We left off last episode with Suruga Kanbaru just about to hear the story about how Rouka Numachi began collecting the various body parts of the devil. And so, let’s hear it.
Also featuring some info regarding cars in Japan at the end, because the topic sort of comes up in this episode.
After an accident that left her with an injured leg, and a run-in with a girl from her school, Rouka began collecting misfortune. To feel better about herself and all that.
But then, one day, she came across a high school girl with a particular misfortune – she was pregnant, and about to get married to the high school boy who got her pregnant. But, her mother was adamantly against it and wanted her to abort the child. She just happened to have a mummified leg, and she wished upon it to deal with her mother. The leg possessed the girl and caused her to kill her mother. And she knew that she did it. Rouka wanted to help this girl, but ultimately couldn’t do anything. But, after embracing the girl, Rouka found that she had taken the devil leg from the girl in the exchange.
After this, Rouka leaves, and Suruga heads home. There, while laying on her futon, she gets a call from Karen Araragi. And ultimately, she learns that Rouka Numachi had committed suicide three years prior, shortly after getting her injury.
Finally, Suruga goes out for a run, and runs as far as she possibly can, before collapsing. And coincidentally, she runs into none other than Koyomi Araragi, with his new car.
We learn about how Rouka met Kaiki Deishuu, and how her methods of collecting misfortune were similar to his methods of scamming people – both relied on desperate people. But after some conflict, the two eventually agreed to just stay in contact and work away from one another.
It was through Kaiki that Rouka first learned about oddities.
“Kaiki told me about the existence of oddities
as a man who specialized in them,
Actually, since he doesn’t believe in spirits himself,
what he told me about was the theory that they existed.”
I like that little bit, because as we learn in Karen Bee, Kaiki doesn’t believe in the supernatural. He doesn’t believe in it, but he does maintain a healthy fear of it. I believe that what this boils down to is that in order to not get involved with oddities, he refuses to acknowledge their existence. Because as we’ve seen time and time again, people with knowledge of oddities, and people that interact with oddities, tend to attract them. Something Kaiki doesn’t want.
After that, we hear the story about how Rouka obtained the devil’s leg. Rouka tells it like it was a random occurrence, how she managed to take the devil’s leg from the girl. I wonder if my theory from earlier was how it worked – that Rouka basically made a wish of her own while embracing the girl. Maybe that wish was to help the girl, or maybe it was for her own leg to get better, or something like that.
And then from there, Rouka could have figured out how to take devil parts from others.
Or, maybe it is really as simple as a single embrace… although I doubt it’s that simple.
There’s another option, which involves what we learn from Karen: that Rouka had committed suicide. Which could mean that it has to do with Rouka being an oddity of sorts.
One other thing I wanted to mention is that while on the phone with Karen, we see the screen flash to Suruga’s call history, which first shows Karen, but then (while we still hear Karen) it flashes a second time and shows us Higasa as the most recent call. Did Higasa try calling Suruga? And did Suruga actually speak with her, or was it a missed call?
Finally, Suruga tries to call Kaiki, but doesn’t get through, and so she goes on a run.
The second half of the episode isn’t really that interesting in my opinion. And it’s straightforward. Basically, Suruga goes on a run into the middle of nowhere, and then Koyomi runs into her while driving. And the drive is essentially just Koyomi giving Suruga the resolve to not give up and walk away, because the situation is something that is bothering her.
Of course, she never tells him explicitly what’s going on, it’s just a sort of pep talk that he infers from the little bits she mentions. And it’s no surprise Koyomi says what he does, even if I actually disagree with him personally.
I don’t see why Suruga should continue to involve herself with Rouka. Her arm is better, and she really should just take Kaiki’s advice and move on. While she considered the devil’s arm the weight of her past sins, she should just consider this a second chance. And she especially shouldn’t get involved now that we know Rouka is (very likely) an oddity herself, someone who died but didn’t actually leave the Earth at that time.
Anyways, we’ll see how things play out, where Suruga decides to go from here.
I will mention that my car also bears a 若葉マーク (Wakaba mark), which directly translates “fresh leaf mark”, but of course really means “new driver mark”, to denote drivers whose license is less than 1 year old. Which mine is, because I just got my Japanese driver’s license in January of this year. So despite having more than 10 years of experience, my car bears the mark of a newbie haha.
The one for older drivers, which looks different, is called a 枯葉マーク (Kareha mark) which directly translates to “dead / dry / autumn leaf mark”. Basically, when leaves change colours. And it has four colours on it to represent that. But the senior one was recently changed to that, because the old one was only orange and yellow. I guess it was too much like a “dead / dying leaf”, so they changed it to be green, blue, orange, and yellow instead. Show the whole life cycle of the leaf, in a clover pattern.
It’s just a cool little tidbit I thought.
It’s not important, but you’d never really know about this sort of thing unless you came to Japan.
I’ll make one other comment, about how Koyomi’s parents bought him the car as a graduation present. At face value it might seem a bit spoiled, and well, it is. But, and this is purely anecdotal, as I’ve not done any used car shopping myself, but I’ve heard from a few people that used cars in Japan are pretty cheap. The vehicle inspections here, 車検 (Sha-ken, literally “car test”), are pretty strict compared to many other countries.
Which I guess means that a lot of people after owning a car for so many years will just decide to buy another one instead of trying to fix up their current car in order to pass the test. And with a lot of people doing that, there’s a large supply of used cars. Dealerships will generally just accept trade-ins, then fix up and certify the cars themselves, and resell for a reasonable price.
Also, here in Japan there are two types of car – first is the 普通車 (Futsuusha, “regular car”), which is the kind we’re used to overseas. Second is the 軽自動車 (Keijidousha, “light motor vehicle” / “kei car”), which is generally smaller and boasts a smaller engine than regular cars. I don’t know exactly, but I think they top out at around 130 km/h. I’ve seen them on the highway and they seem to have no trouble keeping speed.
Anyways, the point I’m getting at here is just that kei cars are cheaper than normal cars, and very popular, so that sort of helps to motivate people to buy new instead of used as well when the next vehicle test comes up (every two years).
And with that car trivia out of the way, I can’t think of anything else to say, really. So we’ll see how Hanamonogatari wraps up next time.