Monogatari Series Second Season Review
|All star cast-Ahoy!|
The bee apparition is now gone, and summer vacation where the phoenix apparition averted harm is over. Around Koyomi Araragi and the girls who started a new trimester, apparitions, or perhaps threats even worse, were creeping in ever closer. Tsubasa Hanekawa, Mayoi Hachikuji, Suruga Kanbaru, Nadeko Sengoku, Shinobu Oshino, and Hitagi Senjogahara. Their soliloquies, confessions—and farewells. 6 new stories are starting now.
Walking to school one day Tsubasa Hanekawa encounters a huge white tiger apparition at a crossroads that talks to her. The next day her house burns down. Homeless, and not wanting to stay with her family, she lies and tells them she has a place to stay, but instead sleeps in the old cram school. She's awakened by an angry and upset Hitagi Senjogahara who ridicules her for worrying her and drags her to her place to stay instead. The two of them soon discover that Araragi has gone missing and has urged them in a text message not to look for him.
Read more at http://myanimelist.net/anime/17074/Monogatari_Series:_Second_Season#tPJfgoAVgtPzIAqh.99
So I am back yet again to review this one: the Monogatari Series Second Season. Or you could have just read the title, but I felt like repeating myself. I am already familiar with the Monogatari franchise and it is only natural to watch the second season after Bake-Nise-Neko. I still have to watch Kizumonogatari, but that is only for later. Right now, I have no idea whether or not it is out, but I sure hope so. I need to see Kikirarara kick ass once.
It took me two months to finish all those the twenty six episodes. Why so long when it took me four days to finish Bakemonogatari and Nise combined you ask? Oh, I will explain alright!
Plot: Second Season follows the same plot line and structure as Bake, which may possibly stem from the fact that it wanted to get itself back on track from the (slight) awfulness that was Nise. Each arc focuses on a different character where new mysteries and connections are revealed along the way. Each new mystery has their own freshness, either legendary, or novel. As per Bake, it is up to Araragi to solve these mysteries (except for the arc Hitagi End) while the viewer rejoices having to watch endearing characters serve as eye-candy. (JK!)
Animation: Maybe this is out of order, but here it is. I just found out something quite incredible actually: Shaft's animation, though it improved, annoyed me. Now, I don't know if it annoyed me because it improved, because it is Shaft after all, or because I had been annoyed with this season. However for a fair and unbiased review of my part, the animation was waiting made Monogatari Monogatari. It is an enchanting journey through vivid colors, moving from shifting camera angles, scene cuts here and there, and the occasional head tilt (as expected from Shaft). The animation helped to tell the story magnificently, it helped portray the characters' peculiar environment, while delivering in classy, beautiful visuals. The characters are all lined in red (my favorite color) and the vivid palette is serious eye candy. There isn't a single scene that is badly animated, and Shaft truly knows how to draw you in. Shaft's unique style, is well, unique, and I honestly am happy to have been introduced to this studio through Puella Magi. But this is where the praising ends. I will explain later.
|Awww. Shaft really knows how to distort faces.|
Music: Ockay well, while I read from other bloggers how amazing the soundtracks are, I cannot agree. It is impossible. My favorite soundtrack out of the whole show has to be Kaiki Deishu's. It fits him well, gives him in unprecedented ominous air, while declaring him as an important character that has a lot to offer (which he does). But the soundtracks bored me. Senseless. I could not get fully integrated into a particular scene, because the OSTs did not beckon. I don't know, but I felt as if the soundtracks did not get as much dedication and diligence that Bake was offered. Maybe they were lacking inspiration. Maybe I am being biased, because I had finished Attack on Titan before this, which had some of the most beautiful soundtracks I had ever heard in my life. But since I tend to criticise shows for what they are and what they can offer, Monogatari did not live up to its premise. I am sorry, but this was a hit-and-miss situation.
Characters: So! The all-star, familiar, peculiar, characters are back! Same but also different. But to make them different--or developed-- if you are NisioIsin, you give them a haircut! Or in other words, character developement through haircuts! I am not taking up assumptions through Senjougahara and Hanekawa, mind you, but it also happened in Medaka Box. To Medaka herself. I was surprised to see that the first arc was about Hanekawa, and we started to get some Senjougahara also. As I have stated in my Bake review, I admired Senjou for being who she is: a very complex character that only NisioIsin could have conceived. But I generally quite disliked her I had not understood the "Senjougahara Wonder" that everyone who had seen the franchise seem to acquire, because I found her a little...too harsh. But this? I fell in love with her! Completely. I mean, her conversations with Hanekawa were downright hilarious. Down to the fact that she told the other girl that she would do nothing to her body. Aww man, and that shower scene? Complete gold! Hitagi turned over a new leaf, a complete three-sixty degree turn that spun her to my favor. She officially became my favorite character.
