OP Sequence

OP: 「decent black」 by 水橋かおり (Mizuhashi Kaori)

「おうぎフォーミュラ」 (Ōgi Fōmyura)
“Ougi Formula”

It’s the job of any pilot episode to immediately hook the viewer. The main draw of your anime needs to be established immediately or you’ll risk losing an attention-deficit TV audience. With that in mind, this double-length first episode of Owarimonogatari starts with a disseration on complex mathematics that segues into a monologue on the tyranny of the majority.

…Yeah, it’s that kind of show.

Veterans of the Monogatari Series no doubt are used to its style, but for those of you who are popping in just to have a look then, first, welcome, and secondly you should be warned that Owarimonogatari is the kind of anime where people talk a lot and, indeed, the talking is main thrust of the show. And you should also really start at Bakemonogatari, because there is no indication that Owarimonogatari is going to make any allowances for new viewers. Araragi Koyomi (Kamiya Hiroshi) mentions his vampire-hood once, there is some talk of apparitions, and that’s all the exposition we’re going to get. Sure, you’ll probably still be able to follow the self-contained mystery (I don’t know any more about the green holodeck than you do) you’ll likely be at a loss about the bigger picture (and the abstract visual style is not going to help).

In the general scheme of Owarimonogatari, though, Ougi Formula is certainly an introductory episode. Not only does it dig up a bit of Araragi’s old trauma to give us a better idea of his character (and apparently Senjougahara (Saito Chiwa) was involved too (she’s the girlfriend, new viewers)), but it also, unsurprisingly, puts focus on the titular Oshino Ougi (Mizuhashi Kaori). Even in this flashback, there is something definitely off about her. We already know that she’s she is not whom she says she is since we’ve been further ahead in the chronology, but even without that knowledge Ougi Formula makes it obvious that we shouldn’t simply trust Ougi. It’s not just that she has no pupils (though that one’s an easy tell), but the angles and lighting conspire together to make even otherwise cute or intimate gestures look positively sinister. It’s fairly clear to us that she’s manipulating Araragi, but he doesn’t get the luxury of our perspective (though he does seem to have subconscious reactions), so we get a source of dramatic irony. What neither of us can be clear about at this point, though, is to what end. It sure is good timing, forcing Araragi to introspection right before the personification of his issues, Oikura Sodachi (Inoue Marina), returns to school.

Perhaps we can glean some ideas from the greater theme of Ougi Formula which is about truth and its relation to justice. It’s not an altogether uncommon story; Araragi’s class got together and lynched one of their classmates, and the resident authority figure was involved. Araragi wanted to be Atticus Finch, but failed. It’s a cautionary tale about mob rule, basically, and why we don’t use it. For Araragi, his disillusionment seems to stem from the realisation that, for society, truth is malleable and justice is subjective. Since Araragi has always been a bit of a moral objectivist, that’s bound to sit poorly with him. Perhaps the reason he is so adept at mathematics (which really should be maths, unless the Americans also study ‘physic’) is because it is the system of fundamental truth that all other disciplines rely on. Oikura Sodachi called maths the most beautiful of studies, linking us back to Euler’s Identity, often held up as the prime (no Euler puns here) example of mathematical beauty. There’s something elegant about the expression of mathematical constants.

Euler’s Identity is, in reality, not useful for all that much. But it is simple. It is proven. And it is true. There is very little outside the realm of mathematics for which we can say something so absolute.

Looking ahead

A full cour (more?) of Monogatari is going to be tough to blog.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite fond of the series. That’s why I’m doing it. But it also has a lot of imagery flashing past that I need to catch, and a lot of heavy dialogue that I need to pay extra attention to. Processing an episode of Monogatari for RandomC takes twice as long as the average anime, I swear (I know this pilot was double length that’s not what I mean you clowns). And when I write for it I need to get all serious. Ew. I creep myself out.

