Chatty AF 206: Bakemonogatari Watchalong – Episodes 9-15 (WITH TRANSCRIPT)

By: Anime Feminist May 12, 20240 Comments

Toni, Vrai, and Peter return for Nadeko Snake and Tsubasa Cat, talk about examination versus exploitation, and anguish over the now-unfinished streaming status of the series.

Content Warning: Due to the nature of the material, these podcasts will include discussion of sexual abuse, sexualization of minors, trauma, and mental health struggles throughout

Episode Information

Date Recorded: April 4th, 2024
Hosts: Toni, Vrai, Peter

Episode Breakdown

0:00:00 Intros
0:01:39 Lost media
0:02:59 Ranking OPs
0:08:53 Sexual assault imagery
0:11:18 Tsubasa Cat
0:21:08 Apparitions and metaphors
0:27:05 Hanekawa’s victimization
0:30:58 Nadeko Snake
0:35:54 Dramatic reading
0:44:46 Araragi and Senjogahara’s date
0:53:18 The Oshino question
0:57:02 Pacing, temporarily, and influence
1:02:55 Official best girl ranking
1:11:40 Outro

TONI: I really love the part where Kanbaru is leaping from the lily to try to get closer to Hitagi and Hitagi takes her giant pair of scissors and chops her in half.

VRAI: That’s rough, man.

TONI: It is so—


[Introductory musical theme]

TONI: Hello, everybody. Welcome to Chatty AF: The Anime Feminist Podcast. My name is Toni. I am a contributing editor here at AniFem, and I am joined today by Peter and Vrai.

VRAI: Hey, I’m Vrai. I’m daily operations manager here at AniFem. Sometimes I post on Bluesky @writervrai, where I also post the freelance stuff I’m doing. But mostly I’m tired and sad about vampires.

PETER: I’m Peter Fobian. I’m a manager of YouTube content strategy at Crunchyroll, I’m an editor here at Anime Feminist, and I’m @peterfobian on Bluesky.

TONI: And you can find me @poetpedagogue on Bluesky and other social media platforms.

We’re back today to talk about the second half of Bakemonogatari. I thank you both for just humoring me on this wondrous journey that is Monogatari, this wondrous roller coaster. For those of y’all who have not been listening up until now, last week we covered episodes 1 through 8, so if you haven’t watched those episodes or listened to that podcast, I suggest you go back and check those out because we are going to be jumping right into talking about the second half of Bakemonogatari from episodes 10 through 15.

VRAI: Which I hope you already watched because you can’t now.

TONI: Yeah! I guess we might want to talk a little bit about that. Yeah, they really fucked up this licensing deal! Oh, my goodness. So, the really weird thing about Monogatari is that the first 12 episodes are available on Crunchyroll in standard definition, really low quality, and then the last three episodes were only available on Funimation until Funimation decided to go bye-bye. And the whole thing was available on Funimation in HD. And the thing is, there is no Blu-ray of the series, so now I guess Monogatari is #LostMedia.

VRAI: Well, briefly looking over the Wikipedia, it looks like the last three episodes didn’t get TV airings; they were ONAs. They only aired online or something to that effect, which I guess would mean they fall under separate licensing, but I’m not sure how just those fell through the cracks.

PETER: Oh, were those the three episodes that had the animated version of Tsubasa Cat’s OP?

VRAI: Yeah.

PETER: Aha! Hm.

VRAI: Which I hate! We’ll talk about that!

TONI: Let’s talk about it. Okay, so let’s rank the Monogatari OPs while we’re at it.

PETER: Oh, that was a nice segue. Nice.

TONI: Should we rank them on a tier list, or should we rank them in order of our favorite to least favorite?

VRAI: It might be easiest to keep track of the second one.

TONI: Okay.

PETER: Yeah. Think so.

TONI: So, my personal favorite is definitely… I mean, I just love “Stable Staple” [sic]. I just love all these flying staplers in the sky, the industrial landscapes kinda contrasted with this very warm music that’s so loving but also a little spicy and a little— I love the jangly guitars that remind me of the alt-rock I loved growing up. I don’t know. It tickles my happy zone a lot. Oh, that sounded weird, but… Well, okay! That’s my number one. What are y’all’s number one?

VRAI: Probably Kanbaru’s, because that’s the one where I really like both the visuals and the song. The other ones tend to break down one way or the other. I don’t hate any of the songs, but hers is the one that I think… it matches up really nicely, and also I just like listening to it. I don’t know. It just has— I really like the pastels. I like the sorta sweepy camera stuff and its very of-its-era romance-type boarding.

PETER: Yeah. I love the shot where she’s in the distance sitting beneath the basketball hoop and Araragi and Senjougahara are facing each other in the foreground. Yeah, that’s probably my favorite OP, too. I’m Team Kanbaru for as far as the openings are concerned. I do like, I’d say, the “Stable Staple” [sic]. The crab one is either two or three. I don’t know whether I like that one or “Tsubasa Cat” more.

TONI: Yeah. I really love the part where Kanbaru is leaping from the lily to try to get closer to Hitagi and Hitagi takes her giant pair of scissors and chops her in half.

VRAI: That’s rough, man.

TONI: It is so—


TONI: And I think it really captures their dynamic and the essence of what happened, how Kanbaru tried to get closer to Hitagi and support her and Hitagi was just like, “Nope! I’m gonna hurt you now.”

VRAI: Yeah, it’s a really good clean visualization of her character’s conflict.

TONI: And it’s also an interesting parallel to… I don’t know. Hitagi is kind of falling gracefully into the sky and Araragi catches her but Kanbaru is jumping to get to know Hitagi, and Hitagi’s like, “Nope, fuck you.” [Chuckles]

VRAI: Mm-hm. Aw. [Chuckles]

PETER: I think that’s one of the reasons why I like “Tsubasa Cat.” I think it’s pretty “Tsubasa Cat” as my second favorite. I mean, issues aside, just with how unnecessary certain parts are, I think it’s the other one that does a really good job of having some visual storytelling. I think with me, OPs— I know some people who only care about the music, but for me it’s kinda the whole experience, right? So, I do think all the music is really good, and I recognize a lot of it just from walking around—I think I said this last time—walking around conventions for [Chuckles] most of the 2010s. So, a lot of iconic songs for sure. But as far as the total package, I think Tsubasa Cat’s number two, maybe followed by…

VRAI: Yeah, I was really surprised when I got to Nadeko’s that I was like, “Oh, I’ve heard this song before!” And I think it’s so old that I would see it in MADs, [spelling out the acronym] em-a-dees. I don’t know if either of you ever ran across those back in ye olde Nico Nico and YouTube.

PETER: Oh, I still run into them. They’re still on YouTube. Sakuga MADs and stuff, yeah.

VRAI: Oh, I miss them. Well, I don’t see as often the full-on ones where people would trace over full OPs with different fandoms, and it was really awesome and I miss that.

