Bakemonogatari – Episode 10

Hoo boy, we’re in it now. Nadeko Snake #2 is a rich and uncomfortable episode, one of those things that’s better for actually being an unpleasant experience. Its visual framing makes it effective in the same way great interactive storytelling can be – you’re not just a witness, you are complicit in the crimes on-screen due to the way you are perceiving them. I did my best to articulate all my muddled feelings on this episode, and hope you enjoy my piece.

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

The snake is a Jagirinawa

We open with chain-link fences implying constriction, and Oshino’s shadow cast like a giant serpent against the wall

It’s sent out by an act of malice

Nadeko’s friend had a crush on someone, but he confessed to her. She turned him down, and her friend placed a curse on her

The framing of this story is basically “I was too cute, so other people punished me”

“It’s harder to lift a curse than to place one”

As Araragi talks about going to the shrine to lift the curse, we see his eyes lingering over her legs

“If we don’t do something about this tonight, it could be fatal”

The camera actually shifts to “Cinemascope,” and announces it, before moving to Nadeko changing her clothes

“Once the scale marks reach her face, it’ll be over for her.” This violence contrasted against her changing

“She’s probably putting on a brave face and enduring it” ends the sequence

Oshino mentions for the first time that because of Shinobu’s arrival, malevolent spirits have begun to arrive at that shrine

Attempting to solve her issues on her own actually made her issues worse. Complicating Oshino’s “we can only save ourselves” dictate. The truth is more complex than that, and so every point must have its opposite

Just like how the show’s circuitous conversations add texture to its characters, so too do its contrasting thematic points add texture to its beliefs

He asks if she’s hurting, she asks him not to be mad at her

“It’s wrong that you should have to feel the need to endure it”

“When you’re in pain, it’s okay to say you’re hurting”

And then we return to “Cinemascope,” complete with shots of spotlights turning on, for their entrance to the shrine

The overt story is Araragi having his cake and eating it too, and the show itself is also doing that

I might really have to go deep on “what sexuality and ‘fanservice’ mean for a show” for this one

“Why did you turn down the boy who confessed to you?” “Because there’s someone else I like.” Putting this in the most traditional of harem contexts

Yep, her next lines make it clear she’s talking about Araragi

She remembers him because she never really played with other people. He was her everything

And here’s the school swimsuit, a classic fetish outfit. “I thought I was accomodating your tastes, Araragi”

She sits in the middle of a sheet, like this is an amateur adult video

And Kanbaru sets up lights

“Big brother, please keep your eyes on me, okay?”

And now her opening song is contrasted against this ritual

Yeah, she really wants to be noticed by him as a woman

Her younger self adores Araragi for the bare minimum of kindness

And then the shots get extremely sexually charged

And then from single shots, we move to an invasive moving camera, sliding up and down her body

Oshino mentions he’ll be leaving town eventually

A discussion about Araragi’s inability to leave others alone

The shots move from traditionally sexually charged to straight-up violent. Nadeko is being physically abused

It’s actually in her throat

The boy who liked her also cursed her. This kind of one-sided affection can easily turn to hatred, echoing the fanservice – when these characters don’t fulfill our fantasies, they are abandoned

Another action scene demonstrating Araragi’s “talents”

This action scene is terrific. Using the light and the grass so well

“Please don’t choose the wrong person to save”

He has to give up on stopping it. It’ll return to the person who sent it. He can’t save everyone

“Don’t say things like ‘thank you’ to me. I don’t deserve to have you say that.” And his self-hatred appears in full

One thought on “Bakemonogatari – Episode 10

  1. Great review! You make a strong argument for the voyeuristic perspective being a deliberate choice that emphasizes Nadeko’s passivity. Even if Nisio didn’t have a clear idea of how Nadeko’s arc was going to go at the time this episode was made, it feels very consistent with later events.

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