August 18, 2012

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But how do you tell the difference between a fake and a real thing? In the world we live in, everything is nothing as it seems. Perhaps it is just human nature that we tend to deceive each other for various reasons. Heck, even Mother Nature does that. I suppose that the people at SHAFT weren’t telling lies when they actually came out a sequel for Bakemonogatari. Nisemonogatari is a continuation of that and this time in this sequel, our main guy, Koyomi Araragi isn’t going to get any more girls into his harem. This time his little sisters, Karen and Tsukihi who were the side characters in the prequel while Araragi himself sort out supernatural oddities of the other girls, they take the centre stage for the sequel. At least, that is how it seems.

The conman responsible for wrecking the lives of Senjougahara and the one who made Sengoku got that constrictor snake all over her body is back in town. So if the law can’t put this dangerous guy down, I guess this is where little vigilantes like Karen and Tsukihi come in to do the job to prevent him from spreading his curses and make a profit via other unsuspecting people’s misery. But when you’re fighting somebody as evil and who can’t think of anything but money, your physical strength isn’t going to do you any good. What more, someone who is believed to be delving in the dark arts of the supernatural. And so our good brother Araragi has to once more play the ‘hero knight in shining armour’ as he delves deeper and deeper into more psychological twists that involve his family now. If you love the mind blowing first season, you’ll love this one too.

Karen Bee

Episode 1
Suddenly Araragi finds himself kidnapped and handcuffed to the tables in the cram school. How the heck did he get himself into this? Senjougahara might be the culprit. Oh, she is. And she can’t unlock his handcuffs because she already threw away the key! And the antidote too! So he’s poisoned? He’ll soon be if he doesn’t listen to what she says. But she assures him he doesn’t have to worry because she’ll protect him. Is this her way of protecting him? So Araragi wants to drink but she teases him by drinking a cool bottle drink by herself. In addition to her insults, she tempts him and finally lets him lick a drop like a pervert from her finger. As for food, she stuffs the entire onigiri into his mouth! What about toilet issues? She’s willing to change his diaper because she is so in love with him that she is willing to manage his entire body from ingestion to excretion including his brain. Extreme tyrannical love! So how did all this happen? We’ll have to go back in time a little earlier in the day.

Araragi is supposed to have tutoring by Hanekawa but something came up so he’s somewhat free. He goes see his sister, Tsukihi and wonders where the other sister, Karen is. Tsukihi isn’t happy he’s always treating them like kids but he worded in another way that he doesn’t trust them. From what Tsukihi said, seems Karen is out helping people out of trouble. That’s another way of saying she’s getting into some fight. Tsukihi throws a tantrum and this reminds Araragi to remember about Sengoku. He calls her and reminds her of his promise that he would come over. Coincidentally, she’s free now. Araragi wants to bring Tsukihi along but she doesn’t want to get in the way of her friend’s ‘love’ and decides to stay home and watch the house. On his way, Araragi spots Hachikuji and suddenly his prankster side activates. See his perverted face? Bad news. In a dilemma whether to go see Sengoku or bug Hachikuji, I guess he gave in to the temptations of the latter. Well, Araragi surprises Hachikuji with his extreme molestation! Enough to send any kid into trauma and she snarling at him like a cat (despite being a snail – you’ll get what I mean if you watch the prequel). So they start off their nonsensical conversation about money and love. You can buy love as they sell it at the store for only 298 Yen! A bargain! On to serious stuff, Araragi is in a dilemma whether to tell his family about his secret (he was once a vampire but cured). She thinks it’s better to keep them a secret because by revealing them, he might expose them to danger and end up suffering for it. Araragi is amazed by how she could add the word “courage” to her sentence and for his case, the courage to keep secret to himself. Araragi challenges her to it and the loser will have to do a handstand. Hachikuji’s wearing a skirt and he’s going to expose her kiddie panties to the public! Hachikuji starts off her “courage” sentences and the final blow that has Araragi doing the handstands: The courage to admit defeat. It’s his lost. But when he starts doing the handstand, he doesn’t want to stop despite Hachikuji telling him so. Actually he wants to take a closer look at her panties! Kick in the face! He uses her “courage” sentence against her: The courage to admit he’s a pervert. Then he mentions she was wearing a mature, sexy lingerie instead but she dismisses. As proof she’s not, she has to show it to him. Definitely a ploy. Back to serious stuff, Hachikuji feels he can guide is family out should they venture into the supernatural but for now he should do nothing. As they part, Araragi wonders if she’ll disappear seeing Oshino is no longer around. She asks him back if she is in trouble, would he help her? Definitely. Because he won’t let others do it. She adds that even she stopped getting lost, there must be a reason she continued to linger around. Till she finds that reason, she won’t leave. And even if that day to part comes, she’ll come and say goodbye.

Episode 2
Araragi narrates Karen’s tomboyish character who excels in sports especially martial arts. As for Tsukihi, she may look feminine on the outside, she is easily provoked and her fits could almost be hysterics. Together they are a heroic duo called Fire Sisters playing and view themselves not as ally of justice but they are the justice themselves. Araragi knows that what they are doing is just a game and that they are irredeemable fakes. Araragi finally reaches Sengoku’s house and he notices her different bangs. Did she change her hairstyle just for him? Since her parents are working, she ushers him to her room. Oh… There is a closet she doesn’t want him to open. Even if it’s him she won’t forgive him if he does so. I think she’s feigning it’s hot that she takes off her sweater and wants Araragi to do the same. She wants to play King Game but you can hardly play that with only 2 people. So as they settle for the Game of Life, Sengoku mentions a weird charm circulating not just in her school but among middle schoolers. She thinks the Fire Sisters are up to something. Sengoku couldn’t tell them what happened to her snake so they got others to investigate. But she’s not worried about anyone performing the charm since the sisters don’t believe in supernatural. It’s more like they’re going to find out who is spreading it as they believe someone had deliberately spread the word for their own reasons. Changing the game to Twister, I can’t believe Araragi doesn’t know how to play so Sengoku is going to teach him with her body… Thankfully her mom suddenly comes back before she really got into very ambiguous positions. Araragi leaves but gets a call from Kanbaru. She teases him that she is totally naked. But that’s okay since she is in her room. How she dresses is up to her. She only goes outside naked on occasions. Oh… Suddenly she falls into traumatic mode because she forgot to close the front partition of her room and when her grandma walked pass, she gave her this sad look. Since Araragi is free today, he decides to come over to her place and clean up. Along the way, he sees Karen walking a handstand through the streets! She mentions that she is doing some volunteer community work. Does she even know what that word means? As they chitchat (Karen striking a very odd pose), she gets a call and looks like she is confident she has something heroic to tell tonight. Then off she goes. Hasta La Vista, baby!