TONI: I remember seeing those, but I remember seeing it with, like, the Evangelion OP but then random cartoon characters. But that’s, I think, something completely different.

PETER: Oh, I remember the Eizouken OP came out. And also the Jujutsu Kaisen ED1. Those ones had crazy fan art and people would put other characters in their place.

TONI: [crosstalk] Oh, my God, that was so good.

PETER: Yeah. So it’s still around. It’s just gotta be influential enough. It’s gotta pop off and have a good visual style and beat, and then people will emerge from their basements and their garages. [Chuckles]

VRAI: [Chuckles] Well, I feel like people do clips rather than the whole song these days, but perhaps I’m just “old man yell at cloud.” It’s still cool.

PETER: Usually there is a specific sequence that people link on to, like the dances or when they’re doing the poses in Eizouken, for sure.

VRAI: Mm-hm. Yeah. But of the other ones, I think— [Sighs] I respect— I agree with you, Peter: I respect most of Tsubasa’s opening in terms of being an emotional mood piece, as it were, especially— Honestly, I like the photo collage one better in some ways, just because of the sort of deliberate incongruity of the photographs and the posing versus the lyrics. I think that that’s a nice encapsulation of her character in a more subtle way.

PETER: You know they just did it because they were animating the other one but they knew they couldn’t get away with putting it on broadcast television, though. [Chuckles]



PETER: Sometimes art comes from, you know, necessity rather than desire to put something out.

TONI: I don’t hate sexual assault imagery, right? Like, I’m not someone who’s like anti–sexual assault imagery, sometimes. But you do have to wonder— But I usually like it to serve more of a purpose.

PETER: Yeah. For me this leaned heavily into titillation, right?

TONI: Yeah. Just including sexual assault to create a sense of a mood, I don’t like. I do want to think on some level it does connect to Tsubasa’s experiences of abuse and her struggling with all of these emotions that are just so overwhelming her. You could read it that way. But, like, that’s a stretch. I don’t know.

VRAI: Yeah, see— And listen, I don’t have a problem with artful depictions of sexual assault imagery. I feel like it’s used in a lot of shoujo because of censorship standards, and I’m still Mister “When are they going to license the Kaze to Ki no Uta OVA?” Discotek, please? For me, Discotek? Me? And three other people?

TONI: [Chuckles]

VRAI: But I don’t know, it feels like it cheapens her arc to use that imagery there, especially… I guess we’re just getting into this now. Especially… You open with that during the big confrontation on the rooftop scene, and you contrast that with… and her big inner angst is that she has an unrequited crush on Araragi. And I’m like, “Oh. That’s it? That’s it? It’s just that five out of five of these girls have at some point thirsted for this unremarkable man’s dick? And for that you pulled out a cannon to shoot a fly?” That’s what that is to me.

TONI: Yeah. And I think for me it’s like… I think on some level I get it, but I feel like to get that, to understand why she might be feeling all this stuff, you have to have seen the other parts of the show, so it just doesn’t work until you’ve seen those because you don’t know what they’ve been through together, really.

PETER: Yeah, and that’s kind of where I think I fell on this. Honestly, you’ve been talking this show up for a while, Toni, and specifically later arcs in regards to Hanekawa specifically, so I assumed this wasn’t where things were leaving off with her.

TONI: Oh, hell no.

PETER: But if this was my impression with no preamble, I would be pretty upset. And I think I still was upset by the conclusion, because so much of it has been about— I guess we’re just kind of launching right into this. Her whole arc’s about how she’s been suffering abuse at home, and it has this setup in the first half of the season where she’s literally never at home. She’s just walking around all the time, because she just doesn’t want to be at her house. And then the introduction to this arc was the flashback scene where I think Araragi first discovered that she was suffering physical abuse, where she’s got the mark on her cheek. And I remember my impression during that period was just like, oh, so he’s known for quite some time that she’s suffering abuse, and it doesn’t seem like he’s really felt compelled to do anything about it. Like, the only time Araragi feels like he needs to get involved is if it involves oddities or aberrations or whatever they call them. 

And now, the precipitating incident isn’t anything at home. It’s just he gets a girlfriend, which is so upsetting for her that Tsubasa Cat, or Black Hanekawa, escapes again, and they have this whole arc. And I mean, I guess, as kind of a trigger, that could be okay, depending upon how things go. But I don’t feel like she got any catharsis or conclusion either, because the whole thing just kind of… the climax is he gets Shinobu to come out again, who basically just gets rid of Black Hanekawa the same way they had before, which pretty much, I guess, guarantees that Black Hanekawa’s going to come out sometime again in the future. Hanekawa still feels exactly the same way she did before and has bottled up… It’s implied she doesn’t even have any memory of what happened. Or maybe she does and she doesn’t want to say anything. 

So she’s basically been sent back to square one, still kind of silently pining for him just like she was in Episode 1 and well before Episode 1. And yeah, it just feels like it really sucks for her and she’s going to be put basically in the same position as Kanbaru, where, since they aren’t the central couple, they just have to continue orbiting around Senjougahara and Araragi, being envious of their happiness while getting no forward movement themselves.

VRAI: So they should date.


PETER: That would solve so many problems, wouldn’t it? I bet you just described the plot of so many doujinshi, Vrai.

VRAI: Yeah. Yeah, yeah! And I’ve also described Toradora. No, I agree. I think I see in galaxy brain theoretical land, in the broader scope of plot outlining, if you will, why this moment is so important to Hanekawa, because clearly she’s been undergoing abuse for a long time since her childhood. She had this magical sort of fairy-tale experience that’s like, oh, she’s finally the special. You know, she has sort of her Wakaba experience, where she meets somebody and she’s really important, and it feels like this moment where, like, “My life has been so shitty, but now finally this is going to be okay.” And she pins all of her hope on that and herself as the princess in the fairy tale. 

And then it doesn’t work out like that, and I can see in theory how that would be really shattering for her. And so, my problem is more that I think the context of both some really bad storytelling decisions and pacing decisions specifically regarding her, and the context of the other arcs, really cheapen what I think is a genuine point of emotional distress for her because, like I sort of said… I was being snide about it, but Senjougahara’s arc is about her and Araragi entering a relationship in some sense. Mayoi doesn’t have romantic feelings for Araragi, but apparently now she just exists to show up so he can make capital-H “Hilarious” pedophile jokes, which I hate and make me want to die.


VRAI: You know, Kanbaru is explicitly a lesbian, [Chuckles] but even she gets that weird scene that never even gets written off as “Lol, JK,” where she comes on to him and seems to sincerely be offering to fuck him. And then Nadeko is also pining for him. So, her feelings aren’t special because she’s carrying this longing for him. It just feels like, oh, everyone— it does feel like every girl who’s ever lived is cursed by this dick, and I feel bad for all of them. 

