Archive for ‘Bakemonogatari’

July 8, 2010

gwern on Loneliness in Bakemonogatari

Original Post: Araragi Doesn’t Deserve Your Thanks — Bakemonogatari 10

gwern

July 8, 2010 at 9:51 am

I think this is a radical, and rather clever conceit that the show does. How radical? How clever? The OP for the Mayoi Snail 2 episode has loads of people in it: students, vendors, a bus driver, passengers, etc. However, they all wear the face of Hachikuji Mayoi. What the disappearance of background sprites does is to provide a powerful focus on the stories of the monsters and the people they afflict. It allows for the telling of very intimate stories, and the delivery of dialogue that is about something (beyond the delivery of plot events, their explanations, etc.).

I liked it a lot too. But my take on it was a little different – I took it as a device communicating extreme loneliness. You know, the old ‘here I am in a city with millions of people, and I am isolated from them all’. With Mayoi and Senjougahara, Araragi walks thought how many blocks, how many miles? And interacts with no one. He hardly sees anyone. He is walled off by social conventions like thick glass walls.

And this is true in general. Are we focused on the stories because the narration and cinematography focus on the stories? Or is the focus there because *there is nothing else to focus on*? Does Araragi have real friends and hobbies? Does he live a life outside of oddities and aimless solitary wandering?

(Because I’m thinking of it, _End of Evangelion_ has some live action shots of crowds on city streets – everyone looking straight ahead, doing their best to not touch in the least.)

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September 30, 2009

Animewriter on the Issues of Senjougahara and Araragi

Original post: Authenticity, How Beatiful You Are (Bakemonogatari 12)

animewriter

September 30, 2009 at 5:12 am

[…]

Hitagi’s father tries to tell Araragi this when they’re together inside the car, he basically tells Araragi that he saved/changed his daughter when he couldn’t.

While Araragi has his problems and issues, I think they pale in comparison to Hitagi’s issues. I can totally understand why she’s head over heals in love with Araragi, her faith and trust has been totally betrayed by the one’s who were supposed to protect her, her mother offered her up as a sex toy, and he father was too busy with work, or whatever, to notice. Araragi was the one who was able to save her, even in the face of her own threats to him, so I can see why she feels that he’ll always protect her.

Now, I also feel that Hitagi’s “tsundere” behavior was a red herring, she isn’t tsundere, she was just being mean as a self-protection defense tactic, after being betrayed by the ones who were supposed to protect her, I can’t blame her. I also feel that Hitagi’s feelings of self-worth are even lower than Araragi’s. It was pretty telling when she offers Araragi everything, her heart, her mind, her soul, and even if she’s scared, her body, and she feels that it’s not a lot. What more could a man want than having a woman offer everything she is to him, I would take it as a sign of absolute trust and love.

So, in the end, Araragi and Hitagi are two gentle and lonely souls that have made a connection and are struggling with issues of self-worth and loneliness.

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September 30, 2009

Sorrow-kun on Redefining Harem Anime

Original post: Authenticity, How Beatiful You Are (Bakemonogatari 12)

Sorrow-kun

September 30, 2009 at 1:25 am

How good was this episode? You know me, I look at things with a critical eye, but I couldn’t find anything in it that didn’t have value, and that wasn’t good. The car scene was so entertaining and had a strong sense of awkwardness that was palpable, and the star-watching scene exposed us to yet another layer of Hitagi, and showed why the romance between her and Araragi is genuine.

People are better off after knowing him. This is clear. Maybe this is some kind of magic wand waved by the narrative, but no, not really.

It’s interesting, since this is a formula commonly seen in harem anime, except here the “magic wand” is much better concealed. That’s the difference between Bakemonogatari and most harem anime… there’s more genuineness and believability to the girls falling for Araragi (in most cases, only to a mild extent) than there is in a standard harem anime.

I kinda think that shows like Bakemonogatari and Kannagi give us a reason to rethink the definition of “harem”. It’s become such a dirty word in anime discourse, but these two in particular are genuinely great titles, and calling them “good harem” isn’t far-fetched. So it doesn’t have to be that way, IMO. A couple of years ago, I wrote that the thought-provoking harem was like a black swan. Well, between Shinbo and Yamamoto, two of anime’s best directors, they’ve sure answered that.

