OP3: 「mein shatz」
「しのぶメイル 其ノ壹」 (Shinobu Meiru Sono Ichi)
“Shinobu Mail Part One”
(My heart goes out to all those who suffered in the terror attack in Paris, but my moping here on an anime blog isn’t going to help any. And what better time is there for a distraction than now? I don’t know how much funny I can muster right now, but let’s have at it all the same. Keep calm and carry on.)
How long has it been since we’ve had any of the Monogatari Series‘ blatant fanservice? After the Completely Serious Business of Sodachi Lost, where even Hanekawa’s Breasts were played for drama, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to pull the tension in the opposite direction for a while, and who better to disrupt our sombre mood than the monkey, Kanbaru? It also helps that Kanbaru, besides being an even denser clump of libido than Araragi, is also nominally this anime’s action girl; after an arc that was mostly either dialogue or monologue about heavy subjects, it’s a refreshing change of pace to have a straightforward Kanbaru just punching things. It’s also appropriate to start a little goofier since this is a new arc, and if nothing else the looser mood lulls us into a false sense of security before a new challenger appears and various things hit the proverbial fan. Hence the use of Kanbaru, who is basically the biggest gun the Monogatari Series has in terms of broad appeal, all too eagre to throw herself into providing fanservice, action, old references (not that any character is spared from playing dressups, really) and, of course, the nonsense banter that is the hallmark of Monogatari. This is one of those episodes where I really feel sorry for whichever poor chump was tasked with speed-translating Owarimonogatari Japanese is nothing but puns! It’s untranslatable! That’s a bit of a shame for the English audience, but remember, there’s still broad appeal. By which I mean, explosions! Need a ratings boost? Blow something up! It’s a rule to live by.
Needless to say, it’s unlikely that Shinobu Mail is going to be all fun and games. There are hints of more tragic backstory for Shinobu and, if can extrapolate from Shinobu Time, stories revolving around our cutest little vampire don’t lend to much happiness. Having dredged up the spectres of Arararagi’s past in Sodachi Lost, it’s only appropriate that we do the same for his partner, Shinobu, and I doubt it’s going to be any less painful for those involved. I mean, listen to that new OP; it’s quite a bit removed from the heady pop we usually have opening Monogatari. Very gothic. If the dangerous new adversary that has Kanbaru playing the Worf by being defeated in record time is not enough foreshadowing, I think the general mood of the OP/ED indicate that we’re in for something dark. That’s how vampires are, right? They, by their very nature, aren’t much for sunshine and rainbows. No, none of that sparkles rubbish.
For now, though, it’s questions, questions, questions. It seems that this particular episode is set around the time Tsubasa Tiger was prancing about celebrating Guy Fawkes (this is where Hanekawa was squatting, right?), and there are lots of holes to be filled from then. Where’s Shinobu? With whom was Araragi trying to get Kanbaru to meet? Was it Yotsugi? Is her master involved? What’s this about Shinobu’s sword? Should I have been paying more attention in Shinobu Time? And, as always, there’s the overarching question of why Ougi is meddling. Why does she need Araragi to keep remembering his past? Araragi apparently needed to tell this tale, or else end up like Kaiki. What kind of racket is Ougi running? Are Arararararararararagi’s kneecaps in danger? There’s six episodes of Shinobu Mail, apparently, so we’ll have plenty of time to learn more in this End Story.
ED2: 「さよならのゆくえ」 (Sayonara no Yukue) by 瀧川ありさ (Takigawa Arisa)