And I also think that just from a writing/storytelling structure perspective, like Peter mentioned, it sort of builds up that Hanekawa is a survivor of parental abuse, and that’s what mainly gets talked about in terms of her characterization. But then, because that initial outburst, as it turns out, happens in the prequel films, I assume, the anime just goes “Lol, that happened off screen. Anyway, what’s really important is her romantic feelings for this really unimportant man.” And then, even those aren’t the focus— you know, she’s not even really the focus of her own arc. One of her episodes gets overwritten with “Staple Stable,” and it’s about the date scene, which is wonderful, but she’s supposed to have a five-parter. One of those parts isn’t even about her, and the climax isn’t about her either. It’s about Araragi accepting that he has to value his own life and ask other people for help. Hanekawa is a tool in her own story, and I hate that.

PETER: Yeah. And it’s kind of a whiplash, I would say, too, because I feel like the way she’s set up in the first half of this series is so great, like right up through the snake arc, because there’s all those scenes where she’s taking calls from just walking around town. In Mayoi Snail, she has the scene where she shows up in the park as well. And she’s also able to see Mayoi, imply— I mean, not implying; I think Araragi straight-out says it’s because he knows she doesn’t want to go back home, which is why she’s able to see her. And then just the way that their conversations usually go a lot, you can sense that she kind of has an agenda, and the way they do visual framing in the show. 

One of my favorite moments in the second half here was when she was talking to him at the bookstore and it just freezes on her face real quick, a still shot around a bunch of really nauseating camera move scenes. I don’t know why they started doing that. But yeah, she’s kind of looking at him out of the side of her eye. So I feel like there’s definitely been a lot of table-setting for this, and I liked the buildup so that you could kind of sense what her situation was, and there’s a lot of indications as to the fact that she has feelings for him. And she’s kind of being lowkey manipulative a bit without trying to sabotage him or anything. Yeah, and then in the arc, it just kind of comes to nothing for her.

VRAI: Yeah. It also ended up like— The other major thing that was like “Well, okay, in abstract, yes, this is true, but in context it pisses me off” is that line about how “What, you think a few months of being lovestruck isn’t as damaging as ten years of family abuse?” I’m like, well, I love stories where teenagers have no sense of scale, so every emotion is the most important emotion that’s ever been. But because of how Monogatari— because this is a “boy help sad girl” series, it ends up inadvertently feeling like it’s cheapening her drama, and so “This is the real thing that’s really important and he needs to address with her and worry about.” And I got really mad!

PETER: I definitely think the way it was supposed to be— Well, I don’t know. I can see how the framing would go like “Yeah, my life sucks. And then I find this guy I like and then some girl swoops in, and that was just like a kick in the teeth on the one good thing that’s happened to me.” But yeah, the way they decided to go with it was very like “This is worse than everything else that’s happened,” and I kinda gotta… I doubt that a little bit.

TONI: Hm. This is so interesting because I like her.


PETER: Well, okay, so you have said many times that she gets a lot more later on.

TONI: Oh, yeah. I think the first time that I watched her arc, I felt nothing. I think I was like, “What’s going on here?” I think I had a similar reaction to y’all, where I was just like, “What is going on? Really? Really? Really?” But I think on rewatch I actually really, really appreciated it on a different level. I think part of—

PETER: So, with the benefit of being able to watch it in retrospect, you can see how it’s establishing things in the future.

TONI: Yes.

PETER: For future— Okay, I can accept that. I’m on board.

TONI: Yeah. I think part of it for me is that there’s a lot of really interesting ideas in her arc and ways that her— I get the frustration with watching her be, kind of, this tool in Araragi’s growth as a character, right? And the climactic moment is where Araragi asks Shinobu for help and has to— But I also think that part of that is also related to the way that he’s treating her. And what I mean by that is that a lot of the way that he talks to her feels like he’s trying to force his values on her. He says things in this arc that really show a complete lack of understanding of the experience of abuse, right? He says, for example, “There have been others in your position who have survived without the aid of apparitions.” And that’s fucking horrible to say to her! That’s not a great thing to say to somebody, basically saying, “There have been other people who have gone through abuse and then not lashed out at other people and kept everything repressed and bottled up. You should do that, too!” Right?

VRAI: Well, see, I think that works if you think about it as metaphor. But as literal, that struck me as pretty standard dialogue for, like, “Lots of people are abused and then don’t become mass murderers,” because we know that Black Hanekawa has attacked people.

TONI: Right. That’s true. That is also true. And that’s the thing about Monogatari. It’s messy in its metaphors in the sense that you have to kind of ignore what’s literally happening to be okay with it, right? And I think the same can go for a lot of the sexual violence in Monogatari, where it’s just like you watch it and you’re like, “Uh, this isn’t literally happening!” except it is. Right? You know what I mean? You try to brush it off and be like, “Oh, this isn’t—” Even in Nadeko Snake, where the camera’s panning all over her body and it’s like, “Oh, so disgusting,” and it’s like, “Oh, it’s not like she’s literally in a child porno! Uh…” But it looks like she is!

VRAI: [Groans]

TONI: And the thing is that— But I think, though, that that is such an interesting moment, though, to say— But the thing is that you also have to put it in the context of all these other girls that he’s seen, right? If we think about apparitions as like a metaphor for either self-harm or harming others or deep wounds, then I think that that statement is really complicated, because he’s trying to— In other parts of the series, the aberrations kind of serve as multiple kinds of things. Like, Kanbaru’s arm that she wants to cut off both represents her repressed desire but also, then, what her repressed desire does, leads her to do, which is to hurt people, right? So it’s a complicated statement. But I think also there’s these moments where he accuses her of being a victim of his mesmerism and all these different things where he’s kind of… His self-hatred and his repression of his own survival instincts reflected back on her, and they’re bringing out those aspects of each other in really negative ways.

PETER: The mesmerism part would definitely have made things simpler for him since he could extricate himself from a very difficult social situation if he could write it off as being caused by some sort of supernatural element. And in regards to the whole apparition thing, I do think… at least in the cases where it’s something that’s been internalized like with Kanbaru and Hanekawa, I think it kind of takes the emotions they’re experiencing and removes their ability to control them. I mean, Kanbaru wanting to beat Araragi to death is very understandable and I don’t think she’d ever do it—

VRAI: [crosstalk] And relatable, even.

PETER: Yeah, yeah.

TONI: [Laughs]

PETER: [Obscured by laughter] Just like Hanekawa wants to lash out at her guardians or maybe even just the society at large that allows these people to have power over her. But she would not do that, except that when the apparition takes control, they don’t care about consequences or human life. So, I think it’s basically giving their darkest feelings the ability to be acted upon where they normally would never do that kind of thing.

