Hanamonogatari – Suruga Devil, Part One

Koyomi Araragi and Hitagi Senjougahara have graduated high school, leaving Suruga Kanbaru behind as she finishes her final year. On her way to school, Suruga runs into Ougi Oshino, who tells her about a certain rumour that’s been circulating…

Synopsis

We open up with a little bit of Suruga’s memories of her mother. After which, we follow Suruga through her morning routine. As she runs to school, Ougi arrives, dressed as a boy. Ougi passes on word about a devil that has been granting people’s wishes. Later on, Suruga mentions this to a friend / classmate, before calling Karen Araragi to see what she knew about it. Karen gives Suruga the information she needs to contact the devil herself.

Of the three possible options, which are leaving a letter somewhere, making a phone call, or meeting in person, Suruga chooses the later. She meets with the devil, who happens to be a girl from her past – Rouka Numachi. A girl who once played basketball for a different school, but had an injury to her leg that ended her basketball dreams. Suruga questions Rouka, and in the end, while Rouka is not the most likeable person, decides that there really is nothing behind all of the devil rumours.

However, despite this seemingly anticlimactic conclusion, the next morning, Suruga wakes up to find not only the nail clippers that she thought were lost, but also to find that her demonic arm had gone back to normal.

Kanbaru Tooe

Well, we don’t actually learn too much about her mother, other than that she’s “eccentric”. At face value, her words seem to have an air of arrogance. I mean, the woman is telling her young daughter that she’s weak and will likely live a “troublesome life”. I don’t remember if we’re given an age, but judging by the picture, Suruga looks like she was in elementary school.

My initial thoughts were just that it was kind of funny that Kanbaru Tooe would speak in such a way with Suruga given how young Suruga was.

But after watching it once again, I think I can understand why she spoke the way she did. It’s because Kanbaru Tooe was involved with oddities. After all, her sister is none other than Gaen Izuko. That, and we know that the monkey’s paw, which turned out to be the rainy devil, was in Suruga’s mother’s possession. Because Suruga found it.

So I guess the ultimate takeaway here is that I believe Suruga’s mother was actually sort of warning her about getting involved with oddities. With that perspective, these quotes make sense:

“Suruga, you’re sure to lead a more troublesome life than others –
one that’s all tedious and annoying.
However, I don’t say that because you’re better than everyone else,
but because you are weak.

And you’ll have to spend your entire life
shouldering that weakness.
I just hope your troubles don’t become
your reason for living.”
– Kanbaru Tooe

It definitely comes off as an early warning, because if there’s one thing getting involved with oddities proves, it’s that humans are weak in comparison. The fact that her mother is certain that she will end up encountering them at some point is probably the interesting part of this. Either she was planning on telling Suruga about them, or something about what she did for a living made it seem inevitable.

I don’t know exactly what she did, but we can imagine based on what Suruga’s father said about her:

“That girl’s standing in for God in this mortal world.”
– Suruga’s Father

Seems to me like whatever she was doing, it involved oddities!

Oshino Ougi

Once again we encounter Oshino Ougi. Which likely means she’s up to something, as she normally is. Although, Ougi in this scene is claiming to be a boy, and to have always been a boy, since the day she was born. And, well, we technically don’t know the circumstances surrounding Ougi’s birth just yet.

Technically it makes sense for Ougi to be a boy, and seeing as Hanamonogatari takes place after Owarimonogatari, this could be a hint at what’s to come there. Or maybe it’s just Ougi being mysterious, and next episode she will be a girl again. Either way, I can only think of Ougi as a girl.

In usual fashion, Ougi rambles on for a little while before getting to the real purpose for her visit. And in this case, it’s the rumour about the devil. It’s actually fairly straightforward, what we hear from Ougi. But of course there’s always the possibility that more was said than what we were shown.

Meeting the Devil

After surprising her classmate, Higasa, about her knowledge of the devil, Suruga calls Karen. Karen fills in all of the blanks that Suruga needs to track down and meet the devil.

Her reasons for wanting to meet the devil?

Part of her is worried that she is the devil. That somehow, like with the rainy devil case, she has been going out and doing things without her own knowledge. After all, the rumours involve a high school girl that grants wishes called the “devil”.

So she has to meet the devil and confirm for herself.

And she does just that, running into former basketball rival Numachi Rouka, who gives off real Kaiki Deishuu vibes. We learn that Rouka has been “granting wishes” for her own benefit. First off, she doesn’t actually grant any wishes, she just listens to people’s problems. And the reason she does it is so that she can laugh at other people and essentially feel better about herself, because a leg injury left her unable to play basketball which spiraled into a life of misfortune.

Anything serious, she tells people to contact the proper authorities.

As for the part of the rumour that states the devil actually grants all wishes, guaranteed? Rouka states that it’s just time healing the wounds.

But is this really all there is to Rouka, and the rumours?

Suruga walks away satisfied. She now knows that she wasn’t personally involved, and that the rumours seem to just be something blown out of proportion. In the end, it’s just a miserable girl that is lending people an ear for her own personal entertainment. It seems like Hanamonogatari could end right here and now.

But of course, this story is only just beginning.

The following morning, Suruga wakes up, and not only finds the nail clipper she had thought was lost, but she also realizes that her left hand itself was no longer the monkey’s paw.

We’ll have to see where things go from here, it’s certainly an exciting way to end the episode!

Wrapping Up…

The only other thing I wanted to bring up was that I thought it was interesting how damn popular Koyomi Araragi is with the girls in her grade. While he seemed to be an outcast of sorts in his own grade, it looks like his underclassmen, at least the girls, all know of him.

In the schools where I work grades are divided by floor, so it’s actually not that common for students of different grades to run into each other outside of club activities, as even in-between classes they tend to stick to their own floors. I don’t know if this is the case for Naotsu Private High School, but given the school’s size, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is. Regardless of how it’s done, it’s normal for different grades to be separated in some way or another unless the school is so small it’s not feasible.

The only point I’m trying to make here is that I can imagine why Koyomi is popular with his underclassmen. He wasn’t in any clubs, so he probably rarely interacted with them, if ever. But he was in a relationship that was fairly well known in the school. So likely talk of Senjougahara Hitagi and Araragi Koyomi spread around the underclassmen, and they just sort of watched them from afar and talked about them. Chances are Hitagi is also popular among the underclassmen for the same reason.

It’s not important or anything, but I did think it was an interesting bit to add in there, and I can totally see how rumours of Koyomi spread around like that to the point of making him popular.

So beautiful I had to share it here.

As I wrote before, we’ll just have to continue on and see where things go from here. Suruga’s arm has seemingly healed. Did she make a wish and not realize it? Or is there some other factor at play? And how about Rouka, did her leg heal as well, or is she still injured as we saw her this episode?

Looking forward to continuing on!

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.


Hanamonogatari

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