Bakemonogatari 11: You Are (Not) a Man

bakemonogatari 11 araragi half orz

In the conclusion of Nadeko Snake, we learn more about Araragi than Nadeko herself. More and more Bakemonogatari shifts its narrative focus to tell the story of Araragi. Luckily for me, he is very interesting on a number of levels. In this post I’ll point out something interesting to me in a disturbing way, in light of my conjecture that Araragi is a commentary on the viewers of this show or perhaps the readers of the source text (light novel) who are, more likely than not to be an otaku to some degree.

What do we know about Araragi at this point? He is:

  • Compelled to save others.
  • ‘Others’ are always female; this is a conceit of Bakemonogatari itself. It takes a harem approach to tell it’s stories. We can also take for granted that the character designs for these female characters are attractive, or meant to be so. Also, if we accept that the ‘gaze’ or camera focus on the particular attractive body parts of these females are Araragi’s, he is attracted to them on an erotic level.
  • Unafraid to face danger; vampire healing factor or no.
  • Always fails to complete the saving act; the completion is performed by a third party, who almost always saves Araragi from danger.
  • Gets credit for the saving act, or at least the sincerity of the intention.

Let’s look a bit further into this, by taking into account his relationships with the females and their oddities.

bakemonogatari 11 hanekawa tsubasa cat

In the first episode, Hanekawa says this to Araragi:

Guys like weak girls, right? Ah, how disgraceful. It’s so unfair.

This came after Araragi was showing interest in Senjougahara by remarking about her absences which may be due to some illness. Hanekawa is, I believe referring to the ‘sick moe’ type of attraction. There’s more to this, especially if we look at the natures of Araragi’s relationships.

Consistently so, ever since the first episode, Hanekawa is ‘superior’ to Araragi in some way. She is “the class representative of class representatives”, as he notes, while he’s her assistant. He always remarks on how she knows everything, in an admiring and not teasing way. Also, she displays her superiority throughout the narrative so far by being the advisor to Araragi, particularly in matters relating to Senjougahara.

Notably, she’s the one who catches Araragi ‘in the act’ of doing something (perverted). More on this later.

bakemonogatari 06 senjougahara vs araragi pen vs eyeball 02

Senjougahara Hitagi is superior to Araragi in almost every way: socially, academically, intellectually, economically, and aesthetically. She knew this and used it to pick on Araragi prior to their becoming a couple. Even after becoming a couple, she represents an imposing physical threat to Araragi, who must live on his toes.

Kanbaru Suruga is superior to Araragi socially (popularity), physically, and in terms of self-expression (that is, she is self-assured and confident in dealing with him, relaxed about herself and her sexuality). Similar to Senjougahara, she is aggressive in flirting with Araragi and teasing him with her sexuality.

bakemonogatari 06 araragi suruga sparkles

Looking at these three, I note that their characters are strong in terms of personality. Hanekawa aside, they present themselves overtly as sexual objects to Araragi. They present as a tease, but aggressively so. Even Hanekawa does this, if tangentially. The whole business in the bookstore in Nadeko Snake 1 makes for the best example.

bakemonogatari 09 araragi hanekawa kiss

Now pause for a moment and think about how Araragi reacts to these. He shouts in his head in both mock and real outrage, Kyon style. Part of him resents this teasing. He is bereft of initiative. He can do nothing but endure the flirtation and teasing. He has no ability to respond. He is powerless.

Now take note of the other two females that Araragi assisted. First, Hachikuji Mayoi… an grade schooler, small; a child in almost every way. Next, we have Sengoku Nadeko who is in middle school, barely out of childhood, completely submissive, and even calls Araragi “onii-chan.”

How does Araragi behave? Frankly it’s rather outrageous. As cowed and emasculated he seems in the presence of Senjougahara, Kanbaru, and Hanekawa, he is outright aggressive towards the other two. He not only groped the grade schooler, he actually fought her like a bitch. And when he’d win, he raised his arms and acted like a champion!

bakemonogatari 05 mayoi is such a dirty little girl

This is pretty disturbing stuff if you ask me. It gets worse. In the case of Sengoku Nadeko, Araragi didn’t do much even if  a good number of situations in Nadeko Snake appealed to his fetishes. He mostly jizzed in his head. However, when he found himself alone with Sengoku… he first tried to touch her… face, it seems. Then, suspensefully I watched in morbid fascination as he apparently tries to lift up this middle-schooler’s skirt, in public, in plain fucking sight.

