268) Hanamonogatari

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Andrew
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268) Hanamonogatari

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Moving on from the Monogatari Second Season, the Otaku Spirit Animecast hosts dive into the story of Kanbaru in Hanamonogatari. Taking a place a bit further in the timeline, this series aims its focus on mostly one cast member that has had little screen time. But does her story hold enough to warrant this series?

Note: Due to being so far into the series, this review will be a full spoiler review of the story and its contents. If you have not watched Hanamonogatari you should avoid this episode.

We open this episode with the Hanamonogatari OP called “Hana Ato: Shirushi” by Marina Kawano. The closing for this episode is the ED for Hanamonogatari called “The last day of my adolescence” by Miyuki Sawashiro.

We hope you all enjoy!
http://otakuspirit.com/2016/12/animecas ... onogatari/
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Fullmetal-Senpai
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Re: 268) Hanamonogatari

Post by Fullmetal-Senpai »

Nice review y'all, I personally liked kanbaru no basket personally but it sure did meander a bit so I understand the criticism. In all honesty I was waiting for well
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To show up.
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Andrew
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Re: 268) Hanamonogatari

Post by Andrew »

fullmetal_snorlax wrote:Nice review y'all, I personally liked kanbaru no basket personally but it sure did meander a bit so I understand the criticism. In all honesty I was waiting for well

To show up.
Seems you're not alone as we got a comment on the article page too (heh). But at least you understand our point. It's definitely not as if we hated it, just wasn't hot on it. :)
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Companion Kyuubey
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Re: 268) Hanamonogatari

Post by Companion Kyuubey »

So, I've fallen behind a bit in my rewatch, but I finally watched Hanamonogatari again yesterday. Before your podcast came out, Hanamonogatari was my favorite arc of any of the Monogatari Series. So, I was a little disappointed that neither of you particularly enjoyed it. It also made me a little nervous to re-watch it because I remembered it as being amazing and I was a little scared of spoiling that feeling. That positive feeling could have been a little false however since I actually had trouble remembering exactly why it was my favorite. So when I had a little time last night I grabbed my Blu-Ray and sat down on my couch and put it in the player. I wasn't disappointed.

The following is my read on the arc through my own life experiences, beliefs, and personal taste. I've been tossing these around in my head ever since I finished the re-watch and slept on it. If what I'm writing doesn't make sense, it's because you're not me (thankfully) and/or (also thankfully) don't reside in my head.
Spoiler:
In my re-watch of the Monogatari Series, I've come to REALLY pay attention to every opening chapter. Without context, they are largely forgettable because they are generally introductions and reference things that are about to happen or bring things up that feel out of context. Or, they're like Hanamonogatari and only last a couple of seconds because it is merely text flashing across the screen.

Below is the text for chapter 1:

"I'd like to tell you a story about Kanbaru Suruga's stupidity. Would you listen to it?
Not that I think there's any point.
I've disliked many people.
And I've hated many people--
Then I found a devil within me.
And I raised it--
But I think to myself, "What is everyone else doing?"
What I'm going to tell you now is my story and hers.
I want you to listen to it.
I live my life like an idiot.
But how...
How do you live yours?"

These are Rouka Numashi's words and that final question is indeed directed at us the audience, but also at Suruga. Hanamonogatari represents Suruga's end of her adolescence (see what I did there?) and her eventual decision on how she decides to live her life.

In chapter 2, we get a lot of quotes directly from her mother and I feel they represent who Suruga is at the beginning. Some are repeated later like:

"If you can't be a cure, be a poison. Otherwise, you're just plain old water."

And over the course of the rest of chapter 2, we get the following quotes:

"Suruga, your life will be a much bigger pain in the neko than for most people. It'll be boring, irritating, and too much to handle."
"But that isn't because you're anything special. It's because you're weak. You will end up living your entire life bearing that weakness."
"I hope you won't make the fact that everything is a pain in the neko your purpose in life."

Early on, these words describe Suruga pretty well. She's dumb (as her friend pointed out), she's lazy (clean your room! put on some clothes!), and indecisive (she calls herself that!). She is also very gullible and at a number of points throughout the arc she repeats things that people have told her to other people. She doesn't really have her own set of beliefs and thoughts yet, but that is OK since she is still just a high school kid. She is also aware enough to know that she is dangerous because of her arm and she is scared of hurting other people. She is genuinely relieved whenever she finds out that she didn't commit a crime and especially so when she encounters the "Lord Devil."

When Suruga meets the "Lord Devil" and realizes it is former basketball rival, Rouka Numashi, they have an interesting discussion about what Rouka is doing. Throughout the 5 episodes, they have 3 distinct conversations with each other. The first conversation in episode 1 covers the Lord Devil and Rouka's hobby of collecting other people's misery. The second conversation in episode 3 was prompted because Suruga discovered that her "devil's hand" was missing. It covers why Rouka is collecting misery and how she first came across the Devil Parts. The third and final conversation in episode 5 is the conclusion to their encounters and is prompted by Kaiki sending Suruga the Devil's head. It is also the only time we see Suruga talk to Rouka after she knows that she is a ghost. Suruga has a difficult time looking at her now because of that fact. She has seen many supernatural things by this point, but talking to the ghost of someone you knew and the fact the ghost doesn't know they're a ghost really disturbed her (as it would with anyone I would expect).

