Hanamonogatari

Hanamonogatari

Hanamonogatari anime cover art featuring Suruga Kanbaru from the Monogatari series
Hanamonogatari Cover Art

Overview

Like all the entries in the Monogatari Series Second Season, Hanamonogatari only has one arc, Suruga Devil. However, this arc is different from all the other arcs in the series so far, with the exception of Nekomonogatari White, in that Koyomi Araragi is not the protagonist.

Instead, the protagonist of Hanamonogatari is Suruga Kanbaru. At first one might suspect that this change in protagonist would be a bad thing similar to how it was when Nekomonogatari White followed Tsubasa Hanekawa.

However, this isn’t the case. Kanbaru is actually a fairly similar character to Koyomi in many ways and so this swap feels like a natural progression for the storyline.


Suruga Devil

The Suruga Devil arc takes place after Koyomi, Senjougahara, and Hanekawa graduate from high school. Kanbaru is now a third-year student, and Koyomi’s “bigger younger sister,” Karen, is now a first-year student.

This arc continue’s Kanbaru’s story from the Suruga Monkey arc of Bakemonogatari. As you may recall, Kanbaru is in possession of a monkey’s paw, which is actually a devil’s hand.

One day Kanbaru hears a rumor from Ougi Oshino, who we’ve briefly met previously in the series, about a “devil” who is helping students with their problems.

I’ll pause the summary here to mention that previously Ougi was depicted as a female when Koyomi was the protagonist, but now that Kanbaru is the protagonist, Ougi is depicted as a male. Once we return to Koyomi as the protagonist, Ougi will also return to being female.

Anyway, Kanbaru investigates the devil who has been helping students with their problems only to find that it’s her old middle school basketball rival, Rouka Numachi. While Kanbaru has a devil’s arm, Rouka has various other devil parts she’s collected from listening to the misfortunes of others.

After their meeting, Kanbaru’s devil’s arm is gone, hinting that it was collected by Rouka as well. After this point, Rouka also disappears until Kanbaru goes searching for her in another nearby town.

It’s at this point that she meets up with Kaiki who is very much alive despite being attacked and left for dead at the end of the Hitagi End arc. Kaiki decides to help Kanbaru because he agreed to look after her if anything happened to her mother.

Kaiki gives Kanbaru a monkey’s (devil’s) head to use as bait to lure out Rouka once again since she’ll appear to collect it. By this point, Kanbaru has learned from Karen that Rouka actually committed suicide years earlier and so the Rouka Kanbaru met as the “devil” is a ghost.

However, unlike Mayoi who recognized she was a ghost and deliberately tried to get people not to follow her and become lost by telling them “don’t talk to me, please. I hate you,” Rouka doesn’t appear to realize that she’s dead.

Kanbaru and Rouka then decide to play 1 round of basketball for possession of all the devil parts. Kanbaru wins and Rouka moves on to the afterlife leaving the devil parts behind.

Suruga Kanbaru from the anime Hanamonogatari of the Monogatari Series
Suruga Kanbaru

Conclusion

While Hanamonogatari is the only current anime entry of the Monogatari series to follow Kanbaru as the protagonist, and I don’t know what happens in the light novels that haven’t been adapted to anime yet, I hope that we get to see more of Kanbaru as the protagonist as the series goes on.

Not by this point in the series, but by the point that the series has been animated up to, Owarimonogatari Season 2, we already know basically everything about Koyomi and how he’ll react in any given situation (I think).

Because of this, I think that transitioning to Kanbaru as the protagonist would be a good choice because it allows for the opportunity to have more protagonist character development without changing Koyomi from who he’s been built up to be.

This was Kanbaru’s first experience dealing with an apparition “on her own” similar to Koyomi’s first interaction with Shinobu. If we think of it like that, how Kanbaru responds to this situation should be the basis for how she’ll respond to any other situation going forward.

Like every other entry of the Monogatari Series so far, other than Nekomonogatari, Hanamonogatari is a 10/10. Next time I review an entry of the Monogatari series, we’ll be taking a look at Tsukimonogatari, the beginning of the “Final Season.”

The OP song for Hanamonogatari is “The Last Day of My Adolescence.”

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