Monogatari Series: Off & Monster Season Episode 1 Review

Monogatari Series: Off & Monster Season Episode 1 Review

Orokamonogatari Part 3

It’s finally happening the Monogatari Series: Off & Monster Season anime is here. Now, I just need official English translations of the light novels so I can add them to my collection. I asked the publisher about that years ago, and they said there were no plans. But now? There must be.

As some of you may know, the Monogatari Series is my favorite anime series. So, throughout these reviews I want to give some extra context while avoiding major spoilers. And the first piece of extra context I want to give comes from the start of this episode.

You may have noticed that this is the third “episode” in Orokamonogatari, but the first episode in the season. What’s that all about? It’s pretty simple. Orokamonogatari has three arcs. There’s Sodachi Fiasco, Suruga Bonehead (this is what the title Orokamonogatari comes from), and Tsukihi Undo.

Yotsugi Ononoki from the anime Monogatari Series Off & Monster Season Episode 1
Yotsugi Ononoki

This first episode covered the Tsukihi Undo arc. Why did they start with the third arc of Orokamonogatari? I don’t know. But I assume we’re still going to get adaptations of the first two arcs at some point. The Monogatari Series anime has never left arcs out entirely before — but it has rearranged some.

If I had to guess, the anime won’t mix together Off and Monster Season arcs (those are two different seasons). But I could be wrong. We might see them get all mixed together. And if arcs do start getting mixed up more, I’ll be sure to point that out.

Now, something interesting about Tsukihi Undo and the Off Season as a whole is that we have new protagonists. For most of the Monogatari Series, Koyomi was the protagonist. Tsubasa was the protagonist at times, and Kanbaru was, as well. But in this episode, it was Yotsugi.

Tsukihi Undo

You may recall that the very first time we met Yotsugi Ononoki was in the Tsukihi Phoenix arc of Nisemonogatari. Initially, she and Kagenui show up in town to kill Tsukihi, who’s actually an immortal phoenix apparition. But in the end, they decide to leave Tsukihi under surveillance instead.

That’s what Yotsugi is doing at the start of this episode. She’s pretending to be a life-size doll in the Araragi household to spy on Tsukihi. However, Tsukihi returns home one day to find Ononoki moving. And since Tsukihi is a psychopath, she’s willing to burn the house down to confirm what she saw.

I won’t recap everything that happens in the episode in detail, but basically, Yotsugi comes up with a plan to trick Tsukihi. She pretends that she just arrived on this planet and entered Tsukihi’s doll so that she could fight a monster. After defeating the monster, she’ll leave, and the doll will go back to normal.

Yotsugi and Tsukihi from the anime Monogatari Series Off & Monster Season Episode 1
Yotsugi and Tsukihi

Obviously, Tsukihi was supposed to take what Yotsugi said at face value and not insert herself. But this is one of the Fire Sisters we’re talking about. So, Yotsugi has to enlist Nadeko to help her create a monster to defeat in front of Tsukihi.

What I like about this episode is also what I like about some of the Koyomimonogatari episodes. It’s effectively a pointless episode. Quite a few Koyomimonogatari episodes had anticlimactic endings. For example, the conclusion in Koyomi Stone is that there was nothing mysterious going on at all.

Tsukihi Undo doesn’t end like that. But it doesn’t have a definitive conclusion. It ends exactly how it begins, with Tsukihi catching Yotsugi. And since Yotsugi says that Tsukihi’s memories of these events reset every day, we can assume this cycle will continue repeating.

The New God in Town

The thing that really made this episode good was that the best character in the series made an appearance. Of course, I’m talking about Mayoi Hachikuji, the local god. In case you forgot, she’s the deity enshrined at North Shirahebi Shrine. She took Nadeko’s place so Nadeko could return to being a normal girl.

Mayoi’s also no stranger to apparitions, having been one for about 11 years. So, it makes sense that she would be the one to show up and save the day. Well, at least, it makes more sense for it to be her than most other characters.

But what other characters could have saved the day besides Mayoi? Tsukihi was there and could have done something. However, Tsukihi doesn’t know that she’s an apparition, so that’s unlikely. Yotsugi believed that Gaen would eventually defeat the slug apparition, so she’s an option, too.

Mayoi Hachikuji from the anime Monogatari Series Off & Monster Season Episode 1
Mayoi Hachikuji

And we can’t forget about Nadeko. She might no longer be a god or have an apparition inside of her. But as the one who brought the slug apparition to life, she could also probably stop it somehow. These all would have been fine options. But since I like Mayoi, I’m glad she appeared.

Also, as much as fights in the Monogatari Series are, I prefer the clever solutions. Mayoi digging up the paper with the slug drawn on it and folding it in half was great. It’s a practical solution that doesn’t require someone powerful — like Koyomi or Shinobu — to accomplish it.

Sure, Yotsugi is powerful and wasn’t able to use her raw power to defeat the apparition. So, could Koyomi really have done anything more? On his own, no. But wherever Koyomi is, Shinobu follows. And she’s an apparition eater; she could have made quick work of the slug.

Final Thoughts

What do you think of Monogatari Series: Off & Monster Season Episode 1? Why do you think they chose to start the season with the third arc of Orokamonogatari? Did you like having Yotsugi as the protagonist? And how do you feel about Mayoi showing up to rescue Yotsugi in the end?

If you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on any future articles — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

My review of Episode 2 is available now.

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