Monogatari Series Second Season – 26: Hitagi End Part 6

Monogatari S2 26 Manga (2)

No telling what you might find when you peek into a maiden’s heart.

So we find out just what it was that Kaiki found in Nadeko’s bedroom closet, which he invokes at just the right time to save his ass and those of almost every named character in the series including his precious Gaen Kanbaru Suruga. And even satisfy Tsubasa’s request to save Nadeko in the process. What a guy. Too bad for him his prior sins in this town came back to bite him.

Monogatari S2 26 (13)

Shaft putting CG to good work for the thousands and thousands of snakes flooding the shrine. Of course they had to put in that whirlpool effect.

So in the end it comes down to manga. More specifically the hobby of drawing manga. If you saw that one coming, kudos, because Kaiki sure as heck wasn’t giving you any help. He did tell us at the start that he intended to tell a good story, and holding that piece of information back admittedly did make for better storytelling. And as far as twists and deus ex machina go in this series, this one was executed relatively well; the key point of this manga hobby that made it useful was that it was Nadeko’s one true secret.

I liked this message from Kaiki, that Nadeko is much more than her crush on Koyomi, and she is denying herself a life full of possibilities by letting that one thing drive her to godhood. Very simple, to the point, and easy to understand. Obvious even, as Kaiki noted to Koyomi later. That’s the part that’s a bit befuddling about this resolution. It relies on Nadeko understanding and accepting such a simple explanation, when this mess wouldn’t exist in the first place if we could count on her thinking rationally. Was all that was needed to bring her back from the brink of mass murder just some level-headed advice on gaining perspective on life, the kind of advice any child might get from an adult at some point? Apparently so, but you’ll have to excuse me if I’m having a hard time swallowing it.

Monogatari S2 26 (37)

Such great faces on Nadeko after the big reveal. And with stellar animation, especially when she was getting violent toward the end.

Another thing I like is that there’s no telling just how much of Kaiki’s message he actually believes. He’s quite proud of his dishonesty and penchant for saying whatever is needed to get what he wants, after all. And such pretty words about the inherent embarrassment of the creation process and the responsibility to push forward despite doubts sounded more like Araragi (particularly from Tsubasa Tiger) than a cynical con man. Then again, this arc has been all about tearing down his reputation that preceded him and showing us a taste of who he really is. For instance, Kaiki doesn’t seem to be nearly as good at this profession as we’ve been made to believe.

He did achieve his goal in the end, so he gets the win here, but he was surprisingly incompetent in his misjudging of Nadeko. Heck, the previous episode had Tsubasa flat out telling him his big revelation this episode that Nadeko’s heart is completely closed, but he continued to assume she was a simpleton whose trust he could easily win. It seemed awfully arrogant of him to claim that his con had been perfect; isn’t his job as a con man to read his marks and sneak his way into their hearts despite the barriers they put up?

His other jobs we know about haven’t been all that impressive either. Neither selling charms to middle schoolers nor taking down that cult was supposed to have netted him much money. In this arc, he earned less than 3.1 million yen, the equivalent of about $31,000 USD. Probably less than Japan’s median household income of about $27,000 after hotel, food, transportation, and shrine visiting costs were taken out. And could it be that he was played by both Senjougahara and Gaen as he theorized? Their efforts were pointless because he was dedicated from the start for the sake of Suruga, but it seems he was oblivious to their manipulations until after the fact.

Monogatari S2 26 (60)

One of the most beautiful smiles I’ve seen in anime. The shadows on the corner of her right eye just makes it.

