「こよみツリー」 (Koyomi Tsurī)
You might have assumed from the title that Koyomi Tree would be about, er, a tree. Not so. Since Araragi Karen (unfortunately short-haired, despite the OP) is basically Kanbaru-light, fanservice is obliged to stand front and centre. And even without, isn’t the entire subtext of the Monogatari Series about breasts anyway? My takeaway: it’s all just a story of Araragi Koyomi going through puberty. You get to that age, you’re just a bag of hormones, your body’s changing in unfamiliar ways, you become a vampire. Y’know, puberty. Hence Koyomi Tree is really about breasts. Trees, breasts—they’re more or less the same thing anyway. They both give men wood.
Sorry, sorry. I have an inner child, and he makes all the decisions.
Ignoring the Freudian metaphors, there’s actually a more sinister edge to the story of Araragi helping her sister save a tree. When one gets down to it, it’s a story about manipulation and deception. Leaving aside the somewhat implausible idea that a group a people could totally forget about a tree in their yard and on noticing it decide to cut it down in a fit of hysteria, it’s notable that there’s no suggestion that they should have tried to explain things to Karen’s fellow students to calm them down. Hanekawa (Koyomimonogatari would like to remind you that she has breasts) compares the situation to a pandemic, but apparently does not believe in actually curing the disease. Letting a pandemic just play out is rather dark, don’t you think? ‘Oh, if enough people die, there won’t be enough infection vectors to sustain the disease!’ Hurray. In the same vein, I suppose if Karen killed everyone at the dojo, there won’t be anyone left to chop down the tree. Ah, yet another problem that can be solved with murder.
Perhaps this was all a commentary on the nature of superstition and spirituality, which would not be unusual for Monogatari. In this world, the very act of worship creates gods, so Araragi’s sophistry about his lie being okay because there’s a minimal possibility that it’s not falsehood is not as bad as it initially sounds. Fear and reverence are two sides of the same coin anyway, hence the adjective ‘godfearing’. There’s only some brief discussion of the topic in this short episode, though, so if you want to see it explored with more depth then Mushishi has a similar sort of story that deals with humanity’s relationship with spirituality very well.
Actually, even if you didn’t want more of this, you should watch Mushishi. This has been your Mushishi plug of the season.