OP Sequence

OP: 「オレンジミント」 (Orange Mint) by 早見沙織 (Hayami Saori)

「よつぎドール 其ノ壹 – 肆」 (Yotsugi Dōru Sono Ichi – Yon)
“Yotsugi Doll Parts One – Four”

After a short vacation in Hanamonogatari, Araragi Koyomi (Kamiya Hiroshi) returns to being the protagonist in Tsukimonogatari. That’s not entirely accurate; it’s more like we’ve returned to a time when Ararararagi was still protagonist. Chronologically speaking, Tsukimonogatari comes before Hanamonogatari, with Koyomi still studying and Kanbaru still fused to her demonic arm. While Hanamonogatari was an epilogue, Tsukimonogatari is an introduction, setting up a new story instead of wrapping one up. Perhaps this is why Tsukimonogatari feels slow compared to its predecessor, even though it’s only four episodes worth of anime instead of five. A lot of time is spent establishing itself, to the point that the first quarter(the first episode of Yotsugi Doll) was almost entirely narration and exposition, set to various fanservice. What fanservice it was, though. The Fire Sisters, spiritual padawan of Kanbaru, are called upon to provide much of the animated flesh this time, with honours to Tsukihi (Iguchi Yuka) for starring solo in what is essentially a 10 minute bathing scene (and being particularly audacious about it). Main character Ononoki Yotsugi (Hayami Saori) spends much of the episode playing dressups, Shinobu is still adorable, and neglected lover Senjougahara (Saito Chiwa) manages to squeeze in a scene’s worth of violent deredere. Even Koyomi gets to strut some of his incredible buff. Araragi: Vampire Bodybuilder. That’s a B movie right there.

Fanservice is just visual filler though, which the Monogatari series mainly uses to hold viewer attention while it talks. If there’s a lot of fanservice, it just means that Tsukimonogatari has a lot to say. Most of the  feature was spent milling around and talking at one locale or another, with the most action we got being the completely extraneous snowball fight. To compensate for this, Tsukimonogatari pushes the surrealism perhaps harder than any of its predecessors. We don’t really have sets anymore, just strings of metaphors. Yotsugi just does whatever as one endless parody. The fourth wall, which has only ever received minimum respect in the Monogatari series, continues to fall away. I don’t saying that director Shinbou Akiyuki is getting ‘better’ at this is the right way to describe it, but he is getting somewhat more sophisticated. I think I prefer the surrealism of Hana- and Tsukimonogatari to the minimalist abstractions of Bakemonogatari (though the styles do blend into each other). It is prettier. But it probably takes more money, too.

A secret little pile of misery

The main theme of Tsukimonogatari deals with the human condition. ‘What is a man?’ it asks, like so many before it. The juxtaposition between Koyomi, struggling to hang on to his humanity, and Yotsugi, the corpse persistently faking humanity, is an obvious one. It’s interesting that while Koyomi is a vampire and Yotsugi is a zombie—both nominally undead—it is not their respective biology that determines humanity. In the Monogatari series, humanity is a state of mind, or at least it is Koyomi’s state of mind and way of living that makes him lose his reflection. It’s fitting that the Monogatari series takes the time to emphasise the importance of stories, particularly in the way humans use them to define our world. If the ‘role’ of a character is that of a monster, then she is a monster, and a human role makes a human. It is in our nature to draw bright lines. That’s the reason why Koyomi was slipping into being vampire-hood, and is forced to take action about: his current half-vampire state is too half-hearted. He doesn’t have a clear role. It isn’t ‘proper’.

At this point I may be reading too much into it, but it’s like Tsukimonogatari goes full meta. It directly critiques its own characters and their roles in its own story. Even the villain, Teori Tadatsuru (Koyasu Takehito) knows what’s up. When he got blown up I thought it was a bit of a waste. I would have liked to to see more of him, but he was thrown away rather quickly for someone set up as such a villain. But perhaps that’s the point. He is perfect as the villain, and his only role was to be the villain. He is nothing but an artificial construct of the story. And I think he’s aware of that. He knows that his place is to be the nominal bad guy and get the book thrown at him. The puppet master could see his own strings. Yet in his final moments he still rebels against that idea, even as he surrenders himself to his fate. He asks Yotsugi to recite her awkward lines. He asks her to kill him with some compassion. He asks the monster to just be a bit more human. That may not be ‘proper’, but it is more aesthetically pleasing.