Araragi opens Kanbaru’s room door and all the books just came flooding out. Worse, Kanbaru is still wallowing in sorrow naked. He didn’t knock because he thought he wanted to see her depressed so she lets him see all he wants on her. He apologizes and would like to take responsibility: To marry her that is! Yikes! Serious? Kanbaru declines the tempting offer because she knows Senjougahara will kill her if that happens. Oh, how I remember her violence… After she gets dressed, she shows him a basketball t-shirt that she got as memento from her first year with all her teammates signing on it when they reached the finals. Then she talks about misinterpreting words she thought to have been erotic and the embarrassment is getting on Araragi’s nerves. He starts cleaning but couldn’t tell the difference between the books. It’s all the same to him. Then he starts teasing her that it’s normal to like handsome guys since all girls do (she’s a BL fan). Plus, he uses what she said to him over the phone against her like stripping here is alright since this is her room and that he may be a big pervert, sending her into disarray. Kanbaru has no choice but to prove her innocence as she pins Araragi down and rubs his stomach! Ticklish? Then she’s going to take off his underwear! Now, how does it feel to have a taste of your own medicine? Next time when you want to sexually harass Hachikuji like this, now you know how it feels, eh?

Episode 3
Kanbaru’s place is totally clean now. She’s so impressed that she thinks he’ll make a good wife. Wife? She also adds he might end up marrying Hanekawa and the rest of the other girls as his lovers. I’m sure if this happens, Senjougahara will kill them all! Araragi says that he will be marrying Senjougahara someday but he’s breaking into cold sweat saying that. Kanbaru would really want to be his mistress if she wants to but warns that girls can easily take advantage of his kindness. Since she likes the way they are now, she’s going to stay like this. Mentioning about Senjougahara and Hanekawa, she feels like they have their little world of their own and isn’t pleased. But if they’re happy, it’s not her place to say anything. Then they play some card game Kanbaru bought at a whim and she thought she could show him how fast she learns the rules. However Araragi beats her flat and without much effort. Talking about her monster arm being find out by her grandparents, Kanbaru assures him that her mom puts a wall between them so they never asks. All that’s left is to tolerate a few more years. As Araragi leaves, he sees a creepy guy outside the house, Deishuu Kaiki. He asks if Araragi is the child of the house (of course not) and notes his politeness even to strangers. Since he thought Gaen’s child lived here, he might as well take a look but could hardly feel any aura so he’s going to ignore it. Araragi notes that Gaen is Kanbaru’s mother’s maiden name. Since there is no money to be made, Kaiki leaves, learning a lesson that even if one suspects the truth, it may still be worthless. Araragi thought he saw shades of Oshino in him but a major difference is that Kaiki is more like a guillotine cutter. He wanted to tail him but his guts about his bad omen changes his mind. I think that’s a good thing. Along the way, he spots Senjougahara and calls to her but she ignores him. Once he catches up to her, she insults him that he is running away from tutoring and other words that would drive a man to suicide. Then she pushes him down and looks deep into his eyes. She can tell he has played around with several girls! Woah! Six girls if you count Kanbaru’s grandma! Noting he is super popular, she jabs her hand into his mouth! She warns him about committing adultery (despite he’s not) and if he got slightly serious, she’ll kill him and the other woman! Scary! Don’t forget who he belongs to and this is what it means to date her. She further teases him that it’s quite wonderful to be a girlfriend of a guy who is super popular. When Araragi mentions about the ill omen Kaiki guy outside Kanbaru’s house, Senjougahara knocks him out.

So this is how Araragi ended up being kidnapped with multiple handcuffs to his arms. Senjougahara explains bit by bit who this Kaiki person is. She didn’t expect him to return to this town. Before Araragi introduced her to Oshino and they solved her problem, she met 5 conmen and Kaiki was one of them. The first one in fact. Araragi notes Kaiki and Oshino are similar by virtue of their expertise in the supernatural but she insists he is a fake. Her family suffered greatly at his hands, took all their money and vanished without a trace. Thus by keeping Araragi here, she wants to protect him and doesn’t want to lose anything important. Aww, how sweet. She wants him to stay here till she figures out his motives. Even if there is none, at least till he leaves town. What if he moves here? Then Araragi has to stay here forever! Haha! Or the second option will be to kill Kaiki. Not okay. Araragi’s handphone rings and since it’s in his pants’ pocket, Senjougahara purposely does some molestation before taking it out. There is a message from his little sister pleading for his help. Suddenly in a rage, Araragi breaks free from his chains! Woah! Better than the Hulk or Superman! He needs to go home but Senjougahara says he’ll have to defeat her first. He knows he has to, that’s why he loves her. Araragi’s cool lines fluster her for a second before his handphone receives another call. She picks it up and looks rather distressed. Who could the other person on the other line be so much so that the abusive Senjougahara would give in and do everything that person said? She gives Araragi the green light to go home. So who really was that person? Guess… Hanekawa.

Episode 4
So was it all a setup? Araragi is about to blow his top when Karen isn’t going to reveal anything to him. If not for Hanekawa, he could’ve got violent on his sister. Araragi makes up with his sister but didn’t like the fact that they’re acting goodie-goodie in front of Hanekawa despite her saying that she’s helping them out on her own free will. Before Araragi goes to talk to Hanekawa alone in his room, he gives a lecture about being strong and a hero, a lecture I suppose the sisters don’t want to hear him rant. Talking alone with Hanekawa, they start off about Araragi knowing his sisters for many years as compared to Hanekawa for only a few months. On the serious stuff, about the charm that is circulating among middle schoolers, they note Sengoku then wasn’t the only victim but the biggest victim. The trend of the charms going around had negative effects and were curses. The sisters’ guess were that someone was deliberately trying to spread them. Araragi realizes Hanekawa had been helping them for quite a while and it was her who called Karen’s handphone that time when she found out who was behind it. Hanekawa says she was running late and didn’t see the person himself and only Karen did. But she did say his name is Kaiki. Off topic, Araragi wants to know what Hanekawa said to persuade Senjougahara to let him go. Well, this: If she doesn’t be a good girl, she’ll ask Araragi to be her boyfriend instead. Scary indeed. Araragi goes to cool himself by taking a bath when Shinobu comes out of his shadow to join him. He thinks she was the one who broke the cuffs but she couldn’t remember (maybe she did). Then she breaks the ones around his wrists and eats them!