This is when Hanekawa finds him, nearly red-handed; just like when she finds him in an almost post-coital breathlessness after having a scrap with Hachikuji, threatening to molest the grade schooler with impunity. Look at these little girls, played up for their moe. Araragi most certainly felt the need to protect them, to save them. He also felt the need to feel them up.

bakemonogatari 11 araragi sengoku up skirt

There is nothing, nothing appropriate about this.

Bakemonogatari is fascinating, isn’t it? We are presented with a character that is despicable, but is also made to be sympathetic — in that he is sincere about wanting to save anyone, and how powerless he is against females who are his social equals or betters. Why, what man wouldn’t be able to relate to having difficulty with women who are his, or more than his match?

Bakemonogatari is rather blunt with how it categorizes power and powerlessness in women. All we need to do is look at the two Shinobus (before and after the nerfing).

bakemonogatari 01 shinobu before she was shinobubakemonogatari 01 shinobu shadow of a vampire
Powerlessness, or more specifically being harmless, is manifested in loli forms. Hachikuji and Sengoku are not coincidences. Through them we see what things Araragi can do, as opposed to what he can only fantasize about when he’s with either Hanekawa, Kanbaru, and of course Senjougahara.

But when he does have power over a female, what does he do with it? He is more than a match for Hachikuji’s feistiness — she’s just a kid after all; and Sengoku is the most harmless little thing we’ve met in this show. If indeed Araragi is commentary on the viewers and/or readers of Bakemonogatari (males who may think/want to be appreciated by a female by virtue of their ability to make anime references), how should we feel?

bakemonogatari 11 sengoku nadeko fan of anime lore

A Note Regarding the Oddities

Araragi is prey to:

  • the Mayoi Snail (wanted to prevent him from going home).
  • the Suruga Monkey (wanted to kill him to complete its contract).
  • the Tsubasa Cat (wanted to suck his energy).

The Hitagi Crab isn’t interested in him, Senjougahara was. The Nadeko Snake is indifferent to him, until he intervened and tried to banish it. I can’t comment on Shinobu yet for lack of information at this point.

Further Reading

A fresh take on the idea of moeblobs and social impairment (2DT 2009/09/18)

I’m not dismissing this show due to the fanservice, only that it’s worth looking at ourselves as fans: what are we really enjoying here? Fanservice can blind us to what other fascinating things there are in the subject. (Owen 2009/02/18)

Beyond what I mentioned in this post, here’s what makes Bakemonogatari and 2D fascination interesting (Martin 2009/09/14)

Bakemonogatari is brilliant? Don’t fall asleep (Orion 2009/08/13)

The genesis of this post comes from a comment [->]

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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37 Responses to Bakemonogatari 11: You Are (Not) a Man

  1. 0rion says:

    “The genesis of this post comes from a comment”

    Yet more validation, in my opinion, that comments are a valuable and integral part of the anime blog community, that it’s not just the blog author who has something of value to say. :)

    Quite a fascinating breakdown on Araragi’s character, and what it (potentially) has to say about otaku culture on a larger scale. I hadn’t really given any of this much consideration as I was watching Bakemonogatari, mainly on account of the aforementioned falling asleep part, but it makes a lot of sense now that I think about it.

    It’s interesting, though, that the series portrays him in a generally positive light. It focuses more heavily on his motivation and sincerity, rewarding him for having those feelings, for at least trying. A very otaku kind of mindset, or at least it would seem so based on other otaku themed stories (Densha Otoko, Welcome to the NHK, etc).

    • I love delicious comments so much I put up a separate archive for them: http://welovecomments.wordpress.com/

      Yeah, meaning well; good intentions. It’s like, I’m still okay for being all pervy, since in general I want to save her should she be in trouble. But never mind that I’m the real threat here, my pervy behavior is. As a viewer and an otaku myself, I read/feel that Araragi as a character is shining a light on this part of me.

      I’m not saying that the accusation is correct, only that it is worth thinking about.

      • 0rion says:

        Although that aspect is equally interesting, that “glossing over” of flaws because, hey, at least he has mostly good intentions, I’m much more intrigued by the aspect of the story which revolves around Ararararagi being lauded and appreciated for his good intentions. Even though he fails, even though he lacks the wherewithal or the ability to truly accomplish anything, he is still given the adulation as though he had succeeded.

