Bakemonogatari – 7
This week’s Bakemonogatari presents a new spin on the old tale of the monkey’s paw that grants three wishes in a way not foreseen by the bearer of the paw.
After Araragi recovers from the beating Kanbaru gave him (complete with some amusing teasing by Senjougahara), he pays Kanbaru a visit to set things straight with her. Then she basically opens up and spills everything, including that she has a literal monkey’s paw for a left arm, and that it made her attack Araragi against her will. She cannot quite form the words, but Araragi says it is a trance from her description. But as Kanbaru points out in her description of the monkey’s paw tale, and as Oshino later confirms, the monkey’s paw grants three wishes of the owner’s desire. It is not there to move on its own; it exists to fulfill the deepest, darkest wishes of its owner. Therefore, what else can we assume than the monkey’s paw moves according to Kanbaru’s subconscious desires?
After all, Kanbaru does admit during the course of her story that she holds a burning jealousy for how close Araragi is to Senjougahara — the closeness she could never obtain herself. When Kanbaru sees Araragi at the beginning of ep6, she displays none of the ultraviolent tendencies of her second appearance in the episode, which would indicate that she is avoiding those feelings . . . burying them in her subconscious. The only outlet for those feelings is her desire to be with Senjougahara no matter what, which is when the monkey’s paw steps in and lays the smack down on Araragi.
This well written post raises the question of how responsible Kanbaru is for the violence committed against Araragi. She does not consciously order it to happen, but she does have a desire to be with Senjougahara. Ultimately, I am not certain where I stand on this. On the one hand, the traditional monkey’s paw tale has the monkey’s paw act as a type of Literal Genie. You state the wish, and he/she will grant it, though maybe not in a way that is expected. Kanbaru wants to be with Senjougahara, and she is jealous of Araragi, but do the two necessarily combine into the wish to murder Araragi so that nobody is in the way of her desire? There is a potential out of wish interpretation there . . . or there might be, if Oshino’s description of the monkey’s paw as a “rainy devil” didn’t throw a wrench into that idea.
According to Oshino, the rainy devil fulfills three wishes of its owner’s desire — in exchange for the owner’s soul. Now, this may just be bias speaking, but I don’t think a really benevolent person would find much use for that item, even if he or she were unaware of its true nature. The very idea of a part of one’s soul be exchanged for a wish implies that the wish is of a particularly seedy nature. And what could damage one’s soul more than to wish violence upon someone and act on it for a selfish desire? The rule of soul exchange surprises Kanbaru to the extent that I am willing to accept that she was not aware of this part of the deal. However, she does want to be with Senjougahara, and I am pretty sure she desired the power to make this possible, which is where the monkey’s paw comes in.
As we have seen so far, the monsters in Bakemonogatari do not appear for no reason. Even if she did not consciously want to beat Araragi into a bloody pulp, she still has to be at least partially responsible for the whole thing, because of her desire for the power and the fact that she actively wished to be with Senjougahara. But I don’t think she is 100 percent responsible for everything, because I don’t believe she would have beat the shit out of Araragi if she had to consciously make the decision herself.
I’m interested to see how much Oshino can do for Kanbaru. The process of “life sucking” has already started, after all. One wish has been granted (to a certain extent), and while we do not know this for certain (it could be a “the whole soul is taken once all the wishes are granted” deal), it does not seem like such a huge leap to believe a part of Kanbaru’s soul has been whisked away by the rainy devil. Can Oshino help cleanse Kanbaru of her subconscious desires like he helped Senjougahara confront her past and regain her weight? Or can he only partially help her because she has already set things in motion?
Pretty good episode overall. Aside from all the stuff with Kanbaru and the monkey’s paw, I really enjoyed the conversation between Araragi and Kanbaru on the way to Oshino’s place. I like how she tries to become like Senjougahara as a way to draw Araragi away from Senjougahara, even though Araragi doesn’t bite. Kanbaru proposing to be the uke to Araragi’s seme cracked me up, as did all the silliness involving Kanbaru’s bicycle pants as underwear.