Genre(s): Seinen, Supernatural, Psychological, Mystery, Ecchi
Age-Appropriatenes: 16+ (Violence, Profanity, partial nudity)
Platforms: Crunchyroll, Hulu
Episodes: 5 (Presented as one piece)
TheAwersome Rating: 8.3 / 10 (Quality Monogatari)
Premise: Now that Koyomi Araragi and Hitagi Senjougahara have graduated, very few familiar faces remain at Naoetsu Private High School, one of them being Suruga Kanbaru, holder of the Monkey’s Paw, or “Rainy Devil” apparition. When she begins to hear talk of a mysterious being known as the “Devil,” who will magically solve any problem, she immediately thinks these rumors are about her and decides to investigate.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: Except for the Nadeko Medusa arcs, this is my favorite Monogatari story thus far. The dialogue and themes are back in the deliciously intriguing realm, and this arc compels you to keep going with it, which truly restored my hope for this whole problematic franchise. We had a good balance of fresh visual styles that added to the dialogue that I feel was a lot more approachable in this arc. The themes here felt a lot more human and relatable, with the supernatural aspects being closer tied to metaphorical counterparts, rather than just being supernatural for supernatural’s sake. That being said, the supernatural aspect in this one is delightfully unsettling.
Also, since this isn’t a story about Araragi, we’re spared from needless pervery! The partial nudity that does exist isn’t done in a sexualized way, so it’s a nice breath of fresh air (before it all comes back in ridiculous eye-rolling, groaning fashion in the next installment that makes you want to scrub your eye holes with bleach).
TLDR: Very good arc here, all the good supernatural, psychological intrigue, with hardly any of the ecchi aspect. Praise.
“Hana” means flower, so Hanamonogatari can be translated as “Flower story.”
CHRONOLOGY: Hanamonogatari takes place the April following the final events of Monogatari: Second Season.
MILDLY SPOILY EXTRA THOUGHTS: A theme that gets brought up in this which I’ve seen a lot of lately is the importance of embracing consequences for one’s actions and how the obsession with wanting to be free from certain pains can be more damaging in the long run. This is a theme I’ve seen a lot in anime and storytelling in general (big part of the Stormlight Archives series) which is so refreshing for me to see. Nobody wants to live in pain, nobody wants to suffer, but if you were given the option to completely offload it all, would you? How much of who you are today, how much of your positive traits, came from enduring a trial of some kind? If you have no pain, no remorse, do you grow? Do you truly live?