Wednesday, January 01, 2014

10 Second Anime - Monogatari Series Second Season - Episode 26 [END]

Monogatari Series Second Season - Episode 26 [END]

10 Second Anime - Monogatari Series Second Season - Episode 26

Kaiki wins, but as a liar, he is punished. And his story which must end, ends. Another great season of Monogatari also ends, leaving us waiting for the next chapter.

A con artist who never gives up, who holds to his hook, can win the game. And Kaiki wins, even though the ditzy mad deity didn't believe his lie. But, at the moment when he is about to die, Kaiki sees something about Nadeko which makes him believe he can still use his hook of the wish that must be kept secret if you want it to come true. He sees that Nadeko is still wearing her white scrunchy, so there is still a little bit of a little girl who has a real secret wish.

Still Human

Nadeko wants to be a manga artist. The frivolous nonsense in her closet she wanted no one to see were her drawings. Funnily enough, everything Kaiki says about them in his critiques can be applied to the opening credits montage: a weird love-comedy straight out of the 1980's, a main character who is too unrealistic, too many settings, and a story that's slightly too erotic. Kaiki's advice is to smarten things up a bit, and it will broaden its appeal. Sounds like the author of Monogatari didn't take that advice either. Her reaction:


Someone finally pierces through her self-absorbed delusions. Kaiki sees he can still set his hook of the unspoken wish, but not to deceive her. Instead, he'll exorcise her. To do that, Nadeko allows herself to be deceived, so that Kaiki can place a fake curse on her. But to allow that deception, Kaiki tells her the truth about the world and the people in it, that there is nothing in it that is not irreplaceable, even love. What was amazing during this exchange, from when Kaiki revealed the secret in the closet, to when Nadeko started hitting him while he was trapped by millions of writhing snakes, there was no background music, just pure tension. But then he plants the idea of stopping being a god, so that she can go back home to destroy the drawings before her parents finally just open the closet and find the embarrassing things. Nadeko asks, "What kind of stupid reason would that be to stop being a god?" Even though it looks like she desperately wants to do that.

"You need a reason?" Kaiki asks. The hook is set, and he reels her in. At this point, Kaiki's theme music starts playing, but it is arranged differently. Instead of the jaunty confident bass viola, it is almost a sad slow lilting variation using several string instruments. Kaiki is not deceiving her to stop being a god, he is convincing her. He is being something he is not. As he fake curses Nadeko with a fake "Slug Tofu" curse, Araragi finally shows up.

Kaiki tells him, emphatically, there is nothing he can do for this girl. Then he removes the snake god talisman, which is a neat trick for a fake aberration hunter. Giving Araragi the talisman, he says it would be better if he never saw Nadeko again. While love can make you stronger, it can also make you weaker, and that is what Araragi does to Nadeko. Also, a nice allusion to Kaiki's prior relationship to Senjougahara.

After calling Senjougahara to tell her the job is done, Kaiki tries to tie up all the loose ends about the job in his mind. He thinks it was Senjougahara who passed him the note at his hotel telling him to pull out, much like Gaen did with her offer of money. Both spurred him to complete the job, knowing that kind of note would have the opposite effect. But the last unaccounted detail is who was following him around town. As he ponders this and where Oshino is, he gets hit from behind.

The boy who had liked Nadeko, and where the original snake curse came from, struck Kaiki, shouting that it was just like Ougi had said, that the con artist was back in town. Kaiki can't remember where he's heard that name before, and with a sickening crunch, his story ends and so does Monogatari's season.

Final Thoughts: This year's installment of Monogatari was simply amazing. From a mix of different stories, some not even starring Araragi who is supposed to be the main character, we all got reprises of the girls' stories. We got introduced to the main enforcer of the aberrations in the form of the nameless darkness, and an enigmatic villain in Ougi. We even got an anti-hero who stole the entire series, in my opinion, in Kaiki, who was not the hero we wanted, but the hero we needed. And that proved to be his downfall, because he was the target of Ougi's manipulation of Nadeko. He was a liar who was punished, the end bringer of Gaen's plan to install another deity at the Shrine, and the instrument of setting aberrations back to what they are defined to do.

It seems to me, that Ougi and the nameless darkness are related to the same function, but the unsubtle dark ball has to be employed on beings where subtlety just won't work. Subtle human plans weren't going to work on a vampire so powerful that playing a god was actually a step down for her. And subtlety wasn't going to work on a ghost who was supposed to lead people astray. Well, we'll see how right I am when the next story starts up again in April.

While the nameless darkness and Ougi are mysteries still to be solved, we at least got a great many hints about them. That is different with the disappearance of Oshino. The only time we saw him was in an alternate dimension climbing a huge wall of ice. Perhaps he was in Antarctica looking for the original aberration hunter's other sword... And the other mystery was the green bracelet some of the girls whom Araragi has helped were wearing. Shinobu and Mayoi each wore one, and they were both targets of the nameless darkness at some point in their existence. Maybe I don't remember what it is from earlier seasons, but in this story, little details usually end up being the thing that saves the day. Like a little white scrunchy or a stack of hidden drawings. Thankfully, I don't have a very long wait until I see more of one of my favorite stories.


    "Kaiki is best girl."
    Most perfect comment about Kaiki, ever.

    1. Hah. That is good.

      On a separate note, if you dust off your html skills, you can still post links inside these comment boxes.