Onimonogatari Limited Edition Blu-ray Review

 

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We’ve reached the second to last arc in Monogatari Season Two, “Onimonogatari,” which features Araragi’s cheeky vampire sidekick, Shinobu (or formerly Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade if you’re nitpicky), as the main subject. As always, Aniplex has released a limited edition Blu-ray that contains all the episode for the Shinobu arc in one neat little package. Take a seat because this one’s a bit heavier than the all the other arcs thus far.

Story (Possible spoilers ahead)

After the events of Otorimonogatari, we now come back to Araragi as the narrator for Shionbu’s story. Along the way, he meets up with Hachikuji and helps her back to his house to retrieve her extremely large backpack. Suddenly without any reason, a strange clump of “darkness” appears out of nowhere and begins to chase after our heroes. Coincidentally, as I say that with a straight face, they are saved in the nick of time by their former adversary, Ononoki, who ends up playing a significant part in this arc. It’s not news that the series is renowned for being extremely dialogue heavy, but I do feel this arc in particular really pushed that even further. One of the episodes is focused entirely to Shinobu’s recollection of her origins and her history as a vampire. Whether or not you enjoy monologues will perhaps be the major factor in liking this arc. That and maybe whether Araragi’s secret obsession with little girls might be a turn off.

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Video

As always, the set is bundled into two discs with two episodes per disc. As always, the masters are clean and colors pop. White backgrounds are decorated with the colors of the characters themselves. The signature wide shot is used pretty extensively as usual. Episode two does an interesting take on the Shinobu’s origin story by depicting it as one long sliding painting that transitions into one another. Weaving together different scenes invokes ancient Japanese paintings from masters like Hokusai. Even though I know Monogatari’s static style often clashes with events in question. SHAFT is a fickle studio and their arbitrary selection of action scenes to animate often becomes a bit of a downer.

Audio

Onimonogatari features only a Japanese language track with subtitles. In addition it is the first arc to feature an opening that lacks an opening with lyrics from the title character, opting to instead create a more foreboding song and use of haunting imagery. However that is all made up by Shinobu’s excellent voice work from Maaya Sakamoto. Her ability to details is just wonderful on her part and the writers. In a few instances, Shinobu acknowledges Araragi despite no audible dialogue from the latter, implying rather she is telling the story to us as the audience. This story within the story are the kinds of the touches that make the monogatari series such a treat to watch multiple times. The subtlety to break fourth walls and tricking viewers are some of the show’s best traits.

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Extra Content

As with previous volumes, there are postcards of the episode’s TV broadcast end cards. Aside from the usual postcards and guidebook extra, it also comes with a beautiful spread of the picture scrolls used in episode two. It’s a shame that they’re in such a small format. (A nice bonus nonetheless.) The guidebook themselves still need work on their text formatting. I do enjoy the emulation of the picture scroll-style being used as the cover.

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Final Reaction

What I immensely enjoy about the direction of the Monogatari series are they never like to leave things unresolved, which ultimately is one of the biggest plot devices in this arc. It establishes strict rules in its own fiction as easily as they will break them. It also serves up one of the most poignant scene since the beginning of the series. Ultimately, it’s a show that matures as time goes on and understanding characters that often question their own morality and motives. Ultimately though, Shinobu receives a nice dose of character development and more importantly both her and Araragi’s acceptance of the status quo. I recommend you bring some tissues for the last episode.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

4 Atoms

Blu-ray Specs

  • Language: Japanese
  • Video: 16:9 Widescreen
  • Episode: SHINOBU Time Episodes 1-4
  • Number of Disc: 2 Blu-ray Discs
  • Subtitles: English
  • Total Run Time: Approx. 100 min.
  • Rating: 16 UP
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