OP Sequence

OP: 「chocolate insomnia」 by 堀江由衣 (Horie Yui)

「猫物語(白) つばさタイガー 其ノ壹」 (Nekomonogatari (Shiro) / Tsubasa Taiga)
“Nekomonogatari (White) / Tsubasa Tiger”

It’s back. Chock full of character development, engaging dialog, thought provoking themes, and deep symbolism—SHAFT returns with the continued adaptation of Nisio Isin’s Monogatari series. Starting things off is the Nekomonogatari: Shiro arc, and we get a whole lot of Hanekawa (and Hitagi) this week as a result.

Moving right on in, one of the big things that gets highlighted right off the bat is the continued focus on Hanekawa and her family situation. Needless to say, it’s something that strikes a nerve with me every time we revisit this, because there are just few things more disturbing than seeing a family—that is, if you can even call it one—like that. Granted, we saw a lot of this in the recent Nekomonogatari: Kuro OVA from last December, but it still doesn’t change the fact that seeing Hanekawa being forced to sleep in the hallways and the fact that each member of the family uses a different set of utensils make me cringe. With that said though, it’s no wonder Hanekawa’s still dealing with her own share of issues as a result—as her monologue about her surname constantly changing (and thus her identity being “unstable”) demonstrates—and it’s no wonder the tiger apparition comes calling shortly after. Because although her “dark side” in “black Hanekawa” has been dealt with for the most part, the fact remains that she’s still dealing with a similar situation, and what she essentially does now is create a series of white lies to keep herself going in tense situations. Combine that with her inability to ask for help, and well, that’s a recipe for more oddities appearing if I’ve ever seen one.

On that note, it’s quite interesting to note how Araragi’s no-show here this first episode sets up a meeting between her and SENJOUGAHARA-SAMA—the latter of which seems to be just what the doctor ordered this time around. And while their dialogue remains as witty (and awesome) as ever before, one thing has notably changed, and it’s something that I can’t help but feel is as a result of Araragi’s influence. And by that, I mean the fact that Hitagi is helping Hanekawa despite her not explicitly asking for it—like Araragi would—and the fact that both Hitagi and Hanekawa have notably matured since Bakemonogatari as well.

Indeed, part of this already shows via their different hairstyles since then, but this in particular rings true when you note that with Araragi being out of the picture for a little bit, they’re going to have to deal with this oddity themselves. As such, I can’t help but feel that this is one of those things that will demonstrate their growth, but also highlight the fact that you can’t always rely on the same person to help you forever (even if they don’t mind doing it). The bit at the end where Hanekawa readily admits to loving Araragi still, and the fact that Hitagi was able to ask this in the first place just adds more credence to this conclusion as well, as both are things neither of them would’ve done back in the Bakemonogatari days.

Shifting off to the less serious/analytical side of things though, I just have to say that this first episode really highlights what this series has always been about. There’s just a lot to like here—ranging from fluid dynamics between great characters and dialogue that’s full of wit, to things like superb animation and epic poses (how about those head tilts?) that only a studio like SHAFT can provide. With that said, let’s not forget the gratuitous amount of fan-service we get this week (Hitagi fans likely loved what this episode gave in that context) either, which like their usual, is just ridiculous in all sorts of ways. Undoubtedly, we’re in for a great ride, and mark my words when I say this is going to be a great way to spend the summer and the fall. It’s going to be a two cour after all, and that’s just how I want it.

Some Notes:

  • I’m not sure if this was intentional, but the episode aired on July 7th in Japan, which corresponds to Senjougahara’s birthday. From an astrology standpoint, she’s a Cancer as a result… and we all know what the symbol for that is!
  • I can’t believe she didn’t stutter this time! Ah, they grow up so fast.
  • Takaii’s over at Anime Expo this week, so I’m just covering this in his stead. He’ll be back next week.

    ED Sequence

    ED: 「アイヲウタエ」 (Ai wo Utae) by Haruna Luna


        1. @ZEPHYR: “I can’t believe she didn’t stutter this time! Ah, they grow up so fast.”

          Doesnt Mayoi only stutter when talking to Araragi? Most specifically it’s the way they say hi to each other by her stuttering his name and him complaining about it, a manzai act, and it never gets quite old IMO.

