Monogatari Series Second Season – Shifting Perspectives and Studying Light Novel Structures
There is one aspect in Monogatari Second Season which made it an unique highlight different to that of previous seasons, focusing on other characters – by actually shifting our perspectives on the other characters aside from the all-familiar series’s protagonist, Araragi Koyomi.
Before I continue, here’s a narrative structure I see in a lot of light novels. Taking advantage of it’s textual format, there are a lot of monologues and soliloquies – these can be on how the character is facing certain dilemma at the moment, or how they feel about their current situation or environment or so on. These aspects of light novel helps us delve into the characters in a more personal, emotional and immersive level, even more so if the story was told from a first-person perspective. Now, seems familiar?
Monogatari Second Season did exactly that. Focusing on other characters aside from Araragi, the side of the story on other characters are shown to us in a more literal, visual and immersive manner. Their emotions – all of the struggles they are facing while trying to conquer their inner flaws, or to solve a certain problem, all feels incredibly personal and emotional. It really does help us connect to them in a much deeper level.
That day, I was at some famous shrine in Kyoto, Japan. It’s New Year’s Day. I was at a shrine on New Year’s Eve to ring in the new year, so to say.
…and that’s a lie.
It was partially for fun, to observe visitors throw away money, more important than their lives, as if it were nothing but trash. I came to a shrine to study the ecology of people of that nature.
Perspective shifts themselves are also pretty common in light novels too, first-person or third-person alike. As there are no direct pictures for literal information, we discern the shifts of perspectives of different characters by analyzing the personality of these very characters, and how they interact with their surroundings. In Monogatari Second Season, there was a part where the perspective shifted to Kaiki’s, and you can clearly see how different he interacted with the surroundings compared to Araragi. For example, have Araragi interact with some of the heroines of the show and it will immediately turned into a harem/ecchi commedy. Try to do the same to Kaiki, and in contrast, he will be indifferent to the scene unfolding right in front of his eyes, perhaps with a few sarcastic remarks to boot too.
Shaft made an interesting direction that really does literally tell us Monogatari is indeed a light novel. The perspective shifts is one thing but there is also one other visual element that Shaft really utilized well – the rapid flashing of words in certain frames which I would assume were coming straight out from the light novels themselves, and give further insights to the scenes and characterizations. However, using abstract symbolism, various unique visual metaphors are manifested in the anime, interpreting the events from the original textual light novels in very artistic ways.
If there is one thing I like about Monogatari, it is how they adapt the textual novel scenes with such abstract, vibrant metaphors, yet, retaining the features of it’s original medium – light novels, and in Monogatari Second Season, the constant shifts in perspective contribute much more to the aspect that makes the series an artistic and literature masterpiece.