VRAI: I do think Black Hanekawa is a fun character. Even though we all know that’s not how dissociative identity works, maybe it’s the growing up with Yu-Gi-Oh! in me, but I love, love, love, love the protective alter ego trope that sort of has a knowing relationship with the other self. That is catnip for me, in fact. So, I thought those… I kept getting… It got to a point where I was getting more and more frustrated that, you know, of course it’s all filtered through Araragi because that’s the person she’s hung all her emotions on, so of course it is, but I really was sick of his shit at this point. So…

TONI: Yeah, and the thing is that he really just victimizes her over and over again. Like, she’s the victim of his mesmerism, she’s a victim of Black Hanekawa, she’s the victim of… But she’s also forcing her unpleasant work on Black Hanekawa. Right? And then Black Hanekawa’s a victim of her, right?

VRAI: But yeah, I think— I think part of why, besides the obvious, the sexual assault imagery in in the animated version of her opening upsets me so much is that otherwise I think it’s a really neat duology of her very brittle public image versus the sort of very messy, fluid internal struggles that she’s having that are very expressive. And my favorite part of the last episode is just the really beautiful cuts of Hanekawa having a breakdown and not even having the voice for it, but just so full of pain. And I don’t know, I really thought that that was quite emotive. But, you know, titties.

PETER: Yeah, is there— So, before the opening, I hadn’t even gotten— Obviously, there was abuse in the household, but it seemed like it was violent physical abuse. I don’t know if I had caught anything that would imply that it was sexual before that, although it becomes pretty apparent at that point.

VRAI: That’s the thing is, I don’t think that the narrative—or the text of the narrative—is literally implying that she’s a survivor of sexual abuse in the way that Hitagi is. It’s just lurid, because fuck you, we need some fanservice in here. And so, it’s through sexual assault imagery. And I hate that.

TONI: Would y’all like a spoiler? Would you like a spoiler?

VRAI: [wary] Okay.

PETER: It is, is what you’re saying? It is sexual abuse?

TONI: No. No, no, no, no, I’m not saying it necessarily is or isn’t, but would you like to know?

PETER: Okay.

VRAI: Yeah?

TONI: It’s not.

PETER: It’s not?

VRAI: Fuck off!

PETER: [crosstalk] Then what’s the point of the stuff in the opening?

VRAI: To jerk off to, Peter. That’s the point of it.

PETER: Yeah. Are the hands metaphors? Like, what? [Chuckles] For what?

TONI: I also think what’s—

PETER: So, see, that throws your entire interpretation of her situation, doesn’t it?

TONI: My interpretation?

PETER: Mine! I was like, well, after that opening, it has to be sexual assault that she’s experiencing in her house. But if it’s not, then the opening does nothing but mislead you, just so that you can see some sexual imagery in your OVA, I guess.

TONI: Is this stuff we should include in the actual episode, or should we cut this spoiler?

PETER: I think it’s very relevant to the conversation that we’re having. Because of what they’ve shown us, you would have to believe that that was an element of it. But nothing before that would indicate it and it turns out that’s not the case, so their decision to include this in the OP was extremely misleading and really affects how you interpret other aspects of the story.

The whole fact that Black Hanekawa is so sexualized, too, could be her (I don’t know if anybody said this already) externalizing her sexual abuse. But if there’s no element [obscured by crosstalk] …

VRAI: Which is already Hitagi’s story!

PETER: Yeah.

TONI: Yeah, I mean, if anything, you could read it as like her externalizing her horny for Araragi or horny in general that she’s not allowed to experience as a girl, as, you know, the class president, high-achieving girl. I think… Yeah.

But to speak to what you were saying about… I think this might actually be a good segue into Nadeko Snake, because one of my big problems— Okay, here’s one of the things about Monogatari. And the reason that I actually… When people say, “Fuck you, Nisio Isin,” I’m a little bit like, “But he might not actually be the source of these problems. It might be more ‘Fuck you, Akiyuki Shinbo.’ Might be ‘Fuck you, Akiyuki Shinbo.’”

VRAI: [crosstalk] I’m prepared for that.

TONI: The reason I say this is because… I was very curious. You know, as I was rewatching Nadeko Snake, I was disgusted by the way that her arc is treated with all those flashlights put around her while she’s in a swimsuit and then literally the camera zooming in on her cooch and going up her body as she’s writhing in pain as if it’s a child porno. And so—

VRAI: It’s really bad.

TONI: It’s terrible. And so, out of just pure curiosity, right before we had this, I decided I was gonna go on a little adventure and read that section of the light novel. And I had it pulled up here just a second ago. And spoiler alert: none of that’s there.

VRAI: Okay, thank you for doing that, because I definitely had that question off and on. Because I’m sure that Araragi still is a creep in some senses. That’s just gonna be in the text. But I definitely wondered how much of it was amped up once you add visuals.

TONI: I’m going to read a couple sections. We’re gonna do this Michael Hobbesiverse style, where I’ll read it and then you give me your blind reactions.


VRAI: Very well.

TONI: Or do you want me to send it to you and one of y’all can read it? And then it’ll be really Michael Hobbesiverse style!

PETER: [Chuckles] Oh, God, I thought you were gonna say that. I’m curious if you also read the portion in the room where she puts on the bloomers.

TONI: Oh, I did not read that. I could find that pretty easily, though, I’m sure.

PETER: Because that one, I could see how there wouldn’t really be a description of the snake strangling her in sexual terms if it’s just written description, right? But there’s a lot of social and dialogue aspects that contribute to the scene in the bedroom where they’re looking at the scales on her body, where it seems like Kanbaru is really enjoying herself.

TONI: Oh, Lord.

VRAI: Yeah, speaking of scenes where I was like, “Well, you’ve set this up to be about sexual violence, and then it’s just not, I guess,” because when she gets so upset, understandably, about this idea of the body that she has and people looking at her body, and I’m like, “Okay, so this arc is about her feeling sexualized, probably by older people in her life.” And then no. No, it’s just about how women are fighting over boys. You know how it is.

PETER: Yeah. And her whole conclusion, too, was very— At the end of the day, he gets the curse removed from her, but I think it’s implied that it just goes and kills one or both of the children who had enacted it upon her, and I don’t think they really spare a second thought to the consequences of what they just did and, assuming those kids aren’t dead, whether or not the bullying would just continue back at her school.

VRAI: I was fine with that one, honestly, because that one came down to, you know, “Either you can worry about this theoretical person you’ve never met and you can do that at the expense of letting this person who is right in front of you definitely die.”

PETER: Mm-hm. Yeah, I guess what I’m saying is, did they solve the root problem of what’s actually happening to her?

VRAI: Right. Or the symptom of it? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

PETER: Yeah, yeah. So it could just continue. I also found it really strange that his sisters were cut entirely out of that story despite the fact that obviously she idolizes Araragi but she knows him secondary to his two sisters. Don’t they even go to his house and they’re just, I guess, not there? Just kind of a notable absence, because all the interactions in the series have to be two to three people maximum, with Araragi being one of those people, for sure.