        I hesitate to paint otakus or Japanese people in general with too broad a brush, but this does feel very appropriate for both in some ways. Otaku hikikomori types are often portrayed as useless but continually wishing they could be more. They wish strongly for something different, something more, but in the end lack the drive to fulfill their ambitions. Welcome to the NHK is a great example of this, as you recently discussed.

        Araragi, however, is given all the credit, all the reward for saving people even though he was unable to do so himself. It’s a case of the “it’s the thought that counts” kind of thinking taken to a much larger scale, and I wonder if that isn’t an attempt to tap into part of the otaku (and universal, really) psyche, saying, “Even though you may be powerless, wouldn’t it be great if you could benefit from the fruits of your labor just by being honest, sincere, trying hard, and wishing strongly for a good outcome?”

        If only you are sincere and try your best, you can pass the entrance exam and get into your first choice university. If only you are sincere and try your best, people will recognize your efforts and praise you. If only you are sincere and try your best, that cute girl will become interested in you.

        Interesting food for thought.

  2. Autonomous says:

    …fuuuuck. I’m a bit behind (ep 7, waiting on subs from Koharubi), and most of my speculation on Koyomi’s personality has been on the lines of… he doesn’t have one. Apart from his messiah complex and his wandering eyes, he’s essentially blank.

    But now. /Now/. Now I feel rather sick. I’m going to be keeping a close eye on later episodes in the hopes that he picks up some redeeming qualities, but given that the two arcs after the Snake are flashbacks (?) I’m not holding out much hope.

  3. animewriter says:

    Bakemonogatari has become my favorite harem anime of 2009, not because of Araragi, the male lead, but because I find the girls surrounding him extremely interesting. In the end, for all of Araragi’s ability to take punishment that would kill a normal male, he is one of the most impotent male leads ever. He’s a even bigger wuss than Keitaro from Love Hina, Keitaro constantly gets his ass kicked without having vampire healing power, but at least he gets the girl at the end.

    But, the point of a male lead in a harem series is to make the viewer feel better about himself. When I look back at my younger self from about age 15-20 anything in a skirt was a target of opportunity 13-40,it didn’t matter. But, this conceit is what makes these types of series enjoyable. I the viewer can sit back and mock the male lead by thinking to myself how dick less the lead is, and how I’d enjoy the sweet meals being offered up. I’d feel much better about Araragi if he picked a girl, any girl, and had sex with her, I’d rather see him as a perv than as the dick less wonder that he truly is.

    • Wow, that was pretty good and concise.

      What’s interesting/vexing is that Araragi already has Senjougahara. He’s still dicking around with all these other girls in his dickless way.

      • animewriter says:

        Well, I think that part of Araragi’s problem might be that Senjougahara is way too advanced in all ways when you compare her self-confidence and maturity level to his. So, I really wouldn’t have a problem if he went for Tsubasa who he’s seems much more comfortable with.

        I, also think that Araragi’s emotional maturity level is several years below his physical age, so I wouldn’t even have a problem if he hooked up with Nadeko since she seems clearly interested in him.

        But, his real problem might be that he needs to move his dick from the top of his head and put it where it belongs, in his pants.

  4. 2DT says:

    Goodness. You’ve made some truly heavy accusations. I am stunned– But in a good way, of course.

    Yet I notice that you didn’t address the last point about Araragi: That he gets the credit for saving people by virtue of his intentions. I wonder if, taking it all together, there isn’t some kind of intended moral in that. Perhaps we’re meant to believe that even a no-good ex-vampire who occasionally flips skirts and beats up children can be considered “good” if his heart’s in the right place. I’m sure that would soothe many hearts.

    • That’s ‘If’ he gets the job done. The distinction I make for integrity is that intention and result are complete (1:1). I think whatever good intentions one has, but does not complete them while behaving with all sorts of inauthenticity is not a good deal at all. If this is an accusation pointed at me as a viewer, I shouldn’t be pleased, reassured, etc.

      After all, anyone can claim to have good intentions; but can Araragi claim that acting on his perversions isn’t his choice? Are these compulsions that he’s a victim of? Who’s responsible, this?

      So if otaku viewers are congratulating themselves this way, then it’s rather concerning.

  5. G says:

    A bit of a note on the skirt lifting. In the book he want’s not know if she’s really shy or it was just the marks. In the book her bangs cover her eyes to were you can’t see them so he tries to move them off her face and she dodges. He then tries to lift her skirt and stares at him. A traffic sign in the anime revels that he thinks her priorities are messed up.

