Bakemonogatari Episode 13 – Tsubasa Cat, Part Three

Koyomi Araragi is on cloud nine after his stellar date with Hitagi Senjougahara. But then he get’s a message from Tsubasa Hanekawa asking him to skip school to meet her at the park! Tsubasa Cat continues!

Synopsis

On his way to school, Koyomi runs into Mayoi Hachikuji. After a little messing around and idle chit-chat, Mayoi mentions that she saw Shinobu Oshino at a Mr. Donut by the highway. Koyomi then heads off to school after realizing the time. He parks his bike, only to get a message from Tsubasa asking him to meet her at the park. Just as he is about to leave, Hitagi catches him, but eventually lets him go.

At the park, Tsubasa asks Koyomi to take her to Meme Oshino. First, as Koyomi is trying to rely on Oshino less, he asks Tsubasa some questions. The topic changes to something else and eventually comes back to Tsubasa. Koyomi has her take off her cap, and we discover she has sprouted a pair of cat ears. Koyomi then takes Tsubasa to Oshino.

Oshino knocks Tsubasa out with a quick slap, and then Black Hanekawa awakens before Oshino and Koyomi’s very eyes.

Mayoi Chat

Getting the important part out of the way first, the purpose of Koyomi’s encounter with Mayoi was learning that Shinobu was seen at a Mr. Donut. Something that doesn’t seem important at this very moment in time. The connection to make here is what we learned regarding how Golden Week was resolved – Shinobu drained Black Hanekawa’s powers. So just knowing that Shinobu is now roaming around away from Oshino, and was spotted at Mr. Donut, could be useful information.

With that said, I wanted to point out that I just love these interactions between Koyomi and Mayoi. They’re some of my favourite moments in Monogatari – the banter between these two. I love all of the banter in this series, all of the meaningless conversations (like one we’re about to move onto), and Mayoi in particular seems to be a great source for them.

Not every moment of Monogatari has to be chock full of important information and foreshadowing! It’s the casual conversations and seemingly pointless moments that really help bring life to the series and make the characters feel so much more real.

Hitagi’s Permission

Just as Koyomi unlocks his bike from the bike rack to go meet Tsubasa, Hitagi appears.

Here we get some fun banter also. There’s actually a lot of fun banter this episode. Hitagi gives Koyomi permission to leave, saying the following:

“Very well. Go ahead, Araragi-kun.
I’ll take pity on you and answer roll call for you.
I’ll say it in your voice, so it should be fine.
My voice actress is excellent.”
– Hitagi Senjougahara

The anime even pops up a little biography of Chiwa Saitou, Hitagi’s voice actress, mentioning that she typically voices strong-willed women, lively girls, and boys.

After a little more teasing, Koyomi is on his way, embarrassed. Once again Hitagi is able to get under his skin, something that is always fun to watch.

It’s A Cat

Koyomi arrives at the park to find Tsubasa in her pajamas. After a little teasing, because he can’t help himself seeing Tsubasa’s cleavage, Koyomi gets down to business and they start talking.

Tsubasa tells Koyomi that she’s remembered something from Golden Week. Note that prior to this, Tsubasa had forgotten what happened that week, completely. And what she remembered, was a cat. Specifically, the cat that her and Koyomi found dead at the side of the road, and buried. The cat that likely carried the Meddlecat aberration.

Koyomi begins to ask Tsubasa questions.

First is the headaches.

“Yesterday and the day before were both when I was with you, and I’ve had them pretty bad at the bookstore and in front of school too.”
– Tsubasa Hanekawa

While Tsubasa’s words make it sound like she has had multiple headaches at the bookstore and in front of the school, there’s still an interesting detail to pick up on here. Koyomi has been present at all four locations she mentions. Coincidence? Tsubasa tells us herself that Koyomi was present for the last two, and then prior to that we have seen for ourselves the headaches she experienced at the bookstore and in front of the school.

I’m sure she’s had them in other places too, because at the bookstore she mentioned that she had headaches prior to that even. But it’s peculiar that here she explicitly mentions places where we know Koyomi was present.

Next the two go on a tangent involving a radio show that Tsubasa listens to, and some jokes / puns that she heard. It’s a fun moment of banter, and I don’t think it’s anything more than that. I really enjoyed it though.

