Ranking the Monogatari Girls

Ranking the Monogatari Girls

Introduction

The Monogatari series currently has 14 parts (all listed and linked to in that post), with a 15th entry on the way either late this year or early next year. With the new part coming soon, I figured now would be a good time to rank the 11 current “Monogatari girls.”

For those of you who aren’t aware of how my favorite anime is set up, let me enlighten you. Each arc of the series typically focuses on a single female character who is being helped in some way by our protagonist, Koyomi Araragi (although this isn’t always the case).

However, despite each arc focusing on a particular girl, that doesn’t mean the titular girl is the only girl featured in the arc, and she may also not even have the most screen time.

If you’ve been around the anime community for an extended period of time, you’ve probably come across at least one of these girls in some form. Perhaps it was Hitagi or Shinobu duking it out in a “best girl” competition, or Nadeko featured in some meme remix of “Renai Circulation“, or Karen having her teeth brushed.

What I’m getting at is, the Monogatari girls have been spread far and wide throughout the community, so it’s about time I made a definitive ranking to decide who’s the best and who’s the worst among them. If any part of this list makes you mad, let me know in the comments below.

1. Mayoi Hachikuji

It should come as no surprise that Mayoi Hachikuji is my #1 Monogatari girl, as I’ve talked about her extensively in other posts and use an image of her as my profile picture both on this site and on my various social media. But although I’ve discussed her thoroughly in the past, just what makes her “best girl?”

Before I can answer that question, let me give you a bit of background information about her character. Mayoi is the titular girl for three different arcs in the series so far: Mayoi Snail (Bakemonogatari), Mayoi Jiangshi (Kabukimonogatari), and Mayoi Hell (Owarimonogatari II). She’s also one of the major recurring characters in the series.

Mayoi is one of a number of the girls on this list who are considered apparitions, meaning they don’t really exist if you want to get technical. When she was around 11 years old, Mayoi was struck and killed by a truck while on her way to her mother’s house, and has been wandering the streets as a ghost ever since.

However, despite physically being 11, if she never had died she would currently be around 22 years old. This is an important detail to remember when looking at how she behaves. Sometimes she acts like your average 11-year-old girl, but other times she acts more like an adult.

These two competing sides of her character are what make her my favorite of the Monogatari girls, along with her character design (especially that giant backpack).

On one hand, Mayoi, like many child characters in anime, is used for comic relief. There’s the usual slapstick comedy that we would expect from her due to her physical appearance, but at the same time we also get more nuanced comedy from her, often through the use of wordplay.

On the other hand, she’s a dependable “older sister” type character for Koyomi, despite being physically younger than him. Mayoi has been around for longer and so has learned a thing or two about the world during her travels, which she teaches to Koyomi in his times of need.

It may seem odd for me to say this, but although she’s an apparition, she’s one of the most constant parts of Koyomi’s life. He knows that if he’s ever in need of someone to talk things through with, Mayoi is always somewhere close by (although not as close as Shinobu).

Mayoi Hachikuji from the Monogatari anime series
Mayoi Hachikuji

If you’re interested in reading more about the relationship between Mayoi and Koyomi, I broke down the Courage to Tell a Lie scene between these two characters, and I’ve written about her in some of my other posts about the Monogatari series parts.

2. Suruga Kanbaru

Suruga Kanbaru is the titular girl of both the Suruga Monkey (Bakemonogatari) and Suruga Devil (Hanamonogatari) arcs. She’s also the protagonist of Hanamonogatari instead of Koyomi, something I found to be fairly interesting considering how similar she is to him.

I’d like to say that Kanbaru is a fairly complex character, but in reality she’s a pretty simple character who just has a lot going on. She likes books (mostly of the BL variety), she’s into sports (track and basketball), she’s a pervert (self-proclaimed), and she’s in love with Hitagi (and maybe Koyomi?).

What makes her simple, however, is also what makes her one of my favorite characters of the entire series. Suruga wears her emotions on her sleeve (or her arm bandages, whichever). When she’s excited about something, we can physically see it due to her extremely energetic nature.