    • Wow. So do you think that Araragi’s merely stupid for trying to lift up the skirt out of his genuine concern in plain sight/broad daylight? (i.e. there’s less perversion in this act than it seems?)

      • ZeroOBK says:

        If what G says is true, then Araragi’s act is FAR less perverted than it seems. The anime (and probably the novel) doesn’t show anyone around, so it’s not like he’s exposing Nadeko or anything. He sees maybe 2/3 of Nadeko’s left thigh, certainly nothing compared to the bloomers and school swimsuit events (which are both probably within his fetishes). Another thought hit me as well. Is it the fact that it’s animated make one perceive that Araragi is more perverted? Would one have the same reaction to the novel, words on paper?

        • Good stuff man. Here’s what I conject: there perversion is shifted from intention to reaction. We know this because the view is titillating — as accentuated by the animation.

          We can also speculate that this ‘view’ is titillating for viewers/otaku. Araragi’s titillation is muted compared to other instances (e.g. when he saw her in bloomers, swimsuit, etc), but it’s not difficult to imagine it present.

  6. ZeroOBK says:

    I don’t think Araragi is a commentary on otaku specifically. If he’s a commentary on anything, it would be social outcasts, but then again, the characters of Ghostory, Medaka Box, and Zaregoto (volume 1 at least) all have heavy usage of social outcast-type characters. So it’s hard to say if Araragi specifically is supposed to be commentary or not.

  7. Adrian says:

    I believe it unfair to judge Araragi on the fact that he receives credit for saving each person. Tsubasa probably knows (As she knows Oshino) that Shinobu bit her, and Oshino explained the circumstance. Kanbaru knows the knowledge came from Oshino. Sengoku does as well considering she slept there. Mayoi does not, but this is a good example for why Araragi does deserve thanks, Oshino might have the knowledge that would save Mayoi, but he would not use it, as he has admitted on multiple occasions. Araragi stays with her and eventually leads her home, albeit with Hitagi, but he never recieves thanks from Mayoi anyway, if she wasn’t a spirit she probably would have become a tsundere instead of an eternal loli. As far as Hitagi goes, at the end of episode 5 she says that she doesn’t feel indebted to him and she thanked Oshino by paying him, as though it was a service. Which basicly makes Araragi the kind middle-man, and Oshino the service provider. As such a thank you is in order. Also we don’t know if they thank oshino as there is yet to be a scene that Araragi isn’t in considering he’s the protaganist. Two characters never meet unless he’s there, considering there is no one else in there cross channel world anyway. As for the harem, that’s just Japanification. There’s no proof that Araragi wouldn’t act the same if the afflicted was male. Especially since he tried to save the guy who cursed Sengoku. If anything this changed Araragi from thinking he didn’t deserve thanks to REALLY thinking that he didn’t deserve thanks.

    • Him getting credit for saving is a component of the subject I explore here. More importantly it’s his behavior towards female characters: towards the powerful vs the powerless that yields more in terms of being disturbing.

      A potential problem is when we rationalize that it’s okay for him to do that, or okay for us to enjoy him do that because after all, he means well, and helps save them in the end.

  8. IcyStorm says:

    All I can say is that I always love reading your posts ~

  9. shadow says:

    Great post. Now that I think about it, I did notice Kanbaru, Senjougahara, and Hanekawa initiated their flirting with Araragi, while it was the opposite with Hachikuji and Sengoku. I agree, I find it disturbing. Looking at the fetishes he has, as hinted by Kanbaru, it is appropriate, although it is troublesome that he can’t separate private urges from the public sphere.

    I would note that the show places little or no emphasis on “other people.” When the characters are in public, it’s like they are alone anyways.

    Nevertheless, Araragi has three socially equal girls finding him attractive enough to flirt with. This is in spite of his issues. We see that Senjougahara cites his helpfulness and Hanekawa cite his kindness, yet does that overcome the loli issue?

    It’s fascinating that Araragi doesn’t really act like the “older brother” that Sengoku looks at him to be, I agree that he is aggressive to girls much younger than him. I wonder how much that spans from the relationship with his sisters, who have always beat him up whenever we see them.

    Finally, when Araragi tells Sengoku, “when I do it with you, it’s feels like you’re judging me as a man,” I can’t help but think that we as viewers have been doing this since the first episode of the show.