Making Araragi wash her hair, she mentions that neither of them still forgives the other but there is no reason that they can’t come together. She explains a wreath-fire bee monster that is affecting Karen. Dating back to the 14th or 15th century, it’s a type of infectious disease with no known cause. It starts with a fever so high that the victim is unable to move till he/she dies. After a long time and hundreds of death, a famous onmyouji stopped it but noted in his scroll how their bodies were covered in flames. Seems that is what Karen is experiencing now. A very hot body temperature as Hanekawa and Tsukihi are nursing her. Araragi is not sure if this Kaiki guy used a supernatural monster to poison his sister but Shinobu thinks it’s doable. Provided what Senjougahara said was true about him being a fake and conman, there’s no reason why a fake can be more real than the real thing. Unskilled but still a master con artist nevertheless. Maybe they who can bend the supernatural to their will aren’t human to begin with. Perhaps the supernatural monsters themselves? Araragi hopes Shinobu can eat her disease to bring down the symptoms but as she put it, she can eat the bee but not the result of the bee sting. Going off topic a little that Araragi is staring at her naked body, perhaps she would scream loud enough to let everyone here and that he will keep her mouth shut with doughnuts. Araragi dares her because he knows she can’t leave his shadow. Suddenly Tsukihi comes in wondering why her brother is bathing so long. She is shocked to see Shinobu in the bath with him and shuts the door. By the time she returns, Shinobu has gone back into his shadow but why is Tsukihi holding a knife in hand???!!! Oh sh*t! Thankfully she believes it was just her imagination despite Araragi’s big mouth on Shinobu’s detailed description. After she leaves, Shinobu pops back out and resumes the topic on Araragi’s lifespan. He may be human but still retained some vampire traits like healing. So does this mean he’ll live as long as 500 years? Even if he did, by that time all his loved ones will be gone. In the end, it’ll be just them and other bonds he forged won’t matter. She suggests he should kill her to become human again. But he refuses and is done with this discussion. There is nothing left to say and they’ll live till the day they die. Shinobu isn’t planning on getting along with him and warns not to let his guard down because if there’s a chance, she’ll kill him while sleeping. For the time being, she’ll be his shadow. I don’t know whether they’re reconciling or provoking each other. Their actions and words are confusing.

Episode 5
Out from the bath, Araragi wants Tsukihi to spill the beans but she doesn’t want him to get mad at Karen. He’ll get mad at both of them anyway. She distracts him with talks of regrets, being ‘platinum’ mad and the number of friends he have up till recently. Because Araragi was blowing his top so loud, Hanekawa had to come down to tell him to be quieter. Then his towel drops off. Oooohhh… Next is what Araragi thinks happened from what he heard. May or may not happen exactly the way it was but somewhat more or less like this. Seems Karen had confronted Kaiki and she doesn’t want to buy a charm or cure. She wants to punch him! This is for the giant pain in the ass he has caused. However Kaiki plays cool and says he was merely providing what the kids wanted. As oppose to what Karen accused him of ruining relationships, he mentions his objective is to get money. It’s what makes the world go round. He thought a person like Karen isn’t going to get her worth for working free but she dismisses she’s not hired by someone and even so, she’ll not accept the money. Kaiki admits he is a conman and that children are easier to fool so if she really wants to stop him, the fastest way is to bring him money because his target is 3 million Yen! And he considers himself human for doing so. Just like Karen doing good deeds, he fills his bank account with evil ones. While her activities make someone happier, he spends his earned money and greases the gears of a capitalist economy. To him, money solves everything. He corners her about the value of money as an object, especially the jacket she bought. Kaiki is going to give her a little present: A bee. A mere touch on her forehead, she is suddenly paralyzed. Of course nothing is free as he takes whatever money in her wallet and leaves no change. He recommends before the poison takes hold, she should call someone for help while he makes his escape. From now on, he’ll avoid meeting his customers directly. Bye. Araragi sees Hanekawa off and the latter wonders if he is mad at her seeing she was the one who tracked Kaiki down. Is there a point? At least she could’ve told him. As apology, she gives him makeshift tickets to touch her breasts. Really?! Doing so will make her hate him forever. Bummer. Hanekawa notes how his sisters resemble like him on the inside. She cautions that the real problem in a fight comes after he’s made up.

Araragi brings weakened Karen to bed and cleans her body. She says that though she knows strength is important but you can’t be strong overnight. But that doesn’t mean you can just ignore all the bad stuff you see. Admitting she screwed this one up, she didn’t like how Kaiki spread the curse to middle schoolers just because they were easy targets. The worst part is that he spreads is that he spreads hatred and fear, then take the money and vanish without doing anything. Sengoku may be his victim but she was lucky. What about other kids who went to him for help not knowing he was the source? Plus, she also didn’t like his viewpoint that money is everything. There are some other things more important than that. Like love (I thought you could buy that at a shop? Just saying). She won’t stop till she is victorious are at least keep trying because the outcome isn’t important. She might have lost the match but will win the game. Karen didn’t want him to clean her anymore because she fears it might spread to him. Then Araragi hit upon an idea. Consulting Shinobu in the toilet, he wonders if there is a way to transfer her supernatural illness to him. There is a way but she doesn’t like it. Of course big brother would do anything to alleviate his sister’s suffering. He goes back to Karen and startles her up. She has to prepare herself because he is going to kiss her!

Episode 6
The result of the kiss that we didn’t see? He only managed to absorb half of it (and let his vampire ability heal it) so Karen’s fever went down a little. On his way out, he spots Hachikuji. Learning his lesson, he didn’t sexually harass her so much so she got disappointed! You mean, she really liked that?! Without his sexual harassment, he’s just a flea?! So Hachikuji can tell that something is wrong but won’t ask much. She feels his sisters are just like him and that they too have saved a lot of people. Araragi thought that they’re still kids and should listen to others as the topic deviates to when would one be deemed as an adult. By law, work or age? Some adults still think they’re kids, you know? Soon they part as Araragi is near Senjougahara’s house and Hachikuji doesn’t get along with her. Coming inside, Araragi sees Senjougahara sharpening many pencils with a blade! Who is she going to murder?! She’s going to confront Kaiki seeing he refused her protection. For that moment, Araragi must be surprised to hear her slip of the tongue that she is being subjected to bully by Hanekawa. She? Get bullied? Anyway Senjougahara still keeps Kaiki business card. Ghost Buster Kaiki? Definitely sounds like a con job. She called him and he still sounded the same. Araragi wants to come along but almost got his eye blinded when she points the tip of the pencil at his pupil. I guess that’s a no. Telling her what happened to Karen, he thought she’s going overboard trying to seek revenge on all 5 conmen like that. She notes that Kaiki is different than the other conmen because he was the one who ruined her family. Though she can’t blame him entirely, if she forgives him, she won’t be herself anymore. Even without him, she feels her parents would’ve split up. Protecting Araragi was just an excuse because in the end, she just simply hates Kaiki. So don’t get the wrong idea. She’s not doing it for him. That’s tsundere for you! But there’s one thing he didn’t get. If Kaiki was a fake, how come it sounded like he could see her crab? She replies he may be a fake with more power than the real thing and thus even dangerous. He probably deliberately feigned incompetence to squeeze more money out of her parents.

