Nyaruhodo (Tsubasa Cat 4; Bakemonogatari 14) or, the Authenticity of Bakemonogatari

It’s clearer, much clearer. Bakemonogatari is a harem anime. If I questioned it before, I don’t question it now. I mean, Senjougahara being Araragi’s girlfriend aside, he’s perfectly willing to die for any of the other girls’ sakes. If that ain’t love, I dunno what love is.

I rationalize this as a harem (purists and sticklers can freely ignore this post) due to the fact that Arararararararagi despite his relationship with Senjougahara is willing to risk everything for each and every girl in his harem, and that nearly every girl in his harem either has a thing for him in some way, or teases him in a sexual manner (directly or otherwise).

In the end, the conflict is framed as a love triangle: Hanekawa x Araragi x Sejougahara.

Shinobu ran away. Why? It is insinuated that she feels that she’s not special anymore in Araragi’s world. And if Tsubasa the Cat is to believed, Shinobu needs to be feared, worshiped, adored, scorned, etc. but not treated as some kind of platonic (if fetishistic) charity case.

This makes for a convenient love story device: Without the shortcut solution to Hanekawa’s affliction, Araragi must address the root of the problem and not it’s symptoms. The problem is stress, and the symptom is Tsubasa Cat, and the root of the problem is revealed to be Hanekawa’s unspoken and yet thwarted love for Araragi.

Fellow viewers, we have a harem triangle.

Hanekawa was the first girl Araragi ever ‘saved,’ and hers was the first interaction with him that we are privy to — that happens in ‘real time’ as opposed to first-person narrated ‘time’ when Araragi was talking about catching a falling Senjougahara. Let us speculate:

  • If indeed this show is of the harem genre, it is reasonable to presume that Hanekawa is likely to be attracted to the male protagonist.
  • If indeed this show is of the harem genre, it is reasonable to presume that the male protagonist is attracted to Hanekawa (as he is attracted in some way to every girl in the harem).
  • Even if the show isn’t of the harem genre, Hanekawa as presented would be plausible as a love interest for the protagonist (considering that she is very attractive).
  • If indeed Hanekawa has feelings for Araragi, it is reasonable to presume that these feelings aren’t ‘new,’ but rather existent from the time Araragi saved her. Hanekawa for her own reasons did not confess to Araragi. Before she could, Araragi started asking about Senjougahara.

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. While Hanekawa says it’s disgraceful, what’s interesting to me now is how she said that it’s “so unfair.”

What an interesting choice of words! Unfair to who? I think it’s fair to presume that at this point she has feelings for Araragi already. Too bad for her, because things moved really fast and Senjougahara claimed him. Before long, she was put in the position where Araragi had to rely on her for advice to keep Senjougahara happy. Imagine what Hanekawa must have felt.

Hanekawa’s such a good person, and a good friend, that she wouldn’t actively pry Araragi loose from Senjougahara, though some scenes now look far less innocent than they seemed:


Not being able to act on her feelings, and yet inexorably see her chances for love diminish not only with the developments between Araragi and Senjougahara, but with how Araragi throws himself into saving every new haremette after Golden Week, could only stress her out. This much Tsubasa the Cat insinuates.

Araragi can deal with her stress directly, never mind the absence of Shinobu.

I think I know who he’ll choose, but it’s very interesting how it’ll play out I think. Can’t wait.

Further Reading

Authenticity and the lack of it has been a theme of my reading of this show, and I’m rather pleased that it authentically feels like a harem show now, without needless wishy-washiness required from anyone. Some posts on the authenticity theme:

authenticity, how beatiful you are (bakemonogatari 12)

the inauthenticity of senjougahararagi: bakemonogatari 08 (suruga monkey arc ends, senjougahara steals show again)

the inauthenticity of senjougahara (bakemonogatari 03)

Sorrow-kun waxes about redefining the harem genre [->]

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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14 Responses to Nyaruhodo (Tsubasa Cat 4; Bakemonogatari 14) or, the Authenticity of Bakemonogatari

  1. Rakuen says:

    Nyah~rudoho…..

    If Arararararrararararararararagi doesn’t want her, I can abandon my love for lolis to claim Hanekawa.

  2. X10A_Freedom says:

    I’ll bet a staple for Senjougahara :D

  3. The harem elements are definitely there in that there are many girls involved in some form or another with Ararararagi. Though in one of those staple elements of harem it’s often left somewhat ambiguous whether the male protagonist is interested in each girl or if he’s just a decent guy who wants to help someone he sees in trouble.

    As you say, we know who will win out in the end, but I’m glad that they chose the strongest characters (in my opinion) to form the base of the love triangle instead of fully indulging in the harem concept and somehow giving every girl a shot at Araragi.

    • I’m glad that they chose the strongest characters (in my opinion) to form the base of the love triangle instead of fully indulging in the harem concept and somehow giving every girl a shot at Araragi.

      QFT

  4. Pingback: Sora no woto 1-2 « hontou ni

  5. Anonymous says:

    Did Black Hanekawa indirectly suggest that Arararararagi and Hitagi could never get along during her oddities vs. human rant? True, Black Hanekawa calls him “human” but she did assert that he is a vampire.

    The joys I have in watching Bakemonogatari aside from seeing all my fetishes is the amount of subtext in the dialogue open for interpretation.

    • Oh I thought that it was along the lines of the the heavy crab and Araragi wouldn’t get along. Shinobu would be analogous to the heavy crab and not to Hitagi, Kanbaru, etc.

  6. Pingback: Bakemonogatari 14 « hontou ni

  7. Rival says:

    The ones who read the L. Novel, might know it. :P It sure is interesting, why do I feel like mentioning a certain person? Os.. nevermind it!

    Hitagi

  8. Watched the show up to this point, after leaving it untouched for months. Seems that I’m not alone in the assessment in that Araragi has to please all of the girls even if some of them are giving him the verbal/intellectual equivalent of having matchsticks shoved under his fingernails or getting his chesthairs waxed off.

    Really, through their dialogue relationships and personalities are taken apart and examined with the scrutiny of an rocket engineer-cum-philosopher.

    Maybe I might be wrong, but Bakemono is definitely a thinking man’s harem series.

    • NisiOisiN makes it his schtick to do “thinking man’s harem series.” I don’t know if it always works, as I’ve read Zaregoto and hated it.

      Maybe if Shinbo x SHAFT made an anime out of it.

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