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Annotated Anime: Owarimonogatari Episode 12

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I hate break ups

The Monogatari series can be sometimes hard to follow. Lots of characters interact in the background, a substantial amount of lore and exposition is dumped on the watcher every two episodes, and if you're a subtitle reader you'll spend the majority of your time looking at the bottom third of the screen instead of taking in the exquisite cinematography and color palette. That is why the Bakemonogatari Wikia has been invaluable in helping me follow this season. Owarimonogatari's last chapter is deeply interwoven with Tsubasa Tiger and Shinobu Time and having a good grasp of those two storylines is essential for an adequate understanding of the characters in these last few episodes. 

The episode opens with Araragi still at the shrine and calling his significant other Senjougahara. He explains the danger he will be going through soon and questions his position as Shinobu's second minion, a minion that has been chosen by Shinobu but is inadequate for the position compared to the Samurai. He goes about it by asking Senjougahara if she would leave Araragi if she had found someone better than him. In classic Senjougahara fashion, she bluntly agrees and goes on to explain a relationship is a continuous process of effort and love to prevent the other from leaving for a better suitor. Their conversations often have Araragi and Senjougahara throwing witticisms at each other making this scene very endearing for the couple. Rarely do they open hearts and discuss their problems and when they do Senjougahara would step up to the plate since she is more dominant in the relationship. This does not happen as she lets Araragi fight for Shinobu and puts his mind at ease about Tsubasa. Lastly this conversation marks the first time they explicitly express their love for each other. And it's wonderful.

The episode moves briskly onto the dual. On the school grounds, Gaen explains the rules. As Araragi has waning Vampire powers and the Samurai has recently been reborn with his oddity powers relatively intact, the dual has been designed in regards to the power difference. Gaen places a Kendo sword between Araragi and the Samurai and the first to reach it after taking ten paces away and strike the other will win. A mix of both marital ability and agility. During the preparations, Gaen informs Araragi that Tsubasa and Senjougahara are in danger. As this scene takes part side by side to Tsubasa Tiger, she is referring to the tiger oddity that burnt down both the cram school and Tsubasa's house and is currently targeting Tsubasa who is staying with Senjougahara. 

This puts Araragi at a crossroads. Does he stay and fight a meaningless fight for the sake of a Vampire that refuses to face her past, or does he try and save his loved ones. This part really exemplifies Araragi's three-way commitment to the three most important girls in his life. Each one plays a large role in his life and his choice will determine as the most important. He ends up sending Kanbaru to attend to Senjougahara and stays for the dual. Even though it is a pointless fight, Araragi has to prove to himself that he is deserving of Shinobu. It's a matter of pride more than anything.

Before the fight begins, without showing herself, Shinobu drops the Kokorowatari blade in place of the Kendo sword raising the stakes. Previously Araragi could lose the dual but not die and then Gaen and Episode would've exorcised the Samurai and now there is a real danger of Araragi losing his head in the dual. As the fight begins, the Samurai ditches the armour and makes it to the sword first. Araragi, however, outsmarts everyone by placing Meme's seal (previously used in Nadeko Snake) onto the Samurai. The rules had called for the first strike which can be translated as 'first touch' thus being victorious. The seal causes all the oddities that made up the Samurai to wash away as the Samurai calls out for Shinobu. A poignant end as Shinobu appears distraught at the sight of her first minion dying again.

In the end, the Samurai really did have feelings for Shinobu and wanted to return to being her minion. I think in a way so did she but was too afraid of confronting him about it and was already with Araragi despite the separation. Shinobu tearfully eats the remnants of her former minion as Araragi dashes to save Tsubasa from Kako. Only these last two episodes reveal Shinobu's tragic relationship with the Samurai. He was someone she didn't think she would see again like an ex and like an ex, carries lots of emotional and psychological baggage she doesn't want to let out. This is why she was being very cautious about avoiding him, about not wanting a confrontation. The only time she sees him is when she has to devour the oddities he is made up of. 

Owarimonogatari had some of the darkest and troubling arcs of the series and it wrapped up the loose ends introduced in Monogatari: Second Season. A chronological release of the series would've made me understand the series a lot better holistically and retain the fine minutia behind each scene. This is especially true for the final arc Shinobu Mail and Tsubasa Tiger as they happen at the same time as each other. Everything is interlinked and you'll only find it if you have a stupid good memory or are Gaen. There isn't a year long break between Monogatari instalments as Kizumonogatari will be released next month following on with it's official English translation of the novel. 

The Monogatari fan inside me would've liked more funny wacky moments and more Tsukihi (there is never enough Tsukihi) in this season. Owarimonogatari has slate my thirst for the oddity ramblings and drop dead gorgeous art direction and provided some very interesting stories and character development in the process. 

[Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!]

[Watch Owarimonogatari on Crunchy Roll!]

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Anthony Redgrave
Anthony RedgraveContributor   gamer profile

Born in the 90's, Anthony was raised on Anime and cultivated a strong passion for Japanese culture and paraphernalia. He has dabbled all manner of web shenanigans; from webcomics to game developm... more + disclosures


 


 


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