Tsubasa Cat and Araragi Dog: Bakemonogatari 13

bakemonogatari 13 senjougahara recollection

I can’t help but feel good about how Araragi reminisces about Senjougahara at the beginning of the episode. It tells me that their first date was indeed about something. Every step forward in his relationship with Senjougahara is initiated by her, and a lot of the good feelings I have come from these:

  • Senjougahara apologizing to Araragi in Hitagi Crab 02 for her teasing and telling him her wish to be friends.
  • “I love you.”
  • Rescuing him from Suruga who had him by the entrails.
  • “This is all I have.”

In every moment, Araragi is validated. His existence is justified. He is shown, through a discriminating perspective that is easy to respect: Senjougahara, to be a person of worth, and worthy of love. We thank her for this because it’s as if she is validating us, our own existence. Why do we feel this way?

It’s because I don’t feel that Bakemonogatari is being coy anymore. Araragi is not a viewer avatar for us to project ourselves into. He is us, and we don’t complain because we are fascinated by Senjougahara, who loves us. She loves us! We’re saved!

Senjougahara is an interesting carrot, and a beautiful one. But if there is a carrot, what of the stick?

bakemonogatari 13 araragi koyomi saw a chanceHow Araragi reminds us what the hell we are watching

Bakemonogatari uses a carrot and a stick: Senjougahara and Senjougahara. Rather, guilt and shame that Senjougahara spares Araragi from. Note that she never held anything about his character against him. The thing she complained about, his willingness to save anyone, she re-framed as a virtue. So how are we to feel the stick?

It’s really up to us, and how we feel when we see Araragi sneak up and attack Hachikuji from behind, shamelessly groping her and blatantly and joyfully talking about seeing her panties. This is not the first time he did something like this to Mayoi, and it’s not the first time I took note of it:

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! [->]

I didn’t mince words then. I didn’t think much of him as a man. However, every time I feel like I’m disgusted by this guy, and somewhat ashamed at how I must be becoming as a viewer and consumer of anime, Senjougahara rescues him. Senjougahara rescues me. I’m still ok. I think Bakemonogatari is particularly clever in doing this. I think it’s very effective. It’s interesting, and riveting.

bakemonogatari 13 hachikuji mayoi waitingbakemonogatari 13 hachikuji mayoi araragi koyomi stalkingbakemonogatari 13 hachikuji mayoi araragi koyomi pre-rapebakemonogatari 13 hachikuji mayoi molestationThis too, is the Araragi Senjougahara loves?

In Araragi we see a reclamation of our souls as otaku.

I’m not saying that there’s no better way to enjoy Bakemonogatari, that it’s not accessible from other appreciation strategies. This is just one that particularly gripped me and perhaps others may find interesting. After all, the show can be appreciated directly as (perhaps an unconventional) harem show.

Haneko Tsubasa justifies the harem dynamics here. She explains how Araragi suddenly became very attractive to all these girls. His vampirism lent gave him the powers of charm. After all, even Hanekawa feels particularly vulnerable to it, despite being a staunch supporter of his relationship with Senjougahara; as opposed to Mayoi who thought it weird that he picked Senjougahara over Hanekawa (though it always seems that Araragi is most himself when he is with Hachikuji).

bakemonogatari 13 araragi koyomi optical illusionLook at Arararagi’s pupils: Where is it facing? Who or what is it examining?
Well, it’s not like Araragi is incapable of showing mettle in the face of these women now. He did something that made me smile here. At the park where Hanekawa showed up in a hat and her pajamas Araragi asked her ceremoniously to hand him her shirt. This was untoward and pervy, and Hanekawa responded with a stern “You are making me angry.” Araragi desisted.
Later, when Araragi was already committed to saving Hanekawa, he asked her in the same ceremonious manner to hand him her hat… to confirm her cat ears. Hanekawa gave the same response, “You are making me angry.” Then Araragi showed a bit of character, and told her that he cared more about helping her — that is to return the favor for her saving him during Spring Break.

bakemonogatari 13 hanekawa tsubasa hat

Araragi suddenly became very attractive to all these girls. His vampirism lent gave him the powers of charm. After all, even Hanekawa feels particularly vulnerable to it, despite being a staunch supporter of his relationship with Senjougahara; as opposed to Mayoi who thought it weird that he picked Senjougahara over Hanekawa (though it always seems that Araragi is most himself when he is with Hachikuji).

bakemonogatari 13 hanekawa tsubasa cat ears

Later, when Araragi was already committed to saving Hanekawa, he asked her in the same ceremonious manner to hand him her hat… to validate her cat ears. Hanekawa gave the same response, “You are making me angry.” Then Araragi showed a bit of character, and told her that he cared more about helping her — that is to return the favor for her saving him during Golden Week.

In the end this is what we want to remember about Araragi, a good man in a down to earth way. He indulges his naughtiness like the worst of us, and does people right like the best of us.

Further Reading

We might be tempted to remember love for Senjougahara as Ararararararararararagi did at the beginning of the episode; so here’s how wonderful Bakemonogatari seemed for us, and perhaps how we prefer to remember it [->]

Some dynamics of guilt when watching anime [->]

I imagine Letter Bee to be Ararararararararararagi’s choice of show to watch; he can safely view it while Tsukihi and Kallen mill about in his room as well [->]

What I imagine Suruga Kanbaru found out about Ararararararararararagi’s fetishes in Nadeko Snake 01 (2DT 2009/11/02)

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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18 Responses to Tsubasa Cat and Araragi Dog: Bakemonogatari 13

  1. Autonomous says:

    Araragi died for your loli fetish? ‘:|

    So I have basically nothing worthwhile to say, on account of not having seen it yet. I’m torn between giving in and grabbing the gg subs or holding out for the Koharubi ones (Episode 11? What’s that lawl). And then I have to weigh up waiting for the DVD rips or getting the webrip. Choices, choices.

