During the month of October of his third year in high school, Koyomi Araragi is introduced to a transfer student named Ougi Oshino by his underclassman Kanbaru Suruga. Ougi tells Koyomi that she has something she wishes to consult with him. When she draws the map of Naoestu High School, she finds something peculiar on there. This discovery reveals a tale that wasn’t meant to be told, and this makes Koyomi’s high school life totally different. This is the story that brings to light “what” makes Koyomi Araragi. This is the story that reveals the “beginning” of everything.
Shaft’s 2015 show is part of the sprawling Monogatari franchise based upon the light novel series by Nisio Isin. The very first anime series by Shaft came out in 2009 with several (occasionally out-of-sequence) shows appearing in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019. This incarnation, “Owarimonogatari” (season one and two) currently showing on Crunchyroll (as of May 2022), comes towards the end of the sequence which explains a lot if you are new to the franchise. You quickly wise-up to the fact that the show makes perpetual reference to off-screen characters and prior-events rendering it nearly incomprehensible taken out of context. We can only give our impressions as a newbie to the show. It kicks off in pretty impressive fashion being completely unlike any anime show you will ever have seen. The whole look and feel of this show is one of a stage play with fixed locations, very few characters, who engage each other in lengthy, lengthy dialogues (or even monologues) littered with obscure references and word-play. The pace of the action is ponderous as each show is heavily focussed on the unwrapping of a mystery with supernatural overtones. It is, at times, unconventional, creepy, disturbing and downright weird. Season one has two story arcs. In the first, central character, high schooler Koyomi Araragi, is introduced to Ougi Oshino, an enigmatic underclassman. She leads him through several closely related mysteries about events in Araragi’s life. All involve a female classmate Sodachi Oikura who exhibited an unexplained hatred of Araragi. The revelations unfold with Oshino gently unlocking parts of Araragi’s memories of events. The second story arc makes a lot less sense as it is less standalone than the first. It concerns Araragi meeting school friend Suruga Kanbaru at an abandoned cram school where there are attacked by a supernatural entity. Events spin violently out of control in a tale of revenge, curses, love and vampires. It is real hard delivering any kind of synopsis on the second arc as it is all over the place. The show seems to enjoy its own self-referential obscurity. It appears to be written by the fans for the fans. To an outsider it resembles a Shakespearian play written about a book from the Bible. You need a study guide just to understand what on earth it is the characters are talking about. It is hard to fathom whether Shaft deliberately designed their shows like this of whether they just wrote them to be impenetrable to the outsider in to enforce their cult-like status amongst fans. There is no doubt that there is real genius at work here. This is a genuinely extremely clever show yet it is sometimes borderline pretentious. We can only grade a show like this based upon its entertainment value for someone picking up the franchise so late in the day. If you are not familiar with the light novels and have not seen the prior anime series then please do plough through the Wikipedia pages to get up to speed before committing to watching this particular show. Even with some working knowledge of the Monogatari-works this story is delivered in a highly unusual fashion that is not always easy on the eye. It prides itself on being Avant Garde and a bit artsy fartsy. Dialogues are extremely sophisticated and long-winded with the characters very seldom reaching a conclusion to their conversations. As entertainment this can only appeal to the fans. The casual observer simply cannot follow what is going on. Sections of text will flash up on the screen revealing the characters’ inner thoughts yet they flash up too briefly to be read in any language. It is almost like one big joke and it’s on YOU the audience. We would hate to have to point out that this emperor has no clothes but it really doesn’t. It is an original and highly stylish show but it is almost unwatchable. A strange combination. You know it is clever, but it is just too clever for you.
2 new chapters in the monogatari series, this time it's all about Araragi. The first story arc is about Araragi's past and how he's trying to remember what happened between him and an old friend and how he can to fix the situation. I'm not a huge fan of the whole "forgot what happened" story arcs, it always feel like lazy writing, eventhough the whole story took a while to uncover. It was great to see Tsubasa get a bit more screentime, I feel that some of the earlier cast members have been kinda pushed aside by some more eccentric and newer cast members that are just not as interesting. Sodachi acts crazier than Hitagi when she's lashing out but has a somewhat similar backstory to Tsubasa. I really feel her character didn't add anything new to the series. Same goes for Ougi, who feels out of place at times. Ougi just shows up out of the blue a few chapters ago and acts like she knows more than Izuko. Just a lot of characters now competing for similar roles, a bit of a shame. Second story arc we get introduced to another new character called First Apparation Killer. I know it's a character we've been told about much earlier in the series but the way First Apparation Killer looks and acts, it's just another character I don't really care too much for. Araragi wants to introduce Suruga to somebody, however it all kind of backfires when a floating suit of armor shows up. Yotsugi saves them, Araragi and Suruga go to a park to find Shinobu under a swing and then have a chat with Izuko about how First Apparation Killer is about to make a return. The original crew is nailing it, the new characters just don't seem all that interesting. Hitagi shows up again for 5 minutes and nails the best character of the season yet again.
The visuals are detailed , so detailed it may ruin the story by major level. The animations are outstanding however it is quite meaningless to change color tones every 5 seconds. The sound is overdramatic with unneeded suspense sounds. The characters are majorly detailed due to the story focusing on the emotions of the story. As mentiones before the color tones are constanly changing as to match the emotions of the character. Red as in anger or grey as in depressed.
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