Summer 2013 #5: the two big shows, at least for me

Nothing like a little computer malfunction and work schedule to throw me completely off my anime watching and writing, but I seem to be back now, all ready for the two big shows of the season, at least in my mind … nearly a week late.

monogatari1-1

Monogatari starts with Hanekawa’s cheerful monologue about how she has no idea what her identity is, while a Roomba bumps into everything and we see that she is
sleeping in the hallway. Thus the unpleasant facts about her life return to us. It’s August, by the way, so its after both Neko- and Bake-, er, I think. And
then we get a brief appearance by Mayoi, and what appears to be the first big conversation, but it’s more of a tease for the next arc. The real conversation happens when she makes it to school after encountering the enormous white tiger muttering something about lies. The champ of talk, Senjougahara, is the other conversant, and the topics are Hanekawa’s inability to ask for help when she needs it, and Araragi’s tendency to help people even when they don’t ask for it, rather like Touma. So maybe she could ask Araragi for help first, for a change.

monogatari1-2

This “not asking for help” tendency is displayed when Hanekawa’s house burns down and she doesn’t ask anyone for a place to stay. It takes an all-night search by Senjougahara to find her, and we get conversation two, a reprise on that whole asking for help thing, with the notable fact that I’ve never seen Senjougahara so upset before. I’ve also never watched an episode where Araragi is so distant. It turns out he’s off doing something dangerous, as usual. The girls will have to fend for themselves. This being Monogatari, you can pretty much guess what happens next. Well, the whole scene with Senjougahara stripping down and inviting Hanekawa to shower with her with words loaded with suggestion aside, we see a protective side of Senjougahara that’s often hidden behind her fast, dangerous manner of speaking, as if, with Araragi gone, she feels the need to do his helping-people-before-they-ask-for-it job. It’s a good start to the new series, but I wonder how long it’ll be before the main character actually shows up.

Genshiken Nidaime, the first episode, at least, appears to put the franchise back on track after that disappointing second season.

The new gang is somewhat different from the old.
The new gang is somewhat different from the old.

I could also add that this was the perfect show to watch after Monogatari, what with Sue cosplaying as Shinobou and tossing out Mayoi lines. Anyway … Ogiue is now the president of Genshiken, but she’s not sure what she ought to be doing with that title. What’s more, the only members who haven’t graduated are her, Ohno, and Kuchiki. Oh, and Sue, who seems to have joined without anyone noticing. Ogiue’s drawing at the school’s recruitment event does attract three people, two of them normal enough that we can’t make anything of them yet, except that one is a bit flighty and the other a grump, and then there’s Hato.

I knew we could count on Saki.
I knew we could count on Saki.

The episode is busy introducing new characters and reintroducing old ones, but they manage to do it while working sort-of stories around Hato. Who can tell she’s really a he? Why, only Saki. Once that sort-of story is done it turns to “where does he change?” which turns to “don’t let Kuchiki find him changing” and finally to “What place can we find for Hato to change that’s not illegal?” And so they get the lad sorted out for now. We’ll learn about the other two soon enough. The show is as busy as the manga feels (though I have only glanced at the reboot, and only in Japanese), jumping from one character to another while others observe in the background and provide their own counterpoint, which is one of the things I loved most about the original series, that and the characters. I’ll miss Madarame’s old voice, but only a little. I thought I’d miss Ohno’s more than I did. It’s all good. I’m happy to see the franchise in good hands again.

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