To make it clear to him, the ‘justice’ concept won’t work on him since he is evil unlike weak hypocrites. But he won’t sit back and allow her to commit a crime because he loves her. He might not know why he’s dating her but he’s so in love that he doesn’t need a reason. If she’s going to see Kaiki, then they’ll do it together because he also wants to protect her. Wow. So cool. Senjougahara quips if she was a man, she’d be so jealous of his manliness that she’ll kill him and thankfully she’s a woman so she could love him. However there is a condition if she is to take him to her. Promising he’ll do whatever it takes, she notes that when Hanekawa cut her hair, she moved forward. So by settling her past with Kaiki, she intends to move forward. But she’ll only tell him after the meeting regardless of the outcome. Does it really matter? She calls it a foreshadowing of his death. What?! If he dies, she’ll have to spend her lonely days with the telescope he gave her as birthday present. WTF?! Araragi leaves and hopes she won’t do anything rash on her own. Of course. Even if she did lie, she keeps her promises. She advises that he too needs his sleep because Kaiki isn’t one anyone can deal without loss of sleep. When he reaches home, Tsukihi is panicking. Seems Karen is gone and she’s freaking out. Calming her down, Araragi is going out to find her but wants Tsukihi to stay behind because if she meets Karen, there is a likelihood she’ll persuade her to go with her. Outside, Araragi tries to think like Karen, where would she be. Obviously it will be at Kaiki but does she even know the place. Nobody does. His panic thinking is so ‘loud’ that it woke up Shinobu from her slumber. He wants her to help her find Karen (despite her rewording ‘help’ as ‘order’ seeing vampires like her can’t disobey her master’s word). Shinobu sniffs and since the siblings’ blood structure are similar, she notes that Karen hasn’t gone very far and points in her direction.

Episode 7
Araragi finds Karen sprawled on the ground but still has the strength to stand up. Still being stubborn, she wants to fight him. He’s not going to fight back and if this is the case, she starts pounding him with her secret moves. To her surprise, he can take hit after hit. Shinobu who could also feel the pain, suggests of helping out but he orders her to do nothing. For that, she hopes he would not only pat her head but rub her breasts. Joking? Karen’s fists are hurting (more like Araragi getting hurt) so she starts using her kicks. She thinks that being the good guy always wins but he notes that it isn’t her physical strength but her will that she needs to have. When she said she couldn’t forgive Kaiki, where was her will? Still adamant that she’s doing the right thing, he asks her how can one be right by seeking a reason from another person. How can you take responsibility by forcing that reason on someone else? She’s not justice. She’s just playing a kid’s game and is a fake. Then he hugs her and though he is mad at the sisters, he is madder at Kaiki for hurting the things he is proud of and will pay. That’s why he wants her to leave it to him and clean up after her (heck, she can’t even clean her own sweat).

Araragi and Senjougahara confront Kaiki at the park. Kaiki notes she has become a normal girl and somewhat boring. Since he’s not here to fight, he wants to talk. He agrees not to spread the charms anymore and stop cheating middle schoolers. As for Karen, he need not worry and will be healed within 3 days as what he did on her was just instant hypnosis. Kaiki officially apologizes for what happened to Senjougahara’s mother and will do his best to return the money. However she doesn’t believe a word he says because he doesn’t seem repentant. He’s a conman after all. She warns him she is doing everything she can not to kill him and that is a very tough thing for her. She won’t ask for him to return the money as it won’t bring her family back. He seems happy about it but noting the look in Araragi’s eyes, he doesn’t feel the utmost hate since he hurt his sister. He says it’s her fault for getting involved with him in the first place. But Kaiki says her mistake was to come see her alone and if she wanted to beat him, she should’ve brought numbers. He admits that her aspects were right but to Araragi, is he like deciding that she’s a fool and isn’t strong? Denying her kindness is a mistake. Without girls like her, conmen like him will be out of business. It’s Senjougahara’s turn to ask he could’ve easily talked her into doing whatever he wished so why is he going according to her wishes? Kaiki tells that she overestimates him. Even if she views him as an enemy and a conman, he is a minor and shabby old man. He is nothing special or dramatic and so is she. Shifting his focus to Araragi, he wonders if his life is full of drama because he could tell something lurks in his shadow and that he absorbed half of Karen’s illness. So does Kaiki actually know supernatural stuff? As he put it, he knows nothing but knows somebody who does. More precisely, someone he thinks who think they know.

So for the wreath-fire bee, that record that it comes from a plague is fake. However there was no such plague during that era. It is falsified history and those who came after the author foolishly believed the tale he had written. There were no victims and definitely no monsters. If you think they exist you’ll feel like they’re there. Noting that Karen’s illness will subside in 3 days without doing anything, he doesn’t want to get involve in Araragi’s delusions. Araragi clearly feels he’s a definite fake. Kaiki adds they’re worse than oil and water. More like fire and water. But since he feels he’s not the fire type, maybe rubidium and water. Araragi thinks the fire must be his sisters then. Senjougahara seeks his handphone and then breaks it. Now he won’t be able to reach those middle schoolers. She says though it is their fault for being tricked, he can’t do anything for the victims anyway and even if he did try, he’ll end up stealing more from them. Kaiki admits he would because he’s a conman and that whole atonement thing was a lie too. He is further disappointed Senjougahara is really boring because now she looks heavier and fatter. Haha. Heavier yes but fat? Did she use to be that wonderful? Well, she doesn’t care what he says because now Araragi loves her therefore she likes the way she is now. Kaiki understands their relationship and won’t wreck it seeing that he won’t do anything that won’t get him money. He promises to leave town by tomorrow and tells her the man who once tried to rape her died in an accident in a faraway town. Senjougahara thought he is lying seeing a man who had forgotten about her till this morning wouldn’t know a thing about the man who tried to rape her. Unless, he was lying about not knowing her too. So why all the lies? There is no such thing as truth in this world. He signs off that the fact she was once in love with him doesn’t count as cheating. Just be happy with the man she has now. Araragi wants to confirm if that is true so she mentions at that time she was desperate so anybody who could offer their hand, she would have favourable views on them. She is glad that Araragi was the one who saved her. As for the request she wants Araragi to perform, since she has settled her past, she wants him to compliment her. That’s it? In contrast to her cold exterior, she says she’s a cute and soft girl and hopes he would go gentle on her tonight. Is it…

Soon without even 3 days, Karen has recovered and is back to her normal self (why are the sisters sleeping naked together?!). He explains what happened to Kaiki and that there will be no more victims. But the Fire Sisters enthusiastically head out as they still need to clean up the damage he did from the charms he left behind. Relationships won’t heal themselves, you know. Araragi narrates he is proud of his sisters. They may be fake heroes of justice but because of that, they’re closer than anything to the real thing.

