The past few episodes have been absolutely amazing. Therefore, it’s inevitable that eventually, the pace will have to slow down, and there will have to be “filler”-y weeks where more time is spent just developing rather than actually doing something. This episode was not one of those weeks. A ton happened in this episode.
It was just executed horribly.
This episode did everything I predicted it to do. Araragi says “I must have subconsciously chosen(read: “I wanted to develop the plot so I chose”) to go back to the day before Mayoi dies. Let’s save her.” Then they save her. Literally, they just push her out of the way of the car that was about to hit her. They guide her home. Job’s done, so lets go home. Apparently the shrine has always been collecting tons of evil energy, so they can use it to time-warp whenever. So they go home. And in the most deadpan, uninterested voice, Araragi tells us that now the world has been annihilated.
From a plot perspective, that’s not too bad. It’s a fairly logical series of events that ends on a big reveal. But for a show that prides itself on artistry, it’s ridiculously direct. People often complain about the winding dialogue and psuedo-psychological conversations. Shinbo finally said “fine, you want plot, you get plot”, and this episode is the result. Horribly flat, boring, pedestrian conversations that are either “I wonder what happens in time travel? Nevermind, we have a deus ex machina!” or “I want to do x. Let’s go do x.” “Ok” *Does x” “Wasn’t that fun?”
The only redeeming part of the show was Araragi’s encounter with little Hanekawa, since it allowed an outlet for Araragi’s … eccentricity … to manifest. Totally fluff, but very entertaining.
To counter that, we have one of the worst cases of logic I’ve ever seen in why time travel won’t fix everyone’s problems. First, he asserts Senjougahara’s problems won’t really be fixed through time travel. More or less true. Then he says Hanekawa’s problems won’t be solved through time travel, since it’s family issues that she needs to come to terms with. That’s true, but her whole arc sprung from them burying a cat. I’m pretty sure that hospitalizing innocents as a cat-aberration is not a part of the normal coping process. Then he just asserts, without reasoning, that Kanbaru and Nakedo’s problems couldn’t be solved by time travel. Which is just blatantly false. They could just take the monkey’s paw away from Kanbaru, and Nadeko they just have to tell her not to cut up snakes. That’s it. No family issues whatsoever. Nadeko especially had literally no psychological issues she overcame by going through her arc, so it doesn’t even help develop her. She basically existed for Fanservice and Renai Circulation (she still only exists for those reasons). Then, to top it all off, they say that Mayoi’s arc is easily fixed by not having her die in the car crash, ignoring the estrangement between her parents and the fact that she ran away from home. I personally don’t think those are very important, but Araragi clearly would if Mayoi’s name was Hanekawa. Not only is his logically flawed, it contradicts itself.
Protip for future writers: When justifying something like time travel, making a true statement and following it with successively less true statements, until we reach blatant lies, is just wrong. It offends the intelligence of the audience. Don’t do it.
So all in all, a pretty horrible episode that could be summarized in 2 minutes and 10 seconds:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt_Tjhg4wsQ]