「つきひフェニックス 其ノ參」 (Tsukihi Fenikkusu Sono San)
“Tsukihi Phoenix Part Three”

In this penultimate episode, we learn that just about everything in Araragi’s life has turned out to be a fake – even his own sister turns out to be an imposter. NisiOisiN wasn’t kidding around when he named this installment in the Monogatari series – there are falsehoods and fakes in every nook and cranny of the story. At least the donuts are still real!

With fake people and fake phrases everywhere, I should have learned by now not to trust everything that comes out of the characters’ mouths, or to take their words at anything more than face value. After all, with a con man running amok, supernatural creatures taking residence in practically every single character, and wordplay galore, nothing is ever as simple as it appears to be. I haven’t learned a single thing though, because I thought that Shinobu’s secret information had something to do with the two girls that Araragi ran into earlier, Kagenui Yozuru and Ononoki Yotsugi. Imagine my reaction when Shinobu’s inside scoop turns out to be the Mister Donut 100-yen sale, and she just wanted to go as soon as possible so they wouldn’t sell out. Shinobu, how can you be so unbelievably adorable when it comes to donuts?

The theme of imposters and fakes continues with Tsukihi, dressed revealingly in yet another new yukata, finally having her first real and meaningful appearance in her own story arc. As one half of the Fire Sisters, we already know Araragi’s opinion about the duo as being fake heroes of justice, but hearing Tsukihi herself admit the falsity of her motives and how vague of a concept justice is to her was even more effective than anything Araragi could have said. Her admission made me wonder how many of us are also swept into doing the right thing by the tide of popular opinion. Like Tsukihi latched onto Karen, we are also prone to following the lead of more willful people, but it takes a mindful person to realize that their motivations for their shared goal might not be one and the same. Tsukihi, surprisingly, is one of those people who largely on her own realized that unlike Karen, she doesn’t act for others, she acts because of them. Despite her noble goals, it’s this simple distinction that makes her concept of justice, as well as her heroic quest for it, nothing but a falsehood. I wish we could have heard Karen’s current views on justice and the retirement of the Fire Sisters, which, in keeping with the Monogatari tradition, would have made for great dialogue, but unfortunately she’s away from home, either occupied with her boyfriend Mizudori, with Kanbaru, or perhaps both. Three-way toothbrushing…?

Ahem. Sorry to interrupt your fantasies, but we’re going to have to ignore that particular temptation in order to move on. Ignoring temptations is something Araragi has never been good at either, but I swear he was never this bad before. Maybe that whole incident with Karen has really lowered his inhibitions while increasing his libido at the same time? It would explain why he brazenly stripped off Tsukihi’s yukata to investigate her lack of scars, and then, without any hesitation groped her just because it was right there and he wanted to know how it would feel. It is quite strange that scars which were never supposed to fade away have now completely disappeared, but did he really need to molest her to find out? In the end, the idea that Araragi is merely a helpful and reliable older brother is just like so many other ideas in this series: a pretense, a falsehood.

If there’s one thing I can count on not being a fake, it’s one of Mister Donut’s donuts. Good thing too, because they can really bring people together – even a con man who has already promised to stay away from town can’t resist the lure and temptation of 100-yen fried rings of dough. There was just something so absurd about seeing the return of an antagonist when he’s simply minding his own business and eating donuts, and not bilking anyone out of their money. An analogy would be like seeing Genghis Khan chilling on a park bench and eating a hot dog, instead of killing people like he’s known for. Kaiki probably would have preferred to keep to himself too, if it weren’t for Shinobu once again refusing to supply Araragi with crucial information about the two girls he ran into earlier. I thought it was amusing that Shinobu couldn’t be bought with donuts, while the normally greedy Kaiki was content with only a wallet as compensation. Kaiki, you’ve grown soft!