And in the end despite his success he was got by Ougi, who informed at least one violently vengeful middle schooler of his return to the town. The plot thickens. A funny thing to say after a finale, but that’s the way Nisio likes to play it, presenting two more enigmas for each one he solves, like some sort of mystery obsessed hydra. What’s clear by this point is that Ougi is orchestrating something involving the characters of this story in some way. That’s about all that’s clear, though. Why is she doing this, and how is it that she seems to know as much as she does? Is she at all related to the equally mysterious Gaen, who also seems to know everything? Nisio has left plenty of unresolved threads to let him keep tapping that money dripping faucet in the future. Well, in the case of the anime we still have Hanamonogatari to look forward to, the 3rd of the 6 novels. There are some big puzzle pieces revealed in that story, though again Nisio presents them wrapped in even more enigmas.

Monogatari S2 01 OPMonogatari S2 08 OPMonogatari S2 12 OP (1)Monogatari S2 25 OP

Season End

It’s been a lot of fun this season seeing what translated to the screen well and what didn’t. Tsubasa Tiger was by far my favorite of the novels, but its monologue-heavy nature meant much of its brilliance couldn’t make it to animated form. It didn’t help that Shaft dragged through the adaptation over 5 episodes while also skimping on the animation, resulting in something that wasn’t nearly as enthralling as the source, at least until the final episode. On the flipside, Nadeko Medusa was one I had to force myself to read through, but was absolutely brilliant in animated form. It was a tightly paced adaptation, and Shaft showed off enough of their tricks without overdoing it, its bossa nova opening theme was by far the best of the season, and Kana Hanazawa turned a somewhat fun scene from the book into one of the unforgettable, top moments in anime this year. Unfortunately the other really boring book Shinobu Time didn’t turn out quite as well, though not for lack of trying. Shaft’s scroll gimmick was a bold idea that I can respect, but it way overstayed its welcome in the one episode filled with them. Mayoi Jiangshi was the opposite of that, a fun and crazy story adapted into fun and crazy anime.

Monogatari Series Second Season - 05 H (57)

When it comes to iconic or series defining moments, this one from Nekomonogatari White Part 5 still takes the cake.

Then there was Hitagi End, perhaps the best combination of Nisio’s writings with Shaft’s visuals yet. I still think Shaft should have fit it into 5 episodes, but it turned out fine at 6. They didn’t let loose too much visually, but they still had plenty of great touches like the 3 stage costumed conversation in Part 1. And this finale was beautiful, Shaft going all out in the snake filled climax, and not to mention the series of landscapes Kaiki walked through before he met his unfortunate fate (was more than a bit reminiscent of Shinobu and Koyomi walking through various scenes in the town before heading to their deaths at the end of Mayoi Jiangshi). All backed by perhaps the sharpest dialogue that Nisio has written for this series yet.

The Monogatari series is a funny beast. I still remember the storm surrounding it back when it was released in 2009. It wasn’t love at first sight, and I in fact dropped it after a couple of episodes, but I found myself oddly drawn back to it. In time for that episode, the one that cemented its spot among the most memorable, if not powerful, shows I’ve watched. Nisemonogatari was even better in many ways, though it faced criticism for being little more than a fanservice fest. Which it was. A glorious and beautiful fanservice fest. I like Bakemonogatari better, but I still believe Nisemonogatari was a better put together, better directed piece of work made from worse source material.

Monogatari Series Second Season - 14 (46)

Though a close second, of course, is Nadeko’s character defining scene.

I’d place this season’s production quality somewhere between Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari, but the source material as being much stronger than either. It’s beyond cliche now that harem light novels tend to scare away from plot developments, usually so that fans of specific characters will have reason to keep buying them. That’s not what these 6 new entries in this series did, instead following each character’s story thread to its conclusion, while also layering on new characters and mysteries. Nisio is a little too shameless about his trolling and his meta jokes (many of which Shaft thankfully cut from their adaptations), but this is still a far better way to tell a story than to force a status quo. Nisio playing so close to the chest with stuff involving Gaen Izuko and Oshino Ougi can be annoying, but the main story in each arc worked fine without the little details. Well, except for Shinobu Time, but it wouldn’t have been fine either way.