Through those first two conversations, Suruga is merely just a bystander. She realizes that no one seems to be getting hurt from Rouka's actions, but it still bothers her. As someone who also took on parts of the devil, she knows that handling those parts never leads to anything good. Enter Araragi and his cute "super car" yellow beetle. Suruga finally gets someone she can talk to about what is going on. This is very unlike when she met with Kaiki. She was completely on guard (because of what she heard of him from Araragi) and didn't really lower her guard until the very end of their conversation. Why would she? She knows Kaiki is a con man and that she herself isn't smart so she wasn't going to take any chances. So, her conversation with Araragi revealed several things. Suruga admits that she is lonely now that Araragi and Senjougahara have left. They also have a discussion on what is "like me?" Who am I? Who should I be? Am I who I am because I want to be or because I want to be someone that you can look at and respect? These are all questions that Suruga doesn't really have answers for, but Araragi points out that if you put yourself in a role for other people, you will sometimes lose sight of who you actually are. This all ties back into Suruga's opening monologue about how greedy she is and how she started life with everything and has only lost things over time. Then she starts work through her thoughts. She regurgitates some of the things that Rouka had said to her to Araragi, but he turns those things around. Araragi calls her out for her words because that's not who Suruga is to him. Those aren't her words. This helps Suruga find herself again and leads her to finally do something about the situation and her life in general. He didn't tell her what to do, but gave her some advice that I believe flipped a switch in Suruga's head. She is going to act on her own and accept any consequence that came from it. She is going to act in a way that she believes is correct. She will finally start to forge a path for her future.

Then the Devil's head arrives and she seeks out Rouka one last time. This whole sequence was amazing. It is also amusing how quickly it is all over. Before Rouka disappears, she tells Suruga that she should stop studying and go back to playing basketball. I think that is the decision Suruga makes at the end of this arc. She is going to do her own thing and go back to the thing that she loves. These two 1v1 battles with Rouka made Suruga realize that she in fact does love playing basketball. This is why she has Araragi cut her hair at the end. Simply because playing sports with long hair is troublesome. The final duel also showed Suruga that she was jealous of Rouka's skill, but that her own strength of being a great team player is more successful.

Basically, to wrap up, Hanamonogatari is largely about finding oneself. This isn't a theme for just this arc either. It applies to the whole series. Every single character goes through a lot of changes from when we first see them to the last time we see them. That is because nothing is static. Change is inevitable and will always happen. People always change as well. Another thing this arc did was really crystallize some things for me about the series as a whole. There is no "pure good" or "pure evil" in the world. There are only all the shades in between. In this arc we get to see a part of Kaiki that we never get to see. The kind Kaiki. The caring Kaiki. Then of course there is Rouka with her "Lord Devil" persona. She's not really doing anything to or for anybody, but she's not really hurting anything. The people who came to "Lord Devil" welcomed the help. A lot of people just want someone to tell their problems to and because sometimes, time does solve issues. Also, sometimes time can never solve an issue. Every situation and individual are unique and must be inspected as such. If such things as "pure good" or "pure evil" did exist, the world would be much less interesting. That also ties into one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction. I can't stand characters who are pure white or pure black. They're boring. They have no depth. No shadow. They are completely alien and unrelatable and quite frankly ruin a story for me.

Another subject that I love Hanamonogatari for (as well as most of the rest of the series again) is how important individual decisions and individual responsibility are. I don't want to go too political, but I believe personal responsibility has been decreasing over my lifetime in the United States. People aren't willing to take responsibility for their actions and decisions and seem to want to put their faith in the government to do it for them. This troubles me greatly so I will always love it when a story really emphasizes people stepping up and taking responsibility whether something goes right or wrong. Those are the kind of characters I can stand behind and root for and the Monogatari Series has that in spades. Sometimes you just can't get help from others and only you can help yourself.

This is a little bit of an aside, but I loved how both Ougi Oshino and Koyomi Araragi had different versions of Meme's "Something good happen to you?". Ougi asked Suruga "Did something bad happen?" and Araragi asked Surugu "Did something happen?" I don't really have much to say on this except I thought it as cute and shows the relation and differences between those three characters.
This turned out really long and I'm sure I'm forgetting something I wanted to touch on. I hope I didn't lose my way somewhere. I don't really do much long form writing anymore so I'm very much out of practice. I just feel very passionately about the Monogatari Series and wanted to share some of my thoughts and views on it.
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Andrew
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Re: 268) Hanamonogatari

Post by Andrew »

Companion Kyuubey wrote:So, I've fallen behind a bit in my rewatch, but I finally watched Hanamonogatari again yesterday.
Crazy big and awesome writeup Kyuubey. I've been needing to get a moment to read it and response but my minds has been all over the place. Just wanted you to know that I've read a little bit of it and will try to get around to responding to it. Thanks for the feedback!
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