Nisemonogatari Episode 4 – Karen Bee, Part Four

Four episodes in and the Karen Bee arc is just getting started!
We’ve got another great episode here.

Synopsis

Koyomi Araragi arrives home to find that Tsubasa Hanekawa had been helping his little sisters in their latest mission. And it didn’t go well, as Karen Araragi is now suffering a fever. How did this happen? Well, we learn that Karen had gone and confronted Kaiki Deishuu by herself, due to his involvement in selling curses to middle school kids.

After learning the situation, Koyomi takes a bath to gather his thoughts and reduce the frustration he is feeling towards his sisters. While in the bath, Shinobu Oshino appears out of Koyomi’s shadow and the two begin to chat while Shinobu washes her hair and then joins Koyomi in the bathtub. They chat about Karen’s affliction – a sting of the wreathe-fire bee, and manage to reconcile a bit after what had happened during Spring Break.

Brotherly Love, Frustration

We see Koyomi in Karen and Tsukihi’s bedroom, with Tsubasa present as well. He asks Karen several times what had happened, and she stubbornly refuses to tell him. Koyomi raises his hand, about to hit her, when Tsubasa stops and lectures him. However, right after the lecture, Karen admits that she was in the wrong, sticking up for Koyomi.

The conversation drifts back to what happened, and Tsukihi asks Koyomi not to be mad. To which Koyomi yells out that he is very mad. Tsubasa once again lectures Koyomi, this time on yelling at his little sisters, but then Tsukihi sticks up for Koyomi, telling Tsubasa that Koyomi is only mad because his little sisters had caused trouble for her.

Koyomi asks one more time what happened, and once again Karen refuses to tell him. Frustrated, Koyomi asks Tsubasa to come to his room.

What I really love about this scene is how it displays Koyomi’s relationship with his sisters. Two times Koyomi seemingly steps out of line, with Tsubasa chastising him. But both times, his sisters step in and stick up for him, claiming that he’s not at fault. What this tells us is that despite his actions, his sisters both completely trust him and know they can rely on him, to the point that they are willing to forgive him and even stand up for him when he gets angry.

It’s a great scene.

As Koyomi leaves the room, he tells his sisters the following:

“Hey, big one.”
– Koyomi

“What is it, little one?”
– Karen

“You’re probably right. You always are. I won’t deny that.
But that’s all you are.
You’re never strong.
And if you’re not strong, you’ll lose.
You do enough martial arts to know that.

The first requirement of a hero isn’t being right.
It’s being strong.
That’s why the hero always wins.
You need to learn that.

Until you do, what you’re doing is just a game.
And you’ll only be fakes.”
– Koyomi

It seems a bit harsh to tell this directly to them, but as he is saying this, his sisters are both wearing ashamed looks on their faces. Koyomi has just about had enough. He’s frustrated. He’s angry that his sisters tried to play the hero, and Karen ended up getting hurt as a result. They punched above their weight, and this is what happened.

Koyomi mentioned how the two were fakes earlier, and this is what he meant. Up until now, they’d never faced real danger, or been at risk. Just like Koyomi before he had met Kiss-Shot.

Koyomi and his sisters are very alike. The only real difference is that Koyomi is stronger than they are, but he wasn’t always strong – he wasn’t always part-vampire. He learned his lesson, and now he is frustrated that his sisters are learning it the same way he did – the hard way.

Chat with Tsubasa

Several things happen during the chat, none of which I think are too important aside from the fact that we learn Kaiki Deishuu was involved. Immediately after Tsubasa mentions Kaiki’s name, Koyomi goes to take a bath, because I imagine his mind was about to meltdown upon hearing that his sister messed around with Kaiki.

From what Koyomi had JUST seen of Kaiki himself, and heard from Hitagi Senjougahara, I can only imagine how close he was to losing it after hearing that name. Kaiki is a man that even Koyomi himself shied away from, after correctly identifying that Kaiki was not a man to trifle with.

But that critical piece of info aside, we do get a fun little moment between Koyomi and Tsubasa.

Now I could be wrong here, but I believe that normally people in Japan call their siblings by their first names only, or refer to them as “sister” or “brother”. But Koyomi refers to his little sisters using the -chan honorific. So Karen-chan and Tsukihi-chan.

And when he does this, Tsubasa endlessly teases him about it, to the point where he becomes self-conscious when saying his sister’s names.

My words here don’t really do it justice, and I won’t include the dialogue, but I just wanted to point out that I really loved this little exchange and thought it was funny watching Tsubasa tease Koyomi about this.

Shinobu Pays a Visit

Nice of her to make an appearance! That’s right, Shinobu is back, in her usual talkative self. And it’s such a joyous occasion that half the episode is dedicated to a conversation between her and Koyomi.

Shinobu reveals that she has become incredibly bored, after staying silent for so long. As we know, Shinobu (or Kiss-Shot, as she once was) enjoys conversation. She lived for hundreds of years without talking to anyone, alone. At this point I’m sure she just wants to talk for the sake of talking, if anything else.

“Hey…”
– Koyomi

“Stop.
Don’t say a word.
You won’t forgive me, and I’ll never forgive you.
And that’s fine.

Neither of us forgives the other.
That’s fine.
We can’t let the past be mere water under the bridge.

Even so, there’s no reason we can’t come together.
That’s the conclusion I’ve come to after thinking

for these past three or four months.”
– Shinobu

Shinobu then tells Koyomi her favourite donut flavour, as she is a big fan of Mister Donut, before filling him in on Karen’s affliction: a sting from the wreathe-fire bee. She mentions how Meme Oshino had basically drilled her head full of knowledge of various apparitions for months, and she was helpless to do anything but sit there and listen. She offers no solution though, just information about the affliction itself.

“But either way, I guess this Kaiki guy used a supernatural monster to poison my sister. I don’t know if that’s possible, but…”
– Koyomi

“It’s possible. Doable, certainly.
But… if we believe what your tsundere told us,
Kaiki was a fake and a con-man.”
– Shinobu

“That’s true…”
-Koyomi

“Of course, there’s no reason a fake can’t do what the real thing would. And it’s possible for a fake to be more real than the real thing.”
– Shinobu

“True…
Certainly, it’s possible for someone to be unskilled as a specialist, but still be a master con artist.”
– Koyomi

“But in that case,
they’d be a bigger problem than someone who’s skilled at it.
Anyone who would bend the supernatural to their will without the proper talent isn’t acting as a normal person would.

Their lack of skill isn’t the issue. They’re not even human.
It would be more accurate to say that they themselves are a supernatural monster.”
– Shinobu

I wanted to include that dialogue because it gives us a little insight into Kaiki. A man who it seems could be just as dangerous as he has been built up to be.

Wrapping Up…

After talking about Kaiki and the wreathe-fire bee, Shinobu and Koyomi chat some more. Tsukihi pops in at one point, and then closes the door after seeing them both. She then returns a moment later, knife in hand, but Shinobu had hidden herself.

The two finish up by going back to the original point – that they won’t forgive each other. Even if Koyomi ends up living longer than a regular human because he is part-vampire, the two of them will live until they die.

And so we end an excellent episode of Nisemonogatari, with the Karen Bee arc having advanced a little, and Shinobu is now in the picture!

It’s such a relief to be able to hear Shinobu once again. People who watch this anime for the first time wouldn’t know this, but Shinobu is a huge part of the Monogatari Series. And so it feels pretty odd to go back to Bakemonogatari and the first few episodes of Nisemonogatari and see next to no Shinobu, hear no Shinobu. From here on out though, we’ll be getting more Shinobu.

Which is perfect.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

Nisemonogatari

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