Flavor in Anime: Thoughts on Nekomonogatari (White) and Other Anime in General

Mono 1On of my favorite scenes from the first arc of Monogatari’s Second Season was near the end of episode 2. In the scene, Senjougahara asks, through some deadpan humor directed at the fourth wall, Hanekawa whether she likes a variety of condiments on her food. In each instance, Hanekawa exclaims that she prefers to eat everything plain. Over the course of the arc, we see that this affinity for plainness is in reality means an affinity for pureness on the part of Hanekawa. She separates all the bad parts of herself away from her physical body into deities. Eventually, Hanekawa faces these entities and has them become apart of her once again. In doing so, she accepts that things can be better by, and pardon the slang, muddying them up. Of course, the acceptance of flavors can be applied to things that have nothing to do with characters, but can also be applied to circumstances which involve puberty (I don’t think this was the case here, as Hanekawa clearly already knew she had a crush on Araragi and she is already far along in high school).

As someone who has been an anime fan for a long time these patterns often repeat themselves, as patterns are wont to do in any type of literature. One series which does one hell of a job of packing its tale full of symbolism is FLCL. For those who have seen it, Naota starts the series not wanting a sour drink, and later we see that he prefers mild flavored curry. However, after the events of the series, we see that he accepts sour drink without a second thought. There are many other instances of these types of symbols repeating in other anime, mainly those that focus on adolescence. I’m not going to get into many more examples (partly because I don’t want to try and remember them through my MAL list but also), because looking for them on your own can be satisfying, if you know what you are looking for. And now you all do to.

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