Koyomi is into lolis. Worst kept secret in anime.
(I did like Mayoi’s final, “I bit your tongue.” If this is the last we will see of Mayoi, then it is a fitting farewell for her.)
There is something off about this arc and this season in general, and I didn’t quite put it together the last time I wrote about Otorimonogatari. I surmised then that this season is all about the haremette’s point of view: “We see everything from the viewpoint of the haremettes as they give into their selfishness and do not so great things. If you look at things like that, the second season has been from the viewpoint of the criminal/victim. The mastermind consulting criminal is a bit player. And we don’t see Sherlock until the end.” Well, I didn’t put the obvious reason why they give into their selfishness as Nadeko is writhing around like a pug in heat: they are all dealing with their unrequittable love for Araragi. They all know that Senjougahara caught the prize, and they are all dealing with that fact in different ways. It’s blunt, but the first arc is all about Hanekawa getting into Senjougahara’s face and lose to Senjougahara. Then the next arc is about how Shinobu would deal with a world without Araragi. Then Nadeko’s arc… which is as blunt as they come. Now it’s Mayoi’s turn to face the music.
(I like how Mayoi’s arc is named after Shinobu and vice-versa just to throw us off…)
This season has been all about the aftermath of the harem. It’s not like Happy Lesson or Aa! Megami-sama where the harem moves in with the couple and wacky hijinks continue but about real consequences about dealing with rejection. Araragi, though, in his nice guy mode, doesn’t actually reject them: the girls reject themselves, which create the Black Hanekawas and the Nadeko Medusas of the world. That’s why the season felt odd: the core of the original Bakemonogatari is Senjougahara and Araragi. The couple’s relationship grows during every arc from Mayoi Snail to Surugu Monkey (okay, maybe not Nadeko Snake) to Tsubasa Cat. Here, in this season, it’s all about the aftermath of said relationship, and the relationship is nowhere to be seen. As I pointed out before, it’s been over twenty episodes since Senjougahara and Araragi talked face-to-face with each other. I mean, that has got to be some sort of record. I think that’s why the season has felt off.
Another reason is that Shaft is not doing a good job. Not even Sunrise would take three recap episodes before episode twenty. They are obviously rushing through, and they are in “get it done” mode rather than “do it well” mode. It’s quite evident: the first episodes were really well-drawn, tons of fluid animation, and there were actual animated interstitial shots. This arc has been pretty much a succession of quick cuts and background interstitial shots. Shaft ran out of time, and they are cutting corners. As such, the episodes are not well-animated and resort to a lot of tilted heads talking. The trademark Shaft being Shaft style… well… it’s pretty much non-existent in this arc. To clarify, Shaft being Shaft is only a bad thing when overused. It’s not a bad thing when used prodigiously a la Tsubasa Cat or Madoka. Zetsubou-sensei? Sasami-san? Too much. Here? There’s not any. You might as well have Brains Base or PA Works animate the show at this point. I think Shaft should probably have broke this season up into two non-consecutive cours so they could arm and reload in between.
(When I found out that KILL la KILL is schedule to be two cours, well, I have the same fears. I don’t think Trigger is equipped for that kind of schedule, and I hope the final episodes don’t all look like the original Evangelion ending. Episode 24: Satsuki Turns the Lights Off at School For Earth Day.)
(The scrolling in episode 18 is really nice, but, again, it is a background image that covers up the fact that there’s no animation going on. Shaft basically painted twenty panels that episode and called it a day.)
Yet another point about this season is that each of the haremettes are harboring a secret from Koyomi, and that secret ties into the naughty deeds they do when they can’t love him, and the arcs are kinda resolved when Koyomi learns of their secret. What’s interesting is that Kanbaru has yet to show up this season. Are they going to skip her arc? With only four episodes left, are they going straight to Hitagi End, or are they saving that for an OVA?
Gaen is more of a cop out than Meme. She never answered how she knew where they were. She solves their shit for them and acts like a deus ex machina to explain things. She tilts her head every scene. And she dresses like a Pokemon trainer. No, seriously, she looks like she is about to send out Sylveon against Greninja. All she needs really is a dorky pin on her hat and maybe a gold pokemon chain necklace instead of the star necklace, and she’ll be ready to catch them all.
(Her headphones don’t connect to anything. I hate that. Shaft should have drawn her with a Zune to complete the effect of a woman of mystery. Speaking of mystery, the Fashion Czar has gotten hooked on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which has acting on par with Log Horizon. I feel like pure mystery not mystery horror or mystery supernatural is a genre that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in anime, and a fun heist show like Twenty Faces would be a good change-up right now.)
I wonder how long it took Araragi to realize that Ougi is the consulting criminal.
The bicycle ride is easily the highlight of this arc from the good animation to Mayoi looking like she was assaulted by Araragi (if people could see Mayoi that is) to Araragi telling her to ram her melonpan against him and rub to make the bike go faster. All gold.
Araragi trying to kiss Ononoki just shows how much of a player he has become. He doesn’t even care about solving the cases or oddities anymore– he just wants action.