Back when Bakemonogatari was released, there were two female characters that never really engaged me throughout that series: Tsubasa Hanekawa and Sengoku Nadeko. In Hanekawa’s case, she got two arcs in the form of Nekomonogatari Black and White that really did flesh out her character and made her much more fascinating. Now we get a new arc for Nadeko in the form of Otorimonogatari and while this is a short four-episode arc, it makes the character much more interesting.
We follow Nadeko on her usual walk to school until she bumps into Ougi Oshino, who is supposed to be Meme Oshino’s niece. For some unknown reason, she mentions Araragi and his friends, while also sneaking in a bit of criticism on her shy reactions. After that appearance she goes to school while monologuing about Kaiki’s charm scheme back in the Karen Bee arc, which has affected some student behaviour.
During her school day, Nadeko starts to see visions of white snakes, so she uses the school phone to contact Araragi to discuss this concern, planning to meet later that night. Once she hangs up, she hears another voice asking her to come to the shrine where she got rid of her curse back in Bakemonogatari and there she meets a huge snake apparition god called Kuchinawa. He remembers all the small snakes she killed back in June and to atone for this action, he asks if she can find an Object of Worship which contains his corpse. Feeling guilty, she accepts and this leads to a change in Nadeko’s attitude.
The issue with Nadeko before Otorimonogatari is that she was the shy, cute character that a lot of anime shows have nowadays and there was nothing to separate her from the rest. This arc, however, solves this by going deep into her flaws by asking questions: Why are you cute? Why do you apologise when you don’t need to? Why does she follow a script of shy reactions? It goes deep into criticising the character archetype. All of this, along with conversations with Kuchinawa, begins to affect Nadeko, allowing her to start venting frustration which leads to a memorable moment in the third episode which I won’t spoil but it’s well done and credit to her seiyuu Kana Hanazawa throughout the arc.
Surprisingly, there is a lack of other female characters, if you discount Shinobu who is again fantastic when she’s on screen. It’s another arc that benefits from a lack of Araragi monologues even though the scenes he is in are good as well. The monologuing of Nadeko and Kuchinawa is interesting and further explores Nadeko’s flaws, and this all leads to showing a darker side to her personality which I will not spoil in this review.
Flaws are few, much like other Monogatari episodes. There are moments when the conversations take a bit too long to get their point across and while the last two episodes are great, the first two suffer from displaying some of the worst aspects of Nadeko’s character. All in all, though, I can easily recommend this boxset and there’s also a nice teaser for a future arc.
Also another cool thing is the Opening, which is slightly similar to Nadeko’s Bakemonogatari Renai Circulation (OP 4) but the tone of it is quite different and fits perfectly into this arc.
Extra’s include Textless OP and EDs, Omnibus 3 which, oddly, is a re-cap of Nisemonogatari, TV Spots and trailers.
Another satisfying arc in the Monogatari series; if you didn’t like Nadeko before this release then this will surely change your mind!