So what did Araragi learn for the price of a (hopefully not fake) leather wallet? For starters, they’re both ghost busters just like Kaiki, but while he’s an imposter, they’re the real deal. Given what we know about them already, like their supposed fighting strength, their inside knowledge of Araragi and company, and their intimate knowledge about Oshino, this came as no real surprise. Neither did the revelation that one of them is actually a fake of sorts – Ononoki Yotsugi, the shikigami bound to the Kagenui Yozuru. I always found the eyes on her hat a little unnerving, almost as much as her eyebrows; overall, her peculiar character design and pattern of speech was almost a dead giveaway that she wasn’t exactly a normal human. I can see now why the two girls work together though. The immortal creatures that they hunt require supernatural powers to deal with, and who better to wield these powers than a supernatural shikigami? Unfortunately, neither Araragi nor Shinobu were able piece together the clues fast enough to prevent the onmyouji and shikigami duo from attacking their real target: Tsukihi.

I find it remarkable that the most obvious usage of the imposter concept – namely, as a device for introducing unexpected twists, hasn’t really been employed in the story so far. All the fakes that we have encountered in Nisemonogatari so far have not been sudden revelations of any kind, mainly because either people have been already introduced upfront as being fakes, or it is merely an idea or an action that is deemed to be a fake. This makes it all the more surprising when it turns out that Tsukihi, someone we’ve known for a long time, in this case, stretching back to Bakemonogatari, turns out to be an imposter as well. Her halving (?) at the hands of Ononoki was a spectacular sight, even if it was a little overkill. I mean, why would you ruin such an amazing work of architecture, a house that Shinbou Akiyuki must have spent hours designing? If I were the architect of the Araragi abode, I would have reacted just like Araragi did when he saw his sister “killed” before his very eyes – just not as awesomely because I’m unfortunately not a vampire. Neither really, is Shinobu who valiantly tries to protect Tsukihi with a fake out, albeit one that Kagenui sees right through.

The revelation that Tsukihi is a fake sister comes with a lot of questions, many of which I can only hope will be answered in the final episode next week. One question that may have far reaching answers is whether or not Kagenui and Ononoki are currently working for someone. The mention of a ruling that deemed Araragi and Shinobu harmless along with Oshino’s involvement in that decision leads me to believe that there is an organization working behind the scenes – one whose motives we don’t yet know but could end up involving all of Araragi’s friends. Another question is that Kagenui never made it really clear how long Tsukihi has been possessed by the phoenix – was it since the day she was born or only recently? And if the phoenix has been there from birth, I’m not sure I understand why it is so evil for it to sneak into a human family, pretend to be a human, and deceive the family. Sure, we’ll never get to know the “true” Tsukihi, but all the memories that the family members have of her imposter are still real memories. Like we’ve learned in Usagi Drop and Papa Ki, family is more than sharing the same blood – shared experiences and most importantly love for one another is more than enough. I hope that Araragi again realizes that sometimes fakes are more real than the real thing, so that he is able to regroup and prepare for the two ghost hunters’ return, in what is assuredly a highly anticipated final showdown. I just hope that Nisemonogatari doesn’t fake us out again by skipping over the fight and going directly to its aftermath, but even if it did, I’ll just grab a donut and enjoy it nonetheless.

TL;DR: @verdantRC – Fakes everywhere. Shinobu + donuts = cute. Kaiki + donuts = chill. Tsukihi’s a fake too! Final showdown next episode! #nisemonogatari

* Full-length images: 03, 19, 38


  1. Okay. So Araragi has attacked:
    1. Hachikuji
    2. Big little sister
    3. Other little sister

    So when is he gonna attack Shinobu. (He just dates Senjougahara for appearances but we all know he is a lolli deep down)

    1. this is another thing that is fake about Araragi… he plays with others like he is such a perverted lolicon, but deep down he cares about Hitagi the most… and Hitagi knows that too…

  2. Tsukihi finally takes center stage and what happens to her? She eats ice cream, rants about justice, gets striped and groped by his brother(just because) then gets fingered. In other words just a typical Nisemongotari episode.

