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More on Bakemonogatari and Narration

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“At our three-year high school with two hundred students in each grade, you end up sharing a living space with about a thousand people in all during your stay if you include the graduating and incoming classes and the faculty. Start wondering how many of those people mean anything to you, and the answer is going to be bleak for just about anyone.”

-Koyomi Araragi, Bakemonogatari vol. 1

The Monogatari series — both in the light novels and the anime — is known for its verbosity. This is why the Kizumonogatari movies were so novel to me. Nearly all of their storytelling was done visually, removing the Koyomi Araragi monologues and narration that define the Monogatari series. Hiroshi Kamiya’s voice permeates the series, and even later installments of Monogatari Series: Second Season feature monologues from the series’ beloved heroines.

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The Consequence of Sound — Kizumonogatari

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2:24.

This is the exact amount of time that the opening moments of the first episode of Bakemonogatari goes without lead Koyomi Araragi speaking a word.

“A better decision than dodging, wasn’t it?”

The first words out of Hiroshi Kamiya’s mouth as Araragi form this question, followed by an immediate and unsure retraction that devolves into a constant stream of Araragi’s innermost thoughts.

Upon revisiting the first episode of the series — going by initial airdate, not chronology or any other measurement — I was shocked to find that he went this long without speaking. Araragi’s voice is synonymous with the Monogatari franchise at this point. His monologues long-winded, his conversations unnaturally verbose — Kamiya’s specific Araragi tone is etched in every viewer’s mind who has watched Bakemonogatari or other parts of the series. When I picked up the Kizumonogatari novel, I somehow heard Kamiya’s voice in my head, despite reading it in English, not Japanese.

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From this pile of dust into the ideal woman: Nadeko Sengoku

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“Acting nice is a childish profession – pretending you’re someone else, and at the same time, selling yourself.”

-Katherine Hepburn

Watching the fall, for lack of a better term, of Nadeko Sengoku is fascinating. It runs parallel to the cliched response upon seeing a trainwreck – “I simply could not look away! It was awful! Let me tell you how awful it was in gory detail!” – with an added air of delight. Typically, when we watch our idols “fall,” be them the quiet, pretty, girl-next-door, or the latest and greatest in pop music, there is an air of superiority that we’re encouraged to feel while watching the entire event.

Yet, I did not feel superior to Nadeko watching her cavort in a pool of blood. I was rooting for her. I wanted her to destroy everything.

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