    • I would note that the show places little or no emphasis on “other people.” When the characters are in public, it’s like they are alone anyways.

      +1 (THIS, I concur, etc etc)

      I would note that the show places little or no emphasis on “other people.” When the characters are in public, it’s like they are alone anyways.

      +1

      Man, I think this last observation is telling. It doesn’t legitimize Arararararagi’s behavior fffff no, but it does hint at an explanation that can make him sympathetic to some (who are also emasculated by females in general, and from all fronts).

  10. Celeste says:

    Overly long comment ahead!

    Can Araragi really be said to be “bereft of initiative?”. His constant hero-attempts can be seen as an initiative: because he cannot advance upon these girls sexually, save Senjougahara. I’d, however, note that even when Senjougahara offers herself physically to him (see Senjougahara’s and the Mayoi Snail arcs) Araragi doesn’t respond: she crawls about in front of him in her lingerie (and consults him no less) and leans in closely to him on a number of occasions. The world of Bakemonogatari is, as you said in a previous post, deprived of characters other than the main ones. This leaves Oshino as the only real ‘adult’ in the picture; regardless, there are no parents to interject even if Araragi were to try something.

    I’d also note (and this is entirely qualitative in nature) that his behavior towards Senjougahara doesn’t change after they enter into a relationship. He still talks to her in his somewhat callous, detached way. They still walk down the street without holding hands or standing too closely together. Most importantly, he still hangs out, alone, with other girls (Nadeko Snake arc) and seems to think nothing of it. Though he does blush a bit when mentioning Senjougahara in this episode, indications that he’s actually tried anything on her – sexually – are completely absent. In a show that doesn’t fear showing 12-year-old girls stripped naked and moaning, that he hasn’t done anything with his girlfriend is paramount.

    I’d suggest that Araragi is, in fact, working out his sexual frustrations (? something along those lines, anyways.) through the saving of these girls. It’s the only time he takes initiative with any female character aside from when he gets Shinobu to drink his blood, pre-Kanbaru fight. Even his sisters, annoying as they are, seem to dictate parts of his life – the best he can do is escape the house on his bike.

    A note on Shinobu:

    If you re-watch the first part of episode 1, you’ll see a short .5-second-flashing-clips summary of his encounter with Shinobu. He also has a flashing-type comment about Shinobu, epsiode 4: “I was assaulted by a vampire/ By a beautiful beast / I was assaulted — by a beast beautiful enough to chill one’s blood. All the blood in my body — was wrung out.”. In a further flashing-type, he says his superhuman vision, gained from Shinobu is “more like a trait, I don’t mind facing it for the rest of my life.” Combining this and the short flash-sequence in episode one, I’d say that he was more curious than anything – and that he doesn’t hate Shinobu in the least for their encounter. He never once expresses bitterness over becoming a vampire (the most negative comment we receive on the subject is that he’s lucky it happened over Spring Break), he refuses to detach from her as Oshino advises, and his attitude towards her, after nerfing is downright condescending – he finally has control over her.

    What this over-long comment is trying to get at:

    Let’s remember what Araragi’s first name is: Koyomi – it’s one hiragana off from being Kyoumi, or, in Japanese, to have interest in something.

    His twisted, incomplete interest will be his downfall. He cannot leave the other characters of Bakemonogatari alone. Rather than saving them out of genuine kindness, I think it might be Araragi trying to fufill his twisted interest in members of the opposite sex. He wants to control and dominate them, but he can’t, he knows it’s too aggressive – not polite, not societal, doesn’t fit inside the neat geometry of his Japan. He purposely puts himself in situations in which he can, often with violence, approach and subdue these girls – desks fly, he bleed profusely. It’s carnal and direct, whereas the rest of his encounters with the girls are nuanced indirect in the extreme.

    • With all that you said, I think the only thing we differ about is ‘initiative.’

      He doesn’t have it in the context of ‘making moves,’ or to act on his attraction for the three non-loli females.

      That bit you shared about Shinobu only buttresses this notion, specifically that rather creepy/awesome scene where she sucks him (blood LOL) while wrapping her legs around him. Shinobu is for all intents a loli in this scene.

      So what do we have, Ararararararararararararararagi-kun?

      Non-loli: passive

      Loli: active

      Your assertion that Ararararararararararararararagi is working out his sexual interests/frustrations in the acts of salvation is good! It is very compatible with the points I raise here. Among the 6 females he interacted with (I’m uncertain if Shinobu is another person he ‘saved’) he is passive towards the non-lolis and active (at times aggressive) towards the lolis.