Tsukihi Phoenix

Episode 8
Araragi narrates the several traits of Tsukihi. One of them being an immortal. Is he joking? While he is doing his homework, Karen comes bugging him if there is anything she can help out. There’s none but she really insists. Oh wait. There’s something different about Karen. That tomboy is WEARING A SKIRT!!! Is the world coming to an end?! Araragi thought somebody bullied her and swears he will make that bastard pay. So after calming down, he thinks it’s cosplay. What? That simple clothes she borrowed from Tsukihi is cosplay? Then I guess every girl is cosplaying too. Seems Karen wants to ask if she’s looking cute. Of course. Instantly she happily hugs him. Breaking his rib or two. Araragi on the other hand felt creepy with his sister all over him and couldn’t believe her character would overlap with Kanbaru. Speaking of which, seems Karen wants him to introduce to her. She even kneels down, beg, gets her head stepped on, suggests to even lick his toes and desperate enough, will give him her virginity! Hold your horses! How did she know about Kanbaru? There’s this unofficial fan club of Kanbaru that sent her newsletter with lots of pictures of him in it and upon doing her own investigation she finds Kanbaru look up to Araragi as her teacher. Araragi has no intention to introduce Karen to her seeing Kanbaru has a dangerous sexual penchant that no one knows. That’s when Karen started getting violent and jabs his gut! If a cute little sister pleading nicely won’t do, then use violence. Araragi suggests solving this via challenge. A game that he will choose and won’t be unfair to her. If it’s for the sake of meeting Kanbaru, then bring it on.

He comes back with a toothbrush… Uh… What again? Don’t tell me, he’s going to stick it up her butt???!!! Hell, no! He’s going to brush her teeth. Eh? Explaining via hairdresser cutting one’s hair example, I’m not sure how he is trying to associate the ‘touching’ with someone else brushing your teeth by generating major psychological resistance. So if she can withstand this for 5 minutes without freaking out, she wins and she’ll get her introduction. So as the brushing begins, Karen starts to feel the kind of sensation she has never felt before. Araragi has that evil look in her eyes as he strokes her teeth and tongue with the gentle soft brush! OMG! It’s like a new kind of hentai sex play!!! Karen is feeling so good that she’s giving off ambiguous vibes that this may be a hentai flick! On the other hand, Araragi suddenly starts to feel how cute Karen looks. Even better than Hanekawa! Something inside him is awakening! And then he can’t hold himself any longer. He pushes her down and goes on top of her! She allows it! His other hand is going to ‘tour’ all over her body when suddenly… Tsukihi is shocked to see the incest between the siblings. Girl, interrupted. Care to explain what’s going on? Why is big brother happily pushing down happy Karen in her clothes brushing her teeth? The duo in sync act out very surprised that they didn’t know what they’re doing and thanks to Tsukihi, they’re ‘saved’. But I guess she didn’t buy it because she wants them to stay like that till she returns from the store to buy an awl (a tool to make holes like in your belt). I think they just got the death sentence. Oh look at the time. Fifteen minutes has gone past. Araragi admits his defeat but it seems Karen felt that the game was a draw since Tsukihi interrupted. She wonders if he allows, could make it best out of three. Don’t tell me they’re addicted. Oh God. They’re having another go. Well, there’s still time before Tsukihi returns. At least they’re getting along better, eh?

Episode 9
Somehow Araragi miraculously escaped Tsukihi’s awls! Then he calls Kanbaru and it seems she is not prepared to meet Karen yet. She thought he was going to give his sister’s virginity! I can’t believe Araragi countered that by saying he would rather take Karen’s virginity than give it to her! As he prepares to take Karen there, she decides to do a penalty game in which the loser of the rock-scissors-paper game will have to carry the winner on the back all the way. Karen teaches him the trick of playing that game but cheats herself and loses. So she has to carry him and he wants to sit on her shoulders. As long as it’s less than 180kg, she can handle. Wow! Worrying about her ponytail, Karen uses her key to cut it off!!! WHHHAAAAAAAAAT?! Doesn’t she have any attachment to it?! Hard to take care and always hated it? It’s a wonder why she kept it till now. So as Araragi rides on her shoulder, he starts feeling like a giraffe. But something is bugging Karen. His crotch is touching the back of her head. She wonders if she can cut it off just like her ponytail. NO WAY! Unlike her hair, it won’t grow back! Then she grips his thighs so tight that it cuts blood circulation to his lower half since it would make her feel better as his calves were pressing on her boobs. So off she goes. On the way, they meet a strange lady, Yodzuru Kagenui who is asking the way to Eikou Cram School. She seems arrogant but cool. Her words of calling Araragi a devil boy and Karen a wasp catches his attention. Araragi calls Hanekawa since she should know where the school is. I guess it’s just an excuse to hear her lovely voice. The cram school is an abandoned building Oshino and Shinobu once lived. Araragi starts sweating when she mentions about sending her regards to Kanbaru. And he didn’t even mention it to her! How much does she know about his private life?! Once he relays the answer, he wonders why she wants to get there. Well, nothing much except to establish a base of operations. She then advises him that a girl this tall will come and ask him the same question. If that happens, she wants him to treat her with the same kindness he did with her. Araragi wonders why Karen has been silent all the while so she mentions she was readying herself as she feels Kagenui is a really strong person and couldn’t beat her herself. Wow. What’s with her power to analyze the strength of people? As long as they’re not evil, she can tell the difference. But how sure is she that Kagenui isn’t? Araragi introduces Karen to Kanbaru and vice versa. And cautions to beware the pervert and the idiot. They’re blushing? That’s not a compliment!

He leaves and on his way home he spots Hachikuji. He ponders if he should greet her the usual harassing way or ignore her. Though he has no interest in her, he has no particular reason to ignore her. I guess this means, it’s harassment time! As he sprints towards her with that perverted grin, suddenly Shinobu grabs his leg and makes him trip! Haha! He failed and made it the biggest screw up of his life! So they chat about Araragi probably ditching his studies to make Hanekawa like him. She thinks his motivation is Hanekawa’s boobs and herself, her sexy curvaceous body. Araragi quickly shoots her down about her barrel-shaped body and asserts he doesn’t like flat lolis. The reason he is talking to her because she has big boobs for an elementary kid. He quips since he’s dating Senjougahara and loves Hanekawa, he’ll marry Hachikuji! She steps on his head and doesn’t want such a proposal. Their nonsensical chat is brought to a halt when another weird girl, Yotsugi Onoki asks them the way to the cram school. Besides her emotionless expression, her speech style reminds me of Railgun’s Misaka clones (although it’s just restricted to “I said that with a posed look”). Araragi points the way but her last words bugged him. She called him a devil boy and Hachikuji the snail girl.

