You know that your arc is the strongest when you mix 90’s shoujo art in the opening and somehow make it fit in the Monogatari universe.
It’s become no secret that alot of fans are starting to think Kaiki is a better protagonist than Araragi. And while I still prefer Araragi as a lead, I can definitely see Kaiki’s appeal. How easy he makes deception look and his effortless solutions toward trouble gives me no choice but to just bask in his glory. He knows how to acknowledge trouble, come up with solutions, and not back down from it. It’s this level of competence/experience that wins my trust in his words, regardless of him constantly reminding the audience that he’s a liar. And he takes every chance to exploit this trust by leaving small hints throughout the story rather than a series of reveals.
He’s even more fascinating when with the other characters. Whether it be Hitagi, Ononoki, Nadeko or Hanekawa, Kaiki manages to bring out just as much(if not more) personality out of them as Araragi would. Whether it be Hitagi’s tears after hearing Kaiki’s guarantee of Araragi’s life, Nadeko’s surprise over extra offering and sake, or even ripping off Ononoki/Gaen off of 3 million yen, his fearless/calculated nature manages to define these characters in a simple, understandeable way. So the rare moments when he’s suddenly unsure(Hanekawa’s involvement, the warning/threat at his door) make a chat through a phone or in a taxi into riveting discussions.
I will admit that this wider spectrum has its ups and downs. I like how Nadeko’s rise to godliness is explained as a mistake, originally being part of a plan to make Shinobu become a god. What’s more is that the 3rd parties such as Gaen make the act of saving two individuals feel much more complicated and risky than it should. After all, Kaiki’s mission is to deceive a childlike god. But that’s also its downside, as the extra complications feel like an excuse to drag the plot further, especially since the solution seems simple.
I’m not really sure where this story is headed now that it’s gotten so complicated. But it’s something I wouldn’t expect any less from a Monogatari series. They took a risk with the new viewpoint, and it’s paid off more than expected. Sure it may drag at times, but if people were to ask if this would satisfy me for a final arc as it is now, I would say yes. So let’s hope it doesn’t falter in the next two weeks.