It’s the third and final part of my guest appearance on Josh Dunham‘s Senpai Coast to Coast podcast. We finish up our discussion of Bakemonogatari by delving into the Tsubasa Cat arc, paying special attention to the series’ twelfth episode. I truly enjoyed doing this podcast with Josh. He was an absolute pleasure to work with, and I hope he’ll have me back in the future.
Show Notes after the jump
Conflict is an important concept in Monogatari. Humans clash with supernatural beings. Words and bodies collide with one another. Some character relationships can be defined by conflict. However, it is not just a plot device; analysis of the meaning of conflict, distinguishing types of conflict, and commenting on the fallout from conflict are all thematic elements of the story of Monogatari.
The “philosophy of conflict” present in the anime really grabbed me. I decided to follow this theme through the early anime and discuss different kinds of conflict present therein. For each type, I briefly summarize a scene in which the conflict occurs, attempt to define the type and finally consider how the characters are effected by it. There will be tangents.
This article is not meant to be a complete taxonomy of the kinds of conflict in Monogatari. I haven’t seen all the anime in the franchise as of this writing, and the title indicates that the piece only covers the early productions (by this I mean Bakemonogatari and Nisemonogatari). That said, I stand by the entries in this taxonomy, incomplete though it may be.
Suggested Soundtrack for Reading – Future Islands “Seasons”
Josh Dunham was kind enough to allow me to be a guest on episode thirteen of his Senpai Coast to Coast podcast. We talked at great length (4+ hours to be precise) about Bakemonogatari. There are spoilers. Our dive was so deep that the final edit of the show is split into several parts, so look for those in the coming days/weeks. For now, enjoy this hour of discussion about the first two arcs of the show and maybe read my show notes below.
Apparitions. On its surface, Bakemonogatari is about teenagers getting rid of apparitions, gods, spirits and demons that are negatively affecting their lives. You may be looking at the title of this post and wondering: What can a story about ghost busting have to say about how we live our lives? Well, an awful lot, actually. In the world of Bakemonogatari, the actions of spiritual beings are deeply connected to the internal, psychological states of human beings. If someone is dealing with an apparition, you can be sure that it is a result of emotional problems–either their own or those of someone they know–overwhelming them. To exorcise the spirits is to confront these emotional problems.
In this post, I will discuss an issue that the show keeps coming back to, carrying emotional burdens. Burden here is sort of a catch-all for: consequences of your choices, memories of traumatic experiences, regrets, longings…You know? Burdens. Bakemonogatari has very specific things to say about how people walk around living with themselves. There are right and wrong ways to do this.
***BAKEMONOGATARI SPOILERS AHEAD***