Owarimonogatari

Here in Monogatari Hell

For high school me, Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit was a revelation. It still has a firm place in my heart — The Little Prince was the first book I learned to read in French, but No Exit marked when I really felt that I could actually read the language with any amount of competency — and every subsequent reading has been an experience. It makes me think, even if it also makes me wonder just how much of my own young pretentiousness I’ve dragged along behind me as I’ve grown older.

I’ve often thought about why I return to No Exit. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but certainly a reflection of my own personal preferences. Then again, Mayoi Hell is specifically about hell, so perhaps this framework fits Owarimonogatari better than most series.

The moment Koyomi Araragi begun wailing to Mayoi Hachikuji about being in hell, I couldn’t help but recall Joseph Garcin’s arrival and introduction to hell in No Exit. There are no torture devices, only a room furnished in the style of the French Second Empire.

Hell is not at all what he expected.

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“I know everything. There’s nothing I don’t know” — more on color theory in the Monogatari series and Izuko Gaen

When examining the Monogatari series’ usage of color, no other arc exemplifies the franchise’s attention to detail quite like Owarimonogatari‘s Shinobu Mail.

Not only does this particular narrative arc showcase specific color patterns within the first episode, but it also gives Izuko Gaen ample screen time, further demonstrating what color can tell us alongside character dialogue and key plot points. Prepped to pay attention to the series’ use of color thanks to the first episode of Shinobu Mail, Gaen’s near-permanent rainbow-tinged sky speaks volumes.

As an aside, I don’t usually post spoiler warnings, but the final few paragraphs of this piece include major spoilers through Koyomimonogatari. 

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Color Theory in Shinobu Mail and the Monogatari Series

The Monogatari anime adaptation has always paid close attention to color. Although SHAFT can — and has been, rightfully so in my opinion — criticized for their lack of animation at times while drawing the Monogatari series into its animated form, there’s no denying its purposeful style or cinematography, which changes from narrative arc to narrative arc

Along with other stylish visual choices that set the adaptation firmly apart from its source material, color creates an ancillary emotional narrative, or helps direct the viewer’s attention to a specific character, even if that character is offscreen.

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Shinobu Mail and Suruga Kanbaru’s Turn

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Previously, on Owarimonogatari, the Sodachi Lost narrative arc provided Tsubasa Hanekawa with a perfect opportunity – the opportunity to show just how much she’s changed both over the course of the series and her most chronologically-recent appearance in Tsubasa Tiger. She delivers a crucial line of dialogue at exactly the right time in such a forceful way that it immediately unifies her with the despairing Sodachi Oikura. They travel the same path, but are at dramatically different points on that path, and Hanekawa’s words help guide Oikura out of her powerful self-loathing spiral.

This week, in Shinobu Mail, it was Suruga Kanbaru’s turn to shine.
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