Instead it was revealed that it was Shinobu’s fault because of something that I can’t remember. Originally I thought I couldn’t remember because it happened in Kizumongatari and that thing still hasn’t been made yet because they’re using real blood from Shinbo’s own body to paint the fight scenes and it takes a while for his body to regenerate the lost fluid. But actually it was from the final arc in Bakemonogatari. You know, the one that was aired online in something like 120p streams because they didn’t plan their TV broadcast properly and there were several month long breaks between the three episodes so even at the time I couldn’t remember what happened between episodes at the time, let alone 4 years down the line. However that may just be me and my terrible memory. I had planned to rewatch the entire Monogatari series after…wait for it….Kizumonogatari came out and I could watch it all in chronological order.
Hey Shinobu, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s let off fireworks so everyone can see us.
Perfect! I’ll get the sparklers.
I know I go on about Kizumonogatari a lot, but this arc especially shows the problem in not animating it yet. Shinobu’s story is based on how her relationship changed with Arararagi over time. How she’s no longer a monster who destroys with little thought to a person who actually cares about someone else. This development is a little lost when we don’t see the first part, so the emotional heart of the story doesn’t hold as much impact as it should. If anything, I feel like the entire Monogatari series is actually the story of Shinobu and Arararagi’s relationship. All the other girls are just people he’s met as a result of Shinobu. It’s their love story, not Senjogahara’s.