Finally, Koyomi asks Tsubasa to take off the hat. She gets angry at him, but he tells her that he doesn’t care, because he feels that he owes her his life, because she saved him during Spring Break. At this point in time, we don’t fully know what exactly transpired then, so all we can really take from this is that Koyomi feels he owes a debt to Tsubasa.

She takes the hat off, we see the cat ears, and a large grin appears on Koyomi’s face. Much to Tsubasa’s embarrassment.

To Oshino

Koyomi doesn’t do much with the information he’s gathered. Fact is, he already knows what the issue is. But Tsubasa doesn’t know that Koyomi knows, and so he was acting like this was the the first time he’d encountered Tsubasa Cat. They double-up on Koyomi’s bike on the way to Oshino.

On the way, we get some interesting dialogue from Tsubasa.

“Even still, it must be so much trouble for you.
You have to take care of so many people.”
– Tsubasa

“So many people?”
– Koyomi

“Like Senjougahara-san, and Mayoi-chan,
and Kanbaru-san, and Sengoku-chan yesterday.
They’re all girls, huh.


And always with aberrations, now that I think of it.
It seems like you’re not done yet.”
– Tsubasa

And a little later on…

“Did you know, Araragi-kun?”
– Tsubasa

“Know what?”
– Araragi

“One of the special powers of vampires.
They captivate humans with their charm.
It’s like hypnotism. One gaze into their eyes can captivate someone for life.”
– Tsubasa

“So what?”
– Araragi

“Nothing, just a thought I had.
Maybe it has something to do with why you’re so popular with the girls all of a sudden.”
– Tsubasa

See any patterns here? And overall, notice anything about Tsubasa and how she thinks of Koyomi? I know I’ve been pointing it out, but I’ll point it out again. Tsubasa has been thinking about Koyomi and what he’s been doing lately. He’s been on her mind.

With the first part, she mentions how he’s been helping a lot of people lately, and they are all girls. Also all aberrations. Certainly an interesting point, something I’m sure anyone would think about. Tsubasa is sort of just voicing the obvious here, because it is a little odd for all of this to have happened to Koyomi since Spring Break. But she’s the only one voicing it.

The second part is even more interesting, where Tsubasa mentions the special ability of vampires to charm humans. Tsubasa is not an authority on aberrations, so we don’t actually know if there is any truth to this or not. Oshino certainly hasn’t brought it up so far at least.

The anime shows us a glimpse of Shinobu’s eye, and I feel like the natural assumption would be to think about Shinobu, or more specifically, Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade, the fully fledged vampire that Koyomi encountered during Spring Break. But then Tsubasa goes on to instead refer to Koyomi’s abilities himself, even though he is far from a vampire at this point.

To me, this feels like Tsubasa is bringing up this charm ability because she personally feels charmed by Koyomi. She is trying to reconcile why Koyomi has encountered so many girls lately, herself included. Like they are all just under his spell, and nothing more. Ultimately what I get from this is that Tsubasa is either using the charm ability as an excuse, or she actually doesn’t understand her feelings / connection with Koyomi and so tries to reconcile that confusion with the charm ability.

Wrapping Up…

After Oshino puts Tsubasa to sleep, to put it lightly, Black Hanekawa awakes. The goal here is to quit entertaining Tsubasa and just go straight to the source – Black Hanekawa, to ask her why she has returned.

Oh, and something quick that we get from Oshino. When Koyomi and Tsubasa arrive, Oshino is actually outside for once. He mentions to Koyomi that he’s quite busy himself, but that he will help because Tsubasa is involved. We then see a pile of ash on the ground in front of him, before they all go upstairs into the cram school. What is Oshino busy with here? Perhaps we’ll find out sometime.

I’ll also finish off with one last piece of dialogue between Tsubasa and Koyomi:

“You know everything.”
– Araragi

“I don’t know everything.
I don’t know everything.
I don’t know anything…”
– Tsubasa

Clearly Tsubasa is confused about something.
We know that the Meddlecat appears in order to alleviate Tsubasa’s stress, so this confusion is likely the source of that stress. And it should be fairly clear what that source is, although I admit it may not be immediately evident from a first casual watch-through.

I’ve been using future knowledge to my advantage here, by pointing out all of the foreshadowing leading up to the ultimate source.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

Bakemonogatari

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