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September 1, 2009

Zyl on the Inauthenticity of Araragi

Original post here [->]


Zyl

September 1, 2009 at 6:06 am

WRT Araragi’s messianic tendencies, suffering hero complex, taking kindness to its extreme (i.e. kind to others to the extent of being cruel to self and, by extension, cruel to those who care for and love you; being more in thrall of the idea of ‘being kind’ than to truly ‘be kind’ – with all the burdens and inconveniences that entails). He’s not the first anime chara with that tendency but, by golly, he’s so much less annoying than, say, Emiya Shirou from F/SN or the early proto-pacifist Kira Yamato.

And that’s partly because he keeps such excellent company – Oshino and Senjougahara – who won’t indulge his inauthenticity for even the span of a full episode, stepping up to say clearly, cutting to the chase, ‘That’s BS, Araragi-kun.’ But also because he sheepgracefully accepts it, growing and maturing, even if a little bit by bit; the quest is not so much to root out the messiah in him but to sublimate so that he can save others while not hurting those who love him who hurt seeing him hurt himself with cuts of a thousand kindnesses.

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August 25, 2009

Vendredi on Suruga Monkey (Bakemonogatari)

Original post here: [->]

vendredi

August 25, 2009 at 8:09 am

This one was fairly mind-blowing; perhaps it’s the absence of the other characters to balance out Suruga’s lightning delivery… but surprisingly enough I recall the “Monkey Paw” story that Araragi initially attributes to Suruga’s strange condition.

Depending on the version of the story, it involves a group of people finding/buying a dessicated monkey paw talisman that is said to grant three wishes. The first wish is for money, but one of the group’s number is killed as a result (for example, collecting a life insurance payout). One member of the distraught group then tries to wish the other person to life – which has no immediate effect… until several days after the funeral, where an ominous banging is heard on the door. The more sensible minded members of the group then burn the third wish to ensure that the deceased person stays properly dead – as it has been several days since the burial and who knows what horror is now shambling about.

The exact gory details vary on the version – sometimes it’s a family that discovers the paw in the belongings of a long lost relative, or a group of teenagers that steal it from a curio shop; sometimes the paw has three outstretched fingers which curl down as wishes are granted; but the general pattern of the story remains the same. The ultimate theme in the end is that the supernatural power of the three wishes, rather than allowing the group to change fate, causes them to be locked in – their second and third wishes are used up in various states of agonized regret over the results of the first choice.

Meme does point out that Araragi’s story is incorrect: not a monkey but a devil, but still the fact that the story is brought up still raises some interesting ideas. Much as in the original story, Suruga’s wishes are unable to change her ultimate fate; her wishes are made of regrets. She originally wished to help Senjougahara and solve her weight problem, but in the end that only resulted in alienating their relationship. Suruga’s subsequent “omoi” (as noted before, implying feelings, wishes, and weight), is to undo the damage she caused with her first wish, to try and restore what was lost.

Continued […]

To uh, re-iterate in TL:DR fashion,

-The pattern of Suruga’s wishes follows the original “Monkey Paw” story.

-Her first wish is to solve Senjougahara’s weight problem, after discovering it. She approaches Senjougahara, but this results in their relationship becoming alienated. However Senjougahara is indeed cured – just not by Suruga, rather, by Araragi.

-Her second wish is then to restore her previous relationship with Senjougahara – much like the original story, the second wish is made to reverse the consequences of the first. This however results in the manifestation of the “monkey paw” we see in this episode.

-Her third wish now is what Seinime articulates: She wants the monkey paw off her. Her third wish, as in the original Monkey Paw story, is based on the regret felt for the consequences of her second wish.

-This sequence exactly mirrors the pattern of the original Monkey Paw tale: a wish is made, but results in consequences. Rather than live on with the consequences, the protagonists try to reverse them – essentially trying to go back to “how things were before”.

-I predict for the next episode that Meme will point to the root of Suruga’s problems as an inability to move beyond the past, and emphasize the fact that she must live with the consequences of her actions.

