Zoku Owarimonogatari (Cert 15)
2 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 158 minutes approx.
Release Date: August 9th
“I’m finally finishing the story that went on for so long.”
And about bloody time too! Yes, I know I am in the minority when it comes to not getting on with the Monogatari franchise but this is my site and my opinion therefore I am allowed to celebrate the end of this impenetrably baffling and pretentious saga that has driven me mad for the past eight years!
Zoku Owarimonogatari translates to “ending story continued” because of course it does, since it is not enough to actually end a story in the Monogatari world just to deliver what it says in the title. This final hurrah is subtitled Koyomi Reverse, (which would be Imoyok surely?) as male protagonist Koyomi Aragari is pulled through his bathroom mirror and taken to an alternate world, as you do.
Since mirrors show a reverse image, the idea is the people in this world are opposites of how he knows them – but this is Monogatari so it is not quite that simple. Apparently, this isn’t a straight reversal but a horizontal inversion – for example, Mayoi Hachikuji, the dead 10 year-old schoolgirl whose ghost Koyomi befriends, is alive and now a 21 year-old woman.
Elsewhere, sullen corpse girl Yotsugi Ononoki is a bubbly outgoing person, whilst the cause of Koyomi’s misfortune, Shinobu Oshin, is a human and not a vampire since vampires don’t have reflections. I guess Koyomi being half-vampire is why he still has a reflection. Needing to return to his own world, Koyomi has to rely on the girls for their help in doing so, a reversal on Koyomi helping the girls solve their predicaments in the other stories.
Being Monogatari, instead of actually doing anything they all sit around and talk about it in their usual garrulous fashion, making a point or comment based on some abstruse philosophical foundation then reiterating it in simplified terms for us idiots to follow. This takes up half an episode by which time they could be closer to solving the problem, but this sort of farewell party means everyone has to be invited, requiring a new face to show up and add their two pence worth.
I’m sure you might be thinking that with the main theme being opposites, I should follow suit and praise this instalment and give it five stars. Sorry to disappoint but that isn’t happening, although I am tempted to boost the score if this really is the end and creator Isio Nisin doesn’t decide to spew out another new set of light novels for Shaft to animate and torture me with.
On the subject of torture, I must apologise for each subsequent review is basically a rant on how vexing this show is for me. Looking back at my review for the first instalment Bakemonagatari released here in 2013, I concluded – rather charitably – that I didn’t know if I liked it but didn’t dislike it either. It was something different and beguiling, and for all its faults, it certainly made a lasting impression but also felt like a one off.
However, more Monogatari titles arrived and the show became incrementally harder to follow with each new release, and increasingly obtuse with the manic style of high speed, prolix verbiage set to abstract imagery, often unrelated to the discussion at hand. After a while, I found it draining in trying to keep up with it whilst also trying to make sense of what was happening, and this fatigue turned to malevolence on my part.
Making the stories simple yet burying them behind reams of dialogue does not suit the visual medium in my opinion, no matter how inventive the accompanying imagery may be. When watching something becomes a chore, resentment is soon to fester and this is really where my dissension from the vocal fandom of this franchise lies – in other words (pun intended) you either get it or you don’t, and whilst some things can be enjoyed in spite of this, Monogatari, for me, isn’t one of them.
Whilst many will lament the end of the saga’s run, I, in keeping with the reversal theme of this title, will rejoice, not so much in celebration but through relief of sparing myself and your dear readers (and the cheaper ones) from another negative review. I do wish I was able to connect with this series as it is has many qualities I usually enjoy in anime and comedy in general, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t to be.
Therefore it is with some irony as Koyomi finally ends up in a burden free place and ready to move onto the next chapter of his life, I too feel a huge weight has been lifted from me – no more groans of disappointment as I receive my review discs and see the suffix “Monogatari” printed on the front; no more putting off watching said discs; no more falling asleep from being bored stupid by the density of the content; and no more dreading having to write the same negative review again.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow” wrote Shakespeare in Romeo & Juliet yet I cannot feel any sorrow in ending this fractious relationship with the Monogatari franchise, but it is sweet. More power to those of you enchanted and entertained by Nisin’s surreal, jagged, pseudo intellectual ramblings and to those of you who actually understood it all; I would say “I’ll have what you’re having” but I fear my aberrant Autistic brain would explode if I did.
Like stepping on a piece of Lego, cleaning up after my dog, Tories winning another election, James Corden being cast in another film, my favourite food being discontinued, a cold call whilst eating my dinner, being ignored on social media, and Piers Morgan, life is full of things intent on making our time on earth as miserable as possible. With Zoku Owarimonogatari release, I have at least one less thorn in my side.
Goodbye and good riddance!
Japanese Language 2.0 DTS HD-MA
Textless Ending (#6 version)
Promotional Video Collections
Rating – ** ½
Man In Black