          Anyways as most people here have said, we do miss Araragi not showing up but it will be interesting to see more of Hitagi and Hanekawa’s interactions. I for once was surprised that they were actually very friendly with each other, more so when Hitagi herself considers Hanekawa as a friend and did not even hesitate asking her if he still loved Araragi.

          Wasnt Hitagi supposedly bullied by Hanekawa-sama in Nise? or was that just a joke? I mean when Hanekawa threatened Hitagi that she will steal Araragi away from her back in Nise when Hitagi handcuffed Araragi.

    1. Senjougahara and Hanekawa living and b-b-b-bathing together…!? Dat’s just…!!!

      * Take several deep breaths *

      Anyway, just darn happy to see Bakemonogatari back in all of its Shaft-esque glory. Still not quite the same without Araragi and his lovable nonsense though. Hope he gets back into the game soon, indeed. -Nod nod-

      1. Senjougahara: Let’s take a bath together & wash each other’s breasts.
        Hanekawa: ….don’t you mean scrub each other’s back?

        That really got me laughing. Having read it on the now dead Monogatari project at Baka-Tsuki, I can say that its a pretty good adaptation, especially when I first saw the portable vacuum cleaner.Its a pity the other arcs wasn’t completely translated though..
        Anyway about story arcs, I read rumors that instead of Neko>Kabuki>Hana>Otori>Oni>Koimonogatari,
        it’ll be Neko>Kabuki>Otori>Oni>Koimonogatari with Hana being OVA or ONA..
        (not sure bout this news, but that sort of arrangement would make it chronologically right)

      1. spoiler time! Show Spoiler ▼

      2. I too,was a bit disappointed at 1st when I saw no Koyomi at all in this ep but when one realizes that it’s his very absence that allowed us to see a slightly different yet still in character Hitagi,all of that is washed away.

        Naturally,he need’s to make an eventual appearance as well as receive his fair share of screentime but it’s great how by not being there we actually get to see some face to face interactions between Hitagi & Hanekawa which look like they’re gonna be pretty damn interesting.Araragi taking a backseat for a bit this early on is good for now,thus letting 2 girls show their growth better.His own return will be also be more anticipated that way if you ask me.

      3. Ever since Nisemonogatari, the various OP credits would always feature Araragi’s name with his VA Kamiya Hiroshi near the end, most likely Shinbo’s intention to emphasize his role as the protagonist-narrator.

        This time he’s listed alongside Hanekawa (Horie Yui), so hopefully he’ll be back in some role, but Hanekawa will be in charge of the narration for now.

    2. In the first part of the series each had to face a part of themselfs that go them into trouble with the oddities, as a result they have grow and mature, and become even more awsome like Senjougahara-sama!, so I think this time around there should be some kind of test for growth they obtained. Ony speculation but I´d love to see how they´ll react now facing different problems with their new selfs.

    3. I’m interested on how Mayoi-chan escaped Arararagi’s house. I wonder what Hitagi would if she found out that Araragi is loliconning all the time without her approval.

      Hanekawa still loves Araragi.

    4. Watching this reminded me how much I dislike that Senjoblahblahblah chick, and the *gatari series in general. It was okay for a couple of arcs in the first season, but quickly got old and grating.

      I guess it’s my age – probably much older than the RC median – but most of the time it feels like I’m watching the author having a pseudo-intellectual (pseudo being the key word) conversation with his reflection.

      Only saving grace in the previous season was the little vampire girl, but she didn’t even show up this ep. Doubt I’ll have the patience for any more eps.

      1. I don’t see how implying that the fans of this series are less intelligent and mature than yourself is in any way reflecting your supposed maturity. If I were to make predictions about a persons age based on their comments, I would assume you were the youngest person here.

      2. Certainly Monogatari is not for everyone. It’s obviously not a good fit for you, so the best thing would be to just move on.

        But I don’t think it has anything to do with your age. I am way, way older than the RC median – probably much older than you – and I love Senjougahara and Monogatari.

