Could you say no to a face like that?
|In case you haven’t heard, Shaft has announced that the Hanamonogatari portion of this season will be produced separately. I take it to mean that it will be released online after the season like the last 3 episodes of Bakemonogatari. Hanamonogatari “Suruga Devil” is the 3rd of the 6 novels, leading to the obvious question, Why that one? I actually think that one is the perfect one to delay. Out of the 6, Hanamonogatari is the only one that doesn’t share some important plot point with another story in the series, meaning that it can stand separately on its own better than any of them. Intuitively, maybe the 6th and last story, Koimonogatari “Hitagi End” should have been delayed, but that one is an important follow up to one of the other 5 stories this season, and delaying it would deprive the season of its big finish. You never want to hear about a delay, but this increases the episode count per arc from ~4 to ~5, which should allow for better pacing, so perhaps we will be getting a better show thanks to it.|
Shaft giving us just the silhouettes or just the suggestive steamed out shots would have been enough, but both? Well, that’s why they’re Shaft.
Love those ecstatic smiles in the few face shots in this scene.
Nisio devoted only a few lines in the novel to describing the bath. Most of the time during the bath, Tsubasa was thinking of how jealous she was of Hitagi for being able to change and overcome the barriers around her heart, something she never could.
Wow, I sure as heck didn’t expect that in the flashback scene. Remember when Koyomi had to kiss Karen, and Shaft (and Nisio) trolled us by putting it in between 2 episodes? That’s fully what I had expected to happen here. But apparently Shinbo decided to take the few lines from the novel and expand them to a full-on fanservice shower scene with suggestive silhouettes, nervous-yet-curious smiles, and strategically placed steam and bloom effects. Good to see that they know where their bread is buttered; Shaft has all but guaranteed that the volume 1 release make headlines with its sales numbers.
But blatant and wholly unnecessary (but much appreciated) fanservice aside, I think the shower ties in to a much more important point regarding issues with Tsubasa’s relationships with others and Hitagi’s attempts at making her realize them. Tsubasa clearly has trouble understanding or acknowledging the fact that she is loved. It’s something she never experienced from her family, and that’s why she attempted to take care of herself on her own following the fire, even lying to her parents to make it possible.
Hitagi gets to enjoy the Tsubasa body pillow that Koyomi only got to look at back in Nisemonogatari.
Hitagi recognizes this and is trying to show her affection in her typically blunt and awkward way. Dragging her home was part of that, so was the shower, the requesting her not to leave for her trip around the world after graduation (cut probably for time reasons), the sleeping in the same futon, the over-generosity to Black Hanekawa, and the question-and-answer session at the end of the episode. Tsubasa’s taste in food reflects that Tsubasa is someone who just accepts everything given to her without concern for what she really wants or needs. While such inhuman tolerance deserves praise, it is also harmful to herself and, due to her getting mixed up with oddities, to others. At the crux of it all is her crush on Koyomi Araragi, which was affirmed at the end of the previous episode but questioned at the end of this one. Just what does it mean to like someone when one has no concept of not liking someone? Tsubasa will have to face this stuff head-on if she is to overcome the oddities in her life.
Speaking of which, Black Hanekawa makes her return, explaining the prior chapter skips that alluded to her earlier. This time, she’s on our side, standing up to the tiger for her “master,” but finding herself utterly overmatched. I loved the soft lighting that gave everything an appropriately mystical feel in this encounter between oddities. The nighttime scenes in this series always seem to make for visual spectacles. I was also pleased by how Shaft did Black Hanekawa’s futile jump to outside the town, especially in how they did the sound editing during the quick cuts.
Nothing Shaft does with the night lighting seems particularly hard, just beautifully composed and put together.
One bit of trivia about Black Hanekawa is that she controls Tsubasa’s body through magic, so Tsubasa gets a very restful night’s sleep when she’s out and about.
What the tiger is up to and why it appeared to Tsubasa is still pretty much in the dark, though I wonder how many fans have managed to figure it out. Of all the volumes, I thought Nekomonogatari White did the best playing up the mystery aspect, so there are plenty more layers to pull back before all is said and done. I have been very pleased so far with how Shaft is handling this adaptation of a volume that was so different from the previous ones they had adapted. As usual, they are letting loose with the animation, creating something not quite like anything we’ve seen before, while remaining familiar. This one really is a special story, and seeing Shaft’s vision of it has been a treat so far.
Fun At Hitagi’s House