Review for Owarimonogatari Part 3
The Monogatari franchise, chronicling the supernatural adventures of Koyomi Araragi appears to be never-ending. Just when you think that we’re reaching the end of the road, they announce another one. Back in 2017, when I was in the process of reviewing Part 2 of Owarimonogatari, they went and announced that there would be a second season. It’s been four years, but it’s here now, confusingly being sold as Owarimonogatari Part 3. I’d liken it to Star Wars in terms of perennial releases, but the difference is that no one I know is clamouring for the Monogatari franchise to end. Hopefully this release won’t change that.
The first series of Owarimonogatari took Koyomi Araragi back to his past, to confront some mysteries that he had yet to face. That was Parts 1 and 2. Part 3 on the other hand brings us almost to the present, following on from the cliff-hanger at the end of the recently released Koyomimonogatari. When last we saw Koyomi Araragi, he had just been killed by Izuko Gaen.
14. Mayoi Hell
15. Mayoi Hell
Koyomi Araragi wakes up to Mayoi Hachikuji, the ghostly girl that he’d thought had previously passed into the next world. He thinks she’s back, the perfect opportunity to give her one of his patented, over the top, perverted hugs, but then the penny drops. He’s dead, he’s now in the afterlife, and he’s now in the lowest level of hell, and Mayoi is there to guide him through all the mistakes he’s made in the last year of his life.
16. Hitagi Rendezvous Part 1
17. Hitagi Rendezvous Part 2
For six months, Araragi has been devoted to passing his college entrance exams, with the promise of a happy college life with Senjyogahara; that, and dealing with whatever supernatural mayhem has arisen in the interim. That has had the unfortunate effect of leaving his personal life with Hitagi Senjyogahara on the back burner. But now the exams are over, and she informs him that March 14th is date day, a day devoted to making up for the six months of dates they didn’t have.
18. Ougi Dark Part 1
19. Ougi Dark Part 2
20. Ougi Dark Part 3
Koyomi Araragi’s life has been complicated ever since he first met Shinobu and got turned into a half-vampire. But that’s nothing compared to the complications since Ougi Oshino transferred into his school, and started confronting him with his past, present and future, giving him a different perspective on his life, and the consequences of his actions. The results of that haven’t always been positive, and the jury’s out on whether Ougi Oshino is antagonist or protagonist in this story. Some have already made up their minds, but it all boils down to one question. Just who is Ougi Oshino?
Owarimonogatari gets a 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p transfer on this Blu-ray. It’s a clear and sharp transfer, rich in detail, with smooth animation, and an absence of artefacts or obvious aliasing. There is just a smidge of digital banding in the rare scene though. It’s just the image quality you’d expect for a Studio SHAFT animation, one of the Monogatari series. Expect inventive and varied visuals, odd camera angles, lots of characters looking back over their shoulders, and of course the fan service.
You have a simple PCM 2.0 Stereo Japanese track, with a translated subtitles and a signs track. The subtitles are removable, should you wish to take in the imagery without it being marred. There is no English dub to this title, and dubbing that intense verbiage, all those witticisms and puns would be a colossal effort. The dialogue is clear throughout, and the stereo gives a little space for the music and action. The music too is pretty effective; I certainly appreciate the theme songs. Once again all the on screen text is translated, and you’ll spend a fair bit of time manning your pause button to get everything read.
The discs present their content with static menus. These being Aniplex clones, the program content autoplays, and you’ll have to jump to the main menu screen or use the pop-up menu to access the content and the set-up options.
Disc 1 has the following extras.
Story That Is Going Towards The End lasts 14:41, and is the, at this point, essential recap short, which tells you most of what you need to know for this collection of episodes.
You get the textless credits for both stories, two opening and two closings.
There are 4:18 of PV Collections, and 1:06 of CM Collections.
Disc 2 has the following
Story of Koyomi Araragi (35:51) is another recap that offers more background into Koyomi Araragi and Ougi Oshino.
There are the textless credit sequences for Ougi Dark, and that really is a nice opening theme.
Owarimonogatari comes to an end with this collection. I would say that Koyomi Araragi’s high school story also comes to an end in this collection, only we have Zoku Owarimonogatari coming up next; although what it can add to this story would be hard to imagine at this point. I really appreciated the first part of Owarimonogatari, but Part 2 left me somewhat deflated. Now that Part 3 is here, I am happy to say that we’re back up to the standards of Part 1, maybe even a little better, although as always, you have to wade through the character moments and the intense verbiage before you discover the really juicy narrative beneath. And given where we are in the story, I feel I should be circumspect in my conclusion, to avoid unnecessary spoilers.
The three stories in this collection are deceptive at first glance, however. Mayoi Hell is pure fan service on the surface. After all, you might have considered Mayoi Hachikuji’s story concluded in Onimonogatari, but if there is one thing that popular franchises are loath to do, it’s dispensing with fan favourite characters. It takes a ridiculously excessive contrivance at the end of Koyomimonogatari for Araragi to reunite with Mayoi, and it does result in the most extreme and perverted hug yet. But the subsequent story forces Araragi to confront some of the choices he has made in the past, and it turns out that having Mayoi back in town is essential to the conclusion of the story.
Then there is the date with Senjyogahara, which again on the surface seems even more innocuous than the story that preceded it. It really is just a date, albeit with probably the most idiosyncratic couple in anime. It is a nice respite from all the usual Monogatari mayhem, a chance to bask in these two particular personalities, and it does move their relationship on. The story does poke its head forward from the back seat though, as Ougi Oshino makes an appearance to try and influence Araragi into seeing things from her point of view.
This is all necessary setup for the last three episodes, where it’s time for Araragi to deal with the final, and the biggest mystery of all, just who is Ougi Oshino? Izuko Gaen’s in town, Shinobu has been restored to full power, Mayoi Hachikuji is back, and Yotsugi Ononoki is there too, and they’ve all come up with a plan to put things back to rights in the town, and in Araragi’s life, but that means dealing with Ougi Oshino first. They have a plan for her as well, but it’s not a plan that sits well with Araragi.
It could be easy to become infuriated with this ‘conclusion’ of this part of the Monogatari franchise. Araragi’s high school life comes to an end here, and there is an obvious tension between developing the story and moving things forward, while at the same time trying to keep the status quo when it comes to the characters. In the end, you might feel that while Araragi has graduated, he hasn’t really grown up. That’s all by the by, as what Owarimonogatari Part 3 really manages is to conclude the story in typical style, with involving storytelling, great characters, and a delightful, if slightly perverse sense of humour. By this point you’ll know if you’re a fan, and it’s certainly not the place to start with the franchise, so the best I can say is that this will more than live up to expectations.