    5. I just want to say it’s so great that this show is back in all its glory. Great pilot episode, we’re introduced to the new Senjougahara, a more playful (but still has her biting personality and wit in check) character this time around, not to mention emotional. Didn’t expect her to cry when she found Hanekawa, nor was I expecting her to slap her so many times, since we don’t really see emotional outbursts from her, it’s safe to say that now that her past is behind her, she’s more so of a “normal” girl now. But no less awesome or lovable.
      Also, the last few minutes where she was convincing Hanekawa to take a bath with her and attempting to get her naked was awesome, wasn’t expecting yuri action, at least not without Kanbaru around! (gotta love her nonchalantly Senjougahara takes off her clothes and just keeps talking like normal- those fanservice shots, SHAFT is good to us indeed) ^^

    6. First, I’d like to say that I’ll miss reading Verdant’s take on this series.

      Moving right along, I’m loving the animation quality as usual, and the amazing dialogue. Sometimes I have to watch the scene again to fully grasp what happens, and I love it. Also, progression between the two seems a tad strange to me seeing as they haven’t really interacted much (or I’m just forgetting a lot of action, whoops) to have those sorts of reactions and interactions with each other (Senjougahara crying profusely? Running around town to find Hanekawa? Whoa).

      Definitely keeping up with this, and was wondering when the next installment would be for awhile. Too bad we still haven’t gotten the feature film of Kizumonogatari that was slated for last year.

        1. Zephyr- I’ve heard about that as well, but I came to the same conclusion you did so I wasn’t sure if I should mention it. Sadly, still no theater date of the sort. Lots of anticipation so I hope it’s ridiculously good when it comes out.

    7. I like Hanekawa a lot, but I understand that was Hitagi that one that ask Araragi out and sometimes that is all it’s takes, however I notice some insecurity from her when asking Hanekawa questions.

      1. Yep,I’m looking forward to them going deeper into that matter – if they do that is,pretty please?Shaft?

        They set themselves up for something good here with this single episode.Now we just wait & see.

    8. It was definitely weird not seeing Araragi appear at all. But no matter because the episode gave us something possibly even better. Senjougahara and Hanekawa combi!!!

      I burst out laughing when Senjougahara pleaded with Hanekawa to take a shower with her just so she can see her breasts. It made me wonder if Araragi was influencing Senjougahara in some way since I could totally see him pleading instead. And Hanekawa doing the tsukkoming instead of of Araragi was another one~

      Not to mention the delicious fanservice…… They sure know how to make a statement for the new season when we’re treated to half-naked shots of 2 of the best girls XD

    9. There really is no comparison to a Monogatari series and this first episode couldn’t prove that any better than it did here. It just goes to prove that while Araragi is absent here, the effects of his actions over the course of the series are very much present in the change we get to witness here from both Senjougahara and Hanekawa and it makes you really look forward to what’s to come next.

    10. Let the masochistic verbal abuse begin!

      Monogatari 2 in all of its glory. Hitagi the queen herself and the rest of the monogatari girls!

      Anyway, is it just me or did Hitagi’s sex appeal and sexiness went through the roof?

    11. Man, the tiger voice surprised the living *** out of me (the novel never really commented on its voice, so I was expecting something more… deeper and fierce).
      Anyways, YES! SHAFT DELIVER.

      and yeah, hitagi was supposed to be showing off all her personality change. Thank you arararagi! dem stutters are only reserved for him.

    12. It’s refreshing to see the world from Hanekawa’s lenses. And wow, Gahara-san and her poses!

      Looking back on the first series, it is nice to see how these characters have matured, and it’s even better to know that their stories still continue. Still, (as a non-reader) I wonder where Araragi is in all of this.

      One thing to note: was Hanekawa always able to see Mayoi? It’s been a while since the previous seasons, but I don’t recall those two ever interacting (or hinted at interacting).

      1. Yes Hanekawa can see our lost snail for the very same reason that Araragi can, as in she doesn’t want to go home. It was pretty clear in Bakemono that Hanekawa could see Mayoi as she had a fairly long conversation with her in the park.

    13. Great to see this show back for this summer season. I’m still kind of disappointed that ryo wasn’t somehow involved with the ED song (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari is still one of my favorite songs from an anime till this day), but the Luna Haruna track wasn’t bad. Definitely looking forward to the next episode.

    14. I’m glad Mayoi showed up in this episode, because I don’t really like the other two very much. If the show weren’t so damned interesting to watch as a whole I’d probably have skipped some of the Hanekawa/Senjougahara-centric episodes in the past. It was kind of cool seeing the characters interact without Araragi there at least.

    15. It’s nice that we’re seeing the Monogatari series from a different perspective. It really reveals things that are not apparent when we look through Araragi’s perspective.

      Monogatari possibly has the deepest set of characters of any series, past or present.

    16. While I generally love NisiOisiN’s works (especially all the trolling, hehe) I absolutely hate the guys haircut fetish.

