Apparitions, oddities, and gods continue to manifest around Koyomi Araragi and his close-knit group of friends: Tsubasa Hanekawa, the group's modest genius; Shinobu Oshino, the resident doughnut-loving vampire; athletic deviant Suruga Kanbaru; bite-happy spirit Mayoi Hachikuji; Koyomi's cutesy stalker Nadeko Sengoku; and Hitagi Senjogahara, the poignant tsundere.
Monogatari Series: Second Season revolves around these individuals and their struggle to overcome the darkness that is rapidly approaching. A new semester has begun and with graduation looming over Koyomi, he must quickly decide the paths he will walk, as well as the relationships and friends that he'll save. But as strange events begin to unfold, Koyomi is nowhere to be found, and a vicious tiger apparition has appeared in his absence. Tsubasa Hanekawa has become its target, and she must fend for herself—or bow to the creature's perspective on the feebleness of humanity.
#1: "Ai wo Utae (アイヲウタエ)" by Luna Haruna (eps 1-10) #2: "Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari (君の知らない物語)" by supercell (ep 11) #3: "Sono Koe wo Oboeteru (その声を覚えてる)" by Marina Kawano (eps 12-20) #4: "snowdrop" by Luna Haruna × Marina Kawano (eps 21-25)
I think I can say for all those who have watched Bakemonogatari that the quality of the anime series went down considerably after Nisemonogatari aired. Fourteen long months have passed since the fanservice-ridden sequel aired, and I'm quite happy to say that the series has risen from its ashes. Many fans were speculating after the first couple of episodes if this anime adaptation of 5 out of 6 novels of the second Monogatari saga, could finally overcome Bakemonogatari, the anime that set the standard for the franchise. And I think it did.
I'll go straight to the point: Second Season had lesser fan service than Nisemonogatari. To be perfectly honest, I didn't find the fan service of Nise appalling, as some actually had sense in it, like the Shinobu bath scene which portrayed the master-servant relationship between Araragi and Shinobu pretty well, but the haunting toothbrush scene Araragi had with his sister was a bit too much, as most viewers would say. It was unnecessary and was basically uncalled for. But worry not, dear reader, because toothbrushes played no part in this anime. Nor breast-fondling. Nor naked vampire lolis. There is some tongue-biting though...
In this season, the story got darker as a new character appeared out of nowhere: Ougi, Oshino's "niece." This sequel also had a ton of bittersweet moments. Good-byes were thrown around, coupled with a bunch of rejections, but there is still a considerable amount of humor. The anime is still pretty funny, but the emotional parts were what really swept me off my feet. The adaptation was good, but I think parts of the story were a bit rushed and could use a little work.
The cast took a huge leap. Being the old bunch of characters fans have loved for their quirkiness, they underwent huge developments in this sequel. It's hard to relay to you how big a leap they leapt, as I'm avoiding spoiling people who plan to watch it. One thing is for sure: it's wasn't just a hop. Take for example, Senjougahara. The way she cared for Hanekawa staying in the abandoned school showed that her "crab" wasn't just an oddity; it was her personality itself. She may look tough and sharp on the outside, but when you really look at her, she's soft and squishy on the inside. Little things like these scenes portraying such a big part of a character is what I (still) find really amazing.
What I personally most enjoyed about Second Season was its soundtrack. They picked the best choices of music for the conversations, adding some nice sound effects that perfectly fit the atmosphere. I need not say anything more about the OPs and EDs. They're still the same as before: awesome and catchy. The lyrics and the tone of the opening songs still describe the main character of the arc they're in. The ED also has the same goal as Bakemonogatari's ED: relay messages intended for the arc's final episode. Needless to say, Kasoku Sotaru, along with the voice actors, nailed it.
