「かれんビー 其ノ伍」 (Karen Bii Sono Go)
“Karen Bee Part Five”
If only all episodes of House M.D. were this entertaining. Patient is afflicted by a mysterious disease, perverted “doctor” works backwards to find out how it happened, and when he gives the patient a sponge bath, he has an epiphany. He quickly consults with his team of specialists (a vampire and a cat girl), and decides to try and absorb the disease by kissing the patient. Wait what?
I know this is still Karen’s arc, but I simply can’t wait for Tsukihi to get more screen time because she has a vivacious charm and sarcastic wit that makes it easy to overlook her short-temper. Even when she does get angry, she wins me over with lines like “platinum mad.” Her banter with her brother in this episode was a good example of that wit at play. It’s also admirable that Tsukihi, like her siblings, doesn’t regret anything, other than not regretting enough. The Araragi family is a family that stands fully behind their actions and doesn’t hide from the consequences of those actions.
Araragi’s desperation when he worries about his sisters is plainly evident throughout. Despite the house being full of girls, he doesn’t even think twice about putting on clothes before he questions Tsukihi about the events that have transpired. I’m not exactly sure why he had trouble making friends before, but judging from Hanekawa’s reaction when he dropped his towel, I bet he could add
friends girls to his harem easily if he just wore a towel around all the time. Quick poll: how many of our readers would be willing to join Araragi’s harem? I know there’s at least a couple of commenters who would (you know who you are)!
All hijinks aside, we (and Araragi) finally learn what happened to Karen when she met up with Kaiki, at least from what Tsukihi and Hanekawa know. Kaiki is a supernatural twist on the most modern day of villains – the heartless, capitalistic con man, the likes of which can be seen in the Ponzi schemers who have bilked many out of their life savings. These individuals have a flawed conception of money’s value, and have no scruples to prevent them from making and taking money in the most unethical ways – because in the end, they believe they are still doing some good by putting that money back into the economy. And just like those real life villains, Kaiki sits at the head of a table in a conference room, ready to swindle another hapless victim – except instead of going after well-heeled people, he goes after the easiest of prey: middle school students. For me, these things made him a villain that is way easier to hate than most of the ones we encounter in fiction.
Kaiki is quite the impressive villain too. Everything he does suggests that he’s always one step ahead of Karen. He didn’t even flinch when he found out that she had tricked him, he easily figured out that someone had helped her find him, and somehow, he was prepared for a confrontation with her as well. All he had to do was put on his white gloves, touch her forehead, and she was afflicted. I’m not quite clear about how the disease works either – does it prey on her imagination? Kaiki is quite possibly the most economical villain as well. There’s also nothing that can get your blood boiling quite like seeing a man raid the wallet of a helpless fifteen year old girl – especially when he does it as a payment for the very acts that incapacitated her.
What I’m now worried about the most is if Kaiki goes after Hanekawa, the person who tracked him down. After watching the 15th episode of Guilty Crown, I don’t want to lose another one of my favorite characters, and I’m sure that Araragi feels the same way. It was hilarious watching his reaction to her “golden ticket” apology as his reactions exactly mirrored my own, and I was so glad that he didn’t even hesitate to tear it up once he heard about the ticket’s consequences either. I couldn’t help but find a lot of Hanekawa’s lines ominous, such as her prediction about Araragi and Shinobu’s relationship, and after such a nice walk through a beautiful bamboo-lined pathway, I just hope it’s not the last time we’ll get to hear her catchphrase either.
Araragi may be accused of being a pervert all the time, but one thing he can never be accused of is indifference, especially towards the people he cares about. He may need Karen to point it out to him, but just like her, he cannot stand idly by when someone needs help – and in this case, it’s his own sister. The dynamics between the sisters and their brother has been one of the most pleasant surprises in this series so far; it somehow manages to feel like a perfectly natural sibling relationship. In other shows, a scene where the brother gives his sister a sponge bath would have heavy undertones, but so far this feels as natural as you could expect a sibling sponge bath to be, which I admit isn’t saying much. In any case, Karen is so relaxed she can even spout off a hilarious haiku – before becoming serious and telling him what really happened between her and Kaiki.
Karen is in many ways, just like her brother. They both realize that life is more than money, even if they differ on the exact percentages. If I had to guess, I’d say her personality is probably similar to what Araragi’s was like when he was younger. Like Hanekawa alluded to in the previous episode, he sees some of himself in Karen, which is probably why he’s now patient with her, gives her good advice, and why he will go to any distance to alleviate her suffering, having already experienced it himself. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a replacement for Oshino that he can turn to now. (I really hope that Shinobu makes an appearance in every episode, even if it’s only her voice.) As for her method of absorbing Karen’s affliction, it’s definitely understandable why Shinobu didn’t prefer it, and given that Araragi has been so reluctant to tell his sisters that he’s partly a vampire, I don’t foresee him explaining things to Karen any time soon either. We’ll just have to stay tuned to find out what the fallout from all this will be.