Well, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

I’m glad to see that this first episode of Owarimonogatari seems to have retained the energy of shorter iterations of the Monogatari series like Hanamonogatari. SHAFT has never been the best studio at management (how about that Kizumonogatari, guys?) and one can never be too sure about their consistency. I hope they manage to maintain a certain level of quality for the entirety of Owarimonogatari; it shouldn’t be that hard, considering how they can use so much blatant CGI in the name of style. I didn’t think I’d care much about this Oikura Sodachi arc, since I figured we had quite a large cast already, but this pilot’s mystery angle has perked my interest substantially and made me look forward to the next episode. If they manage to maintain that kind of forward momentum then I think we’re in for a good ride.


ED Sequence

ED: 「さよならのゆくえ」 (Sayonara no Yukue) by 瀧川ありさ (Takigawa Arisa)

End Card


    1. Had the same impression of her as well. I believe that’s highly symbolic since for all you know, this time round, she could be the one pulling the strings and also be the manipulator in all things

    1. I think this episode is just about after Hanekawa’s arc, Tsubasa Tiger, and just before the arc where Nadeko becomes a snake goddess. Also remember that Hanekawa dyes her hair everyday to hide the streaks since its too conspicuous and she didn’t think the streaks suited her.

  1. I hope you realize that ‘math’ and ‘maths’ are abbreviations, while ‘physics’ is a whole word.

    Anyway, I’ve been waiting for a new *monogatari series. Quite excited!

  2. One thing that I managed to gather from here is what was raised in “Public Enemy”

    In that theatre play, the main protagonist raised the issue about the “masses making something wrong right just by numerical terms in itself.” The very idea of the majority pretty much has the apparent credibility to sweep anything deemed “undesirable under the rug at the expense of truth and justice”

    The classroom trial itself was a farce right from the start and it was doomed to fail right at the get go simply because what ever that was raised and presented was nothing more but circumstantial evidence. It was only in the after thought that the true culprit was identified. Through the class trail, we do see the power of the mob and emotions effectively overruling any semblance of logic and objectivity. Simply put it, it’s one of the many and often depicted notions that we;re creations of emotions and not logic

    1. Not only that: the whole start of the assembly was right for the wrong reasons. There was something fishy with the exam, but it wasn’t exactly what they assumed it to be.

      The ending was like a good mystery novel. Because the real issue wasn’t who the culprit was… but why Araragi lost his faith in humans: witnessing the powerful use the mob to hide their own dirty business. How many cases of corruption and power abuse are overlooked in favour of lashing out against a convenient scapegoat or hiding behind flags and pulpits? Good start for this series.

  3. Apparently an announcement after this episode that Kizu will be 3 movies, with the first one coming out 1/8. I won’t believe it until I actually see it, but maybe we’ll finally get to see the start of the timeline.

    Pumped for this season, especially with Araragi back in the spotlight.

    1. First they delay Kizu for a few years after the original announcement,
      now they’re splitting it into 3 movies with no confirmation dates on the 2nd & 3rd parts?
      I guess Shaft is really trying to aim for an older target audience.

      Then again after watching the new trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRdtWrE9bF8),
      I just remembered Kizumonogatari probably has the most graphic image of them all.
      You know, the Show Spoiler ▼

    2. It may be a problem too with its shear length seriously SHAFT 3 movies?. Ive read the novel before and they could show the whole thing in 1 movie or 4 episodes(they even showed the whole thing in under 1 min in episode 1 of bakemonogatari season 1). I swear to god SHAFT is just cashing in on us.

      but unfortunately I’am a sucker for everything Monogatari and I will still watch it regardless, nice move SHAFT i admit my defeat plus Kizumonogatari is my favorite arc ever

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Owarimonogatari, for reminding me that anime can deal with deeper themes than just your usual cliches.

    After watching the first episodes of Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry and Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (clones of clones), it’s refreshing to see a double-length episode of mostly two people talking as if they were in a play, discussing about the beauty of maths, the tyranny of majority, faith in human society, responsibility or the lack of thereof, truth and justice.

    And that cliff-hanger was great. A last jab against “the past is the past” mentality. The past can come back when you least expect it.

      1. I know. Probably I would have tolerated it better if it was just one, but a double ration of repetitive, hollow, overused and idiotic cliches was too much for me. First time I felt literally sick of watching shallow fiction.

        But then I watched Owarimonogatari and my brain cried of happiness. Sometimes, “food for thought” is more than a figure of speech.