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August 14, 2009

DonKangolJones on how getting one’s way wouldn’t be as fun

DonKangoJones comments on Powerful Dialogue Sells the Show: Bakemonogatari 03 (Mayoi Snail 1) and Macross Frontier 03 (On Your Marks)

DonKangolJones

August 14, 2009 at 6:24 am

I had a funny feeling while watching Bakemonogatari 03. Either this is where I get off, or I’m watching something brilliant that I don’t think I’m prepared for. The first thing that struck me (maybe I should say distracted)was the imagery. The colors and art were just beautiful. But something kept snapping me out of it. The dialogue. The somewhat insane dialogue. It seemed melancholy & introspective. It was almost like you were staring at a piece of art and there was someone have a deep, interesting conversation right in front of it.

Senjougahara clearing dominates the conversation. And in a way it felt like she was dominating the viewer. Or at least me because I apparently think like Araragi. And while it was fun to listen to and nice to think about, I really did want to stop her, look her in the eye , and ask her some straight questions and get straight answers. But I guess it wouldn’t be as fun that way, nor would she be as mysterious and sexy.

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August 14, 2009

Sorrow-Kun on the advantage of dialogue that is “about” something

Sorrow-kun comments on Powerful Dialogue Sells the Show: Bakemonogatari 03 (Mayoi Snail 1) and Macross Frontier 03 (On Your Marks)

I think the advantage of using dialogue which is, as you put it, “about” something is that it’s a lot more creative than just mere exposition. It begs the audience to look for subtext and context, to engage with what the characters are talking about, and, more importantly, what they’re saying (subtle difference, people can “say” things without actually talking, and any good visual medium, from film to animation, will capture that).

Speaking about “nuance”, which is relevant to Bakemonogatari, I think it’s important to discern the difference between “believable” and “realistic” in the case of Senjougahara. She’s not realistic at all in the same sense as characters from Honey and Clover are. She’s an entirely fictional construct, but she’s thoroughly entertaining and sympathetic because of it. They’ve spent time building her up as a capricious character with a knack for elaborate speech, which is why when she says what she says, it’s believable, even though it’s unique and (arguably) out of left field. Bakemonogatari as an anime, overall, is unstructured (most Shinbo anime are), but because of that, it has a huge amount of freedom to go wherever it pleases. It’s probably the most delicious anime I can remember since Kannagi.

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August 12, 2009

The Inauthenticity of Senjougahara Fascination

While bantering with Coburn in the comments section in one of my earlier posts on Bakemonogatari, I conjectured that Araragi instead of being a viewer avatar is actually a commentary on the viewer. From the presence of fetishes to the impotence in fulfilling them — it’s as if the narrative is having fun at the viewer’s expense.

I find this very interesting. What fun it seems for the text to rip into its fans like so. Araragi is powerless against Senjougahara (real), and more himself and can fight on equal terms with Hachikuji (loli, unreal, a ghost). Otaku’s fetish for loli of the 2D variety has something to do with the latter’s powerlessness against the otaku. In the face of a ‘realistic’ woman, Araragi is powerless, has no initiative. His relationship, his life, is directed almost entirely by Senjougahara.

On the way to ‘study group,’ Araragi has no problem dallying with Hachikuji, who teases him with sexual entendre, fights with him, speaks his fetishes out loud while posing no real threat.

No.Real.Threat.

She is a ghost, and he has regenerative abilities. The viewer may like a real Senjougahara to show up in their lives [->] but as an otaku will not let go of the loli fetish. This is the inauthenticity of Senjougahara Fascination.

Furthermore, this regenerative ability… I will further conjecture that it is representative of the resilience of otaku. Hurt them, troll them, piss on them, ‘betray’ them, have your way with them. They will come back if they love you enough. If the Endless Eight DVDs of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu doesn’t sell, then I’m wrong. If “The Disappearance” doesn’t get a generate excitement leading to its release, then I’m wrong.

So Bakemonogatari has no compunctions pissing all over Araragi, the representation of its viewers. Araragi can survive almost anything, even Senjougahara.

Also, in Dungeons and Dragons, usually the first encounter player characters have with a monster that has regeneration abilities is with a Troll.

Just saying.

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