Perhaps Araragi Koyomi has a bit of that spirit in him too. Perhaps that’s why he detests alarm clocks. They mandate a time to wake up, but Koyomi is not the kind of person who respects bright lines. As an unwavering idealist, he has his own opinions about the way the world should be. So he remains a half-vampire, and he wakes when he pleases! Am I reading too much into it? Maybe. But Tsukimonogatari outright encourages us to find meaning in stories. It would be rude of me to not at least try.


Full-length images: 24, 25, 34, 65, 68, 85, 93, 135, 157, 158.


ED Sequence

ED: 「border」 by ClariS

Preview/commercial/trailer thing


Final impressions

I hesitate to write ‘final impressions’ about Tsukimonogatari, as if it were the last word on the matter, because unlike Hanamonogatari, which was an epilogue, Tsukimonogatari is an introduction. The Monogatari series may be ending, but this is only the beginning of the end. A lot of key plot elements—like the missing Oshino, Ougi, a higher order acting against Araragi Koyomi—are made explicit to both the viewers and the characters, and action is finally starting to be taken in reaction. One can certainly sense that there is something being built up here towards a finale.

I will, however, comment on the adaptation, like I did for Hanamonogatari. It’s strange that, despite its stylistic oddities, Tsukimonogatari is still an incredibly faithful adaptation, to the point that each chapter of the novel is clearly annotated within the anime, and it even points out when text is being omitted. This could be a tongue in cheek thing, but it still shows that the anime follows the novel to a frightfully close degree. When Kagenui breaks the fourth wall, she still refers to the audience as ‘readers’, not viewers. I have mixed feelings about that. For all of Shinbou’s bold visuals, it’s still a very safe adaptation. Indeed, one can call it less an anime based on a novel, and more just the novel, but with animation.

Still, the novel with animation is still a good product. I enjoyed Tsukimonogatari. But I’m sometimes hesitant about recommending it to others, because the Monogatari series is the closest thing animation gets to being a wall of text. For example, Yotsugi’s backstory with Tadatsuru did not need to be narrated, it could have been shown, but I’m assuming it was told as dialogue in the novel so it’s told as dialogue here. I’m personally fine with waxing philosophical over a slab of witty banter, but I’m not sure every anime viewer does. The good news is that, as we go on, Shinbou seems to be realising that he can, and should, do more with the visuals even if characters are just talking, and shows that improvement in Tsukimonogatari. I’ll consider it a sign of constant improvement.

Overall, Tsukimonogatari made for a very fitting introductory story, highlighting many of the core conflicts, both in the plot and the themes, that need to be resolved, as well as being a meaningful standalone piece in its own right. I didn’t care all too much about Ononoki Yotsugi before this, but I certainly feel more for her now. I’d consider it another strong addition to the Monogatari series, and a great way to kickstart the Winter 2015 anime season. With quite a few novels still waiting to be adapted, and the Kizumonogatari movie technically still a thing, there could still be a significant road ahead. Hanamonogatari left me feeling wistful, but Tsukimonogatari leaves me genuinely eager.


End Card


  1. Honestly I would really like to watch these again as I watched Bakemonogatari and loved it for its art style but after missing one series Im completely lost on what order its supposed to be in I hate it when they release it at random its like Haruhi style.

    What order is it now? I watched Bake and I watched the one where its based on Hanekawa but whats after…and before..and between…. so confusing doesnt help when each series ends with Gatari at the end…. >.<"




        Anal Devastator
    1. Oh man, i feel you. Does anyone know what happened to Nadeko Medusa, what series should i watch to find out?

      Supposedly it was before Hanamonogatari and Tsukimonogatari, but MAL says prequel to that is Monogatari second season, which doesn’t sounds right.

