While en route to Kanbaru’s, Karen challenges his brother to a game of rock-paper-scissors, but she cheats and has to carry Koyomi on her shoulders, which requires she cut off her ponytail, which she never liked anyway. They proceed, and encounter a myterious woman, Yozuru Kagenui, who asks where the Eikou Cram School is located. Hanekawa tells Koyomi by phone it’s the abandoned school where Oshino and Shinobu lived. After dropping Karen off at Kanbaru’s, Koyomi bumps into Hachikuji, and they’re soon approached by Yotsugi Ononoki, looking for the same school.
As far as we’re concerned, new characters are always welcome here. But these two aren’t quite as assaultable as Karen or Hachikuji. We will say they’re both very cool and quirky looking: Kagenui with her bowl cut, ridiculous heels, and brilliant balance; Ononoki with her singsong name, googly-eyed hat, green locks, and wellies. They’re both unique and novel in their looks, their movements, and in Ononoki’s case, her strange first-person narrative way of conversing, which kinda reminded us of MISAKA 10032. Ryoko Shiraishi voices Kagenui, while Saori Hayami voices Ononoki. We’re fans of both actresses; they’re additions to a series already jam-packed with great voices.
What we also like is how they were introduced. They didn’t do anything this week, they simply inquired as to where Oshino’s place is, while Koyomi was on his usual rounds. Koyomi notices they both somehow know that he’s a vampire and the species of Karen’s and Hachikuji’s past oddities. Karen and Hachikuji are also impressed by the inherent strength exhibited by Kagenui and Ononoki, respectively. Like Kaiki, we’re hoping we can expect these two ladies to shake things up.
Karen interrupts her brother’s studying to show him a new look, wearing Tsukihi’s clothes. She knows he knows Kanbaru, but Araragi won’t introduce her to her unless she wins a “game” involing him brushing her teeth. It goes a bit far, and Tsukihi walks in on them and isn’t pleased. When she storms off, they continue the game.
Nisemonogatari reaches new heights of creepy sibling interactions, specifically Koyomi enjoying brushing Karen’s teeth – and Karen enjoying him brush her teeth – a bit too much. We can expect Koyomi to act like this: he’s been interacting like this with girls – particularly younger ones – all season. And he’s part vampire, making him literally not entirely human. But what, we wonder, is Karen’s issue? On second thought, eh, perhaps it would be best if we just not wonder and simply move on, shall we? Tsukihi comes in and breaks it up, only for them to get right back to it when she leaves.
Clearly Akiyuki Shinbo does not have any particular qualms about dealing with these kinds of issues. If there is a taboo to be exploited, he’ll put it right up in our face, as close and intimate as possible, not skimping on a single facial expression or sound of enjoyment, while staying right on the edge. Indeed, this was perhaps the weirdest -and wrongest – tooth-brushing session we’ve ever witnessed. Tsukihi seemed to concur.
Hanekawa tells Araragi how Karen caught the bee oddity. She met with Kaiki, whom Hanekawa tracked down, to confront him about selling charms to middle schoolers, and to punch and kick him. However, after demoralizing her with his motives and worldview, he touches her on the forehead, delivering the bee. Back in the present, Hanekawa urges him to solve the dilemma that night, as he must return to his studies tomorrow. Wiping down Karen’s sweat, Araragi realizes (and it’s confirmed by Shinobu) he can cure Karen by transferring the bee poison to himself – via a kiss.
In the series’ usual stage play-like format, this episode presents the opposing positions of Karen Araragi and the con man Kaiki in no uncertain terms. Karen is a girl of strong principles and, to hear her tell it, the “blood of justice” courses through her veins, urging her to oppose, confront, and punish evil like Kaiki, who takes a Gordon Gekko-like “Greed is Good” stance. To him, filling his bank account with the bounty of evil deeds is no different from Karen filling her heart with good deeds. They are two sides of the same coin…and his worldview isn’t too far removed from that of wild nature – which exploits weakness without compassion and puts the self above all else.
Karen tells him there’s something inhuman about him, and she’s right; humans have evolved to balance their selfish primal urges with the good of humanity as a whole, which benefits both parties. Society and civilization could not survive if everyone was like Kaiki. You need some Karens. You also need Hanekawas and Koyomis; who see both sides and can mediate, since nothing Karen or Kaiki say to one another will ever get through – their philosophies are too opposed. Kaiki sees her morality as primitive, but it’s he who is acting like the heartless animal. But the same blood in Karen is also in Koyomi, which is why he’ll put his life on the line to save his little sister.
Araragi Koyomi formally introduces his sisters Karen and Tsukihi. Karen is an aggressive athletic tomboy who, while Tsukihi is even more aggressive, but with a more feminine and innocent outward appearence. Koyomi then pays a visit to Sengoku, who seems to be in an unusually playful mood. When her mother gets home, Koyomi migrates to Kanbaru’s, where he busts in on her naked, then teases her by making the case she’s a more normal girl than she lets on.
Things you’re assured to get lots of in spades (besides kuro color cards) in Nisemonogatari: intense, intimate close-ups, particularly of girls; innovative and often downright raunchy poses by said girls; visually stunning ‘sets’ – I mean, a waterfall of books complete with rainbow? Applause. You’ll also get lines like this: “There’s harder BL on a lower stratum!”, made all the better when spoken with utter conviction by Miyuki Sawashiro. In other words, you get lots of weird, offbeat stuff. This season seems to be kicking up the sexual tension.
This episode further reinforced our perception of this series as an ‘anime play’ – it was mostly one-on-one conversations in fixed settings, after all – first, Sengoku’s house, then on the street with Karen (nimble lil’ minx, her), and finally in the liturature-replete home of Kanbaru. We also like how these familiar characters from Bakemonogatari underwent subtle but effective visual makeovers. The busy, kinetic opening focused on Karen as a bee spirit of sorts. There’s a foreboding to Koyomi’s description of his ‘fire sisters’ – as if there are many out there who believe they’re some kind of heroic duo. He contends his kid sisters merely have vivid imaginations and aren’t above exaggeration.