I was actually planning on releasing this within the first Fall Weekly Recap, but life at the University of Texas got a little hectic. Since I haven’t been able to write anything lately, I thought I would just publish this anyway. I will be returning to writing weekly once I can get a handle on my school work and interviews. From what I’ve heard so far, this season is solid, and I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you all again.
The Monogatari series returns with its traditional long winded monologues and surreal backgrounds. This time the focus returns to Araragi, and he is joined by the enigmatic Ougi Oshino. Ougi fits the mold of the mysterious transfer student trope, and has been an unknown factor in the Monogatari narrative. The viewer gets a sense of discomfort from watching her inhuman movement and speech. Her unnatural features are further emphasized in Owarimonogatari through the use of Shaft’s unique backgrounds. The first half of the episode had the classroom consistently switching between showing vast galaxies and bright green circuitry. These backgrounds further the idea of Ougi being from another world, separating her from apparitions and the rest of the cast. This division between her and everything else makes it easy to conceive her as an antagonist, but I think of her as a motor which pushes character progression to the forefront.
Throughout the episode Ougi mocks Araragi: constantly speaking down to him, using his own words against him, and prodding him with questions. But these inquiries aren’t without purpose. Ougi is trying to draw out a lesson for Araragi, and constantly pesters him until he reveals his story. Through this flashback the viewer learns what truly jaded Araragi and shapes his sense of justice. The classroom apparition itself is a metaphor for Araragi dwelling on past regrets, and failing to move forward. He still allows this singular moment to shape his judgement of people. Now Araragi’s line “I’m used to sitting here” serves a dual meaning. It implies he was once a student in this classroom, and how he refuses to change. Ougi’s lesson is for Araragi to notice his stasis, which is the first step to change.
I don’t know anything. You’re the one that knows
By teaching Araragi from the front of the class Ougi mirrors a teacher in a classroom drawing an answer out of a rebellious student. In this way Ougi serves as the foreshadowing for the final conclusion to the classroom apparition, while the audience chases Shaft’s red herring. The combination of discovering how Araragi’s ideology was formed with this subtle narrative trick creates a gripping climax for a great premiere.