She basically has two modes: Lying on a pile of books in her room, too lazy to get up, and bouncing off the walls like a kid in a candy shop. This is what I mean when I say that she’s a simple character, and yet she’s just so likeable that it doesn’t matter.

Suruga Kanbaru from the Monogatari anime series
Suruga Kanbaru

While not an apparition herself, Suruga is afflicted by an apparition known as the Rainy Devil in one of her arms. This apparition causes her wishes to come true, but by physically hurting anyone who stands in the way of those wishes.

While I don’t like her character design as much as some of the other girls on this list, her personality more than makes up for it. Although, I do have to say I like the arm bandages. It gives her appearance a bit of mystery without going overboard like Ougi.

3. Shinobu Oshino

Shinobu Oshino, known as Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade in her full-power form, is an apparition you may have heard of before called a Vampire. She’s the titular girl of the arcs Shinobu Time (Onimonogatari) and Shinobu Mail (Owarimonogatari I).

As a shell of her former Vampire self, Shinobu is chained to Koyomi’s shadow and is therefore technically always by his side (except for in one of the arcs, sort of). Because of this, and her developing relationship with Koyomi across the series, these two are my favorite anime pairing.

While at the beginning of the series she and Koyomi weren’t speaking to each other (the backstory of which is explained in Kizumonogatari), they eventually become inseparable partners who have decided to either live or die together (although they’ll still never forgive each other).

I mentioned previously that Mayoi is the main constant in Koyomi’s life, but the same could be argued for Shinobu considering how their fates are linked (as are their physical bodies). That said, since the relationship between Shinobu and Koyomi can be all over the place, it’s not a stable relationship.

Shinobu Oshino from the Monogatari anime series
Shinobu Oshino

Some fun facts about Shinobu are that her favorite food is doughnuts, her family name was given to her by Meme Oshino, an apparition expert, and she’s both the youngest and oldest of the current Monogatari girls. But how can that last fact be?

Shinobu is technically 400 years old, making her the oldest of the girls, however, for most of the series she’s in her 8-year-old form because apparently her physical age is tied to how much of her full power she has. As she puts it, it takes less energy to maintain a smaller body.

4. Hitagi Senjougahara

While Shinobu is generally seen as a close second, Hitagi Senjougahara is usually considered to be the “best girl” of the Monogatari series (although, as you’ve seen, she isn’t). Her arcs are Hitagi Crab (Bakemonogatari), Hitagi End (Koimonogatari), and Hitagi Rendezvous (Owarimonogatari II).

While I’ve come to appreciate Hitagi for the character she is, I don’t believe she deserves all the love she gets. Sure she’s a tsundere (and yandere at times), but for the most part she’s just a complimentary character to Koyomi rather than a character I care about on her own.

I won’t say watching her romantic relationship with Koyomi isn’t enjoyable, but I do think that’s the main draw of her character. The scenes with her that don’t involve Koyomi simply don’t hold up, (other than certain scenes with Hanekawa, but that’s for a different reason).

Hitagi Senjougahara from the Monogatari anime series
Hitagi Senjougahara

When we meet Hitagi in the first episode of Bakemonogatari, she weighs only a small fraction of the amount a girl of her size should due to the apparition known as a Weight Crab. The weight crab takes the weight off the shoulders of those it inflicts, both metaphorically and literally.

Later on in the series we learn more about her backstory and relationship with the apparition expert/con man Kaiki Deishu. While I do think these parts are a bit more interesting, it’s mainly because of Kaiki, not because of Hitagi. I was going to add Kaiki in at the end of this list as a bonus Monogatari girl, but I think this post is going to be long enough as is.

Unless there are more arcs focusing on Hitagi in the future of this series, it’s unlikely I’ll ever appreciate her as much as most fans seem to. That said, I think it’s unlikely considering her arcs wrapped up nicely in Hitagi Rendezvous.

5. Nadeko Sengoku

Nadeko has the unfortunate title of “worst girl” for many fans of the Monogatari series, and as I’ve done before, I’m going to explain why this simply isn’t true. First off, I think part of the issue is that she’s underage, but then again, so are half of these girls, so why is it just Nadeko who’s hated?