The art is pretty similar to Nise's and Neko's, with some minor improvements. Everything is still being told through the first-person view of a character, but what's different now is that you're not only going to watch the moments unfold from Araragi's POV, but from other characters' POVs as well. It featured a lot of new perspectives, like Hanekawa's, where you'll see how she views everything a little differently from Araragi, shown in little details like the color choices of skies and the shapes of structures. Also, look out for Kaiki's and Nadeko's point of view, as it was really refreshing for me to see a huge difference in the art, like other people being shown in scenes.
As for its enjoyment factor, it was like Bakemonogatari all over again. Being a huge fan of the series, I painfully waited for a new episode every week. Every intro made me smile with delight. Every ending of an episode made me clamor for more. True, the Monogatari franchise isn't really for everyone (as you may know by now) but if you're still following the saga this far, I guess you do like Monogatari (or not!), and you probably still will, if not more, after this season. This is definitely worth a watch for all the fans of the franchise, as well as a big reason to watch it if you haven't. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll relive an experience worth going through once again-- It's without a doubt an awesome sequel to an awesome series you don't want to miss.read more
Everyone wants to hear or tell a story people will remember by. It doesn’t matter if the story is fictional, realistic, sarcastic, humorous, imaginative, mysterious, psychological, speculative, or even twisted as it can be. Stories are created by ideas that are formed from the very thoughts we experience in our lives. In order for stories to be told well, they have to evoke feelings, reactions, and attract audience that appreciates its ideas. Monogatari Second Series - the anime that not only attracted me to its franchise - but also presented it in an extravagant way that takes the art of storytelling to a whole new level.
That level of storytelling was already clearly evidenced from its predecessor that achieved international success. Yes, I’m talking about Bakemonogatari that debuted back in 2009. Its success has later spawned other series in the forms of Nisemonogatari, Nekomonogatari: Kuro, and the soon-to-debut Kizumonogatari . Now, it’s back once again as an ongoing story narrative. Monogatari Series: Second Season is an anime adapted from the novel of the same name written by Nisio Isin with artwork by Vofan. If you’re a fan of the previous Monogatari series franchise, then this should be no shadow of a doubt be part of your watch-list as we are told stories at its most definite form.
Similar to what some people might notice in the past, the Monogatari series presents itself in an unique form of storytelling. The term ‘monogatari’ itself defines as literature. For a series based on storytelling to succeed though usually requires a character base with insightful plot, creative setting, descriptive ideas based on connections, and a strong literal sense of execution. Monogatari series plays on most of these concepts but constructs it like an experiment. Whether you dare to take on the experiment might have different experiences. However, there’s no doubt that this series and its franchise has tested their experiment and succeeded in their message. Indeed, the storytelling of Monogatari mixes itself with visual arts and dialogues. The strength of the series comes from its dialogues that creates humor, sense, and might evoke people’s minds to think its true meaning. Most of the time, the meaning of the dialogues are metaphoric and conveys to many ideas. Its usage of word plays presents its unique art style to attract viewers toward its messages. Through these messages, viewers will find out just how exclusive this shows’ storytelling separates itself from most forms of storytelling.
Monogatari Series: Second Season isn’t just about storytelling though. As mentioned before, a strong character cast will attract viewers to almost any form of genre. Luckily, this show has plenty of that starring our Koyomi Araragi, a high school student whose life has changed forever after a certain incident. Obviously, I would assume that you have seen the original Bakemonogatari to understand this but Araragi makes his return in this sequel. He makes his presence well known as other characters in the series speculate him as many things - a lolicon, dangerous, pervert, just to name a few. However, we know that Araragi is a character of loyalty as seen through his relationship with Hitagi Senjougahara. More importantly though, he is also protective towards others including his friends, family, and even strangers. Some of his actions might be interpreted in the wrong way by other characters but the guy definitely has proven many times that he is the type that others can depend on. He seeks to achieve the endings that allows characters live in peace. However, this often puts a burden on himself as Araragi finds that sometimes, he can’t achieve everything alone. This even puts his own lives at risk many times. But hey, he is that type of that guy that takes risks. From a narrative perspective, his actions are often awarded although he doesn’t always takes everything for granted. Instead, he keeps his more of the ‘it’s the right thing to do’ attitude.