    Shinobu does get moe points for her donut squeeing. I can relate to her, buying donuts is hell because you really don’t know what to eat. All donuts look awesome and delicious.

      1. well, it can be certainly speculated that the author implied that they, the fire sisters, are in fact brocon… as you can see that after toothbrush play, Karen and her BF aren’t going to well 🙂

    1. they actually get a boyfriend to make araragi jealous, and they think hanekawa is araragi girlfriend, i think the reason karen relationship with her BF worsen because her relationshiop with araragi better and theres no point make BF if the person u want to jeaolus already do echi thing to you, oh and They found boyfriends in Koyomi’s image with Karen’s boyfriend being shorter than her, and Tsukihi’s boyfriend being taller than her

      1. kizu wouldn’t survive as a 12 ep season. Do you want to see dragged out proverbs and puns in japanese? I mean I think in nise they were already pushing it cause there were a few episodes where they were just wtf. imo kizu can only be a movie or a ova, not a series. The book is pretty fast paced too, so a movie suits it better.

      2. it’s nothing like kizu, remember he is only 10% of a vampire now, in kizu he could lost any part of his body and he would regenerate in 1 second also the full super vampire strenght and even when he ewent berserk it was just a little compared to when he goes berserk in kizu, kizu has to be a movie because its nothing like bake and nise,
        its damn serious and some scenes are just to strong for TV

      3. remember the power of Araragi in Kizu is directly linked to the power level of Kiss-shot, Shinobu back then. As the king of supernaturals, Kiss-shot’s power is not to be underestimated, so is her servant vampire Araragi…
        of course, the LN is too short to be made into an anime show, but it will be awesome nonetheless…

      4. i’ve read kizu in 5 days and im psyched for the movie. would really like to see shinobu in 100% vampire goodness and how’s koyomi’s like as a vampire.

        lets not forget the scenes w hanekawa in kizu

  3. had the same reaction with my morning tea just like araragi did with his coffee… i must say that initially i didn’t like kaiki but in this ep, he seems quite a character. despite being a con-man, he’s a lovable character.

    somehow or rather, after watching the ep, i immediately went out to have a couple of donuts….. curse ur cuteness shinobu!

  4. Calling it now. Karena and Tsukihi’s boyfriends are FAKE!

    Yozuru doesn’t like stepping on the ground. Huh, quirky character.

    I guess the only time to believe in Kaiki is if money’s involved…and even then you have to double check the fine print. And here I thought Gahara-san and Koyomi were able to make him flee too easily.

    Wonder how Koyomi plans to solve all this; maybe another ring to Hanekawa-sama?

    And where’s Gahara-san in all of this? !

  5. As Tsukihi puts it herself, Araragi, “you’re touching your little sisters’ bodies way too much”. lol

    Gotta especially like Araragi LOLWUT response about how Tsukihi’s boobs are “right there” to justify his groping of them. Kind of like mountaineers climbing Mount Everest because “it’s there”.

    Seeing Tsukihi literally getting blown in half was shocking, but seeing her regenerating just as quickly wasn’t, as the arc title “Phoenix” pretty much gives it away. Kagenui is no doubt the “Knight Templar” of this series, ruthlessly intolerant of anything that is different.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KnightTemplar (Yeah tvtropes is addictive)

    PS Shinobu-chan is so adorable. Sakamoto Maaya continues to skillfully combine both the trademark of a cute loli and a badass wise-cracking older-sister (she is a centuries-old immortal after all) archetype into one.

    Kinny Riddle
    1. Yeah, while I am really enjoying this series, I am going to be extremely disappointed if Senjougahara doesn’t at least make an appearance (with Araragi) in the final episode.

      1. You write well and have a great knack of hitting the high points of the episode. Your impressions always delight. Of course you’ll have readers!

