「こよみフラワー」 (Koyomi Furawā)
So it seems that Koyomimonogatari really is going to do the ‘recycle one OP a week’ thing, and this week it’s staple stable. While I’m rather fond of this OP, rerun or not (it was the first one!) you’ll have to excuse me if I skip over it in its 2016 edition. It’s the same thing! In an inferior resolution! Yeah, I know stapler sex never gets old, but I’m also very lazy. It’s about a balance of interest here.
The use of staple stable is, however, a welcome signal of the return of Senjougahara Hitagi, the First Lady of the Monogatari series. Sure, Koyomi flower isn’t actually really about her (just as Koyomi Stone wasn’t really about Hanekawa) but at least it involves her, which serves well enough as the once-per-season reminder that Senjougahara is actually a main character. I can’t really fault her lack of use too harshly (just slightly harshly, I guess); it’s difficult to work her in. She is, in effect, already a ‘completed’ character, having resolved her personal conflict very early, having aggressively secured a relationship with the protagonist, and being generally content with life. Also, in a cast of supernatural characters who often tackle supernatural problems, Senjougahara stands out as the sole normal. As she says as much in this episode, Senjougahara treats her run-in with an oddity as just an illness. She didn’t get a superpowered cat-form, didn’t inherit a monkey-demon arm, and didn’t gain any god powers. She snagged an Araragi, and that’s about it. I think I prefer it this way, though. Her very existence offers a balance to Araragi’s character, representing the human part of his life (just as Shinobu represents his vampire half). Most of her very normal life will have to stay off-screen, but the implication that she lives a normal life (worrying about things like debt instead of, say, undead revenants out for blood) is comforting. And then, whenever she gets involved, the very event has impact, like an old veteran coming out of retirement, armed with nothing but stationary. It’s what the gesture implies as much as anything else.
And on the subject of implications, there’s this week’s mystery, which is once again something mundane made to look mysterious by circumstance, as it was in Koyomi Stone. Specifically, it’s about lies. The very best lies—and here I’d like to remind you that Passerby’s greatest virtue is honesty and will never like to you—are actually incomplete truths, with gaps that invite the victim to fill them in with their own incorrect assumptions. Humans are often stubborn and contrary, and hard to convince directly—but we can convince ourselves of almost anything. So a sign that just says ‘stay off the roof’ is not going to be very convincing, but if you just leave a bouquet up there, it implies that someone died up there, and a story of a poor student falling to their deaths that we assume for ourselves is much more resonant. And it’s also, I suppose, a testament to the power of stories, and a reminder that all fiction are, in a tautological sense, lies. But nobody really pretends they’re true either, do they? Of a story is told well, it has the taste of truth, and we just settle into it. And that’s suspension of disbelief; a complicit deception.
That’s a rather sour way to always think about things though; if we always second guess ourselves, we’ll never enjoy anything in life. Slightly tall tales makes our world slightly more interesting. So let’s, like Senjougahara, resolve to just forget about all this. Believe whatever harmless fiction you please. Truth is a very malleable thing.