Looking back at these now 53 episodes of the series, one thing I especially love is how little time has passed. Not counting time travel, the animated stories range from May (Nekomonogatari Black) to February of the following year (Koimonogatari), a span of only 9 months. Including Kizumonogatari which takes place during Spring break in March/April and Hanamonogatari which takes place in [REDACTED] doesn’t extend it by more than a handful of months. We won’t be reading about Araragi giving Senjougahara 2 years’ worth of anything anytime soon.

Monogatari Series Second Season - 09 (14)

Of course, who can forget the one and only Hachikuji Mayoi, 22 (?) year old version from the finale to her arc?

Preview:

Hanamonogatari Ad

Looking ahead, Hanamonogatari “Suruga Devil” is supposed to come out later this year. I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoyed reading this novel, though the story wasn’t quite as affecting as Tsubasa Tiger or Hitagi End. Without spoiling anything, I hope you’re looking forward to seeing some basketball, some running, hipster Ougi, a certain Numachi Rouka, and a Volkswagen Beetle.

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A math/science geek and a self-dubbed cynical optimist. I don't care if it's deep, if it can make me feel something or laugh, it's fine in my book. @lvlln
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42 Responses to “Monogatari Series Second Season – 26: Hitagi End Part 6”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    22 year old Mayoi looks like…

    Lara Croft. Mayoi Raider!

    Seriously though, need more of the Loli Trio.

    • Cuba says:

      Please no. Oni was a very weak arc imo.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I’d like to see what game they’d make if she was the protagonist.

      • skylion says:

        …Dude, rice was her only weapon. Now that would either be super awesome, or it would be a rice tossing simu game…

        • UpsidedownEden says:

          She seemed like she just knew what everything’s weaknesses were(though in all fairness she was told by Mr. Hawaii T-shirt). That backpack can’t still be filled with only childish things, maybe a useful weapon or two in there, also would want something to fight off other people trying to rob you on the road.

  2. Highway says:

    I enjoyed the series overall, although I agree that Shinobu Time was the worst one (by quite a ways). I also didn’t think Mayoi Jiangshi was that great, mostly because Shinobu just kinda bores me.

    I do think the overall conceit is getting a little old at this point, which is kind of to be expected since we’re more than 4 cours into a series, and along with that very short time frame and a large cast (with shifting focus), it just doesn’t have too much time to spend on the large changes in character that some have had, which might work to keep it a little more fresh, in my mind. Of course, some of that might be that my interest in characters falls of really fast past Hitagi, Tsubasa, and Koyomi when he interacts with either of those two. Koyomi’s interactions with everyone else lose me fast. Kaiki being the narrator and person of interest in this last arc was definitely helpful for me.

    • skylion says:

      ::Vampire Punch::

      • Highway says:

        *snooooore*

      • Highway says:

        Maybe she’d be more interesting if she actually did punch anyone. Or walk anywhere. Or do anything besides yak yak yak yak yak yak yak. I know the show is mostly people talking, but while I find Hitagi’s talking to be clever and insightful, most of Shinobu’s talking just seems to be how great she is and how much the person she’s talking to sux.

        • skylion says:

          I don’t disagree with any of those points. She has had hundreds of years and hasn’t really gotten any better then the humans she has fed on. All her sass and arrogance is for naught. But I find that compelling for different reasons. The idea of a powerful entity, that has feet of clay in all other areas outside that power is an interesting place to explore.

          Plus, she’s cute as a button.

  3. Kyokai says:

    I really did throw a fit after the last episode. But then I was reminded of how big a troll NisiOisin is and then calmed myself down.

    I really did love the second season but my favourite would remain Bakemonogatari due to that 12th episode, the epitome of this franchise for me to-date. Though, I liked almost all the arcs of S2 and had fun knowing all the quirky new characters. I’ve become particularly fond of Ougi. Would definitely look forward to Hanamonogatari and damn it, Kizumonogatari WHEN?!

