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July 19th, 2013
Anime Relations: Nekomonogatari: Kuro
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(There's huge spoilers)

Fake. That's what Senjougahara's and Araragi's relationship felt to me all this time. And in that way, the series succeeded in simultaneusly getting me question it and believe in it, and then just pulled the carpet under my feet. I fell, hard. I realized that the most important aspect of the series, the love between Araragi and Senjougahara, was just a fantasy of both of them. For Senjougahara, Araragi is the prince who comes to save her from the cruel world, where as for Araragi, Senjougahara is a target of fake love. BUT. Taking account the very philosophy of Nisemonogatari, this shit is AGAIN turned on it's head. Because fake love can be more real than the real thing, as it involves trying. They both try so hard to love each other, that they manage to pull it off, even when they both should not, in a way, be capable of it. This makes this shit so interesting. As all the triangles we've been fed are actually, in a way, just red herrings. They only exist in Hanekawa's head. Araragi doesn't believe that there is triangle drama, as he doesn't really love Hanekawa as he cares about her in another level. Overanalyzing? Maybe.

So... Hanekawa is the most important character in the series, so why not talk about this girl for a while. It's actually shown in Nekomonogatari that she doesn't know everything, yet she does. It could be even so absurd, that in the final fight she almost killed Araragi because she knew that she could get rid of the cat that way, as she knew that Araragi wanted the cat out of her. She could just feign ignorance about knowing the sword. I don't know how much Kizumonogatari will change this again, but I hope it will again pull the carpet beneath my feet. Also, on the same note about Hanekawa. With the fake theory again (Damn, it's like I wanted to people to forget what I said earlier, WTF am I supposed to do with this conflicting information? Let's just call them differing viewpoints...) Hanekawa is seen as so fake, that she becomes real by being incapable of being real. Again, I apologize for the pseudo-philosophical bullshit feel of this, but it's true. When we try to become something, it already means that in some ways we are. Some things we can reach, some things we can't, but that's what makes us humane, right? Her incapability of being normal/real makes her such.

Continuing... The portrayal of Araragi's feelings is less over-the-top than Nisemonogatari, but it makes it more real. If you think about it, the whole scene where the cat appears in the school could just be Araragi's imagination. I saw it that way. It was more like his own analysis of the situation than the cat telling him directly about the things. He knew that Hanekawa feels no pity, and when he heard the story about the cat, something didn't add up. He then came up with this idea. Remember, it's just a theory. Ok, if the whole scene is not just in his mind, the end of the scene definitely is (Thinks I), where Black Hanekawa is leaving, and he tries to run to her, but stops, as he can't touch her. And as she says: "The right choice", it was actually Araragi's subconscious saying that to him, and NOT about physical touching. It was his mind telling him to let go.

Hey, remember when I said that when in Bakemonogatari there were flashbacks of Nekomonogatari, that they were inaccurate, but explained how they could really work like that? As we see in the last episode, they are in an abandoned building, not an alleyway. I think it's intentional. The abandoned building was where he was, but an alleyway leading to a dead end what he felt was. There was no way out of the mess that didn't go through Hanekawa. Last stop, Araragi. You have to either jump off or accept whatever comes.
Posted by Syntriate | Jul 19, 2013 6:52 PM | 0 comments
Anime Relations: Nisemonogatari
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Warning: Contains profanity and some spoilers which are properly hidden. Is made to make you s*it brix.

Detours. The story of Nisemonogatari is all but linear, starting in medias res and almost every episode a self-contained story. This doesn't really make it worse by any means. It actually enforces the point that life doesn't go on rails, with all the important things happening in order. While some may just point out that most of Nisemonogatari is filler, I tend to disagree. In this kind of series, the filler is more important than the stories themselves. Monogatari is characterization in it's heart, and that's why the actual "storylines" are less important than even the goofier "filler" moments.

I can give you an example. Which was more important to the Monogatari series, the part where
and Araragi completely loses himself for the first time we've seen, or the bath scene with Shinobu. Exactly. The part where
is not even important in it's own right, only it's consequence is. Because Araragi doesn't see limits of family going between blood, but with emotion, we get to see more character of Araragi... Which has nothing to do with the scene actually. On the other hand, deepening the relationship between Shinobu and Araragi is so goddamn important to the story at large, just not the particular part of story where it's told. Weird, isn't it?

And there was a good segway I didn't use. Araragi's development in the very end is actually crucial, as the same exact philosophy is told to us by Kaiki just few episodes before. He tells us about a fake being capable of being more than the real counterpart, as the fake must deliberately try to obtain it's goal, which for the real one, is given. It's one of the most important philosophies of this show, and even though this part of the series was not even supposed to be canon, it still effectively makes the series as a whole much better. The philosophy of being a fake can be applied to all parts of the series, before or after Nisemonogatari, and it always gives a new point of view in the matters.

Let me de-rail a bit, but it may be skipped if you want to continue on Nisemonogatari.

On the second time watching Nise, I realized there's also a lot of talk of MONEY in the first arc. Like one of the better jokes being love sold at the convenience store for 298¥, Kaiki talking about philosophy of money and I would even count the flying money during Sengoku's and Araragi's Game of Life to be counted as some kind of foreshadowing for it. Thinking about the philosophy of money, and comparing it to the overall philosophy of fakes, you could see money as some kind of fake justice. And that leads to you know what is behind the character of Kaiki. Money can be just as good as real good, if it's used to make the cogs of society spinning and thus making good for everybody.