        As an aside, many an aspiring architect would be inspired by your reaction to the house’s destruction. 😉

    1. super healing ability, no weakness to the sun (at her prime due to extreme healing power), super strength, materialization, transformation, energy drain, mind control, just to name a few… and of course, being COOL 🙂

  6. Yeah, I’m going to be THAT guy at this moment. When Tsuhiki is blown in half her obi is blown away also, but when she’s revived her obi is still there.

    Also, even though Kagenui isn’t evil per se, I’d still like to see her get her ass kicked by someone – doubtful it would happen but one can hope. It would be awesome if it was Senjougahara but she has apparently mellowed out so we won’t get to see a Trapper-Keeper beat down.

  7. Stupid question probably buuuutttt… how the hell do you kill a phoenix ? Unless it is a ‘fake phoenix’ (my head hurt just thinking about all the double- and triple-fakes already ^^) I was under the impression that a dying phoenix is simply reborn, or in the case here regenerated ?

    Also talk about an excellent job security for these Onmyōji: dealing with immortal creatures, they literally cannot run out of work, recession or not !

      1. Depends actually of what terms they agree to. With centuries of experience behind them, it would make sense for them to get paid for ‘getting rid’ of the immortal creatures, in practice driving them away. Who knows, maybe some of these Onmyōji are genre-savy enough to strike a deal with an immortal entity, so they make round-trips all around the country and share the bounties 50/50 ? There is an idea for you Kaiki…

  8. about the boyfriends, both of them are just to make koyomi jealous, tsukihi’s boyfriend is taller than her just like araragi and karen’s is shorter than her
    also if you get the lyrics for the ED it gets plain obvious, that was a great choice for a ED song it fits what the fire sisters feels perfectly

  9. If Shinobu wanted me to get on her good side I would have bought the whole damn STORE and it would’ve been totally worth it!
    She’s that CUTE!

    only taken a wallet huh? you’d be worried mostly because of the other things most people keep in their wallets besides money (credit cards,ID other sensitive info etc.) but I’m sure Araragi knows better

  10. Woah! That was quite an awesome episode, one with some awesome revelations, witty dialogue and great action.

    I am absolutely loving the character of Shinobu and how, despite her innocent exterior, is a (ex)legendary vampire. Really wished we got to see more of her in the previous season now. Can’t wait for the Kizumonogatari movie!

  11. finally this show get into the part that I liked the most… everything is fake… even the DONUTS ARE FAKE!!! there is no way that donuts are selling for 100 yen only!!! 🙂 (I kid there, of course)

    there is a little detail that is cut off from the episode, in Araragi’s wallet, there is a picture of Hitagi in there… which Kaiki returned to him in the LN, so I guess the anime Kaiki settled for the wallet because of that pic (not that I want to see the pic, since it has the short hair Hitagi on it)

    also I would like to offer just a little spoiler regarding our real ghost buster combo: Show Spoiler ▼

    Next week: the end of this all, and the one I will look forward the most! Show Spoiler ▼

  12. “Like we’ve learned in Usagi Drop and Papa Ki, family is more than sharing the same blood – shared experiences and most importantly love for one another is more than enough.”

    usagi drop and papa eh? good examples there. are you gonna use lolita and leon next?

    ark noir
    1. I’m not referring to anything that happened in the Usagi Drop manga and I’ve only seen a bit of Papa Ki, so I definitely didn’t mean to refer to any incestuous or lolita tones in these works on purpose, just their message of family – I only picked these two shows because I assumed readers would be most familiar with them.

  13. Shinobu reaction in the doughnuts shop reminded me of both me and my mothers when we first went to Krispy Kreme. ^___^(We don’t have this chain in Canada and they open a few select shops in the GTA)

    Although like most people I don’t think Araragi going to disown Tsukihi just because she’s not human. But I expect him to have a million and one question for her. (If she is even aware that she is not human).