      Name (required)
  2. I dont think you’re reading too much into it. When Tadatsuru asked “why am I here”, I became completely confused if they were even still referring to a plot element or if they were “only” talking about the whole series itself…And thanks for reading so much into it, cause I wasnt even aware of the symbolism about the forth wall;) In any case, it was a nice start for another interesting storyline.

    But I REALLY wanne know if they intend to release Kizumonotagari while Im still alive! >_<

  3. Techim
  4. It’s odd how this bit of the story hit me. With Hanamonogatari, I too felt a little wistful, but overall it left me with a feeling of warmth. This time I was left feeling somewhat cold and empty. Not that I didn’t enjoy this segment of the series……I thought it was quite good.
    I’m once again wondering if we’ll ever get an explanation of who and what Ougi really is. No doubt the most enigmatic character in Monogotari.

  5. This was great and all, but I still want to know how Koyomi got his clothes torn up that one time. I even think that’s relevant because it was probably one of the times he relied on his immortal powers.

    1. I assume the LN will illustrate you on that. Almost every monogatari girl has has a pantyshot for service. Exceptions are Nadeko (we got sukumizu but still wonder why no pantsu.) and Shinobu(I think it’s because she wears none. XD ), Ononoki is obviously wearing something loosely resembling panties so that won’t appear on TV and if she’s going commando then not even the BD will allows us to peek.

      Helvetica Standard
  6. This time I didn’t have to pause too many times to read the infamous one frame text.

    Maybe the director is really making subtle modifications (I would call them improvements) to the usual monogatari formula as Passerby said. For instance this time there were (unrelated) animated sequences while the main characters talked, mostly Yotsugi cosplaying, and the snowball fight scene.

    To say the truth, I spent way more time than necessary on that scene, I had to watch it three times:
    1) at first, I just had to watch the scene, there’s no way I would miss a single frame of Shinobu’s screen time, so I couldn’t read the dialogue;
    2) then I watched it again for the dialogue, but got distracted by the girls being adorable and missed most of it again;
    3) finally, I watched it pausing at every displayed phrase, reading it, than watching the scene until the next subtitle showed.

    Uhm, don’t judge me, I bet most of you did the same at least with the bath scene (I may have done it too who knows 🙂

  7. Before anyone gets their hopes up like I did for a bit the “preview” isn’t one. It’s a commercial for Nisio’s next novel and it’s unassociated with the Monogatari series.

    Believe the story is Horie Yui was joking with Nisio about a Hanekawa spin off series so he used the character as inspiration for the protagonist or something when he wrote the new novel and then asked her do the voice for the commercial.

    Haven’t seen a version of the cm that’s actually translated though to know any of the specifics.

  8. The story is great as it shows Araragi on how he will live his daily life as his body begans to metamorph to a vampire for abusing his borrowed powers too much,yeah just like the saying for anything worth having one must pay the price.As usual great animation as the frames got improved a bit,Oh great RIP my spacebar button or mouse button for some people.Other random thoughts about this show are the ff:
    1. As usual headtilts
    2. Some Madoka References
    3. Some Sailor Moon References
    4. As usual fck this bitch (I still remember what you did on Hachikuji)
    5. Some Astroboy References (fck too many references here)
    6. Is this like ME!ME!ME! reference or something
    7. Fck his sisters for not having a proper hygiene, first the toothbrush scene and know this
    8. Karen’s voice is not bad for a new member in Claris
    Overall this was a good run 10/10 for this series can’t wait for more Shaft.

  9. I think that Teori Tadatsuru is channeling “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” here. He knows he’s the villain. He knows he’s going to lose. He’s not sure why he’s in this role, and he’s mad about it, but there’s nothing he can do to change things.

  10. I don’t think Tomoyuki Itamura gets enough credit as director. Itamura has taken over the director’s chair for all the adaptations following Nise and is one of the main reasons I have liked all of them more than Bake, especially Second Season. Granted Shinbou is still always in the chief director chair but I feel a distinction should be made.

    1. That’s fair. Itamura does tend to get overshadowed by Shinbou, and I’m guilty of that as well. I did consider Shinbou more stylistically responsible for Tsukimonogatari, since he did series composition as well, though I have little way to tell without being able to see the process of making it.