What it really all comes down to is the fact that people seem to simply not understand her character at the most basic level. She’s a middle school girl who’s in love with her best friend’s older brother (I say best friend because I doubt Nadeko has any other friends besides Tsukihi).

Is she crazy? Yes. Is she your typical middle school girl who just wants to be noticed by the person she loves? Yes. Does that mean she’s a bad character? No. She’s supposed to be that way because she’s an accurate portrayal of a middle schooler who found their first crush.

I’ve written more about this concept in my post on Boring Anime Girls, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but the fact that she’s such a realistic portrayal of a middle school girl going through her first crush is what makes her a good character. She’s crazy because they are crazy.

Nadeko Sengoku from the Monogatari anime series
Nadeko Sengoku

Now, if you think the fact that she’s a middle schooler who has a crush on someone is exactly the reason why she’s a bad character, I have one simple counterargument for you. If that makes Nadeko a bad character, then why doesn’t that make Hinata a bad character in Naruto? Checkmate, Hinata-lovers.

I didn’t mention it earlier, but Nadeko is the titular girl for the Nadeko Snake (Bakemonogatari) and Nadeko Medusa (Otorimonogatari) arcs. In the Nadeko Medusa arc we see her spiral further downward as she becomes the one true yandere of the series, something I enjoyed seeing.

6. Tsukihi Araragi

We’re going to speed up a bit for these next six girls because they’re simply not as interesting to me, and also I don’t want this post to be too long. So to start off the lightning round, we have Tsukihi Araragi, titular girl of the Tsukihi Phoenix arc from Nisemonogatari.

Tsukihi is the “littler little sister” of protagonist Koyomi Araragi and one of the “Fire Sisters” along with Karen. While she doesn’t have the same desire for justice that her sister has, she enjoys going around with her and playing the part of defender of justice.

Compared to her sister, Tsukihi is much more feminine and tends to wear yukata when around the house. That said, she’s also the more aggressive of the two sisters and has no issue resorting to physical violence when necessary (or not necessary).

Tsukihi Araragi from the Monogatari anime series
Tsukihi Araragi

Tsukihi is also an apparition which we know as a phoenix. Despite being an immortal apparition, however, she and the rest of her family (except Koyomi) have no knowledge of this. Koyomi has also decided that it doesn’t matter if she’s an apparition, she’s still his sister.

7. Yotsugi Ononoki

Yotsugi Ononoki is nowhere near my favorite character of the Monogatari series, but she does have my favorite character design. She’s the titular girl for the Yotsugi Doll arc from Tsukimonogatari (which could have been a good name for the part about Tsukihi as well).

As you may be able to tell from the name of her arc, Yotsugi is a living doll made from a corpse (you probably couldn’t tell all that just from the title). Both her outfit and personality reflect the fact that she’s a doll as well, unlike the other apparition characters.

As for her speech, she tends to speak in a monotone voice much like a robot, and yet has little quirks which appear to be her attempt at sounding more human. One of these is her affinity for the phrase “Peace, peace!” after her sentences, and another is how she calls everyone else older brother or older sister.

Yotsugi Ononoki from the Monogatari anime series
Yotsugi Ononoki

As a doll, Yotsugi doesn’t show any physical signs or emotion, or any facial expressions for that matter, and so to make up for this she adds her expressions into her speech. It also appears that she actually looks doll-like considering Tsukihi thinks she’s just a large doll and drags her around.

8. Karen Araragi

Karen Araragi is the older sister of Tsukihi, and “bigger little sister” of Koyomi. She’s also the titular girl of the Karen Bee arc from Nisemonogatari. Unfortunately for her, she’s known to many people who haven’t seen the Monogatari series solely due to a single scene of her getting her teeth brushed.

And, unfortunately for the series as a whole, the first introduction many people have to this series is that exact scene, thus turning them off from it before they even give it a chance. But, Karen is more than just a girl who gets her teeth brushed.

She’s the other half of the Fire Sisters along with Tsukihi and has a strong sense of justice. She’s also similar to Suruga in that she’s the sporty type, although her sport of choice is martial arts, not track or basketball. It could have easily been Karen who took up Koyomi’s mantel after he graduated, but I’m glad it was Suruga instead.