TONI: Okay, I found… I found it. Are you ready, Vrai?

VRAI: [ironic] Way to sound enthused!

TONI: [Chuckles]

VRAI: I’m ready. Here we go. Let’s get some [obscured by crosstalk].

TONI: Oh, God, okay, here we go.

VRAI: Let’s get some incriminating fucking audio on here.

PETER: Uh-oh. It’s sounding not good.

TONI: Alright, so this is the section where Sengoku is… they are looking at her body and seeing the scales for the first time. Vrai, take it away.

VRAI: “A high school boy and a high school girl having a lively and jovial discussion about volleyball shorts while a nearly naked middle school girl stood there on a bed. An outside viewer might see it as a fairly serious case of bullying. Sengoku’s bangs, hidden earlier by her hat, were longer than I expected, covering her eyes. Or maybe she was doing it on purpose out of embarrassment. The cuticles of her lustrous black hair shone. It seemed she’d hidden her clothes under my comforter after taking them off. The fact that she was wearing those shorts, as per Kanbaru’s ministrations, and that she’d taken even her bra off suggested that displaying her underwear was more embarrassing than baring her skin for this old female acquaintance of mine.”

TONI: Ugh!

VRAI: “She undoubted—” Uh-huh! Uh-huh!


VRAI: Oh, no, it’s going to get worse, don’t worry!

TONI: [Chuckles]

VRAI: “She undoubtedly looked more provocative than she intended, there in nothing but volleyball shorts, but I didn’t understand middle school girls’ sensibilities… But unfortunately—I guess you might say—sex appeal had nothing to do with this situation.

“‘What is this?’

“It had taken me a while but the surprised words found their way out of my mouth—when I saw Nadeko Sengoku’s skin. Her skin was covered in traces of scales. From the toes of her two feet up to her collarbones. Clear traces of scales on every inch of her body. For a moment I wondered if scales had grown directly on her body, but I looked closer to realize that wasn’t the case. The scales were imprinted onto her body, like with a woodblock print—pressed onto her skin as it were.

“‘Reminds me of rope bondage marks,’ Kanbaru said.”

TONI: Ugh!

PETER: [stern] Kanbaru.

TONI: Kanbaru!

VRAI: Yeah, we were having a conversation off mic that was my first outing in what I also assumed is a normal Monogatari viewer experience, which was lying to myself out of heaping doses of cope.

TONI: [Laughs] About what, Vrai? About what?

VRAI: Where I’ve decided to assume that Kanbaru is like, what, 15, and she’s also stupid as hell—and definitely has ADHD, as you pointed out. So, I’m choosing to believe that she hasn’t realized that when you’re 15 there’s starting to get to be this really large gap between you and the 13-year-olds you were in school with last year. And so, she’s just not thinking of herself as now in a different emotional and social class, because let’s be real, how much emotionally older is she than a 13-year-old? And that’s what I’m choosing to believe, as opposed to Nisio Isin looked at this lesbian and thought, “Boy, I bet I can fit so much pedophilia in here.”

TONI: Oh, God!

PETER: But fortunately, or unfortunately—I guess you might say—sex appeal had nothing to do with the situation.


PETER: It’s very clear, right there in the text.

VRAI: Thank you. Yes, thank you, Peter. [Laughs]

PETER: Right in the text.

TONI: He said it; it must be true, right?

VRAI: Honestly, it is easier to take in text form, I’ve got to say, because Araragi’s still being a fucking creep but it’s more vague and eliding than it is when you’ve got the visuals there of the camera that between cuts keeps cutting back to her ass and then her arm squeezing her chest and then the spotlights on her ass in case we missed it the first time.

PETER: This one, I can definitely see the director taking a serious scene, like the snakes almost killing her, and just getting extremely creepy with it. But I definitely think you could say that Nisio Isin was laying the groundwork with this scene, for sure. Kind of hard to… You can’t write it off as directorial… (what do you call it?) the director just going rogue.

TONI: Yeah. It almost feels like the sort of thing that you would write knowing that you’re gonna get an anime and just being like, “Well, plausible deniability, ladies.”


TONI: Like, for example, it’s not like they’re vividly describing this girl’s breasts or her cooch or whatever, like Murakami would or something. Oh, my gosh. But you know—

VRAI: Bleh!

TONI: Bleh. [Chuckles] I’m sorry. I’m actually reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle right now and really liking it. Cancel me.

VRAI: It’s okay. [Chuckles]

TONI: So, yeah, look at the— So, what we were referring to earlier as a blowjob shot is when they realized the snake is actually going inside Nadeko through her mouth.

VRAI: Yeah, okay. See, this is interesting, yeah. Yeah, so my notes at home said, “Fuck. Are you fucking kidding me? That’s a blowjob shot. That’s a goddamn deep-throat snake. Fuck you. Fuck you so much.” Because yeah, it’s this closeup that has her mouth sort of open and her back arched and there’s saliva flowing down her mouth. And I have seen a tentacle porno in my day, folks at home.

But the line in the text is “When I returned my gaze back at her” (that’s a terrible way to phrase that), “Nadeko Sengoku had collapsed face-up on the plastic sheet we’d laid on the ground and was twitching freakishly, violently. Her mouth. It was open wide. Her jaw was stretched as far as it would go. Like a snake swallowing an egg.”

That to me sounds more uncanny valley body horror in a way that you could do the… not that this was a good scene, but certainly… That to me conjures not porno but, like, Angela at the end of Sleepaway Camp, like “Oh! Bodies aren’t supposed to do that!”

PETER: Yeah, that is more creepy horror than… I’m not getting anything sexual out of that.

TONI: Which, again… You know, this is why when I rewatched Monogatari, there was a really apparent difference between the directorial style of Tatsuya Oishi, right, and then Itamura, who took over after him, who later would go on to direct Case Study of Vanitas, which is one of my favorite and most sexually just amazing anime I’ve ever seen.

VRAI: Vanitas is sexy.

TONI: Itamura takes over after Kizumonogatari with Nisemonogatari. Nisemonogatari is a mess and I think it’s before Itamura really finds his footing as a director. And where I really start to feel Itamura’s influence is when we get to [his] second season, Neko Kuro, which I feel [is] just so much more respectfully directed towards the female characters than Bakemonogatari is. And it’s funny because even the things that… okay, we’ll get to this when we talk about Nise, but even the things that really upset me about Bakemonogatari like Mayoi getting fucking groped all the time by Araragi, in Nise it feels different because of the way that it’s directed, whereas in Bake it’s supposed to be slapstick and he’s groping her. I’ll be curious what you all think of those scenes in Nise because he actually does meaningful directorial choices to make things feel slapstick and not shoving it in your face that this boy is groping a child, to make it— Which, I mean, obviously, you could question like, you know, is that really necessarily any better? But I take it as an improvement that I’m not witnessing a boy with his hand on an elementary schooler’s breasts.