Episode 10
When Araragi comes home, Shinobu emerges from his shadow and tells him there is a dire situation that needs drastic action. Gulp. Let’s hear it. Mister Donuts is having a sale of any donut costing only 100 Yen! WTF?! I guess Shinobu really wants it, huh? On his way out, he bumps into Tsukihi who wonders if Karen is coming home early since she has something to discuss with her. The disbandment of Fire Sisters? Well, Tsukihi mentions she’s not into this justice thing like Karen. So you could say Araragi was right about her being a fake in this sense. She does it because she’s easily influenced by others around her. Yeah, she may even throw a farewell party for the Fire Sisters and would bring lots of middle school girls for him. Before he leaves, he tells Tsukihi not to dress so sloppily even if this is her house. Suddenly he spots something amiss and strips her! Holy sh*t!!! Then he binds her hand and pins her down to the floor! OMG! Has his inner imouto rape awakened?! He notices the scars on her chest and everywhere else on her body are missing. Do scars heal? But the sicko touched her boobs just because he felt like it since they were right in front of him! He even wants to fondle it with his feet! Stop violating her!!! She laments that it’s ironic that the sisters have pure relationship with their boyfriends but still require a physical relationship with their brother. In a bad mood, she tells him don’t bother to come home. But he is coming home. Into her heart. Cheesy… What more to his own sister… At the doughnut shop, it’s safe to say Shinobu wants everything on offer. But Araragi can only buy 3 doughnuts. Then she tries to convince him to make an investment by getting on her good side. Or else? After that short Mexican standoff, Araragi agrees to increase the tally to 5. While Shinobu is frolicking in her doughnut paradise, Araragi asks about the weird ladies that came looking for directions. She says Yotsugi isn’t human but a supernatural creature. She just took on a human form and her name is probably an alias too. Thus she is Kagenui’s familiar. But Shinobu isn’t going to share anymore information. Not even buying more doughnuts will tempt her. I thought he could just order her and she’ll have to obey? Anyway if he wants to know more, he’ll have to ask the old guy sitting behind. OH SH*T!!! That’s Kaiki!!! Anyway he’s still around to take care of minor business but promise will be leaving soon. Sure he’s not lying? But I’m sure he isn’t since he blames Araragi for making him lose lots of money. On the topic of Kagenui and Yotsugi, he has the information but please pay up first. How much? His entire wallet is good enough. The duo are ghost busters just like him. While he is fake, they are the real deal. He’s a conman and they the onmyouji-shikigami pair. Even though they are specialists, their field is only limited to immortal creatures.

On the way back, Araragi ponders if they’re after them but Shinobu disagrees. In that case, would that mean there are other vampires out there? Well, vampires need not necessarily be the only immortal creatures around. It could be anyone who has supernatural oddities within them just like Kanbaru or Hanekawa. When they reach home, they are surprised to see Kagenui and Yotsugi at his doorstep. Araragi asks straight if they’re here to kill them. However Kagenui dismisses they have hardly any time to waste on normal humans with lingering after-effects. Araragi’s mind starts to cloud when Kagenui mentions Oshino’s way. The ways she said it was like as though she knew him like a colleague. Because Yotsugi has been pressing the doorbell nonstop, annoyed Tsukihi barges out to tell the culprit off. Suddenly Yotsugi’s finger enlarges and blasts through the wall!!! OMG!!! TSUKIHI IS WRECKED INTO HALF!!!! OH SH*T!!!! In that moment, Araragi is filled with enrage (worse than the Hulk) as he is going to kill Yotsugi. However Kagenui pins him down. Then she shows him his sister. Her body is back to normal like it was never destroyed in the first place. Yotsugi points out that wasn’t his real sister and she is possessed by an evil immortal bird. Shinobu steps in and isn’t going to let them do what they wish. Kagenui is confident this ex-vampire isn’t a threat but Shinobu begs to differ. She can still drain Yotsugi’s powers and then she can handle Kagenui herself. Of course Araragi knows that is a bluff but enough for them to back down. Kagenui notes that she won’t kill a sister in front of her brother. That thing after all isn’t his real sister. Fake sister? She’ll give him a day to sort things out and will be back tomorrow. No running or escaping too. And by then if they still get in their way, they’ll kill them too. Araragi is still upset and wonders why they’re aiming for his sister. Kagenui replies a monstrous fake that snuck into a human family, pretended to be a human and deceived humans, that is evil and such a con can’t be forgiven because they’re the good guys.

Episode 11
Shinobu narrates about a supernatural cuckoo. It was the kind of bird that plants its eggs in other birds’ nests. It waits for the other mother bird to leave, then pushes the eggs out and lays its own before waiting for the mother bird to warm and hatch it. So this supernatural cuckoo, Dying Bird does the same thing but to a human mom. It reincarnates itself like the immortal bird, the phoenix who reincarnated itself by throwing itself into the fire. But in this case, Tsukihi wasn’t the victim but her mother. She carried a monster in her womb and a year later, Tsukihi was born. Though Dying Bird is a harmless creature, it is nevertheless fake and immortal and it has repeated this cycle into the modern era. Karen is dumbfounded to see a big hole in their house so Araragi lies that a truck hit it while he was out. Tsukihi wasn’t hurt but she helped guard it so she’s out tired. Karen enthusiastically takes over the watch as Araragi asks her if she will die for her him and her sister. Of course. And with a smile. Araragi notes he too would die for his sisters and would do so every day till he is dead. Huh? Say what? For this next scene, Araragi kisses Tsukihi awake!!! Imouto-con!!! Just like in fairytales how the princess gets awakened by the prince and lived happily ever after, it’s not the case here. Tsukihi blows her top, very annoyed that her first kiss reserved for her boyfriend went to her brother. She’s not happy. But Araragi gives out a good laugh because this proves that she is his sister. Just like Karen. And that is the truth. He says not to count his kiss because when they’re young, there have been countless times that they made promises to marry each other. Yeah well, he’d marry both of them. Araragi goes out but he’s not taking a walk. He’s going to settle things with Kagenui. What’s in it for him? Nothing. Just a waste of time and for his sister. Shinobu seems to have remembered Tsukihi’s name and notes it’s a good name.

They confront Kagenui and Yotsugi at the cram school. Kagenui makes comparisons that she’s not as friendly as Oshino but of course Araragi says Oshino isn’t violent. Since violence suits them and that a brawl is inevitable, might as well do so. Plus, they have the same human-supernatural creature combo. Yotsugi may be expressionless but she can still mock her opponent Shinobu that this ‘grandma’ can’t beat her. Yeah, ‘granny’ will show her the difference of years of experience this tired old body has. Kagenui and Araragi prepare to face off so he asks her relationship with Oshino. Well, they’re university classmates of the same occult club with Kaiki. Wait. Kaiki? Plus, Kaiki was the one who told her about his sister. That bastard! So it was his fault to begin with. As the match starts, erm, I won’t really call it a match since it’s one-sided. I mean, Kagenui pounds and pummels Araragi like a player who isn’t controlling his fighting character. He gets beaten up, bones broken and smashed into walls. Not to mention tables flying too. It’s bloody and gory! Reminds me of that time he took on Kanbaru. Kagenui asks if he could still truly love Tsukihi as he always has. Of course he can. And if so, what about his other family members? Would his parents and Karen be okay with it? What would happen if the fake realizes she’s a fake? Because as of now, she is still unaware. Can she still continue to live the normal life as she always has? Then after crashing Araragi down several floors (man, he looks so dead!), she goes check on Yotsugi and what do you know? She’s already beaten up! All talk… And she staging for an elaborate comeback isn’t convincing. Kagenui asks if Shinobu would like to have a final round match with her but she laughs it off because her master hasn’t lost yet.