  11. You know, I had to watch part of the bath tub scene twice. No, not because of … okay, I was slightly distracted by the fan service of Tsukihi. I had to watch that part a second time for the words of Tsukihi, because it felt like something broke. And it was that Tsukihi basically told Araragi that she knew he was helping people and I’m quite sure she understands what is going on in Araragi’s life. Basically, the thing that broke was that I probably had some naive belief that Tsukihi didn’t know exactly how much was going on. I thought she might have an idea, but not an understanding, which is what she just showed. If that makes any more sense, because I don’t think I’m doing a good job of explaining this. I think she clearly knows what Araragi has done for everyone, what she truly is to Araragi (fake sister) and an understanding of what she herself is (fake).

    Also, I don’t know why I call Koyomi by Araragi. Didn’t even realize I did it until now and even when I’m thinking in my head, it is Araragi instead of Koyomi. Maybe it is because everyone seems to call him Araragi way more than Koyomi.

    Anyways, overall, this was a good mini-series and it definitely sets up the stage for the next part. I’m definitely going to hate it when this series ends because it has been a genuinely interesting and fascinating ride. Both mentally and visually.

    1. I think it’s natural that the Fire Sisters have some idea what Koyomi is up to, considering the people he brings home and the folk he associates with. Does Tsukihi know that she’s a fake? Hard to say. Koyomi’s position is that it doesn’t really matter, and it’s likely she would feel the same way, even if she knew.

      I also have an urge to call Koyomi Araragi (or Koyokoyo), but that’s a bit awkward when talking about both him and his sisters, since they’re technically Araragis too.

      1. Oh I definitely think they had an idea, but it was that moment that I realized Tsuhiki probably knows all about what is going on in Araragi’s life. By stating how he helped each person, I think it implies that she knows about each situation. And knowing her own situation likely opens up that she realizes she’s a fake. Though as you say, it obviously doesn’t matter, because she’s still Araragi’s sister.

        And they are Araragis as well, fake or real, but I think it is just how much the show goes into calling him Araragi than Koyomi that it just doesn’t feel quite right calling him Koyomi for me. Just like how you get used to calling someone a certain name, it just feels odd if you called them something else after a time. Weirdly, that same situation applies with me here. Droll as it is.

  12. Awesome arc, but I’m confused, is this the ending for monogatari series? because they just threw some pretty key elements about Ougi and how there’s this mastermind behind the scene manipulating everything, so is this the last of monogatari or is this simply the end of a part, and they’ll continue with the story?

    Trap Masters
    1. There are 5 novels left for the current saga: Koyomimonogatari, the 3 parts of Owarimonogatari and finally Zoku-Owarimonogatari which seems to end the story or be an epilogue.

      After that, there’s also Tsugimonogatari that’s coming, but this has been stated to be in the middle and not necessarily a continuation of the story.

  13. This is/was the series I looked forward to most this season, and on the whole, Tsukimonogatari delivered – especially the latter 2/3 or so. As Passerby noted, I think there was a change in background visual “tone” or “atmosphere” which, though noticeable, still bore a “family resemblance” to previous series adaptations – even those as “basic” as Bakemonogatari . While perhaps “surreal” is one way to describe it, for me some scenes brought the term psychedelic to mind. Regardless of description, I found this particular adaptation’s backgrounds right on the edge of being too “busy” – perhaps even distracting. If the focal point is supposed to be the dialog, then the backgrounds shouldn’t materially take away from that. To be clear, it wasn’t to the extent I thought it was bad, but I do think the proverbial pendulum swung a bit too far the other way in this regard. Something between this and Bakemonogatari is probably ideal IMO, though TBH, I thought Bakemonogatari’s backgrounds worked fine on an artistic level without being quite as intrusive.

    The same holds true for the first 20min or so of Tsukihi fan service. I like ecchi shows from time to time (e.g. HS DxD et.al.), and normally don’t have a problem with that sort of thing. However, in this case there were times when I had to pause and rewind to catch missed dialog because my attention was drawn elsewhere. “Did he really just wash there!?” Tsukihi herself seemed to completely abandon any pretense of embarrassment or modesty which I found… kind of odd. I understand, and agree in concept, that using alluring backgrounds can alleviate what otherwise might be considered “dry”, lengthy dialog. Then again, IMO there are limits. Not a big deal for me (and thanks for the fanservice :P), but to the point I would term it slightly counterproductive and excessive.