Most of the supporting characters from the novels makes their appearances in the story arcs including Tsubasa Hanekawa, Mayoi Hachikuji, Suruga Kanbaru, Nadeko Sengoku, Shinobu Oshino, and Hitagi Senjougahara. All these characters plays their different roles that fulfills some sort of theme or morality to its title. Each of these titles present a different insight on our characters as we see a sort of journey to embark on. And of course, every journey begins with the first step. There’s already trouble in the beginning as we get a hint of supernatural madness going on. To make matters worse, Tsubasa herself finds trouble with her life as sudden changes occurs.
The first story arc initially reintroduces its narrative aspect to get viewers to familiarize themselves the format of how Monogatari works. Its supernatural themes takes on a more gruesome turn later on but there’s also hope and prosperity. As for the other arcs, each of them has a different theme and plot. Some of these arcs also explores the back stories of our supporting characters. Along with that, there’s character interactions that are dynamic with development. Additionally, each arc contains a similar style of storytelling through word plays, visual presentations, and dialogues. As the series contains supernatural elements as well, expect legends to unfold and discoveries to be made. These include spirit apparitions, vampires, mythic cats, and even Gods. The power of its dialogues enhances the experience with the power of its words. It’s an experience you won’t forget especially with some plot twists like one with a snake a girl.
Judging on another level of the series is its humor. The style of Monogatari invokes humor in a sense that is quite peculiar. By peculiar though, I mean it as as a brilliant way because the show likes to experiment. Its stylish dialogues often mixes in parodies of other genres and themes for experimentation. These accompanied with the expressions of our characters creates a lavish theater of animation.
As good as the series sounds, there’s a few aspects I found to be lacking. Namely, there’s perhaps a bit of too much fan service in the beginning that can be distracting. These don’t seem to have any meaning or dynamics and sometimes may distract viewers from the words play and dialogues. Other times, Araragi’s interactions with some of the other characters might even seem a bit creepy or hard to take for granted. This is especially true in one of the later arcs involving Shinobu that takes itself to a rather defiled way with their interactions. More importantly is the fact that the show sometimes likes to get a bit carried away with its conversations. Some of them might even drag on with small talk that can seem to be mundane. Other times, they flash way too fast to be read that can frustrate viewers in attempting to fully understanding its meaning. (if it has one at some occasions) Finally, there are some recap episodes between each story arc that drags the series together. They might help refresh a bit of its previous predecessors but can also be a waste of time for people who wants the series to accelerate itself.
Shaft handles the production of this series. You know what that means right? If extraordinary is a word that just popped into your mind, then you’re on the right track. By that term, Shaft is known to pull out a variety of series over the past year that have impacted the world. Names such as EF: A Fairy Tale of the Two, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica are just a few that comes to mind. The artwork of Monogatari is in a sense that can be both visually attractive and descriptive the same time. When not presented as comedy, they hold a deeper meaning or metaphor behind them. Other times, they are connected to the dialogues spoken by the characters to convey their thoughts and feelings. Speaking of characters, most of them are designed in a similar way as their predecessors. Araragi still has that noticeable hair-like antenna sticking out of his head while his girlfriend still retains her haircut. Other characters like Shinobu, Nadeko, and Tsubasa all possesses artistic traits similar to their supernatural counterparts.