  5. I’ve never liked Ougi, who seems to be a manipulative character at all times, but it looks like in this episode she’s doing something that her uncle might have done: helping to restore balance of some sort (in her own, creepy, way). Now I have to go back and rewatch everything to see if that’s true elsewhere.

    1. Bye!
      Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
      No one will miss you and here’s a tip if you don’t care about a subject you see online there is no need to comment on it. Comment sections aren’t here for you to vent or complain about something you don’t like.

      Anyways I’ve been waiting on this all summer and this episode did not disappoint.
      I did enjoy the complex maths (or mathematics) used to open the show as it was relative to the overall plot and issue at hand.
      And yes Ougi creeps me out as well.

      DarkRios III
    2. part of the problem is the quality of banter and wordplay that gets lost in translation.

      the original japanese lines are crafted with really fine details and they are a pleasure to listen to, they don’t sound stupid/retarded like moe anime.

  6. The feeling of everything “accidentaly” fit into the frame whenever it’s related to Ougi made me wary of her/him since the character’s introduction. It’s like she/he’s pulling strings here and there to achieve some sort of goal. I think Ougi is the most enigmatic character for this series.

  7. It’s like coming home again. Can’t believe it’s already been six years since the start of Bakemonogatari. I remember watching the first arc and thinking, holy shit. This is not something I’ve seen before. It’s reassuring that, 3784563847 instalments later, it’s still the same mental lasagna I know and love.

    On a side note, Passerby, I’m happy it’s you covering this; Monogatari benefits greatly from your sardonic edge. It’s not gonna be easy alright, but do it for the audience, panem et circenses and all that. Much patience and best of luck!

  8. This was easily my most anticipated show this season and it did not disappoint. I think Shaft’s done a great job with the entire Mongatari series, and continued that tradition with the first episode – a double length one at at. I thought the show did a fantastic job with Ougi – giving her/him a very creepy, sinister feeling without being excessive or “over-the-top” about it. The lack of pupils is such a simple thing, but when contrasted with the other characters is an effective way to give off a very different vibe. I also thought the voice acting for Ougi was very well done.

    I’m not spoiled (for once XD) so I didn’t know what to expect with this episode. Starting with a math(ematics) lecture wasn’t what I expected, but sure enough, after a few minutes I was sucked into the show. Really liked how we got some additional information about Araragi – didn’t expect that either.

    But for me this season is all about Ougi, who IMO the most enigmatic character in Monogatari. Male? Female? Even human? I honestly don’t know at point, and I’m very much looking forward to unraveling the mystery that is Ougi.

  9. Honestly this franchise is a tired and beaten to death horse at this point. There are plenty way more interesting and fresh things coming out this season. This was fresh at one point but with yearly installments it’s just gotten kind of rote and sitting through a full of hour of just non stop jabbering doesn’t seem like how I want to plan on spending my time with anime this season.

    Also I know I’m going to draw massive hate on account of this series fanbase for saying this, but really it’s just me being honest. Not afraid to say it.

  10. I didn’t realize how much I missed this series till I started watching it. Also really liked your write up, Passerby. With a super wordy series like this it’s always nice to have other people to consult with to ensure you didn’t miss anything critical to the plot. So I’m definitely looking forward to your future posts.

    As for Ougi, I’m glad I’m not the only one that thinks this is a setup. It just seems so unlikely that she was able to force him into this apparition on their first meeting. I’m at a loss as to what her motivation is. My only guess is that perhaps Oikura only showed up because the mystery was resolved as opposed to being mere coincidence. With that theory in mind, maybe Ougi is trying to force a conflict into Araragi’s life because she knows that Oikura and Araragi have a less than stellar relationship. Regardless, Ougi is an enigma for sure.

    As for the theme of humans changing facts, I was heavily reminded of Shikizaki Kiki’s false history plot in Katanagatari (which is unsurprising given who the author for all this source material is). Issin must like exploring the area where facts end and history begins. Facts might be immutable, but as Passerby said, they aren’t useful for much. For as right as they may be, correctness means nothing if people choose to ignore them.

    Sorry, this post went on a bit longer and was a bit more rambly than I originally imagined, but thanks for sticking through to the end.


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