For the final episode, I have to say that the conclusion between Hyoma and Kai was a let down. I know that Hyoma would be saved because he’s not strong enough yet to defeat Kai, but I didn’t expect it to end just like that and then everything was dismissed as Kai giving his “greeting” to Hyoma. However, I understand that they must let this go because they’re in no condition to fight Kai any further.
If there’s a good thing coming from this confrontation, Hyoma now realized that he’s still nowhere strong enough to fight against the paper umbrella tsukumogami. Kai rubbed it on Hyoma’s face his inexperience and how he was still below his older siblings. It’s also revealed that Hyoma actually has his own weapon aside from the ones he inherited from his siblings but has yet to use it, most likely, as Kai said, to honor his siblings who used the weapons. If this is true, then Kai might have a point. By insisting on using his siblings’ weapons instead of his own, Hyoma was preventing himself from reaching his true potential. It’s difficult to admit, but sometimes, such sentiment may get in the way of fulfilling one’s goal. Hyoma’s desire for vengeance and feeling of loss for his siblings may as well be a double-edged sword for his growth.
While I have reservations with how the fight with Kai ended, the remaining part of the episode dedicated to Botan’s past and more Hyoma x Botan moment were enough to make it up. The woman in the previous flashback turned out to be Botan’s father’s younger sister, Satsuki, making her Botan’s aunt. At first sight, she seemed unfriendly with her stiff serious face, which hid her caring side. Due to the Marebito inside her, one of Botan’s relatives tried to kidnap her so he could take advantage of her unknown power. I cringed when I watched the scene when the man made this crazed look while referring Botan as if she’s a thing. Eternally grateful to Satsuki who didn’t let that happen.
Unlike most people, Satsuki genuinely loved Botan as her niece and viewed her as a human. She willingly took her under her custody and determined to protect her from those trying to use her. Thanks to this, Botan was able to live in peace with her blood-related family like a normal human being for the first time even though they have to regularly move places. Unfortunately, this peace didn’t last long when the relative found them and killed Satsuki right in front of Botan. Like the typical character possessing unknown power, Satsuki’s death awakened the Marebito inside Botan. It wasn’t shown what exactly happened because Botan didn’t have any memory when she unconsciously used her power, but it’s not difficult to assume that she killed the men who tried to kidnap her, avenging her aunt’s death. That’s karma for the despicable men, they deserved that end.
Sadly, the incident traumatized Botan so much that she found it hard to trust people. She grew up to be comfortable enough to interact with her peers like a normal girl, but that was her limit. She seek love and warmth when she was a child, only for it to be betrayed (by her relative) and losing the person who loved her (Satsuki). She knew both the pain of betrayal and losing a beloved person, and so she drew the line when it comes to human relationship, refusing to form deeper bond with anyone be it friendship or romantic love. It really hurts to see Botan’s unspoken loneliness and resignation. She convinced herself that the life she has now, surrounded only by her tsukumogami and friends at university that only to the extent of being comfortable around them, was more than enough and she never expected more.
At a time like this, Hyoma always knows what needs to be said and how he made us proud. When he was told that the incident with the paper umbrella tsukumogami was Botan’s fault? Hyoma didn’t believe a single bit of it and just thought that Kai was talking nonsense. When he asked to be allowed a few days off, he actually went straight to Kadomori’s place to train, something that he didn’t tell anyone in the Nagatsuki household, which worried Botan and the others as it gave the impression he ran away from home. I was actually surprised that Kadomori was okay with training Hyoma so easily. Even more so that he was quite welcoming of Botan when she came to visit. Seeing how he teased her, now it’s very obvious that he and Tsubaki are certainly father and daughter. I still don’t like him though.
I never tired saying this, Hyoma is truly the one for Botan. He is honest, straightforward, and earnest, and it’s obvious from his actions and behavior that he’s not intelligent enough to make elaborate scheme or take advantage of people (his own words, not mine). His diligence and dedication to become stronger made him someone who’s not easy to be killed. In short, Hyoma would never betray Botan and he won’t die either, meaning the two main reasons that made Botan afraid to trust people were no more. While it sounded Hyoma was oversimplifying her problem, Botan could see the truth in Hyoma’s words because he always wear his heart on his sleeve and that’s what made his words so assuring to her. For the first time, the wall Botan has built cracked and she found herself wanting to trust Hyoma.
Seriously, Hyoma x Botan moment in this episode was GREAT! I want more! More! More! More! These two are just too cute! Too adorable!
Overall, the first season of Mononogatari is an enjoyable watch. Out of the three anime I covered this season, Mononogatari is no doubt the series I like covering the most. I love the main characters, especially Hyoma and Botan and their dynamic. I also like the OP and ED songs, I never missed listening to them and even downloaded the OP so I can always listen to it on my phone. The animation was good enough putting aside some instances where the characters looked a bit weird.
However, the pacing was a bit of a mixed bag. I felt there were times it didn’t balance the seriousness and humor, and too many characters were introduced in a span of 12 episodes that it looked like they were confused as to how to divide focus on which characters.
No way I’m going to miss watching Season 2! It would be aired on July this year and I have every intention to cover it again when it starts airing! (^_^)