Back at the end of April, at the beginning of Golden Week, Tsubasa had explained to Koyomi how her current family has no blood relation to her thanks to a series of marriages and remarriages. Her current parents saw her as a nuisance and sometimes hit her, so Tsubasa decided to be a good girl and stayed away from home when she could, but she made Koyomi promise not to tell anyone about it. On that day, the two had then found a dead white cat on the road, and Tsubasa had wanted Koyomi’s help in burying it. In the present now, Koyomi leaves school to find Nadeko waiting outside for him. She wants to thank him again, and since Suruga was in a rush earlier, she gives him the swimsuit and bloomers that she washed to give back to Suruga. The two also talk about how the supernatural aren’t at fault for what happens and how Nadeko shouldn’t bother with them and should just return to a normal life. Their conversation is then interrupted by the appearance of Tsubasa, and Nadeko gets embarrassed and runs away.
With Tsubasa, Koyomi talks about how the snake problem was settled, and she tells him the rumor about him being a bad influence on Hitagi. The conversation is cut short when Tsubasa suddenly experiences pain in the form of a severe headache, and even though Tsubasa claims that she’s okay, Koyomi is worried because he still remembers what happened during Golden Week. Back then, Tsubasa experienced the same pain, and it resulted in her hair turning white and her growing cat ears. When Koyomi had gone to see Oshino about it, Oshino had attributed it to a sawarineko and multiple personality disorder, and he suggested that the other side of Tsubasa appeared because of stress. What this led to was the alternate Tsubasa randomly attacking people and draining them of energy to reduce her own stress, and her victims included her parents. When her target had been Koyomi, however, he had the help of Shinobu, and she had bitten Tsubasa and drained her. As a result of this, Tsubasa had returned to normal. Back in the present, Tsubasa reassures Koyomi that she’s okay, and she changes the subject away from what’s bothering her.
This episode really didn’t feel like the typical first episode of a Bakemonogatari arc. There’s still plenty of exposition and dialogue, but because of the flashback sequence, it was like there was a mini-arc where a problem already got explained and solved. Obviously that wasn’t the real end of the problem though since Tsubasa is still having headaches and since this is only the first episode of a five-episode arc. Regardless, I’m enjoying the arc so far, and having so much Tsubasa screentime is great since I like hearing Horie Yui in this role so much. Of course, that being said, I think Nadeko wins in terms of being the most cute character. It’s just ridiculous how cute she is this episode.
On a different note, I’m glad that the animation quality went back to normal this episode, and I was actually able to tell what was going on in the action scenes. It was pretty cool too to see Shinobu attacking Tsubasa, especially given how she’s usually so idle. In fact, it made me curious how they got Shinobu involved in the first place or if she just showed up on her own to protect Koyomi. I also liked the whole kaleidoscope effect scene – it was kind of mesmerizing. Hopefully the quality won’t drop when they get to the online-only episodes after the final TV broadcast episode next week.