All in all, I’d say their reference of this particular meme was highly appropriate considering the scene directly preceding it. It’s really too bad there weren’t two other people in the scene to complete it (though I guess no one else in the series would be quite as excited).
There’s absolutely no mistaking the reference. Both Araragi and Suruga are in the exact same poses as the nearest two dudes and their expressions are nearly identical as well — just Suruga’s eyebrows seem to make her a bit more “Holy shit!” than “Hell yeah!”
I hadn’t realized just how widespread this meme apparently is though! Hell, I didn’t know the “official name” of it until I googled around trying to find a clean version of the image. The photos apparently originated from E3 2003, so the source has at least existed for a good many years, but my first encounter with them was in a meme (contains spoilers) about all the episodes of Gurren Lagann. Was that the first occurrence? Probably not.
4chan memes come and go (and even if it didn’t actually originate on 4chan, we can probably still rightfully credit them with any meme’s viral spreading), but it’s interesting to see which ones persist throughout the years. How long did it take poor Domo-kun to vanquish his image as the kitten-killing hand of God? Or has he actually gotten rid of that image? You don’t see it around as much anymore though, and I wonder if Nickelodean and Target would still have been keen on adopting the character if the masturbation meme were still widespread. Meanwhile, Pedobear still makes regular rounds on the boards as well as conventions, and I doubt we’ll see the end of fake motivational posters any time soon. Beside them, the Reaction Guys don’t seem nearly as prominent, which I guess is also part of why I was so surprised to see it referenced.
And probably part of why it’s so freakin’ awesome. SHAFT and their cultural references indeed! Though actually, I also find it interesting that the reference was made in Bakemonogatari rather than whatever season of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei we’re on now since the latter certainly has many more otaku-related jabs. Then again, I haven’t finished the second season (ZSZS) yet, so maybe they have? And the Reaction Guys probably aren’t in widespread usage solely in the anime otakusphere — after all, the image came from a gaming trade show. Who knows? This is just another reminder that on the Internet, we’re being watched. :o