Bakemonogatari Episode 8 – Suruga Monkey, Part Three

Recently Koyomi Araragi met Suruga Kanbaru, underclassman and friend of Hitagi Senjougahara from middle school. In addition to being attacked by Suruga, he learned about her love for Hitagi, and her left arm which had been consumed by a lesser demon – a Rainy Devil.

A demon that will take one’s soul in exchange for three wishes.
And Suruga has already used two.

Synopsis

We learn the apparent truth of the Rainy Devil – that it doesn’t necessarily grant wishes. It grants wishes borne from negative emotions and desires, which is why the results may seem unexpected. And we learn more about Suruga’s first wish, that she made when she was a child. After that first wish, Suruga was tempted to make another at times, but left the Rainy Devil alone.

Until she saw Hitagi with Koyomi. And then she became filled with jealousy and desire – “I want to be with her”. The Rainy Devil then went about attempting to fulfill her wish by killing Koyomi.

Oshino Meme then provides two simple solutions to Suruga’s problem, that beastly arm of hers.. First is to simply let the Rainy Devil kill Koyomi, and then never make a third wish. And second is to simply cut the arm off altogether.

Naturally, Koyomi won’t stand for such a violent solution, with cutting off Suruga’s left arm – even if it has been taken over by a demon. And so a third solution is chosen: don’t let the Rainy Devil fulfill Suruga’s second wish, by demonstrating that it cannot kill Koyomi. Sounds good in theory.

But then Koyomi steps into the ring with the Rainy Devil having made a grave miscalculation. Koyomi ends up on his deathbed when Hitagi arrives, getting between Koyomi and Suruga. She then states that if Koyomi dies, she will murder Suruga.

This makes Suruga’s second wish impossible to fulfill, as there is no way Suruga would be able to be with Hitagi if she kills Koyomi.

Dark Desires

Here’s actually a nice little excerpt from the beginning of the episode that sums up the Rainy Devil nicely:

Rainy Devil is said to be a very violent devil.
Above all, it loves people’s anger and hostility, grievance and repentance, envy and jealousy, all the dark traits and emotions.
It sees through all the dark sides of the human, provokes them, pulls them out and lets them manifest themselves. It listens to wishes in a malevolent way and fulfills them in a malevolent way.

The Rainy Devil can only fulfill negative, aggressive wishes.
The devil sees the backside of the wish.
While there’s a front side, there’s a backside too.

Indeed, it reads the backside.
Indeed, it sees the backside.
The devil perceives the thing wished unconsciously.

Now this is something that Oshino realizes immediately after hearing Suruga’s story.

When Suruga was a child, her parents passed away. She moved in with her grandparents, and transferred schools. At school, some of her classmates were bullying her about being a slow runner. So, she found that mummified paw, one of her mother’s keepsakes, and made a wish: “I want to be faster”. But that isn’t what happened. Instead, the four students she was supposed to run against at the next track meet were all killed.

Suruga read about the Monkey’s Paw afterwards, and then fearing the worst, didn’t make another wish. She switched from track and field to basketball, and didn’t dare race anyone again, lest the Rainy Devil kill them too. Until she saw Hitagi with Koyomi.

Oshino knows that Suruga desired to kill Koyomi, just as she had desired to kill her classmates when she was a child. That’s how the Rainy Devil operates. Several times Oshino tells Koyomi that he is simply too kind, too naive, trying to help a girl who unconsciously wanted him dead.

And despite all of Koyomi’s acts of self-sacrifice, of looking out for Suruga, of hiding everything from Hitagi, of refusing to let her left arm be cut off, of putting his own life and body on the line – Suruga still wanted him dead. Which is why her entire body, and not just her left arm, fought him with the intention of killing him.

Self-Sacrifice

Koyomi, despite always sacrificing himself, never seems to be able to accomplish his intended goals without outside help. And this was the case once again here, as he failed to solve the problem on his own.

And what an obvious solution it was, with Oshino calling Hitagi and getting her involved. With Hitagi being the source of Suruga’s second wish, it’s only natural that Hitagi herself has the ultimate power over whether or not it comes true. There was never any need for Koyomi to put his life on the line.

Before addressing Suruga, Hitagi chastises Koyomi for having lied to her. And she brings up how their relationship was supposedly founded upon telling each other the truth, as Koyomi had requested.

“Having fun without me, are you?
How thoughtless, Araragi-kun.

Araragi-kun, you lied to me.
You tricked me by saying you hit a telephone pole, and you hid everything about Kanbaru. Didn’t we promise not to do that when we started going out? Not to keep secrets like that from each other, no matter how small?

I’ll kill you 10,000 times over.”

– Hitagi Senjougahara

This whole situation tells us a lot about Koyomi’s nature.

Koyomi is the type of person who would rather pay $100 himself to solve a problem than inconvenience someone else to pay $1 to solve the exact same problem. He’d rather pay more than what is needed, just to keep others out of it. He risked his very life just to avoid the very prospect of involving Hitagi in any capacity.

Even though it’s the obvious solution, getting Hitagi involved, Oshino must have known that Koyomi would still insist on keeping Hitagi out of it, and so he called her in secret once Koyomi had begun to fight Suruga.

So while Suruga’s story ends on a positive note and everything works out, the way everything ended up completely exposes Koyomi’s character flaw.

Wrapping Up…

One other aspect of this episode, and previous episodes, finally worth nothing is Shinobu Oshino.

When we first see her, Shinobu is referred to as Koyomi as “nothing”, as she had no name or real existence at the time. She was just there. We then learn that Shinobu used to be a vampire. But that’s about it, she’s just this very interesting existence that we see here and there whenever Koyomi visits Oshino.

This episode we see Shinobu drinking Koyomi’s blood, something that increases Koyomi’s power, prior to his fight. Perhaps it’s because she was a vampire that she can still bring back a portion of the vampirism that Koyomi once possessed during Spring Break. While these two, Shinobu and Koyomi, seem very detached, it won’t stay this way forever, as their fates are tied together.

Oh, and this episode ends with Suruga quitting the basketball team. While the Rainy Devil left her, her arm never reverted back to normal. If anything it can act as a form of penance, a reminder to those times where she wished murder upon others.

At least this means another aberration has been dealt with.
Who’s next?

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

Bakemonogatari

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