Shinobu keeping things classy for her arc!
|Monogatari is back after yet another recap episode. I guess that’s one way of using the episodes they freed up by delaying Hanamonogatari “Suruga Devil.” The series is slated to go 10 more episodes, with 4 of them dedicated to this new arc, Onimonogatari “Shinobu Time”. Since the final one, Koimonogatari “Hitagi End”, doesn’t have enough content to fill up 6 episodes, we’ll probably see one more recap episode between the arcs, covering the [REDACTED] arc from this season.|
That single pigtail look is good on her, at least when she’s blazing past on a bike.
So Shinobu Time starts off right where Mayoi Jiangshi left off, concurrent to the events of Tsubasa Tiger. This means the cram school will burn down in a couple days, during which time Shinobu will be cut off from Koyomi. As arc introductions go, this one was probably the weakest, dominated by the series’s trademark mundane conversations and loli fanservice with a little chase scene in the middle. I wish I had more to add, but there wasn’t anything particularly interesting in the book that got cut out. The villain this time is a phenomenon our heroes can’t perceive but instinctively want to avoid. That doesn’t make for great visuals, and I don’t know what was worse, seeing Koyomi frantically biking away from nothing, or seeing the black ball of text that was chosen to represent it. I suppose it’s appropriately mysterious at this point, but I was hoping Shaft would give us something mind-bending instead of a generic looking blob.
What I do find really curious is that Shaft injected Ougi into all those shots in the first chapter during Koyomi’s narration about Shinobu. As you might have guessed, the chapter in the book was just that narration, with no mention of Ougi. Or wind turbines. So just what are they getting at by injecting her into that scene? We’ll have to wait and see.
Now we know that this town also has a natural gas or oil pipeline running through it…
Besides the continuity, Onimonogatari also shares with its predecessor Kabukimonogatari the fan-given nickname Lolimonogatari, and I’m sure you can already see why. Koyomi has kissed a couple ladies in this series, namely Hitagi in Tsubasa Cat Part 2, Karen in Karen Bee Part 5, and Tsukihi in Tsukihi Phoenix Part 4, but with two of them off-screen and the third obscured in the shadows. And just like that he gets to do it plain as day twice within an episode, this time with a couple of very very young-looking girls (but it’s OK because they’re actually hundred-plus years old, right? Right?). Unlike those earlier kisses, these didn’t have a whole lot of plot significance. Ononoki had the hots for him after seeing him half naked (there’s a separate reason for the kiss revealed later, but it’s a pretty bad one). And Koyomi stole one from Shinobu mainly to shut her up and to make up for “cheating” on her (where does that put Hitagi then?). Normally I’m into the fanservice of this series, but this stuff was just too tame for fanservice while being too gratuitous to have any other meaning.
I do like that Ononoki seems to be turning into a genuine Monogatari girl after starting out as an apparent side villain in Tsukihi Phoenix. She may not have an arc named after her yet, but she followed up her surprise appearance from Mayoi Jiangshi with a strong showing here. In that arc, she had some thoughts about life after death (hey, all 3 individuals she pointed out in that conversation – herself, Mayoi, and Koyomi – are in one room! Along with Shinobu, who, like Koyomi, is a human-turned-vampire), and here she had some thoughts about Koyomi’s muscles. Her words betray a level of autonomy and consciousness not reflected by her expressionless face. Even her verbal tic from Tsukihi Phoenix – “I said with a posed look” – was explained away as her just being playful, rather than a result of her being a familiar. Her character and voice are as flat as she is, but now I’m actually curious to learn more about her as a person. That’s a good thing.
Shaft missed its first real opportunity at flexing their animation muscle with the chase scene in this episode, but I’m hoping they can capitalize next week as Shinobu’s story from 400 years ago unfolds (if you recall, she is 598 years and 11 months old, a piece of trivia omitted from the anime adaptation). Just what happened to Shinobu the last time she was in Japan, and how does it relate to this thing that Koyomi and Mayoi are facing now? Was Koyomi on the right track with his guess that this thing was related to oddities that attack only when looked at? (hint: yes). Is Mayoi safe while fast asleep alone with Koyomi and only Shinobu there to protect her? Will we finally see the sequence of events that lead up to Koyomi’s appearance at the end of Tsubasa Tiger? Personally, I’m most looking forward to seeing what Satoru Kosaki and meg rock cooked up for Maaya Sakamoto to perform for the opening theme.
Gotta love Hajime Ueda‘s illustrations in the ending sequence. Interesting that Mayoi features just as heavily as Shinobu in the sequence for this arc…