「つきひフェニックス 其ノ貳」 (Tsukihi Fenikkusu Sono Ni)
“Tsukihi Phoenix Part Two”
Still no sign of Tsukihi or a phoenix, but an amagami, some nishishishis, and two new mysterious and dangerous strangers go a long way towards making up for it – I said, with a posed look. Putting it lightly, this episode had a tough act to follow. It’s a given that there will be an inevitable letdown after one of the most memorable (and controversial) episodes of the series, so instead, the question becomes what can the episode do to soften and minimize this letdown? I predicted the pace would pick up rapidly by diving headlong into Tsukihi’s story to make us forget about Karen and toothbrushes, but it appears that the showrunners have decided to stick with the pacing of the prior arc with Araragi walking with/into/towards various members of his harem of heroines.
I was looking forward to watching Tsukihi attempt to mutilate the toothbrush twosome with her awls, but once again, we’re only left with a teasing outline of Araragi and Karen’s close brush with death. If I were Araragi, after such a harrowing experience, I’d probably want to call someone lovely and kind like Hanekawa, so I was surprised that he actually held up his end of the bargain with Karen and called up the perpetually naked Kanbaru in order to eventually introduce the two girls boxing match style. I’m not sure what to make of Araragi’s 180-degree turn in regards to Karen’s virginity though. Several hours ago, he refused to take it when Karen offered it to him, but now he tells Kanbaru that he’d rather take it than let her have it? Either his tooth brushing experience with Karen was mind-blowing enough to change his mind, or Kanbaru is truly that dangerously perverted. In any case, it doesn’t matter since it’s off to Kanbaru’s house we go.
What is it with these siblings and their punishment games? As if oral hygiene wasn’t innocent enough, they just had to go and make shoulder rides erotic as well? I think that it’s quite clever that the eroticism stems from a role reversal of sorts, and how such a simple switch can have such drastic effects. Needless to say, I’m now adding piggyback rides to the list of things that Nisemonogatari has corrupted for me. Normally, guys are the ones to give girls shoulder rides, so I didn’t really think about all the physical incompatibilities that might arise from having the guy on top of the girl’s shoulders instead. Luckily, there’s a nice diagram that explains exactly how things are supposed to be done, but nowhere on it does it say anything about cutting off the girl’s hair. Can’t say I’ve grown to like Karen’s new hairdo yet, but I knew that her locks would eventually have to go if we’re adhering to the theory that each haircut signifies the rebirth after the conclusion to their story arc.
The only girl, to my knowledge, who hasn’t had any change in appearance is Hachikuji, whom I was overjoyed to see again since her last parting with Araragi was so ominous. I didn’t have a whole internal debate about seeing her again like Araragi did here – but then again, I’m not a pervert like he is either. His whole thought process has forced me to rethink my preconceptions about perverts. Do they really analyze every situation and weigh the pros and cons inside their heads? Do they really only talk to little girls because of their potential for a hot, curvy body later on? And this whole time, I thought that perverts were merely simple and spontaneous, with a clear disregard for any repercussions to their behavior. Araragi’s mental exercise was all for naught though when Shinobu reached out of his shadow and ruined the greatest event of his life. I can only guess that she was jealous of Hachikuji after hearing all the things that Araragi planned on doing to her. Fortunately, he did recover quickly and proved yet again why I think he belongs up on the pantheon of perverts along with Kanbaru. Only a true pervert would be as bold as proposing to marry Hachikuji while he’s dating Senjougahara and in love with Hanekawa. (Kanbaru was so right!) She is, to borrow a phrase, quite “platinum moe” though, but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable!
Despite his perversion (or maybe because of it?), Araragi has a knack for running into girls – it’s like he can’t go anywhere without meeting a beautiful girl. Maybe it’s something about his body scent that leads them to him, or perhaps it’s the fact that he is part vampire? I’ve heard girls like vampires, especially ones with slick “King of Pop” dance moves. The two new girls he has the fortune (or misfortune?) of running into are much different than his usual harem members though. For one thing, their character design, and especially their attire, is very unique compared to the normal clothing and looks we’ve seen so far – reminding me a bit of Katanagatari’s character designs, minus the freaky eyes. The taller of the two, Kagenui Yozuru (Shiraishi Ryoko), manages to out-weird Araragi sitting on top of Karen by seemingly not being able to ever touch the ground, while the shorter girl, Ononoki Yotsugi (Hayami Saori) appends her speech with a description of her current…pose? I’m not really sure if this description will change in the future, but I’m betting it will. Probably the strangest thing about both newcomers is that they somehow already know a bit about Araragi’s supernatural side, and also that of his companions. With their mysterious nature and a connection to Oshino’s old haunt that has not yet been made clear, it’s not surprising that we also don’t yet know if they are evil – like Karen told her brother. The only thing we really know about the two new characters is that both Karen and Hachikuji were taken aback upon recognizing just how strong the newcomers are. The danger that is inherent in their strength makes any connection that they have with phoenixes, and by extension, Tsukihi, all the more interesting to look forward to.
This sliver of a connection to Tsukihi’s arc that we’re presented with in this episode might not be enough for some people, but Nisemonogatari has never been a series that is content with simply following a traditional progression and pacing of a story. Although I do want to learn more about Tsukihi, I’ve grown attached to the existing characters and their interactions with Araragi. As such, I have no complaints that it will take a while to get to her story, and I am optimistic that her arc will be still be able finish in a satisfying manner.