In this latter half of Calendar Tale, a set of journeys into the past that have been revisiting the “case files” feel of the series’ origins starts to catch up to the present moment until we are violently spliced back into the overarching plot, just in time for the final quartet that is the End Tale (in three volumes) and End Tale (Cont.). Continuing with the motif of ways, paths, roads, and streets, and wrapping up sundry other topics and quasi-philosophical concerns, the vignettes for the months of October to March deal with six ladies who are either not quite human or older than titular narrator Koyomi Araragi, bless his bantering soul. In this installment, see how he handles—or is handled by—aberration of a little sister Tsukihi, enigma of a freshman or -woman Ogi, shadow of a legendary vampire Shinobu, corpse of a tween girl Ononoki, psychopath of a monster expert Kagenui, and know-it-all of a Machiavellian fixer Izuko Gaen.
Presented in two parts with covers that will form a diptych, Calendar Tale, narrated by our titular hero, sends us to various earlier points in the story where certain events had yet to occur—when, for instance, the shady “expert” Oshino was still in town, and the ex-legendary vampire Shinobu hadn’t tired of sulking in a corner. Weaving in a motif of ways, paths, roads, and streets—walks of life—the nostalgic vignettes hark back to the “case files” feel of the series-launching Monster Tale, but with a twist. Not all oddities are supernatural: stones and flowers; sand and water; the wind and the tree can just be plain weird without being aberrations. In this installment, say hello from the future to class president among class presidents Hanekawa, acid-tongued girlfriend Senjogahara, cheeky lost child Hachikuji, smutty athlete Kanbaru, pathologically shy Sengoku, and justice-loving martial artist Karen, young ladies who love to make our young man sweat.
Launching the third or “Final Season” of the international cult-hit series, Possession Tale returns the narrator’s headset back to high school senior and amateur savior Koyomi Araragi, who used to eschew friendship once upon a time because it’d lower his “intensity as a human”—a loner’s misgiving that was perhaps on the mark in a different way than he intended. At issue now is not the precarious fate of one of his cherished confrères, or rather consœurs, whom he’d aid, sight unseen, with a monster’s resilience, but his own aberrant state and its prolonged abuse. If everything comes with a bill, and if no man is an island, then is the price of self-sacrificing amity—and the bloodshed it ironically occasions—becoming inhuman for good? That being said! Our hero, whose first name means “calendar” but who has none in his room, sees no need to rush, so, on our way to the profound mysteries of the superhuman aspect, expect a super-shallow deconstruction of the alarm clock. On hand this volume to (hardly ever) humor his humor: his little sisters, a living doll of a corpse, and its violent mistress.