“If the world can’t be the way I want
Then I have no use for it anymore
There’s only one thing I desire
Everything, everything, everything, everything.”
-Nadeko Sengoku, “Delusion Express,” Monogatari Series Season 2
Out of all of the Monogatari series’ charges, Nadeko Sengoku has the neatest narrative wrap-up. This isn’t to say that it lacks emotion or effectiveness. While Tsubasa Hanekawa’s story also required protagonist Koyomi Araragi to exit center stage, he still returned at the end and was given a hero’s entrance. At that point, Hanekawa had already saved herself, but Araragi’s appearance allowed her to let go of her lingering romantic feelings for Araragi. Hanekawa confessed, he rejected her as she expected, and she moved on.
This doesn’t provide the same gut-punch as Deishu Kaiki telling Araragi off at the end of Nadeko’s time in the Monogatari spotlight. Not only does Nadeko not need Araragi’s help, he has to leave her alone in order for Nadeko to move on. Needless to say, this was difficult for Araragi, who based no small amount of his own self-worth on throwing his life in front of other people’s problems.
Checking in with Nadeko during Owarimonogatari‘s second season was unexpected but pleasant. The transformations of Hanekawa, Hitagi Senjougahara, Shinobu Oshino, and even Suruga Kanbaru pre-Hanamonogatari all took their turns at the forefront in recently-aired seasons of the Monogatari series, yet Nadeko was conspicuously ignored, outside of a few mentions or fleeting appearances. Araragi had to stay away from her, therefore she moved out of the series’ scope.
In the Koimonogatari finale, Nadeko was challenged by Kaiki on her love of Araragi, forced to admit that her feelings for “Koyomi onii-chan” were more self-serving than anything else. She was obvious about them, unlike something that she truly cared about, like her hidden passion for drawing manga.
Because she’s human, Nadeko can start from scratch. In Nadeko’s case, and most cases, it’s not actually starting from scratch. Her secret closet of manga simply turned into a legitimate attempt to become a manga artist. Owarimonogatari gives us a peek of what Nadeko has been up, and how much she has transformed in that timeframe.
Nadeko has completely cropped her hair into a shorter style, and wears a bright red tracksuit around her room while working. This outfit lacks the artifice of her floppy-cute boyish style in Nadeko Snake, girlish look of Nadeko Medusa, and doll-like appearance she had while moonlighting as a goddess. It’s genuinely down-to-earth. Paired with her new haircut, Nadeko gives off a comfortable teenaged awkwardness.
This is a new Nadeko. We hear her say “Koyomi-san” for the first time, fully rejecting the cutesy affectation she used before and creating a noticeable distance. While Tsukihi Araragi lounges on Nadeko’s bed — previously where Nadeko was seen when calling or otherwise attempting to seduce Araragi — Nadeko sits at her desk, diligently drawing. Her room is still crammed with overly-cute objects, but most of them are pushed away from Nadeko herself and scattered at the edges of the floor instead, almost as if she’s repelling them. Before, she invited people to see her as a childish, demure victim. Now, she actively rejects that image by pushing anything cute to the corners of her room.
Although Tsukihi and Nadeko have reportedly been friends for quite some time, this is the first time we see them hanging out together, without Nadeko going after her older brother instead. Their conversation touches upon passion and finding a personal dream or goal, setting up a later conversation between Tsukihi and Ougi Oshino. Nadeko is now content to pursue her passion in a relaxed fashion, simply because she loves it. It’s a quiet and satisfying ending for the girl who once said she wanted “everything.”