Araragi still bloodied, stands up as Kagenui tells him not to enforce his whatever ideals and values on others. However he refutes that they’re not just other people. They are his family. For them, he will lie, he will deceive, he will get into trouble and do things he’ll never be able to repay. If to her being fake is evil, then he’ll shoulder that burden of being evil. He doesn’t need them to like him. As long as he can hear them calling him their brother, it’s good enough. Kagenui counters the different philosophies and fundamentals that humans are born good (Mencius) and humans are born evil (Xun Zi). If a person does good, that’s not their true self but a lie. All good is hypocrisy and therefore it constitutes a deliberate attempt to be good. So which has more value? Real or fake? This was a topic she used to discuss with Kaiki. To her, it would of course be the real. While Oshino said that both real and fake are equal, Kaiki argues the fake had more value because in its deliberate attempt to be real, it becomes more real than the real thing. That is the lesson that she learnt after 10 years. She admits defeat and takes Yotsugi with her. She’ll make Tsukihi an exception and since Araragi is her mentor, he’ll keep a close eye over her. Plus, she knows he wasn’t serious in fighting them as she doesn’t feel his killing intent. That cuts out the fun for her. Araragi says she didn’t want to kill him because she was treating him as a human even though he too is a monster. Ever since he became this way, only Oshino referred to him as a human being. Kagenui regrets acting like Oshino but leaves with a word that Oshino would never say: “Goodbye”. Back home, Araragi checks up on his sister and looks like she’s pretending to sleep. Can’t risk another kiss again, can’t she? He tells her the truth that he was out fighting a human like a monster and a monster like a human for her sake. Well, that’s kind of him, eh? She thinks he loves them but he says it’s the other way, he hates them (but he’s saying it with a smile). Once summer break ends, he’ll introduce his girlfriend to them. Tsukihi got so shock as she never thought this was possible! Yeah, that’s the truth. Hey, Senjougahara cut her hair short?!

The Truth Is Out There… Somewhere…
To tell you the truth, I really enjoyed the sequel as much as I did for the prequel albeit I remembered it was confusing and there were many parts I didn’t comprehend. Nevertheless it was still an interesting watch. I’m not sure if they are going to pull off something like they did in the prequel. Back then when the TV series ended, the remaining episodes came out via webcast. Seeing that everything here has ended, I guess there won’t be such a case. But wait! I saw that ‘to be continued’ sign at the end of the final episode. Could it mean something or are they just faking it? Though 11 episodes for this season may seem short, but I have a feeling that it could have been shorter if they cut out a lot of parts. Number one, many of the conversations that Araragi gets into are seemingly distractions and not related to the plot of the current arc pertaining to his sisters. But even if they are not related, they make good topics to discuss and think about. Yeah, even some of the lines are witty and funny. Number two, despite the Fire Sisters as the main focus in this sequel, I don’t really feel their impactful presence. Take for instance Karen’s arc. For the first 3 episodes, Karen didn’t really make a prominent screen time appearance (I don’t consider that street handstand to be one). What we see is Araragi going around frolicking with the babes of his harem and it feels like the producers were trying to make us not forget who they are and that they’re still around. Then for Tsukihi’s arc, the first episode itself felt like it’s for Araragi x Karen. Where was Tsukihi all the while? Till she waltzes in right at the end and catches them in their seemingly hentai toothbrush play. People, especially jealous girlfriends, do remember this is not how you should use awls.

Character-wise, I guess Araragi is still the good brother despite being perverted and sarcastic at times. You can say that his relationship with his sisters is somewhat hot and cold. Like a love-hate relationship. He might say he hates them but I suppose that’s his way of saying he loves them. After all, if he truly despises them, he would not have gone all out for their sake when they got involved in oddities. Oh, I notice this trivial thing. Araragi didn’t manage to study right till the end of the series. Hanekawa the tutor couldn’t make it and could you say the supernatural stuffs were a distraction? Can’t say your dog ate your homework, eh? Karen’s athleticism is amazing. Makes you think she isn’t really human the way she twists, turn, jump and pulling off moves with strength. To her, her fists do the better talking. But despite her tomboyish behaviour, she is still a girl beneath that exterior. It may be a surprise that the revelation of Tsukihi is that she isn’t really their real sister and another supernatural creature. But it’s not like Tsukihi was possessed by one after birth and was already one inside mommy’s womb. So I conclude that in this sense whether she realizes she’s the immortal phoenix, she’ll always be Araragi and Karen’s sister. Likewise they will also consider her as their family. What defines a family differs to the individual and seeing Araragi has spent many years with Tsukihi as her brother, it’s not like knowing the little truth will change things. He’s not that kind of person. As for the other girls, Senjougahara still has not lost her knack for insults and tsundere. She’s the kind of girl you won’t want to have as your girlfriend. Trust me. Unless you’re a super M. It’s obvious pain fun to see her torment Araragi but I guess that is the reason why they love if each other. If you can call it love, that is. Hanekawa might seem like a smart person who knows everything but as she pointed out, she only knows what she knows. So does this mean that everything Araragi asked somewhat fall under the scope of her knowledge? Coincidence? Kanbaru is still the BL pervert we all know her while Hachikuji the ever lost snail girl who surprisingly loves Araragi’s sexual harassment greetings. Probably that is the reason why she is still lingering around lost. Hoping he would find her and greet her that way to provide some amusing fun. Sengoku made the least appearance among the girls and it is clearly obvious that she totally digs Araragi and would’ve let her body teach him the pleasures of adulthood if not for her mom’s unexpected return. Bummer.