Soundtrack wise, the series maintains an eerie like atmosphere. During more of the climatic scenes, the series shifts its gears to a more dramatic tone with explosive entrances and executions. Other times, the series likes to keep its more balanced atmosphere along with comedic vibrations. The soundtrack might not be the most powerful device of the show but its various OP & ED songs makes up this department with its various styles. Almost every arc has a different song accompanied by the voice involving the star of that story. Similar to its word plays, they contain a pattern of artistic visuals to brings out the power of its orchestra. With its cast members also lies in the strength of their voices. Almost every characters demonstrates this with their voice mannerisms. These include the cunning Shinobu (Maaya Sakamoto), the kuudere Senjougahara (Chiwa Saito), innocent Nadeko (Kana Hanazawa), the mature Tsubasa (Yui Horie), the playful sisters of Karen and Tsukihi, and Araragi (Hiroshi Kamiya). Because the narrative aspect of the show is so strong with the dialogues, it is important to characterize each of their voices as a focus in order to bring out their best. And yes, I am grateful that these characters all bought forth their best thanks to the talents of their voice actor/actresses.
So,this anime might not be for everyone. That’s something I’m sure most people have heard about the Monogatari franchise before. But if you pass this up for whatever reason, I still would recommend at least giving the first arc a try. That way, it might refresh a bit of experience of what you get out of the other series. However, I highly recommend watching this series only after you have completed its previous predecessors to gain full experience of its presentation. The Monogatari franchise has already achieved universal success thanks to its unique narrative, powerful dialogues, artistic word plays, and unique characters. Its humor will knock you out with high doses of laughter accompanied by its strange twist of stories. It even has bits of action too so violence is not out of the question there for fans looking for some intensity. (that and maybe its goal of achieving anemia with its fan service.) But all in all, Monogatarai series definitely took on the storytelling concept like never before creating an enjoyable experience. Now that is the ecstasy of success.
Honestly, I'm surprised... surprised I was able to make it through to the end of this show. I don't understand how anyone can like this show other than for some kind of weird fan-service.
I'm afraid the long, unnecessary, drawn out conversations that constitute this entire series are a severe test of my patience. More on this in a bit. Due to this being the sole emphasis, the characters should be crucial right?
Well quite frankly there is only one good character in the show, and this guy ends up being the true hero. He is the only character I like. To avoid spoilers... I'll just say, to my severe disappointment, that it doesn't end well.
The rest of the main characters are immature, irrational retards. Sorry, but I hate tsunderes or whatever Senjougahara's personality is. Aragagi is as bad as any typical shounen protagonist who thinks he can save everyone. The only difference is that's he's a pedophile, not that really I care about that detail in particular - that's not even one of the things I hate about him. I hate the fact that every girl falls in love with him, when there's really nothing special about him. Is it that he's such a goody-two-shoes? You can find white knights everywhere. His existence itself is probably the main reason I hate Senjo - the fact that she loves someone like him, that she's willing to die for this guy who doesn't understand anything. I don't remember much from Bakemonogatari as I saw it like 5 years ago, but to my recollection the only reason she's given is that it's because "he is who he is" or some vague bullshit like that. Yeah, whatever. Ignoring the fact that Hanekawa loves him too, she to me is a soulless creature, a vanilla. If you watch, it's well documented in those oh-so-long conversations as to why that is, in my opinion. I'm trying to put this in a nutshell because describing how I really feel about these people would require a long-winded essay each.
I don't know; maybe Nisio Ishin doesn't intend for these people to be likable. For those of you who don't know, apparently the writer likes to intentionally make main characters who are unlikable and unrelatable. I’ve learned this from reading Medaka Box. If so, considering the ending and all the implications... he's pretty good at that. Pretty deep stuff, I'll give him that.
Now back to those conversations - those endless dialogues between characters that I don't particularly even like.
Take the very first episode for example. Hanekawa meets a tiger. Then her house burns down. Then she gets yelled at by Senjo. Three significant things happen. None of them take very long - around a couple minutes each. That's what like 6 - 10 minutes on the meat of the plot? The rest of the 20-minute episode was spent having unnecessary conversations and soliloquies.
