OP: 「二言目」 (Futakotome) by 斎藤千和 (Saitou Chiwa)
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「かれんビー 其ノ參」 (Karen Bii Sono San)
“Karen Bee Part Three”
The Eye of Horus, a symbol of ancient Egypt representing protection, royal power, and good health, is originally personified by the goddess Wadjet – but a more modern-day personification would be the tsundere goddess Senjougahara Hitagi. After two episodes of character reintroductions and development that some people found too slow for their tastes, this third episode wasted little time in developing the plot instead.
The episode began on a lighthearted note as Kanbaru continues where she left off by flirting with Araragi while they take a break from cleaning up her books, which is great because I can’t get enough of how straightforward she is compared to the other girls in his life. The relationship map where Kanbaru describes herself as Araragi’s 2nd mistress was hilarious to see especially considering the fact that she thinks that he’ll end up marrying Hanekawa while truly being in love with Hachikuji. I absolutely think she’s spot on when she says that there is no way he’d refuse her if she really pursue him. I know I wouldn’t be able to resist a mistress like that.
In hindsight, several of Kanbaru’s lines in this episode made me think that she knows far more about the overall plot than she lets on. The first line that stood out was when she reassured Araragi about Hanekawa and Senjougahara’s relationship. At first, I thought it was merely because she didn’t approve of the way the two girls are off in their own world, but given the events at the end of the episode, I now think she actually knows about Hanekawa and Senjougahara’s plans. It also makes me wonder if Kanbaru’s game of Hanafuda wasn’t simply a ploy to avoid Araragi getting tangled up in the plans of the two girls. Then again, maybe it was all just a plan for her to win and get Araragi to enter a sexual pact/act with her. Another line that seems foreboding was Kanbaru’s reference to Nadeko as being the true final boss that Araragi is not yet aware of. I don’t know how this will pan out, but it will definitely make me pay more attention to Nadeko’s behavior.
Concerned about having to tell his sisters about his vampirism, Araragi asks Kanbaru how she explains her Rainy Devil arm to her family. All I needed to know about how she felt was written plainly on her face and in the hushed tone of her voice. The mood and environment had quickly darkened (and reddened) and I knew something serious was coming up, which turned out to be the introduction of the con man Kaiki Deishuu (Miki Shinichiro) standing outside Kanbaru’s house. I’m not very familiar with any of Miki Shinichiro’s roles as an “evil” character so I don’t know how he is at portraying those archetypes, but his brief performance as Kaiki has been convincing so far.
With the setting sun at his back filtered through the claws of dead tree branches, SHAFT sure knows how to animate an artistic and ominous entrance. Even though Kaiki’s interest in Kabaru, the presumable child of Gaen, worries Araragi, his resemblance to both Oshino and the Guillotine Cutter is probably the reasons why Araragi quickly abandoned pursuing him. Kanbaru’s connection to the Kaiki through her mother is yet another reason to suspect that she might know more about the situation than she lets on.
Araragi escapes one danger, only to ignore all the warning signs and rides his bike right into another danger: Senjougahara, who takes full advantage of her tsundere status in this episode. I’ve heard a lot of guys would love to have her as their girlfriend, but upon further reflection, I don’t think I’m a part of that group. She somehow knows about every misdeed you commit, can read your eyes like a book to see what girls you’ve been with, constantly peppers you with insults (admittedly, they are some of the wittiest insults ever), and threatens to kill you and every woman you have been involved with. The deadpan manner in which she delivers her lines does take a lot of the edge off her words, and when she does happen to show emotion, you know that it is genuine – like the abrupt change in her demeanor once she heard that Araragi met Kaiki.
Now back in the present day, we finally learn why Senjougahara kidnapped Araragi – to protect him from Kaiki until he leaves town. I guess her earlier comment about bee poison in the first episode was just a red herring. Like Araragi, I noticed how unusual it was for her to hold such animosity for someone, but we quickly found out the reason was because of the role Kaiki played in her past. He was one of five con men who started Senjougahara’s problems in Bakemonogatari, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is also the person that the Fire Sisters are searching for as source of the curse rumors. Tsuhiki’s text-message plea for help only further cemented my suspicions and led to my favorite scene of the series so far: Araragi breaking free of all his restraints once he heard that his sister was in trouble. No sparkles here, just sheer, understated awesomeness.
Kanbaru was right: Araragi and Senjougahara truly make a great couple. Her vow to protect him at all costs was rare moment of real emotional affection, as she didn’t want to lose yet another important thing in her life. The scene that really has me rethinking my membership in Senjougahara camp is her blushing heartfelt declaration of love upon seeing Araragi as a man of justice who stops at nothing to save people. This whole episode encapsulates why we find tsunderes so appealing. It is often said that a courtship resembles a game, and a tsundere represents the highest goal of that game. We endure their attitude in hopes of being the only one to witness the rare moments when their temperament undergoes a drastic 180-degree turn, like Senjougahara does during her phone call with Hanekawa and afterwards as well. Who knew the silver-tongued beauty could stutter like that?
I didn’t think there was anything more that Nisemonogatari could do to make the wait for the next episode even more excruciating, but I have never been so glad to be wrong. We’re given more questions than answers in this episode, but when those questions revolve around such interesting characters, can you really complain?
*Araragi’s hair does look like a sapling coming out of the ground
*Full-length image: 04