Bakemonogatari – Episode 9

Today we begin Bakemonogatari’s hella controversial fourth arc! Yep, it’s time for Nadeko. I had a bit of a tough time writing about this one, but not really because of the Nadeko material itself – more because this episode’s structure made it difficult to establish a single thesis and then explore it throughout a variety of scenes. Fortunately, I’m pretty sure the second episode will offer an extremely straightforward opportunity to explore What’s The Deal With Nadeko, so I’m looking forward to that. And this one was still a very strong episode!

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

We open with the shrine. Trees winding up the broken shrine gate like snakes in the very first image

Araragi’s hanging out with Kanbaru

Nadeko Sengoku rushes past

“If I’d realized who she was sooner, this story might not have ended the way it did.” The classic ‘if only I’d noticed something’

Nadeko, the traditionally “cutesy” little sister type, gets a traditionally cutesy OP

Mayoi was “cute” as well, but her behavior was anything but, and the camera never focused on her in any kind of leering way. With Nadeko, things are very different

A literally fuwa fuwa love song

The text speaks of traces of scales pressed into her skin

As if she were bound by ropes

Should I even reference how rarely this argument works out – the “deeper meaning” behind fanservice, the classic “you will be ashamed of your words and deeds”

“I hear this mountain is crawling with snakes”

Oshino tasked them with putting a talisman on the shrine

This episode looks pretty beautiful – Monogatari’s varied color palettes mix very well with this bamboo forest

The shrine is a mess

Kanbaru gets tired the moment they arrive. She’s still part-apparition

The slow percussion soundtrack, Kanbaru’s fatigue, and the wind

Dead snakes pinned into the tree

He invites Hanekawa to go to the bookstore with him

She’s helping him pick study guides. He’s finally worried about his future

It was the Kitashira Snake Shrine

Hanekawa’s physical presence is intense. Araragi can’t stay focused

It’s a big contrast from Kanbaru, even though Kanbaru was wearing far more revealing clothes

Nadeko arrives, and heads for the occult section

Hanekawa points out he was being too friendly with Kanbaru

Hanekawa warns him that his “being kind to everyone” isn’t actually a great quality. Even if Senjougahara says she’s okay, he should be more considerate

“You need to read between the lines”

We learn Hanekawa’s knowledge extends beyond facts to emotional inference

“Being kind to everyone is a form of irresponsibility, too.”

Hanekawa says she plans to spend a couple years seeing the world

We get a brief allusion to Hanekawa’s home not being a good place, along with a red screen

He leans on Kanbaru, he leans on Hanekawa, and he leans on Kanbaru again

He wants Kanbaru to break the ice for this conversation. She frankly is a better choice than Senjougahara

The snake gets pinned as well

We get a flashback to her in second grade. Her infantile impression of Araragi

And Nadeko strips to just bloomers. She’s super uncomfortable

They see the scales

“You’re a grownup now, so you wouldn’t get nasty thoughts from seeing me naked, right?”

She’s ashamed and crying as they make jokes

“I don’t want a body like this.” It feels like it could mean two things – either her scaled body, or her fundamentally womanly, “sexual” body

“Save me”