Kabukimonogatari: looking on the bright side


Out of all the stories in Monogatari Second Season, this was arguably the lightest in terms of the philosophical issues considered. Of course, the question of just how much a single event occurring—or not occurring—changes history is one that humans have pondered for years, with as many different variations as one might expect. It’s an example that clearly illustrates the point of Ougi’s musings on traffic lights, which is that rules are made because they protect us; without rules, there is only chaos. And the rule that Araragi and Shinobu learn this time is that, in actual fact, it is not possible to change history by changing the past.

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Hands up who knows where these little red and green men can be found?

However, as this philosophical point is something that I came across long ago, instead of focusing on what I love most about the Monogatari series, I actually found my attention being drawn back into the story. And this is one of the most powerful stories of them all. In effect, we have a boy and a girl who would die for each other. When the boy in her universe lost his life, the girl even destroyed the world before she tried to destroy herself. And the boy from another universe realised that he did not want the girl—both his own, and the broken shell in the destroyed world—to have to suffer like that. This is how Araragi Koyomi decided that Shinobu was the person he would die for.

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“So that possibility did exist…”

This actually brings me to another reason that the Monogatari series has lost a little of its charm for me: shipping. Bakemonogatari turned harem norms on their head by establishing the main couple before the midway point of the series, even before most of the girls had been introduced properly. Nevertheless, this did not stop the shippers, and the fact that Araragi decided that he would die for Shinobu is often used as evidence of his love for her.

But this is yet another of those stories with a whole bunch of relationships that do not fit into the ‘romance template’ that is so prevalent in how viewers approach the stories they consume. Shippers can argue that ‘it’s so-and-so that Araragi really loves, but isn’t the truth simply that he loves all of the girls that have impacted his life in different ways? Every single one of them is irreplaceable to him, and none of his relationships—not even the one with Senjougahara Hitagi—can be reduced to the shallow, one-dimensional notion of eros.

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“I may have failed to meet my mother when I was alive…but I’m happy that I met you.”

This may be the reason why, even though Kabukimonogatari is really about the relationship he has with Shinobu, it was Araragi’s closing conversation with Hachikuji that really stayed with me:

Turning into a ghost is not something I’m happy about. But I’m happy that I was able to meet you. And it’s because I had regrets about turning into a ghost that I was able to meet you.

Though there are things we might regret about the path we’ve taken, there are also things that that it has given us. There are people we have met, experiences we have gone through, emotions that we have felt…all of which we would never have encountered on any other route. And that is something that we should treasure.


About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

One Response to Kabukimonogatari: looking on the bright side

  1. Pingback: Monogatari Series: Kamimashita! | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

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