Kaiki even though is an evil conman and antagonist that everyone loves to hate (especially the characters in the series who are affected by him), I feel that he is an interesting character because he is not afraid to tell you the truth in your face despite his specialty in making up lies. The things he said are frighteningly true to a sense if you think about it. As he knows the basic negative nature of humans like desperation and greed, he works and uses them to his advantage to make money and leaves his victims in a lurch. Despite that, he can only be blamed for half of it. The other half is the victim themselves. In most cases, if they were much calmer and think straight, they wouldn’t have gotten into such predicament. With demand comes supply. And if everybody were intelligent enough not to fall for conmen, people like him would be out of business. Sadly, this thing like the con job of scratch-and-win and Nigerian bank scams are so rampant these days that conning can be considered as a thriving business. So for a person like Kaiki who doesn’t even have a single knowledge on the supernatural and not even a physically strong person himself, his best asset is his mouth that psychologically convinces others to buy his stuff. After Kaiki’s departure, I thought Kagenui and Yotsugi were going to be the main antagonist for the final arc. It’s not accurate to say that they are the villains because they too have their own ideals and were just doing their job. Good thing it didn’t turn out ugly in the end. At least Kagenui could see in Araragi’s eyes that he really means what he says and that not everything has to go by the book. Yotsugi may look ‘dumb’ and expressionless but her strength isn’t something ordinary humans should take for granted. Till she met her match in Shinobu. Speaking of that ex-vampire, it seems that she is quite talkative in this sequel. Heck, in the previous season, she doesn’t even say a word and was mysteriously popping out of his shadows, something I did not understand how and why then. At least we know a little more about her. There is a prequel movie in the works, Kizumonogatari and this tale would perhaps shed more like on this vampire loli whose other name (or nickname whatever she was called) to be Kiss-Shot-Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade. Say what again? As for Oshino, I guess he really left the town for good, huh? With Araragi around, I’m sure he is confident that kid can handle things himself.

One of the main aspects to watch this series is of course the visual art. SHAFT still has not lost its touch producing the different type of arts and visuals from different views and perspectives so much so watching the series may be annoying and tiring your eyes out because they really do spam you with all those various views and colours. As if it is already hard enough for me to keep up reading the subs (because after all this years, my Japanese is still mada-mada. True!), my eyes had to keep up with the changing and different scenes. The dramatic the conversation or scene, the faster a different angle or view is changed. Nevertheless hats off to them for doing such creativity. So whether it is Araragi’s top ahoge that is somewhat like a sign to display his fluctuating emotions, to the different drawings of the characters’ facial expression (usually comical and simple that makes it cartoonish), it is quite refreshing to see all kinds of them. It’s good enough already that they also don’t spam you with words… Thank goodness that wasn’t much here. Another I want to point out is the posing of the characters. Especially Senjougahara, whenever the girls talk, it’s like as though they are doing some sort of sexy pose. Feels like fanservice… Tempting… And no, you’re not going to see Senjougahara in her undies or even when Araragi looks under Hachikuji’s skirt or stripping Tsukihi’s kimono. Even if you tilt your head or monitor, you won’t see Kanbaru’s prized assets. Maybe you’ll see that if you buy the DVDs but that’s another different story. The few fight scenes are exhilarating like the one whereby Araragi took on Karen underneath the highway bridge and it feels like we’re watching a superhero super power movie. The final match with Kagenui doesn’t disappoint if you’re the kind who likes to see lots of blood and gore coming out from Araragi (don’t worry, he still heals but slower). I guess that’s why that guy could take on so many dangerous stuff and ends up alive in the end. When you’re an immortal despite being an ex-vampire, having such healing abilities you would be inclined to give less attention to your well-being and focus on the welfare and security of your other loved ones.

The main cast of characters are retained from the previous season and they still do a fine job getting into their character. Even Eri Kitamura as Karen and Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi they make the Fire Sisters sound lovable. Joining the cast for this sequel is Shinichiro Miki as Kaiki. His suave and smooth voice is suitable as the conman character he played. After all, he played character roles such as Urahara in Bleach and Takumi in Initial D so his voice is quite fitting for this character. Ryoko Shiraishi is the voice behind Kagenui and perhaps I am not familiar with her voice that I can’t identify her as the one who played as Hayate in Hayate No Gotoku. Same case for Yotsugi who is voiced by Saori Hayami who did Musubi in Seikirei. The surprisingly one has got to be Maaya Sakamoto as Shinobu. At first I thought it was Aoi Yuuki because you know, I had this impression that vampire lolis like Mina Tepes from Dance In The Vampire Bund are best done by her. Plus, I don’t recall Maaya Sakamoto sounded like this. Of course she can deliberately make this voice but it confused me and made me in denial that it was really her. Fake? Nah. Hey, wait a minute. Now I remember. Although Shinobu had no lines in Bakemonogatari, wasn’t Aya Hirano credited as her seiyuu? Well, I guess it’s okay since nobody heard how Shinobu sounded like in the first season so why not start afresh.

There are 3 different opening themes. Futakotome by Chiwa Saito is a theme for Senjougahara (she is also the voice for this character) and the song feels somewhat like a sequel to Bakemonogatari’s Staple Stable. Yeah, those staples are still around. Marshmallow Justice by Eri Kitamura is for Karen. A lively and upbeat outfit that describes the kind of girl Karen is. Hmm… Lots of fire and bees buzzing around… Finally, Platinum Disco by Yuka Iguchi is for, you’ve guessed it, Tsukihi. This is my favourite song among all the pieces because the lively Chinese tune is very catchy and Yuka Iguchi is singing in a cute way. Even cuter, Tsukihi doing a cute hand movement dance. Trying… To imitate… That… Never mind. The only ending theme is Naisho No Hanashi by ClariS. Typical rock pop but the ending credits animation is sketchy and messy. On purpose of course. There are various background music and most of them are of course weird. Some have that eerie feel and some to that dramatic beat. Weird is after all the theme of this anime, right?

The fundamental point that this series is trying to tell us is the subject of real and fake. Truths and lies. When we are born, all of us have been fed with assumptions, ‘truths’ and the likes. So what constitutes real and fake depends on our belief, principle and conviction that we hold. Some beliefs that we do not hold strongly on to are easily swayed and changed. And to quote a line from Lenin, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth”. What we have been thought to believe the truth it has been all the while suddenly turns into a fake and a lie, can we humans accept the real truth? After all, the truth hurts, right? There will always be some truth in the lies and there are always some fakes in the truth. So far everything you have seen here, are they truths, lies or half-truths? For all you know, maybe the producers will come up with a shocking revelation that everyone here was just faking it. Hope that would be lie!

I guess when you are possessed by an unexplained supernatural, it is natural for us to fear in it simply we do not fully understand the reason behind it all. Because modern science and medicine do not really explain or give scientific evidence and proof, we turn to bomohs or local shamans in hopes of seeking a cure. In that desperate of need, this is when we usually become vulnerable and those with bad intentions seek to take advantage of this situation. Even if you don’t believe in the supernatural, at please respect them. There are lots of unexplained things in this world. Tales and stuffs that you might have heard from your grandmother trying to scare the wits out of your pants when you were young. Eventually it’s really up to you whether you want to believe it or not. Hey, on an unrelated note, if you really hate someone, there’s this website that appear only at midnight and when you type in the name of the person you hate most, you can send him/her to hell. Sounds too good to be true? Am I telling the truth or lying through my teeth? Check it out yourself…

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