It’s getting to the time of year that I’m really feeling an urge to praise shows that I just haven’t had time to talk about this season. Mononogatari did have my attention going into the season, but it wasn’t a show that grabbed me to the point that I had to do a first episode post about it. But it has really built itself up as the season has gone on. And I do think it would be a shame not to talk about how good it has been. Admittedly when I first heard about this show my first thoughts were about the well-known Bakemonogatari series. But this show really does establish itself quickly and the story unfolding so far has been a good one. I’d say it is getting better as the show goes along and it has me really cheering for Hyoma and Botan.
Hyoma really is at the core of why this show has worked for me so far. He’s a character that is easy to get a handle on. He can be ridiculous with how he takes many things at face value. Dealing with deception is a bit hard for him. But where he really shines is his darker side. This guy’s intense anger and desire to crush Tsukumogami has perfectly valid basis to it. I know his grandfather is all about helping ease up his anger and show him the more peaceful side of the Tsukumogami. But I can’t blame the guy for being angry. Not only did he see the siblings he looked up to get killed, but they were killed in such a horrible way. I find it tough to ask the guy to simply drop it.
So far, the story has given him an arc that I can get behind though. Botan and her family haven’t outright told him that he isn’t allowed to be angry about what happened to his family. They don’t even really go after him about his enjoyment when destroying enemies. The most that’s gone on is Botan saying that Hyoma can change. But I’m still ok with that idea. Just so long as his change is just on the level of accepting that there are good Tsukumogami in the world and that he doesn’t have to treat everyone as an enemy. I hope they will let him still want to get revenge against the one that killed his siblings. Because I think he should be allowed to have that.
Botan herself is a pretty good character. Her life has been difficult to put it lightly. She couldn’t even really live outside until a peace treaty was basically established between the various factions that have her on their radar! Kids around her understandably struggled since they could detect the supernatural just enough to be freaked out. And the adults responded to that by also getting pretty freaked out. So you had this little girl basically being a source of unease if not fear for everyone around her. Life had to be utterly brtual with her trying to get by. Of course, with time I’m sure things did improve. The kids grew up and lost their sense for the supernatural, so they just didn’t notice anymore. But that doesn’t change that no one could be truly close to her. Friendship had to be distanced to some degree.
It’s even sadder though to think that this became normal for her. The idea of the Tsukumogami and powerful humans watching her always was just normal to her. That’s what it meant to go outside. She has her Tsukumogami family, but that’s in a sense all she’s had until now. That’s why Hyoma is such a big factor in her life. He’s someone that knows what she’s lived through and absolutely respects her fortitude. Some would be freaked out about her potential power and the war that’s always at risk of breaking out over her. But he simply treats her like a person and wants to help her out as best he can. He’s just a good guy. And that has already proven to be effective at getting her heart racing. So I’m sure that going forward they’ll only grow closer.
Botan’s situation is still a bit hard to get a handle on. She is basically a human Tsukumogami. A spirit from the other world is dwelling inside of her. It hasn’t awakened yet and no one knows what will happen when it does. But even with all that she is still living her life, going to college, and doesn’t let that weigh her down. I’m with Hyoma in being impressed. Honestly her biggest trial so far was getting Hyoma to get along with her Tsukumogami family and… handle saying her first name.
The action isn’t mind-blowing with the show. I’m not going to oversell it. I like the concept of Hyoma’s fighting style. Seeing him fight using those rings allows for an interesting kind of fight. He doesn’t have a huge weapon or anything like that. They are powerful items, but you really need to let attacks get close. They certainly are weapons that are extremely effective against Tsukumogami. I mean they can erase that which they interact with and it’s not as simple as remaking themselves. The latest episode broke it down nicely. The nature of those rings makes them a source of death in a way. Touching them is like passing through the door to death. A very capable weapon.
The Nagatsuki Tsukumogami are capable in their own ways. Some are more combat oriented than others. But you get fun abilities like Yu’s bobbing pin. The ability to wrap up her enemies if she lands a hit or wrap up objects and using them to bludgeon enemies is pretty nuts. And I’m sure other fighting types within that family have equally entertaining abilities. The show takes advantage of the supernatural nature of Tsukumogami and how that would interact with the different vessels that they are inhabiting. At the very least it keeps things from getting boring. Just too bad they didn’t quite have the budget and staff for better action scenes.
The comedy is a nice element to the show as well. Like I said, Hyoma is blunt and doesn’t take to subtly very well. That results in things like openly discussing his issues with the Tsukumogami when he shows up at that family’s home on the first day. He’s also durable. So, he can take silly hits like the whole family beating him up when trying to “stop” a fight between him and another family member. Instead of you know…stopping both! I’ve enjoyed the main cast and have grown to enjoy the whole Nagatsuki family more than I ever expected. They really do adore Botan. And I kind of love that they are all wedding gifts so they have a serious desire to see Botan get married. So, they are actively shipping her and Hyoma as hard as they can!
I was worried the show would be a bit basic. That it would be all about this girl that lived with Tsukumogami convincing Hyoma to let go of his (fairly justified) anger and move on. But instead, it has been a bit more than that. Hyoma is growing and changing. But he hasn’t simply abandoned everything that makes him who he is. Instead, he’s growing into a different version of himself. I’d agree with Botan in her saying that he has already changed quite a bit. I do hope that he achieves his goal and gets the payback he wants. But I’m also finding myself hoping that things work out well with Botan and that these two end up happy.
This is a show worth watching. It started out simply as a solid show and has really gotten better and better over time. Here’s hoping the final episodes of this season turn out to be excellent. At the very least I’m as excited for the final episodes of this show as anything else I’m watching this season.
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