      If this were taken as a commentary on otaku/outcasts, it is very consistent with the underscoring of how otaku prefer the kind of female fantasy that is harmless, pliant, and easy to figure out. If there is indeed any resistance (see Mayoi), the female is too puny and can be overpowered even by the often physically weak otaku.

      Thank you for engaging me in discussion on this level of intensity in relation to the show!

  11. Rakuen says:

    That’s actually the basic strategic of a haremist like Arararararararararararararararararagi (sorry, I stuttered)— you need to add in more choices. That way, more routes can be triggered, and that way he can ensure himself that he can end up with a desirable female to whom he can plant his seed in.

    I see Arararararararararararaararraararagi more as a lolicon who by chance got mugged by Senjougahara into a SRSFCKNGrelationship. He takes advantage of a young female’s defenselessness by being too accessible to them despite keeping his desires down (helping them up), especially with his vampire powers as a leverage in doing the saving tasks. It’s like picking up a coin for someone who’s going to pay you a million bucks for picking up that coin.

  12. DonKangolJones says:

    *sigh*
    As much as I was looking forward to reading this post, I don’t know where to go with it. I’m definitely shocked by Araragi’s actions & the pic you posted of him next Kanbaru doesn’t help him look any less pitiful or weak. I just can’t bring myself to dislike the guy. Despite all the glaring faults & perversions. Well, except for his conduct around Mayoi. It was like getting back handed by a one armed man reading a book. I don’t know where the hell all that came from!

    Maybe it’s the accumulation of good deeds by Araragi that keeps him from being hated or loved by me. As you’ve said, he never completes his goals unaided. Oshino practically did everything to help save Senjougahara, Senjougahara saved him from Mayoi & Kanbaru, Kanbaru saved him while he assisted Sengoku. Hell! Even “loli vampire” saved his butt once from Hanekawa. But he still put in all his efforts into saving those girls from their oddities. I wonder if by the end of the show I’ll realize that point of all this was to emphasize actions over intentions, or if there is a perversion associated with wanting to be needed or helpful?

    Despite my dower tone, I really did enjoy this episode.

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  14. Ryan A says:

    Ah, you left out one thing about Araragi in that he doesn’t actively seek to help people, like say the Peace Corps or volunteers. He only manages to feel compelled when the issue is right in his face or there is suspicion.

    I was kinda confused by that incident with Sengoku Nadeko. Partly I thought it was fantasy but then could very well be real, dunno. Seems really out of place though, especially considering his character in ep 12. Saa

    • Yes good observation. He’s just one who can’t stand idly while something wrong is going on. But if Oshino made his operation ‘formal,’ I’ve no problem imagining him signing up.

  15. Vendredi says:

    I think this post really sums up why Bakemonogatari feels so “smart” (or “edgy” or “post-modern” or “pretentious” or “authentic”); it illustrates that there is a power dynamic to relationships quite often, and the animation (when it’s actually included; NEVER FORGIVE NEVER FORGET EPISODE 10) is very effective at emphasizing nuances of non-verbal conversation that allow the viewer to easily pick up on it. At times it can be quite bludgeoning with it, but it provides a heck of a lot of insight.

    In response to Celeste’s point about Araragi’s “twisted, incomplete interest” – I think there can be a case made there; I am reminded in particular of the beautifully animated kaleidoscope sequence where all the girls are viewed literally from “many angles and facets”. Images seen through the kaleidoscope are literally twisted and incomplete by nature.

    As for the content of the episode itself, I believe there seems to be some sort of pun between “meddlesome cat” and “white cat”, as has been the case between all the oddities so far – the visual appearance of the oddity somehow puns into its real nature.

    Another interesting point is how Nadeko picks up on the fact Shinobu looks at Araragi with “different eyes”. We are then treated to a cut of apparently what seems to be Shinobu’s eyes, filled with the kanji for “rage”. As you point out, Shinobu may be powerless, but perhaps she might resent that status – again playing into the whole power dynamic theme of Bakemonogatri so far.

    And of course, obligatory HNNNNG for Hanekawa this episode. Even if the deeper themes fly by overhead, the show makes for good waifu material; at least among my fellows we have vigorous factions contending for either Senjougahara, Nadeko, or Hanekawa’s superiority.

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