Onimonogatari: to be or not to be, that is the question

Monogatari_Otori_01

Repaying the favour from Kabukimonogatari, which focused on Araragi’s relationship with Shinobu despite the subtitle of Mayoi Jiangshi, Onimonogatari: Shinobu Time turns our attention to his relationship with a certain twin-tailed shrimp of a girl. Back in 2013, this was the Monogatari story that made it to my yearly countdown, and even now, it continues to pull on my heart-strings. But intellectually, it also highlighted two rather interesting themes. The first—the nature of things—debuts in this arc; the other is an extension of what Araragi should have learned in an earlier arc. Given just this vague description, can you guess what I’m referring to? Read more of this post

Otorimonogatari: victims and wrongdoers…

Otorimonogatari_00

I should probably confess that, even though we’re just entering the third season of the Monogatari series, I expect Otorimonogatari to remain the one I have had the most trouble writing about. Out of all of Nisio Isin’s heroines, Nadeko is by far my least favourite. My main problem is that I find her story to be the most unbelievable one: a girl that lives by deception, to the extent that she even deceives her way into becoming a god. I’d have to agree with Hitagi — it would not matter how I come to know her, she’s someone that I would never get along with.

Otorimonogatari_07 Otorimonogatari_03
“Who the hell do you take me for?!”

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Kabukimonogatari: looking on the bright side

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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.

Monogatari_SS_Mayoi_02 Monogatari_SS_Mayoi_01
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. Read more of this post

Nekomonogatari White: Hanekawa and me

Monogatari_SS_18

Monogatari is one of those series that I have a difficult time writing about. It might be because it’s a series that I love for a lot of different reasons. As someone striving to learn Japanese, the word play that drives a lot of people crazy is one of the reasons I enjoy it. And whilst some other ACG fans find the show pretentious and full of completely unrealistic teenagers, the philosophical questions that Nisioisin touches upon never fail to give me pause. Furthermore, unlike certain other series, these questions are addressed relatively quickly, allowing the show to move on even if the issues of the concerned party aren’t fully resolved at that point.

Hanekawa Tsubasa is one such character, and both Bakemonogatari and Nekomonogatari Black touched upon her issues without resolving them. As this arc of her story pointed out, they had merely been shelved, put aside to be dealt with at a later date. But those non-resolutions only added to the impact that Nekomonogatari White had on me…mainly because, out of all the characters in this series, Hanekawa is the one that I identify with most. Read more of this post

12 days bonus: some actual ‘moments’ I loved

Many of the memories I chose for 2014 ended up being themes and experiences that I dwelled on, rather than moments that just stay with me. I wonder if this might not have happened if I had actually kept up with my reviews properly…but that’s not going to do anything for my list this year. So, in just before I reveal what I regard as the most important thing that happened in my ACG appreciation last year, here are three ‘proper’ moments of shows that just missed out on the list this time around:

Rurouni Kenshin: Flames of Kyoto

Seeing this fight on the big screen was just fantastic! In fact, I really liked this second film – if I hadn’t gone on to see the third one straight after that, I think this would definitely have made it onto the actual list…

NB: There’s more to the fight, of course, so please watch the film!

The Circumstances of My Home’s Bathtub [Orenchi no Furo Jijou]

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I’m with Tatsumi here – it’s hard not to fall in love with Mikuni ♡ !!

Tsukimonogatari: Yotsugi Doll

Saitou Chiwa ♡ And this is the problem when a show is broadcast at midnight on the final day of the year! Maybe I should just reserve a spot every year for Monogatari!

Until tomorrow then! Can anyone guess what my final post will be about? Well, I don’t think any of you reading this will have read much of my livejournal…so probably not… ^^;