Yes, I'm well aware that that some of this banter leads to some important plot conclusions later. But too much of it is trivial and could easily be shortened without losing anything other than the weird fan-service or whatever it is that so much effort is spent on. The interaction between Hanekawa and Senjo that centers on taking a shower together at the end of the episode goes on for several minutes and well into the next episode. Then it gets even worse - only one thing truly necessary to the plot that happens is another short sighting of the tiger. I mean the majority of an episode is some long drawn-out, redundant small talk. Overall the first arc, 5 long episodes, could easily be shortened to one or two episodes. Most of the show is like this.
We're getting to my point on why this is the main problem with this show. It's not like I wasn't paying attention to all this dialogue. Rest assured. I weathered the storm, waiting patiently for some meaning, some payoff, hanging on to nearly every word. Because naturally I'm always curious as to what is the point. What is the conflict? What is the goal? It's hardly ever obvious in this show when it's there at all.
In a later arc, an episode begins with Araragi and a mysterious creature named Ougi having a conversation about traffic lights. This takes around. four. whole. minutes. Why is this a problem? Well, this conversation is happening for one of three reasons apparent to me:
- It's leading up to something important to the plot.
- It's some kind pretentious symbolism.
- It's part of that weird fan-service or whatever it is that draws people to this show that I don't fully understand.
In the end it doesn't really matter which of these three possible reasons this is conversation is happening, because on the surface it's a pointless conversation. On the surface, I don't know why they are having this conversation. On the surface, it's a long drawn out conversation about nothing, leading to nothing until way later. That is if it leads to anything at all.
The point is that if most of the time I'm listening to long seemingly pointless conversations waiting for an eventual meaning, then watching this show has become a chore. It has become a job filled with boredom and ennui. Because it's not like many of these conversations are particularly fascinating. This is why the "four whole minutes" I emphasized about the traffic lights example doesn't seem very long in retrospect, but it felt very, very long. The vague connection with this traffic thing doesn’t show up until a while later. And this kind of thing happens often in this show.
I will say in fairness, the plot was there. And it was mildly interesting. The time travel and the last arc were kind of alright. But it almost felt like the plot just was a backdrop for... conversation porn... because on the surface this is a show about people who stand around talking. I understand why this is.
This series is based on light novels. And this situation might work well in books, but it doesn't work very well on screen. In an attempt to keep it interesting and dress up the fact that people are just standing around talking all the time, the animators even feel the need to flood the screen with constant camera angle shifts, queer poses, flashy patterns and loops, and surreal art. It gets old and irksome pretty fast. I’ll admit that some of the dialogue, mainly the dialogue that unsubtly advanced the plot, was interesting. There wasn't enough of this kind.
The important thing though is that the plot is a backdrop for the characters' thoughts, feelings, and motives, all described and analyzed in vivid detail by all these conversations and soliloquies. The important thing is that, small talk aside, the significant dialogue places that much greater emphasis on all their awful traits. That is why this show, why these people left a bad taste in my mouth.
I didn’t enjoy this show because it started out badly with *very* slow pacing and ended badly with a frustrating ending in my opinion, ruining what little redemption it could have had. Yeah, I’m aware this series is probably not over. But I also didn’t enjoy it because I didn't care for most of the protagonists, and there was simply too. much. talking. read more
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
On that note, the second season (although technically third or fourth depending if you count Nisemonogatari and Nekomonogatari) of the Monogatari Series was promised to be a two cour delivering viewers the excellent experience that the first season, Bakemonogatari, did. Rest assured that if you enjoyed Bakemonogatari, you will not be disappointed by the second season.
