「かれんビー 其ノ漆」 (Karen Bii Sono Nana)
“Karen Bee Part Seven”

This finale to Karen’s arc was filled with plenty of action, but instead of it being completely of the wordplay variety, there was actually a good old fashioned brawl too – just not between whom I expected it to be.

With all the teasing that Nisemonogatari has done so far in regards to Karen and Araragi’s relationship, I never thought that that we would actually be lucky enough to see the two siblings come to fisticuffs instead of merely sparring with words. This was a confrontation that has been alluded to since practically the beginning of this series, and with both sides boasting like prizefighters before their championship bout, the hype was palpable as well. We have already seen a brief glimpse of Araragi’s fighting prowess during his fight with Rainy Devil, but that was completely one-sided since he was on the defensive the entire time. During his fight with Karen, I fully expected more of the same since Araragi comes off as the heroic type who would never hit his sister, but a part of me still wanted to see some of his offensive repertoire as well. Guess we’ll have to wait until a sequel or Kizumonogatari for us to see him fight to the full extent of his abilities.

Even though Araragi basically served as a human punching bag for Karen, their fight still surpassed all my expectations mainly thanks to how ridiculously awesome she was. I have to admit, I think I’d also fall for a girl who claims she’s in the best of conditions while it’s painfully obvious that she’s suffering and about to pass out. Despite her disadvantages, Karen’s capoeira-like spinning handstand kicks and head scissor leg throws really had Araragi on the ropes too – and it wasn’t surprising to me that only Shinobu’s indecent “request” could get a perverted soul like him to stand up and endure more attacks. His “best offense is a good defense” strategy paid off as Karen could only pummel him so much before she began to tire and he could switch to a battle where he knew he could win – a battle of words.

Wordplay continues to be the defining aspect of this series, and while it might not be regarded as complex by those who merely see it as a shallow play on words, I consider wordplay to include verbal sparring as well. Watching the two siblings square off with their ideas of what it means to be an agent of justice was just as satisfying as the preceding physical altercation. Araragi’s speech to his sister was both pointed and heroic at the same time – only someone well versed in debate could win and end an argument with a tender, heartfelt hug and leave the loser in love with the victor. Their dialogue showed that although we may be familiar with seeing justice in action from reading about it or watching it, the motivations behind justice and what it takes to be an ally of justice are still complex ideas that merit more than a cursory glance – and this is where Nisemonogatari shines.

Another concept that this series has a thought-provoking take on is the idea of revenge. Senjougahara‘s quest to resolve her past was one that I fully expected to culminate in an epic physical showdown with Kaiki, but it turned out to be more anti-climactic than anything, with words exchanged rather than fists and pencils. For a man whose only motivation in life is for material riches, whose soul is as unforgiving as the coffee he drinks, it seemed only appropriate that she would exact her vengeance on him in the most violent of ways, so it was quite unexpected when Kaiki gave in so easily by offering reparations for all his misdeeds. I was left just as speechless as Araragi was, and it worried me because Kaiki is a con man, through and through. None of his words can ever be taken at face value, and his olive branch may come back to bite the protagonists later in the story. All of this does make some sense though. Kaiki is a practical man – if he believes the end result of a confrontation will prevent him from making more money, he will choose to resolve it in a way that allows him to continue with his ways. Cold-hearted would be too kind of a description for him, for he has no heart to speak of.

Another aspect that makes Kaiki a villain to be taken seriously is the idea that he is an impostor. Someone who lives his entire life in denial, in a state of inferiority, someone who possesses supernatural knowledge that surpasses even that of Oshino – Kaiki is even more dangerous than a real expert on the supernatural precisely because he does not bear full responsibility for his actions. He may know and understand the true extent and repercussions of the knowledge and powers that he wields, but as an impostor, he never owns up to his actions beyond what is convenient for him. There is no “title” to live up to, only an ideal that he denies having already reached. Araragi may not have a title, but everything he does, he accepts responsibility for, and that is why the two of them are so diametrically opposed that they cannot coexist peacefully.

Kaiki is spot on with his observation of Senjougahara, however. Somewhat ironically, the cold-hearted girl of the past had more charm to him than the girl she is today – one who’s in love and becomes submissive at the mere threat of losing her love. The old Senjougahara was easy to trick, to take advantage of. And the old one would have never responded to Kaiki’s concessions without making use of the deadly pencils she sharpened. She now realizes there is nothing left to be gained from revenge – her past no longer needs to be dealt with because she is proud of the person she is today, and she already has everything she wants in life: Araragi. The love for her knight on a white horse may be due partly to circumstance, but isn’t that always true to a certain extent?

