Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Bakemonogatari - Episode 15 (Completed)

It's taken over a year, but here we are at last - The much-delayed final episode of Bakemonogatari. It's been a particularly long wait considering the cliffhanger of sorts we were left with last time too, with Hanekawa (or rather, the oddity in control of her) professing her love for Araragi.

Naturally, Araragi simply refuses to believe that this is true despite the fact that it makes perfect sense, and not for the first time we get a grade A example of our protagonists naivety - Just because Hanekawa told him that she never lied he believed it hook, line and sinker, and it takes quite some convincing from "Black Hanekawa" before he finally begins to realise that yes, Hanekawa had fallen in love with him but simply wasn't the type to bring it up, even going to the lengths of helping him out in regards to Senjougahara despite her inner pain and stress.


If you're expecting an episode filled with Araragi agonising over a choice between Hanekawa and Senjougahara, think again; regardless of the scenario facing him, Araragi simply refuses to budge in his love for Senjougahara - Good job she took him on that date, otherwise I would wager the outcome might have been a little different. So, with that out of the question, and with Shinobu missing, how do you go about solving Hanekawa's oddity problem? "Black Hanekawa" has an answer....

...kill Araragi. Thus, not for the first time in this series, our hero finds himself in mortal danger, although this time there's nobody around to help him despite all those who he's helped in the past. Or is that really the case? Just when all hope seems lost, out of the shadows pops one of Araragi's fan club to save the day in the nick of time, bringing a relative return to normality and allowing us a happy ending with love, friendship and something of a goodbye to the disappearing Oshino.

So it comes to the end, and although I'm glad that we've finally been delivered this final episode (better late than never) I still feel oddly sad that the whole endeavour has at last come to its natural conclusion. Certainly, this instalment was a fitting end to the series - Lots of sharp dialogue, nice little moments and solid characterisation to make for a surprisingly tense end to it all that felt far more unpredictable to the viewer than it actually was. Overall, Bakemonogatari has been a joy to watch in almost every way than an anime series can be a thing of beauty - It's characters are memorable to the point of being timeless, the dialogue is fabulous, the jokes sharp and repeatedly funny, and the whole thing is backed up with top-notch voice acting, a good soundtrack and a stunningly stylised art style. Sure, it took the Blu-Ray releases to really polish many of the episodes and these delays to the final instalments have been frustrating to put it mildly, but boy was it worth it.

I'm not normally one for pleading, but please can someone in the West license this series? On Blu-Ray too, naturally. Please? Please? I'll do anything...

4 comments:

hashi said...

I agree completely. This show has risen into the top tier of anime, for me. And you identify the categories in which it excels. It took NisiOisiN to bring out the best in Shinbou -- and vice-versa.

lvlln said...

Actually, it took just under a year for it to all be released. 358 days, to be exact, and 122 days between episodes 14 and 15.

And yeah, I'd love to see a Blu-ray release in the US, though I doubt it'll happen. I've considered importing the JP Blu-rays just because of how pretty the boxes are and for the included CD singles, but they're damned expensive...

ahchiew said...

Bakemonogatari is at its best. Incredible art work. Cant wait for the BluRay version too. But its kinda sad when such a great series come to an end.

Anyway, great work on the review, Hanners. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful series, and a nice set of twists and resolutions at the end. It was sad watching the episode, enjoying it yet knowing that the series was now really finished.

Well started, well done, well finished. Thanks for reviewing it.