Bakemonogatari – Episode 8

Today we concluded one of Monogatari’s most famous arcs with that arc’s most famous episode. The climactic showdown between Kanbaru and Araragi was as great as ever, but unsurprisingly, I spent most of today’s writeup pouring over both Araragi’s psychological hangups here and how they reflect the series overall, as well as the larger implications of this episode’s monkey’s paw shenanigans. Fun times all around!

You can check out my supersized review over at ANN, or my notes below.

Kanbaru’s mother entrusted her with the monkey’s paw

She wished to run fast, hoping that would keep her from being bullied at school. And so the four kids who were going to compete with her in a school race were all attacked by the creature

She worked hard to run fast in order to keep others safe, and then joined the basketball team to avert the risk of more people being hurt. She actually solved her own problems, after asking for help only caused more

Senjougahara’s friendship allowed her to forget about the paw for a time

“My mother entrusted me with the paw because she wanted me to become strong enough to overcome ordeals on my own”

Absent mothers, once again

I really like the descriptions of Kanbaru fighting against temptation with the paw. None of us are above that

The Rainy Devil reads the dark side of your wishes

“I won’t save you. But I’ll lend you a hand. All you can do is save yourself on your own”

Two solutions – allow himself to be killed, or chop off the demonic arm

“You really are a sweet guy, Araragi. So sweet I feel like gagging.” I really love how well this show paints Araragi’s selflessness as an actual flaw, and a consistent willful blindness. His need to see the best in others is a pathology

“That isn’t a Monkey’s Paw. Those were her actual wishes”

The bitter secret of the monkey’s paw is that we don’t need our wishes to be turned on their heads – our wishes are often selfish and destructive all on their own

“She’s just lost her parents and was going through a rough time, so if she were being bullied at school, then there’s nothing strange about her wishing for revenge”

We see Shinobu drinking Araragi’s blood. An awkward arrangement that makes neither of them happy

Araragi just needs to keep from getting killed in order to void the contract

The color scheme shifts that will later become key to the show’s aesthetic

He gives Shinobu his blood, which powers him up in turn

“Why are you trying to save even someone who tried to kill you?”

“Anyone who’s alive has hated someone at least once”

The buildup here is great. Establishing this killing floor for their showdown

The heavy percussive music here is so good. This sequence is so fucking intense

“There’s no need for you to feel responsible in any way!” Araragi’s words are themselves deeply irresponsible

And of course, this all reflects on the general woman-saving harem trope

Araragi attempting to separate the apparition from Kanbaru’s own responsibility

Araragi losing the verbal battle before he loses the physical one

Araragi’s power reflects his nature: dying poorly

Senjougahara arrives, apparently summoned by Oshino. “You lied to me, Araragi”

“I’ll wager that you had the foolish idea that if you died, you could resolve everything”