Karen Araragi from the Monogatari anime series
Karen Araragi

The apparition Karen was afflicted with was a bee (I forget the actual name of it) which is essentially a fake apparition that becomes real simply because someone believes in it. Now, that’s kind of how all apparitions work, but this one takes that to the extreme in that it’s based solely around someone’s belief in it.

9. Tsubasa Hanekawa

I’ve never tried to hide my dislike for Tsubasa Hanekawa, but in this section I’ll try to put my feelings about her into words. She’s the titular girl for three arcs: Tsubasa Cat (Bakemonogatari), Tsubasa Family (Nekomonogatari Black), and Tsubasa Tiger (Nekomonogatari White).

Tsubasa’s main attraction is that she’s more physically developed than any of the other girls in the series (except for Shinobu in her adult form), but I see this as a curse, not a blessing. When the main attraction of a character is their physical appearance, that’s how you know you’ve got a boring character.

Tsubasa’s whole gimmick is that she’s too nice for her own good and that she’ll help anyone in need to a fault. And she’s smart. That’s it, that’s her entire character. Koyomi is the same way, but at least he has actual reasons for his actions and is a better developed character all around.

Tsubasa Hanekawa from the Monogatari anime series
Tsubasa Hanekawa

Along with her bland character comes a bland backstory and apparitions. The apparitions that affect her all have to do with how she’s an outcast in her own family, and we get three arcs of this. I could have done with just one arc about Tsubasa’s sob story, not three.

10. Sodachi Oikura

Sodachi Oikura is near the bottom of this list mainly because there isn’t that much to talk about in regards to her compared to the rest of the girls. She only appears in the two arcs named after her which are back to back, Sodachi Riddle and Sodachi Lost (Owarimonogatari I).

Sodachi is interesting soley because she’s the one Monogatari girl so far who wasn’t afflicted by an apparition, and isn’t an apparition herself. She was simply Koyomi’s childhood friend who he didn’t help in her time of need (because he was also a child at the time).

This led to Sodachi’s life spiraling downward and ending with her living with the body of her dead mother for a pretty long amount of time (I want to say two years, but I forget). While all the arcs of this series involve mystery, I found hers to be the most “standard” in that they didn’t involve the supernatural.

Sodachi Oikura from the Monogatari anime series
Sodachi Oikura

I’d be more interested in her character if she was actually involved in the story more, and luckily it seems that she will be in the upcoming Zoku Owarimonogatari based off some images about the part on the official anime twitter account of the author.

11. Ougi Oshino

It’s finally time for the official “worst girl” of the Monogatari series, Ougi Oshino. Ougi is the titular girl for both the Ougi Formula (Owarimonogatari I) and Ougi Dark (Owarimonogatari II) arcs, although she’s not always depicted as female in other parts of the series.

She’s an apparition, much like Mayoi, Shinobu, and Tsukihi, but she’s a man-made apparition of sorts. The big twist at the end of the Ougi Dark arc (spoilers incoming) is that she’s actually an apparition created by Koyomi’s self-doubt. When she’s depicted as male in Hanamonogatari, it could be that she’s then a representation of Suruga’s self-doubt.

Ougi’s last name, Oshino, also comes from the apparition expert Meme Oshino, who she claims is her uncle despite him having no known family. And, like Oshino, she “helps” Koyomi help himself when mysterious cases involving apparitions arise.

Ougi Oshino from the Monogatari anime series
Ougi Oshino

Everything about Ougi’s design is set up to be a mystery, and that’s probably in part what I don’t like about her. She’s too over-the-top in her mysteriousness, from her cold, black, shark eyes, to her sleeves which cover her hands, to her gender-fluidity between parts.

Conclusion

So what do you think about my rankings? Am I wrong for not putting Hitagi Senjougahara in first place? Are you an Ougi Oshino fan? Or do you have good taste in Monogatari girls like myself? Let me know in the comments.

I’m planning to write a post about the viewing order for Monogatari series anime in the near future, so if that’s something you’ve always wondered, why not subscribe to my blog (in the sidebar on PC or down below on mobile), or follow me on Twitter @DoubleSama to be notified every time a new post goes live.

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