      WHY NisiOisiN! Why cut their hair when they look so damn good with long hair!

      Hanekawa seems to be the exception, but most of the girls he does that to have a noticeable visual downgrade after the fact. Makes me sad…

      tl;dr: I miss long haired Senjougahara-sama…


      1. And, much in accordance with the troll he is, he does it every time like clockwork. Every. ‘Friggin. Time.

        Did it with Togame in Katanagatari.

        Did it with Medaka in Medaka Box (though, to be fair, she was back to her gloriously long-haired self at the very end).

        And, of course; the proverbial cherry on top of what can only be described as Nisio Isin’s foremost indulgence in trolling, Monogatari. Thus far we can check off (in no particular order, mind you) Senjougahara, Hanekawa, Sengoku, Tsukihi & Karen.

        …There’s really only one left; and I swear to some random person’s god that if he takes the axe to Shinobu’s hair, I’m gonna go postal.

    17. I’m probably the only person who’s only thought when Senjougaharab started striping was that hopefully Hanekawa would do so as well, luckily I got my wish…kinda.
      Glad this show is back and great OP as usual, gotta love tat Hocchan. Here’s hoping for more Shinobu as she stole the whole series for me in Nisemono.

    18. This episode! Its absolutely bizarre to see Hitagi use the same bantering style and semi-flirtatious dialogue she usually does with another girl. Its also really kinky and I think my goggles just raised up a few notches. If Shinobu ever heard about this she would go balistic.

      In all seriousness I find this episode quite refreshing for this series. The complete absence of Araragi means it allows other characters to shine. Especially since we hardly ever see them interact with each other on the last two season. More of “HitagixHanekawa supernatural investigators” is a great way to add some spice to this series. If my goggles don’t blow up on me anyway.

      1. I dont think is fanservice in nisemonogatari though, I was filled with shocks (WTF?, holy cow!) rather than I was pleased by those plots.

        ps: I read the novel before the anime came out.

    19. Mehhhh, wth are they cutting off all the characters hair off. Is there any meaning to this short hair craze i see in so many animes.


      I want Senjougahara’s long hair back.

    20. Am i the only one who thought the pacing was kinda off in this premiere? I didn’t recall the narrative movin’ this fast and the white tiger entrance was more memorable in the novel.

      But Hitagi-san was mighty in this episode. And Relax guys there will be more of her to know in the future episodes Show Spoiler ▼

    21. re: KingofConquerors
      Yes, the pace will be fast on this season. They’re covering 6 stories in 24 episodes. Unlike Nisemonogatari where they’re streaching 2 stories to 11 episodes. No waste of episodes here.

    22. For the most, the animation added to the scenes with the sole (and sad) exception of Senjougahara finding Hanekawa. I’m sorry, but in their efforts to show worry and fear on her face, they really dropped the ball (see image 19 for one of the more restrained ones).

      And besides the fanservice, I’m wondering if Senjougahara’s actually a bit fuller than when we first saw her in Bakemonogatari, either the result of animators having more resources to work with now, my imagination, or a sign that she’s recovered from the effects of the crab.

    23. My Senjougahara can’t be this cute!

      (To avoid too many links locking my post out as a spam post by mistake, I’ve purposely removed the letter “h” in front of each link. Please add a letter “h” back in front of the links below to view said awesome Senjougahara screenshots)

      And I haven’t got around to singing praise for her showing off her marevelous figure (again).

    24. Watching a Shinbo Akiyuki series, particularly the Monogatari series, is an entire different experience to other anime. Almost every frame is an artwork, or paragraph of a book, requiring you to actually pause to read it like a book, or marvel at the emphasis in contrasting colours and geometric shapes, or the intentional use of pre-War style katakana and kanji.

      The way the buildings and their interiors are being shown is like a designer’s wet dream come true.

    25. As I remember the LN, Hanekawa chose to sleep in the hall, she wasn’t forced to.

      So many things to comment on but just a few:

      Short hair! (Sob)

      Senjougahara’s emotional response to not being able to find Hanekawa was a shock even though I knew it was coming. So well done.

      Mayori without her snail shellbackpack!

      Senjougahara asking if Hanekawa loved Araragi and Hanekawa admitting it. The complexity and ambiguity of the characters relationships with each other make this series stand out.

      Hanekawa showing underboob. I wonder if they will show anymore of the girls in the BD?

