nekomonogatari kuro

[Nine] Tsubasa Hanekawa’s Vacation — Koyomimonogatari

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One of the Monogatari series’ greatest strengths is its inadherence to chronology. It often eschews placing events in chronological order to focus on a particular emotional narrative or relationship. The anime adaptation plays with this visually, revealing tidbits in background details that further inform viewers upon rewatching the series as a whole.

Koyomimonogatari is a series of short, seemingly frivolous episodes tertiary to the main storyline. They’re short diversions that span the length of what Monogatari arcs have aired, plopping the viewer into the center of that specific timeframe before jumping ahead to the middle of the next narrative arc. Chronology is usually discarded by the Monogatari series, but it has a deliberate role in Koyomimonogatari.

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Monogatari Collection: Koyomimonogatari

koyomimonogatari koyomi mountain, nadeko medusa koyomi mountain, sengoku nadeko koyomimonogatari, nadeko medusa koyomimonogatari meet in koyomi mountain, nadeko in koyomi mountain

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

hanekawa tsubasa owarimonogatari sodachi, you're not trying to be happy hanekawa to sodachi oikura, hanekawa and oikura owarimonogatari, sodachi lost, tsubasa hanekawa talks to sodachi oikura

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

senjougahara and tsubasa together, hanekawa tsubasa and hitagi senjougahara, senjougahara and tsubasa nekomonogatari, nekomonogatari: shiro tsubasa and hanekawa, hitagi senjougahara, tsubasa hanekawa, bakemonogatari senjougahara and tsubasa together friends

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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