hitagi senjougahara

Monogatari Collection: Koyomimonogatari

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One of the Monogatari series favorite tricks is playing with chronology. Adapting from the original Nisio Isin light novels which are also technically out of order chronologically, the anime series similarly scrambles the chronological order of its narrative arcs. This refocuses the series on the emotional development of specific characters that would otherwise be lost if the story was told in chronological order.

Airing immediately after Nekomonogatari: Kuro, Nekomonogatari: Shiro is the shining example of the Monogatari series’ success. Placing the two side-by-side thoroughly explores Tsubasa Hanekawa’s character growth from a time before the first Bakemonogatari series — and immediately after Kizumonogatari, the first arc in the chronological timeline — to nearly four months later.

Koyomimonogatari is a series of short stories collected into one light novel that span a large amount of time across what viewers are already familiar with, including the recent Owarimonogatari arcs of Ougi Formula, Sodachi Riddle, Sodachi Lost, and Shinobu Mail along with the theatrical release of Kizumonogatari‘s first film.

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Knowing What She Knows: Tsubasa Hanekawa

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“You’re not happy because you’re not trying to be happy. Nobody can make someone who isn’t trying to be happy into someone that’s happy.”

-Tsubasa Hanekawa to Sodachi Oikura, Owarimonogatari, Episode 5

Had this line been spoken by anyone but Tsubasa Hanekawa, it would have rightfully been dismissed as a treacly platitude, meant to prod the recipient into action. Instead, it acts as a powerful summation of all that Hanekawa has gone through in search of her own happiness and self-acceptance. Hanekawa was in Sodachi Oikura’s figurative shoes not long ago, and remembers all too well how she blocked out vital parts of herself in pursuit of perfection rather than addressing her innermost desires and seeking out personal contentment.

Owarimonogatari‘s Sodachi Oikura offers not only a reminder of the Hanekawa of Nekomonogataris past, but additionally provides a mystery on which the new, self-assured Hanekawa can cut her teeth.

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The Secret in the Old House: A Sodachi Oikura Mystery

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“When you think about what is scary in this world, those that despise you for some incomprehensible reason and attack you are the scariest. There’s no way to deal with it, because you don’t know the opponent’s objective.”

-Koyomi Araragi, Owarimonogatari, Episode 2

And so begins the search for Sodachi Oikura’s motive, along with the supposed “end” of Koyomi Araragi.

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Not So Mean Girls: On Hanekawa, Senjougahara, and the Shower Scene

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Relatively early in the movie Mean Girls, Regina George claims that she will help the then-hapless Cady Heron snag her dream date: Regina’s former boyfriend Aaron Samuels. At a Halloween party, Cady watches as Aaron and Regina talk, eagerly trusting her new friend Regina.

“How could Janis hate Regina? She was such a good– SLUT!?”

Cady’s inner monologue devolves into a screeched slur as the friend whom she had trusted leans in to kiss the object of her affection. For Cady, this is a major step in her transformation from unsocialized homeschooled child to manipulative school idol. Mean Girls rings true in a myriad of ways. The manner in which girls are taught to both preen and fight for male attention is only one of the movie’s focal points, but it’s an important one.

Keeping this in mind, let’s turn our attention to the world of Bakemonogatari. More specifically, Nekomonogatari: Shiro.

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The One Thing I Can Always Do

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Before I knew it

Even my nonsensical dreams

Passed me by

And my feelings were tangled.

Run, run!

It’s the one thing I can always do.

– From “Ambivalent World,” opening to Bakemonogatari episodes 6-8

I don’t know when running began to mean something to me.

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