VRAI: Yeah, joking about “Oh, he’s gonna see her panties.” And then I die. And then I bury a hole and I die.

TONI: Oh, well, that still happens, but you know.

VRAI: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh! Well, let’s end compliment sandwich. Hello, early cameo of Inu Curry, doing Hanekawa’s flashback, which was really, really pretty, and I liked it.

TONI: Oh, my goodness. I love…

VRAI: Also, we haven’t talked about the date, which genuinely— I feel like the fanservice got to be more annoying to me than it would be because the moments… because I like the relationships so much. Genuinely it feels sincere and authentic within the grounds of nobody in Monogatari talking like a human being.

PETER: Mm-hm. Yeah, I love that car scene, too, where she just put her dad right in front of them, obviously just to torture Araragi for like literally 20 minutes of screen time. It was very good. It’s weird, I would say. She is just actively tormenting him, but the scene also comes across as very funny and heartfelt, too. It was good. I like their dynamic.

VRAI: Maybe even more than any of the openings, which… I really, really love the ending, and then the reveal it comes around to with the stargazing scene is very… I had emotions, and I didn’t expect that, I guess.

TONI: Well, I think part of what’s really beautiful about it is that it is one of the first times where Hitagi is actually fully being vulnerable with Araragi in a way that feels like it’s agentic, like she has a choice to be and she chooses to be, while simultaneously setting boundaries in a really honest way based upon her experiences as a survivor. And she has a conversation with him that is the sort of conversation that I’ve definitely had in the past with lovers that I’ve had. And honestly, I think that Araragi actually handles that really well, in that for once in the goddamn show he shuts the fuck up and listens to her and tries to really understand what she’s saying and never pushes her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. And it’s very sweet. And I think that the ED kind of feels a little bit like “Yeah, this was here all along, this side of her,” the fact that it had been playing through all the different episodes, and then it’s kind of revealed like “Yeah, this has been a part of her and a part of the show from the beginning.” And I find that really sweet.

VRAI: Yeah, and it’s so interesting because a lot of the fanservice, I feel like, falls into what is so often frustrating about fanservice in that it’s based on humiliation and touch or viewing against the other person’s wishes, which sucks. But Hitagi is so repeatedly able to— Especially, like— There’s not really a lot of fanservice shots of her after those first three or four episodes, even. But she gets to be very playfully sexual, and she gets to set those boundaries and have a serious conversation. In the car ride, she’s basically pseudo-jerking him off while her dad’s driving! And it’s really funny! They’re cute and it’s sweet and it’s nice and he’s not constantly pushing to get further with her, but also he’s not… You know, I think the trend now in a lot of fanservice anime is to have male characters who are shrieking and terrified at the concept of a sexually forward woman, whereas he’s interested but he’s also… I was so pleasantly surprised when we didn’t even get any internal monologue of him being shitty about waiting for her until she feels comfortable.

TONI: Absolutely zero! None.

VRAI: It was really nice! They have a sort of horny teenage relationship that is also really emotional, and they talk to each other. And how fucking dare you, Bakemonogatari!

PETER: [Chuckles] All that bullshit and then they have a really good central relationship.

VRAI: It’s very rude.

TONI: Very rude of them to… And that’s the thing, is like— Oh, gosh. As the series goes on, I really hope that y’all stick around for second season because second season is so good. Oh, it’s so good. I love it so much. [Chuckles]

VRAI: I mean, I mean, I told you, if people want to listen to us talk about Monogatari, I will continue to watch more Monogatari.

PETER: Or if we make a sufficient number of people angry as well, that’d be great.

VRAI: [Chuckles]

TONI: I would love that. I would love people to hate-listen to us and then just be like, “Wow! Anime Feminist shitting on Monogatari! What is the world coming to?”

PETER: [crosstalk] How dare they?

TONI: How dare they? Feminazis. I’m actually just looking in the light novels now to see if there’s any Araragi being shitty.

PETER: Yeah, I also think it’s an interesting dynamic, too, because I think, like in a lot of shoujo used to, a common dynamic is the innocent girl—or at least an inexperienced girl—and a guy who’s like… you know, he’s a couple relationships deep or whatever, and he’s really experienced and kinda maybe… I wouldn’t say… depends on the one that you get. Some of them, I think, push the girls along in an uncomfortable way, but the other ones, they’re kinda leading them or willing to wait for them in some way. And I don’t think you often see the reverse of that, except, as Vrai said, in harem-type series where the girls just want to… like, all their objective is to just fuck this guy and the guy does not seem to ever want to have sex ever and is frightened of all these women. So, having the dynamic where it seems like the girl is able to be sexually forward without the guy just running away at top speed and kind of responding to that, I think it’s a pretty unique dynamic, and like you said, I think it’s done very well, too. I really love all the Araragi/Senjougahara scenes.

TONI: Yeah. And I’m looking at the light novel: not a single shitty thing that he says about her. Nothing.


TONI: So, that’s nice.

VRAI: Yay.

PETER: Good job, Araragi.

TONI: [Laughs]

VRAI: If we could just excise the fact that he’s also, in other unconnected scenes, a fucking pedophile!

TONI: Yeah. And the thing that I was gonna say about second season is like… they put him on a bus. They really do. And that’s part of what makes second season the best season.

PETER: The Araragi bus arc?

TONI: Yes.


TONI: It’s so good. I love that they put him on a bus.

PETER: Toward the girls or away from them?

TONI: [Laughs] Bus-kun. [Chuckles]

VRAI: Put him on a bus towards Truck-kun.

TONI: Oh, my God. [Laughs] Yeah, I think we all agree, even if we believe prisons should be abolished, we should just save one for Araragi.

PETER: Ah, a single cell.

VRAI: What was it you said in the Slack? “He can be the Child of Omelas”?

TONI: Yes!


VRAI: This is fine. This specifically is an acceptable sacrifice.

PETER: Yeah, it removes a lot of the… (what do you call it?) the horror and ambiguity of that kind of situation if you could just use an absolute to experience all the sufferings for society.

TONI: I had one question for y’all that’s a little bit off the wall, and then we can kind of wrap up. Do you think that this series believes at this point “people only save themselves on their own”? Because we’ve gotten to the point, right, where Oshino, who— I know you— We haven’t talked about Oshino much yet, have we, Vrai?

VRAI: Not really, because I feel like his character arc is so hung on the fact that the story doesn’t tell us fuck-all about him! Like “I’m sorry, princess, your character arc is in another castle.”

TONI: Yeah, he is— I’ve— Mm. Actually— I’m trying to decide. Should we talk about his idea that nobody can save anybody else, people can only save themselves on their own? Because I feel like that might come up a lot later.