    • skylion says:

      I’ve become found of the odd little black hole of information surrounding Ougi. She’s a bit of an oddity in her own right. Maybe she is one we’ve seen before?

      Bake 12 was righteous by all accounts, but Nise still hold a special place in my heart. It was insane fun.

      • Highway says:

        Bakemonogatari episode 12 was the series crowning moment of awesome. It’s one of the best episodes of anime ever, and is one I rewatch at least every 6 months.

        Maybe part of the problem with the series for me is that that happened in episode 12… and we’re now on episode 50+. And the only thing that’s even approached that moment for me is Koyomi patting Tsubasa on the head after rejecting her.

        • lvlln says:

          I really have a hard time picturing the series ever hitting that episode 12 (Tsubasa Cat Part 2) high. It was sort of a perfect storm. It came out of nowhere, almost completely unrelated to the events of that arc (only chronologically, really), and it was the airing finale, the last thing that viewers saw before the months-long wait for the final 3 parts of that arc.

          Thing with this series is that there’s actually not a whole lot that is emotionally poignant, and having an entire episode that got it that right was a shock. And that’s why nothing other than the last part of Tsubasa Tiger has come close. I mean, Nisemonogatari’s toothbrush episode was pretty spectacular, but in a completely different way that simply can’t be as satisfying as episode 12.

          • Highway says:

            Yeah, I watched Bakemonogatari after it was all out, so it was just kind of a non-sequiter for me, but a great one. I didn’t have to wait for the rest.

            Honestly, the toothbrush scene doesn’t do much for me. And it’s not that I’m against incest or anything like that (I’m strongly on the record as for whatever consenting people want to do). It just feels too indulgent for me, in the wrong directions.

            I might say that Mayoi’s goodbye is a close 3rd to Tsubasa’s confession, and after that I go with after Hitagi has driven Kaiki away and tells Koyomi to make her a woman. ;)

            • lvlln says:

              I forgot about that moment at the end of Karen Bee. Yeah, pretty touching. The end of Shinobu Time, I couldn’t really do much other than roll my eyes, both while reading and while watching. It’s the same problem KEY works have: it’s hard to feel affected when the drama appears transparently manufactured for plot convenience.

    • lvlln says:

      I really wish I could say more about this troll ending, but it’s more fun finding out by yourself. Needless to say, it was a very different experience reading that while knowing the events of Hanamonogatari than not.

      • Kyokai says:

        No worries, I did realize being a self-narration, it could have been a huge troll. Now, I do wonder how they will deal with Oshino’s niece, who has a fabricated identity.

  4. laila says:

    6 episodes for koi was too much.I was getting bored at the end

    • BlackBriar says:

      But it was necessary to get the full story out. Fans would rage if anything was left out.

      • lvlln says:

        Shaft has cut plenty in this adaptation, most notably a lot of scenes from Mayoi Jiangshi with Shinobu that wasn’t directly related to the main plot, so I don’t think there’d be an issue with Hitagi End. I just don’t think it had enough material to make 6 interesting episodes; here, Part 4 proved to be quite weak. Thing is, Hitagi End was the strongest of the novels when it came to actual dialogue, so I can see why Shaft wanted to be sparse with the cuts. I just wish they had tried harder at also keeping the pacing brisk.

        • skylion says:

          most notably a lot of scenes from Mayoi Jiangshi with Shinobu that wasn’t directly related to the main plot

          So Hitagi End was too much by one episode? Sigh, we coulda had more Shinobu.

        • Wrath says:

          Agreed, 6 episodes were too much for Koimonogatari. 5 would’ve been enough. But I’m not really complaining, good guy Shaft streched the scenes of queen Gahara a lot since she had so little screentime. So I’m good.

  5. skylion says:

    I found myself enjoying both cour, but I still thought much of it could have been better. Maybe a rewatch on BD will make it seem better in the long run.

