The Beginning of the End
- Episodes : 7
- Genre : Mystery, Comedy, Supernatural
- Airing Date : Aug. 2017 - Aug. 2017
- Studios : Shaft
Owarimonogatari 2nd Season Introduction and Story (Spoilers)
Through a series of 15 minute short web episodes, Shaft introduced the lesser known short stories that filled the Monogatari series. Titled Koyomimonogatari, these episodes took place at different intervals within the series and expanded upon the characters they highlighted. They were enjoyable, and somewhat meaty during the stop gap of Owarimonogatari 1st and 2nd seasons. Then, in the final episode, they dropped a cliffhanger. The death of Araragi Koyomi at the hands of his trusted ally Gaen Izuko with nothing less than his own sword, Kokoro Watari - the demon slaying blade.
A year and a half later, the series resumes from that point. It promises to end. It promises to conclude. The monologue of the novel protagonist that was animated seven years ago finally ends. It’s been a long time coming, and it hasn’t been the easiest story to follow along the way, but it’s been highly entertaining with many memorable characters. Monogatari Final Season reaches its end, finally.
What We Liked About Owarimonogatari 2nd Season
Araragi Koyomi is not a great, or interesting guy. He’s peculiar, stubborn, and haphazardly foolish. The main draw, however, is the assortment of girls who for various reasons, decide to befriend him. The so called “Araragi Harem”, which consists of even his own sisters. Fan favorites are all back for the finale. Hachikuji Mayoi, the snail girl, makes a stunning return after her dramatic departure in Monogatari Second Season. She returns so normally that it doesn’t feel like she was ever truly gone.
Shaft is back to their old tricks of injecting their sense of style into every scene, and fan service is turned up to maximum levels. For what will be the final scenes for some characters in the entire series, everything feels like it was done intentionally and purposefully. While many additions are arguably pointless, none of them feel like a waste.
Seeing the fan-favorite characters in their top form is special. After the separation from her master following his death, Oshino Shinobu, the 600 year old vampire Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade returns to her prime form seen in Kizumonogatari, shedding her loli form for the remainder of the series. Scenes like this make the show memorable, as we are given closure to a long arc that has spanned the entirety of the series, the beginning of which was just recently concluded in the film trilogy.
The Monogatari series hasn’t always been the easiest to follow. For one, it’s adapted from a long-running series of wordy novels, and it takes no liberties in removing the monologues from the protagonist and narrator Araragi Koyomi. It can be a bit hard to pay attention to the lengthy subs and background text that appears for a split second, as well as watch the animations. Everything about it is heavy handed, but for many who have come to appreciate it, it is highly enjoyable and rewarding.
The characters are complex, and each encounter with the paranormal reveals new sides to even older characters that you thought you knew like the back of your hand. Owarimonogatari’s 1st season revealed that everything we knew about Araragi-san was a bit of a fabrication. The perpetual loner did have at one point in time a true friend, and he abandoned her in her time of need. Oikura Sodachi received a two arc introduction never to be seen again, but her revelation laid the groundwork for events in this 2nd season. Araragi Koyomi is becoming undone, and the very person behind his suffering, transformations, and ultimately his end has been himself all along.
This point may be completely lost on anime-only viewers, and it’s completely understandable. The anime glosses over so many things, and the novels aren’t officially translated or easily available to everyone. Much of the series is lost in translation for the time being. But even as a somewhat casually invested viewer, you can find a lot to enjoy in Owarimonogatari’s 2nd Season. This is it. This is the series finale. It may feel like it’s coming up too fast with only seven episodes versus the 12-episode 1st season, but there are no do-overs on this ride. Take it for what it is, the last outing... maybe.
1. The Return of Hachikuji Mayoi
“Ararararagi-san!” We haven’t heard this ghost girl playfully flub her lines in a while, and nothing really indicated we would ever see her again. It’s kind of awkward to say that Araragi’s closest friend is in fact a dead person, but the two have probably the best chemistry out of everyone he knows, including his own girlfriend. Even more so than someone who can read his thoughts like Shinobu, seeing Koyomi and Mayoi prattle on about absolutely nothing can be as engaging as anything else in the Monogatari series.
But it’s not all fun and games. In Japanese lore, there is a realm of hell that exists for children who die before their parents. Hachikuji has been stacking stones on the shores for eight months following her passing, and now that Araragi is dead, she has delved into the deepest parts of hell herself to find him. Their reunion has big implications for the plot as well as some revelations to previous events. It works really well overall and is very fun to see.
2. The End of the Koyomi Vamp Arc
It might not dawn on many who didn’t see the Kizumonogatari trilogy, that all of the strange events of the entire Monogatari series only took place because Araragi Koyomi encountered a dying vampire, (well, technically because he was flashed by panties) but this season concludes his and Shinobu’s journey. The two have saved each other’s lives numerous times. One an all-powerful 600 year old immortal vampire, the other a perverted high school senior. They’ve been a much needed safe haven for each other throughout this crazy series.
The once proud and strong Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade decides to live out whatever time the two have left as things had been. She, at first, was so resentful of being made a quasi-vampire in a young girl’s form that she contemplated killing Araragi and freeing herself. However, she felt too indebted to him for saving her life to harm him, and later came to trust and care for him completely. It’s a great dynamic to see play out over the entire series, and although the scenes are few, they’re meaningful and powerful in Owarimonogatari’s finale.
3. Tsundere Service
Even though we’ve seen Senjougahara Hitagi in just about every season since the first, we haven’t seen her and Araragi together in quite some time. The extended date episode between the two of them is about as perfect fanservice as you can expect from Shaft. Say what you will about Senjougahara, none of the other love interests that Araragi has had have stuck with him as much as she has. She keeps it real, accepts everything as it comes, and despite every weird obstacle, has remained the same as ever. That strangely off dere scene in Tsukimonogatari notwithstanding.
1. Too Much Reading
There’s a lot of reading, and re-reading of many important scenes required in this season. It explains everything from the beginning of Monogatari 2nd Season. Why Oshino Ougi appeared, why bad things keep happening to Araragi, and how everything is going to be made right again. The exposition by Izuko Gaen is wordy and complicated. It’s to the point that if we hadn’t already followed the series closely from forum posts and wikis we’d be at a loss as to what had just happened. Some things may be lost in translation, or the anime may have glossed over them, or we might have even just gotten confused! There’s so much to read, you will probably get a bit lost yourself.
2. Inconclusive Ending?
Let me just say that this is the alleged end of the series, but there have been so many books that have released between this final work and the airing of it, that it’s not very convincing. It’s hard to believe that the Monogatari series would end with 7 episodes airing on a weekend just like this, especially when author NisiOisiN has announced more set in the future of the chronology.
It didn’t feel quite as impactful as a true ending, and aside from the Koyomimonogatari cliffhanger it didn’t really add much to the overall story. As previously stated, it might be a little too wordy and difficult to follow for some viewers, so the enjoyment might not be as high as previous episodes. If it is the end of Shaft and Monogatari, it feels like a fizzle. If it’s not the end of the partnership, then this felt like a bit of an inconsequential way to handle the Monogatari Final Season. With a year and a half wait in between episodes, it could have been smoothed out a bit. But admittedly, this is a bit splitting hairs.
Monogatari fans like myself will eat this up and ask for more. Newcomers to the series should seriously start somewhere else if that’s not clear from the title “Final Season”. The Monogatari series has had a profound presence in my Crunchyroll queue (taking up 6 different show slots) so it’s hard to believe it’s finally over. Or is it?
What did you think of Owarimonogatari 2nd Season? Did you have any favorite scenes? What do you hope happens next with the series? Let us know in the comments section!