Posted by: Dante Sangria | July 13, 2009

Bakemonogatari Episode 2 Review

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SUMMARY:

Before the opening, we learn that Senjougahara Hitagi lives in a mansion. Her mother was deceived by and gave all their money to an evil cult. This goes through Araragi’s mind as Hitagi is showering.

This episode we finally have an opening – it’s interesting… "STAPLE STABLE" is apparently the name of the song? And there’s staplers running through the scenes of the opening everywhere, mostly black and white photos with colored staples/staplers. And a Godzilla-sized Senjogahara marching through the empty city streets amongst the skyscrapers.

Hitagi is instructed by Oshino to change into some clean clothes after cleaning up with cold water. They will meet again at midnight. After an intense glare at Oshino, Hitagi asks what he wants in return. Oshino apparently thought he could get away without mentioning costs. He asks for 100,000 yen. He asked poor Araragi for 5,000,000 yen…! Of course, she can afford this. Despite the cost, she’s determined to get rid of the curse.

We next see Araragi sitting on (presumably) Hitagi’s floor, at her place. She comes out of the shower to retrieve her clothes, nonchalantly asking Araragi to move aside. In shock and blushing, he retorts, yelling at her for not dressing beforehand. Apparently, she "forgot" – and towels are for the "poor." After she puts on underwear she tells him it’s OK to look – of course, this doesn’t strike him as appropriate in any way. In fact, this is her obscured way of "thanking" Araragi…. However, she gets mad at his lack of appreciation…! (On what little she is wearing, the patterns of stationery supplies are pointed out. Obsession…!)

Following is a scene of Araragi’s deception (not what it sounds like) into making himself look like an idiot. His virginity, apparently, Hitagi will keep a secret from Hanekawa. Araragi denies any romantic feelings for Hanekawa. They then talk about trusting Oshino, which Hitagi has always had reluctance in trusting anyone.

Aside from that, she thinks extremely lowly of Araragi’s intelligence, and vocalizes this. He’s not the brightest guy, apparently, especially compared to her. Eventually she stops showing off her lack of clothing and states that they’ll both go to Hokkaido to eat crab if all goes well. Of course, Araragi [pretends to object to this….]

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Midnight arrives and they go to see Oshino. He’s dressed in white and strange priestly garb – he majored as one in University but never worked at a shrine. They must modestly pray to the crab, rather than exterminating it – because it’s a god. They proceed to discuss what must be done to bring the crab with them, and perform a ritual by an altar for the crab.

During this ritual Oshino asks Hitagi of her most painful memory. It was when Hitagi’s mother brought a cult member back. He performed a ritual, and he tried too assault Hitagi. Hitagi hit him with a spiked shoe, but her mother did nothing. Then, her mother was punished because the higher-up was injured. Hitagi has regrets of reacting back then because then her family would not have broken.

As a side note, keep in mind that the word "omoi" can mean either feelings or weight, depending on the kanji. This alludes to the fact that yes, Hitagi lost her "weight," but a dual. She had to shoulder these burdens, this weight, herself. With some apprehension in her voice, she is told to open her eyes, and sees a vaguely formed crab in front of her. The same as the time before, she can see the crab.

No one else can see it. She needs to ask the crab something, but it throws her back against the wall and suspends her in the air, crushing against her. Oshino approaches the crab and Araragi calls after her. Oshino reaches into apparently thin air, and stomps out the invisible crab…. In the end, she can’t make a request, because her mental state. However, Oshino crushed the crab.

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Getting up off the ground, Hitagi wants to try again. She tries praying again to it. A flashback ensues. Back when Hitagi’s mother was in the cult, she had a serious disease and almost died after an operation.

Because of that, her mother fell deeper into the cult, and lost a relationship with her mother. Over time, her mother developed a lust for a girl’s body and had abnormal sexual desires. The family broke up after this. Then, Senjougahara met the crab.

It erased her weight, but also the weight that the worries of her mother brought upon her. It stopped her from "feeling," and "weight." So she now has her feeling back, but nothing can be done about her

family and mother. Senjougahara wanted the happy memories to return. The memories, and the troubles both. However… she is satisfied with this. At least, she says, she made a friend who is precious and trustworthy to her – Araragi.

Back at home, he hasn’t slept all night and is being shaked by his sisters to get ready for the day. He goes into the bathroom, his weight 55kg. Stepping on the scale, his weight is now 100kg.

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AFTERTHOUGHTS:

This episode was fairly good. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as the first. I liked the symbols and allusions in it, particularly the use of the pun for "omoi" (weight + feeling) and the way this is used in the story.

In the end, Senjougahara made a friend who was precious to her, as she stated – though for some reason. Somehow, after all that happened to her mentally that night it seems… interesting and not expected (kind of a deus ex machina, if you will) that she would admit it. It kind of destroys her mysteriousness, but I hope there’s a good reason behind it.

However, the fanservice: I hope this doesn’t become a fanservice-y anime… because that’s killed so many anime. It will either turn you onto the show or make you more speculative of it.

Aside from this, until episode 3 we won’t really know what the plot really is. This episode seemed to be fairly conclusive, not leaving you hanging… aside from the character development at the end, I can’t make any assessment as to what will happen beyond Senjougahara’s different outlook on life and her friendship with Araragi. And this doesn’t seem like that kind of "friendship anime," but more serious and, frankly, dark, at times.

Once again a wonderful use of non-anime art, animation, colors and sound effects. What you would think not to be creepy turned into quite disturbing things, and even a video clip of a smile paired with the right presentation was about as chilling as any craziness to be found in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni or the like. The art is quite masterful in this regard.

I thought this episode had kind of a cute ending… I guess. Frankly, though I initially was very impressed by this show, I have yet to see what more has to offer before I decide if I like it or not.

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Responses

  1. It seems like God/the crab added the weight she had onto his weight..

    • Thanks for your comment. ^^ Yes, I believe it does mean that. Though I didn’t write it because it added better effect to the end of the post summary, haha. ; P Unless he makes up for it with extreme strength there won’t be any battle scenes headed our way, hahaha. XD

  2. Hello! I jus started watching this show. It’s right up my alley: great cutting edge animation, strong characters and sharp wit not to mention a little self reference of the genre. Reminds me a lot of Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei tho the plot lines are much longer. It does get a bit talky at times but when the action starts, that’s when the animators really cut loose. The background art reminds me of Revolutionary Girl Utena a bit almost as if that’s what it would look like today instead of its dated look from 1998.

    • I’m glad you found this review, as old as it is. 🙂 I stopped writing reviews in favor of writing for various projects. I definitely agree with the animation and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. I may re-watch this show now that you brought it back up, and I will give Revolutionary Girl Utena a look. 🙂 Some 1998 anime have really decent animation though even by today’s standards.


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