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This episode puts Gaen in the spotlight for the most part, with a few fun moments with playful Kanbaru and a peeved Shinobu. Araragi and the girls finally meet up with Gaen, who pretends to be Oshino Meme’s little sister, to get the rundown of everything happening thus far – and I mean everything. From the beginning of this arc, the beginning of this anime, and even as far as more than 400 years ago at the beginning of the Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade storyline.

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Leading off the episode, Araragi and Kanbaru do away with the half-monkey-half-crab apparition that appeared at the very end of the last episode, and they do it just as fast as it had seemingly appeared. Obviously, the apparition seemed to be an incomplete amalgamation of apparitions that Araragi had dealt with already, even ending with an appearance from a snake. After doing easily doing away with the beast, and a little bit of Kanbaru fan service, the trio make their way to a meeting with Gaen.

Gaen is the type of character that comes of seemingly friendly; she doesn’t often put Araragi in any situations that are too dire and her favors she asks for tend to be somewhat attainable. However, she does come off with a sense of arrogance and holier-than-thou sort of attitude when explaining everything to the protagonists. Almost as if to say, “Yes, I know everything about you all, and no, I’m not impressed with the way you all performed.” Posing as Oshino Meme’s younger sister, she explains in one part how it’s more than just a mere coincidence that Araragi has dealt with as many apparitions as he has women in his life, and in just as many months. In the other part, she explains the origins of samurai armor apparition and Kiss Shot’s first minion, which was explained briefly in previous arcs.

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The animation was great, apart from the beginning fight sequence with the apparition; then again, that was a rather short scene, so I’ll pretend that detail to the animation there was probably unnecessary. The monologues from Gaen had many larger-than-life moments, almost to depict her all-seeing and all-knowing persona. From using her as the centerpiece in a setting of the universe, to her looming figure within a miniature version of the city, manipulating and controlling each of the main Monogatari characters as paper-cut pieces in a board game. On another note, during the story of the first minion’s death and revival, the animation featured some beautifully illustrated scenery like that of traditional Japanese artwork.

Once again were left on a huge cliffhanger: the first minion had died and revived an infinite number of times, floating along as ashes until it found its way to this particular city, Araragi’s city, and what’s more is that was fifteen years ago. Is this alluding to the idea that the first minion has been here the whole time? That would give just reason to the idea that all the meetings Araragi has had with apparitions thus far could have been orchestrated by an outside power, or a greater evil.

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Episode Rating:

Wonderful episode. Animation was well done, and the music was fantastic. A good balance of comedy to content.

Head-Tilt Count:

A whopping thirteen proves that you can have tons of tilt in a quality episode.