Bakemonogatari – 8
It must be pretty nice to have someone like Senjougahara on your side!
So here we have the end of Kanbaru’s arc, and not a lot of it is too surprising — Oshino tears Kanbaru a new one by ripping apart her reasoning that the monkey’s paw twisted her wish into something completely different than intended. Perhaps on the surface that may be the case, but Oshino quickly sees that, deep down, the Rainy Devil delivered exactly what Kanbaru wanted. After all, that is the very essence of the devil’s work. As the succession of screens shows in the beginning, the Rainy Devil grants only the wisher’s most destructive, selfish and malevolent wishes. Kanbaru wanted to be faster than the kids who mocked her, so the Rainy Devil attacked them. Kanbaru wanted to be close to Senjougahara, so the Rainy Devil attacked him as well. As Oshino points out, if Kanbaru had wished to help Senjougahara, then the Rainy Devil likely would not have granted that wish, because there is no evil behind it.
However, Oshino also takes care to point out that the Rainy Devil does not grant wishes via violence for no reason. Kanbaru has surface wishes, and she has wishes below the surface. It is those destructive wishes below the surface that caused the Rainy Devil to attack those who threatened Kanbaru — the kids who made fun of her, and Araragi, who “stole” the love of her life. Oshino does not let her off easy and does not mince words as he lets Kanbaru know exactly who is at fault in regards to her troubles with the monkey’s paw, and nor should he let her off easy, really. It’s one thing to harbor dark feelings within oneself. It’s quite another to actively call them to the surface to harm others.
Oshino is cold and direct in his diagnosis of the situation: Either Kanbaru lops the arm off completely — “You tried to kill someone. Isn’t that a fair price?” — or she forces the Rainy Devil into a situation in which it cannot fulfill its contract, i.e. not killing Araragi. Brave fool that he is, Araragi is not too fond of the idea of simply chopping Kanbaru’s arm off, so he opts to engage the Rainy Devil in battle. This, I think, really forces Kanbaru to confront her buried wishes, with no room to make excuses. Oshino gives Kanbaru a reality check, and seeing her buried desire to destroy Araragi manifest itself so violently (to the point where she herself joins the monkey paw in trying to kill Araragi) gives Kanbaru the push she needs afterward to stop hiding and start down the right path.
But of course that wily, magnificent bastard Oshino has something else up his sleeve. He knows all along that Araragi is going to get his ass kicked by Kanbaru — he says as much when he points out that even with Shinobu’s bite, he still won’t have even 1/10th the strength he had before when he was a full vampire. So he calls Senjougahara to finish the job. It’s a smart move, because not only does Kanbaru have to confront her violent wish to kill Araragi, but she also has to confront her feelings for Senjougahara and the pain she feels from being abandoned by Senjougahara. Her presence alone is enough to dissipate the hatred boiling within Kanbaru. I bet Kanbaru could feel a huge load rise from her shoulders once she confessed to Senjougahara!
This neatly ties up some things between Araragi and Senjougahara as well. It shows Araragi that he can depend on Senjougahara to help him that, and that he should, you know, follow his own damn advice and not be so quick to hide things from her, especially when he is rummaging around in her past. Senjougahara also says that this helped her regain something she had lost previously — her friendship with Kanbaru. She can never love Kanbaru in a romantic way, but friendly love is better than no love at all, I suppose. Amusingly enough, Kanbaru seems to be acting as Senjougahara’s personal assistant now.
Pretty good episode overall. Nothing too surprising with the end of Kanbaru’s arc, but the energy of the visuals and the great fight scene more than make up for it. I also love how Oshino is portrayed every time he shows up. Look at him there, sitting on his throne under the light while the peons are slathered in the dark. Guy is like the king of the underworld down there.