「しのぶメイル 其ノ貳」 (Shinobu Meiru Sono Ni)
“Shinobu Mail Part Two”
It’s a good thing that Araragi lives in a part of town where nobody is phased by a building exploding, because otherwise he’d have had no time to get kinky. Aren’t we underestimating the power of the curious bystander here? Even in the dead of night, crowds can just materialise out of thin air as long as there’s a dangerous spectacle to be witnessed. They’re the people who loiter about and die in a disaster movie. I refuse to believe that, after narrowing escaping fiery death, Araragi would still have so much lazy time to just fool around. What I’m saying is, there should have at least been a passerby.
No jokes here. No jokes.
I’m sure veterans of anime and sports dramas of all kinds are familiar with the rousing pep talk, but this is the first time I’ve seen one set to strange S&M instead of soaring music (in before strange S&M set to soaring music. You’re welcome for that image). I’m sure it’s, er, symbolism. Yes. More likely, though, the entire scene meant nothing and it’s just Monogatari offering up it’s usual distractions while characters do a lot of talking. It’s a safe bet by now that whenever Monogatari starts getting sexy there’s a monologue on the horizon.
Awkward footsies aside (she’s a zombie, remember. Think about it. Think about it), Yotsugi did have a point. Araragi does have a worrying tendency to run off by himself, which is usually well-intentioned but also usually poorly thought out. It’s part of why Araragi has been described, by others in Monogatari as a half-hearted existence; he really does want to play the white knight, but he’s really not very good at it, and doesn’t really keep in consideration that he’s not very good at it. As it is, he mostly ends up being bailed out by one haremette or another. Which would really be fine—behind every great man stands a platoon of greater women—if only Araragi would acknowledge his own limitations more. If he wants to save the day, he’s probably going to get his friends involved in some way. If he wants to keep them out of trouble, then he’s going to have difficulty saving the day. In this case, if he really wanted to keep his promise with Gaen, he’ll need to involve Kanbaru, and if he really didn’t want to involve Kanbaru, he should have given up on keeping that promise. Really, getting involved with the affairs of Gaen, the one who apparently knows everything, seems no healthier than getting involved with Ougi, the one who pretends to know nothing.
The trouble that Araragi is being bailed out of this time is especially curious, because they sure do remind us of the apparitions he’s faced in the past. Kanbaru helped get past the ‘snail’ thanks to advanced Senjougahara sensors, Shinobu (who popped up again suddenly just to star in a hair product commercial) had fought a terrible battle with the ‘monkey’ (the kind of battle that is too awesome to be shown onscreen, apparently) and the new challenger is… actually, it looks like a lost One Punch Man reject. Well, I guess it serves as the ‘crab’.
Following the general theme of Owarimonogatari, it seems like Shinobu Mail is all about the past, and this is before we even factor in the suit of vampiric armour out for Shinobu’s ancient sword. It’d a bit too contrived for Araragi Inc. to just happen to meet all these deja vu apparitions at the same time, so it’s likely that there is a greater force in the works—the Darkness/Ougi/whatever we call whatever. As we know from the chronologically later arcs, Ougi does seem quite interested in dredging up bits of Araragi’s past (and probably Shinobu simply by extension). Is this more of that?
Well, we’ll fine out. Until next week, road signs! Ah, Bakemonogatari was crazy about those. How nostalgic.
Full-length images: 11.