    Once things got rolling, I became immersed in the story as usual. Tsukimonogatari did a fine job picking up the story after a dramatic Hitagi End . Araragi-kun is not the same “person” he was before (nor is Senjougahara for that matter – talk about mellowing out!). The anime is able to impart at sense of maturing which in turn makes the characters more “real” to me. It’s quite well down without being overtly heavy-handed. Araragi is even honest with himself when it comes to “promising” not using his vampiric powers again. “OK. I won’t use them. Well, probably. I mean, if it’s really an emergency then… well…”. Had he just gone “OK. No more vampire for me!” and that was it, it would have been harder to buy into the story as a whole.

    I liked Ononoki from previous arcs, and Tsukimonogatari only reinforced that impression. There was arguably some needed background and additional character depth provided in this arc which answered a number of questions I had about her character. FWIW, my thought on why Ononoki killed Teori is that she wanted to drive home the point that “oddities” are very different from humans. Killing, or at least harming, humans is something “oddities” often do with little, if any, thought. They are “monsters” and called such.

    Yet, Araragi’s often viewed and treated them as “people” – consider Mayoi, Kiss-shot, Black Hanekawa, etc. He blurred the stark line between “oddities/monsters” and humans which in turn made it easier for him to naturally become one (a vampire) as needed. He never gave much thought to the type of power he used or consequences thereof. JMO, but I think Ononoki killing Teori in a perfunctory manner was a very vivid and shocking way to illustrate the difference between “oddities”/”monsters” and humans to Araragi. He needs to really, REALLY think hard about using his powers again because there is no turning back after the next time. I’m NOT suggesting that vamp Araragi-kun would immediately go on a killing spree, but rather it’s one of those slippery slope deals, and again, there’s no turning back.

    Teori was OK. Very little depth/complexity for a Monogatari character though I guess he served his purpose. My take on the whole “playing a role” comment was not a “breaking the 4th wall” type of parody, but rather being manipulated into “playing a role”. Someone behind the scenes is “pulling the strings” and not just his. Teori just happened to be around and thus able to respond that fast? In fact, Araragi hadn’t transformed into a vampire to the point the process was irreversible. So given his supposedly laid back/typically uninvolved personality (unless I missed something), did Araragi’s condition really require Teori to go so far as to kidnap people and force a showdown? Then there’s Ougi waiting around for Araragi to show up since that morning. Yeah, that wasn’t suspicious. >_>

    While I’m not entirely sure Gaen’s role in all of this, my money’s on Ougi. He/she/it has been behind the scenes in quite a number of incidents, and for me, a lot of questions about her/him remain. JMO though. It’s certainly possible that it could be a “4th wall” breaking type of moment, but I’d be surprised if it was. That type of stuff seems to work best for comedy. Here, I think it would cheapen what I presume to be intended as a serious moment, and break reader/viewer immersion.

    Overall, IMO Tsukimonogatari may not be the best the Monogatari series has to offer, but it was a good, very good, show. Also for me a little bittersweet. As far as I know only the Kizumonogatari movie remains (in theory – seriously SHAFT get on that. NOW!) , but I can’t help but think there’s more left to the story (*cough Ougi*). Not only that, but while I have a number of shows on my “3 Episode Rule” list this season, I can’t help but think my (key) Winter 2015 already peaked before it really even began. :/

    1. I agree with your post and yes, Kizumonogatari can’t come sooner…!

      A little nitpick, when you mentioned Ougi, the it pronouns are considered dehumanizing. Maybe use they instead? Just like you, I’m curious what gender they are since it doesn’t seem to be specified yet. Such a mystery they are :O

    2. First, the apparently inescapable typo correction -> 3rd paragraph above: “It’s quite well done (not “down”) without being overtly…”. Might be others. Sorry about that. I do try to proof.



