The Music of Monogatari Final Season
Since I recently finished my lengthy review tour through the entire animated Monogatari canon, in my previous two articles I looked back at the fantastic music from the first and second seasons. Now we’ve reached the 42-episode final season, with its fourteen opening/closing songs. Some of the very best tracks can be found in this collection. This time, the majority of songs are now composed by Mito instead of Satoru Kosaki, though lyrics continue to be provided by Meg Rock, unless specified otherwise.
The Music of Monogatari Season One
Recently I finally finished reviewing all twenty blu-ray volumes of Shaft’s Monogatari anime. You’d think I’d want to…
The Music of Monogatari Second Season
Last time, I looked at all twelve opening and ending songs from the thirty episodes of Monogatari’s first season. This…
Tsukimonogatari episodes 1–4: Yotsugi Doll: Opening song Orange Mint, sung by Saori Hayami (Yotsugi Ononoki).
Despite the fact that in real life orange and mint are a cursed flavour combination, this is a fun opener, the only one sung by Yotsugi Ononoki’s voice actress. It’s a playful, very eccentric and odd song, as befits the arc’s featured character.
Tsukimonogatari episodes 1–4: Ending song: Border, composed by Ryosuke Shigenaga, lyrics by Meg Rock, sung by ClariS.
I can only find the full version of this, without the ending animation. I think this is one of the less well-known endings. It has a very similar tone to the others, it’s good, but I don’t feel it does much to distinguish itself, nor is it particularly memorable.
Owarimonogatari Episodes 1–2: Ougi Formula: Opening song Decent Black, sung by Kaori Mizuhashi (Ougi Oshino).
The first track sung by spooky Ougi Oshino’s voice actress, this is a cool EDM-infused song with very slick visuals. Ougi is one of my favourite characters, so anything featuring her is probably going to be good in my eyes.
Owarimonogatari Episodes 3–4: Sodachi Riddle: Opening song Mathemagics, sung by Marina Inoue (Sodachi Oikura).
Again, YouTube is missing the shorter version with the accompanying animation. The first track sung by Sodachi Oikura’s voice actress, this is a soulful and melancholy performance with some lovely soaring strings and more than a hint of drama. I like this one a lot.
Owarimonogatari Episodes 5–7: Sodachi Lost: Opening song Yudachi Hoteishiki, sung by Marina Inoue (Sodachi Oikura).
Another one with missing animation. I guess Aniplex must have gone on some kind of copyright rampage? Anyway, unusually for Monogatari this is the first time that two consecutive openers have featured the same vocalist. This is also the last opener featuring Sodachi specifically. Continuing with a similar melancholy vibe, I’d like to think this one is at least a little more hopeful. I particularly like the backing vocals, squealing electric guitars and funky bass.
Owarimonogatari Episodes 8–13: Shinobu Mail: Opening song Mein Schatz (My Treasure), does not feature a cast vocalist.
The second of Monogatari’s arcs focusing on Shinobu Oshino, and once again voice actress Maaya Sakamoto declined to sing, so we have another very deep, germanic, male vocal chant. It does fit the tone of the story though, and the lyrics are more than a little heartbreaking. In some ways it reminds me a little of the soundtracks from the NieR games. Once more, the visuals are missing. Curse you Aniplex! (Shakes fist impotently at sky.)
Owarimonogatari Episodes 1–13: Ending song Sayonara no Yukue (Whereabouts of Goodbye), composed by Alisa Takigawa and Saku, lyrics written and sung by Takigawa.
Now I love love LOVE this song. Whereas Monogatari’s openers tend towards being upbeat and eclectic, there’s a very specific vibe evoked by most of the closers. There’s usually a mix of melancholy, nostalgia, regret, and hope, a potent concoction that hits me right in the heart. To me, this feeling is what Monogatari is ultimately all about. Beautiful and tear-provoking.
Koyomimonogatari Episodes 1–12: Ending song Whiz, lyrics and composition by Sho Watanabe, sung by TrySail.
