shinobu oshino

“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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[Five] No, Mr Araragi, I want you to die (with me)

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Part of me wishes that I could erase my memory of the Monogatari series completely, and watch Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu with fresh eyes.

I wonder what I would see. How I would interpret the visual feast that the film provides. If I would have fallen in love with the film as I did with the series in 2009 when I watched Hitagi Senjougahara fall into Koyomi Araragi’s arms, his inner monologue a constant accompaniment.

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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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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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