VRAI: I mean, I feel like the last episode sort of implicitly rejects that, right? Because the climactic scene is that Araragi has to ask for help. So, yes, people need to have the will to want to live, but we are social creatures who live in a society, et cetera, et cetera, and so we can’t really do it on our own.

TONI: Yeah. I really think that, too. And I think it’s really interesting because I think a lot of what Monogatari is playing with and trying to understand and unpack is the “savior and the saved” dynamic. And— Oh, God, not me comparing Monogatari to Utena. But I do think that it’s asking similar questions about, what does it mean to feel victimized by that dynamic of being saved and to feel like you’re losing your agency as somebody who is being treated like a victim by somebody who wants to save you. I think a lot of Hanekawa’s arc is about that, right? So, it’s very interesting to me that Araragi is so hesitant to view himself as somebody who needs to be saved until literally being about to die. 

But I also think it’s interesting because I think that there’s parts of the series where Oshino is presented in a way that makes it feel like he is— It’s complicated. Sometimes it feels like we’re meant to see him as the mouthpiece of the author, right? But then as the series goes on, I feel like his character becomes more and more feeling less like the mouthpiece of the author. Even in the scenes with Kanbaru, right, where he’s describing Kanbaru’s deep dark inner urges, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, this very, very, very uncharitable reading of Kanbaru that almost slots into this predatory lesbian framework, right? And I don’t think that we’re intended to be like, “Yes! Tell that to them, Oshino!”

VRAI: Yeah, I did rather like that that one scene ended with Hitagi sticking up for Kanbaru, that she’s just being true to herself. I feel like I’m really licking up crumbs here in terms of the relationships between girls that you have promised me, but the crumbs are there. And…

TONI: That’s why Araragi needs to get put on a bus! Okay, anyways. Okay, so, the last thing I wanted us to do is (are we open to this?) is to kind of rank where the characters are currently at. I’m curious how this— I want to know how this changes between now and once we get to, maybe, after Neko Kuro or, I mean—

VRAI: I remembered— Hold on, sorry. Sorry.

TONI: You remember something?

VRAI: Yeah, no, my thought that I just— I think the thesis that Nisio Isin, at least as he— This series is so interesting to talk about because now there is a bunch of it and you can be like, “Ah, well, this prefigures this other stuff.” But also, part of me wants to acknowledge that but also feels less charitable in terms of, like, also, this one season of show just kind of existed on its own for a long time, and we have to also look at it as that. So, I think that the thesis Nisio Isin wanted to put forward is “We’re all kinda freaks and that’s okay,” which I think was less voiced in this space in the 2000s in Japanese pop media, so I have some respect for that. Anyway.

TONI: Yeah, I can see—

VRAI: But also, some of these arcs are so unfinished. Sorry, go ahead.

TONI: Yeah, and that’s the thing about Monogatari, is that the pacing is glacial.

PETER: Yeah, and it drops you right in the middle of several characters’ story arcs. I mean, three characters are intertwined in a way that’s not really even indicated in the beginning of the series.

VRAI: It’s like how Higurashi sort of accidentally didn’t invent but popularized the moe boom conception of the yandere, just because it took so long for the question and answer versions of Shion’s arc to come out. Like, at a certain point, you can write a piece of art slowly, but I am still gonna hold you responsible for the half-done version that’s out there for half a decade and inspires an entire wave of much lesser, less intelligent imitators, and imitators of those imitators. And I get to be a little mad at you for that.

TONI: And I think it’s especially interesting in the context of when this was written with, say, Nadeko, right? Because this was kind of towards the end of the moe boom if I remember right. This is like 2009, right?

VRAI: Mm-hm.

TONI: And so, with moe kind of starting to be on its way out as the cultural zenith or whatever, I do wonder: is this series kind of attempting to do something different with this moe character and think through a different way of looking at her? Obviously, you know, in a really gross way towards the beginning. During this arc, it’s disgusting. But as the series goes on, Nadeko becomes, I think, a very interesting examination of moe and the kind of harms that can happen if somebody kind of internalizes some of these ideas behind moe. But obviously we haven’t gotten there yet.

VRAI: He’ll still be late compared to Higurashi, but I’m prepared to hear him out.

PETER: Yeah, definitely— No feelings, but I am interested in seeing what his deconstruction, let’s say, looks like.

TONI: Yeah, no, and I think that part of what makes these opening arcs so difficult to get through is that it can be really confusing seeing, just really in medias res, these different characters’… what’s going on with them, but then not really be able to see the fullness of them. Again, I’m embarrassed to be comparing the series to Utena again, but I feel a similar way watching the first series of this to how I felt watching the Student Council arc, where the first time I watched the Student Council arc, I was like, “Why is Anthy being treated as less than human? Why is Utena never actually acknowledging Anthy’s humanity and her right to make her own choices outside of Utena telling her to? Ugh!” And of course, that’s the entire point. But also, the thing is that Utena didn’t have a bunch of shots of girls’ coochies! In school underwear!

VRAI: And also… Well, fanservice aside, Utena was one anime that told a complete story, that aired all at once, and was conceived as one production cycle with one production team, whereas Monogatari is a sprawling multimedia franchise across multiple mediums, across multiple creative teams, and over a decade of artistic growth. And so, I don’t think one can be blamed for just looking at one anime series or the film series as a singular entity because that is how they are produced and you don’t know if there’s going to be more.

TONI: Yep.

VRAI: It’s interesting, though. When you have the older things like this, talking about it is interesting. Sometimes it gets better and sometimes it gets more depressing. Hello, it’s me, the Anne Rice fan. But anyway, we were going to rank some girls.

PETER: [Chuckles]

TONI: And the girl in my heart. Okay, S-tier. Hitagi. No doubt. S-tier character.

PETER: I agree.

VRAI: Yeah, yeah. I would put Hitagi S-tier. She’s very good. Usually I’m picky about tsundere characters, but I quite like her. And also, I never really have anyone to pick on the whole astrological chart things, so I’m very happy that Hitagi’s birthday is like four days after mine.

PETER: Oh, wow.

TONI: Already. Hanekawa. Where do we put her?

VRAI: A-tier right now with potential to move up, because I feel like I know what I can put into reading into her arc, but as it unfolds with the material I’ve seen, there’s a lot missing and it frustrated me.

PETER: Yeah, I agree. I definitely liked all of her setup and the stuff it sort of implies is going along with her, but yeah, we didn’t get too much closure in the arc, so…

VRAI: But I do love brittle liar characters. That’s an archetype I’m very here for.

PETER: Yeah, love that shit.

TONI: She’s such a mess and I love her. I support woman’s wrongs.

VRAI: [Chuckles] Hell yeah, hell yeah, hell yeah.

TONI: Okay. Kanbaru.