    I quite enjoyed this last arc, Kaiki was a good narrator, and as a con man, good or bad, he knows how to weave a tale. As for why his logic finally penetrated; I think it might be because he didn’t have a vested interest like her parents, who didn’t even seem to know much about her. Well he did have a vested interest in her not killing him, so that could derail that thought.

    Overall, it should be no surprise that Mayoi Jiangshi was my favorite arc. Wild and crazy fun with some good hints of characterization is the franchises strong points.

    • lvlln says:

      It’s definitely interesting to see Kaiki’s introductory monologue again from Part 1. Once the tale starts it’s easy to get sucked in, but ultimately everything we see in this arc has been filtered by Kaiki who has told us that he would lie. In that sense, this incompetent, sympathetic image of Kaiki built up from the arc could also all be just one of his deceptions. Unfortunately for us, there’s really no way of telling what’s true and false because the liar is controlling everything we see and hear.

      The one thing with Nadeko’s sudden rationality is that Kaiki’s knowledge of the manga secret was such a shock and embarrassment for her, it completely overwhelmed her feelings of resentment and jealousy. Which is why she had changed her goal to killing just Kaiki and then herself briefly. So in that context, in that she was completely caught up in the heat of the moment, I guess it sort of works. And she only needed to be convinced just long enough for Kaiki to use his charm on her and pull that seal out of her mouth.

  6. BlackBriar says:

    Overall, Monogatari, as a series, was a roller coaster with ups and downs in its arcs but it was alright. I don’t have an opinion on Tsubasa Tiger and Shinobu Time was a bit of a let down so my favorites would be Nadeko Medusa and Hitagi End.

    Though Kaiki kept his end of the bargain, his end was quite fitting for the kind of life he was leading but it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he survives and turns up in the next arc.

    Nadeko really is the show’s dark horse without a doubt. Being pitied and called cute all her life must have isolated her immensely. Naturally she wouldn’t be taken in by Kaiki’s words but to not a single person and to go as far as resenting herself. She’s become quite the nihilist.

    • skylion says:

      This is what makes it a neat show. It’s a litmus test for the fandom.

    • lvlln says:

      Well, Nadeko fits in with rest of the cast then, doesn’t she? That’s one thing I do find very compelling in this series, that almost everyone is bad, selfish, harmful to others in some way. Yet they’re able to be forgiven, and ultimately these are characters we can like and root for.

  7. UpsidedownEden says:

    OooOoooOooh boy. That was just an astounding episode. The cliff-hanger was intense and well worth waiting for. Some intense talking going on with Kaiki, he seemed like a good person and it wasn’t very characteristic. I suppose though he kept saying money trumps it all in his eyes. At the end, yeah, Ougi sure seems like the clear mastermind here.

    In response to what you said that Nadeko accepted something that seemed to simple to understand. She said she had never once thought about ever doing anything with her talent, so I doubt any thought of there being anything else other than Koyomi crossed her mind.

    • lvlln says:

      That bit from Ougi was interesting coming right at the end of Shinobu Time, which featured as “villain” a sort of void whose job it was to get rid of oddities that didn’t belong, which was almost exactly how she described herself. Could it be that she’s somehow related to that, or an offshoot/manifestation of sorts? I wonder.

  8. amado says:

    damn im so late.

    anyways guys, dont you think it was quite an awful coincidence that kaiki just happened to be wondering where meme was before he got struck?
    kaiki may not have been ougi’s first victim… and it may explain why she’s using his name so casually, as if no one can prove her wrong…

    • lvlln says:

      Now there’s a fun thought! It never occurred to me, but that certainly seems within the realm of possibility. Then again, Ougi’s style seems to be manipulating and gently nudging her victims to doom, so if she took out Meme, I would think she didn’t do it directly. Was there someone else who might have been able to be pushed to offing Meme? I wonder.

      • UpsidedownEden says:

        I’m sure everyone has at least one enemy. Though it would be surprising someone would hate him that much, I guess it’s still an option.

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