Koyomi had not changed. At all. There may have been instances here and there that showed that he had became a lot more serious here and there, but this guy only toned down the pervertedness. Atually, some times, he was downright worse compared to Bake-Nise-Neko. His first thought when he realised that he was alone with Hachikuji was that he could do anything to her right then and there. Honestly, chilling and downright puke-worthy. He is lucky: he is good-looking and has some muscle now, as noted so fervently by Ononoki. On the subject of Ononoki (god her name is hard to type) my first thought when this girl happened on screen was what the heck is she doing there?? But, her character was also developed to someone more expressive... and thrice more annoying. Because of her, I officially hate the words: yay and peace. Thanks a lot, Ononoki-chan. Hontoni.
|400 year old or not, Koyomi is only forgiven for making this kiss look hot. This eight year old kid...|
The characters truly worth mentioning apart from Hitagi have to be Mayoi, Sengoku, and Kaiki. Hachikuji. How do I start?? I cried tears of lamentations when I knew that she was about to pass onto the afterlife. I never would have thought that NisioIsin would "kill" one of his characters. The part when Mayoi truly leaves has to be one of the most heart-wrenching episodes that I had ever seen. This goodbye was so perfect, so well-written that I could not help but praise Nisio. I never knew if I actually liked Hachikuji. But now I realise that, yes, she does matter to me. I am happy to see her move on. Please rest in peace, Mayoi.
Haha, ahh.... Sengoku... She was probably the most useless character in the whole show. I found her voice so annoying and cute at the same time, adorable, and was a worse lolicon than the other females. But what I had not expected was for NisioIsin to not only take the these characteristics, exploit them and deconstruct them in the harshest way possible. As expected from this brilliant author, if I had disliked her, I hate her now. Her arc was probably the most mind-twisting, WTF arc in Monogatari Series. Seriously, go watch this arc. It was unbelievable.
Kaiki Deishu. When this man was first introduced in Nisemono ( I have to watch this over), I had no idea what to think of him. I heard he was the coolest antagonist, but I just did not feel it. He was no Kumagawa. I am not very susceptible to popularity. The Hitagi End arc, however? After Senjougahara, he is my second favorite character. This man was really cool (this time I admit) and watching him try to solve the whole conflict between Arararararagi/Hitagi/Sengoku was absurdly one of a kind. He was confident cool and his personality really grew on me. It was a good thing that he was the investigator, because Hitagi End is my favorite arc in the Monogatari Series 2nd. NisioIsin took a strike again with the hair, but this time he wears it down instead of up. His actions in Nisemono are justified in episode twenty-five to show that he is as soft as Senjougahara, that despite their tough exteriors, there are as lovable as they try not to be. Kaiki even stated that his kindness was embarrassing. But he does not know that, as such, he is very appealing to me.
Very, very appealing.
I had stated previously why I am so annoyed at what seemed so trivial. I will stop beating around the bush immediately: the second season was boring as f*ck. There, I said it. No, I am not comparing it to other shows. I am comparing it to itself. But, let me elaborate. Shaft took two episodes to recapitulate what most should already know. This series is not something for everyone and definitely should not be engaged unless you have seen the first season. Two episodes. Gawd, I was so exasperated because I was thinking that maybe they were doing that to stretch the season, but that would not make sense. They seem to have quite a grand budget, then that must not be the problem. I felt trolled.
There is the dialogue. The selling point of this entire franchise is based not only on the animation, the unique character, but also the incredibly unique, witty and intelligent (put that in some quotation marks: not always) dialogue. But the dialogue dragged this time. The reason why I had fallen in love with the franchise in the first place was definitely this aspect of the show. But this time it dragged, tumbled, strayed, and sometimes it also sailed. But, my goodness, I remember the episode where Araragi first encountered the "darkness" and his thoughts, oh his thoughts. I remember replaying the part five times to try to understand what he felt the darkness truly was from his point of you, and after all five times, I still could not understand. Even when I am writing this, I still don't understand. I am very good in English. I have read some of the complicated writing the YA world could offer. But this? Nothing amounts to this and not exactly in a positive way either. Don't get me wrong, NisioIsin has an amazing prose. The characters truly shine through their dialogues, and the best of fun comes out through the dialogue. For instance, take the scene where Hitagi was confronting Sengoku through the phone. I got chills listening to her tell Sengoku that if she kills Koyomi, she would destroy the whole world. That she must absolutely not kill Araragi/Shinobu/Hitagi in that order. How if Araragi dies, Shinobu will gain her full vampire prowess, how she would destroy the whole world etc. It was truly amazing and I remember my jaw dropping hard when I was listening. I was left with the impression that Hitagi is not someone to be messed with and funny thing is, she is not.
The dialogue dragged. There were almost no action. The "Shinobu Time" arc was devoted solely for talking. I was tired of talking. I talk all the time. Sometimes, I just want to escape through action you know? I am not being inconsiderate: Bake had almost no action, and I loved it. But the Second Season? Because of twenty-six episodes of 90% talk, 10% anything else, it took a slight tool on me. Couple that with exclusively complicated dialogue and it was not easy on me. This is the reason why the animation annoyed me so much was because I felt as if it was trying to fill up some void, as if it was intruding pretentiously. If these heavy dialogues were accompanied by badass music, it would never have cracked me so much. Useless characters that no one cares about such as, ummm, Episode, were introduced for no good reason and don't forget that fact that the first few episode featuring Hanekawa was her reflecting in herself, and her name... I don't know why, oh why, Black Hanekawa made another appearance. NisioIsin, why?? You are not missing plot, nor ideas, what was the point?? This arc has to be my least favorite of them all because it felt so damn repetitive. This franchise really took a nosedive. I am slightly disappointed. But Nisio and Shaft can still remind me why I love this franchise by coming back hard (if they ever do).
Final rating: 7/10