      Thank G*d they kept the same style. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it fits so well with the story.

      Did not care for the ED, but if it’s a choice between that and reduced quality of the main animation, I’ll deal with it.

      1. Not all of them. Mayoi can’t due to her state, albeit, you’ll see something different in the next story. Kanbaru grew out her hair in her arc. Nadeko changed her hair and style as soon as her story ended in season 1. Even though Araragi stated that Tsuhiki changed her hair style frequently, I don’t think we get any of her changes in any of the stories. Karen had her very dramatic hair cut in the middle of Tsuhiki Phoenix.

    26. I’m more of fan for the snail and snake girls, but crab and cat girls are not disliked. The dialogue is fun to listen to but it’s not the same level as Araragi’s conversations. It’s funny how Senjoughara casually strips to her underwear without a care. Sort of like when she dresses in front of Araragi in the first season. Wonder if that says anything about her mental state or if she does it because she is comfortable around them.

      1. Remember that when she did that, she wasn’t really in love with Araragi yet. I think it was more a mix of messing with him and testing him to see what kind of person he was compared to the rest of the men in her life*.

        *A kind father who couldn’t help her, an attempted rapist and several con men.

    27. Maybe it’s just me being picky, but even though I like the animation quality and frames involved in slow movements, the anatomical aspect seems to be a little shaky during in between frames, and not for reasons of animation effects either. The balance on some motions were much stiffer compared to previous monogatari series, I wonder if there’s a different in-between animation company that worked on Shaft’s key animations.

      1. Interesting to mention that about Hanekawa.

        Later on Show Spoiler ▼


        Anyway, my theory about her underwear (at least in part) is that Hanekawa, ingenious as she can be, specifically bought and wore that underwear on occasions when she knew she was going to run into Araragi. If you’ve seen Nekomonogatari Black you’ll know that it’s set before he started dating Senjougahara, so I’d say it was Hanekawa deliberately setting up situations where Araragi would see her in that underwear and be attracted to her.

        Because seriously, what other rational reason could there be for a serious and innocent person like Hanekawa to even own, let alone wear that underwear if it wasn’t to attract him? And then there’s the fact that you find out in Nekomonogatari Black that Hanekawa Show Spoiler ▼

        which means that she probably deliberately changed her underwear to another provocative set. After all, why would Show Spoiler ▼


        And ironically, if my theory is right, then Hanekawa ruined her own efforts. It was Araragi seeing her panties in Kizumonogatari that led him to go to a bookstore late at night to try to get thoughts of her out of his head, which caused him to have his blood drunk by Kisshot, which caused him to have the regenerative abilities to convince Senjougahara he could help her and caused him to meet Oshino who actually could help Senjougahara, which caused Senjougaha to confess her love to Araragi. Poor Hanekawa.

        1. There is also a much simpler explanation from LN about her underwear: Show Spoiler ▼

      1. There is a good reason why Araragi is not in this episode. Show Spoiler ▼

    28. speaking of the new mono series, nisekoi(manga) will be produced by shaft and directed by akiyuki shinbo (the same dudes who did this series…) I hope his future project will be as great as this series 😀

    29. Soooo glad this series is back. Perfect timing for me since I’m finding this season a little light on shows to watch. Easily this season’s best show IMO.

      Chock full of character development, engaging dialog, thought provoking themes, and deep symbolism— Zephyr, you left out “humor” from your list. Definitely a couple of LOL moments for me on top of all the rest.

      SENJOUGAHARA-SAMA indeed. Shaft will break sales records if the Senjougahara (<3) + Hanekawa bath scene is added to the BD release. Only thing that can top that is adding Kanbaru (<3)into the mix. ^^

      Hairstyles aside, it it me or did Senjougahara look a bit different from Bakemonogatari or even Nisemonogatari in terms of facial design? Not in every scene, but more than just a few.

      I haven't spoiled myself by reading the LN (for once XD), so very curious to see how this turns out.

    30. I was wondering if in japan the channels or networks are as competitive as here where everything is about rating, because Shingeki No Kyojin was almost a repeat which I don’t know if that popular over there. I personal don’t watch repeats or recaps.
      I don’t live in japan so the shows I watch doesn’t really matter to them until I purchase the product which that could affect a second season I suppose, but it take a long time to translate stuff or thing that you like which is a shame.
      this end up be opinion stead of question.


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