Araragi was reduced to basically a passive bystander in the resolution to Karen’s arc, but if you think about it as being the final chapter to Senjougahara’s arc as well, it makes perfect sense. Like Oshino said before, Senjougahara saved herself, and I’m sure Araragi would extend this sentiment to Karen as well. It also doesn’t hurt that even though he basically did nothing, he was still was able to fulfill Senjougahara’s request. Who knew she could be so forgiving after he forgot to comfort her and even questioned her about her romantic history? I’d question my girlfriend’s past too, if it led to a reaction like Senjougahara’s and an outcome like theirs.

In the end, even if this was a bit of an anti-climactic finale to the arc, Nisemonogatari’s unconventional storytelling style still leaves me satisfied like few other shows do. Karen may have lost some of her bite and Senjougahara may be less charming now, but what matters to me is that they’ve both cleanly moved on from their past – no more baggage, only a finality that is satisfying in itself. So too, can the story move on now – allowing Araragi to continue carrying the banner of justice in a new battle. We have much to look forward to: he’s still a pervert, an “incestory” is beginning to brew (for those of you who are into that stuff), and the sisters have renewed their resolve to embody justice itself. What’s notable is that one sister has realized she’s an impostor while it still remains to be seen from the other sister. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait too long to find out because the lives and adventures of the Araragi family are too interesting for the story to end here – plus, Shaft’s budget isn’t gone yet and we still have that toothbrush scene that people have been hyping up since episode one…

I apologize for the wall of text, so here’s a Twitter style summary:
@verdantRC – TL;DR @nise Arc finale satisfies, finally action, wordplay’s slow but great chars make it up. Show more [insert preferred heroine] next arc.

* Full-length images: 17, 39, 42
* Shameless self-promotion, but I figured I should open up a Twitter account like some of the other fine writers here so I can better connect with the readers =)


    1. One thing I would comment on that .. well apart from how hot that scene was .. is that the character design is quite interesting in this show. The characters seem to be very muscular. It’s almost borrowing american comic character designs

  1. Kaiki didn’t get decked… I call shenanigans. Major shenanigans. Instead we had to settle for that overblown fight with Karen, which while entertaining, was ultimately unnecessary. If they’d never come to blows it’d have been jsut as good, although her line about being “already in love” took me back a few steps XD Kaiki though… especially after he basically put a love confession to himself into Hitagi’s mouth all I could think was “Come on Koyomi, let Shinobu snack on this guy at least a little!”

    First time, I hated the ending. Felt like Hitagi left Koyomi out to dry and tried to console him with an innuendo about sex. Glad I watched it again, cause it actually says a lot about her (in a good way). To me she’s much more appealing now, since she values Koyomi and is willing to stand up to him and bend to him to make things work, even if she hasn’t had this much bite to her since I think epsiode 1 of Bake :X This was also something she needed to resolve, even if she knew it wouldn’t paint her in the best light. In the end though, she’s “dere” and adorable even as she’s being forceful 😀

    Personally, I don’t think they did it. Koyomi was home too early and even with her past “settled”, sex just doesn’t seem like Hitagi yet. She probably just made Koyomi help her cut her hair or something else he needed to be “gentle” with.

  2. Kaiki left relatively anti-climatically. Twas expecting some Senjougahara fighting action. I guess she’s still all dere’ed out from Koyomi’s manliest confession of love ever last episode. No wonder for the invitation for “tonight”. =P

  3. What you call shameless self-promotion, I call a good excuse to do the same! :3

    I actually found this conclusion quite satisfying. As a consummate liar myself (I’ve been a writer, a marketer, and a salesman…I just need banker and politician to complete the list), I found the interplay between all these characters who were fully aware of how full of shit they were to be interesting. That kind of self-awareness is rare (even though Karen only just obtained it), and it was fun watching all the lies, both the good and the evil, collide.

    Plus, it will be interesting to see in what parts of that final exchange Kaiki was lying about. If everything he says is a lie, he could do anything

    1. Stilts! For the love of all that is humane and decent, stay a blogger. We don’t need more politicians. I’m a writer myself, I know the value of a good lie dressed as truth. Stay a writer. It’s nice here.

  4. Oh, and writing “Any man will do” and “Bras are a pain to wear so I’m not” on your sisters’ foreheads in peramarker… best house-arrest idea ever!! XD

    Instead they seem to have found… other ways to occupy themselves while Koyomi was out. Crazy yuri-sisters… 😛

  5. I must be very particular with my choice of words, my adjectives when it comes to describing this episode.
    nope thats not it either.
    This episode was excellent.
    a little toned down, but it will do.