      Yes, the Kizumonogatari movie is loooong overdue. How many years ago was the movie announced? Unreal.

      As for Ougi, as crazy as this may seem, I’m not 100% certain Ougi is human at this point let alone whether he/she is really Meme’s niece/nephew. Pure speculation on my part, but I suspect Ougi has some sort of connection to the “darkness” we saw in Shinobu Time.

      To be clear, I think Ougi is human, but with this series… you never know. If, for example, I’m 95% sure, there’s still that 5% = “he/she/it”. Ougi is quite the enigmatic character IMO which is one reason why I’m hoping all of the Monogatari series is animated rather than only the Kizumonogatari movie left on SHAFT’s “to do” list.

  14. I don’t know. Feels like one more formerly good show that gradually kills itself by neglecting the main characters. Too little Senjougahara. Sorry, but Araragi alone can’t carry this for me.

  15. I wonder if there was any particular reason why Teori was glowing. Something tells me he isn’t really dead– which would be awesome. Koyomi’s gonna need all the help he can get to beat whatever Ougi is, especially now when he can’t go vamp.

  16. You wrote

    I didn’t care all too much about Ononoki Yotsugi before this, but I certainly feel more for her now.

    I felt that way after Nisemonogatari, but the first episode of Mayoi Jiangshi made me feel differently. That’s the one where Araragi bumps into her, she trolls him for a while then starts an incredibly poignant discussion about death, and outliving your own life and time. Araragi learns that she’s the revenant of a woman who lived for more than one hundred years, and was loved during her lifetime. All that she had during that life is gone, yet she’s still around; she had hoped to ask Mayoi, who is in a similar situation: are you happy to still exist, having lost everything, including your life?

    Mayoi not being present, Araragi has no answers for her. Re-watching the episode, Yotsugi really gives off a feeling of age, and of having lost much. When she shows up at Araragi’s house at the end of Tsukimonogatari, she says, “The objective of this incident was to put a fissure in our relationship. Ms. Gaen and Big Sister concluded that if that’s the case, we need to go against that…”. I wonder if it’s Yotsugi who doesn’t want to lose more people? Mayoi is clearly happy at the end for the extra time she had, but after hearing Yotsugi say, “Don’t end up like this… when humans end up like this (as monsters), it’s the end of them.” I’m not sure she is.

    Earlier in the same Mayoi Jiangshi conversation, Yotsugi asks, “You used to be human too, right? No, according to Bug Sister, you still are, right?” To which Araragi replies, “Who knows? It’s a pretty vague concept.” Didn’t think much about that exchange then, but it seems rather more important now.

    Relatedly, I don’t know if I need spoilers for Hanamonogatari, but (just in case): Show Spoiler ▼


    1. It seems that one of the consistent things about ‘humanity’ in Tsukimonogatari is that it’s something to be valued. No matter what Yotsugi’s past life was, she is very clear about the fact that she is now no longer human, but a monster. If nothing else, she mourns the loss of that humanity.

  17. This ‘stuff’ reminded me why I dislike so much these *gatari and liked Katanagatari so much instead. Elsewhere has been told countless time that a movie has to how instead of telling, and damn, everything *gatari looks like is a visual novel with animated inserts. A damn illustrated book, which come literally a book when provided with subtitles.
    I still have spasms when I recall of Mayoi Snail with Ararararagi [cit.] speaking and speaking and speaking (someone pls kill him) for a full damn episode with the only visual of the phone screensaver. Oh My Gawd, the horror. But somehow after the big boom Shaft made with Madoka, luckily, art became gorgeous, but still, it remained a visual novel none the less.
    It really took me a while to fully digest Bakemonogatari and, somehow, I came to appreciate it more when I started to get all the loose informations filtered out from tons of futile chit chat. With Nisemonogatari I started to get the gist of it and with Monogatari 2 I finally saw some showing instead of telling, wich delighted me a bit.
    Now we’re back at square one with another visual novel with bits of useless animation, but I don’t semm to care anymore. The story is THE STORY and can’t be bothered by visuals after all and I don’t feel disturbed or upset by it anymore. Sure Human adaptivity is scary, after all…


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