VRAI: I have to put Kanbaru A-tier because of the cope. Purely because of the cope.

TONI: [Laughs]

PETER: If Nadeko Snake didn’t happen, I would probably also have her at A. I think it might be B, though. I mean, I really like her a lot. It’s just if this is what she does now, I think she is B with potential to move down. So if cool stuff happens, she could move up, too. That story arc took like a whole letter grade off.

VRAI: Yeah, it’s weird how she’s generally sort of inoffensive other than being… it’s almost more that the camera’s creepy than her specifically, because she’s sort of sweet and Nadeko seems to feel comforted around her. But because she brought the offending underwear, she’s sort of lumped into the fanservice nightmare by association.

PETER: That whole scene was messed up because they’re in the room and she suddenly starts taking her clothes off and you have no idea why. And then it turns out they did it so they could examine her whatever condition. But yeah, that scene was bullshit, man. [Chuckles]

[Editor’s note: The following discussion is about Nadeko.]

VRAI: C-tier, because I feel like there’s not a lot going on with her character. Like, I really like her theme song as music, just as a thing that I like to listen to, but in terms of “Oh, girl, please. I know you’re little, but please get better taste. I want that for you,” yeah, she’s kind of like a more egregious version of Hanekawa, where I want to see where her character is going but the actual writing of her arc ended up being so thin because every emotion she feels is about sort of this savior vision she has about Araragi, and indeed, like Peter said, not even about her one good dear friend who never talks to her during this arc.

PETER: Mm-hm. Yeah. I got her in, probably, D. It sounds like that might be moved up, depending upon future arcs, but yeah, her whole character arc is just being obsessed with Araragi, which for this series is pretty… [Chuckles] not great.

TONI: Spicy take, but after seeing her in future arcs, I put her in A-tier. But that’s—

VRAI: Alright. I’m prepared to embrace that. I want that for her.

PETER: [crosstalk] I understand that’s your position, so…

TONI: [Laughs]

PETER: Yeah, I mean, if only all of them could move up to S, that’d be great.


PETER: But that’s in Nisio Isin’s hands, not mine.

VRAI: [Chuckles]

TONI: Okay, time for Mayoi.


VRAI: Ah… Okay, D-tier because every scene with her makes me want to die.

TONI: [Laughs]

VRAI: C-tier in a vacuum. I tend not to like bratty kid characters, but I feel like if she were to interact with literally anybody besides Araragi, I would probably like her fine.

PETER: Yeah, I think C-tier even without the vacuum because, yeah, the context in which she appears is often unfortunate but I like the amount of shit she gives Araragi. Also, that reaction image from…

TONI: [Chuckles]

PETER: I posted it in the Slack earlier. I’m gonna get a lot of mileage out of that one, so thank you very much, Mayoi.

TONI: Make it the icon for this episode, please.

PETER: That’s what I’m doing, yes. That’s some of that mileage, [Chuckles] is the thumbnail for this podcast.

TONI: [Chuckles] Yeah, no, I agree. Yeah, she belongs there for now at least. She’s got some pretty great dialogue with Araragi coming up, but mm. Mm-mm-mm, mm-mm-mm-mm. Okay, who else… Is there anybody else? I guess Oshino?

VRAI: I guess—

PETER: [Chuckles] Best girl.


VRAI: I’m gonna put him D-tier because I don’t care about him, which is weird because he’s an archetype I should care about. I like scruffy drifter characters who are secretly dads, but he’s so held at arm’s length by this part of the story that I do not care. He is a plot device.

PETER: Yeah. I might put them in C just because I think some of the shit he says to Araragi might be to push Araragi indirectly in certain directions, or at least that’s the reading that I got. But yeah, other than that, he seems to be kind of held at arm’s length narratively, so…

TONI: Yeah. Already, last but not least, our good—

VRAI: There’s also Shinobu, but she’s not really a character yet either.

TONI: Yeah, no, she’s really not. Oh, God. Okay, anyways. Kizu will be fun.

PETER: I can’t believe Senjougahara’s actually best girl, completely in another class, based on this ranking.

VRAI: [Chuckles] She has the most character development and a complete arc.

PETER: Yeah, yeah. Amazing. How often does that happen to main girl?

TONI: Yeah, and then Araragi I think belongs in hell.

VRAI: Yeah! Is there a lower tier than F-tier? Is there a garbage can tier?

PETER: I think some people do put in “trash tier,” so yeah.

VRAI: It would be like if it was just Araragi with Senjougahara, B-tier. Every other Araragi, trash tier, garbage— Actually, no, again, if he weren’t a fucking creep, I would kind of like his horny bro relationship with Kanbaru. Sadly, all of—

TONI: [crosstalk] Oh, I love that aspect, yeah.

VRAI: Like, I sort of enjoy the sort of jocular teasing that they have going on. But alas, I can’t. With him, you phrased it, I think, as malicious when we were talking off mic, his creeping on really young girls. And yeah, I can’t separate that or write it off as like “Oh, you’re not thinking about the context of what you’re saying.” No, you know you’re being a fucking creep! And I hate that.

TONI: And you’re doing it! He’s very self-conscious of the fact that he’s a creep, and then he does it anyways. He’ll literally say, “Hm. Do I have loli tendencies? Signs point to no. Time to go fondle this girl’s booby.”

VRAI: What boobs? She’s 10!

PETER: He posts on 4chan.

VRAI: Yeah. No, he’s kicked off of 4chan for violating the one 4chan rule.


VRAI: No Yotsuba porn.

PETER: Oh. I hadn’t heard about that one.

VRAI: When I was like 17, I spent like a week on 4chan, and then I decided, “No, this isn’t for me.” And that was before 4chan was even the worst thing ever, the /a/ board anyway.

PETER: Okay, well, I learned something new today.

TONI: [Groans quietly] Well, anyways, with that, thanks for listening to Chatty AF: The Anime Feminist Podcast!

VRAI: [Laughs]


TONI: If you like what you heard, [Chuckles] leave us a rating or review on Apple Podcasts or whatever podcast platform you’re listening to this on. It really helps people to find our podcast. If you really, really liked what you heard, subscribe to our Patreon! It helps us create content like this and write reviews and edit articles from a feminist anime perspective, and you get to join our Discord where you can talk about anime butts in the anime-butt-chat and many other things. It’s a really wonderful space.

You can follow us on many different social platforms. You can find all of those at our Linktree, which is… Vrai, what’s the Linktree?

VRAI: It’s

TONI: Thank you, Vrai.

VRAI: Yay.

TONI: And for the next set of episodes, we will be covering Kizumonogatari. So, if you are following along at home, go ahead and you can watch Kizumonogatari. I promise it is better than anything that we’ve seen so far, except for maybe Hitagi’s episodes. It is good. So, go ahead and watch those and then we’ll come right back and talk all about it next episode.

With that, we’ll see y’all later.

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