Tuesday, December 22, 2015

10 Second Anime - Owarimonogatari - Episode 12 [END]

Araragi's duel with Shinobu's first minion ends in surprising manner. Season Finale.

"Shinobu Mail"


Since these series of stories are told out of linear order, there's no suspense in whether Araragi wins these confrontations or not. The suspense comes in how things are resolved and what surprises pop out of the aftermath to add retroactive depth to what we've seen in the past seasons and interesting hints to where the story goes from here.

Speaking of those surprises, Gaen may know everything but she can't predict the future. Having Shinobu interfere with the duel by providing the demon killing sword for the duel instead of the stun gun shinai (wooden practice sword) made it a real life-or-death duel. And how Araragi won by placing the shrine's seal on the first minion was a brilliant maneuver.

Oh, hey. It took two years, but we finally found out the "reassuring" text Hanekawa sent to Araragi before her final confrontation with Tsubasa Tiger.

This is still a SHAFT show. What was important here was that Araragi knew his duel with the first minion wasn't pointless. He needed to show Shinobu that he was going to be a special person for her. Even better for him, Shinobu already knew that, which is why she sent down the sword to show Araragi she also knew he was going to win.

The first minion had a surprise up his sleeve too. Drop the armor and get to the sword first! Too bad for him that Araragi's gambit did not care who got to the sword first.

The revelation of the duel was that the first minion really did love Kiss-Shot. The only part of himself he was able to fully put back together was his throat and mouth. Everything else was all the aberrations he had eaten at the shrine. Oh, I guess he had fully reassembled his armor too, which Ougi was keen to point out in the epilogue.

I was quite moved that it was Shinobu herself who mentioned the first minion's name - Seishirou. And then she promptly ate her up like she does with all the aberrations she encounters. I wonder where Ougi got his full name, though, Seishirou Shishirui.

The epilogue was similar to the resolution of the Mayoi arc, where the story was framed as Araragi recounting events to Ougi. The nice thing this time around was Araragi sharing a moment with Yotsugi. She made the important point that being happy is a choice, even if Araragi is convinced that none of the women in his life can be happy with a vampire living in his shadow.

Just who is Araragi meeting at the shrine on the morning of his college entrance exams? I love these little devices to keep us interested in the continuing story.

Right after this duel, Araragi appeared in front of the Tiger with Hanekawa, and now we know why his sweater was all ripped up too.

Ougi made an ominous observation about the first minion's armor being used to reconstruct his demon killing sword or the short one, the demon raising sword.

Final Thoughts.

It's difficult to have final thoughts on a story that's told out of order where I already know what happens next, but not all the details. The events after Araragi's graduation have already been told in a story featuring Suruga with a male version of Ougi, but it's not those general plot points which are of interest in Bakemonogatari, but the transition points between those stories. Up until this season, we had not received a lot of detail about Ougi, but through two plot lines and a framed epilogue, the general outlines of her character and function have been filled out. There's still plenty to fill in though, which is what makes the total story interesting.

As a character driven show, Ougi showed us something different than the other girls in Araragi's orbit: a seemingly total lack of magic. But we know that's not true. It's just we don't know how her anti-magic works. In the first episode, we got an inkling of how she works in completing a story or solving a mystery which somehow exorcises the aberration.

In Sodachi's story line, we saw how even when Ougi was actively excluded in dealing with the present Sodachi, she still forced Hanekawa and Araragi not to use any of their powers to resolve her story. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get more details on how she is related to the Nameless Darkness, but I suppose that's still a major revelation to be explored later. Her broad outlines are enough to evoke dark feelings of anticipation. I still think the most important scene of the whole season was when she showed her black covered finger and touched Araragi's lips. That appeared to be the quintessential metaphor to explain Ougi's relationship to Araragi.

The story continues next year with the long awaited animation of how Araragi met Shinobu. Having the latest chapter show how Araragi and Shinobu relate to each other in the present was a great way to whet our appetites for the next story. I can't wait.

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