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Oh Monogatari series. You just keep giving us something strange and amazing with each season.
The Monogatari series has always been a bit tricky to figure out when it came to plot direction. The first sequel we got was not really the sequel - in retrospect, an obvious conclusion considering the name - and this year's Neko Kuro was a prequel involving one of the two main girls of the series. You never could tell where the spotlight would fall next, however this season is the most transparent; six girls, 2-cour and presumably an order established by the light novels. First up, it's part two to Nekomongatari featuring Hanekawa.
Looking back at my own reviews, I've talked at length about Hanekawa's importance in the series. As Araragi's closest friend and as a love lost, she's been an important character in the Monogatari series. It would be easy to go on and talk about why, but instead lets focus on what was in front of us in this first episode: Hanekawa, Senjougahara and no Araragi.
Despite the importance of Hanekawa, there was never a real moment in which her and Senjougahara were alone. In retrospect, Araragi was the common link that brought them together and so not seeing him in this episode is definitely an odd feeling. It should be said not seeing Araragi in an episode of Monogatari is strange full stop, yet the feeling is more prevalent in this episode because of the two most important women bonding without him.
A relationship that's never really been explained, came to life in this episode. Senjougahara showed how much she cared for the perpetually lonely Hanekawa - probably as an extension of her love for Araragi - by extending a hand and the banter. Again, I admit to an odd feeling of no Araragi in the mix but as far as changes go, it's not a bad one. You could even see it as two girls bonding over a shared interest in a guy and acknowledging each other as competition. Let's not forget how scared the current girlfriend was in Nisemonogatari whenever Hanekawa made a joke about stealing Araragi, and let's enjoy that last scene where she admits to still loving him.
A very strong return for the Monogatari series, considering how little was accomplished in the episode. That's likely to have to do with Neko Shiro being dialogue heavy and may continue for a few more episodes. Nevertheless, I look forward to this arc and the rest.
- Wonder if Araragi will show up in this arc.
- If not, can we expect an all Senjougahara-Hanekawa arc, because I'd be okay with that.
- The chapter counter is a nice touch.
Monogatari Series: Second Season OP 1
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Monogatari Series: Second Season ED 1
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