    We all know that this series has been known for its action scenes, action scenes being destruction through the use of words as weaponry. But know we encounter yet another epic (Physical fighting scene) just like the one between Kanbaru and Koyomi seen in Bakemonogatari and by god it was magnificent. It even had undertones of fightings scenes from Dragon Ball Z . It just shows us how diverse this show is when it comes to entertainment. This sibling brawl is like how one sees him/herself fight against his/her siblings when he/she were younger but couldn’t really escalate there because of adult supervision.
    Although some may argue that Kaiki’s exit was rather anti clamactic, I believe that this isn’t the end for him. He seems to be a too highcaliber of a villain imo to dissapear that easily. He is difficult to read and his motives are so unclear even though he says its all about the money, there just seems to be so much unknown intent behind it. What really makes him powerful is the fact that he is an intelectual in the field of the “supernatural”, real or fake.

    Random thoughts:
    – Gratz on Koyomi
    – I wonder how Shinobu felt being in the shadows while the two did the nasty…
    – “On some veiwers complaint of too much fanservice” To me, its Classy fanservice.
    – To those who wished to see a hint of the first AraragixHitagi love scene, I’m with you there, I mean shaft did it for Ef a tale of memories..

  6. Its been a long time since I watched an anime that where the climax involved nothing but talking. I liked the banter though, especially how Hitagi lets go of her demons. It makes sense that she would do it herself but I think she did need Koyomi with her. It was probably the best way to show Koyomi what kind of person she’s become. So it makes sense that they “might” have done something as their walls are down so they can take the next step on their relationship. Of course what happens is up to our imaginations.

  7. i pretty much dont care what the detractors would say but i believe the highlight of the monogatari series is the incredible and often at times ridiculous wordplays and character interaction.

    somehow or rather, you just cant help if if you fall head over heels over the female characters simply for the things they say, do or its just their disposition

    no doubt that karen bee might have been a little too long or draggy to some but i believe that’s as it is in the book right?

    truth be told, im utterly super psyched if shinbo’s declaration of animating all of the monogatari books comes to frutition. this’d be the 2nd animated series that i’d be following through from start to finish. 1st was shana

  8. I thought the climax between Senjogahara and Kaiki was rather intense and exciting. I have not read the novels, so I was expecting some sort of fighting to erupt at any moment. I thought the entire scene really had the audience on the ropes, especially since Kaiki is a con man, and anything he says shouldn`t be taken at face value.

    Great episode, and I loved all the fighting moves Karen used on Araragi. Reminded me strongly of Chun-Li from Street Fighter, and some of those moves were definitely hers.

    1. the LN intentionally left it open… so the short answer to this question is: we don’t know… though judging from later LNs, my personal opinion on this is: Show Spoiler ▼

      1. I am not going to spoil anything more than that (it would seriously ruin the fun), rumors are only rumors because there could be some truth to it… (hints has been given in this show)
        as to what happened later, all I can say is that Gahara Sama and Koyomi won’t let you down 🙂

    2. Going back to the previous episode Senjougahara does mention him to rest up before meeting up with Kaiki. About 18 Mins and 50 Seconds in she says, “You might not be able to rest tonight.” with a smile afterwards. So I am assuming this was implied that they did afterwards. No reason that she wouldn’t do it since she loves him dearly and by confronting her past with Kaiki she can now give Araragi everything including her body.

      1. A gf and a twitter account? Sounds like you have a real life, verdant.

        Good to read that they most likely did NOT do the dead, no matter how some here wished for that. Would have been to early in my book. Wonder if they’ll at least kiss at some point, though. 😀

      2. Was supposed to be an answer to jrj.

        And I can’t say that I enjoyed Araragi being a punching bag again. Would have loved to see him to show his sister who really is the strongest (both mentally AND physically) among the siblings.

  9. well, I guess it is a good finish for an arc like this… I have to give SHAFT enough credit for turning an arc that I wasn’t too fond of (the LN arc) into an awesome one… (I am looking at the last episode)…

    in some sense, this will not be the last of Gahara Sama’s final chapter as she is still one of the main heroine (if SHAFT actually keep animate the later volumes)… but fans of the other Araragi Harem member, don’t feel bad, because there will be plenty of time for your favorite ones to shine!!

    as to Kaiki Show Spoiler ▼

    Can’t wait for Tsukihi Phoenix story!! it might be shorter, but it is definitely better (in my humble opinion), plus SHAFT might grant us the infamous toothbrush scene!

    ps. Thanks for the awesome post, verdant! you are awesome!