And from that, back to the main subject:

Araragi is a problematic case. He hypocritically says that his sisters' fake justice is just playing and nothing really to be taken seriously, even though it's lampshaded that he does the exactly the same thing, difference being between justice and helping being actually pointless, as the Fire Sisters most probably do the things they do just to protect their friends too. This makes them all three fake, but as one is not more fake than the other, it doesn't really matter. They do their thing just to make sure to see people with smiling faces, and they usually succeed in that, where as real "justice", carried out by law, leaves many with tears

Araragi's moods and feelings jump disturbingly much, almost enough to confessing that in a case of if he could, he would probably cheat on Senjougahara with Hanekawa (It's contradictory to what the very next part of the series tells us). Goddamnit Araragi. At this point I want to remind you, that even if it's not played with much, Araragi is just a high school hormone monster, and with vampire blood in him, who is to say that it doesn't actually enforce it even more.

There's also hints to the fact that Araragi is not with Senjougahara of love and that Senjougahara fascination was just bull he made up to lie to himself. There will be more of it in the Nekomonogatari Black.

Also, Toothbrushes.


Filler is more important than the main series, trust me, I'm a genuis (typo intended).
Posted by Syntriate | Jul 19, 2013 6:42 PM | 0 comments
Anime Relations: Bakemonogatari
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Warning! This Blogpost contains some profanity, horrible grammar and will make you s*it brix.

Bakemonogatari is usually noted for it's unusual art style, enjoyable soundtrack and surprisingly deep characters. Yes, words philosophy and symbolism are words that are often put there, but they're almost never followed up on. Why is that? Does the subject matter actually make it harder to explain the philosophical content of the show? I don't know, but enough rambling, time to start pouring some heavy text.

Bakemonogatari, in it's heart, is a character study. This, while easy to say, is not actually that easy to understand. Think about these questions for a sec:
-Why are there no other people in the whole world than Araragi and the girls (Senjougahara's father not counted)?
-Why do objects (Cars, bicycles and houses) not connected to Araragi all look exactly the same?
-Why are violent and sexual themes often so gratuitous?

During the first 2 questions some will think about budget restraints or it just being the artstyle, but if it is artstyle, WHY? On the other hand, the third question may be thought as some kind of fanservice-y thing so they would have something to show in the trailers or such, but from my point of view, that is not the case. As you can guess, it has something to do with the thing "character study." You are absolutely right.

Being a character study, what IS is not important, but what Araragi FEELS there is, is. This may sound like some pseudo-philosophical bullshit, but bear me a sec, I'll explain. It's rather easy. The whole series is actually more in his head than in his surroundings, it's just shown from a different camera angle. Why is Araragi's bike different from the rest? Because it is HIS, and is thus special for him, he pays attention to it. Paying attention is the key here. He doesn't pay attention to the surrounding people (Except Senjougahara, Hanekawa etc.) thus they "don't exist." It also explains the extreme nature of violent and sexual scenes.

Why are the fight scenes always so weird and abstract, usually having weird colours and over the top effects? Because that's what Araragi feels to be in the fight. IT HURTS. A LOT. And thus he overestimates the effects of pain and it is seen by the viewer as a huge pool of blood and gore. Notice how the surreal nature and colours of ie. the fight between the Rainy Devil disappears IMMEDIATELY the red scene accompanied with Senjougahara's line appears. That's how. He puts his attention to something else (Senjougahara) thus the chaos of the fight has ended. Surprisingly simple.

Same happens with sexual things. He's a teenager. It's not just fanservice. He's a teenager. So every little perverted thing may be HUGE in the mind of such libido-minded guy like Araragi, making the scenes themselves more perverted intentionally. It may even be, that some things that characters are doing are not actually even executed, it's just Araragi's mind doing all the work.

Ok, that's some warmup, now we're talking romance. (HEAVY SPOILERS!! SKIP IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED IT!)

Back to the character study. We can extend this theory so far, that it can make about half of the whole series kind of pointless. As everything, absolutely everything is basically in Araragi's head. That itself, the series being what Araragi believes it to be, is breaking the fourth wall. How? It is said in the series, that the very essence of Oddities is that they are what people believe them to be. This is lampshadowed as Oshino points out, that Shinobu has become childish because Araragi believes she is just a child. The whole series is what Araragi believes it to be. That is why some things, for example seem to happen but don't happen. As an example take the very beginning of the series, where Araragi is running up circular stairs in his school, and Senjougahara falls to his hands. Later, we see Araragi running down the stairs of the school, that are NOT circular. The staircase never was circular. It was always normal. And Senjougahara didn't fall from far, she probably just tripped from top of some stairs. Araragi just thinks that scene with circular stairs and 50-meter fall, because he felt that Senjougahara FELL TO HIS HANDS.

We can extend this with the point that I made some time ago. Like sexual things that may not even exist out of Araragi's mind, many other things in the series may not. Like for example, the many times Araragi is threatened by Senjougahara with sharp object can be just taken as interpretation of a different situation, like a one where she says something where the wrong answer would ruin him mentally, but we're just shown it in a physical form.


We see what Araragi sees, mentally more than physically.
Posted by Syntriate | Jul 19, 2013 6:29 PM | 0 comments