    The biggest one will be how long has she been their sister. I suspect that we have a changeling scenario is that she has been with them since birth, But the other option is that Tsukihi is incredible powerful to change a whole communities memories of a sister that didn’t exist to fit in.

    1. GTA? I’m assuming Toronto? Ontario? The province that is required by law to have a Tim Horton’s on every block? Home of the dutchie? I’m sure our vampire loli would dig the raisins? And you were impressed with the pedestrian fare of Krispy Kreme? Ah, well, the grass is always greener, even in another country I guess. Timbit’s rock.

    1. I certainly hope so. It’s too good to be over so soon and the assurance of no Senjougahara in Kizu, I’d like as much chance as I can to get a little more of them together. They have the best chemistry of any characters I’ve seen in a long time.

    1. Eh, I wonder how many people were genuinely shocked by Kagenui schooling Koyomi like a boss.

      I felt that her laying the smackdown was as expected, since Karen did say that Kagenui could wipe the floor with her, and despite Koyomi’s best efforts, he couldn’t hold a candle to highway-breaking Karen.

      Thus far, the only thing that makes Koyomi ‘strong’ is the strength of his convictions. As far as Bake and Nise are concerned, Koyomi’s track record for fisticuffs is…er…well, has he ever won any fight?

      It’s why I’m curious as to how this situation will be resolved.

      Clearly it won’t be a fistfight, but unlike Kaiki, Knight Templar Kagenui isn’t averse to confrontations, and if things do turn physical, only a fully-powered Shinobu could fend the two off.

      1. Shuraragi HAS won I believe at least two fistfights – by going full power against Hachikuji in Bakemonogatari. But him being so proud of himself for these wins definitely hints at the fact that he doesn’t often comes on top of such fights…

      2. I’d really like to see Koyomi win a fight as well. That exorcists reasons for attacking Tsukihi doesn’t hold water and really pisses me off. Also if someone’s possessed wouldn’t you exorcise the creature instead of killing the person?

      3. @Kit-A-Ron-Ron-Kat: Oh yeah, Yomiko-san was really proud of beating the ghost of a grade school girl XD Well, add two to his tally then :’D~

        @sealouse: Dunno if the subs are accurate or not but Kagenui says that ‘Tsukihi’ isn’t the ‘real’ Tsukihi, and is in fact a phoenix. She’s not possessed but instead was replaced. As for their sudden assault, I’m going with her being a Knight Templar.

  14. i encountered a Mr. Donuts at the subway in Taiwan, didn’t realize it was a real store. somehow i wasn’t tempted to go check it out though. probably cause Shinobu haven’t start moeing me out back then, but next time i go i will.

  15. Wait wait wait…. So was Tsukihi Koyomi’s real sister anyway. I mean was there ever a Tsukihi in existance or did the pheonix just show up an make an identity for its self as koyomi’s little sister. An if there was a real Tsukihi where is she now if thats the pheonix?

  16. I loved the part where Araragi was about to go berserk and kick their asses. Too bad he’s not as powerful as he used to be and he got shot down as soon as he attacked.

    The Story You Don't Know
  17. He’s not there for the donuts. No, Kaiki isn’t soft or uncaring (or powerless) like he lets on. That’s why he’s back in the city, having hired two supernatural goons in “the business” to attack Araragi’s family — and of course net the monetary reward conveniently waiting for him by so doing.

    He knows about the super-duo for this reason. He knows about Araragi’s family and supernatural relationships for this reason. He didn’t fill them in completely about their relationship with Araragi for this reason — and he separately told them about Araragi and his girlfriend.

    Sound plausible? I sure think so. Another impostory brought to you by yours truly.

    1. I don’t think its giving anything away, and I am saying this from memory about something I THINK I read someone say…but DON’T read if you don’t want any of kizu possibly spoiled for you, although I might be wrong anyway, and it’s not super important, but if you are a purist, don’t read…

      Show Spoiler ▼


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