Memories of 2013: appendix

For the first time since beginning the ’12 days’ format, I’ve added live-action, both from East and West, to this list. There is a little bit of regret associated with this decision: if I’d done so last year, Les Misérables would definitely have made the list (and Utakoi would probably have been the one missing out). Personally, I just found this year to be a relatively weak one for anime. First of all, one of the series that I thought might end up here finished on a less than stellar note (Psycho-Pass, I’m looking at you); even though I still found it very thought provoking personally, the announcement of a continuation has me wondering whether my musings will have any grounds to stand on in a year’s time. Second, I’ve found myself incredibly low on time, such that many of the series I would normally watch had to be put on the backburner. Finishing Kyoukai no Kanata after I had written most of these posts didn’t help – the hilarity of the episode 6 spoof was a strong contender for a spot on the list of memories – although in hindsight, I think I’d stick with the moments I’ve chosen anyway. Finally, this was the first time I dropped a noitaminA series after starting it (Galilei Donna was good until episode 3, but I’ve heard that it crashed pretty badly afterwards due to executive meddling, and I’m just not willing to spend my precious time on it)!!! That’s why a full one-third of my list has deviated from what it’s traditionally been. But what’s past is past, and this blog is changing as my own life is, and as anime just doesn’t seem to hold all of my interest anymore. Where will we both be in one year’s time, I wonder? But that’s something I’ll put aside for the time being; instead, here’s the list of what I saw this year:

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Memories of 2013 part 8: the sadness of saying goodbye

The Monogatari series is known for several things, among them a sassiness that fits Shaft’s famous head tilts and copious amounts of fan service that have alienated more than a few viewers. On balance, however, the negatives have always been drowned out by the positives for me; one of those positives was Araragi’s banter with a certain twin-tailed shrimp of a girl.

"I'm sorry, I bit my tongue!"

Overall, I’m happy…because I was able to meet you.

** WARNING ** SPOILERS AHEAD **

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Nekomonogatari Black: questions of love?

Sweet dreams...or dark nightmares?

Sweet dreams…or dark nightmares?

A prequel to ‘Tsubasa Cat’ from Bakemonogatari series, Neko Black lays out exactly what happened during that unforgettable, gold-tinted week; the week when Araragi Koyomi fell out of something that was not a first love…

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In memory of 2012 appendix: the list…and the runner up…

Humans are funny. We tend to pay attention to strings of repeating numbers and treat them as lucky charms or points of interest. For example, you’ll probably find that quite a number of people of Chinese or Japanese descent would get married on the 8th day of the 8th month (whether in the Gregorian or Lunar calendar).

I’ll be honest: I normally don’t pay much attention to this. But on December 12, a friend on facebook commented that it was 12.12 on 12.12.12, and that this would be the last repeat we’d see for 88 years. Well…that wasn’t quite true:

2012-20-12

From what I figured, this should be the last year-including repeat for just over 88 years. But well…what’s the bet that someone’s going to point out one that I missed?
(^_^;; )

And here’s what I watched in 2012.

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The seventh memory of 2012: it’s finally here!!…or not…?

It’s a little strange. If I remember correctly, there were quite a few excited fans when it was finally announced that one of the biggest shows over the past 5 years, Bakemonogatari, was licensed for release in the West.

However, when Bakemonogatari’s official English language release finally hit Crunchyroll in September, to be followed by the Blu-Ray in November, the reaction was rather muted. To put a finer point to it, whilst some crowed and immediately put down their cash for the fully subbed commentary, a few people seem to have been hostile at the lack of a dub track, and the price tag of $150, which in the West is considered rather hefty (my reaction: no wonder it’s $190 – or $150 on sale – for the set!).

Ta-da!!

Ta-da!!

The less-than-positive reaction seems to have been focused on these two issues (check out the various ANN and /a/ threads on it), with a third being that the subtitles don’t retain the honourifics (see AS for that)…

Whilst I can understand these reactions, I’m somewhat conflicted. Technically, this hasn’t affected me all that much, for I don’t need to buy it – unless I want to have a look at the subs as a way of improving my own Japanese/translation skills. For that…I am tempted to buy it, even if I already have the Japanese BDs, with Japanese text fully intact in all the openings, endings and episodes. It would also be my way of thanking them for putting all that effort into it. Except that…guess what? It can’t even been viewed on Crunchyroll in my area (and I have a premium pass), much less shipped to where I am. Oh well, problem solved. Aniplex USA definitely isn’t getting my money then.

Nevertheless, quite an exciting discovery, I felt. A bit sad that there’s no longer a need for the commentary to be subbed, but I’m going to enjoy flipping through those commentary scripts anyway ^^)