So this track is impossible to find on YouTube in anything other than live versions or covers. Are there some songs that Aniplex are more hellbent on suppressing than others? The above video is a live performance of Trysail, an idol trio that provide a lot of music for anime. It always seems a little weird to me to see the real live adult singers emit such high-pitched vocals. I guess I’m used to the women in Scotland, where I live, who are much deeper-pitched. It’ll be all those cigarettes and rich, peaty whisky or something. Also, Koyomimonogatari did not have an opener of its own, instead repurposing a different opener from previous arcs for every episode, depending on the featured central female character.
Owarimonogatari Episodes 14–15: Mayoi Hell: Opening song Terminal Terminal, composed by Mito and Satoru Kosaki, sung by Emiri Kato (Mayoi Hachikuji).
Finally I’ve found the opening animation for an opener! Shame it’s one for the impossibly squeaky Mayoi Hachikuji’s voice actress Emiri Kato (and thank God it’s the last one). For me, this is the sound of a migraine and I can’t stand it, even if the song itself is fine. It cuts through my skull and vibrates my brain like Battle Angel Alita’s combined Damascus blade/Hertza Haeon attack.
Owarimonogatari Episodes 16–17: Hitagi Rendezvous: Opening song Dreamy Date Drive, composed by Satoru Kosaki, sung by Chiwa Saito (Hitagi Senjougahara).
The only version I can find of this is an odd restricted box version. Was this to somehow avoid a copyright strike? Dreamy Date Drive is a slow, pensive track that sounds a like a classic ballad from decades previous. It’s effective at evoking a mood, but not something I’d want to listen to that often.
Owarimonogatari Episodes 18–20: Ougi Dark: Opening song Dark Cherry Mystery, sung by Kaori Mizuhashi (Ougi Oshino).
This is the GOAT Monogatari opener. I love this so much I have it on permanent rotation, I never get sick of it. The visuals are fantastic too, with clever callbacks to previous arcs, foreshadowing of important plot beats, and of course it features Best Oddity Ougi Oshino, who continues to be all shadowy and spooky, while also repeatedly demonstrating advanced ragdoll physics. Where can I get a glowing bicycle like that?
Owarimonogatari Episodes 14–20: Ending Song SHIORI, lyrics and composition by Tomoyuki Ogawa, sung by ClariS.
Another great ending song, with several different accompanying animations, depending on the arc. In the first version, the visuals cycle through excerpts from every previous ending, as if to reiterate that yes, Monogatari is ending soon. The above version is the second version from the blu-ray, featuring Hajime Ueda’s strikingly simplified Hitagi Senjogahara character design.
Zoku Owarimonogatari Episodes 1–6: Koyomi Reverse: Opening Song 07734, composed by Satoru Kosaki and Mito, features lines read by Hiroshi Kamiya (Koyomi Araragi).
This is a weird one, Monogatari’s final opener. This arc doesn’t focus on a single female character so much as it’s about protagonist Koyomi Araragi growing up and leaving his adolescent regrets behind. In fitting with the story’s “mirror” motif, Araragi’s voice actor Hiroshi Kamiya’s lines are reversed, Twin Peaks-style over an unusual musical composition that itself contains reversed elements. Perhaps he really didn’t want to sing? It’s not a track you’d want to listen to repeatedly, it’s more a clever (and jarring) alteration to the expected conventions of a Monogatari opener.
Zoku Owarimonogatari Episodes 1–6: Ending Song Azure, composed by Kodai Akiba, lyrics by Kei Hayashi, sung by TrySail.
And here we have the final piece of Monogatari music, and the final ending song. Fittingly, the visuals feature a cameo from many characters (and their associated aberrations), with their mirror counterparts. A delicate, warm and hopeful track, with nostalgic and heartfelt lyrics that talk about partings and goodbyes. It’s a perfect way to end a remarkable collection of songs.
Over three articles, I’ve looked at every single piece of opening and closing music from the animated Monogatari adaptation. Twelve from the first season, ten from the second, and fourteen from the final. If you include the movies’ ending theme (and discounting variants), that’s thirty-seven songs, almost uniformly high in quality. I hope I’ve introduced you to some new favourites, or perhaps rekindled a love you’ve forgotten.
It will probably be a long time before I watch Monogatari again, but the music will always be with me, reminding me of the good times I had with my strange oddity-inflicted Japanese friends.
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