Owarimonogatari

Owarimonogatari

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During the month of October of his third year in high school, Koyomi Araragi is introduced to a transfer student named Ougi Oshino, who tells him she has something to consult with him. This reveals a tale that brings to light just “what” makes Koyomi Araragi what he is.

My first thoughts? Ougi Oshino is a very weird character. If you are unfamiliar with the Monogatari series then you’ll feel the same. In this anime series, the producers (perhaps wrongly) assume that all viewers will know who she was. They give her an unceremonious introduction that ends quickly and doesn’t really pay off until towards the end of the series. There are a few comments and references made that those new to the series are unlikely to get. Which makes the initial ’empty classroom’ scene all the more confusing.

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Trying to calmly assess the situation, Araragi takes a seat in one of the classroom’s desks and Ougi questions why he chose that particular one. The combination of meandering conversation and seemingly out-of-place (but nonetheless beautiful) visuals commences, only to be brought to a brief halt when Araragi inspects the contents of the desk, finding one of his old textbooks with his name on it.

It is then that Araragi recalls a moment when he began high school involving being stuck in a classroom. The incident in question involved the entirety of his class meeting after school to discuss the possibility of a recent math test’s answers being leaked by somebody beforehand. Class president Oikura gathers her peers together in their class, insisting that nobody leave until a culprit is found among them.

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These flashbacks of the classroom “trial” are excellent. Quick cuts, sharp contrasting colours and overlapping statements made by faceless individuals creates tension in what would otherwise be a rather boring scene. Its what gives the series its hint of ‘paranormal’. However, you’ve got to be quick on reading the subtitles as this one can get quite dialogue-heavy and show snippets of sentences that flash up for what seems like a millisecond before vanishing again.

imageAs a character class president Oikura is arrogant and uppity, but as the story continues and things turn ugly, you do find yourself sympathising with her. Each plot point throughout the anime brought up in trial flashbacks and it’s all set up so the revelation of Oikura’s return to school (after a long, unexplained absence after the trial where she was accused of cheating) feels like a real reward and as reminder that this series will be running the length of a full season rather than the OVA-esque runs of Monogatari predecessors like Hanamonogatari and Tsukimonogatari.

Throughout the whole of this story, Ougi is clearly the captain of the plot as she steers Araragi into answering questions about his past and the classroom trial in particular. She acts as a guide for Araragi to solve his current predicament himself rather than make herself a major player in her own right. She had a way of urging and cajoling him into coming to his own realisations and revelations.imageMoments in the epilogue with Ougi, Hanekawa, and even Senjougahara create a feeling of melancholy as everyone is either going their separate ways or continuing business as usual. The story finally closes with Araragi at his desk, finding a farewell note from Oikura—the same manner she used to bid him farewell after tutoring him in math so many years ago. The contents of Oikura’s note are left unspecified, as if to say that any mysteries involving her have now been solved, and that this one is of no importance. I find i impressive that the Monogatari series makes exceptional use of plot threads that are originally thought to be resolved and using them to created fully-realised, interesting stories.

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The final episode of the Sodachi Lost arc provides proper closure to Oikura, though to leave her out of the major climax of the episode seems odd. While I understand that it was part of her ‘character arc’ to finally accept the help of others, it would have been appreciated if she had at least been present while the rest of the characters wrap up her story for her.

Whilst Owarimonogatari is an impressive plot with great characters and excellent animation, I wouldn’t recommend watching it first. There are a few Monogatari arcs before it that are worth watching in order to get all the inside references, jokes and allusions to the past. Make sure that you give this one your full attention – blinking at an inopportune time might mean that you’ve missed something.