I never thought of Sawashiro Miyuki as much of a singer since pretty much everything I’ve ever heard her in has been a group song, but she does a pretty good job on her own with ambivalent world. The song itself isn’t too bad either, thought it feels a bit disjointed between the main verse and the chorus.
When Suruga was in elementary school, she used the mummified left hand that had been left to her by her mother and had wished to be faster. It led to four of her classmates who were going to run a race against her getting attacked by a monster, and they were all absent the next day. Suruga had later learned about the Monkey Paw story by Jacobs and had been afraid of the consequences, so she never joined the track and field team and made sure she didn’t put herself in places where there would be people faster than her. She joined the basketball team instead, and sometime after she became the team’s ace, she met Hitagi and fell in love. Even when she got rejected, she resisted making wishes with the hand, but that changed after she saw Koyomi with Hitagi, and before she knew it, her own left hand transformed.
Back in the present, Oshino is able to suggest two easy ways to solve the problem: let Koyomi get killed by the Rainy Devil or chop off the arm. When Koyomi objects to Oshino suggesting that Suruga’s intent was to kill, Oshino points to how the left hand didn’t make Suruga faster and instead hurt her classmates. Unlike a monkey’s paw, the Rainy Devil adheres to contracts, so if she really wanted to be faster, that’s what would have happened. Instead, Suruga actually wanted to hurt her classmates, and Oshino thinks that it’s because she wanted revenge for being picked on during a hard period in her life right after she lost her parents. He suggests that although it was an unconscious desire, Suruga actually did know and just didn’t want to admit it, so she sought another explanation, and that’s how the monkey’s paw came to be. What this also means is that Suruga actually did want to kill Koyomi.
A short while later, Koyomi lets Shinobu drink from his neck, thereby boosting his own powers, and he then heads to a confrontation with Suruga. He’s met first by Oshino, and the two talk about the plan to make the Rainy Devil realize that it can’t kill him. Being unable to fulfill Suruga’s wish means that the contract would be invalidated, and the Rainy Devil would leave. When Oshino questions Koyomi’s desire to help Suruga even though she tried to kill him, Koyomi is forgiving and feels that hating is a natural part of living. He then proceeds into the room where Suruga is waiting in her raincoat, and she immediately attacks him. Koyomi tries his best to knock her down, but much to his surprise, she’s able to use not just the left arm, but her legs and the rest of her body as well. This makes him realize that Suruga unconsciously still wants to kill him and hadn’t given up on Hitagi like she earlier indicated she had. Unfortunately, it’s too late now, and Suruga proceeds to rip a hole in Koyomi’s abdomen and throw him around by his intestines.
Just as Koyomi thinks that it’s over, Hitagi suddenly appears, and Koyomi realizes that Oshino had used his cell phone to call her. Hitagi isn’t happy that Koyomi had lied to her about what happened at the utility pole and had kept all this from her, and even though she thinks he deserves to die 10,000 times for it, she forgives him given the condition he’s already in. When Suruga tries to charge again at Koyomi, Hitagi steps in between them and stops her. She also emphasizes how, if Koyomi had died, she would have had to kill Suruga, and Koyomi realizes that what she’s doing is another solution to the problem. By swearing that she would kill Suruga if Koyomi died, Hitagi had made it clear for the Rainy Devil that it was impossible to fulfill Suruga’s wish. Hitagi then approaches Suruga and holds her hands, returning Suruga to her normal self. Suruga confesses that she likes Hitagi, and though Hitagi doesn’t return those same feelings, she apologizes.
The next morning, Koyomi finds Suruga waiting for him outside his home after Hitagi had apparently told her to meet him. Suruga reveals that she can’t play basketball anymore because, even though the Rainy Devil is gone, her arm didn’t return back to normal, however she’s content with it.
The plot twist this arc (if you could even call it that) was weaker than the Mayoi one, but this was overall a bit more interesting to watch thanks to the gory fight and the Hitagi conclusion. It was a relatively short but intense battle, and while I suspected that things wouldn’t go according to plan, I certainly didn’t expect to see Koyomi get tossed around by his intestines. I think it’s interesting to note too that SHAFT’s use of neon colors for blood actually de-emphasized the goriness during that scene. Regardless, I like Koyomi’s character a bit more after he went through all that because it showed how he wouldn’t settle for a less-than-ideal solution (i.e. just cutting off Suruga’s arm) yet he’s not annoyingly self-righteous about it.
Of course he would have been dead without Hitagi coming to save the day, and I laughed at how they did the 3-2-1-0 countdown upon her appearance. I also liked how what she said earlier about killing whoever killed him came to be part of the solution here and how Koyomi was able to succeed in helping her regain something that she lost, both of which were first mentioned two episodes ago. I think my main complaint is that the actual end felt a little unfulfilling story-wise since the arm is still there, but I’ve been told by a novel reader that there might be an explanation for that next episode. In any case, my ultimate point is that this was another good episode and story arc of Bakemonogatari, and I’m curious to see what the next (and final?) one brings.