Monogatari Series: Second Season, Ep 17: Pedobear Araragi

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Reminder that episode 16 was a recap episode, which is why there wasn’t a blog post on it.

A story arc about Shinobu, wherein the majority of the first episode prominently Hachikuji instead of Shinobu; looks like this might be the same as Mayoi Jiangshi where the focus of the arc was split between the two loli characters. This first episode is certainly making up for lost time with the pedo jokes since Mayoi Jaingshi only had one episode of Araragi acting like a pervert towards Hachikuji; what with Araragi getting a cowlick-boner as he tells Mayoi to press her breasts against his back as they try to bike away from the “darkness,” and later exclaiming how he can do whatever he wants to Mayoi as soon as he’s alone in a room with her asleep.

Much like the rapey scenes Kill la Kill, this is another instance where objectively I know this sort of humor can be quite problematic since pedophilia is obviously a horrible thing in real life, but in all honestly I find Araragi’s unseemly behaviour towards Hachikuji to be really hilarious. I would neither try to defend nor criticize such humor since my objective and subjective opinions of it differ, just point out that I do recognize it as problematic, but also find it hilarious at the same time. Monogatari sort of “gets away with it” since Hachikuji is really an older woman in the body of a child, though that’s a thin excuse since there’s still the pedophilia imagery on screen. And I can see why that would make a lot of people uncomfortable or shake their heads in disgust, since it breaks the thin line between loli and pedo humor by having Araragi actually mess around with a child-like person rather than just rave about loli porn.

It was pretty trippy when Araragi and Hachikuji first spot the “Darkness”; having their usual banter and then suddenly they spot some sort of dark otherness, and we frantically cut to a bunch of scenery shots as Araragi goes on describing the “Darkness” in great detail. I’m usually not bothered by Monogatari’s tendency to have Araragi spit out a bunch of pointless banter and extend his points far past what’s necessary (I even kind of like it,) but for that scene it worked particularly well to make it feel so creepy and unworldly.

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It may just be because it’s been a couple years since I last watched Bakemonogatari, (yeah, admittedly that’s pretty due for a re-watch from me,)  but I haven’t really gotten tired of Araragi’s banter or pervertness, and still find those to be positive aspects of the show for me. At least in Second Season he certainly pales in comparison to most of the female leads, and I would agree that Monogatari is better off having more story-arcs narrated by other characters, but as proven by this episode and Mayoi Jiangshi I still quite enjoy it when Araragi narrates. Seems like for the next episode we’re in store of an extended flashback of Shinobu’s past though, which could turn this into a Shinobu-narrated story-arc via a nested story.

Interesting how Ononoki points out that Araragi relies too much on other people to solve the problems that he gets himself in. Which is actually kind of true. One complaint that Monogatari gets in the “Is Monogatari sexist?” debate is that a lot is the the girls rely too much on Araragi to save the day, but that’s not exactly true. With the majority of the story arcs the big thing is that Araragi is helping the girls to help themselves—the apparitions are all manifestations of the heroines own problems, so in each episode Araragi is essentially helping them to accept themselves or do whatever else they need to solve their situation. And as Ononoki points out in this episode, he always relies on Meme or Shinobu to tell him what to do. Could it be that Araragi actually has a character flaw that will be explored later on? Gasp!

And towards the end of the episode Monogatari proves itself to be mere wish fulfillment drivel as Araragi gets to kiss both Ononoki and Shinobu (I say somewhat sarcastically.) Ononoki’s kiss can be explained by her doing it herself, and it’s not too far of a stretch that someone like her would want to kiss an attractive beefcake like Araragi. And…okay with the Shinobu kiss I can’t really defend it as anything but wish fulfillment pandering. It’s moments like this that Monogatari seems to forget—or rather ignore—that Araragi is supposed to be in a monogamous relationship with Senjougahara, which makes him seem a bit sleazy when he plays around with all these other girls in his “harem.” But being the Monogatari fan that I am, I almost don’t even care since Shinobu is best girl and I could totally root for an Araragi x Shinobu ship.

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5 Responses to Monogatari Series: Second Season, Ep 17: Pedobear Araragi

  1. Y’know, really close relationships can often get very physical and gain some really sexual undertones, much like the relationship between Araragi and his younger sisters. I guess a real life analogue would be older siblings potty training younger ones and sleeping in the same room or in the same bed. It isn’t pedophilia if Araragi doesn’t intend it to be; the whole Hachikuji-Araragi relationship is, since Araragi doesn’t intend to actually bone Hachikuji, rather tame, and I wouldn’t even call it proper pedophilia imagery.
    It’s at least a whole lot less wrong than the way SHAFT handled Araragi and his sisters.

    If we look at this from the perspective of the viewer, it seems to tilt towards being objectionable, but then again, people fap at everything, so I wouldn’t blame the show for having material that people fap to as much as I would blame the people who actually fap to the…ehem… consequences of Araragi’s Pedobear habits.

    And yes Shinobu is undoubtedly best girl.

    • Not sure if I agree with the Fire Sisters analogy, since I’m pretty sure most people don’t develop any sexual undertones with the relationships they have with their siblings.

      It’s true that the pedo humor in Monogatari is rather tame since Araragi clearly doesn’t intend to bone Hachikuji, though I’d argue it’s still pedophilic imagery since he seems to get turned on by things like having Hachikuji shove her chest against his back. (Although whether or not that’s just Nisioisin and Shinbo trolling us is debatable.)

      Technically there’s not really anything wrong about it since Hachikuji is really an older woman in the body of a child, but there’s still that imagery of an older guy directing a child to do unseemly things. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing by any means, and I don’t really consider it a flaw since I find it hilarious, but I can see why others would disagree on that.

      • They don’t consider the relationships to have sexual undertones, but if viewed with an eye that’s looking out for undertones, then actions that would appear platonic at first glance appear much less so. Perhaps a better example would be (DEEP BREATH) Yahari ore no seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru, with Hikigaya and his (incredibly irritating) younger sister.

  2. Andmeuths says:

    While Hitagi is Araragi’s partner for life, Araragi does not have a human lifespan. Till death do us part does not apply for Araragi to Hitagi, on Araragi’s end, since Araragi is extremely likely to outlive Hitagi by several life-times over. I don’t think monogamy, as we traditionally understand it works in that situation so well, since Araragi’s mutually bonded to Shinobu for as long as both of them live, on a far deeper level than he’d ever be bonded with Hitagi. Hitagi is the wife of Araragi the mortal, but Shinobu is the life-companion of Araragi the immortal.

    • Yeah, for Araragi to be in a polygamous relationship like that would probably be more logical given the circumstances; the complaint is that he and Senjougahara agreed to a monogamous relationship, so it’s technically cheating for him to kiss Shinobu.

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