  2. remm says:

    I was hopping you’d comment on the Araragi-Senjogahara scene, but oh well.
    Also, I’m the only one, or did you post the same pair of paragraphs twice?

    • Ugh, thanks for pointing that out. I fixed it.

      The scene involving the lovers was painful for me to watch, because Araragi was directly being a dog there. He wasn’t lying about ‘volunteering’ but he withheld who he was meeting. It’s not like Senjougahara wouldn’t know, but he wasn’t truthful about it and it sucks.

  3. BigFire says:

    Hanekawa helped Araragi during the Spring Break when he had a little run in with the vampire. Her own problem occurred later during the Golden Week.

  4. kadian1364 says:

    I think you talked about it in one of your previous posts on Bakemonogatari, but it’s again quite noticeable how sparse and empty all the settings are, as in lacking other humans. It’s always only Araragi and one of the girls, or a 3rd person like Meme or Senjougahara’s father at most. Like that scene in the bike lot, other than a token appearance by The One That Is Fascinating, we see no one else at this school. However the rows and rows of bike racks suggests otherwise.

    Maybe a little gaguri is rubbing off on me, but I’m noticing more and more how the design of these settings, lots of empty, sterile space framed by thin, metallic poles and patterns, and constantly camera perspectives creates a little nervousness and excitement when the story itself isn’t so interesting. Like, there was a whole protracted scene about lame radio show jokes, but the SHAFT team manufactures this feeling of intensity sensually where intellectually there isn’t any. Makes me speculate, maybe they could’ve fit 15 episodes into a more conventional 13 episodes if they didn’t dawdle so.

    • kadian1364 says:

      Like, 2 episodes per arc:
      Crab – 1 & 2
      Snail – 3 & 4
      Monkey – 5 & 6
      Snake – 7 & 8
      Cat – 9 & 10
      Vamp – 11 & 12
      Date under the stars – 13

      Just speculation.

      • Krazy-kun says:

        Well to me, since every episode corresponds to the one before it, the Date under the Stars had to happen in Tsubasa Cat because it will play a relevantly important role to the conclusion of this arc. Who knows what it is, but I’m sure the date was shown at the time it was at for a specific reason.

  5. I think I was way too in love with this show to be critical of anything. I don’t know if it’s because it’s where I should be as a viewer, or if it’s because I’ve genuinely loved the show & missed it since I had to wait for the episode to air online after a break. It almost felt like the show itself for acknowledging that it had taken a bit of a break & was reintroducing some fun to us as a way of saying hello. The “Mayuri grope”, the “Senjougahara convo”, & the ridiculous “radio puns” segment with Hanekawa all harken back to past events & remind us of how progress has been made. In short, I’ve gotten used to everything and am happy to see things play out this way. Even the lolicon segements…

    I had a smirk on my face the entire time Araragi was talking to Senjougahara. Under my breath I was saying to myself, “he’s doing it again. He should know better!….” *facepalm*

    As usual, I’m sure there are plenty of small gems that I missed. But I’m happy and anxiously awaiting the next episode.

  6. Phäzys says:

    “In the end this is what we want to remember about Araragi, a good man in a down to earth way. He indulges his naughtiness like the worst of us, and does people right like the best of us.
    ” I’m slightly skeptical of Araragi’s intentions in helping the girls. Suppose it were not “hnng”-inducing girls, I don’t think Araragi would be as motivated to help; if they were guys, I don’t think he would be as motivated to help. In a real setting, guys are not exposed to a 5-girl harem, in which it is probably most beneficial to have a savior-attitude; I think we need Araragi helping a downright unlikeable girl (physical or personality) before I would conclude Araragi as ‘like the best of us’ (I’m not saying I would be a saint, just saying that my motivations would be slightly (very) skewed if I met a girl like Nadeko).

    • Well, yes. Araragi does right by people despite his own shortcomings as a warm-blooded adolescent.

      But also consider how hard he tried to go after and save the person who hexed Nadeko. He hasn’t even met the person (who may be the guy in the false triangle). It is the conceit in Bakemonogatari that there are zero unattractive haremettes, except for Oshino who plays his role.

      • Phäzys says:

        Hm…, still, the abuse he suffered with Suruga seems to be a lot more intense than what he suffered under the snake. Oh well, I guess I’m just jealous of Araragi.

  7. yahia says:

    What I don’t understand is this unclear point in the story. Who the hell saved Araragi? In the show sometimes it’s said that it’s Hanekawa, and in other times it’s said that it’s Shinobu. Araragi seems to owe his life to both of them (yet we see Hanekawa trying to kill him only to be saved by Shinnobu, and earlier we see him fighting and breaking Shinobu’s arm). This is very confusing!

    • Having not read the novels, my understanding is that Hanekawa saved Araragi from (full sized, not yet-)Shinobu, while (still not quite yet, but already shrunken-)Shinobu contained the cat monster Hanekawa and thereby saving Arararagi.

      • yahia says:

        By your Not Yets you are referring to her name?

        This explanation of yours, did you think it up to fit the situation, or was there evidence of it in the show?

        Plus, I don’t see how Hanekawa a mere human being could save Araragi from those bloody monsters that were shown. Also, from his dialogue with the Cat in the final episode, when she tells him where she first fell for him, he seemed surprised because he obviously didn’t know she was there at the scene.

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