    1. and I forgot to mention why I didn’t like this arc… the whole thing is fake… the situation is fake, the villain is fake, the heroine is fake, pretty much there is no real deal here (except Tsubasa…), but I guess this is Nisemonogatari (the fake story) after all…

  10. Kaiki is one hell of an antagonist. You can’t tell if his speech contain any emotion at all which is what adds so much dimension to his character. When he was apologizing, I couldn’t feel anything. Most apologies are either heartfelt or sarcastic, but this guy had neither at all. I can’t even call it an apology with how it was said. It was just a bunch of words.

  11. Arararagi* with his heal factor and willpower makes a great tank. His strategy against his pure-DPS sister is sound.

    Let her run out of power and she will cave in.

    *ahem sorry I stuttered

  12. I pretty sure that letting Kaiki go it´s going to comeback to hunt them at some point, the guy has no love for anything but money so he problably is the very definition of evil. So far the sequel has prooved to be truly satisfactory, if things keep going this someday we might very well see an anime adaptation of the latest light novel Koimonogatari. For what I´ve read online the novel is really good in many ways.

  13. This episode was great. Made me love Senjougahara even more than before. And I personally disagree about the showdown with Kaiki being anticlimactic, the long awaited “fight” being nothing but words absolutely suits this show like a tight fitting glove.

  14. someone who possesses supernatural knowledge that surpasses even that of Oshino

    How do you know that, Verdant?

    Great blog, even better episode/story arc end!

    Also I doubt this is the end of Kaiki. Too good of an antagonist to disappear. In fact, he embodies the very title — Impostor/y.

    1. I just made that assumption based on the story of the wreathe-fire bee. Oshino’s story (which could have been changed in translation from Shinobu’s retelling) was based on a fake, made-up history, which Kaiki knew the truth about – so at least in one case of the supernatural, his knowledge does surpass Oshino’s.

      1. not necessarily… Kaiki is Nisemono, just remember that. Nothing he said can be taken 100% seriously (we probably will have to wait to see why that is the case in a distant sequel)
        If Oshino is the real deal (like how Tsubasa is), then Kaiki is the fake version of Oshino, but in some sense even stronger… (getting back to the title of the show here)

  15. There’s an important aspect that you overlooked that was behind much of Kaiki’s dialog. He was under the (mistaken) impression that Hitagi used to have a crush on him, part of his attitude was that he was deflecting that. Once he found out that Gomi & Hitagi were a couple, he said himself that he had nothing more to say.

    What I’m really going to miss is Lockon StratosKaiki’s rhythm of talking, but at least we’ll have Shinobu-chan’s wonderful dialog still.

    1. Ah, that does make sense as well. My interpretation was that since pretty much everything Kaiki says is a lie, he knew she never actually liked him. Rather, he stretched the truth as way to drive a wedge between her and Araragi, so that he could get the last word in, so to speak. Kaiki only gave up when he realized their relationship was close and strong enough that his words would likely have no effect.

  16. the entries of this episode left me speechless, how come Karen wouldn’t realise that his brother is something extraordinary while he still standing up after such brutal beatdown? XD
    But, this is Nise climax tho, and more violence action to be expected on Tsukihi’s Phoenix, if that the other exorcist shows up on the next arc =~=

    Nice episode btw, totally head over heel with it, Shinobu, oh no, hahahaha, she’s just somehow steal the entire episode =~=”

  17. Disappointing end to the arc, I must say. The build-up suggested much more. In the end, Araragi remained a milquetoast in front of his sister (finally realized how short he was as well), they didn’t exactly win over Kaiki, and Senjogahara remains overrated as hell in my books. Sisters turned out too one-dimensional as well, so I hope the next ‘arc’ strays aways from them.

    Seriously, this show should be about Araragi and the vampire girl (with bits of Tsubasa Hanekawa thrown in), just like how the story started. Stapler chicks and crouching-tiger middle-school fighting girls have passed their sell-by date.

  18. Now that sure was some epic sibling brawl, large parts of it, such as the over-the-top destruction of an entire section of a highway, was drawn for deliberate exaggerated effect just to emphasize the “epicness” of their argument, which anyone who has fought with siblings would understand.

    Kaiki is far more practical and unconventional than any other villain I’ve seen. To accuse him of not having pride is actually a massive compliment for him, for he does not allow pride to get in his way and thus is flexible enough to respond to any situation that comes his way. And he still manages to do it without looking pathetic. I expect to see him again.

    Finally, PHWOAR at Senjougahara inviting Araragi to be “gentle” with her.

    Kinny Riddle
  19. Epic sibling brawl is EPIC!

    Too bad I never had a chance to do that with my siblings, wait their is actually no need for us to do that, because most of the time we agree on things (specially Anime).

    Great episode, that fight is really amazing it made me “Wow!” while staring on my laptop screen enjoying every second of it.

    Thanks for blogging the show Verdant.

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