Nekomonogatari: Shiro – Tsubasa Tiger, Part Two

We continue following the story of Tsubasa Hanekawa.

Her family’s home has burned down, and after spending a night at the abandoned cram school, Hitagi Senjougahara found her and took her in, where the two proceeded to go to sleep despite it being morning.

Synopsis

Tsubasa wakes up next to Hitagi. Hitagi then makes lunch for the two of them, and then they spend the day there before going to sleep once again in the evening.

Black Hanekawa wakes up, and goes out. She runs into the Tiger, and converses with it, before threatening it to stay away from her master. The Tiger responds by attacking so quick that Black Hanekawa is forced to jump away as fast as possible. However, when she lands, far far away from the Tiger, she looks up to see the Tiger standing right in front of her. The Tiger tells her that there is nothing she can do to stop it.

Black Hanekawa returns to Hitagi’s place to find Hitagi there. Hitagi greets her, and then they go back to sleep. When Tsubasa awakes, Hitagi goes out for a job while Tsubasa prepares breakfast. Hitagi then learns something important about Tsubasa based on this meal…

Encounter with a Tiger

Going to skip right to this, because I don’t think anything that important happens prior.

Black Hanekawa goes out at night, reawakened because of the stress Tsubasa had been feeling from when her family’s house burned down. Of course, in addition to that, she’s still in love with Koyomi Araragi. It didn’t exactly take long for Black Hanekawa to re-emerge after Spring Break due to this. Twice Shinobu had to solve the problem, so to speak.

Anyways, she’s back. And she comes across the Tiger.

At first, the Tiger is curious as to what exactly Black Hanekawa is, as she’s certainly not a Meddlecat. She sort of explains it to him, with a bit of “it’s complicated”. And then the Tiger gives us an interesting piece of information.

“Anyways, I don’t care about you.
But I suppose I should ask what you want from me.
You’re blocking my path.

Since you and I are the same type of oddity,
I’m sure you know what that means.”
– Tiger

This causes even Black Hanekawa to become a little confused. Same type of oddity? What does this mean?

What we know so far is this: Tsubasa saw the Tiger, and then her family’s house burned down. And now we learn that the Tiger is the “same type of oddity” as Black Hanekawa. In other words, the Tiger is trying to “solve” something for Tsubasa, just as Black Hanekawa appears to help “solve” her stress.

“Oddities’ characteristics are not something that can be suppressed.
The people who see us reap what they sow.
Your “master” saw me.
Nothing else matters.”
– Tiger

After this, the Tiger attacks, causing Black Hanekawa to jump and flee. But the Tiger is right there where she lands, waiting.

“Everything you do is futile.
That girl… she saw me.
That’s all that matters.
That’s what’s most important.
I have already begun.”
– Tiger

Same type of oddity or not, it’s clear that this Tiger’s methods are much different. We don’t know what it’s trying to accomplish, or why it burned down Tsubasa’s family’s house. All we know is that it’s up to something, reacting to something. Something to do with Tsubasa.

At first glance I read these words from the Tiger, about Tsubasa seeing it, and thought that this was sort of a “I’m only doing this because I’ve been found out” kind of deal. And it is, but not for that reason.

I believe what the Tiger is trying to say here is not that it’s acting because Tsubasa saw it, but that Tsubasa saw it because it exists. In other words, it’s not that she accidentally saw it and now it has to burn her house down, but that it’s very existence is why it’s doing what it’s doing.

“That girl saw me, therefore I act” is actually another way for the Tiger to say “I exist, therefore I act”. The only reason Tsubasa saw the Tiger was because it exists. I don’t know if this means that she created it per se, but clearly the Tiger has some sort of connection to her. And if the Tiger is here, it will act. Tsubasa saw the Tiger because it is here.

My final justification for this thought is that Tsubasa simply wouldn’t have seen the Tiger otherwise. After all, oddities are all around but people don’t see them – unless there is a reason for it. This is why the Tiger says “The people who see us reap what they sow”. Because by the time you see an oddity, it’s too late – you’re involved somehow.

Breakfast

Moving on, the last thing I’ll briefly touch upon is Hitagi’s realization, and our realization by extension, of something about Tsubasa’s personality.

Tsubasa creates a breakfast that involves no condiments, toppings, or seasonings at all. Bread with no butter and no jam. Salad with no dressings. Eggs with no seasoning, or sauce. Just the raw ingredients as is required to make the dishes.

Hitagi realizes from this something about Tsubasa.

“You just… accept anything and everything.
Don’t you think having things you hate is just as important as having things you like? And yet you accept anything and everything.
That might be why you accept me, and also why you accept Araragi.
That’s how it makes me feel.

Our tastes aren’t similar, are they?
It’s just that you like everything, including the stuff I like.
Well, maybe it’s not correct to say you have “tastes”.
I mean, if you like anything and everything,
that means they’re all the same to you.

Hey, Hanekawa.
Do you really like Araragi?
Can you tell me one more time that you still love Araragi?”
– Hitagi

It’s quite the bomb to drop in regards to Tsubasa’s character, and it seems extreme, doesn’t it? However, it makes total sense. Because Tsubasa’s greatest character flaw is that she doesn’t understand herself. She knows everything (that she knows) about everything else, but she knows next to nothing about herself.

Even during this conversation, Tsubasa has a blank look on her face, and is struggling to follow Hitagi’s words. She can’t understand what Hitagi is even trying to say here.

What we know about Tsubasa, from Nekomonogatari: Kuro, and now this, is that she’s a girl who tried very hard to become a normal, upstanding girl. And she succeeded at that. However, it seems that she’d forgotten something along the way – herself. She’s all for doing what society says is correct, and being what society says she should be. But she hasn’t thought about herself all this time.

It’s also why she has to rely on Black Hanekawa to solve her problems, because she isn’t able to even comprehend them herself. The sources of her stress, she just sort of carries on and lets the stress pile up without exploring herself, and facing reality.

That’s Tsubasa Hanekawa in a nutshell.

Wrapping Up…

At the beginning of the episode, we get some narration by Tsubasa about Koyomi, and how she knew about him before she met him. That he’s infamous at school for being a delinquent and not caring about his attendance or grades.

She remarks that when he was in middle school, he was just like the Fire Sisters. Or more correctly, the Fire Sisters are re-enacting exactly what Koyomi had done when he was in middle school. And that he’d never stopped. But also that something had happened in his first year of high school.

This was sort of touched upon in Bakemonogatari, when Koyomi had gone to the park on Mothers Day to avoid his parents. Something happened between them that caused him to rebel.

This was another great episode. There’s still some real mystery surrounding that Tiger. We know it’s connected to Tsubasa somehow, and that it likely was the one that burned down her family’s home, but we still don’t know the exact reason for it’s existence or why it’s acting the way it is.

That said, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

Monogatari Series: Second Season

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