I’ve been watching Monogatari for a long time.
This is the second of my entries into 2017’s rendition of the 12 Days of Anime aniblogger project. For more about the project, read appropriant’s introductory post. Please also check out the spreadsheet containing the work of all the bloggers participating!
Accept the aberration that is you.
Despite the fact that Koyomi Araragi does not exterminate the apparition that is born of himself at the end of Owarimonogatari, I think it’s key to understand that Monogatari is not in favor of wallowing in your own flaws. Rather, there is a delightful flavor of difficult but poignant reality to the way Nisio Isin’s epic tale concludes itself: We must accept our evils so that we may overcome them. We must love the hateful parts of ourselves enough that we may overwrite them with the beauty of growth. To adopt Monogatari‘s sexualized imagery for myself, it is only through an intimate embrace with reality that the offspring of changing our state within it may come about.
Monogatari may be a tale of adolescence in the particular, but in the universal its angsts and trials are something anyone may learn from.
And what a unique, complicated, and beautiful thing Monogatari is to learn from! The variations within it are a rich tapestry. Not all Monogatari is equal, but certainly the crowing achievement of Owari‘s second season is the way it winds everything together with a gentle not toward each page that precedes the last. Not that it does so with strict equality. I also watched Koyomi and the third Kizumonogatari film this year, and the deep contrasts that run between them are like stripes of a deep navy blue painted over a gray canvas—very distinct and yet not entirely disparate from each other.
As a snapshot of the franchise, Koyomimonogatari is perhaps the best approximation of the series’ cute character— an endless babble of small and frivolous truths are what make up Monogatari. Some of its fables are poignant, some delightfully silly (donuts), others winding paths that end up at a dusty jewel. In opposition, Kizumonogatari (which I wrote about) is stunningly, oppresively single-minded, a homage to Isin’s single-minded focus on communication via his own means. And Owari makes up the difference between the two. It is decidedly more focused than Koyomi, yet far less difficult to watch than Kizu. A fitting ending.
I have been watching Monogatari for a very long time, and this is how it ends after all. People can only help themselves is both true and false, a lie and a reality. Such is life. May we all be such people.
We can never go back to that ephemeral moment when a show tilts over the line from being “something I am watching” to “something I love.” For me, the color of Monogatari is dark purple, deeper even than the shade of Senjougahara’s hair. If I can’t go back, I can go forward—and that deep purple is something like a hundred colors of a hundred truths piling one on top of the other in an eagerness to live. Monogatari is suffused with this sense and so with it being colorful simply means that it loves the truth, speaks the truth, shows the truth. As Senjougahara acted out underneath the star-lit night sky so long ago, as the Hanekawa who became striped learned, as every character in Monogatari inevitably comes to see—there is nothing more beautiful than the authentic.