Story: (10/10): Monogatari S2's story is the driving point of the anime itself, the beating heart at its core. The storytelling in this anime is top notch, as it is an almost completely dialogue driven anime. If you don't like characters sitting down and fleshing things out, exploring the facets of their inner thoughts, strengths and flaws, then you might not enjoy this season. However, assuming that you watched the first season, you probably would have already figured out whether the Monogatari Series was right for you or not. Needless to say if it is for you, you're in for a treat. The story covers additional stories for Hanekawa, Hachikuji, Shinobu, Nadeko and Kaiki. Most of the characters from the original series make an appearance, although there is a bit of absence of Kanbaru. Shaft's unique way of organizing the anime leaves the free flowing story to explore the great characters within the story, as well as progress through the life of our lively MC, Ararararararagi. All the arcs seem to have different flavors to them, some being more action oriented, others being a lot more explorative, and some very emotional. Shaft has done an excellent job of succeeding the original series, as the viewer truly never finds themselves disappointed by the story aspect of Monogatari. The arcs only get better and better, leaving with a truly memorable experience in the final arc (Koimonogatari) which I'll leave you all to discover for yourselves. The fact of the matter, or the conclusion rather is that on the story basis, Monogatari is outstanding, and it makes me sad that I won't be able to experience the great storytelling until a hopefully additional season comes out.
Art: (8/10): The art in Monogatari S2 is very much like its predecessors. The characters are all well defined, and all have unique aspects to them, however if you're someone who is very picky about animation and slick transitions, you might feel a little disappointed. Shaft cycles through animations during dialogue, zooming in and accentuating different nuances to the speaker's body. The famous slow motion head turn and zooming right into their face. It helps to keep the viewer enticed in the dialogue while they are talking, but other than that it does get repetitive. Besides that, the avant garde nature of some of the apparitions and environments (things made completely of Kanji) are always a treat, as the peculiarity only seems to add to the experience. That being said, since Monogatari S2 is such a dialogue based anime, this really isn't a problem. Besides that the transition slides usually have a bit of text, that you can choose to neglect or to pause and read, and people may find that annoying, although I didn't seem to mind it as much. As I mentioned before, if you don't like the way the art and animation is done, you probably would have figured it out in the earlier seasons.
Sound: (9/10): The sound in Monogatari S2 is great at doing what it was made to do. Complimenting dialogue with a good soundtrack is very difficult. Fortunately, it's done very well in Monogatari S2, as you will find that what would have been a more stale conversation is brought to life a bit more by the beautiful pieces in the soundtrack. The OPs and EDs are some of the best I've seen, as the music is always great, as it was in the previous seasons. There's a few clips of ambient sounds when transitioning to other scenes, but they only add to the experience.
Character: (9/10): The characters in Monogatari S2 really help define what the anime is like. Since it is a storytelling anime, the storytellers should be interesting as to keep the viewers interested as well. Luckily the unique set of characters we have are very well defined and interesting to the end. One of the great parts of Monogatari S2 is the way that it highlights the flaws of people fundamentally. This is through the apparitions that they get latched onto, as the apparitions themselves target weakness and the vulnerable. You have a cast of characters who all have their unique flaws, but all find ways to get through it, and that is the beauty and joy that you will experience through the expert storytelling of Shaft. As expected, the character development is very good, as there are plenty of learning experiences of the characters as they tell their stories. You will grow more attached to your favorite characters, and learn to understand the characters that you don't like as much. The beauty is, there's plenty of choices.
Enjoyment: (10/10): Frankly speaking, Monogatari S2 was a very enjoyable experience for me. I loved Bakemonogatari, and watching the series finally get back on track with a two cour season was a delight for me. Picking up on the nuances of the dialogue, and watching the characters retell some amazing stories really never gets old for me. Since this is a sequel, I'll word it like this. If you liked Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari or Nekomonogatari, you will find something to appreciate in Monogatari S2.
Overall: As 2013 winds down, Monogatari Series: Second Season serves as one of the highlights of the year, allowing fans of the series to rejoice once more in Shaft's excellent work in creating an atmosphere and story truly unparalleled. You will feel for the characters, you will laugh with the characters, and you will cry with the characters through their toughest and most jovial experience all told amazingly through clever dialogue and plot.
Verdict: A solid 9/10. There are some things that can't be explained in words, and I definitely recommend this season to fans of the previous ones. read more
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